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Vespertine

By shadowmaven

Thriller / Fantasy

Prologue

Everyone thought that Severus Snape was dead. There could be no doubt about that, no questioning the undeniable and irreversible finality of his non-existence. Harry Potter said it was so. Harry Potter, who had just slain the greatest dark wizard in history, said Severus Snape was a hero and not the murderer of a much-beloved former Headmaster as many supposed. His declaration caused more than a few raised eyebrows but those who believed differently held their tongues. They’d had enough of fighting; they tended the injured, searched for the missing, and buried their dead. While Hogwarts gradually emptied, the castle began mending itself: its stone guardians set their weapons aside and began reassembling its towers, bridges, and retaining walls, ensuring that its essential structures would hold. Day and night, stones grated and shifted, and the earth shuddered, sending up great clouds of steam and smoke, until finally, the castle regained some outward semblance of its former self. As the last families departed, leaving only the staff that lived at Hogwarts year-round, the guardians, as if heeding some unspoken cue, returned to their rightful places. While a considerable number of repairs still needed to be done before the school reopened in the fall, these would wait for crews of dwarf masons, carpenters, and the final flourishes of wizards’ wands.

The castle settled on its foundation, the moon moved on her ceaseless circuit, and everyone knew that Severus Snape was dead—dead as a doornail—and there’s the rub. Because the devil’s in the details, is he not? The devil’s always in the details, if not in the man himself. 

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