Disclaimer – I don't own Harry Potter, obviously. I just love Snape!
"Are you sure you want to do this?" Asked Ginny, who held firmly onto Harry's hand as they stood by the stone gargoyle, outside the Headmasters office in Hogwarts. Harry returned the squeeze and spoke, not looking at her. His mind was swimming with emotions he couldn't put into words.
"I have to." He said, his voice thick with suppressed tears. Ginny took this as her cue to leave, she released Harry's hand and stroked his shoulder as she kissed his cheek.
"Good luck." She whispered as she turned round with a flick of her red hair and walked back down the corridor.
"Dumbledore." Harry said to the stone gargoyle, and it jumped aside, leaving him free to open the door. He walked into the office he knew so well, and searched the room for Snape's portrait. Dumbledore was fast asleep in his portrait, above the wooden desk, decorated with various silver instruments gently ticking away. And then he saw Snape's portrait, behind him just beside the door.
Severus Snape was asleep, his arms folded as he lent against the frame. Harry tried to speak but the words weren't finding him, until he said what came into his head first.
"I'm glad they finally put your portrait up."
Snape opened his dark eyes and looked around, until they fixed on Harry, in almost disbelief that Harry was talking to him.
"You made them put it up?"
"Yes, you deserve a place here."
Snape didn't speak, but stared at him. His dark eyes fixed on Harry, clearly searching him as if he didn't believe it was Harry who spoke. Harry didn't know what he should say next, so he felt he should try and explain how he felt the best he could.
"Severus… I'm here because I never actually thanked you for what you've done for me. I realize I am just a memory of the worst part of your life, but I know my mother would have forgiven you."
Snape's emotionless face contorted into what was almost a smile, but then his eyes flickered with what were almost tears.
"Lily would not have forgiven me. What I did, what I was, doesn't deserve forgiveness." He spoke slowly, it became clear he didn't want to bare his soul infront of Harry. He tried to conjure up his calm and collected persona, but Harry could tell that Snape was curious as to what Harry had to say.
"Lily lives on in me. I have forgiven you, and I know she has too." Harry didn't know why the words were suddenly coming to him now, but he carried on. "Not only that, I'm in your debt. You protected me. I accused you of things when actually you were saving my life. But there is something I want to ask…" Harry took a breath, as Snape's eyes widened. "Why did you never tell me?"
Snape considered him for a moment, then he spoke, looking into the black depths of his own portrait away from Harry.
"I made Dumbledore swear never to tell you, surely you saw that in my dying thoughts. I am ashamed of who I am. Lily wished never to be linked to someone like me, and I granted her that wish."
"You are not a bad person Severus. I've let the whole world know the truth and when people talk about you, it's about the good things you have done." Snape snorted sarcastically, Harry thought it was time Snape knew the exact reason he came here. "The reason I came here today is because I have to tell you something. Ginny and I… well, we've just had a baby boy."
Snape spoke with his back facing Harry.
"Thank you. And.. er. Well, we've decided to name him after the 2 greatest headmasters of Hogwarts."
Snape looked at him with curiosity over his shoulder.
"We've named him Albus Severus Potter." Harry smiled.
Snape turned to face him, his black eyes flickering with more held-back tears and his mouth agape with shock. He seemed incapable of words. Harry looked up into the portrait and grinned.
"He looks so much like Lily, he's with Mr and Mrs Weasley right now, but I will show him to you one day. He has her eyes. I thought it was only fitting that he should be named after Lily's best friend."
Snape's once inexpressive face was broken with a single tear that slid down is sallow cheek from his glittering eyes.
"Your welcome. I had better go, Ginny is waiting for me, but I'm glad everything has been straightened out."
Snape nodded without speaking, trying to compose himself.
"I will come back again soon. See you later Severus."
Harry smiled up at Snape as he left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.
"I said that Lily and Harry would have forgiven you, Severus." Dumbledore smiled at Snape's portrait. Snape shook his head as more tears fell down his pale face.
"I don't deserve forgiveness."