A/N: In light of yesterday's news, this is my requiem for Alan Rickman. That voice could cut your heart out with a dull spoon, it was so smooth. The world is a dimmer place today with his passing.
This one-shot will eventually get a second chapter, but for now, it's a one-shot, and Harry centric, but I think the Snape fans won't mind too much. Rated T for epithets only. No artificial lemon flavoring added. Ace safe.
Sunlight drifted through the kitchen windows, illuminating the four people sitting at the table. Mrs. Weasley was up in her room, just like she had been the last fortnight, coping as best as possible at burying her middle child.
Harry sat quietly, with Ginny next to him. They were finished with the bulk of the funerals, with only one remaining. Few would attend that one, mostly passing acquaintances and those who worked with him. And the other three sitting at the table, they were attending out of obligation to Harry.
The others were off at work, trying to help rebuild their lives as best as possible. They plead off attending the services later this afternoon.
A barn owl flew up to the window, sliding in gracefully to land on the table.
Ginny reacted first, pulling the parchment from the leg and offering the Ministry owl a leftover piece of toast for the bird. He took in thanks, hooted once, and flew back out. "Harry, it's for you."
He looked up from the tabletop, where he had been lost in memories for the last few minutes.
"Who is it from?" Ron asked across the table.
Harry broke the wax seal on the parchment and read through the information inside. Harry finished and dropped the parchment on the table top and stalked out of the kitchen, ignoring the others in there.
"The bloody hell was that about?"
Hermione snatched it up and scanned the note. "It's from the Ministry. According to this, it's the preliminary notice that Professor Snape has named Harry in his last will and testament."
"You're kidding!" Ginny took the parchment from her hands and read it too. "That sodding git left his estate to Harry?"
"It sure seems so. I reckon what all it entails?"
"Knowing that git, it's his supply of hair care products he never used."
"Probably but this looks more important." Ginny dropped the parchment back on the table and raced out of the kitchen, leaving the other two behind to discuss Harry's new situation in nauseating detail. She walked with a purpose because she knew the longer Harry was left to stew in his thoughts, the longer it would be before she could coax him out and talk. With each step, though, her thoughts raced like rogue bludgers, inside her head and heart. He treated her poorly too, like everyone else not in Slytherin house, but unlike the others, he wasn't as outwardly cruel to her, not after her terrible first year. Yes, he taunted her some, but it wasn't anything worse than her brothers taking the mickey out of her at the dinner table. Even the bloody terrible year at Hogwarts last year wasn't that terrible until she'd woken in a cold flopsweat last week, realizing how terrible things could have gone and yet didn't. He didn't physically hurt her, but he allowed it.
His inaction, and only callous disregard for invoking the ire of Voldemort stayed his hand in her torments from the Carrows. His dispassionate protection of her warranted her hatred for the git.
She looked out towards the pond and didn't see him there and looked inside Dad's storage shed and Harry wasn't in there either. She looked up and saw Harry on a broom, flying around the pitch in slow circles before racing for the ground and pulling up as his trainers skimmed the grass tops. Ginny stood there, watching him repeated the moves dozens of times.
On the last drop, she put her hands to her face, "HARRY!" after he pulled out of his dive.
Slowly, he circled back around to her and hovered his broom before her eyes. His eyes were bloodshot and painfully dry.
"Want to talk or keep flying?" She asked in her no-nonsense voice.
"Grab a broom," he muttered before taking off again.
She went to the shed and picked out her battered Cleansweep and took off, flying higher than he was circling, intent to watch without getting in his way.
Again and again, Harry circled and dove, pushing the broom faster each time, dragging his toes in the grass and stirring up the dust underneath.
After the second dozen dives, he swooped up higher than she was perched, just outside the pitch and circled around her. "I think I'm ready," he yelled over the wind so high above the apple tree tops.
She took off, letting him follow to a particular clearing almost to the edge of the property. It was quiet out there, away from the house and far enough away from Stoatshead Hill. She settled down between the tree branches and watched him come back down to earth. Once his feet were on the ground, she took both brooms and laid them against the trunk of an oddly situated cedar tree. She settled into the soft earth, watching Harry pace the few steps between the trees, back and forth, leaving footprints in the soft ground.
"Harry," she spoke quietly, like she was interrupting an important discussion.
"Why me? He hated me, or least I thought I did 'til the night he died."
"He did hate you, Harry."
"I know he did but there was so much more to his anger than just spite." He looked at Ginny and she grew cold. "He and my Mum were best friends growing up. And he still called her a Mudblood. Who says that to their best friend? Who betrays them to Voldemort?"
Ginny sat and listened, letting him get everything out.
"He loved her. I saw that and yet he still betrayed us, Me and Dad and Mum to Voldemort."
"Is that why you're so angry, because you can't fathom your friend betraying you like that? Snape was a bitter man. I hope you realize it."
He shook his head and kept pacing, refusing to look at her, praying that she couldn't read his mind or know Ron's terrible secret.
"The man hated my father and resented me yet I get the notice from the Ministry that he named me in his will? I don't get it. He hated me from the first time he saw me, and treated me like rubbish for so long yet I find out that he loved my Mum, and fought to protect me for years, while resenting me, and then he does this, like he trusted Dumbledore's plans that I'd kill Riddle once and for all." He finally looked her way and saw her confusion. "I watched him die, right in front of me, and the only thing I feel for him is resentment. He gave his life for me, so I could understand what I had to do, to defeat Voldemort." He paced faster, turning before running into the tree trunk in front of him. "The man hated me, because of my father, but loved Mum even if he buggered things up. He got my parents killed and spent the rest of his teaching life trying to protect me as best as he could, even if he treated me like utter shite. I can't understand it." He stopped and looked again at Ginny. "Why would someone who hated me so much give me everything he ever had?" He stopped and looked at his trainers. "He's the reason we had the sword. He's the reason that I knew what I had to do. But what he did from the shadows, what little he did to protect me makes up for the years of treating me like rubbish and doing everything he could to show me up in front of others." He looked up at Ginny, still sitting on the floor and scowled. "The man saved my life and was a complete bastard but he still turned traitor to try and save Mum and gave his life in the end."
"Does it confuse you?"
"You're damn right I'm confused. The man hated me but left me his estate? That boggles me."
"When you're ready, we'll go back to the house and see if we can't owl the Ministry and get more answers. Then we have to go to his funeral this afternoon."
"You think they will? The last time, the Ministry waited 30 days to release the Will." He sighed. "And this really complicates things this afternoon. What do I say about a man who hated me all my life because my Mum walked away from him and he hated my Dad? How do you talk about that?"
"You aren't obligated to say anything, Harry. You said there might be ten people there total for the funeral this afternoon. So if you're confused, don't say anything. Leave that to the others." She stood up from the tree and reached for his hand, relishing the contact when he didn't pull away. "As for the will, we'll ask Dad when he gets home tonight and go from there."
"You're right. I'm thinking too much, that's all."
"Harry, good to see you," Kingsley shook Harry's hand and subsequently shook Ginny's hand, "and good to see you too, Ginny."
"Minister, thank you for coming. I know you're busy." Ginny sat down on Harry's other side, listening quietly.
Kingsley took the roll of parchment out from his robes. "I know you're anxious about this."
"I'm honestly gobsmacked."
"Frankly, I am too. Minerva found it in the Headmaster's study a few days after the fighting ended and sent it onward to me. I had some reservations but since the laws must be followed, I'm required to dispense this to you."
"I'm still boggled but go ahead, sir."
Kingsley unrolled the two feet of parchment and scanned it quickly. He took a very deep breath.
"I, Severus Tobias Snape, being of sound mind and body, do hereby bequeath my entire estate, including my books and possessions at Hogwarts, to Mr. Harry Potter, should he survive the coming encounter with the Dark Lord. In the event of his demise, my secondary beneficiaries of said estate are for dispensation of said estate to Hogwarts, in the form of donations of my books, and disposal of any remaining estate, sold and donated to the general fund of Hogwarts." Kingsley scanned the rest. "The remaining feet are legal information that the Wizengamot will need."
"It appears so. I had a department secretary look into everything and it's a residence at Spinner's End, complete with a library's worth of books, a small vault at Gringott's, and his remaining possessions at Hogwarts."
"I don't need the residence, sir."
"So we can sell it?"
"Yes, sir. Hogwarts could use the galleons in the rebuilding process. I have no need for it. Since he did so much damage, selling his cottage can help rebuild the school. But the books might be worth it, to donate them to Hogwarts, once Hermione gets her fill of what she would like."
"And the vault at Gringott's?"
"The galleons can be transferred to my vault and the remaining possessions I will look at and decide."
"And there's this, Harry." Kingsley handed over the small black envelope, holding it gently between his two fingers. "I checked it and it's not cursed. No one knows what it contains since only you can open it."
Harry broke the seal on it, which looked like a charmed Howler. It smoked for a moment before breaking open.
If you're hearing this, then it means you survived the Dark Lord and finally destroyed him, once and for all. Congratulations. It also means that I did not survive. I know you will not weep for me, for that was not how we are, both of us. Instead, recount that I despised your father, and felt insurmountable grief for betraying your mother's friendship and love. If I gave my life for yours, then I consider it a small price for betraying your Mum, whom I desperately loved yet never had the courage to tell her. If I died in vain, then pity me for failing my one duty to you.
"There is a book in my library at home that doesn't belong with the others. When you look inside that book, look on page 197. The page is charmed and will open a particular box on my desk.
"You will want what that box contains, more than anything else in my possession. I ask for no pity or grief or even kind words. The only thing I ask is an honest accounting, at least by you. Since I have perished, I care not what you think of me.
"Goodbye, Mr. Potter. I bid you a better life than the one I lived."
Kingsley looked at Harry and Ginny, smirking. "Even in death, is is a bit dramatic. He has been since I first knew him at Hogwarts. But let's go to his residence, in Cokeworth, to find this particular book."
Ginny stood and looked at both of them. "Harry, do you want me to come along?"
Harry turned to Kingsley.
"I see no problem with it. Do you want Ron and Hermione to come too?"
"They've left for Australia two weeks ago, to retrieve her parents. She sent them away for safety once the War went hot."
"Ah, well, very good then. Bring your wands and we'll apparate there."
The three of them departed the Burrow to travel to Cokeworth.
Harry tapped his repaired wand on the doorknob and felt the magic frisson across his skin.
"How the bloody hell did he use blood wards to make it work?"
"I dunno, sir, but if he set such for me, then we're following his instructions."
Kingsley put his arm out and checked the residence before stepping inside the humble dwelling first. "Blimey, this place smells of old air."
Harry stepped into the parlour and saw the entire room was covered over in books. Every shelf was filled with potions books, other books of interest that would be fitting in any library.
"And I thought the Hogwarts library was vast. He's got so many books in here. I bet the entire cottage is covered in books."
"I'm sure it is, Ginny." He looked around the room for a second before leaving, returning shortly thereafter. "The few traps have been disarmed, including the charms on the secret room. Someone lived in there but I can only guess who it might have been."
"Kingsley, what would he have meant, a book that didn't belong in here. That makes no sense." Harry stopped and scanned the shelves. "Everything in here is related to potions or something regarding what he did, whether it was potions or Dark Arts or Defense against such. I don't know what he would mean by it."
Kingsley scanned the shelves, quietly muttering to himself.
"Ginny, do you have any idea?"
"I'll start over here and keep looking." She picked the opposite corner from Harry and started reading the spines on books.
"Don't touch anything unless you have to. I don't want anyone getting hurt in here."
Yes, sir broke out the silence from the two younger guests. Harry continued to look and stopped at a particularly dusty corner of the room, far away from the antique desk still covered in parchment and quills. "I think I might have stumbled onto something."
Kingsley came over and knelt down to where Harry was looking. Ginny joined Harry and smiled.
"It can't hurt, Harry. Give it a try. That would be something Hermione would read for pleasure."
Harry pulled the dust covered hardback from the shelf and blew away the remnants. Shakespeare was etched in flaking off gold on the spine. "Well, it seems to be the only one in here that wouldn't really belong."
Kingsley wove his wand over it and deemed it safe.
Ginny smiled. "He said he had that one page charmed. Try to open it, Harry."
"It might be attuned to your particular wand. Give it a try," Kingsley added.
Harry opened the book and found he couldn't open to that particular page. He pulled his wand from his trousers pocket and tapped the paper. It opened with a gold crack and there contained a piece of parchment with writing on it. He pulled it out and read the instructions aloud. "The container is in the charm-sealed drawer on the left side, middle drawer."
A squeaking sound, much like broken glass, erupted from the desk. Both men turned and saw that the desk now had a third drawer on the left side, not previously noticed. "Wow. He charmed the page and made that one tiny location under a Fidelus charm. That's brilliant."
Ginny smiled. "Yes it is, considering that no one for Voldemort's group would bother with a particular Muggle Book. I bet Hermione would like that one for her library."
"I'll offer it to her," Harry muttered before looking at the desk. He opened the book to the front and saw the name Eileen Prince scribbled on the front interior of the book. "It appears to be his Mum's book. That would make some sense."
Kingsley checked the desk further and smiled. "Your wand, so it's your prize, Harry."
He stepped in front of the drawer and slid it open, hearing the soft slide of wood on wood shelving. Inside the drawer were hundreds of vials, containing silver wisp memories.
"Bloody hell!" the men said in unison.
"What are those?" Ginny stepped closer, trying to see the swirling silver vials.
"Memories," Harry said in awe. "Hundreds of them, all for me." He looked at Kingsley. "He gave me something more precious than galleons. He gave me memories, and history."