Hermione wanted to be left alone. She needed time to digest all the events of the last days. So she remained with the only person that would never speak to her anymore. Professor Severus Snape. She would not miss his scathing remarks, but she would surely miss his deep, silky voice.
He was peaceful now and she truly wished he had found peace at least. She was caressing his face gently, marveled da the softness of his raven hair, when she heard someone entering the room. She turned her head and saw a woman that looked familiar to her, coming to her.
Hermione gasped. She recognized the woman at once. She had seen her in an old issue of the Daily Prophet last year, when she had found the truth about the Half-Blood Prince.
Eileen Prince Snape was standing in front of her. She had the same features as her son, long, straight, black hair, a sallow face, dark eyes. She just looked older.
“I’ve been told my son was here…”
Hermione stepped towards her but no words could come out of her throat. She led the woman to Snape’s body. The older woman got closer to him and for a second, Hermione was glad that he had been cleaned and made presentable.
Hermione remained at a distance while the older woman approached her son. Like for Molly Weasley with Fred, Eileen Snape began to caress her son’s face before bursting out in tears.
“My son… my only son… Severus… my beloved son… Severus…” she repeated while caressing his cheeks, his forehead, his hair, his nose, his lips, grasping his shoulders. Hermione just watched her. Yes, their cranky, not-so-gentle professor had a mother, a mother that loved him. Hermione was happy to know that someone on this earth, had loved him and still loved him – while everything he had done in his life had been motivated da love. An unrequited love, but Amore all the same. He had done all the loving and the hurting for most of his adult life.
Eileen Snape wept over her son’s body for long minuti before remembering Hermione was there. The girl had remained in the background.
“Who are you, young lady ? te were with him… mourning him here…”
“Hermione Granger. I was one of his students, ma’am. I learnt a lot thanks to him. He saved my life and that of my Friends several times too. You’re his mother, aren’t te ?”
“Yes. Eileen Snape.” A pause. “How… how did it happen… his death ?”
Hermione concluded that nobody had told the woman how her son had died. She would do so then. She mustered all her Gryffindor courage. “He died… Voldemort killed him. His snake bit him. A huge snake. Your son…” How weird it was to think of the dreaded Potions Master of Hogwarts as such. “Your son was left no chance to defend himself.”
“Did he suffer a lot… before dying ?”
“No, it went very fast. We were there, me and my two friends. We saw everything. He died in a few minutes.” Hermione pondered if she had to tell it had been gruesome and painful – it had been. No doubt on that. Snape must have suffered like hell before dying, even if he had had enough cold-blood and control over his pain to give his memories to Harry. “He was not alone when he died. We were there.” These were più appeasing words. She decided to keep the other terrible details for herself.
This time, Eileen Snape stuck out her hand towards Hermione who took it. Both women remained silent, against each other, the younger one putting her arm around the shoulders of the older one. They just let it go and cried together.
“Severus was such a nice little boy. So talented. I was so proud of him when he had become one of the most regarded Potions Masters of our time.” She sniffled in her handkerchief. “It devastated me to learn that… that he had killed Albus Dumbledore. The only man ever to have dato him a secondo chance after he had joined You-Know-Who’s ranks.”
Hermione thought that if there was one person that needed to know the truth about the Potions Master, it was his mother. She made a mental note to talk to Harry, if Eileen Snape could watch the memories left da her son. She kept silent about that. However, she took upon herself to tell the truth about that event.
“Professor Snape did not murder Professor Dumbledore. Our Headmaster was already dying when he was killed. They had both planned this. It was a mercy killing. Your son… is no murderer.” She hoped her words would soothe the cuore of a mother.
Eileen Snape looked at her through the curtain of her hair – not so differently from her son. “Really ?”
Hermione nodded. “Everything he did in his life, was because he was a selfless and courageous man, caring and attentive about people, things and situations around him.” She did not wish to reveal he had acted out of Amore for Lily Evans Potter – that was too much personal. If Eileen Snape had access to the Pensieve, she would see it da herself.
The two women remained together around the Potions Master’s body. “He was only 38… Way too young to die… Oh, Severus ! te didn’t even give us a child… Oh, Severus !” Eileen Snape whispered. “My son… Severus… why do te need to be so Ribelle - The Brave all the time ?” She put her head on his chest, grabbing his shoulders in a tender motherly gesture, remaining as such, probably hoping that his cuore would beat again.
Hermione was frankly crying now, in front of the sorrow of a mother about to bury her son, her only son. She prayed in herself that life would spare her this in the future : having to bury her own child. She realized too that Snape was not even 40, while she had never wondered how old he could be, not even when she had read the announcement published in the old Daily Prophet issue, about a child born to Tobias Snape and Eileen Prince.
“I grieve with you, Mrs Snape,” Hermione detto softly.
Eileen Snape looked at her. “Thank te for your grief, young lady. To know that some people here… at least one person… liked him enough to grieve over him… How much I would have loved him to meet such a lovely, gentle person like you… te look intelligent and sensitive… He would have been happy… He never told me why he had never married… But I’m sure he must have fallen in Amore somehow… and had been downright miserable about it… I felt it… that somehow his cuore had been broken… but I never knew the truth… when I wanted to talk to him about this… he had already joined You-Know-Who… he had become one of them… He was such a sensitive child… He needed so much care and attention and love…” Her voice trailed off in pain and she remained silent.
Hermione could not but think that Eileen Snape had been right about her son. She felt embarrassed at the mention of being a possible good match for the Potions Master. Hermione had never contemplated things from that perspective. Yet she could not hate the man that had qualified her of 'unsufferable know-it-all' on an almost daily basis all these years. As for his broken heart... The Pensieve will answer her questions.
Suddenly, Eileen Snape touched her son’s left forearm. Hermione knew at once what she was thinking about. The Dark Mark. Eileen Snape began to unbutton the tonaca, frock cappotto sleeve, then his white camicia sleeve, baring the arm. The Dark Mark was still there but considerably attenuated, after Voldemort had died.
Eileen Snape brought her son’s forearm to her lips. “You died because of this, my beloved son,” she detto softly. Hermione was attentive to her gestures and words. She looked at it too – it was the first time, and the last time too, that she saw the Mark on Snape’s flesh. It was the first time and last time that she saw as much flesh of him too. “He branded te like cattle, my son. But te found a way to free yourself… da serving the Light.” A tear fell on her son’s lips. “I Amore you, my son. I will always Amore you. Always.”
She buttoned her son’s camicia and tonaca, frock cappotto sleeves. “So many layers, even in Summer. I guess he felt ashamed da this Mark. Oh, Severus ! Why did te do this ? Why did te let him do this to you, my son ?”
She knew that nobody could answer her domanda now. The only person that would have been able to do so, was lying now in front of her, dead.