The relentless mist created a whitewash of the familiar castle grounds. It gave a sense of isolation that he simply could not shake, but then he guessed after what all had occurred all was lost anyhow. In truth the grounds’ isolation was merely a reflection of what he always felt on the inside, the freak, the outcast, the overlooked. None of them truly cared, none knew who he really was, they just saw what they wanted-what he showed them-and never even bothered to scratch the surface.
He had hoped after the downfall of Mr. Riddle that perhaps then someone would take a second look at him, but now there was no chance for that. Soon he’d need to leave, he wasn’t entirely sure how long he could sit there before it was too late, before he became barred from walking the gray road that was calling him to follow. He just wasn’t ready yet; perhaps to say goodbye to the only place he might of ever truly thought of as home. He didn’t think it was quite that though, it was comical almost, that he should have died where so many years before he had nearly been killed by a werewolf’s curse. Not funny ha ha, but funny in its own way. It was also funny to him that almost none of the things that had got to him one way or another-in good ways or bad-in his pervious life mattered. So very few things mattered right then, but the things that did were enough to keep him tethered here waiting.
From time to time he would glance towards the road seeing people walking along its path. He saw many faces he recognized, some good and some bad, but it seemed they all traveled the same road to death. This temporarily brought into question of the whole concept of heaven and hell, but soon he decided that didn't matter; at least not yet. Occasionally those on the road would notice him, and some beckoning him to join them along the path, but he simply remained where he was, waiting. Remus saw him and chose to come sit with him for awhile and though they did not speak there was a mutual peace between the two that left Remus with a rueful smile and himself with a rare twinkle in his eye that had not been seen since a red haired witch had walked away from him to where until now he could not follow. Soon enough Tonks was too walking along the road and Remus stood to join his wife, he looked to the other man but saw his resolve to stay where he was and simply turned to his wife walking along looking back over his shoulder just once before disappearing into the mist.
So once again, he was sitting alone waiting. There was no definitive answer as to what he was waiting for and was indeed glad that no one questioned his action; for once slightly grateful of his never ending isolation. Though if he were honest Remus had given him an opportunity to not be so alone. He wasn’t sure if that meant when Remus had passed the truth had been revealed or if the werewolf really was that smart. He reckoned he had never really given the man enough credit in life but the point was a bit moot now.
His musings were broken as he noticed a most unwelcome traveler, and though he could not see them he was certain this traveler was being “escorted” to his overdue death. The boy had won, would wonders never cease for this brought forth a true smile from him. After seeing a few more walk down the road-their struggle in life finally over-he knew by some instinct he was almost out of time, that the gray road would soon no longer be, but still he waited. His eyes gazing out over the forbidden forest and he failed to notice the new traveler walking out of the mist as opposed to into it.
The hand on his shoulder startled him such, that had his heart still been beating it would surely have stopped at that moment. Turning he faced someone that made his heart ache, he could not recall in life ever seeing her look more beautiful. Of course, in life-his anyways- her spirit had long been broken by the man whose surname he bore. Silently he stood wondering what this women would make of him and what she would think of the choices he made in life. He was almost afraid to look upon her eyes and see the anger and accusation, even perhaps hatred as it was in everyone else’s, so he chose instead to look down at his feet. As a result he was thoroughly unprepared for her arms suddenly wrapping around his frame in a long forgotten yet familiar embrace; it took him a moment to get over his initial shock and then finally return the hug. He was surprised to feel tears running down his cheeks. They stood there, mother and son and finally, finally Severus Snape let go of his mask and broke down releasing all the tears he had never allowed himself to shed in life.
They broke apart and his mother took his hand; she made no other move but he knew she was willing him to start his way down the road. He longed to start his afterlife, but something was holding him onto him, some instinct that said he needed to bear witness to one last thing and so on he waited. Soon he noticed a trickle of people leaving the castle, they carried with them a myriad of emotions: sorrow at those lost, happiness for the victory, fear at the uncertainty at what to come, and most importantly hope that the future might shine brighter.
His focus was drawn to that of the boy with the messy raven coloured hair and emerald eyes who for the moment was standing alone. It was then he understood the boy was the reason he was waiting for, although he still did not know why. The famous Harry Potter looked almost as if he could see the now late potions master a half smile placed upon his face. Severus’ mother nudge him and he found himself beside the boy whose smile now broadened. Realization slammed into his head, Harry could see him.
They stood there eye to eye and an understanding passed from boy to man. He remembered when he had first gazed upon the boy bound by an old rivalry to hate him. How at that moment did the potion master loath himself for his former actions and how much he regretted it now. Unsure of what caused him to do so, he reached out and placed a hand upon the boy’s shoulder. Harry looked from the hand placed on his shoulder back into the professor’s eyes and Severus saw forgiveness flash in in those emerald orbs and he pulled the boy into a fierce fatherly hug. If either was surprised it was not noticeable and it was with reluctance that they finally broke apart.
Severus wondered what words he could say to this young man but nothing came to mind. Harry’s attention was called away as he saw his friends walking towards them. He turned back smiled and then trotted off towards his future, looking back giving the Professor one last smile and waved a final goodbye. His mother soon captured his hand once more and he turned ready to follow her down the fading gray road. She smiled encouragingly at her son and they headed off into the mist mother and son together in a way they never had a chance to be in life. Both able now to be put to rest.
The gray road disappeared behind them, for Severus Snape would be the last to travel this road to the hereafter.