He had spent the last six months manipulating an old Time-Turner so it would take him back to the past. Not mere hours, not even months or years, no; he wanted to go back to the year 1817.
It was not the kind of activity one decided on at the spur of the moment; no, it had to be well-planned. Thankfully, his clothing was the sort that would have fitted well into the era, so he did not have to worry about that. Nevertheless, going by Arithmantic calculations, he would have the best results when the moon was in the same position as she was on that day in the past and when it was the same day of the week—a Wednesday. One Wednesday with the moon two days before waxing into the perfect circle had already passed some months ago. The Time-Turner had given him trouble, and he could not afford the risk of getting lost in time.
For a short moment, he reminisced how life had become valuable to him the moment the Dark Lord had been vanquished. After all that time thinking–expecting, even—to not survive the major battle that had been expected to happen by both camps, Dark and Light alike, he'd started to appreciate life. And decided to live it to his liking. Then he concentrated again on his task, went over his calculations once more. Everything was in order.
He placed the Time-Turner around his neck and turned it, silently counting down the decades, then shorter turns for years.
At first, he doubted the success, as Hogwarts looked exactly the same. He hurried outside and headed for Hogsmeade, out of the grounds so he could Apparate.
When he arrived in Vienna, a sigh of relief escaped him. It looked like early 19th century. He headed straight to the Staatsoper, with barely ten minutes to spare before the performance.
A quick Distracting Charm and Severus Snape held a ticket for Row B, seat 33. Right in the centre. He silently took his seat, taking his cloak off before he sat down to wait for the performance to start.
The lights went out, voices quietened, coughs lessened. Briefly distracted by an almost-late-comer, who took the seat next to him, he focused on the stage where the orchestra had started tuning their instruments.
Then silence. An old man shuffled to the conductor's desk. The music started, sending shivers down his spine. This is how it's supposed to sound...
He lost himself as the composer himself conducted his greatest work, the Ninth Symphony, that would become known the world over, that would never be forgotten, that would bring many moments of peace to humankind. He didn't notice that Beethoven was nearly deaf; he conducted his composition with a grace that anyone else could not have mustered. He didn't notice the late-comer on his right watching him curiously. The world had stopped spinning for now, and all he felt was peace. Peace within himself. A novel perception. One he would remember until the end of his days.
He did not notice the short pause before the final movement, and when the choir started to contribute to the beauty of the music, his eyes filled with tears. Also unnoticed by him. Truly, it is an Ode to Joy
The applause continued and continued, the audience now standing up, cheering the composer and conductor, who looked merely pleased. Pleased for having managed to please an entire audience. For a moment, his eyes locked with Severus. He couldn't say later whether it had been his imagination or not, but he refused to think about it.
Eventually, the applause died down and the audience began to move towards the exits. Except Severus Snape and the late-comer. Eventually, he turned to see who sat next to him.
"Miss Granger! What on earth are you doing here?"
"I've come to find peace, sir."
He nodded empathetically, lost for words. The former know-it-all, now his colleague, had lost much of her eagerness. The war had affected everyone, he figured, and the younger generation possibly more so.
"And, did you find it?" he asked after a silence.
"I think I have," she whispered.
His expression changed to something akin to a smile. "Would maybe the Uraufführung of The Magic Flute ensure that you know whether or not you have found peace?"
He was awarded with the most beautiful, genuine smile he'd never dared dream of. "I think it would, sir."
"Come. Let's go back to Hogwarts, and we'll find out a good time to visit Mr Mozart. I'll be relieved not having to do any more Arithmantic calculations."
She laughed in a most delightful manner. "I'll do those gladly. After all, that's what my job is."
They Disapparated together and strolled back to the castle in an animated conversation.
Prompt from SW69:
Snape sneaks away from the castle to see one of his favorite composers and his orchestra. However, one of his colleagues is also there, skiving from her teaching duties. What happens?