Note: Sorry if my descriptions of 12 Grimmauld Place are a little off. It's been a while since I've read the books and I was kind of going off what I remember picturing while reading them.
I've had this idea for a one shot for a while, or something like it anyway, and for some reason, it got in my head today and I just started writing it! So I hope you enjoy!
My feet slipped on the recent pool of ice as I apparated onto the doorstep of Number 12 Grimmauld Place, my hands reaching out to grab the railing before I fell. When I caught my balance, I straightened up, smoothing out my cloak, and fixing my glasses, before opening the door to the creepy old house.
I wasn't currently residing in the ancient house; it brought many dark and painful memories back to the surface and was far too scary to stay in alone. Even though it was legally mine, it was the last place I would ever want to live. Instead, I was staying with the Weasleys in Fred and George's old room.
It had been a year and a half since the final battle at Hogwarts where Voldemort fell; the day where everything seemed to come to peace and turn…normal.
I had gone back to Hogwarts with Ron and Hermoine to finish the last year of schooling we missed out on when we were on the run for a year. Professor McGonagall insisted that all three of us had accomplished so much in that year that we didn't need another year of schooling, but Hogwarts was the place where everything important in my life seemed to center around, and I felt compelled to go back there for one more final year. It felt weird, but a relief, to have a year at Hogwarts where my only worries were studying for my exams and not what Voldemort was up to. I was able to enjoy time with my friends and Ginny, enjoy Quidditch (even though I decided not to play in my final year), and even enjoy my classes. It was so strange to me that it felt as if that surreal life wasn't mine.
It was then after finishing my schooling did I go and stay with the Weasleys until I found a place of my own. They insisted it was no trouble at all, but I couldn't help feeling that I made the house a little more crowded, even though it was only Ron, Ginny, and I still living under the roof of the Burrow with Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
I was currently in training at the Ministry to become an Auror, the only job I ever had an inkling of wanting to do since my time as a wizard, with Ron. Hermoine, on the other hand, was looking to get into Magical Law Enforcement and rewrite many of the old standing wizarding laws, starting with house elves of course.
As I opened the door to 12 Grimmauld Place, I saw the dark hallway before me, illuminated only by dimly lit candles. As I shut the door behind me, quietly as to not wake the shrieking Mrs. Black, all sounds disappeared. I no longer heard the racket coming from the street, but instead complete silence; a void of silence that brought with it a string of loneliness and despair.
All of the enchantments that were once in place to protect the Order of the Phoenix headquarters from Death Eaters were no longer in place. There was no need for them now. No one would ever try to get into Grimmauld Place. No one except someone who was trying to seek forgiveness and rid themselves of guilt. Someone like me.
The house hadn't been inhabited in almost 2 years, the last inhabitants being myself, Ron, and Hermoine. Kreacher had also stayed here, but when the war was over, I had sent him back to Hogwarts to work. He didn't seem to mind it there, although I can imagine he came back to his cupboard here often since I allowed it, and I didn't really need him with me. We were on better terms now, although still not the best of friends.
I walked along the long dark hallway, taking out my wand and muttering a quick "Lumos!" Dust and cobwebs covered the walls as well as every picture and mantelpiece. I made my way to the deserted kitchen and chuckled to myself when I saw Kreacher's cupboard open. I peeked my head inside and saw a few dusty blankets that Hermoine had quilted for him, as well as, a newspaper clipping from the Daily Prophet of Hermoine, Ron, and I after word got out that the two of them were on the run with me to help defeat Voldemort. It was tucked into the picture frame that used to hold the vindictive Bellatrix Lestrange, but ever since Kreacher pledged unwavering loyalty to us, he had lost all respect for Voldemort's most supportive followers.
Next to our newspaper clipping, was a picture of Regulus and some things I assumed were out of his room. The fake locket, I presumed, was still dangling around the tiny house elf's neck. I had never seen him take it off since I gave it to him. I smiled to myself at the memories and reminded myself that Kreacher wasn't so bad after all.
I continued to the dining room off from the kitchen, where the long wooden table sat. I stood in place and simply stared at it for a minute, memories rushing by me of Order meetings, a Christmas, the very alive Sirius and Remus, and bending over plans to break into the Ministry with Ron and Hermoine.
The stillness continued as I just stood for several minutes, staring at the long table in front of me. Suddenly, I felt the weight of something in my pocket and the reason I was here came back to me. I don't why I picked this place. Merlin knew the man I was here for was utterly repulsed by it and one of its' previous inhabitants, but for some reason, the quietness and gloom of this place seemed like the perfect place. So much had gone on here that it seemed like forgiveness could be granted and guilt be shed, all debts becoming paid.
I pulled two artifacts from the pouch that Hagrid once gave me that hid objects that more or less, held broken objects for a time. I took out a piece of parchment, script written all over it, and a ripped picture. Two objects I had collected the last time I was here: a letter written by my mother and a ripped picture of my parents and I. At the time I felt distraught at not finding the missing piece of the letter or the ripped half of the picture where my mother was, but now, I knew where they were. They were safely tucked into the robes of someone recently deceased.
I laid the two artifacts onto the table before me, looking around the room again. How funny, I thought to myself, that everyone thought that this man would only come back to Grimmauld Place to look for me, but instead, all he wanted was another piece of my mother.
Another memory popped into my head; one of that same man sneering over the very table in front of me at my godfather. The last time I saw him in this house when I was only in my fifth year. I felt a helpless, saddened laugh come to my throat as I thought of the two now dead men arguing across the table over my Occulemency lessons, still holding their schoolboy grudge.
The guilt was starting to boil more in my stomach and I could not dwell and reminisce over memories any longer or I was sure to lose my mind. I was probably the happiest man I knew. I was safe forever from the greatest dark wizard of all time, I was beloved by the wizarding world, I had many friends who would do anything for me, a fiancée I loved dearly, and a job that fit me perfectly, but yet, there was a great amount of guilt I woke up to every morning that traveled with me everywhere and surrounded my life; a guilt that became increasing lately as I thought of all the people who had given up so much just for me and lost everything, even their lives.
It was a guilt that was most centered around a man who had truly given up and risked everything just for me, a foolish boy he looked on in disgust. I felt I needed forgiveness from him, to find peace with myself so I could go on. It was for this reason that I broke my promise to Dumbledore. The promise I made to him when my soul was in the in-between state of death and life. I had wrongly and foolishly broke his promise. A year after dropping it in the forest to never be found again, I had gone back and retrieved the Resurrection Stone.
I knew it was the wrong thing to do. Dumbledore had said it was right to leave it. It would never truly bring a person back from the dead, just a ghost form of them. But all the same, I felt that this would help me. I felt I needed to talk to the man that I once hated.
I lifted the tiny stone out of my robe pocket that seemed to be weighing me down like a lead brick, just like my conscience. I had used it once before to bring back my parents, Sirius, and Remus for moral support before facing my assumed death. I then dropped it to never be found again, but when I was back in Hogwarts, I kept thinking about it and the man I used to call Potions Master. It took me months, but I finally found it in roughly the same place I dropped it. I had had it since last June, but was too fearful to use it. I would rid of it as soon as I was done with it. I made a promise to myself. I would throw it into the black lake or smash it into a million pieces, but for now, I felt I had no choice. It needed to be done. I had to use it one last time.
I stood staring at the blank wall in front of me on the other side of the room, the cold stone lying in my hand. After a shaky exhale of breath to calm my nerves, I rolled the stone three times in my palm…
At first, it seemed it had not worked. The room was just as still as it had been just seconds before. But then, I saw a cloud of what looked like white dust start to collect in the far corner of the room. The dust turned into strands of glowing white, like a soul, coming together to form the shape of a man. The soul white on the ghost figure faded into the familiar black robes, black wiry hair, and sallow face, but there was a faint halo of white that continued to glow around him. Now, the ghost of Severus Snape was before me.
He was facing the wall across from me, still as ever and still looking like the bat he was in his human form. I watched in apprehension as he lifted his arm up out in front of him, studying to see if he was really back down on earth. He then moved his head and I saw on his face as realization of where he was dawned on him.
He didn't see me yet, but when I sucked in a sharp breath, he spun around quickly, looking as domineering as ever, locking eyes with mine. I watched as the growling expression faded into a questioning look of disbelief. "Potter?" he whispered. His voice was soft and barely audible, but it wasn't the same weak rasp he had on his last words before his death.
I couldn't find the words to answer him. Instead, I just nodded my head slowly. His face contorted into a taken aback expression, baring his teeth, but as his eyes drifted down to the stone still clutched in my hand, his lip curled up in the oh so familiar sneer that was Snape.
"For Merlin's sake," he scoffed, raising his voice, "Don't you have any respect for the dead? Or are you such a sentimental fool that you do not believe in the beloved ancient saying, rest in peace!"
I had to bite my tongue to hold back a laugh. Snape was exactly the same spiteful man in death as he was in life. "I'm sorry Professor," I tried to say reassuringly, raising my voice to mask the curses he spat out, "I just felt the need to talk to you."
"To talk to me," he growled, "Well, isn't that why we have graveyards? So we can mourn over and talk to the ones we lost. Or maybe even try my portrait in the headmaster's study at Hogwarts. Yes, feel free to strike up a conversation with that. But no, instead, you use the bloody Resurrection Stone to bring my peaceful ghost back to life. My, my, my Potter, you are still the same ignorant Gryffindor that you were when I was still alive."
The insults he threw at me didn't bother me anymore. I supposed it was because I knew why he hated me so much, even if it was unjust. "Well, I have gone to your grave and have tried your portrait, but it just doesn't seem quite right."
He stood up straighter and a smug look crossed his face before it turned into a sneer. "Well, well, well, grieving over your old Potions Master's death, are we? I never thought I'd see that day."
"Not exactly grieving, sir," I interrupted, walking a bit closer to him.
"Well whatever you want to call it, just spit out why in bloody hell you brought me back here!"
I paused a few minutes, thinking of how exactly to put it. "I...er…I guess I just wanted to…"
"You what?" he interrupted, snarling.
"I guess I just wanted to talk to you about everything you did," I managed to choke out, "About how you were really trying to help me all along."
He cocked an eyebrow. "Oh, so you saw the memory I take it?"
"Of course I did," I answered abruptly, "That's why you gave it to me, right? You wanted me to see it. So I could understand everything and so I would know how to defeat Voldemort."
"Obviously," he spat. He was no longer snarling, but his voice was still the same harsh, malicious tone. "Although, I admit there were parts of that memory that I wasn't intent on allowing you access to, but due to the circumstances, I had no choice."
"What parts?" I asked curiously.
"Surely someone just as thick as you could figure it out Potter," he sneered, "Do you truly believe I ever wanted you to see the most humiliating moments in my life? The ones I regret most? Clearly those are the ones I hid in the penseive during our disastrous Occulemency lessons."
I took in his words for a moment before answering, knowing fully well what he hid in the penseive. If he hadn't pulled me out when he did, I could have seen everything. I could have found out the truth right then and there. "So you never wanted me to know that you loved my mother?" I took his unmoving glare as conformation and went on. "But why?"
"Maybe because I liked keeping my true feelings of Lily to myself," he scowled. "It would have been humiliating for me to admit that to anyone, especially you, about how I let her slip through my fingers. I intended on finding you when you came back to Hogwarts, cornering you so I could tell you the truth about killing Dumbledore and defeating Voldemort, but I never wanted to bring Lily into it. I would have if it was the only way to make you believe me, but I knew you to be the naive idiot that you are. She was the only reason I ever agreed to keep careful watch on you and protect you at all cost, to turn spy for Dumbledore. And what do I get for thanks? A snake piercing my neck!"
"That's why I brought you back," I said, my voice raising and in distress. "I…I felt guilty." He raised his eyebrow again, but I felt my guilt bubbling over and ready to spill. "After all that you went through to help me, all I did was hate you and blame you for Dumbledore's death. I just…I'm sorry."
"Please Potter, don't go wasting your apologies on me. I sincerely don't want them," he said in malice, "I have done a lot of wrong in my life to deserve the fate that was mine and if it raises your conscience, I do not blame you for any of it."
"But I would still feel better if I knew that you just forgave me, I suppose." After a pause I continued, "I just feel that you didn't deserve all that I put you through. I always hated you and I always tried to push your buttons. You were just trying to protect me for my mother, and I never showed you any thanks for it or made it any easier on you. There must have been loads of times you wanted to kill me yourself and save Voldemort the job."
"Believe me Potter, there were many of those times," he growled, but his voice got softer as he went on, "But then I remembered the green eyes I saw everyday in Potion's class and of Lily and I knew I could never do anything to harm you, no matter how much I wanted to make you suffer."
I almost felt more guilt at this, all the trouble and struggles he must have went through to not just clobber me across my desk. If my mother had only known all that he did. Would she forgive him?
"Did she forgive you?" I asked, hopefully. "After you died, I prayed that you would see my mother again and that she would forgive you."
He looked at me for a moment, neither a stare of evil or content, before rolling up the left sleeve of his arm. I squinted in the darkness and saw the pallid skin that was stretched over his forearm, the place where the dark mark was supposed to be engraved, but instead, it was nowhere in sight.
"It's gone," I whispered.
"Yes," he answered confidently, "It seems as if I was given a second chance after I died. A second chance to live purely instead of rotting in hell like my fellow Death Eaters. A second chance to live up there with Lily."
I breathed a sigh of relief, knowing that meant she did forgive him, but still not feeling satisfied with myself. "I wish I could repay you. I feel as if I owe you so much."
He stared at me serenely before answering."You do not owe me anything, Potter. What you have done for me after my death is enough. You have ensured that my portrait remain in the headmaster's study and ensured that I get a proper burial. I've been watching. But most of all, you said you prayed for Lily to forgive me and she did. Without your prayers, that might have never happened. In fact, the first memory I have of the afterlife is walking up to the golden gates and seeing Lily there, smiling and holding out her hand for me to take."
I felt my insides warm with the vision that filled my head of this. It was all I ever wanted for Snape. I wanted him to find peace with my mother. It's what he deserved if nothing else. I nodded my head, unable to say anything, but just wanting to soak in the words that meant so much to me.
"Now, if you'll excuse me Potter, I think I must be going. Granted, your godfather's house does make me rather uncomfortable." He turned to go back to the corner in which he came from, but something caught his eye and stopped him. "What are those?" he asked motioning to my mother's letter and half of the picture on the long table.
"The other half of what you took," I stated, "I found them while I was on the run and staying here. I always wondered what happened to the other half of them, but after your memory, I didn't have to anymore."
He nodded silently, a wary expression on his face, before diving into his robes, pulling out what looked like the other half to the objects. He studied them for a minute, his face scrutinized in concentration, before closing his eyes and handing the objects over to me. "Here," he said low.
"What?" I asked in disbelief, "You can have them. You wanted a reminder of my mother. That's why you took them."
"Yes, but now I have the real thing up where I belong," he whispered wearily, "And besides, I should have never taken them to begin with. They belong to you."
I gulped down, feeling a tear start to prick at my eyes. Oh, how many times I've cried over the memory of my parents, Sirius, Remus, and everyone who lost their lives for me, even Snape. Once I thought the man so selfish, but he was truly one of the selfless I knew. "Thank you, sir."
He nodded and started walking back to the corner as if to leave.
"Sir" I called after him. He turned around once more, expression still weary. "You forgive me right?" It seemed like a pointless question to ask. We had practically discussed it in full, but I couldn't help but want the words to come directly out of his mouth. It was the only way to help the sadness go away.
He seemed to think about it for a minute, concentrating hard on what to say, before replying, "Yes Harry, I forgive you." His expression was calm and worn out, but soon enough, that old Snape sneer was back on his face. "Now, you've wasted enough of my time! Don't be surprised if I should shout 50 points from Gryffindor or a week's worth of detentions Mr. Potter any moment."
"Right, sorry," I answered amused, trying to hide my chuckle and grin. "Goodbye Professor. Thank you for talking to me. I hope you get everything you deserve back up there. And thank you, for…for everything."
With a curt nod, Severus Snape turned his back on me to march back to the corner as the Resurrection Stone slipped through my fingers and back onto the floor, releasing the ghost of the bravest man I ever knew back to heaven where he would be able to love my mother in peace forever; always.
So what do you think? It was longer than I expected, but I could have gone on and on with the dialogue between Harry and Snape reminiscing. Let me know if you love it or hate it! Reviews are always welcome! And oo! Check out my tumblr, I just started using it again today and I'm pretty excited about it! It's www . ellacecros3x . tumblr . com (without spaces obvs, but apparently you can't post links in here). Thanks for reading! xoxo