Harry's meeting with Snape was largely anticipated after the events of HBP, but he just had to die before any type of reconciliation between the two. Don't worry, "you'll still have your Potions master when I'm through with him, never fear!" - Snape will be himself as much as possible as anyone can be after - er, dying.

I originally intended this to be a few exchanged words between Harry and Snape's portrait, but it grew ;). Although it is one event, I'm dividing it into a few chapters for ease of reading.

Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed imagining it happen!

Oh yes, disclaimer: I don't own Snape, Harry, anything in the Potterverse or Snape's memories - sigh - which is probably a good thing all in all as I don't want to spend my days as teary-eyed as Chapter33-reading-me... - but enough of that; here's the story.

The Serious and The Smirk

Harry approached the newly finished frame nervously, unsure of what to expect. In life, he had never wished to see this man, but in death…not to mention that he would be the first…

After all that had passed between them, and Harry's newfound and intimate knowledge of what Severus Snape had been through (given willingly by the man himself, no less) it would be quite awkward to finally come face to face with him.

Snape had no doubt put his faith in death's rift to separate himself and Harry Potter forever. The "best of him" revealed, it was all done and dusted - perhaps Snape wanted no sympathy, perhaps he had even been relieved that in death he could finally achieve what would have been too mortifying, too terrifying to say whilst alive.

Or perhaps, as he had oft done in the past, Harry was once again misinterpreting the inscrutable Severus Snape.

It's only a portrait, he reminded himself, in fact if I remember correctly, he thought, you were the one who had it commissioned.

He stepped closer to the gilt portrait until he could see it in full light. The likeness was definitely that of the man whom he had last seen being carried solemnly out of the Shrieking Shack; the details hit Harry so vividly that he half-expected the gaping red snakebite to still be upon the white neck. Black curtains of hair surrounded the sallow face, and the hooked nose moved ever so slightly as the portrait breathed in sleep.

Glad that he is asleep, thought Harry: confronting those black eyes straight away would have been quite daunting. He had been put in front of a silver and green background - no matter what Dumbledore said, Snape was a Slytherin to the very end and Harry wasn't sure this was an entirely bad thing anymore. Snape wore his customary black robes, with the obvious addition of a piece of paper tucked into one front pocket.

How would he react to Harry's presence when he awoke? Seeing the green eyes that had once belonged to Harry's mother, set in James' face still? Would he be glad that Harry had in fact survived the war, that his sacrifice was not for naught? Or did he expect that knowledge he had fought to keep between himself and Dumbledore - those seeping memories - to die with the boy?

Of course, he was not aware of the service, the memorial, and his status in the wizarding community of the Unlikely Hero. He was unaware that in the last duel, it was his name, alongside Lily Potter's, that had been shouted out as irrefutable proof that there were powers the Dark Lord knew not. He did not know that Harry Potter had delivered his eulogy, for it was only Harry and Dumbledore who knew and understood Snape's complete story. He might not like knowing it either.

Harry wondered vaguely what he would do if Snape became an apologetic mess: "Oh I'm so sorry Potter I had to be a mean and greasy git so you would hate me and never know…" With a shudder and a barely repressed snigger he quashed that dubious thought. As if. He would still be Snape – but it would be a curious thing to see his response to a position he had never before found himself in. For once, it was Snape who would be at Harry's mercy. Ha.

With a start, Harry realised that the black eyes were now indeed open and staring in an unreadable manner at Harry's face. Harry stared back, wondering uncomfortably whether portraits had the same powers as their owners - for he had a suspicion that the Legilimens had heard, at least, that last thought. The two continued to lock eyes, until finally the portrait spoke.

"If this is my afterlife," he sneered, "I must have done something unforgivable indeed. Did I by chance resurrect myself and murder you, Potter, for recklessly sneaking about the Shrieking Shack?"