Disclaimer: Harry Potter and all the characters are owned by J.K. I just borrow them every now and then.
A/N: Enjoy, my lovely readers.
Just Give It One More Try
The battle was fought. The war was over. Finally. No more would the world live in fear of the dark wizard named Lord Voldemort, or Tom Riddle as the coward should have been called. So many souls sacrificed themselves for the peace, though. Death did not discriminate unfortunately. Families were destroyed with survivors being left to pick up the pieces. Pain and destruction was all that remained in that solemn moment.
Harry's dull green eyes passed over the dead resting in the battle-scarred Great Hall. He glanced at Ron and Hermione, sighing softly. The dead would be buried soon like the heroes they were. All of them. Fred. Tonks. Lupin. Colin. Lavender. He swallowed harshly. Snape.
He drew in a slow breath before he shook his head, tiredly pushing back his shaggy dark hair. How could he have been such an idiot? Really? Every year he had been convinced the hook-nosed man had been trying to kill him. And every damn year, Harry was spectacularly wrong.
"Harry," Hermione softly said, resting a gentle hand on his arm. "Professors McGonagall and Flitwick have returned." She stared at him with a somber look as if she wasn't sure how to help him. How to make it right.
Harry nodded slowly before he glanced towards the doors. He inhaled sharply when he noticed the cot the two professors carried in silently. He quickly rose to his feet, heading towards them. His eyes trailed over the covered sheet that shielded the person's identity.
"Y-You found him?" Harry asked with a slight waver to his voice as he watched the professors gently lower the cot to the floor.
"Yes," Professor McGonagall replied quietly. Her eyes softened slightly as she stared at the young man who seemed on the verge of breaking down.
"I want to see him."
"Mr. Potter," she started to say before frowning when he glared at her.
"I know about his neck. I know about the wounds. I don't care. I want to see him. Please."
"There's something you need to know, Harry." She sighed. "It would seem after you left the Shrieking Shack," she paused for a moment "someone set it on fire. He's badly burned. I-I can't even. If you hadn't told us where he'd be, I wouldn't have said it was him."
Harry stared at her in frozen horror. He felt sick. Horribly so. Someone had set— He turned to the side, heaving a moment later. How could someone—? Beyond sick. Beyond sane. Snape was a hero! Not— Who could do something so sick? So wrong? So vile? The mess vanished a moment later.
"Why? Why would someone do that?" Harry yelled, glancing at each of the professors' faces once he got himself back under some semblance of control.
"I don't know, Harry. I don't know."
"He's a hero. He gave everything for us. Sacrificed himself for me. I-I—dammit!" Harry shook his head. "We owe him! Hell, we should be—It's not fair! It shouldn't have been like this!"
"Harry, Professor Dumbledore—"
"Screw Dumbledore," Harry snapped. "That manipulative bastard used Snape from the start! Made him believe that he was doing everything to protect me, keep me safe! That was a lie! An utter fucking lie! The bastard raised me like a pig for slaughter! So I'd die right when Dumbledore wanted me to. He guessed! Guessed that I'd live in the end. He didn't know for certain. But he knew that I had to sacrifice myself, had to give up and lose everyone to make that choice! He knew! KNEW!"
Harry caught several gasps from his outbursts, but he was so angry right now. He wanted to know who had desecrated the man who gave so much for them. And if he learned that person's identity, he was going to kill them. Slowly. Snape didn't deserve any more of this crap. The man had suffered enough in his life. He didn't need to suffer any more in his death.
"Mr. Potter, I understand that—"
"He loved my mother, Professor! All of this—all of it—was because of his love for her! And Dumbledore fucking used it against him!"
"No! If anyone should have been burned and desecrated like that, it should be Albus Fucking Dumbledore!" Harry shook his head. "For the Greater Good, my arse!" He swept out of the room then.
Another funeral. It never became any easier attending them. And lately it felt all he did was attend another funeral. Another lost soul cut down before his or her time. That was all it reminded Harry of. However, this one he knew he had to be at. He didn't care if the others didn't show up. The idiot bastards who fell in line just as he had.
Harry readjusted his tie once more before he headed out onto the grounds. It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining, and the warmth of summer caressed him. He walked past the white marble tomb Dumbledore was encased in, resisting the urge to hex it to hell and back. The arrogant, manipulative, son of a bitch!
He slowed when he approached the black marble tomb. Had Snape asked for the black? Or were they just assuming he'd want his trademark color for his final resting place? He frowned, shaking his head. He didn't know. Then again, did anyone really know Snape?
Harry took a seat towards the front. He noticed that the staff was already present, sitting collectively together. There was something to be said about the strength they projected currently. His eyes passed over each of them, noticing that only a few of them seemed real choked up. He turned back and sighed.
"Hey, sorry we're late, mate. Has it started yet?" Ron asked quietly as he slid into the chair beside Harry with Hermione, Neville, Luna, and the surviving Weasley family. He frowned when Harry shook his head slightly. "Bit surprised that there aren't more Slytherins here, aren't you?"
"He's seen to be a traitor in their eyes, Weasley," a voice softly answered behind Harry.
"Morons," Ron mumbled.
"Precisely," the voice whispered.
"Good of you to show up, though, Malfoy. And your family."
"He was braver than most of us, Weasley. Wasn't a coward and shied away like us. He deserves our respect. Like Potter says," Draco replied.
The official slowly walked up to the tomb then to start the funeral. Harry drowned the man's words out, though, his eyes focused solely on the black tomb. Was Snape happy now that he couldn't suffer anymore? Was he with Harry's mum up there, finally telling the witch how much he loved her? Was his afterlife better than his life was? Harry hoped so. The man deserved it after all he went through in his life for them, living a life full of scorn and bitterness and mostly pain.
Harry closed his eyes, wiping at his cheeks when he felt the traitorous tears again. No matter what, he couldn't get past how much the man had sacrificed for them, and how little Snape had to show for it. According to Hermione, he had no family. Harry's mother being the larger reason why. And because of several dunderheads at the Ministry, Snape wasn't even allowed to have a portrait to hang in the Headmaster's office. All the man had to show for his pain and suffering for them was this, a black marble tomb on the grounds of Hogwarts.
"This isn't right," Harry whispered, swallowing back his emotions as he stared at the tomb.
"It's what he wanted, Harry."
"No. I-I don't understand. Why doesn't he get a happy ending, Hermione? Why did his life only consist of pain when he gave so much for us?"
"Because the Fates are bitches, Potter," Malfoy replied quietly.
"And because life isn't fair, Harry," Neville stated just as quiet. "Something he wanted all of us to learn, remember?" The young man glanced at Harry before shaking his head.
The guests then stood, lining up to pay their final respects. Harry closed his eyes when he reached the black tomb. What did one say to the man who was the reason he was alive? Really? There was so much he wanted to say. He wanted to tell the man that his mum would have been proud of Snape for everything. But it wasn't enough. He wanted to tell the man how sorry he was for always thinking the worst of him. But that too wasn't enough. He wanted to tell Snape that it wasn't his fault, that he was forgiven. But the words wouldn't come. He frowned, hanging his head.
"Thank you," he whispered with a shaky breath as he rested a hand on the black marble. He then drew in a slow breath as he let every memory, every thought in his mind flow through his hand to the tomb. When he felt Hermione's hand on his shoulder, he closed his eyes before he walked past.
After the funeral, Harry slowly walked up to the Headmaster's office. Or was it Headmistress's office since Professor McGonagall had taken over? He shook his head at that thought. Honestly, who cared anymore? He knocked on the door and sighed as he crossed the threshold.
"Mr. Potter," said with a faint smile the normally stern Gryffindor. She seemed extremely aged now. But then again, they all did in some extent. He watched her dab at her eyes before she drew in a steeling breath. "I'm under the impression that you've decided to continue becoming an Auror—" A knock on her door stopped her instantly. She frowned. "You'll have to excuse me for a moment, Mr. Potter." She then called out to the person on the other side of the door. "Enter."
Harry turned slowly, watching the door open to reveal Professor Sinistra. He glanced down at the floor immediately. More than a few times, he had noticed his Astronomy professor glance towards the empty chair in the Great Hall where Snape should have been.
"Aurora, dear, I—" Professor McGonagall started with a clear motherly tone directed towards the younger witch who approached slowly.
"I won't take up too much of your time. I promise." Professor Sinistra's normal warm eyes were dull and lifeless now Harry noticed when she glanced at him briefly. She withdrew a sealed envelope from her robes, holding it out to McGonagall. "My resignation."
"Aurora, please reconsider."
"No, Minerva." She shook her head, her dark curls moving a bit but not much—not like they used to at least. "There's nothing here for me anymore. You know that."
"Let yourself heal first, my dear, before you make any—"
"I can't stay here, Minerva. Everywhere I look I see him," the witch pleaded. Her voice wavered slightly. "Please. Just accept my resignation. That's all I ask."
"Hogwarts will always be—"
"Not for me. Not anymore." Professor Sinistra closed her eyes before drawing in a slow breath. "Goodbye, Minerva." With that, she turned around and left silently.
Harry sighed quietly, glancing down at the floor. He shared his former Astronomy professor's sentiments. Hogwarts wasn't home anymore. It had been violated and ruined by war. All anyone saw anymore was pain and destruction.
"Oh, Aurora," Professor McGonagall whispered softly.
"Are a lot of the professors resigning?" Harry asked. He supposed it was natural to do so. They had likely seen so many of their former students die. He knew he had. But he wondered if there was something more to the story. He had, after all, a habit of missing half of the story usually.
"No. Just Aurora so far." Professor McGonagall sighed, falling back into the high backed chair. "I wish she wasn't, though."
"She's a good professor. Hogwarts will miss her," Harry offered quietly. He watched Professor McGonagall nod slowly.
"Yes, she is." She shook her head a moment later. "She needs time to heal, though. Good lord, we all do actually." She pinched her lips together for a moment as she thought on something for a bit. "She was the closest to Severus, I think. Except Albus of course." She ran a hand through her hair. "I knew his death would affect her greatly. We all did. Hopefully, she can find some sort of solace and heal properly. I fear, though, that she'll do what she always does—hide herself away and suffer in silence." She shook her head. "She took after him a bit too much for my liking some days. But she loved him."
Harry's eyes narrowed. Sinistra had loved Snape? Had Snape known that when he was alive? Of course he did, Harry thought not long after. Snape, however, only loved Harry's mum, though.
"A broken heart unfortunately will take many years to heal," Professor McGonagall quietly remarked. "I know that firsthand." She shook her head again. "I'm sorry, Mr. Potter." She sighed. "Am I correct in hearing that you've decided to continue with becoming an Auror?"
"Yes, Professor." Harry nodded. "I have a meeting with Minister Shacklebolt tomorrow. We're going to discuss my options, and I'm also going to see if he can somehow help me get Professor Snape's portrait hung in here. Where Professor Snape belongs." He watched her nod slowly.
"I wish you luck, Harry. If anyone deserves his portrait, it's Severus."
Ten years had passed since the Final Battle. Harry had become an Auror just like he had planned. Most of his work was done from home, though, since all had been quiet for a decade. He glanced across the table at his wife, smiling at her when she caught his eyes.
"What? Did they agree?" she asked, wiping her hands into her apron as she headed towards him.
"No. They're still being idiots and not replying." He shrugged. "I'm not going to stop, though. Not until they do answer my request." He watched her nod, her red hair waving slowly. "How's Lily?"
"Still colicky. Mum's going to come over later to help." Ginny shrugged. "We didn't have half of these problems with the boys."
Harry snorted. "Oh, come on, Gin. You love our daughter, and you know it."
"I do. I just wish she wasn't so fussy." She sighed. "I honestly don't know how my mum did it with all of us."
"I'm telling you. She's a saint, Gin." He chuckled when she rolled her eyes. He then caught the bird flying in and sighed. His eyes narrowed on the Ministry seal on the envelope tied to the owl's leg. He carefully removed it, feeding the bird a snack before opening the envelope to read the message. His green eyes skimmed the letter prior to him smiling.
"I take it they agreed?"
"Yeah. Finally." He sighed tiredly, rubbing his face. "It only took ten years." He leaned against his wife when she wrapped her arms around him. "They're going to put it up later today." He closed his eyes as Ginny carded his hair gently.
"You should get ready then, so you're there to see it. Get your closure."
"Don't. I've got them, Harry. Go."
He sighed. "What do I even say?"
"I don't know. But then again, I didn't know what you should say to Professor Dumbledore either. And look how well that turned out? Our middle son shares his name."
"And Snape's," she agreed quietly. "Go on. I've got things in hand here."
"Thank you, Ginny." Harry stood, kissing his wife's cheek before heading upstairs to dress. What would he say to the man responsible for saving his arse so many times? That question had plagued him ever since the man's funeral. Nothing seemed to be enough for Harry.
"Dada go bye-bye?" said a toddler with brilliant green eyes.
Harry knelt down, picking his son up with a smile instantly. He chuckled when the young boy wrapped his arms around his father's neck.
"I have to go to Hogwarts for a bit, Al. I'll be back soon, though."
The toddler blinked a few times before burying his face into Harry's neck.
"Hey, little man. It'll be all right. I'll come home soon enough. I just have to see someone. Someone special to me, to us," Harry added after a few moments.
"The man you're named after, Al. Severus Snape." He watched his son's face scrunch up as the little toddler tried to figure that out. "Your middle name, Albus Severus." He then watched his son nod slowly. His son gave him a brief peck on the cheek.
"Dada say hello?"
"Of course, I'll do that for you, Al." He kissed his son's forehead with a faint smile. "Now, go on. Before your mum realizes you're free." He chuckled when his son ran off in the other direction. Fastening his cloak, he Disapparated then, appearing on the grounds of Hogwarts and quickly heading up to Headmaster's office. After ten years, finally Severus Snape would receive the respect he deserved.
"Ah, excellent. You did receive our letter then, Mr. Potter." The Ministry official then finished hanging the silver frame in the open spot. "Now, I just need to activate the portrait, and we're set." The man flicked his wand towards the empty portrait as Harry waited beside Professors McGonagall and Flitwick. However, nothing happened. "Hmm. That's odd." The Ministry official tried several more times before finally glancing at the three. "Well, sorry to ask this, but, well, are you sure he died?"