They ate in silence. All the memories came back to Harry – including those of Snape. Suddenly, he rose from his bed. “Snape !” he said loud.
“What ?” Ron asked. “What about him ? He’s dead…”
“Yes, he’s dead and he’s still in the Shrieking Shack !” He watched Ron and Hermione.
“You’re right, Harry. We have to do something for him,” Hermione agreed. “Nobody else but us knows where he is now.”
They were all three exhausted. But they went out of the dorm. That was the least they could do for the man that had done so much for the Greater Good. The man that had died a most gruesome death. The man that lied now on the floor of the Shrieking Shack. The man that had saved their lives countless times before.
On their way out, they met Neville, still carrying the Gryffindor Sword with him. They explained to him what they wanted to do. Surprisingly, Neville said he wanted to come with them as well. Professor Snape had been the bane of his life for his first five years at Hogwarts but he had enough sense to recognize all he had done for them all, his contribution to Voldemort’s downfall.
They decided they would escape to the Shrieking Shack through the secret passageway from the Whomping Willow. To their surprise, the tree did not move when Neville raised the Gryffindor Sword in front of it, as if the violent tree had been afraid of the power of the sword. It just let them go and the four crawled in the passageway till they reached the Shack.
Severus Snape was still lying there, in a pool of his own blood. His garments, his hands, parts of his face and hair, were soaked with blood. A blood uselessly shed, Harry thought when thinking about the Elder Wand. He had hated the man but after what he had seen in the Pensieve, he could not hate him any more. On the contrary, he felt an immense compassion for the Potions Master.
Harry knelt besides the man and took his lifeless hand in his. His features bore no longer that usual scowl of his. He seemed to be appeased now. Hermione knelt opposite to him. She looked at their professor and something in her heart stirred. He had been terrible with her but he had always pushed her to higher challenges during her schooling. She felt sorry for him, sorry that such a great mind had gone forever.
Hermione noticed that his dark eyes were still open. With a ginger gesture of her hand, she closed them. Now, it was like he was sleeping. She conjured up a damp towel from a rag nearby and began to clean the blood from his face, gently. It was the first time she touched him. She noticed then that his hair, partly caked with his dried blood, was soft and silky. Not greasy at all.
Neville and Ron were still standing a few feet away from them, observing the scene in awe, as if they were afraid Professor Snape may just awake and scream at them all for disturbing him and touching him, especially Hermione.
But he remained motionless. He was dead. And curiously, this thought did not settle well with the two young men.
Before leaving the Shack, Hermione noticed that he still held his wand in hand. She mentioned this to Harry. “He didn’t even defend himself,” the young man said. “So strange from someone that could repel spells with a simple move of his arm…” Harry remembered when Snape had fled Hogwarts the year before, just after killing Dumbledore. He also remembered when back in second year, he had seen Snape using the Expelliarmus against Lockhart in a dueling demonstration that had marked him forever. He also remembered the Sectumsempra the Half-Blood Prince had created. The Potions Master had used none of them to defend his life.
“I think he did not have the time to react in front of both Voldemort and Nagini,” Harry concluded. “The damn Dark Lord left him no chance when he sicced his blasted snake on him.”