A Letter to Professor Severus Snape:

May 2, 2000

Dear Professor Snape,

It has been two years since the Battle of Hogwarts; two years since Voldemort fell; two years since you died. I'm not sure, entirely, how I feel about it, if I'm being honest. On one hand, I don't want anyone to die in the way you did, bitten by a snake and left to bleed, alone. On the other hand, though, I think you kind of deserved it. You were an ass to me my entire time at Hogwarts. You were cruel, overly-so, and intentionally verbally abused me.

I'm trying not to be bitter, and I'm trying not to be cold, but writing to you….it brings out emotions I've been trying to ignore for ages. Emotions I should've gotten over years ago, but I just can't seem to, even though I'm almost twenty, now. I should be mature enough to say "It's okay, we're fine."-but it's not fine, and I'm not okay. I don't mean to completely accuse you (Professor, you were merely a character in the play of my life. You weren't even a major character, if I'm being honest) but I'm angry at you for how I feel. And, honestly, I don't want to feel that way, anymore.

I was always told words don't hurt. You know that old Muggle saying, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me"? Whoever said that has never met you, Professor Snape; they've clearly never listened in on one of your lessons, or overheard you talking to your students. Your words hurt, Professor. For years, I sat in class and listened to you call me an idiot, a buffoon.

But, it was also partly because of you that I decided to become an Auror. It was partly because you always told me I would never amount to anything that I decided to become something. It's because you criticised me that I decided to stand up for myself. Because you called me stupid, I decided to prove you wrong. You helped to make me the person I am today, Professor Snape-and for that, I have to thank you, as twisted as that seems.

I didn't intend on writing this letter to you, not now, and not ever. But Hannah-Hannah Abbott, you know, one of the Hufflepuffs-told me I ought to do this. She said I had to write out how I felt about you, so I could understand how I felt about you. Because I originally just thought I was angry-now I understand there's more inside of me than anger. There's a strange feeling of gratitude (something I often wonder if you even deserve) and there's a feeling of pity. I pity you, Professor Snape.

I never thought I would say that to you. About you. I pity Severus Snape-can you believe it? I hardly can, and I'm the one who feels this way. I understand now why you did the things you did, in your own twisted way. You hated us Gryffindors, didn't you? You hated the entire House, because we reminded you of your bullies as a child. But you also saw that you could make a difference, didn't you?

Maybe you didn't do it for me consciously, but I know you certainly tore into Harry Potter on purpose. All you were trying to do was make him stronger, give him thicker skin. But, even if you didn't mean to do that to me, you did, Professor Snape. You helped me with my own problems, by making me confront who I was angry at-who I was truly angry at.

Some days, it's too hard to admit you were really a good guy. It's easier to pretend you were just a bad guy, the enemy. Because it hurts my head to think that…to think that we were working together. The entire time, we were on the same team, and I didn't even know it. And I, sometimes, don't want to think about that. I don't want to admit that you had some good in you, as well.

But you were a good person, Professor Snape, even if I don't always want to admit it. Because the world isn't just black and white-it's shades of grey, as they say. And you were a horrible, awful person. Really, I don't think you ought to have been a teacher. But you were also just trying to help; you were just trying to do your part, and stay alive-just like the rest of us.

So, thank you, Professor Snape. Thank you for being a bad teacher. Thank you for being an asshole to me for seven years. Thank you for verbally abusing me and terrorising me for so long. Thank you for making me feel bad about myself. All of that-it changed me. It made me stronger, it made me tougher. I don't let words hurt me, anymore, because words are just that.

They're words.

And you were just a teacher.


Neville Longbottom