Harry Potter and the Revised Edition
Along with what the scroll contained, the instructions were clear as Harry expected – and he didn't have much time. As he shuffled around his office gathering his things, an image flashed through his mind….The image of Severus Snape the last time he saw him.
It was as recently as six months ago; a visit prompted by Narcissa's call. During one of the few times Harry visited over the years, he learned a change at the helm of Malfoy manor had occurred. Narcissa had divorced Lucius, still serving his lengthy sentence at Azkaban and refusing to denounce Voldemort's doctrine, thus hindering his chances of ever obtaining parole. Frustrated with his father, Draco eventually accepted the relationship that grew between his mother and Snape and gave them his blessing.
Harry had never seen Snape any happier. Releasing his memories to Harry proved to be quite beneficial, apparently, to his emotional wellbeing; however, physically he was never quite the same since that night nineteen years ago. Even though the potion Narcissa had made sustained him, Nagini's venom had time to do considerable damage to Snape's internal organs, and at Harry's last visit, Snape appeared as if he were in his final days. The scale patch (or, as Snape cites, his "Badge of Honor") still infused onto his neck, peaked over the black turtleneck that sharply contrasted with his hair, which had grown white. And through the black pants as well, Harry could see how thin and frail his frame had become.
Narcissa admitted she had been stretching the potion lately to last, expecting it to be gone in a matter of days. After that, time would tell how long it would take Snape to succumb for lack of it.
Harry made a quick call to Ginny, using the Wizard Wireless Network, saying he won't be home for dinner. He looked around the office one more time, then hastily grabbed the nearly forgotten package on his desk and Disapparated.
Harry arrived just before the sorting was about to begin at Hogwarts. He caught Minerva's attention and the Headmistress allowed him to speak in front of the students. After his introduction, he approached the podium, and noticed an ancient-looking book left on it: Hogwarts: a History. Nodding with a smile of acknowledgement, Harry carefully opened the dusty book and found blank pages within the last chapter. As he began to speak, words magically appeared on these pages:
"Most of you know what happened at this very school nineteen years ago when I attended here as a student just as yourselves. But what you don't know is the full story behind a professor, and headmaster back then, who actually took part in saving my life…and I had saved his. His name was Severus Snape." Among murmurings, students and faculty exchanged looks. "Please…" Harry continued, raising his hands up for silence, "…allow me to elaborate…"
After the sorting and welcoming feast, Harry found himself in the Astronomy tower. As a gentle cool breeze blew through his hair, he unwrapped the package brought from his office to reveal a box containing an ornate urn within. Carefully lifting it out, he stepped to the edge of the observation deck and paused. I know you are at peace now…. Again, I thank you, Severus.
He opened the lid, allowed the breeze to take possession of its contents, and watched as it swirled and rose to the stars. "He's free now, truly free," he said aloud as he felt a hand on his shoulder.
"Yes, Harry…" Narcissa softly said, her eyes brimming, "and this time he's ready to stay." Narcissa reached up and hugged Harry, whispering 'thank you' into his ear.
At Minerva's request, Harry next stepped into the Headmistress' office. There he greeted Ron, Hermione, and Neville.
"Thought you might like to see this before you left, Harry," said Minerva as she swept up to him. She gestured behind her and up on the wall among the portraits was Snape's.
"Well…can't say I expected anything different from him," said Ron cheekily, as he walked up beside Harry.
"That's our beloved Professor Snape," Harry responded wryly; however, he noticed among the usual scowl on Snape's face the eyes were different. The anger was gone.
"Ah…here they are," said Minerva as she turned around.
"Hey!" said Harry as he walked up to Albus, "are you all settled in?"
"Yeah…I guess so," the boy pouted while running a hand through his mussed dark hair.
"What is it, son? What's wrong?"
"I'm in Slytherin—"
"I'm in Slytherin, too!" a cheerful voice piped up from behind Albus. A slim girl with long black hair bounced up to Harry. "My dad was in Slytherin, so it's gotta be the best," she boasted. Albus squinted at her through his spectacles.
"Now, Bellaclair, all houses are the best for the people sorted in them," Narcissa firmly said, folding her arms.
"That's right, Albus," Harry directed towards his son. "Remember what I said about sorting? Now how about I meet you in your room – maybe I'll bring up some pudding."
"I'll take him up," offered Narcissa, then nodded to the girl. "I'll be back for you in a few minutes, dear."
When the two left, Harry brought the girl closer to Snape's portrait. "I'm sorry about your father, dear. As I told my son, he was the bravest man I ever knew." The child's black eyes sadly looked over into Harry's eyes. "You know, you can come here whenever you need to." Harry then pulled something out of his pocket. "At one time a piece of your father lived in this, now it should belong to you." Bellaclair held out her hand then looked up smiling a familiar smile to Harry as she put the pendant around her neck . . .
"You know, I never would have thought," Hermione quipped as they all stood on the castle grounds.
"Yeah, Snape, a dad," Neville chimed in.
"Yeah…guess that's why my mum told him to come back. Sometimes the end could mean a new beginning."
"Whoa…that's too heavy for me to ponder tonight, mate," chuckled Ron.
"See ya, Harry," bade Hermione linking arms with Ron before Apparating.
"Later, Harry," Neville waved heading back to the castle.
"Later, guys," Harry said shooing what felt like a fly on his forehead, as a willowy silhouette moved beyond the amber glow framed by the castle tower window.
All seemed well.