Disclaimer: I own nothing recognizable from Harry Potter.
His Mother's Eyes
Harry never told anyone about the grave in front of the Shrieking Shack. Not even Ron and Hermione, though they would have understood it better than anyone else.
It was not much of a grave, actually. Harry had dug it by hand, just as he had dug Dobby's. But digging a grave for a full grown man alone was far more work than digging a grave for a house elf in a team of people, so it had taken him nearly two days to get the depth and size that he wanted.
Since it had been quite a few days after the Battle of Hogwarts that he had decided to dig this grave in the first place, by that time, the body for which he was digging the grave was already rotting.
But when he dragged the body out of the Shrieking Shack and put it into the hole as carefully as he could, he had stared into that face for a time. Ignoring the foul stench the body was emitting, ignoring the blood that covered the body, he had gazed at the hard, unmoving lines of the man's face.
For the first time, he had looked—really looked—at Severus Snape.
True, the man was ugly—his nose was too large, his hair was greasy, his eyes held more warmth in death than they had in life… Yet Harry had felt affection for the man filling him.
Ever since the moment that he had first seen Severus Snape in the Great Hall on the day of his Sorting, Harry had disliked the man; ever since his first Potions class, Harry had hated him; ever since that fateful night in the tower when he had witnessed Severus Snape murder Albus Dumbledore, Harry had loathed the man with every fiber in his being.
Snape had never treated him with anything that even remotely resembled respect. Given a choice between picking on a truly mediocre potions student who could do nothing right and picking on Harry, a nowhere-near-excellent-but-rather-average potions student, Snape would have chosen to pick on Harry.
But something that Harry had never realized until after his demise was that Snape had never seen Harry Potter. Whenever Snape had looked at Harry, he had seen James Potter: the arrogant, egotistical bully who had not only tormented him endlessly whenever he was given half the chance, but had gotten Lily Evans, the very woman whom Snape had watched and loved since days of his childhood so far past that he could only vaguely recall them.
In retrospect, Harry thought as he touched the gravestone of black ivory, he probably should have despised Snape for that. He probably should have been furious that the man had never seen him for who he was, and only for what his father had been.
Needless to say, Harry did not. Harry in no way approved of or was proud of the way that his father had treated Snape when they were in school, but he still loved his father, didn't he? No matter what he had done, James hadn't really understood the damage he was doing, but had come to see that his ways were wrong—everyone made mistakes, and Lily had forgiven James for his, obviously, just as Harry had years later. So now that he knew the real reasons behind Snape's behavior, who was to say that he shouldn't forgive this man as well?
Of course, Snape was long forgiven in Harry's heart—in fact, Snape had been forgiven even before Harry came out of the pensieve on that day during the Battle of Hogwarts. There was nothing to forgive. The man had loved Harry's mother and hated Harry's father. He had displayed both in his actions, but had only let Harry see and comprehend the hatred. His love for Harry's mother he had expressed in ways that he had thought that Harry would never know. He had not wanted gratitude or pity—he had just wanted to ensure that the son of the woman that he loved lived his days through.
And Harry was grateful for that. Now that he thought back, it sometimes sickened him when he thought of how he had despised Snape and pinned every wrongdoing on him if there was no evidence to suggest otherwise; how he had wanted to tear the man limb-from-limb for approximately a year after Dumbledore's death. Through the years, Snape had made numerous significant attempts to save his life; how had Harry just oh-so-conveniently forgotten them all? Snape had saved him from Quirrel; Snape had attempted to save him from Sirius and Lupin, though he had been rather wrong to think that Harry needed saving from them; even when Harry had—cryptically—told him that Sirius was in danger, Snape had hastened to contact Sirius to confirm this. So how could Harry simply brush all that off and say that Snape was a cold-hearted bastard?
A wind swept by, lifting the autumn leaves along with Harry's Auror robe.
He always came by on this one day—the anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. It was a national holiday, of course, and many families had traditions of festive family suppers to celebrate their survival. Harry joined the Weasleys in the evening, of course—but the day he spent here, by Severus Snape's grave. Sometimes he talked, hesitantly, to the headstone; more often he remained silent, lost in his thoughts.
Ginny, naturally, knew that he came here; so did Ron and Hermione. But he never told anyone else. While his account of Snape's life had led the wizarding world to—albeit slightly reluctantly—publicly declare Severus Snape a war hero, few actually saw him as more than the snide, biased potions master that they remembered him as. Harry didn't really think that Snape would have cared. He hadn't been the type to pursue fame, contrary to what some people might claim.
A crunching of leaves behind him drew his attention. Harry looked around, wondering if he had lost track of time again and Ginny had come to get him.
But to his surprise, his eyes met the equally surprised eyes of Draco Malfoy. They stared at each other silently for a moment.
"Hello," said Harry.
"Hello," Draco replied. Then they were back to staring at each other—or perhaps watching each other warily, each unsure of what the other would do.
"Do you come here often?" Harry finally asked, if only to break the rising tension.
"Just once in a while," Draco replied. Then, after another pause, "I hear you had another son last year—congratulations."
"Thanks," Harry replied. "Same to you—Scorpius, do you call him?"
"Yes," replied Draco with a tight smile. "I don't believe I've learned your son's name… Though I would guess that it would be Sirius?"
Harry shook his head with a smile. "It's Albus, actually—Albus Severus Potter."
Draco raised a brow and his lips twitched. "I'll bet Severus is turning in his grave right about now."
Harry couldn't help the chuckle that escaped him. "Quite possibly."
"What you said about him when you battled Voldemort—it was true, then?"
Harry stared. "What, that Snape was Dumbledore's?"
"Because he loved your mother. Yes." Draco was looking rather uncomfortable.
"Of course." Harry was, naturally, aware of the rumors that he had made up that story about Snape to ignite Voldemort's anger, and then stuck to it afterwards because it had added to his tragic past. He wondered how he should feel that Draco seemed more willing to believe him now than any of his colleagues—but maybe that had to do with the fact that Draco had known Snape.
"Good to know," muttered Draco, stepping forward to reach out and lay a hand on his godfather's tombstone beside Harry.
The two of them stood there in silence, all petty enmities and rivalries set aside between them; not that they were so strong anymore anyway. They were far from being friends, but were civil to each other, anyhow, and sometimes carried on polite conversations.
"I should get going then," said Draco abruptly after about ten minutes. Harry nodded.
"See you around, then."
Draco was walking away when he suddenly turned back. "How did you find this grave?"
"I dug it." It was spoken without modesty or pride or superiority, or any other sort of emotion—it was a mere fact.
And so it was received. Draco nodded, hesitated, and said, "Thank you." Then he walked away, and this time did not look back.
Harry remained about another half hour before he stepped away from the tombstone. He stared at the ivory for a moment, wondering.
Why was it that people so easily accepted his forgiveness and strange affection for this dead man? Had they all seen more of Snape than the bitter, hateful man that Harry had thought him to be until the very end?
Certainly, Harry knew why his own opinion of Snape had changed. But he had never spoken of it, as though putting it into words would somehow desecrate the memory.
Harry sighed and turned away with a mental shrug. It didn't matter to him why they accepted his forgiveness of Snape just so long as they did accept it.
As he walked away, Harry closed his eyes and recalled Snape's last moments—when the man had told him to look at him. When Harry had met Snape's eyes, the emotions that had flitted across Snape's face had been hard to identify; but now, years later, Harry had a feeling that he understood what the man had seen.
"You look just like your father, Harry—but you have your mother's eyes." How often had he heard that? All those years, Snape had been seeing the face and the hair—everything that reminded him of James Potter—and had seen James Potter himself.
But in that last moment, when he had looked into Harry's eyes, he had seen Lily Evans; and then, Harry believed, he had seen the child of Lily Evans and James Potter—and accepted him, for the first time, for himself; as Harry Potter, the person that he was.
Author's Note: I wrote this right after finishing the Deathly Hallows; it's my way of placing down a theory about Harry and Snape (that Snape saw Harry at that last moment by seeing Lily's eyes), and I know that Lily/Snape lovers will probably slaughter me for it. I'm sure that the thought of him seeing Lily through Harry's eyes in his last moments is very romantic and very touching, but it leaves me feeling rather sad at the thought that Harry's never been any more than James Potter (with Lily Evans' eyes) to him.