This story was beta read by Tabbycat. Thank you very much!
Disclaimer: I do not own anything HP related. It all belongs to JK Rowling, Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Inc., Warner Bros., and any other entities involved.
Time to live
Harry started after the tall dark figure, but it had already vanished in the mist. "Damn it!"
It was the eve before Allhallows and Harry went to see his parents' grave, to contemplate in silence and to tell them news. Since he had been here for the first time with Hermione during their Horcrux hunt, Harry had felt the urge to come back. And so he did. As soon as he had bested Voldemort. He kept coming back, at least once a month, to tell them how much better his life was now. He was nearly sure they were listening to him, sharing his joy silently.
The few months had flown, the final battle had flown and Harry had moved on with his life. He was living with Hermione now, they were – unlike Ron – studying for their NEWTs. Hermione had wanted to return to the boarding-school life, but Harry refused to let anyone rule his life any longer.
"I got too used to my freedom," he had always told her calmly, never loosing his temper with her, as nagging as she had been. "Not even for permanent access to tens of thousands of books in the Hogwarts' library."
Hermione's parents, just lately coming back from Australia, supported his stance – although they did it for the reason of having their girl at home – and they even offered Harry a home with them.
"We won't infringe on your freedom, Harry, as long as you don't have noisy parties every other night!" David Granger had said and Harry had gratefully accepted.
The plan of the Grangers worked - Hermione capitulated and stayed as well. Slowly, Harry and his bossy childhood friend become a couple. Hermione and Ron had broken up in the middle of the summer, about the same time as Harry and Ginny. Whilst Hermione and Ron's lives went in two different directions, and they ended their relationship peacefully, Harry and Ginny's love ended in a series of misunderstanding and the mutual bitter feeling that the other one refused to understand their needs. One big row and Harry was blissfully free. That is, until one surprising day when he and Hermione suddenly realised awakening of mutual attraction.
Harry was supposed to be at the Burrow for a Halloween party in an hour, he just came to the graveyard at Godric's Hollow to leave lilies on his mum and dad's resting place. The bunch of white flowers fell from his hands, though, when he saw Snape standing by the grave.
Snape! Snape, who loved Lily more than his life. Snape, who hated James with passion. Snape, who Harry had seen to die four months ago. Snape, whose body was gone when they went back to the Shrieking Shack to retrieve it for burial.
Was it really Snape? The first wave of doubts came. It was just a tall black silhouette in the mist. It could be anyone. Apart from the fact that the man decided to escape when he had realised he was spotted. No, it was Snape. Harry was sure of that.
Harry slowly shuffled to the grave through the piles of colourful autumn leaves, frowning.
"So, what do I do about Snape?" he asked his parents. There was a bouquet of white lilies lying on the grave, identical to the one Harry brought. "I wonder how one catches a master spy." Harry murmured and went to retrieve his lost bunch. He placed his white lilies across Snape's ones. Together, they looked like a shape of a snowy owl with its wings spread, Harry realised with a pang of pain.
He stood there lost in thoughts while darkness was falling. He sadly remembered all the friends he had lost, Sirius, Remus, Hedwig and Dobby. Snape... He wished Snape hadn't run away. He wasn't surprised, though. Snape was a loner by character and persuasion. And he still disliked Harry - that was for sure. Besides, he would be accused of Dumbledore's murder and even with all witnesses possible, who knew how it would end for Snape.
An owl flew out of the night, interrupting Harry's gloomy musings, and gave him a slip of parchment, before it hurried away again.
Don't hunt me, Potter, even you should be aware that now I deserve my freedom.
The note burst into flames the second Harry finished reading. He sighed again. Yes, he knew Snape deserved freedom. He deserved a new chance. A new life. A new chance to try at 'happy', whatever could make the man happy.
A crack of Apparition sounded and Harry turned around swiftly, taking out his wand in a practised movement. He relaxed. It was just Hermione. He pocketed his wand and watched as she approached. She was gorgeous.
"I decided to leave the library early and pick you up here," she announced and pecked his cheek. "I brought a bouquet of lilies too," she added unnecessarily, and laid it in between the previous two bunches. The flowers stopped reminding Harry of an owl in flight. "Who brought the other one?" She asked.
"No idea," Harry answered without hesitation. "They were here when I came."
"Maybe it was brought by someone who read your article about your mum's sacrifice in Quibbler," Hermione guessed. It was more Hermione's than Harry's article, actually. He had only provided facts, Hermione was the one who made it a story. Harry knew she was very proud of it.
"Maybe." He nodded readily. Then he cocked his head and grinned. "Trick or treat?"
"Harry!" She admonished, but she couldn't hide the laughter in her voice.
"No chocolate? Trick, then!" He pouted and tugged on her bushy hair playfully. "Let's go to the party, then."
They went out of the graveyard and Apparated away. It was time to live.
A wizard, well hidden in the dark shadows, watched them leave, his pale face not giving away any emotion. He slowly walked back to the grave. "You have a fine son, Lily," he said softly, his deep velvet voice caressing silence. Then he turned around and left silently. He was going to try to live, too. It was about time.
- end -