Title: I Leave You
Setting: The Burrow, immediately after Voldemort's defeat
Summary: As Harry, Ron and Hermione try getting used to living their normal lives again, a visit from Kingsley reveals a great surprise — Snape has included all of them in his will. What will they receive?
Disclaimer: I don't own Severus Tobias Snape, or else he would've lived. I don't own any other Harry Potter characters, either, nor do I own the books. (Trust me, if I did own them, the ending would've been much much different.)
I Leave You
Things had returned to normal for the Wizarding World.
Well, as normal as they could ever really be after a full-out war between Good and Evil. The Ministry had been working full-time in an attempt to find all those missing, and the Order was busy rounding up old Death Eaters to serve their sentence in Azkaban. Despite these things, however, every day felt brighter and better now that You-Know-Who was gone, and it was only a matter of time before he was contained in history books, alongside the name of the young boy who had defeated him: Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived.
Speaking of which, Harry Potter and his two best friends were currently de-gnoming the garden. See? Things were back to normal.
"Ow!" Hermione cried, clutching her finger. "It bit me!"
"Can't blame the bloody thing." Ron snatched a handful of gnomes and sent them sailing. "If I were being lectured about my right to own a house, I'd bite you too."
Harry laughed as Hermione hissed, "I was not lecturing! I was informing!"
"Whatever you say, Hermione . . . ." Suddenly, Ron swore as Hermione hit him squarely in the back of the head with a nearby potted plant. "What was that for?"
"Take a wild guess!"
Ron opened his mouth to guess, but Mrs. Weasley interrupted them from the back porch. "Harry, Ron, Hermione! The Minister of Magic is here to see you!" The three friends exchanged grins and raced inside.
Ever since the war had ended, an emergency Minister of Magic was appointed by the council to handle the Wizarding World affairs until things got back on their feet again. They appointed Kingsley Shacklebolt, because he had connections with the Order and because he was the only one who had the guts—most people were still scared that You-Know-Who was still lurking in the shadows somewhere. A few even believed he was a cockroach Animagus, much to Harry's amusement.
Kingsley Shacklebolt was waiting for them in the living room, a small parcel tossed to his side. "Hello," he greeted deeply and smiled. The three chorused their hellos and exchanged formalities before he settled back into the sitting chair.
"I've come here on business," he announced. "We've found the will of Severus Tobias Snape, and all three of you were mentioned."
Whatever they had been expecting, it wasn't this.
"Are you sure?" Hermione asked faintly. "Did you perform the proper charms to check?"
The Minister kept a serious face, although there was laughter in his eyes. "Of course, Hermione. It's the law, after all."
"I know . . . I was just . . ." but she trailed off and ended up trying to hide behind Ron, her face flushed.
Kingsley laughed a bit with Harry and Ron, but his face soon grew resigned and he sighed heavily. "I have to leave soon; meeting with the council and all. I'll have to hurry with this."
"That's fine!" Ron agreed, rather loudly.
The Minister laughed again as he pulled out a long roll of parchment. "So, let's get started." He cleared his throat and read:
"I, Severus Snape, being of sound mind and body — at the very least, sounder than any of the dolts currently working in the Ministry — hereby proceed to list the manner in which my possessions shall be divided upon my imminent death.
"He goes on for a bit about the Ministry some more, but I'm sure you don't want to hear it," Kingsley said, shaking his head. "He uses the word 'raving lunatic' whenever he mentions Cornelius, and that's by far the mildest insult."
"Doesn't matter to me," Ron said lightly. "So where's the stuff?"
"Ronald!" Hermione scolded.
Kingsley laughed richly, then he trained his eyes to the will and began to skim. "Where was it . . . ah, here:
"To Mister Harry Potter, I leave my least favorite pair of grey stockings, since he's used to hand-me-downs." On cue, Kingsley extended his hand, which held a rolled-up pair of socks, slightly dusty but otherwise in tact. The-Boy-Who-Lived saw his friends' reactions out of the corner of his eye. They were obviously trying to hold back laughter.
"Socks," Harry said.
He couldn't believe his luck.
Well, actually, he could. Very easily.
"Snape gave me socks in his will."
"That's what it looks like," the Minister of Magic replied seriously, although a hint of laughter in his eyes gave him away. "But I think he wanted you to look inside them."
"To look inside . . . his socks." Harry cast a frightened glance at the balled-up grey stockings in Kingsley's hand. This was getting stranger by the second. "Is that some Wizard metaphor or —"
"Please, Harry, just take them." He did, but quickly dropped them on the seat next to him. They were Snape's stockings, after all. He'd probably worn them at one point in his life. The thought made Harry grimace.
"To Miss Hermione Granger," Kingsley continued, "I leave a Potions book from storage, so that she may torment other unfortunate souls with her knowledge." The Minister held up a rather shiny new book, which Hermione took, although slightly embarrassed.
"To Mister Ronald Weasley, I leave my Potions spoon, as it is very large and he may be able to push even more food into the great chasm known as his mouth." When Kingsley held it up, Harry saw that it was old and practically rotting. Ron grit his teeth and grumbled something, but he accepted the spoon without question.
Then, suddenly, Kingsley was on his feet. "I have to hurry; the meeting's starting in five minutes." He smiled kindly down on the Gryffindor trio. "Try not to get into any trouble, and don't be too hard on Snape, okay?"
"Right," they all agreed tonelessly, and the Minister of Magic Apparated out of the room.
"Well," Harry began after a beat of silence, "Hermione, you go first."
"First with what?" she said automatically.
"Looking over your inheritance. Obviously, Snape gave us these to torment us more. So, you're the best choice to go first because you'll be able to check for curses, hexes, and so on."
"Don't be silly!" she said a bit too loudly. "The Ministry already checked all of these for that."
Harry raised an eyebrow, but she steadfastly ignored him and opened the book.
"See?" she said, although her voice oozed relief.
"So it really is just an old Potions book?" Ron asked, glancing over her shoulder. "That's boring."
Hermione flushed and quickly passed the book to Harry, who read:
Since you seem to enjoy stealing ingredients from my personal stores to make potions on your own, I'm assuming that you would appreciate this more than your idiotic friends, and I'd hate to see it found in the hands of another insolent student like Mister Potter. Therefore, you may keep this. Do with it as you wish.
— Severus Snape
"You mean . . . he knew it was us?" Harry gasped, flipping absentmindedly through the pages of the book. He suddenly noticed that the small, cramped writing of the Half-Blood Prince was everywhere. "Hermione, this is his old Potions book! Look!" He showed her the page where the deadly spell Sectumsempra was scribbled. "He must've gone into the Room of Requirement and gotten it back!"
For a moment, the three were too shocked to speak, but it wore off quickly. "Kingsley told me to look in the socks," Harry rushed. "There must be something in them, something that I need to see." He eagerly tore the pair of socks apart, and, as expected, a very small envelope addressed to him fell in his lap.
"That's bloody tiny!" Ron said, although his voice was excited.
"Don't worry, I've got it," Hermione said. She waved her wand with a flourish and the letter grew to its proper size, then Harry's fingers ripped into the paper and found the letter. There were two sheets filled with cramped, dark writing, sitting like miniature soldiers on the line. Harry eagerly began to read.
To Mister Potter:
If you're reading this, it means I am dead. That, or you have snuck into my private quarters and stole one of my oldest pairs of socks. I will assume the former, for it will make this letter slightly less uncomfortable.
I am not sure if I will have time to give you my Pensive, and, seeing as how I hold a rather crucial and delicate position at this school, it is unwise for me to leave this information in Pensive form lying about, as it is harder to magically conceal. Therefore, I will attempt to explain my actions to you in this letter. You may choose to believe this or disregard it, but it is the truth.
I was faithful to Dumbledore until the end, and beyond it as well. On the tower that night, I killed him because he asked me to, because if I hadn't, many more people would've died instead of a man whom was going to die regardless.
Also, kindly relay to Mister George Weasley that his ear was an unfortunate casualty, and that I was merely trying to act the part.
As for why I was loyal to the Order, or, more specifically, to Dumbledore, the credit belongs solely to Lily Evans, your mother. She and I share a long history, and her friendship encouraged me to fight against the Dark Lord. She was my friend. I know I've never said this, but you do have her eyes—
At this point, Harry could read no more, as he could feel tears beginning to form. Even if they had hated each other back then, it pained him to think about Snape and his mother, so close… he didn't know exactly why, although it may have had something to do with the fact that Snape could've been his father if he wasn't such a git.
But it was something else, too. Pity, Harry guessed, since it was the only word that he could really think of that summarized this emotion. And he did feel sorry for Snape, although even thinking that made Harry uncomfortable. He still wasn't entirely sure if Snape was capable of reading minds, even in death. The last thing he wanted was a greasy-haired ghost haunting him about his childish emotions.
It was hard to think that he was gone. That anyone was gone, really. It was one thing when people got old or sick or something, because then it was as if they were dying slowly, and everyone could get used to the idea. On the other hand, to die so abruptly — snake bite, Avada Kedavra, the whole lot of it — it wasn't natural, and it hurt so much more knowing that without one mistake, one misstep, that person would still be alive.
Snape would probably continue teaching.
Teddy wouldn't be an orphan.
Ron's brothers would still be pranking Percy.
And Harry, well, he'd get his dream — his mum and dad would be with him, and maybe he'd be a normal kid.
Those thoughts stung even more, and Harry quickly stuffed the letter back into the socks before tucking them away in his pocket. Beside him, Hermione was discreetly watching his face, her eyes wary. He glanced over at her and gave her a tentative smile, which seemed to smother her worries.
Brightly, Harry turned to Ron and asked, "So, what're you planning on doing with your inheritance?"
"Ha ha, Harry. Just because you got bloody socks and a disturbing letter doesn't mean you're better than me." Hermione and Harry both laughed at Ron's sour expression, but he didn't seem to notice as he stared frustratedly at his gift. "I wonder if there's anything secret about this spoon," Ron mumbled aloud. He then proceeded to prod it with his wand in different places, as if waiting for a secret passage to appear or a million Galleons to pour out. After a few minutes with no results, he accidentally lit the spoon on fire with a jet of red sparks. Hermione put it out with a quick Water Charm, but the damage was done, and Ron's "inheritance" was destroyed.
It took a few moments for it to sink in. Ron was staring at the splintered spoon with a flushed face. He finally shouted, "That git! Why don't I get anything special?" He swore loudly and torched the spoon again for good measure. "I can't believe that arsehole had the nerve to —"
"Wait, the ashes!" Hermione gasped, motioning to the now-moving pile of smoldering debris. Ron stopped his rant and looked on with Harry, silently hoping that his gift would now show.
Slowly, these words formed on the floor:
As if I would give anything to you, you nitwit.
Ron blinked as he read it. Then:
"That's it! I'm going to kill that bastard!"
"Ron, please, he's already dead!"
"Fine! I'll kill him again, I'm not picky!"
But Harry exclaimed, "Look!" and both Ron and Hermione froze to watch the ashes move once again:
Give this to your mother and extend my gratitude for her delicious meals.
Then the ashes disappeared, and an ancient-looking cooking spoon was left, made entirely of fine silver and most likely very expensive. Hermione was chuckling as she picked it up. "This isn't really for you, but I guess it'll work," she said lightly.
Ron didn't reply. His skin was pale underneath his freckles, and his mouth hung open for a full minute.
"Ron?" Harry asked, exchanging a concerned glance with Hermione.
The red-head finally spoke. "He . . . he's hitting on my mother. From the grave." Ron shuddered.
"It's alright, mate," Harry said, giving his friend a pat on the back. "The git was sodding in love with mine."
"Oh, right." He smiled, his shock and fear alleviated. "Boy, do I feel sorry for you." They all laughed, and Ron and Hermione filed outside again to continue finishing their chores. Harry was right behind them, but as his hand reached the doorjamb, he froze to look back at the plain pair of socks nestled in the sofa.
He felt something inside of him close, some loose ends tie together neatly. Snape, however caustic and cold he had been, was truly one of them. "Sorry this had to happen to anyone," Harry whispered, and then he added, "but thanks."
Satisfied, he closed the door behind him.
Dedicated to all those Snape-believers out there! SNAPE ROCKS!