Author: John Sexton
Genre: Harry Potter Slash
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Chapter Thirty-Two -- R.A.B's Revenge

As the Death Eaters made their escape, via the Room of Requirement, Draco, Salazar and Severus made their way back down from the tower without being detected.

Then they quickly doubled back to feint giving chase to the Death Eaters, having supposedly just arrived from the Slytherin dungeons, after being alerted to the invasion by Sals, who had apparently been making his way back to Gryffindor from the Slytherin dungeons.

The trio stopped to render assistance to the students who had been injured, where the Death Eaters had first encountered some resistance.

This was where Greyback had mauled Anthony Goldstein, the year six prefect from Ravenclaw, and a member of Dumbledore's Army.

Several other students avoided serious injury when the Death Eaters reappeared in their escape, as they were inadvertently shielded by the impediments that the Death Eaters had erected in the first clash, to prevent anyone following them to the tower.



By the time the school had been secured, and it was obvious that the Death Eaters had escaped without a trace. It had become apparent that nobody in the school had any idea how the attackers had managed to breach the school's security.



Professor McGonagall soon took the reins, and by midnight the school was crawling with officials from the Ministry of Magic, while a team of Aurors led by Kingsley Shacklebolt conducted a thorough inspection of the castle.

===============================================

Salazar Snape was desperate to get access to Dumbledore's office and destroy the last of the Founder's Horcruxes, using the Sword of Gryffindor.

But with the place crawling with Ministry officials and Aurors, till close to dawn, he dared not approach the gargoyle until seven that morning, when they had all returned to London.

He was totally hyped when he made his way to the headmaster's office. With the trauma of the last twelve hours, and the fact that he had barely slept in the last twenty-four, Sals was itching to resolve this issue.

But the boy was devastated when he got there; despite repeated entreaties to the gargoyle, in English and Parseltongue, the stoic guardian gave no response nor any access to the spiral staircase.

Upon reflection, of course, it all made sense. The castle's Magic had already determined that Dumbledore was dead. Or maybe McGonagall or the Aurors had activated some protective spell on the headmaster's chamber.

Whatever the reason, Sals soon resolved to use the remaining basilisk fangs instead. Fortunately Dumbledore had insisted that he retain the fangs himself.



The young warlock returned to the Gryffindor dorm, just as the others were waking up.

"Hiya, Sals," Seamus chirped his enthusiastic best, which was the norm these days, whenever he laid eyes on the Adonis, even this early in the morning.

"Yeah," a bleary-eyed Dean added, "dressed an' all... `sup?"

"Sorry, guys, gotta run," Sals replied as he retrieve his dragon-hide gloves and sack of fangs from his trunk.

"Sorry to hit you with this, so early in the morning... but Death Eaters broke into the school last night. Dumbledore's been murdered and the place is in chaos!"

The stunned duo just ogled at Sals, as he made for the door.

"Sorry to run, guys, I'll catch you at breakfast, okay?"

With that Sals was out the door and down the stairway to the Gryffindor common room, leaving the two bewildered young wizards speechless.

===============================================

Salazar stood transfixed, in the centre of the Dumbledore's Army Room of Requirement.

It was the one place he could be assured of the privacy and security that he needed, to undertake the destruction of Voldemort's last, inanimate Horcrux.

The handsome, teenage warlock was alone, in every sense of the word, and the realisation hung heavy on his broad young shoulders.

He dared not lay this burden on any other living soul...

Dumbledore had known, because he had guessed the truth of this dark secret all along; Slughorn had known because he had started the entire nightmare, when he had revealed it to that beautiful, young monster; and that beautiful young monster had known because his black heart had lusted for the ultimate power that pure evil could grant him.

The grand old man and that lascivious fool were both dead, leaving two...

"Just we two... it's just you and me now, Tom!" the boy lamented.

Sals stared down at the cursed locket. It lay on a plinth that Sals had just created for this black ceremony of sorts: An altar to the god of Magic, the soul of Merlin the Great, and the dark underbelly of humanity.

He pondered the frightening reality that he was every bit as stunning as Tom Riddle ever was, and every bit as powerful.

Salazar laughed bitterly, with the grim realisation that, if his father and Dumbledore were correct, he was, in fact even more handsome and more potent and at an earlier age.

However, none of these facts, if any of them were true, brought any comfort to the youth, who suddenly felt completely overawed, nay... terrified, by the prospects that this new reality implied.

"ENOUGH!" the boy cried in blinding pain and anger, as he brought the basilisk fang down hard, into the very heart of Voldemort's dark soul.

But, to the boy's utter amazement and profound despair, no soul escaped in a deafening scream of pain and a flash of blinding light. The only sound that emanated from the shattered locket was the cracking of its casing, and the warping of its tiny doors.



Salazar was confused; his frustration turned immediately to anger, when he saw a tiny slither of parchment poking out from one side of the shattered locket, and he realised, instantly, that he was staring at a fake.

A wave of white-hot fury washed over Sals as he scanned the scrap of paper.

"Who the FUCK is R.A.B.?" he roared in a rage that sounded more like that disgusting animal, Fenrir Greyback, than a Gryffindor lion.

For the first time he actually examined the shattered locket closely and realised immediately that it looked nothing like the real thing that he had seen in Dumbledore's Pensieve and Voldemort's foul mind.



Rage... pure, white-hot wrath welled up inside the youth's chest; a fury, the like of which he had never experienced to date, overwhelmed Salazar.

He brought both fists crashing down onto the crystalline plinth, which shattered into countless shards leaving nothing behind, but dust and splinters of rock and twisted metal.

The tiny parchment had been incinerated, but its contents were etched into Sals's memory.

The tall, powerful, fit, young specimen of wizardry fell to his knees and wept bitterly, looking suddenly small and much like the child that, in harsh reality, he still was.



The hot, saline drops cascaded down over his smooth cheeks, streaking his face in the process.

The boy had not wept like this since his mother's passing and his father's first embrace.



It had all been for nothing, Dumbledore's death, the pain, the terror, the bitter struggle to retrieve a lie. They had been duped!

But by whom? ... and to what end! Not by Voldemort, that much was certain, the note was a prank on him...

"To the Dark Lord... ... ... R.A.B."

But who was R.A.B.... and, more importantly, where was the real Horcrux?

Without it, this whole endeavour, the entire enterprise was doomed and every fucking thing that an increasingly long list of individuals had died for was all in vain!

===============================================

Breakfast was a sombre affair and, with school suspended for the day, it dragged out, with students and staff drifting in and out in a subdued and confused state, for over an hour.

News had quickly spread that at least a dozen students had already left on the morning Hogwarts Express, and were unlikely to return.

It was also widely known that, as acting headmistress, McGonagall had refused to allow any reporters access to the school. She had, instead, issued a statement to the press, in conjunction with the Ministry of Magic, late last night.



When Salazar Snape finally made an appearance in the Great Hall, he was in such a black mood that nearly everyone gave him a wide berth.

The Slytherins had stayed on their own table that morning, and Draco Malfoy looked no more approachable than Sals, huddled between the hulking forms of Greg and Vince, who were totally unreadable.

The uncharacteristically sullen Gryffindor soon made an exit, after eating next to nothing and stabbing several sausages into pulp, which made his scrambled egg look positively well organised, by comparison.

The handsome young warlock retreated to the solitude of the Astronomy Tower, where none dare follow, the agreed wisdom being that he should be left well alone.

===============================================

The angry young warlock spent several hours, that cold Autumn day, in solemn solitude, perched up on the Astronomy Tower, glaring at the black clouds that reflected his own mood as they rumbled in the distance.

The Dementors had stopped breeding, but Winter was now less than a month away, and the bitter-cold winds were beginning to howl down from the North Sea.

The cold seemed to steel Salazar's resolve and the solitude gave his reflections a hard edge.

There was no one left to turn to now; and he dared not burden anyone else with his onerous yoke.

Broad-shouldered and powerful he might well be, but he was still only a boy fighting against a world of ignorant bliss and a monster of unbounded evil.



Sals wished more than anything that he could confide in his father, and benefit from his wisdom and compassion. But he could not and would not lay that on the man who had given him his life, twice over, and was already burdened with the guilt and pain of killing the one man who had redeemed Severus, when no-one else would, all those years ago, and who had trusted him so deeply, to the very end.

"Life sucks... you know that, don't you, Dad."



Just then the bell in the opposite tower struck one, the sky had darkened and the clouds were growing blacker and heavier than anything Sals had ever witnessed.

Lightning flashed from one cloud to another in a spectacular light show that illuminated what appeared to be almost night into a staccato of brilliant displays of the landscape below.

The skies opened in a deluge that invigorated rather than intimidated the youth, and the sudden storm stirred his anger to new heights.

He stood in the very centre of the tower and raged back at the storm, as it released its fury down on him.

"FUCK YOU, TOM! FUCK YOU... YOU BASTARD!... WHY ME, YOU CUNT! WHY ME?"



A massive bolt of lightning roared down from the boiling black clouds, that were now eddying above the boy. It struck the north pylon in a blinding flash of light and heat. Another bolt followed it to the south pylon, with an even greater release of energy.

Salazar Snape opened his arms to the clouds, baring his broad, smooth chest to the elements. His pectoral tats shimmered in the reflected light.

A third bolt, almost as massive as the previous two combined, shot down from the swirling black morass and struck the angry young warlock directly in the chest.

But rather than stun the boy, it amassed across his torso until he reached in with both arms and compressed the bolt of energy into a ball of blinding light, which he hurled back at the broiling mass of clouds, from whence it came.

"FUCK YOU, YOU MISERABLE BASTARD!... YOU CAN'T HURT ME, VOLDEMORT! YOUR TIME HAS COME, TOM... YOU CAN'T ESCAPE MY WRATH! VENGEANCE WILL BE MINE!"



Bolt after bolt of blinding light rained down on the enraged youth. Each one seemed to heighten his fury, as he hurled them back at the clouds... some as emblematic thunder bolts, as if Thor himself was wielding them, some as balls of dazzling light.

All the while the powerful young warlock roared and cursed the elements; he cursed Voldemort; he cursed Merlin; he cursed the gods; while all along, his anger grew to match the fury of the storm.



Finally, the storm abated, the sky cleared, the rain and wind died, but the sun still did not show its face.

The Adonis dropped to his knees, with his eyes closed and his chest heaving, as if from exhaustion. But he was invigorated, infused with the anger and energy of the storm.

A solitary tear threatened, but he wiped it away, angrily, before it had left the corner of his eye, even though it was indistinguishable from the myriad raindrops that still spattered his magnificent face.

He had done so, not because he was ashamed of it; his earlier tears, in the Room of Requirement, had been a cathartic panacea... a farewell to innocence lost... of innocence stolen.

No... he had done so because this tear was an indulgence... a self-indulgent display of pity, not for those who had perished already, nor for those who would perish should he fail, but for the boy, the innocent self that he now must leave behind.

It was late afternoon when he relented and made his way down to his father's rooms, where they ate a simple meal in shared silence.

===============================================

Late that same night, as the clock in the Riddle House library struck eleven, Salazar Snape once again appeared before Voldemort.

At the handsome youth's side, as the Dark Lord had anticipated, knelt a dazed and near comatose Draco Malfoy.

The blonde youth's naked body looked more distressed and battered than on any previous occasion, which delighted and titillated the foul creature's lascivious urges to new heights of vicarious carnal pleasure.

Salazar was relieved that the blonde's bruised and lacerated torso, coupled with the success of last night's attack, had distracted Voldemort from his preoccupation over the missing Horcruxes.

The youth had been concerned that his own anger and preoccupation with the missing locket, might weaken his own defences, especially if his own mental stress overlapped that of his Nemesis.



The death of Dumbledore was a two-edged sword for Sals's objectives for this audience with the monster. On the one hand it brought praise and admiration, not to mention the offer of reward, from Voldemort.

However, it also put Sals's plans for Draco Malfoy into serious jeopardy, as the blonde's failure to complete the task assigned to him, had doomed the woeful Slytherin to a terrible fate.

Of course it had the added advantage of providing Salazar with the opportunity to assess the Dark Lord's state of mind, and to ascertain his awareness, or lack thereof, of the removal of the fake Horcrux from the cave.

Sadly the opportunity to plunder the monster's foul mind failed to shine any light on the possible location of the real Horcrux nor the identity of the mysterious R.A.B.

Fortunately, for both Sals and Draco, Voldemort had ironically resolved the issue for them, when he had offered the handsome youth a reward for his part in the success of the previous night's mission and the Dark Lord's ultimate objective, revenge on Albus Dumbledore.



"Of course," Voldemort declared, "We understand that your deepest desire must still be forestalled, if you are to succeed with your deception at Hogwarts, Salazar. You shall receive Our Dark Mark, with all due honours, when the time is right. But until that day, name any other boon and We shall grant it!"

"You are too kind, My Lord," the boy cooed obsequiously, "but if I may be so bold, I would ask that you spare the life of this wretched creature beside me. I find exquisite delight in his pain and humiliation, and my cock is well satisfied when plundering his tender arse and throat.

"Besides, My Lord, I still have a use for him in Slytherin, and his continued humiliation seems to bring you pleasure, Master. He might not deserve to live, My Lord, but he does deserve to suffer long and often for the offence that he has caused you!"



The vile creature laughed; it was a hideous cackle.

"Your wish is Our command, Salazar Snape! Let it be so!"

===============================================

Ten o'clock the following morning saw the Great Hall packed to capacity, as black clouds hovered above.

In a fitting gesture to the old man's deepest wishes, the Slytherin and Gryffindor houses sat together, alternating across the rows, with Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff doing likewise.

The ceremony to farewell the greatest wizard of his time was sombre, but brief. The Minister for Magic, Professor McGonagall and Kingsley Shacklebolt sang the old man's praises, as did the Head Boy and Head Girl. The former, the Slytherin, Adrian Pucey, was patently insincere, though nobody expected anything different from the arrogant pure-blood.

As the old man's bier was born to its final resting place, Fawkes, Dumbledore's faithful Phoenix made a dazzling final appearance, before flying off into the dark clouds, its mournful cry lingering long after it had disappeared from sight.



When the attendees made their way back into the Great Hall, for the wake, Salazar could not believe his eyes.

There standing next to the Minister for Magic, and looking as smug as her reputation boasted, was that vile creature, Dolores Umbridge.

The young warlock was beside himself, but not with anger, not even with disgust; Salazar Snape was ecstatic!

Strung around the ugly bitch's neck was the locket!

Sals shook his head in disbelief.

"No! It can't be... surely," he whispered to himself.

"What?" Draco Malfoy asked.

"Look," Sals replied, "it's the minister with Dolores Umbridge."

"Oh, that old hag!" Draco replied sarcastically.

Then, to the handsome youth's utter amazement, the minister caught Sals's eye, smiled and raised his hand to the boy in recognition. The gesture implied that Scrimgeour was trying to attract his attention.



Sals and Draco were relatively isolated from the rest of the students, as luck would have it. So Sals urged the blonde to accompany him, as he made his way over to the two ministry officials.

"Ah, the legendary Salazar Snape," Scrimgeour greeted the lad, "and Draco Malfoy, if I'm not mistaken... terribly sorry to hear about your dear mother, My Boy, Our deepest sympathy, of course..."

Sals was completely ignoring the politician, as he offered his obsequious condolences to Draco, and reintroduced Umbridge to the boy, who, only months before had been a member of her Inquisitorial Squad, at Hogwarts.

The object of Sals attention was the locket, and the opportunity to examine it at such close quarters was almost too good to be true.

He focused his attention on the necklace, using much the same technique that he had in locating the diadem.

But he barely needed to concentrate, nor even close his eyes. At this proximity the evil that was emanating from the locket was unmistakable.



"You're just the chap I need to speak to, Salazar!"

The minister snapped Sals out of his focus on the Horcrux.

"I shall be reading Dumbledore's will after this gathering, here in the Great Hall. It will be a relatively private affair, but since you and Draco are two of the major recipients of the bequest, I hope you will stay behind."

The two boys simply looked at each other in bewilderment.

"Certainly, Minister," Sals replied, answering for them both, "we would be honoured."



Salazar looked towards Umbridge, and Scrimgeour immediately tweaked to the tacit cue.

"Forgive me, Dolores, let me introduce Salazar Snape. As you are no doubt aware he is Severus's boy."

"Salazar may I introduce you to Dolores Umbridge, who was Headmistress, here at Hogwarts, for a time last year."

"A pleasure to meet you, Ma'am," Sals pandered to the bitch. "This is an unexpected pleasure, and a fortunate opportunity for me, Ma'am. It just so happens that I have been anxious to meet you."

Umbridge, Scrimgeour and Draco all looked startled by Sals's declaration.

Sals leaned in towards the deplorable woman and half-whispered...

"I happen to have come across some confidential information that I know you will find of special interest..."

Then he lowered his voice even further and whispered... "concerning Harry Potter!"

Umbridge's eyes widened and she secreted a conspiratorial grin.



In the split second that she had ogled at the beguiling youth, Salazar Snape had slipped in under the vain witch's defences and sought the information he so desperately required.

She had confiscated the locket, from some lowly wizard, petty-thief-come-street-peddler. Furthermore, Umbridge had absolutely no knowledge of the locket's origin, much less its intrinsic historic value.

But, most significant of all, she was utterly ignorant of its unique Magical properties and the Dark soul encased within its glittering fašade!



Sals turned back to Scrimgeour.

"If you could spare the time... Minister, would you mind?"

"No... no... of course not, My Boy. Dolores."

The minister nodded to the witch and turned to engage Draco in further polite conversation...

"Great man, Dumbledore..."



Sals took Umbridge by the elbow, and directed her towards the vestibule at the rear of the Great Hall, behind where the Head Table normally stood.

Umbridge complied, seemingly enamoured with the handsome youth.

Once they were inside the antechamber, Sals waved his right hand across Umbridge's vacant countenance, and the locket disappeared.

When he opened his hand, the locket was in his palm.

Umbridge was oblivious to all of this; she was simply staring off into thin air.

Sals then closed both his fists tightly and squeezed his eyes shut. The powerful young warlock then focussed all of his attention on his clenched fists.

When he finally opened them, the Horcrux was still in his right hand, and an innocuous, simple duplicate was in his left.



As Sals slipped the Horcrux into his pocket, he waved his left hand across the transfixed witch's mesmerised countenance.

The fake locket was now around Umbridge's chubby neck, and the foolish woman was giggling inanely at the news that Sals had planted in her addled brain... namely that he had heard that the elusive Harry Potter had been sighted in Soho, only last week.

Even more titillating was the rumour that the troublesome youth had lost his Magic and was, to all intents and purposes, little more than a Squib!



Salazar gripped Umbridge gently by the elbow, as he led her back to the Great Hall.

"There you go, Dolores," he coddled her obsequiously, "let me get you a nice cup of tea!"

===============================================

By one o'clock the Great Hall was empty, save for the Minister for Magic, Salazar Snape and Draco Malfoy.

Both boys were slightly taken aback by the realisation that they appeared to be the sole benefactors of Albus Dumbledore's Will.

Scrimgeour quickly disavowed them of that notion by informing them that most of the old man's possessions had been left to the Hogwarts School.

The minister proceeded to read the Will, skimming over the mundane details of the various bequests to the school...

"Ah, yes, here it is... `To Mister Draco Malfoy, I leave my copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, in the hope that he will find it entertaining and instructive...'"

The minister then handed the ancient tattered book to Draco, who was obviously startled by the bequest, both the nature of the it and the fact of it.

The text was in Runes, but the minister neither commented nor enquired as to why the blonde thought he was the recipient of such a rare and unique volume. Nor did he ask the boy if he was literate in the archaic Teutonic language.

Scrimgeour then turned to Sals.



As their eyes met, the young warlock probed the fierce warrior warlock and former Chief Auror. He was a formidable opponent and -- although Sals was confident that he had successfully Occluded the minister -- he had considerable difficulty probing the hardened wizard's deepest thoughts.

This was something new and frightening for the young Adonis. Not since he had eclipsed the Sorting Hat's abilities had he encountered such a powerful Occlumens.

But eventually he was able to breach the minister's defences, to learn that Scrimgeour had decided to override the `Decree for Justifiable Confiscation' which gave the Ministry the power to confiscate the contents of any will, and probe the items for Dark Magic, for a period of up to thirty days.

The wily wizard was plotting to use Sals as a vehicle for propaganda, and this was one way of hopefully securing Sals's cooperation.



The minister continued with the contents of the Will...

"`To Salazar Severus Snape, I leave the Snitch THAT HARRY POTTER CAUGHT in his first Quidditch match at Hogwarts, as a reminder of the rewards of perseverance and skill.'"

Suddenly Scrimgeour looked up at Sals and locked onto the beguiling youth's ebony pools of fire and ice.

It was an obvious attempt to catch Salazar out and breach the youth's Occlumency.

Scrimgeour smiled bitterly, clearly angered by his failed stratagem, but none-the-less not greatly surprised by the powerful youth's skill as an Occlumens.

Facing a Legilimency standoff, the minister resorted to down-to-earth dialogue, as he eyed the boy suspiciously.

"What is your connection to Harry Potter, Mister Snape?"

Sals smiled at the `plain talk.'

"I have met him... once... here at Hogwarts."

"Consorting with fugitives from justice is a crime, Snape! But, no matter, my sources tell me that Potter was not here to see you, per se, but rather to confirm you!... as the `Chosen One!'... to pass on the mantle, so to speak."

Salazar was stunned by the man's tactics, but he masked it well.

"Is that why Dumbledore left this to you? To confirm you as the new saviour of the Wizarding World... the `True Chosen One?'"

He handed the tiny golden ball over to the youth, somewhat hesitantly.

"You tell me, Rufus!"

"Watch your tongue, boy!" the warrior warlock leapt forward. "I'm asking the questions here!"

Scrimgeour limped the short distance to invade Sals's personal space, he was in the powerful, young warlock's face.

"You need to show some respect!..."

The angry ex-Auror, was going to add, "you're nothing but a sixteen-year-old, pimply faced pup!" But he swallowed the words whole. One look at the Adonis was enough to confirm that sixteen-years-old he may well be, but the stunning youth was anything but a geek!

"You need to earn some, Minister!"

Enraged by the youth's arrogance, Rufus Scrimgeour drew his wand and pressed the point hard against the boy's chest. The tip glowed and burnt a hole through Sals's robes.

But the boy merely smiled, as the glow from the tip of the wand began to back-up towards the handle of the Minister for Magic's wand, until the entire weapon glowed bright red.

Scrimgeour dropped his wand and wrung his hand in pain, glaring at the burn mark that blistered his palm.



The stunning youth calmly opened his hand, and the minister's wand flew up from the floor and into Sals's grasp. He handed the weapon back to the humbled warrior, handle first. The tacit but somewhat muted gesture of mutual respect for each other's power was not lost on the hardened warrior.

When Scrimgeour opened his hand to accept the wand, he was amazed to see that the blisters had healed. Furthermore the youth's dress robes were no longer scorched.

"It seems I have underestimated you, Snape!"

The boy merely smiled.

"So why did Dumbledore leave you the sword?"

The sudden change of tactic caught the youth by surprise.

"The sword?"

"Yes, the Sword of Gryffindor... it was the third and final bequest."

The look of astonishment was genuine, and Scrimgeour seemed to accept it as such. But he was clearly still looking for answers.

"It that the old man's final confirmation of you as his new champion? Is that the means with which you intend to vanquish The Dark Lord?"

Salazar laughed bitterly...

"If only it was that simple!" the boy lamented.

"So where have you hidden it, Snape?"

Once again the old warrior's question had caught Sals unawares.

"What!"

"The Sword of Gryffindor was never Albus Dumbledore's to give to anyone. In any case, that is all academic... the sword is missing!"

"Wha... when?" Sals cried in shock and despair.



"Our records show that you made an unsuccessful attempt to access the headmaster's office, at precisely seven o'clock, yesterday morning!"

Scrimgeour had managed to startle the youth once again.

"Several desperate and quite inventive attempts, in fact! So, Snape... what were you after? We know you never gained entry, so we know you don't have the sword."

"I... I wanted to talk to the Sorting Hat," Sals half-lied, "I needed its advice. The headmaster has permitted that in the past."

"Attempting to enter the headmaster's office, is a serious offense, Snape!... don't try it again!"



Sals was not concerned about the missing sword, with respect to the locket, the basilisk fang would take care of that.

It was the disposal of Nagini that was almost certainly dependant on the Sword of Gryffindor.

The one ray of hope on that front came with Scrimgeour's final words...

"Well... never matter..."  he echoed Dumbledore's own words from weeks ago... "history shows that the sword may present itself to any worthy Gryffindor, when and if the need arises."

===============================================

The Quidditch match that had been scheduled between Slytherin and Gryffindor at two that afternoon, had obviously been cancelled, due to Dumbledore's funeral service.

It would be rescheduled soon after the Yule break.

So then, at two o'clock, Salazar Snape once again found himself standing over another crystalline plinth, in the DADA Room of Requirement.

With his protective gloves in place, grasping the locket Horcrux in his left hand and a basilisk tooth in his right, Sals braced himself for the final assault.

With a fierce and determined swing, he plunged the sharp fang hard down onto the Horcrux.

As anticipated, the cursed locket exploded with a brilliant flash of light, which dissipated quickly into the cold air of the chamber, and the dark spirit that it had so long endured screamed in its final throes of pain and anguish.



Sals collapsed back onto his haunches, to recover from the bitter ordeal.

Eventually, he rose to his feet, then turned and crossed to the wall at the far end of the DADA Room of Requirement.

Sals waved his hand.

Another plinth appeared, and atop it sat a black box of ebony. With a second wave of his hand, the box opened, revealing the shells of the four destroyed Horcruxes that Dumbledore had suggested that Sals store there.

He picked them up and inspected them: the diary, the ring, the cup and the diadem. He returned each to the box before adding the final trophy, in which Tom Riddle had secreted part of his dark soul.

The Adonis smiled as he sealed and hid the cache. But it was not a smug, childish grin, but a sardonic recognition that victory was at hand.

Two Horcruxes remained; two fragments of that sad creature's black soul now stood in the way of ultimate resolution... not ultimate victory... there was to be no victory.

This was not some valiant battle, some noble quest for freedom; this was a dirty, vicious, unforgiving struggle to vanquish evil.

Many individuals had already died in this ugly fight to the death; Salazar's own role in a number of those fatalities already weighed heavily upon his own soul.

The last two obstacles to that resolution were, sadly, living beings, both commandeered by the vilest creature alive to immortalise his black soul.

In order to attain resolution then, Voldemort's familiar, Nagini, and the famous Boy-Who-Lived, Harry Potter, would need to be killed.

===============================================

If you are enjoying this, you might like my other two Nifty stories...

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/celebrity/of-pride-and-prejudice/
This is a two-chapter Potterverse short story [complete].

http://www.nifty.org/nifty/gay/adult-youth/shattered-ceiling-falling-sky/
This is on-going and I'm updating it as I write Salazar.

All feedback is appreciated via: sexton1980@yahoo.com.au