Author's Note: This is inspired by NotWhoYouThinkThisIs's story, Lost and Found. It's Lily's missing posthumous letters.
"Harry," said Hermione, on a day like any other. It was a few years after the Battle of Hogwarts, and they were walking out of the Ministry of Magic together, on their way to a local bar for a quick cocktail. Ron was meeting them there.
"What?" he asked, not expecting it to be anything important.
"We've been going through what people left behind—the ones that d-died that night," Hermione explained, voice breaking a little. "And I just managed to get all the curses off of Professor Snape's books."
"And?" Harry asked, wondering where this was going. "I already told you, I don't want Snape's books. They can go to Hogwarts—the Restricted Section."
"Look, Harry, you can't get around the fact that, in his will, Professor Snape left everything to you," Hermione told him exasperatedly. "He made a new one, secretly, during sixth year. Can you believe he actually found people to witness it who didn't reveal that you were his principal beneficiary? Must've taken some doing." She sounded impressed.
"Yeah, yeah," Harry sighed. "I know this. Get to the point, Hermione."
"Fine," Hermione said, a little nervously. "I looked at the books—and there's nothing too bad there, probably doesn't even have to be in the Restricted Section—and I found something you should see between pages 54 and 55 in Confronting the Faceless."
"What?" Harry asked, looking around for Dark magic of some kind out of instinct.
Hermione looked at him. The intensity of her gaze drew his eyes, and he rather impatiently waited. "This," she said, and handed him an envelope creased with age and frequent handling. He took it, bemused. "You may want to sit down for this," she said nervously.
Harry ignored her, gazing at the handwriting on the envelope. In neat, well-formed script he recognized, it read, Severus Snape. Fingers trembling, he reached inside.
"I started to read the first letter," Hermione told him. "I stopped as soon as I realized what it was."
Harry drew out three sheets of parchment with trembling hands, and read:
I know we haven't spoken in forever, but if you still care about me, you'll do this for me.
See, it's been pointed out to me pretty often the past couple years that I may not make it. This letter is just in case.
I don't know what's going to happen, I don't pretend to be a Seer—but I hope that, if I'm dead, I died trying to make the world a better place. If you still don't get that, then you'll never understand me.
I miss you. I miss what we used to have, and I want you to know that no one else has ever been there for me like you were. You taught me so much; you introduced me to a whole world, and that's pretty powerful.
I'm not going to waste time reproaching you. You've chosen your path, and I've chosen mine, like I told you back when things seemed simpler.
The point is, you were my best friend. I'll never forget that. And…I love you. I just want you to know how much you still mean to me.
So, leaving aside all that different paths stuff, I'm asking—I'm begging you to do this for me. I would've asked James to give you your letter, but I don't think he could handle it if I was dead and he had to give even some of my last (written) words to you.
Please give James the enclosed letters. There's one for him, and one for the baby. I know you know I'm pregnant. Either Harry James, or Amaryllis Dorothy. Whatever your feelings concerning James, I know you won't take them out on the baby. He or she is innocent of all this.
I want you to watch over my child. The Marauders mean well, but we both know they can be a little careless. If you ever loved me, you'll keep my baby safe.
Don't forget me.
If you're reading this, I'm dead—that sounds so melodramatic. Moody wanted us all to write these, and I suppose it's a nice thought—I hope our last words together aren't a quarrel.
Speaking of quarrels, don't go rushing out after whoever killed me. It won't do any good, and I know you—revenge won't make you feel better. The best way you can honor my memory is by raising Harry/Amaryllis right, and stopping Sirius from getting him/her expelled in his/her first year (or at all—I know Padfoot).
Even if I don't, I hope you and our baby live to see the conclusion of this war. Take good care of Harry/Amaryllis, James.
To Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail—you three have kept James alive this long, so thank you. I need you to keep it up. Stop him if he tries to do anything stupid. And Padfoot, don't do anything stupid. You've all been there for us, and for that I thank you. James needs you now. So get used to changing diapers! Sirius, I hope you settle down someday with a nice girl who can give Harry/Amaryllis The Talk, and who can also cook, thereby saving my husband and child from a lifetime diet of Chocolate Frogs and Cockroach Cluster (still gross, James!). Remus, you are an amazing person with a small problem. With luck, they'll find some way to make it a simple inconvenience (you're not the only one who's dangerous 'that time of the month'). I know you can rise above it. Peter, you have a lot to offer the world. I'm counting on you to keep the other three in line. You're the one we can all trust—don't lose faith in yourself.
James—I love you. In case I didn't mention that before. I believe in you. I know you'll do the right thing. You are so strong and courageous. I don't know the first moment I knew I loved you—maybe when Sirius's little brother Regulus asked us to join the Death Eaters, and you answered, "No," for both of us. I don't know if I would've had the courage. I'm going to miss you, you perpetual thorn in my side.
Love, love, love,
Dear Harry/Amaryllis, my darling, darling child,
I love you so much. I would do anything for you. And I will love you no matter what.
And don't you go trying to get revenge either—it won't help. I hope James and I managed to make the world a safe place for you, and that you're happy, because that's all that matters.
Trust your friends, even if they let you down. They may not mean to, and anyway everyone deserves a second chance. I know that now. Trust your family—except your uncle Sirius, if/when he starts telling you 'detention is a sign of character/bravery' and 'near-death experiences are the spice of life.' He means well, but he gets a little carried away sometimes.
Living in the magical world can be tricky, even if there's no longer a war going on. There are things your father and your godfather will never understand, because they've never lived in the—forgive me—'real' world. Things like refrigerators (like a Cooling Charm, only with electricity, which is Muggles' alternative to magic), democracy (think, if the Minister of Magic wasn't appointed, but everyone voted for whomever they wanted), and sexism/racism/other isms (we have those in the Wizarding world, racism being the biggest right now, with the blood status thing, but in the Muggle world that stuff is discussed and recognized more. Also, if the war is still going on when you read this, study the Muggle war that ended in 1945. Dumbledore and Grindlewald actually contributed to what happened there, but the main bad guy, from the Muggle perspective, also had a lot of race issues).
I also want you to know that you can't trust everyone, but you can trust your father and his friends, and your godmother, Alice Longbottom, and also someone else who means a lot to me: Severus Snape.
If you're reading this, James (and/or Sirius) back off.
Sev and I were close friends growing up, and, although we've drifted apart now, I know he'll be there for you for my sake. If you ever need help, and you can't ask your father, or your uncles Padfoot, Moony, and Wormtail, or your godmother Alice, I want you to know you can go to Sev. I've asked him to keep an eye on you.
Stay safe, my darling baby,
All my love,
At last, Harry looked up. "This is—" he said brokenly, and staggered on his feet. Hermione guided him to a convenient bench.
"I know," she agreed. "It must be so intense. I mean, I know you got these letters from your father and Sirius and Remus and that awful Pettigrew not long after the battle. And Mrs. Tonks said whatever one your mother wrote must've gotten lost. And now—"
"Why didn't he give this to me before?" Harry demanded, looking up from his mother's words at last.
Hermione shrugged. "Too personal?" she suggested. "It must have been pretty hard keeping up his cover around you, and still being in love with your mother. He probably figured if he gave you her letters, you'd realize he wasn't such a bad guy, and that would've been fatal."
"I guess," agreed Harry doubtfully. "There has to have been a way to give this to me without anyone knowing."
"There was. His secret will," Hermione pointed out.
"It's just—my mother—" Harry said inarticulately.
"I know," Hermione told him soothingly. "I know." She patted his shoulder.
Eventually, Harry had sufficient control over himself again, and the two of them went to find Ron. Harry tucked his mother's letters reverently into his pocket, and resolved to do something to get Professor Snape's portrait hung in the Headmaster's office at Hogwarts. Snape deserved the honor, and Harry thought his mother would've approved.
Another note: Amaryllis Dorothy: Amaryllis because Evans girls are named after flowers, and Dorothy after James's mother, who, I maintain, could have been (but was not necessarily) Dorea Black. Dorothy instead of Dorea because Dorea is a horrible name.