My beloved cat, Sheba, died a week ago. She was sixteen years old, and had been a birthday gift on my fourteenth birthday. She was such an enourmous part of my life, and I miss her so much. This little fic is just an attempt to make myself feel a little better. Unbetaed, first posted on Severus Sighs.
The first thing Harry noticed when he arrived was that the lighting in this place was really quite good. Candles were all well and good, but sometimes it felt nice to have a lot of light around.
He shook his head a bit, still a little disoriented, before he realized where he was and what must have happened.
He'd been in bed at home, and Ron and Hermione's oldest had been holding his hand, and then he...
"I must have died," he said aloud. "So that would make this..."
He turned around again, hoping this place was where he had hoped he'd end up, where Dumbledore had once told him he would be welcome again.
It was bright and soft, and the sky seemed to go on forever, and Harry knew he'd reached some sort of Paradise. He relaxed, then turned around and a wide smile broke out onto his face.
There, in the distance, was Severus.
He was so much younger than he was the last time Harry had seen him, and as he approached Harry had to search his memory to remember his age. It must have been the first time Harry had ever seen him because his crow's feet were completely gone, and there were no frown lines around his mouth. Harry smiled to himself. And Severus had always said he'd thought he looked distinguished as he became older.
Harry walked slowly towards him, then realized that his own body no longer ached and started to run, laughing as Severus gave him a small smile and extended his arms.
Harry ran faster, then stopped short as something white flew out behind Severus, and circled his head. His feet stopped and Harry stood still, shocked, as Hedwig soared around him, coming to rest on his extended arm.
"Hedwig!" Harry cried, embracing his owl as best he could, Hedwig happily hooting as tears began to flow. "Oh, I missed you so much!" In the corner of his eye, Harry thought he saw Severus approach with a scowl, arms no longer outstretched. He petted Hedwig's feathers as he wept.
"I thought I'd never see you again!" he said, burying his face in her feathers. Her hoots became quiet and comforting, and Harry realized he'd almost forgotten how soft she was.
Severus cleared his throat. "Excuse me," he said, "I wouldn't want to interrupt the reunion between you and your bird. I'm only your husband, after all."
Harry wiped his eyes, and turned to him. "I'm sorry," he said, throwing an arm around Severus, and kissing him firmly. "Hello, darling," he whispered softly, and Severus' smile returned with the endearment. "I didn't mean to ignore you, but I always knew I'd see you here. It was the only thing keeping me going for the past few years."
And it had been. He'd never been more grateful for dying young and knowing there was an afterlife than when Severus had died.
"But Hedwig," Harry said, turning again to pet her. "I thought I'd never see her again."
Severus huffed. "I told you you would." He extended a hand to pet Hedwig himself. "On several occasions over the years. Did you often think I lied to you?"
"Well, no, but I didn't know owls got into the afterlife."
"She was a very good owl," Severus said, "and she's been waiting for you. As have I."
"Oh," Harry said, and pushed his arm up to let Hedwig fly, watching her as she soared through the infinite sky, never leaving his sight. He wrapped an arm around Severus' waist, and looked at him. "Well, we're all here now. Let's go."
And they walked onward, Hedwig happily flying overhead, Harry's heart lighter than it ever had been.