Authors Note: I want to thank everyone that has followed this story and for their reviews. I think our imaginations can play upon the rest.
The Great Hall had been turned into a chapel. The ceiling was blank, there would be no storms, or stars or snow.
The news had come just three days after Snape had moved his things to the new house. It was Potter, of all people, that found him wrestling with the vine in the upstairs bedroom.
"Professor Snape, ….uh…it's about Dumbledore."
Severus turned when the voice registered.
He turned to him in confusion, " What's that you say?"
But when he saw the face…he knew. There had always been that slightest of recognition in their expressions to each other. Potter knew, in some way he understood the friendship, the need, the guilt.
Snape sat down on the bed, the wind of 20 years had been taken from his chest and he groaned low and guttural.
Harry turned to leave but stopped on Severus' words, " Minerva…Miss Granger?"
"They are at the school, it happened last night at the cottage…Professor McGonagall said it was quiet and they had talked before."
"I'm coming" Snape rose and followed Potter back to the school.
And now he stood before all the old faces, unprepared and feeling unsure that he should be the one to begin.
I know not where to begin…there is so much …talking of other things may lead the way. He cleared his throat from a rasp that had started the moment he heard the news, his voice usually in command betrayed him now.
I am beginning a new chapter in what has become a surprisingly long tale. My life. At one time it looked as if the story would end most abruptly after my school days, poor judgement and disposition led me into dark times but forward I find myself moving.
Children are to invade my solitude not only by day but night as well." Here he gave a small sigh and even a laugh. "The irony is a masterwork and I'm quite sure that our friend for whom we are gathered today laughed deeply upon this fact in his recent retirement.
Recently, with the help of friends, and students it has become evident to me that I must check my old fears and habits of survival and strike out in plain sight no longer cloaked in secrecy and deception. It has been to long that I have only acted upon details; details of information or misinformation, details of rules and regulations.
Change is inevitable, I have told someone of late…" Here he looked down on Hermione losing himself for a moment in her teary smile. "… and now I must live up to this and guide my actions by what experience has truly shown me instead of dwelling on shadowy grievances and ancient grudges." Here he eyed Remus Lupin in the crowd and nodded instinctively.
This all may seem off the point when we are here for a memorial to Albus Dumbledore but to me it is the very essence of him. My story would have ended long ago if he had not protected me, gave me purpose and the time to mature.
As for my own comfort I will keep Albus very close with me when working at my many tasks; Headmaster, Guardian, Professor, friend and perhaps some day even …husband." He dared not look to Hermione.
I only hope the change that has been wrought in me will prove to those that did not know him personally what they had missed.
Eyes followed him as he took a seat next to Miss Granger. He reached for her hand and with only a glance he threw upwards the ceiling shown blue and birds flitted between the rafters.