Sat in the corner of the chilled room, Harry could see the sharp corners at each edge, along with the heavy chains that were now as useless as the Patronus animals hopping around. The walls had been painted dark many years ago, then repainted white, then dark again; the torn paint on the walls carried the memories of madmen drawing closer and closer to their death. What was once the dungeon to gather the Dementors, was now simply the waiting room. Given enough time, someone could forget even their own name in here. He tried not to think about it; he tried not to listen to the voices of the past and the desperation they carried.
He jumped up from his chair at once, his anticipation finally getting the best of him. The officer cast a last detection spell on him, finding him clean. Harry gave him his wand.
“You may see him now.”
The meeting room was as depressing as the others; it wasn’t but a hollow cube of concrete, with a small window facing the sea.
Snape was sitting on a chair patiently, his eyes focused on his own hands clasped together on the table. Harry sat on the chair across him. They hadn’t talked to each other since the war, and even then, few things of importance had been said. All the things he was planning to say, now drifted from his mind like ashes. He didn’t know where to begin with.
“I’ll never forgive you,” Harry said. “I will never forget what you’ve done. I will never… forgive you,” he repeated, unable to find any other words to explain better how he felt. “But I’ll get you out of here.”
Snape looked at him as though he was well prepared to hear his exact words. “I will need a new lawyer. The one who volunteered is brainless.”
“Yes, I’ve talked to someone, he’ll visit tomorrow. You should have in mind that they decided to hurry up a bit though. There are more than a thousand Death Eaters awaiting trial, this might take months, or even years. I … I told them I don’t agree, but… they’re going to have jury trials. You know what that means?”
Snape nodded carefully.
“The judge won’t have a say in it. It’ll be the jury who’ll decide whether you’re guilty or not. The jury is consisted by twelve random members of society that will follow the process of the trial and make up their mind. It’s going to work against you.” People were still mourning the losses of the war; they all wanted revenge as much as justice. They’d sooner give a leg and an arm to defend Dumbledore’s nobility than his murderer.
“I don’t have money for your lawyer.”
“That’s not important now. I want you to tell me if there is any other proof that he made you do it. Except from the memories.”
“The lawyer they sent me says memories don’t count on trials because they could be easily faked.”
There was no rage on Snape’s voice. Harry’s fist was clenched painfully under the table. “What else?”
There had to be something. Anything. “There’s nothing else.”
The anger and the austerity Snape was carrying around all his life were now gone. Still, he wore his dignity as proudly as ever, and he was sitting upright with his shoulders square even though he was most likely going to spend the rest of his life in prison. Too late, Harry admired the man’s self control, and even under these circumstances, his power over situations.
“Aberforth Dumbledore will testify too, I was told. And Kingsley.”
“Good,” Harry said, an honest smile spreading across his face. “Who else?”
The silence overwhelmed Harry; he had to gather all his courage to not look away from the piercing eyes. “No one, Potter.”
“Is there anything you need here? Any… belongings, clothes?”
“A private cell before I’m found dead,” Snape responded coldly.
Harry was dumbstruck for a moment, before remembering that Snape was probably stuck with the other Death Eaters here as well. Only now it occurred to him that Snape was considered a traitor on a daily basis all over again.
“Yes. Yes of course. I’ll tell them.”
“Don’t tell them. Make them.”
Harry nodded at the table, feeling the distance between him and the man bigger than ever. He didn't know Snape. Even after seeing his entire life with his own eyes - he had still no idea who he really was. “Are you sure there’s nothing else to prove your innocence?”
“My word,” Snape said, the bitterness coming out as a snort of laughter.