Disclaimer: They belong to J.K. Rowling.
Warnings: Spoilers for Deathly Hallows.
Note: Edited this a little bit.
Back then, it seemed so logical.
The people came in droves, parents looking for children, anxious to find them as quickly as possible. He watched them all, but for every tearful reunion Harry felt the despair of the parents left to identify a son or daughter.
The Great Hall seemed so full of them. People wandering among the bodies, fearful they would find a loved one. So many men and woman, boys and girls, lay covered in cloth.
He had looked at them, Remus and Tonks ... Fred. Silently, he tried to make peace with the fact they were gone. He couldn't, not yet. But there would be time for that, he told himself. All the while he found himself drawn to the seclusion of the headmaster's office. And yet he felt there was something unfinished, something missing, someone more he needed to see before he retreated to the quiet upstairs. With a start, he realized there was one more to bring to the Great Hall.
When he had been younger, he had always assumed the Potions Master to be a pureblood. Indeed, Harry always imagined him belonging to a family much like the Malfoys -- if how well Slytherins got along was any indicator of blood.
Finding out that his teacher had been a Death Eater only redoubled the impression of his pureblood lines.
But then Harry had turned fifteen, and the world had upended itself. The Ministry set itself against him, Dumbledore would not talk to him, and the Potions Master...
He had not, it appeared, been the rich pureblood Harry had imaged after all.
But he could still hate this teacher, all the same. Snape was happy to return the favor. In at least this much, the world had not changed.
Snape's body was stiff, rigid with death. Harry bit his lip, unsure of just how he wanted to move his former teacher up to the castle. Briefly he considered a levitation spell then discarded it. The thought of watching Snape's body hovering before him, undignified, repulsed Harry.
He didn't want this to go like the night he had met Sirius. He certainly didn't want to remember his Godfather scraping Snape's head along the narrow passageway.
No, this was akin to what he felt when Dobby had died. So he propped the dead professor up, carrying him along at his side as best he could, struggling to keep his grip on cold, sallow arms and shoulders.
The Gryffindor crouched before a cold, white, marble headstone, the January snow beneath his feet crunching with his shifting weight. He ran his fingers lightly over it, tracing the letters of the name, thinking about just how wrong he had been about his teacher throughout the time he had known him.
Severus Tobias Snape.
His fingers moved to the epitaph below: "Loyalty comes in many forms."
"I hope you approve," he said quietly.
It was a simple statement carved there, and that was why Harry still wasn't sure that it was right. How could he hope to condense such a man's life into one sentence? How could he accurately describe what the buried man had done for him throughout his years at Hogwarts -- what he had done for the students -- what he had done for the Wizarding community.
His hand curled on the stone. "I still can't believe they didn't give you Order of Merlin. They owe you as much. What difference does a mark on your arm make anyhow?" He shook his head, a small smile stealing across his features. "I'll keep pestering them, though. And when they award it to you, I'll make sure that it's carved here." His finger moved to a smooth, blank spot on the stone.
Warm feelings still did not come easily to him when it concerned the Ministry, especially after he had found there would be only common provisions for Snape's burial.
"No one has come to claim the body," McGonagall murmured. "Poor Severus. I always wondered..."
"Didn't he have any other family?" Slughorn wondered aloud.
"I believe his parents are dead. He never mentioned any other relations."
"I thought his mother was a Prince. Won't the family--"
McGonagall's lips grew thin, "Those prideful purebloods? No, I very much doubt it. His father was a Muggle. I know that much." She paused, "I don't think he or his wife had very much to their name. Severus was always dressed so shabbily as a student... They can't have left him much. I'm not even sure we may access his accounts for a burial."
"The Ministry will take him, along with most of the other Death--" she stopped to correct herself, "along with most of the Death Eaters."
Harry, listening to the conversation, balked at the thought.
"I'll claim his body."
McGonagall looked up, slightly startled at Harry's outburst.
"I want to bury him, Professor."
"It won't be a burden for me, and it ... it feels like the right thing to do."
The thought of Snape buried alongside the people he had fought so hard against left Harry feeling cold. The man deserved more than that.
The head of Gryffindor regarded him for a few moments. "If you're quite sure, Harry."
She nodded, "Very well."
"You're close to her here, you know," Harry said quietly. He lifted his eyes to where his parents were buried, took a deep breath and set the flowers he was carrying down on the grave.
Snape would probably disapprove because Harry had bought them at a Potions supplier. "A foolish waste of fine stores," Harry said. "I know. But they seem a lot more appropriate when they're practical."
For a time he sat silently next to the headstone, growing colder, watching himself reflected back dimly in the polished marble. Snow began to fall softly on his capped head, melting on his nose, pink in the cold morning air.
"I wish I had had a chance to thank you properly," he finally said, gesturing at the graveyard. "I'm afraid this is the best I can do."
He stood up, gazing at the grave solemnly while the chilly air urged him to head for the graveyard gate.
Sometimes he wondered if Godric's Hollow had been the best place to lay Snape to rest, if a serpent in a lion's graveyard was fitting. He had tried to ask, to approach the small portrait of the young Headmaster, only to find him asleep, as Dumbledore's portrait had been when he died.
Wide awake, the picture of Dumbledore smiled knowingly when Harry told him what he was planning.
"Do what you think is best. When he discovers your kindness, Severus will, of course, be mortified regardless of what you do."
He grinned as the Headmaster's words rolled through his mind again, and then paused at the gate to look back. Perhaps he had been right, perhaps he had been wrong. Suddenly, it seemed stupid to dwell on such a thing when it still seemed so appropriate that Snape should be buried here.
After all, Snape was one of the most courageous men he had known, regardless of the house into which he had been sorted.
And in the end, that was what mattered most.
With that in mind, Harry headed home, the crunching of shoes on snow the only sound breaking the snowy silence of the lane.