AN: Thank you so much for reviewing, reading, putting me on alert, and for favoriting! It all means a lot to me! This is the first fic I'm doing in response to a request made, so hopefully I did the song justice.
I do not own Harry Potter or the song, An Angel Came Down. That is owned by the Trans Siberian Orchestra. Also, I borrow parts of the beginning from the biblical Book of Job, which I don't own in spite of owning several copies of the Bible. Just to be extra safe: I borrowed some characteristics from Dante's Inferno and Catholic legends, neither of which I own. Okay, I think I'm done now.
Heaven was nothing like Severus expected.
Instead of people sitting around all day worshipping God and playing on harps, it was one big overcrowded party with people scurrying about to reconnect with loved ones and ancestors. Everyone talked, laughed, and loved, that is everyone except Severus Snape.
Severus had seen his mother, with whom he'd shared a warm reunion, and had caught glimpses of Lily Evans, but he dared not speak to her since she spent all her time hanging on James Potter. He would have considered it hell if he hadn't had the bliss of knowing that at least he was loved by the Creator, though the Creator had been hidden from sight as of late.
Before Severus could meditate any further on his fate, a trumpet blast pierced the merriment. The multitudes silenced and stood at attention as God stepped out, his Son at his right and a dove at his left. They were in turn flanked by archangels, including Gabriel who had blown the horn. "My friends!" began the voice of God, rumbling like thunder. "As some of you may know, this year marks the two-thousandth anniversary of my son's birth."
The heavenly beings cheered as Christ beamed. "As many of you know," God continued above the celebration. "That means it is time for the tradition!"
The cheering swelled until Severus swore he'd have a headache if he'd still been embodied. At last Gabriel raised his horn to silence the crowd, but instead of the expected blare, a low voice rang out, "Yes, the tradition."
The crowd was rendered speechless, gaping at the intruder. He stood in a robe of white, holding a black candle. His features were flawless, save a scar on his left cheek which only slightly detracted from his beauty. "Lucifer," God began.
"How did you get up here?" Michael, the archangel to the right of Gabriel, demanded.
"Peter is distractible," he answered, nonchalant. "Not to mention that every time Gabriel over there blows that horn, it rings just as clearly in my realm."
"And I'm going to throw you right back down there!" Michael replied as he pulled out his sword.
"Silence Michael!" God ordered. "Lucifer knows he has no power here. I'm sure he will say his peace and leave."
"Yes," Lucifer answered. "It's about the tradition."
"What about it?" Jesus asked.
"Every hundred years, you send down an angel to see what…" Lucifer paused to indicate Jesus, "…that one has done. What he has left behind as his legacy."
"What about it?" God asked as Michael's right eye twitched.
"Every time you send some archangel or saint down to collect the item. I find this unfair."
"You would know about unfair wouldn't you?" Michael yelled.
"Silence!" God demanded.
"As I was saying," Lucifer demanded undeterred. "The person who finds the item is loyal to you. They find what you want them to. I think it should be more of a challenge!"
"How?" God asked.
"Send one of my men to find your precious Child's legacy. See if one of them can find this item you seek!" Lucifer replied.
"Your men will only distort the truth," God answered. "Besides, they have a tendency to possess little girls."
Lucifer smiled sheepishly, but then became serious. "What about a soul in purgatory?" he asked.
"They're trying to avoid seeing you!" God answered.
"What about him?" Christ interjected as he pointed to Severus.
The crowd looked over at Snape, who tried to appear as stoic as possible. Lucifer's eyes grew wide. "Why is he here?" Lucifer asked. "When Voldemort told me he had killed him, I laughed. I mean I saw him alive…"
There was a twinkle in God's eyes. "Remember Lucifer, even you don't know everything."
Lucifer huffed. "He's not a soul of the damned so he's beyond me. Still, why choose him?"
"He's disillusioned, cranky, and we both know that he's not one of my most loyal servants," God replied.
Lucifer thought before nodding. "He's an acceptable candidate. If he can find something, then I shall be silent about the tradition. If he does not find anything, then the tradition is abolished!"
"You have no say over that!" God commanded, causing even Lucifer to shudder. Then, His expression softened. "If you win, I will call off the tradition in the next century."
Lucifer nodded. "Be gone!" God commanded.
Lucifer disappeared with a poof!
"You may hold only what a mortal cannot touch. Find this, and bring it back."
Jesus' words echoed in Severus' ears as he flew over the clouds. Severus had no idea what Jesus meant, but then again that seemed to be why Lucifer agreed to allow him to be the angel. He grumbled and wondered why he had consented to this celestial bet. After all, who really cared if the tradition continued or not? It was just another ritual for another holiday, right?
He shook his head and decided to fly lower. Around him a light flurry of snow began to waft to the ground. It seemed appropriate considering the date. Still, something about the landscape was familiar, almost as though it was a part of him.
Then Severus spied a tower. A thrill of joy swept through him as he recognized the outline of Hogwarts. Oh how good to be back near this place again, even if it was in the name of a silly cosmic wager! How happy to be home just one more time…
Just then he heard a melody floating on the air. It was quiet and indistinct at first, yet he was drawn to it. Before Snape knew it, he was no longer flying but diving, no, falling towards the sound. It drew him through a window, crashing onto the floor of one of the castle rooms. Though he didn't feel any pain, he was disoriented from the flight. Shaking his head, he looked around for the source of the mysterious sound, but only saw a bed surrounded by several bookshelves. Closing his eyes to focus more intently, he realized that it was much more than a simple melody that held him in its grasp; it was a fully-formed song, sung by a woman, intermittently interrupted by sobs.
Slowly he became aware of the back of a woman's head, her curls splayed across the pillow. The voice was so familiar… could it really belong to…?
The woman sat up with a start and gasped when she saw him. Severus stepped back as well, shocked to see Ms. Granger in front of him looking like, dare he admit it, a woman! "S-Snape?" she asked.
"Yes," he drawled.
"Oh, I, I, I," she stammered as her thoughts raced.
"You what?" he asked.
"You're supposed to be dead!" she blurted out. "You are supposed to be dead, but you aren't a ghost! No, you don't look like the other ghosts!"
"I'm not," Severus answered.
"Then what are you?" she asked.
"Some kind of heavenly spirit," he answered.
She tried to embrace him, but found herself grasping air. "I'm still untouchable," he answered, for once regretting the loss of the sensation.
"Oh," she replied. "I see. Why are you here then?"
"God and Lucifer made a bet I'm going to resolve," he answered. "I'm supposed to find something that a human being cannot hold but that I can… something that represents Christ's legacy."
"Sounds difficult," she answered with a small smile. "I wish I had a book on that. The only one I can think of is the Bible, and I don't remember it saying much about angels touching things."
"No, it doesn't," Severus answered.
"How long do you have to find this thing?"
"A day," Severus answered.
"I see," Hermione answered. Her eyes then filled with confusion. "Why did you come to see me then?"
"I was drawn to a sound coming from your room," he answered. "It sounded like you were singing."
Her face lit up. "I was singing some Christmas songs. It's a tradition I have."
"Indeed," he answered.
"I'd normally sing them with my parents, but they decided to spend Christmas in Hawaii. I'm seeing them on New Years," she replied.
"Is that why you were crying?"
"No," she admitted.
He stepped closer to her, taking in the sight of the soft candlelight on her skin. "I miss you," she whispered. "Especially now that I'm a professor."
"Excuse me?" he asked.
"I walk by the potions lab, but it's not the same with Slughorn there. He isn't half the professor you were. I miss seeing you at the professor's table! There are so many things I've wanted to tell you, like how sorry I am for doubting you. I'm sorry that I ever thought you were a Death Eater! I'm sorry that the world rejected you. I'm just sorry," she answered.
Tears began to fall from her eyes. Initially Severus was at a loss for words, but then he answered, "I forgive you."
She looked up in shock. "What?" she asked.
He instinctively brushed the tears from her eyes. "I said that I forgive you."
Her eyes widened. "Professor, look!"
Snape looked down at his finger, only to see a perfectly formed golden teardrop. Hermione brushed her finger against her tear-stained cheeks. "I can't hold it," she whispered. "All my tears just turn to water." She tried to touch the golden teardrop in his hand, but could feel nothing.
"You can't," Severus answered in amazement.
"You are in heaven," she said more a statement of fact than a question.
"Yes," he replied.
"Is it beautiful?" she asked.
Severus thought for a moment before answering, "It is beautiful if you have someone to share it with."
Tears returned to her eyes. "You must be happy up there."
He took another tear from her eyes. Again it was perfectly formed, only this time it was sapphire. "I'm sure I will see you there soon."
"I know you will," she whispered.
He looked at the teardrops and sighed. "I don't know what this has to do with Jesus' legacy, but it's what I've found," he answered.
"I'm sure they'll understand," Hermione answered.
Snape nodded. "I suppose I should return there and tell them the news."
"I suppose," Hermione answered as her eyes betrayed her reluctance to say good-bye.
He tried to touch her, but could not. He gave her a small smile before ascending into the night sky. Hermione meanwhile stared at the spot where he had stood, wondering if it was all one incredible dream.
"Two tears!" Lucifer thundered in derision before the heavenly audience. "Two tears are all you have to show for his legacy!"
Severus bowed his head. "I could hold and touch them while Hermione could not."
Jesus took the tears and smiled. "They are perfect."
"What?" Lucifer asked as all of heaven erupted.
Jesus raised his hand, causing the crowd to silence itself. "This tear," Jesus began as he raised the teardrop. "Was shed by someone seeking forgiveness. It was granted to her not only by Severus Snape, but also by me." Jesus lifted up the other teardrop. "This one was shed in joyful anticipation of eternal life, which I opened to all. I'd say, he's succeeded."
All of heaven erupted in joy as Lucifer stood beside God fuming. "Cheater!" Lucifer yelled. "You know as well as I do that he's not supposed to be here!"
"You agreed to use him," God replied.
"One day a servant will fail you in these cosmic bets!" Lucifer warned. "One day!"
In a flame of fury, Lucifer disappeared from heaven's sight. "Come with me," Jesus began.
Snape nodded and followed him to an area away from the others. "Do you know why Lucifer was so shocked when he saw you?"
Severus shook his head. "I do not," he answered.
"Because we all had a vision of you alive with a son, which took place ten years after Voldemort's defeat."
"Excuse me?" Severus gasped.
Jesus smiled. "I don't often do this, but if you want another chance to live, I will give it to you."
"Really?" Severus asked.
Jesus nodded. "You died before your time."
"But I've been here for two years!" Snape replied. "Why did no one tell me this before?"
"Because you didn't want to live. You were miserable here, but you dreaded returning to earth, so we simply kept your body for you, uncorrupted. Now though, I think you may be ready to take it back."
"Slughorn's going to create a new generation of dunderheads if I do not return," Snape answered.
Jesus laughed. "Fair enough. Goodbye Severus!"
With that, Severus fell from the sky and back into his body.
Severus groaned as his eyes fluttered open. "Miss Granger?" he asked.
She embraced him. "Thank God you're alive! I thought you'd died from the snake bite, and when I saw you lying half dead in the snow… Oh Snape I'm so glad you're alive!"
I think I am too, he answered as he looked up into the sky.