Chapter 1 : Lilies by the Lake
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Even though it had been a while since the ceremony concluded, the Great Hall was consumed by the chatter of the war's survivors. Bill and Percy were engaged in a deep conversation with Kingsley at the Ravenclaw table, his mum and dad were making small talk with a few people from the Ministry, and Charlie was near the fireplace chatting with Oliver Wood. Ron and Hermione were nowhere to be seen; they were probably having a snog in an abandoned classroom somewhere. Most of the people in the room George didn't even know, and he assumed a lot of them didn't know each other, either. However, they all seemed to be talking about the same things. They talked of bravery and vigilance, of perseverance and selflessness, and George thought he was going to lose his mind with it all. It was just insulting and so damn pathetic.
He had only returned to Hogwarts that day because Ginny asked him to; Harry had to give a big speech, so she had asked him if he would sit with her for the ceremony. But that all ended an hour ago. The ceremony was finished, as was Harry's elaborate speech, and now Ginny was standing across the room, her hand grasping his as he talked with Professors McGonagall and Sprout. George stood forgotten in the corner, a full glass of pumpkin juice in his hand. Watching everyone and listening to the completely absurd things they were saying made his stomach churn with disgust. What was wrong with everyone? Had they gone completely insane?
Before he knew it, George was speedily walking out of the room and heading for the Entrance Hall, anger boiling in his veins. He couldn't believe the nerve everyone had. What right did they have to say such things after so many good people had died, people who were so much more deserving of honor like this? He only became more enraged by the sight of the grounds once he got outside. The podium was still set up from earlier, as were the chairs. There were hundreds of them, and every single one had been filled. There hadn't even been enough for everyone who attended; many mourners had to stand on the hill overlooking the field beside the Black Lake. And the flowers...there were so many of them. Beautiful white lilies connected with green ribbons lined the rows of chairs. Everything was so perfect, so lovely, and to George, it was absolutely sickening.
It was similar to how the grounds looked a mere two days before. A memorial service had been held for all of the fallen, both the good and the bad, and all of the survivors had congregated there to honor their memories. While each victim of the war had their own private funeral with only family and close friends in attendance, the Ministry thought it would be a good idea to hold one huge service for everyone. That day, each fallen witch and wizard had their name engraved on a newly-built memorial on the hill so they would never be forgotten. Only one wizard's name was not placed on that memorial, and that was brought everyone together once again.
After the revelation brought upon by the memories in the Pensieve, Harry shared the truth about Severus Snape with everyone. Evidently, Snape had been secretly working for Dumbledore for all of those years after he made a promise to protect Harry. It was strange how quickly everyone's attitude changed about Dumbledore's murderer; it was even comical in a way. Snape - greasy, sullen, loathed-by-everyone Snape – went from from the status of evil human being to ultimate hero in a matter of minutes. Suddenly, he was brave instead of cowardly, and his life was tragic instead of pathetic. Everyone sympathized with him and raved on about how important he had been to their cause.
This wasn't what bothered George. At the beginning, even he was impressed with Snape's real story despite the fact that he had just lost his best friend, his better half. No, all of the praise directed toward Snape wasn't the problem. It was everything after that. It was how everyone seemed to think his death was more important than the rest. It was how his life story and photograph was on the front page of the Daily Prophet the day after the battle, while every other casualty just got brief mention on the second page, and a small blurb if they were lucky. It was how the Ministry decided that he deserved his own blasted memorial service, while a collective ceremony sufficed for everyone else.
It was how Severus Snape got his own polished rock surrounded by white lilies on the edge of the Black Lake.
George walked straight over to that rock and glared at it for a long time. It completely broke his heart and made him want to scream in rage. Yes, Snape had made some sacrifices and took some serious risks, but so did everyone else. Why the hell did everyone think his were so damn important? And had everyone forgotten the fact that, regardless of his intentions, he was a complete jerk for his entire life? The guy was a Death Eater, for Merlin's sake! He treated everyone he came across like garbage! So what if he dealt with unrequited love – people do that all the time! Why the hell was Severus Snape so special? Why was everyone talking about him like he was a fucking saint or something?
He knew he was blinded by sadness because he'd lost Fred, but George didn't care. In that moment, he hated the man who would be forever glorified by the memorial five feet in front of him. Snape didn't deserve it. Fred did. Fred, who was always so kind, so lighthearted, right until the bitter end should have had his own memorial on the grounds of the school he fought so hard to protect that night. Remus deserved it – he was a far better teacher, a far better man, then Snape could have ever hoped to be. Tonks deserved it – she was so sweet, so loyal, so courageous. Hell, even little Colin Creevey deserved his own commemoration more than the greasy Potions Master did. It was Snape who should have been a tiny name on the collective memorial, not them. They were the ones who deserved their own ceremonies with hundreds in attendance. They deserved to have the Great Hall filled with admirers talking about them, and only them, in such high regard and with so much enthusiasm. They were the brave ones, the selfless ones, the honorable ones.
George snapped and picked up the largest rock he saw at the edge of the water. Without a second thought, he threw it with as much force as he could at Snape's memorial. The rock left a large scuff right across the engraved name, and George loved it. If everyone's memories of Snape were going to be magically untainted, then at least his bloody memorial would have an ugly marking.
"I'm glad you're dead, you foul git," George sneered at the now ruined epitaph. "I don't care what everyone's saying about you. I don't give a damn that you protected Harry, or that you supposedly spied on the Death Eaters. None of the matters. Everything you did we could have done without you. You were meaningless. You're still an evil prat in my eyes, just like you've always been. I hope you rot in Hell, you fucking sleazebag."
George turned swiftly on his heel and continued to walk across the grass, heading in the direction of Hogsmeade. He sure as hell wasn't going back to the Great Hall, where everyone was still "celebrating" the life of someone who was nothing more than a coward. Once he passed the boundary, he took out his wand and Apparated on the spot. He had never been so happy to see the Burrow. The best part was that it was empty, what with everyone still at Hogwarts.
George went directly to his room, collapsed onto his bed, and sobbed. He cried for Fred, his better half. He cried for Remus, Tonks, and their little boy who would never know his parents. He cried for Colin and Cedric, whose lives were cut tragically short. He cried for Sirius and Dumbledore, who both died for the cause that consumed their lives. He even cried for Lily and James, who loved their child so much that they gave their own lives for him. But most of all, George cried because somehow, the ends of all these precious lives were being deemed by most of the Wizarding World as less important than the death of a man who was nothing more than a cowardly jerk.
That was ten years ago. In the decade that had passed, annual ceremonies were held at Hogwarts for the fallen, but there weren't separate ones for Snape anymore. He became just like the rest of them, a name in a sea of names, only his wasn't with the rest. When people came to the remembrance ceremonies, they left their flowers and candles at the base of the collective memorial. No one made the trip down to the edge of the Black Lake to visit what became a forgotten memory.
But George remembered. Today, while everyone was either mourning at the memorial or socializing in the Great Hall, George walked down to Snape's small commemorative stone. He's not sure what possessed him to do it, but he stands there now, just staring at it. The scuff mark from his rage ten years before is still there, though it is just as weathered as the engravings.
He understands now why this man was singled out from the rest. Despite what he may have thought at the immediately following the war, there really was no way they would have won without Snape. No one else could have successfully played Voldemort like that, and certainly not for so many years. He doesn't feel bad for how he acted all those years ago, as his feelings had seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, but over the years he has learned to view Snape with a bit more respect. The man may have been a bitter prat for most of his life, but he really had been brave.
"Daddy!" George hears a boy shout behind him. "Daddy, what are you doing? Mummy says it's time to go inside."
George smiles and looks behind him. "I'll be there in just a minute. Go with your mum and sister."
Just like his namesake would have done, the little boy ignores George and runs over to him. George can't help but chuckle a bit; he really sees so much of his brother in his son, sometimes more than he sees himself.
"Daddy, what are you looking at?" Fred II asks as he stands beside his father.
"It's a memorial, Freddie, just like the one up on the hill."
Fred II walks over to the stone and traces his fingers along the name engraved there.
"Severus Snape," he reads slowly. He turns to his father. "Who was he?"
George considers his question for a moment, thinking of the best way to explain who Snape was to the curious seven-year-old in front of him. Before answering, he allows a small smile to appear on his lips.
"He was a hero," George says. If it were possible, his twenty-year-old self would punch him for saying such a thing, but at thirty, George knows it's true.
"Like Uncle Fred?"
George smiles and nods. "Yes, like your Uncle Fred."
"And like Teddy's mummy and daddy?"
"Yes, like them, too."
"So this man helped?" Fred II asks with wide eyes. "He helped you and Uncle Ron and Uncle Harry and Auntie Hermione and everyone else defeat the bad people?" He says this all very fast, eager to know more about the memorial at his feet.
"He did. He certainly did."
"Wow," Fred II breathes, looking back at the memorial. He touches the top of the rock with his small fingers. "Thank you, Mr. Snape."
George smiles at his son, again seeing nothing but his twin. His little boy has gained the same kindness, the same curiosity, and the same heart of pure gold that Fred had. It's nothing short of magnificent.
"I'm hungry," Fred II says suddenly. "I'm going back up up. Bye, dad!"
George laughs as Fred II runs by him on his little legs back to Angelina and Roxanne. He had apparently inherited Fred's short attention span and insatiable hunger, too. But then again, those were traits that George himself had always shared with his twin.
He looks back at Snape's memorial one last time. George reaches into his pocket and pulls out the small bouquet of white lilies he brought with him, casting a spell to return them to their original size. After placing them at the base of the memorial, he uses his wand to mend the scuff mark he made all those years ago. George has made peace with his memories of Snape. He would never like the guy, but he would always respect him for what he did for them. He had contributed to the happiness and life they're all blessed with today, just as Fred, Remus, Tonks, and everyone else who fought that day had. George would forever be grateful for that.
"Thank you," he says to the memorial.
It's all he needs to say. As he turns and walks back up the hill to his wife and children, the wind plays lightly with the trees above. The leaves dance to the songs the birds sing. It's a beautiful day, and he feels blessed to be alive to experience it.
Thank you, George thinks to himself as he glances up at the sky – at Fred, at Remus, at Tonks, at Colin, at everyone who gave their lives that day a decade ago, including Severus Snape. From the bottom of my heart, thank you.
Author's Note: I'd just like to mention that this was never intended to be a Snape-bashing story. I don't hate him by any means; he's actually one of my favorite characters. I really just wanted to explore what George's feelings may have been following the war, and somehow it resulted in this. No idea why, though; it practically wrote itself.
Anyways, thanks so much for reading! Hope you liked! :)