I hate Snape. Let's get that straight from the get go. He's a scum-sucking bastard with not one redeeming characteristic in the books. That said, he was sneaky, ambitious and in many ways, a nearly perfect Slytherin. Ambition, brains and patience can be a terrible combination when stirred with hate, loathing and revenge.
Chapter the only
Harry sat up wearily. He looked around the great hall. Bodies were scattered everywhere, most of them far too still. Over in the corner of the room Hermione was getting those few people that had been on Harry's side seen to, as Madame Pomfrey had not been in the hall during the final battle.
Harry turned and looked at the putrid mass that was all that was left of Voldemort. The decaying thing didn't look human at all. He looked at the broken and burned remains of his first wand and hoped no one had seen him using Dumbledore's wand. He had no desire for anyone to know that he had that wand.
He struggled to his feet and started limping towards the corner where Hermione and Madame Pomfrey were treating the people that had stood by him and survived.
"Potter." The voice was so low and weak that Harry couldn't tell where it came from He looked at the pile of bodies here and shook his head. They had all died suddenly, almost every senior Death Eater. Snape, of all people had stood up and claimed that he had poisoned them. Voldemort had cursed him but that distraction and the loss of so many of his people had allowed Harry to cast the spell that Hermione had found, that would lock the two of them in a magical sphere, that would only drop with the death of one of them.
Harry had come out of that sphere, although how much of that was his use of the Elder Wand was open to debate. His slightly fogged thoughts were interrupted as the voice spoke again "Quit gloating and pay attention, Potter."
Harry turned, but he already knew who had spoken to him. That caustic tone was unmistakeable to anyone that had taken potions under Snape. He looked at Snape and couldn't muster the energy to hate him. The Potions Master was obviously in great pain and even as Harry looked at him a trickle of blood started from his ear.
Harry sat down and looked at Snape again. He asked the only question he could think of. "Why did you kill them?"
Snape sneered at him. "Because of the prophecy, you dolt." Snape coughed, blood mixed with other, darker things coming from his mouth. Snape looked at something only he could see. "When I joined Voldemort, I thought he would win and that I could get everything I wanted by being his loyal man. I had it all planned out. Then, I was spying on Dumbledore for him and overheard that damn prophecy.
He looked at Harry again. "I served him faithfully and only asked for one thing; that he spare Lily that night. When he killed the only woman I ever loved, my hate knew no bounds. That was the night I started working against him, doing what I could to kill him, only to find out when I went to Dumbledore that nothing I could do would kill him."
Harry's mind shied away from the thought of Snape and his mother and he asked a question to erase the mental images. "So you were on Dumbledore's side all along?"
Snape rolled his eyes. "Do you really think I'm that stupid, Potter? I respected Dumbledore's mind, but his ideals were foolish. Some people should be be killed, if only to keep them from harming others. Bellatrix was a good example of that. Dumbledore's weak and foolish ideals and morals would have doomed everyone eventually."
Harry looked at the man that had killed Professor Dumbledore and had a sudden realization. "That's why you hate me so much. Not because of my father, but because I am the only person that could kill the man you hated. You had to let me do the one thing you wanted more than anything."
"Your father was a school bully, Potter, nothing more. I hated him then, but after he died, there was no point in it. Black was a different story. He was still an ass, even after Azkaban." Snape sneered at Harry's expression. "Grow up, boy. He treated you well, because of who you are, Lily's child. To people he didn't like, Black was an ass." Snape closed his eyes for a minute and Harry watched him silently. Snape began to speak again. "I know that James Potter could never have taken Lily from me if I hadn't made mistakes. We had history, your mother and I and I had forgotten more about living as a Muggle than your father ever knew. I was too busy trying to rise in the Slytherin ranks and let their views cloud my judgment. That is what finally turned Lily from me and into Potter's arms."
Snape coughed again, blood and thicker things spewing from his mouth. When he spoke again, his voice was so quiet that Harry could barely hear him. "It took seventeen years, but I got my revenge. Killing his people just when he thought he had won was even better than killing him. While he burns in Hell, he'll know that I was the cause of his defeat." Snape smirked at Harry. "That you owe at least part of your victory to me is a nice bonus. Remember that in the years to come, Potter. When you lay in bed with your women, when you play with the spawn you get on them, you owe it to 'that greasy git'."
Harry started to say something, but stopped when he realized that Snape was dead.
A/N: Snape's hatred of James Potter was something I never understood. James was, at worst, a school bully and for anyone as intelligent as Snape is portrayed to hate a dead man that long and that fiercely just doesn't make sense. And to expect me to believe that he would torment any child of Lily's like that is just foolish, especially since he could see her eyes every time he looked at Harry. Now, hating Voldemort for killing Lily, that I can see. And know that he can never do anything to the man that killed the only woman he ever loved would be a burning canker in his soul. To know that Harry is the only person that can do the one thing he wants more than anything, something he would give up his life for, that would be a torment that would make his torture of Harry understandable.
(Before you say that Snape didn't know that Harry was the only person that could kill Voldemort... Are you kidding? It was fairly obvious from at least book three that it had to be Harry. No one that has a mind that can find all those potion improvements before even finishing school could have failed to figure it out. Snape was a right bastard, but he was entirely too smart not to have figured out why Dumbledore was protecting Harry so carefully.)