Summary: After death Severus finally realises the true power of forgiveness.

Warnings: Slight Lily-bashing. Non-Slash. I guess you could say slight OOC, but rather I think death gifts us with a second sight. Then again, I can't really say for sure, seeing as how I've never died. I'd ask my brother, but he's too busy off being dead. Go figure.

Disclaimer: My uncle put Jo on my Christmas presents. Does that count? No? Crud. I just want Severus.

A/N: canon-Lily actually kind of pisses me off, even more than canon-Harry. What a *censor*. She threw away years of friendship for one word spoken in idiocy, while Harry, who had been nothing but tormented by Snape, saw the good in him in the end. The one redeeming feature of canon-Harry.


Forgiveness

by Mord-Sith Rahl

Severus stood with a calm expression on his face before the scrying pool in the chasm not two feet in front of him, radiant green eyes smiling up at him. How a person could make eyes smile he was unsure of, but smile these emerald faceted jewels did with a brilliance he could not deny. A sad smile flitted across his face before it floated away like the wispy tendrils of fog at his feet. Like his life had moments ago. Or had it been years?

Shrugging to no-one Severus watched as the scene from the past changed, the green eyes growing a little but the radiance within never diminishing. He was a fool to never realise it before, to not take the chance offered him. Had he not already been dead he thought he might die when the warm green eyes turned to ice when they looked upon the Severus in the pool, the past hurt like a ghost of a sharp pain knifing through his chest. He had watched these scenes so many times he knew them by heart, knew every tick in the owner of the green eyes' face, every clenched jaw, every fisted hand. Every breath.

Where once they smiled now the reflection of green eyes showed only cool disdain, except for that tiny morsel, there, hidden in the jade depths, of confusion and pain. They did not understand why he had been so cruel, why he had said those hateful, hurtful things.

Unable to stand it Severus went again to the deep past, before the green eyes hated him, to when he saw them smiling. He liked those memories the best. Before he had poisoned them. Soon the memories again flittered to the not so distant past (he thought so at least, time was different when you were dead and standing in the middle of limbo) and he watched the owner of the green eyes leaning over him, the hate gone again to be replaced by confusion. The furrowed brow wrinkled the shiny surface of the scar there.

"Oh Harry, I didn't know," Severus whispered as yet more flashes swept past. Of a young boy cowering from his brute of an uncle. Of the same young boy treated like a slave by his family. By the same young boy growing up much like Severus had. He then saw himself yelling at and berating the boy for being arrogant, selfish, spoiled. Yelling at the boy because he did not understand, nor see his own past reflected in them. He saw in himself then the reflection of the boy's uncle.

"I didn't know who you were Harry. I didn't know until it was too late. Forgive me Harry, though I know I do not deserve the same consideration. "

But forgive him Harry had.

The pool flashed him images he had already seen, of Harry finding out the truth of his allegiances, of proclaiming his true loyalty to Dumbledore, old fool he had been, of his love for Lily, whose hateful green eyes had haunted him in life. But no more. Now green eyes were ordering the creation of a portrait of Severus, to be placed in the rightful setting of the most current former Headmaster of Hogwarts, though those green eyes did not have the courage to go visit it. Severus wished they did.

Severus again heard the owner of the green eyes telling Severus's grave that he forgave him for everything, and that he understood. As he had done every year since those green eyes had returned to Shrieking Shack for his body, where he then personally saw to the funeral arrangements of the man he once hated.

He saw those green eyes reflected in a young boy given his name. Albus Severus.

Severus saw his redemption in those green eyes under that scar, under the brother mark to his own. Severus saw he was finally, completely, forgiven everything.

Finally, after so long a time, or perhaps only a few seconds, Severus allowed the images to fade to black on those loving green eyes, the scrying pool dissolving into the chasm. He was ready to meet his fate. A tiny smirk lifted his lips. And to return a favour. He was enslaved almost his whole life, first to a girl, then to a monster, and finally to a mad old man. He would not be enslaved in death.

Walking through the gates to the true afterlife Severus was met by a grinning face framed by fiery red hair.

"Sev!" the joyous voice rang out. "Sev, I've seen it all! I saw how you took care of my Harry! Severus, I forgive you!"

Severus paused on his past, slowly turning his head to stare at his once best friend. "But Lily...I don't need your forgiveness. You're too little too late. I've already been forgiven because of who I am, not what I've done. Excuse me now, I must set up to await a pair of radiant green eyes. It seems yours are far duller than I had remembered. Goodbye Evans."

As he walked away, Lily's face falling behind him, Severus again smirked. All was well.

Fin