Fifty

Purgatory was the right place for him. He'd had a little trouble in Pride, and had had way too much fun in Wrath, but so far none of it was any worse than he'd had in life. Angels actually explained what was going on before running him through their paces, and nobody was allowed to hurt him. In fact, Sloth had been quite a bit of fun, since the angel of charge of him had finally figured out that Snape barely knew what the word meant. The portion of eternity where he'd learned how glorious leisure could be had been quite pleasant. Those around him were generally taken up with their own concerns, and had little time to bother him. To top things off, he didn't see anyone from his own life here. The angel supervising him admitted that Regulus Black had passed through some years before, but was now working on his final. Neither Death Eaters nor Order members seemed to be anywhere around. He realized why fairly quickly. Coming to this place required admitting that one had done wrong, and wished to atone for it. Both sides in the war that he had not survived seemed to have trouble with that. Snape thought he wouldn't mind if this place became his afterlife; there was always something interesting going on, he didn't hurt, and finding out that his angel agreed with him that his grievances in life had been real was quite a nice change. It was annoying to see how badly he'd screwed up, of course; that was the one pain allowed here. However, it was a familiar one, and the angel's guidance was helpful.

He had quite lost track of time when his personal angel appeared with a modest cake floating behind him. "It's been 14 years since you died," the glowing being of light announced. "Happy 50th birthday!"

Snape braced himself for a wave of sorrow and fury, only to be pleasantly surprised when it didn't arrive. The trials of Purgatory were real enough, with some modern variations that Dante had not written about, but they brought about change. Plus, after that hellish final year as Headmaster, some of them were a bit of a lark, really. He blew out the candle, tasted the cake (after a short spell in Gluttony, he appreciated food far more than he ever had before), and even allowed himself a smile when some spirits with nothing better to do sang to him. Oh, he still had bad days; but this wasn't one of them.

"Thank you," he said gruffly. Yes, he was much better off here than in Azkaban, or worse yet, Hogwarts. He still obsessed at times over old hurts and old wrongs, include those he'd dealt out. Yet here he had eternity. No more bells, no more essays, no timetables…only angelic time.

Fifty?

Why, he was barely started here.