Epilogue: Remember Me

PrologueChapter 1Chapter 2Chapter 3Chapter 4Chapter 5Chapter 6Chapter 7Chapter 8Chapter 9Chapter 10, Chapter 11, Chapter 12, Chapter 13, Chapter 14, Chapter 15, Chapter 16.

A man in his mid-30’s, wearing glasses and an overcoat, stood in a windswept cemetery in front of a grave. It was a gray winter day, as gray as the waves crashing against the Dorset coast not far away, and the chiseled sky seemed to match the texture of the headstone before him.

    He knelt and brushed away the snow dusting it. “There you go,” he muttered, smiling slightly. “Can’t have that, can we?”

     He pulled his coat tighter as the wind whipped up along the side of the hill. “Well, it’s your type of day, that’s for sure. I do hope you’re satisfied with me getting half frozen to death during visiting hours.” He gazed out, in the direction of the ocean. “There’s salt on the wind today. I love it when I can taste it. It seems to come alive, when it plays along with the currents. Sometimes it seems like they are both living things, bound together. I think you’d have liked living by the ocean; it gives a man a place to wander and to think…”

     He didn’t say anything for a little while, then tossed in awkwardly, “So I suppose I’ll update you on the family. Hermione sends her love. She’s still keeping busy with pediatric pharmacy, so maybe all those potions lessons did her some good after all, even though you were sort of a jerk to her back then. She’s taken it in stride, and is pretty damn good at her job. She has a heart for helping people, especially kids.”

     He stuffed his chapped hands into his pockets. “You would have loved to scare straight our own kids, I imagine, especially Albus Severus. Obviously I kept my part of the bargain…it’s only a middle name. But I do wonder what you’d have been like around little Lily Luna. I fancy she looks a lot like her grandmother, red hair, green eyes, and a patch of freckles just by her nose. And she’s very sweet-natured. Why do I have a sneaking suspicion you would have gone just a little softer on her? And I do think she would have liked you, too. She has a way of reading between the lines. She probably would have adopted you as her personal project.”

     He turned his eyes to the ground. “Speaking of projects, I’m happy to report Luna Lovegood is taking good care of Ron, who is doing pretty well running his dentist office. Hermione gave him a lot of inspiration there, her parents having been in that field and all. Ginny is also quite happy with Neville, who’s now a botanist. She came to think he was pretty cool, especially after he massacred your snake, and he needed the additional self-confidence after all those years of your scaring the britches off him, anyway. Plus she thinks his flowers are romantic, so all’s well that ends well. They’re all almost like aunts and uncles to the kids now.”

     Then he remembered to include his old former enemy. “Even Draco Malfoy recently settled down with a nice girl and has managed to leave behind his past record menace to the magical society. He’s done well for himself; went into business management, and has a cushy office in one of those big London companies. When we all left Hogwarts and came back to the muggle world, his parents pretty much disowned him. So we sort of formed a little club among ourselves for support. But you were right about getting out, especially after what happened when the Ministry fractured and Hogwarts closed its doors after the war. Positive anarchy up there. As I told you before, we had to pretty much make a raid to get Professor McGonnagall out of there. You know how stubborn she is; she’d stay on board until the ship sunk, or be thrown into Azkaban by feuding factions.”

    He rolled his eyes, recalling how he and Ron had to risk her incinerating them with her wand before managing to pretty much drag her into a muggle vehicle and drive her to the safety of the south while rioters were wreaking havoc on the school grounds. “She was a bit shaken, but she’s doing okay now; lives in retirement in an ornate old place with lots of books and antiques from the wizarding and muggle worlds, plus opened up something of a rescue shelter for magical animals without a home. Lots of cats and owls, as you can imagine. And I never realized she was so good at music. She’s got a magic touch with the harpsichord, so she’s giving the kids lessons.  And for the record, she seems to have quite gotten over that wand duel incident, because she talks in as praiseworthy a tone about you now as you once did in the shack. She even said that under more advantageous circumstances, you might have made a damn good headmaster. Oh, and I almost forgot to mention, Hagrid’s staked out with her too as her groundskeeper and animal caretaker. He’s also got his own landscaping business under way, so he’s putting his giant green thumb to good use…”

    He exhaled. “But anyway, enough about them. Time to talk about me. Guess what I had to teach in literature class this past week?” he rattled on with a sparkle in his eye. “Dante. Thought of you the whole time.” He smirked. “How come I can barely get through a day as a teacher without imagining some deliciously sarcastic thing you’d say to me, even after all this time? Maybe I should stop using your books in session. They’re haunted or something. But I don’t know…maybe I get a kick out of thinking what your commentary would be. It would still be Potter this, or Potter that, oh, you like the title ‘professor’, do you? Empty-headed maggot, bricker-brack boy, you’re doing it all wrong, you’re not hard enough on your brats, you make too many jokes in class, love is less effective than fear among any student body…” He swallowed something back. “But…fear isn’t what keeps bringing me out here, is it?”

    He turned his eyes to the sky strewn with snow clouds, and felt icy water blurring his vision.      “Damn it, Snape, don’t you know you’re missed down here? You miserable man, don’t you know how much…?” He inhaled, regaining control of himself. “Sorry,” he chuckled. “Still the emotional basket case, I’m afraid.” He half laughed, half sniffled. “Well, at least you see…I still remember. You’re a hard one to forget, you cantankerous codger.”

     His eyes softened. “I’ve got something to tell you. I know you’d snark me about it like crazy, but…well, you’re involved, like it or not. I’m starting to…go to Mass at the parish regular-like. Starting to…take instruction, as they call it. It all started with that Mass I had for you. Didn’t know half how to go about it in the beginning …just had to track down a priest to get the general scoop. Sort of blurted out that I had this friend who had been…a son of the Church. Hey, you said that type of thing never got worn away, and it seemed to work pretty well in getting what needed to be gotten. The padre was a good sport about it and helped me figure things out. So…instead of one, I wound up going to two Requiem Masses. You said your mum wanted one too, right? Well…she got it now.”

     He let his mind drift back to the memory of deciding to light a votive candle beneath the stained glass window of St. John of the Cross. “I felt…what you said. There was a deeper magic at work. I can’t describe it, but…it made me feel connected and complete. I started to want to attend more often, and then…I started learning about it, and I wanted…to confess, to communicate. So, unless I blow something in a major way, I should be able to do so come Easter Vigil this year. And…in a strange sort of way…it’s sort of your doing. So…better wish me luck.”

    He turned back down in the direction of the winding road from which he had come. “I’d best get going. Hermione will be getting supper together, and she hates it if I let it get cold grading papers too late or lollygagging about. We live in a nice place. It’s a lovely cottage with a garden in the back, and green meadows and woods, and lots of open space to see the sky…”

     Again he found his words running out apace, realizing that none of it could have been possible without the sacrifice of others. He pulled something from under his coat and laid it down in front of the grave. “Sorry it got a little crunched,” he apologized, regarding the lily lying almost camouflaged in the snow. “Had to get it at one of those greenhouse places on the way up here. It’s not the easiest time of year to get these, so you’ve got to give me an E for effort, at least.”

     The wind brushed the petals, and for a moment, the flower seemed to be dancing to the music of spring’s rebirth stirring deep beneath the frozen ground of winter. Was it speaking to the one who had laid it there? Telling him of something that transcended the grave?

     He closed his eyes. “Give mum a hug for me, okay? And if you see my dad…tell him I said hi. Tell him how annoyingly like him I am sometimes. And tell him…I won’t make the same mistakes he did.”

     One last time he touched the stone. “See you soon, Snape. Thanks again for this life I’m living. God knows it was worth everything, after all.”

     And as Harry Potter walked away, the pale sun glinted through the frosty sky and shone on that headstone, carved in the shape of a Celtic cross. It read:

Severus Snape: 

Teacher and Friend

“Farewell, farewell,

To you who would hear,

You lonely travelers all.”

     Beneath that, at the base of the cross in even smaller writing, was inscribed:

Luke 23:43 – “I tell you, this day you will be with Me in Paradise.”

Avellina Balestri (aka Rosaria Marie) is one of the founding members and the Editor-in-Chief of The Fellowship of the King, a literary magazine with a strong Tolkienite influence (which, by the way, is open to submissions). She reads and writes extensively, and eagerly seeks out the deeper spiritual significance of popular fandoms such as The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, Star Trek, Star Wars, and The Hunger Games. And yes, she does have a soft spot in her heart for classic Disney movies, The Princess Bride, and Merlin 😉 She is also a recording artist, singing traditional folk songs and her own compositions as well as playing the penny whistle and bodhran drum. She draws her inspiration from the Ultimate Love and Source of Creativity, and hopes to share that love and creativity with others.