Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters are copyright of J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros., and they were used without permission. However, they were used with consideration and with no intention of making money. This story is simply an appreciative fan's attempt at writing something to contribute to the world of Harry Potter.

Completed April 2007.

Email comments to PG for thematical reasons and mild language.

Sindie Presents a Harry Potter Fanfic:

The Last Chapter

The world as everyone had known, had understood, faded away. With the passage of time, perhaps the still open wounds would be healed, but the scars would always be there.

Some scars never faded. Funny how the world could.

In any great war, there is insurmountable loss on both sides. If the side of Light wins, the celebration is seldom outrightly joyous, for grief is a very real and tangible thing - something so incredibly solid in the hearts and minds of the survivors.

Do they count themselves fortunate? Much depends on what is left in the aftermath - what needs to be picked up, brushed off, and mended.

Newspaper articles were raving about the victory of Harry Potter over the Dark Lord Voldemort. Until that final day of the war had come, few actually believed young Harry could have found the deep, hidden power within himself to destroy one so evil and seemingly omnipotent.

Now, Harry smiled sadly to himself. Dumbledore had always believed in him, and look where that had gotten the aged wizard.

For much of what should have been Harry's seventh year at Hogwarts, an unbridled anger burned in Harry's chest, and had it been left unchecked, the consequences would have been disasterous. What always set Harry apart from Voldemort was his ability to love, but Dumbledore's words had become meaningless to Harry as they repeated over and over in his weary mind in the months that followed. He would never know how wonderful Ron and Hermione were until he had lost them...

Which, somehow, with some miracle, had not come to pass during this war. He had lost far too many people who were precious to him. To have lost his two best friends would have broken him beyond repair.

But in Harry's growing loathing for a certain "murderer" and "betrayer," an emptiness that he didn't know how to fill now invaded. As he stood in front of the man's tombstone, Harry read the words:

Here Lies Severus Snape
January 9, 1960 - June 13, 1998

And that was all it said. How could so few words and such simple ones at that describe such a complex man? Harry wasn't sure why he was here, but he had respect for the dead, even if his feelings were fixed about said deceased individual.

"You saved me, you greasy bastard, and yet you killed Dumbledore. I just don't get you. You'd be so much easier to hate right now if you hadn't taken the Killing Curse for me, but there you were - right in the way as you always were."

Harry's words came unevenly and with great difficulty. How could he be expected to bring himself to say the words he knew were right and most definitely not easy?

In this case, doing the right thing once again proved to be the opposite of the easy thing. Hatred came so naturally, too effortlessly, whenever Harry's thoughts were directed at Snape.

Ambiguous to the very end, Snape?

Clenching his wand, Harry's grip suddenly broke, and the holly wand fell to the grassy earth. In this one fluid motion, Harry felt himself letting go of something he had held onto for so long.

"But no, I suppose you proved whose side you were on all along in the end, when it mattered most," Harry whispered, shaking his head.

Harry picked up his wand and held on once again, resuming his standing position. He turned away from the tombstone as the breeze picked up.

"Thank you... sir."

Harry had his life ahead of him to live, and while the wound he bore regarding Snape might heal, there would always be a scar.

The End