Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. It mainly belongs to the goddess JKR or an awfully long list of people... (the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security- are mine). If you like it, review and feed my soul. And since we don't need to hurt each other, if you don't like it, don't tell me ! Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you !)
SilentG [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=197488] devoted precious time to check my poor spelling and grammar! May she be praised! (I'll have Severus delivered to your doorstep as a 'thank you' present!). The remaining mistakes are all mine, and I apologize for those.
Chapter Twelve - Everyday Life Is Full of Surprises...
Harry and Severus acknowledge that they're not alone in their garden and they stop kissing, blushing slightly.
Still licking his lips, Harry says, "One of you could have warned me!"
"That was way too funny, Harry! To see you at sea on something like that when you've developed skills in many fields and have acquired knowledge in various domains - so much more than most of us - that was priceless!" Ron declares.
While George asks Percy when he was assigned his counting mission by Jules, Harry puts his band on his right hand and takes Severus's left under the table. When there's no 'physical' activity involved, the bands still convey 'love'; both wizards can enjoy their bond without almost fainting in front of their friends.
Draco notices the couple holding hands and his wife remarks upon his look, she asks him what's going on. In a whisper he tells her and Harry and Severus face smiling Malfoys.
The twins, Arthur, Ron and even Molly offer to help Câly to bring some of the dishes back into the kitchen and while Molly's away, it becomes obvious that there's something the Weasleys want to ask.
"Er..." Bill starts, looking at Severus, but not daring to ask him the question that he knows is bothering his siblings as well.
"Yes ?" Severus answers.
"Er... Maybe it's too personal," Bill says.
Severus looks at Harry who looks at Bill and announces, "It's about Severus's parents, right ?"
Most of their guests nod.
"I don't mind explaining how and why I lost them... But few people ask usually...My parents were assassinated by my aunt when I was four, she used the Killing curse to be sure that no ghosts would endure to tell what she had done. She took all that had been theirs, but a provision that was in my name, to be endowed upon me when I would come of age. She didn't kill me for that reason, as well as to provide a pawn for Voldemort. The other thing she could not take away from me was Câly who kept protecting me... I believed an important part of what I was taught, but when I came to Hogwarts, they knew that they started losing me... I freed myself almost too late," Severus tells them.
"You knew all that Headmaster ?" Percy asks.
"Most of it, but Fudge was already our Minister, and since Severus still had a living relative, there was nothing I could legally do..." Albus says.
"How is the idiot these days ?" Harry wonders.
"On the blink," Hermione answers quietly.
Severus laughs softly and Harry out loud.
"He should really be replaced!" Jules intervenes.
"Maybe not," Draco says.
"Why ?" Ron wonders.
"It's too soon after the last battle, we need some months of stability *before* we stage a major political change," Draco explains.
"You know what ?" Ron answers.
"Do tell me, brother," Draco teases him.
"Your Slytherin sense of strategy makes a lot of sense," Ron concedes.
Draco smiles and bows.
"Who do you see at the Ministry next ?" Charlie asks his new brother.
"Himself maybe," Ron jokes.
"Draco grins and announces, "Certainly not! I understand those political issues because I have been brought up to decipher them, but it doesn't mean that now that I'm free I'll stay on the path that had been prepared for me... All I want is a quiet life with Ginny... But to answer your question Charlie, some of the people whom I can see as our next Minister of Magic are present in this very garden..." Pointing a finger towards Arthur who's coming back from the kitchen with all the others, Draco adds, "Here comes the first... Arthur is known and respected, we would have peaceful years under his administration... Since Albus will never leave Hogwarts, which is certainly for the best because education is more important than politics, he's off my list... Harry would be a great leader, but he's got another fish to fry, and Merlin do I understand him!... Severus would be tremendous, but decades of tormenting students and he's off my list too..." Severus glares but raises his glass nonetheless, "And then... there's Hermione... but I guess she's too young. Were Remus cured, I would bet on him..."
That last sentence surprises the werewolf who's been lost in a reverie of some sort since he apparated into the Oxonian garden.
"Really ?" he whispers.
"Really," Draco fervently declares.
They talk some more of politics, till the twins suggest to imagine who would be the worst Minister after Fudge and the debate ends in a tie between Skeeter the Gossiper and Mad Eye the Paranoid...
When the last crumb of cake has disappeared from the plates, the guests start to leave the happy couple...
They're all gone when Remus walks towards Severus and Harry to say goodbye.
"And exactly where do you think you're going ?" Harry quietly says.
"Back to my flat," Remus answers.
"That's a lie," Severus states.
Remus blinks, they cannot know what he has planned.
"We're not going to let you go and ruin your life for one idiot," Severus starts.
"And I've lost one godfather today, I can't afford to lose my new one... People would say I'm not well-organized," Harry ends.
Jules raises a hand and says, "You've lost the priest there, gentlemen!"
"It's because there's one element you don't know," Severus begins.
Harry ends with, "Remus told Severus that he had used a well applied threat to obtain Sirius's obedience and that can only mean that he said he would *bite* him."
"That's what you have in mind ?" Jules asks.
Remus sighs and nods.
"You know nothing about those priestesses, do you ?" Jules adds.
Remus shakes his head and Severus and Harry smile.
"Well, even I would not try to cross those two, and Merlin knows I've been working on acquiring more power! Believe me, if I were you, I would pray for Sirius Black and what he will have to face to pay for what he's tried to do," Jules explains.
"Really ?" Remus wonders.
"I don't know what they'll do to him... But I know I won't ask for fear of losing sleep," Jules promises.
"So why don't you stay this weekend with us so your new godson, and I, can enjoy your company ? And then we could play bridge tonight..." Severus offers.
Remus looks utterly lost. Of course he had meant well, but Severus's life had nearly been turned upside-down once more, and that time he had an active part in it.
Severus lets go Harry's hand and gently takes Remus's face in his hands, "It's not your fault if Black is an idiot and we cannot lose a real friend like you," he declares.
If he were not so sure of his hearing, Remus would not believe his ears. He simply takes Severus's hands and holds them tight: being sent to Azkaban for willfully contaminating Sirius no longer sounds like the right thing to do.
"Hey!" Harry exclaims.
Remus blushes and whispers, "Sorry Harry."
"You're wrong once more! I'm not jealous... But I want a hug," the young wizard announces with a huge grin.
The four wizards finally agree to spend the next two days together. Jules blushes when he understands that his interest for a certain werewolf has been noticed by Severus and Harry and that they've decided to *help*...
They're chatting about Draco's political point of view when three of their guests apparate again in the garden.
Hermione is dragging Ron and Charlie behind her and when they're close enough, she says, "Can we ask for your protection ?"
The four wizards immediately understand what Hermione is asking for. For those who had paid enough attention in the Customs and Lore lessons, it's obvious that the Granger-Weasley sandwich is asking for the Conjunctus blessing that has to be held in the home of newly-weds on the day of the wedding and allows the participants - with no limit of number and no gender restrictions - to be joined legally.
Still holding the hand of his soulmate, Harry answers, "We'll be delighted to help you!"
There's a priest, a witness for each of them, the home of newly-weds: the Conjuctus can be performed.
"Be my witness ?" Ron asks Harry.
"Of course!" his friend answers.
Charlie looks at Hermione, somewhat lost, but she winks and that makes him smile.
"Will you be my witness, Mr. Lupin ?" Charlie asks.
"Yes, I will" the werewolf says with a smile.
"Severus ?" Hermione says.
"Hermione ?" he teases her.
"Will you be my witness ?"
"I'll be delighted."
Jules goes back to his room to check the exact words for a Conjunctus, when he returns he gives them the benediction in front of their witnesses.
"You now are a 'family'," Jules declares.
Then he cuts some flowers and puts a spell on them so they form an improvised ribbon and he binds their right hands.
"You can all three try to free your hands," he announces.
The three witnesses and the priest sit down again and quietly sip tea while their friends are fighting with the flowers.
Finally Hermione frees them. The 'family' turns to the priest, awaiting a verdict, or a statement, of some sort and Jules's very cryptic smile proves that the priest has something to tell them.
"What ?" Remus almost purrs.
"It's my first Conjunctus," Jules answers.
"And ?" Harry eagerly adds, not fully satisfied with the younger version of Dumbledore that Jules can be at times.
Jules smiles again.
"Tell us!" Harry insists.
"Tell them," Severus tries.
Jules turns towards the 'family' and declares, "I had asked the Above three different things. Hermione being the one who found the knot, I now know that you will stay together... You will never wish to break the agreement you formed today."
Hermione puts her hands on her mouth and tears roll down her cheeks. When her men have soothed her, the witnesses hug their charges...
Jules fills in a legal parchment and asks her, "Do you want to keep your name ?"
She hadn't really thought of it till now, but she grins and answers, "No, let's give the world a new Mrs Weasley..."
Hedwig is called and sent to the Ministry with the parchment.
"Would you like to stay with us ?" Severus offers.
"Thank you very much, but we have to tell our families," Hermione says.
Ron and Charlie mumble something and Remus chuckles, for he's heard.
"What ?" the witch asks.
"Hermione, you don't want me to betray our so beautiful male solidarity, do you ?" Remus answers, fighting not to laugh.
Hermione frowns, but she doesn't insist to know what her men have said; she knows they'll eventually tell her... at home.
When they're finally gone, Harry asks, "What did they say ?"
"That apparating back and forth in their families was not exactly the kind of celebration they had in mind," Remus says.
And the four of them laugh heartily.
Harry and Severus are absolutely delighted to see their two friends getting along together so well...
When Jules and Remus disapparate at the exact same time, which certainly shows that they're going to the same place, Severus and Harry are free to enjoy their home.
They've established rules or they wouldn't be able to finish preparing the Hogwarts curriculum for the coming year.
The way they had done in the Hogsmeade house in the first years, they work each in a separate room in the morning and work together in the afternoon. Harry has suggested that they could work on bringing some interdisciplinary units to the curriculum of the school. The young wizard believes that the students should be given the opportunity to combine the different fields they're reading in school and Severus is delighted to have someone - a fellow and his companion - agree with him on that particular topic.
Severus and Harry have agreed to work together on giving a new tutorship to the students in their three last years.
A week before the first staff meeting, Severus and Harry decide that it's high time to go and shop in Diagon Alley. They don their black robes, Severus helps Harry with his hair - even if he's told his love about the 'Slytherin trick' - and they disapparate from their home.
When they apparate into the Leaky Cauldron, all the customers gasp. The professors say hello to Tom, clasp hands and walk towards Diagon Alley.
"Do you think they'll stay speechless for long ?" Harry wonders.
"Ah! My dear, we can always hope... But I doubt they'll remain silent for long and when they start babbling, it'll be worse than any cauldron explosion," Severus says, his face serious, but his eyes smiling a smile only Harry can see.
When they've almost finished their shopping, the wizards and witches around them not daring to address them, they meet the Rettins. James and Frederick are dressed in black, like the last time Harry saw them at Albus's party. It's almost as if James had decided to wear clothes that remind of his Ministry Officer of State Security status and as if his companion did the same, even though he's not a MOSS. They're walking down the alley with two young girls, one obviously doing her first Hogwarts shopping.
"Hi Harry!... Professor Snape," Frederick says.
"Frederick Rettin né Garun, the only Gryffindor who efficiently teamed with a Slytherin in my classroom, for quite a good and obvious reason... How come he's 'Harry' and I'm not 'Severus' ?" the Potions master teases his former student.
"Because you didn't say that I could... May I ?" Frederick retaliates.
Severus smiles and declares, "Of course," and turning towards James he adds, "If your companion is such a Slytherin now, I wonder how much of a Gryffindor you've become."
"Sir, I wouldn't know," James answers with a grin.
"You can use my name now, James," Severus offers.
"You know Severus, if James contaminated Frederick, it doesn't mean that I won't give you awful Gryffie traits, in spite of your being the Head of Slytherin... but then again, I had to trick the Sorting Hat so it wouldn't place me in Slytherin..." Harry jokes.
The grown-up wizards are smiling and the girls are in awe; one because she already knows who those two teachers are, the other because those two men are somehow like her fathers and she feels that she's going to like them... a lot.
"Severus, Harry, let me introduce you to one of your future students, my younger sister, Amalia," James says.
Both teachers shake her trembling hand.
"What will be your favourite subject, Miss Rettin ?" Harry asks.
"Potions!" the other little girl exclaims, making her aunt blush furiously.
"Are you really interested in Potions, Miss Rettin ?" Severus wonders.
Still blushing, Amalia looks at her soon-to-be teacher and says, "No, Professor Snape, I'm not merely interested in Potions, I want to be a Potions mistress."
"Then instruct the Hat to place you in Slytherin and you can ask for my help," Severus declares.
"Yes, Professor Snape."
"Does Emma already show signs of magic ?" Harry wonders.
Frederick sighs and James grumbles.
Amalia chuckles and whispers, "They woke up with Slytherin-green hair last week."
The professors have an appointment with the twins and the young witch still needs to buy her first wand, so Harry and Severus let them go. When Severus hears Harry promise Frederick that he'll owl soon, he wonders what it's all about. The only thing that Harry tells him is that it's something about Emma, the Rettins adopted daughter...
Severus wants to know what Harry has to owl that's so secret when the both of them literally run into Draco and they've barely started to chat when George comes down the alley looking for them.
"Ah! Our favourite investor!" George exclaims.
"What ?" Draco wonders.
"Harry has shares in our shop," George explains, "And we've had a new idea that includes Severus and in which you might also be interested, brother... Care to join us for tea ?"
The twins tell their plan to a *very* interested Draco and when Fred goes out to buy some cakes, he brings Ginny back with him.
"Gentlemen!" Ginny says when they all rise to welcome her.
"Mrs Malfoy!", Harry and Severus say in a unison that could make the twins jealous.
George waves with the hand that's not holding his cup of tea and Draco takes his wife by the waist so she'll sit on his lap.
They all sit down and Fred hands a cup to his sister.
"What have you been plotting together ?" the witch asks.
"What makes you believe that we are 'plotting' anything Mrs Malfoy ?" Harry says.
Mock-innocently she answers, "Oh! Well... Mr. Potter, you are all grinning... or simply smiling," the latter said while pointedly looking at Severus, "And I can just feel it in the way you behave."
"Aah! The famous feminine instinct!" her husband jokes and is tickled for that.
Harry finally suggests, "Maybe you could inform your wife of our plans Draco."
The blond wizard smiles and declares, "You see, my Love, I was quietly on my way to our rendezvous when I met Professor Snape and Harry on their way to your brothers' shop. We started chatting and George came down the alley looking for them and I was included in the invitation for tea."
"And ?" Mrs Malfoy prompts, which makes Draco grin.
"Well, my beloved wife, while I was quietly sipping that excellent tea, I discovered that Master Potter and your brothers have been associated in this fruitful business. I heard that they are planning to expand their activities, with the help of Professor Snape on some products..." Draco starts and his wife adds, "And you loved so much working for Honeydukes' that you'd like to join them in the adventure. That's it ?"
"Yes! If you agree, of course," Draco says.
For having spent most of the last years with the Head of Slytherin Harry knows the traditions of the members of that house when it comes to marital life and he suspects that Draco, according to the custom, certainly gave to his wife half of everything he owns the morning after their wedding but Fred has to have that explained to him...
George has been listening carefully, but what bothers him is the Honeydukes' reference and he asks, "You've been working in a shop ?!"
Draco nods and says, "I had to be not too far away from Ginny and after two days of doing nothing and not seeing her, I was ready to hex anyone saying 'hello', so I revealed my problem to Rosmerta and she suggested that dealing with supplies and orders would help me... Thank Merlin! She was right!"
"And you were extremely efficient!" Severus compliments him.
"How do you know ?" Harry inquires.
"Well, Albus had forbidden my going into Hogsmeade, but Draco *never* failed to deliver my orders for chocolates," Severus reveals.
"I thought your house elf said you didn't like chocolate..." Fred says, rather lost now.
"I do not, but some of the first years had some dreadful days and it never failed to cheer them up..." Severus exposes.
"Did you count me as a first year, Severus ?" Harry teases his soulmate.
"Not at all. The chocolate I brought you was a reward for being a good wizard..." Severus says with a smile.
Harry is forced to think of unpleasant things not to giggle like an idiot.
Draco brings the conversation back on topic because he wants to know if his wife agrees to that new activity, and she does agree, transforming thus the Weasley-Potter association into a Weasley-Potter-Snape-Malfoy connection. A piece of news that would make some people shiver with fear...
If Harry had practically forced the twins to accept his money, that time everyone's role is clearly defined and the agreement is sealed on their wands.
"When we have problems with our latest ideas, we'll owl you in Hogwarts Severus," Fred and George announce.
"I will help too," Harry intervenes.
"Merlin help us all!" Severus jokes.
"Do you really think I'll let you have fun and make cauldrons explode without joining you ?" his soulmate asks.
"I think the point will be to avoid explosions Harry," the Potions master tells him.
"Spoilsport!" Harry says with a grin.
They finish their tea and Severus and Harry announce that they still have some shopping to do.
They say goodbye to their friends and on their way out, Harry says, "What do you say we go and scare the hell out of those goblins by opening a joint account, Severus ?"
On the alley, Severus asks, "Do you mean that ?"
"My Love, I do! I'm going to spend the rest of my life with you, it's normal that we have only one vault, don't you think ?"
"I don't have that much money..." Severus states, embarrassed.
Harry takes his hand and tenderly whispers in his companion's ears, "I didn't marry you for your money..."
The two wizards walk into Gringotts. They queue together and Severus notices something that had escaped him till now...
"Come here, Harry," he gently asks.
Harry stands in front of him and right now, he understand what his Love has remarked: they are *exactly* nose to nose.
"I don't remember the spell to check if I'll grow some more, do you ?" Harry asks.
"No, I don't, but Câly certainly does, we'll ask her when we're back."
"I could end up being taller than you," Harry jokes.
"Not if I can find a potion to prevent it," Severus declares.
They're still an inch apart and, almost, about to kiss when a goblin says, "What can I do for you ?"
They walk to the counter and Harry announces, "We want to merge our vaults."
The goblin falls off his chair. He knows who both wizards are, he's heard of the handfasting in the Daily Prophet, but he wasn't expecting *that*... Yet, he recovers fast and consults the balance for both accounts while Harry does his best not to laugh.
"If it suits you, we could place the contents of Mr. Snape's vault into yours, Mr. Potter..." the goblin offers.
Severus follows the finger of the goblin and reads how much money Harry has... He doesn't have even a tenth of that...
Harry sees Severus's reaction and whispers, "If Aunt Petunia and Uncle Vernon had been told about that vault, I wouldn't have a Knut left today... I'm happy that we can share that now... And with our new association with the twins and Draco, plus my wages at Hogwarts, we'll be able to take care of the house and even visit Jules every now and then... Right ?"
Severus sighs, it's at times like that he wonders if his happiness is going to last, and each and every time, Harry makes or says a little something that puts his mind at rest. After all, the young wizard has bound the thread of his life to Severus's; the Above has granted them many years, but Atropos will cut their threads at the exact same time and that incredible gift amazes the Potions master, even when Harry repeats that he couldn't breathe in this world without Severus by his side.
At last, Severus whispers back, "Right."
"You can move the contents of Mr. Snape's vault into ours," Harry tells the goblin.
"And that vault shall be labelled as belonging to... ?" the goblin asks.
"It'll be the Snape-Potter vault," Harry says, but Severus puts a hand on his arm.
"Potter-Snape is easier to pronounce," Severus states.
"Snape-Potter... Potter-Snape... Um... You're right Severus," Harry concedes.
"And who shall be granted access to the Potter-Snape vault besides its owners ?" the goblin demands.
"Albus Dumbledore," Severus says.
"Remus Lupin," Harry adds.
"Câly, our house elf..."
"... and our kin, but the Dursleys," Harry ends, telling Severus in a murmur, "Better safe than..."
But Severus eyes are narrowing, he's just understood something, "That's the reason why you want to owl Frederick!"
"Do you want a child ?!" says Severus, absolutely unable to believe that he's just said those words.
"If it's with you... Maybe..." a blushing Harry confesses.
Wearing a perfect mask through which the goblin cannot read the Potions master's true emotions, Severus places his wedding band on Harry's and the green-eyed wizard is thus told how much his companion loves him...
They sign the new agreement and go back to their home with a lot more to talk about than just the coming school year and their new business connection...
The legal implications of an adoption are discussed, the psychological implications of having *them* for parents are weighed as well. After Câly has reassured Severus that Harry now has his full height, the two wizards agree that when the idea gets too tempting, they'll baby-sit for their friends... Certainly Hermione would lend them the children of her Ministry Officers of State Security... Maybe they could even bribe Amalia Rettin into convincing her brother that her niece would have fun with them...
Mainly, they agree to take their time...
"You really don't mind Severus ?" Harry asks as he dives onto their bed.
"Honestly, I thought that the only children I would ever have were my pupils, and more particularly the Slytherins... But I had never thought I would have love in my life... It's a strange idea, that has to be weighed very carefully, but it's a challenging one," Severus said bringing to the bed the box the twins had given him.
"One day... I know there will be a Potter-Snape sitting under the Sorting Hat..." Harry declares while caressing his lover's back.
"What will be will be, Love... Which one do you want tonight ?" Severus asks opening the box.
"We've tried them all ?" Harry wonders, taking a peek inside the box.
"I think I liked the blue one," Harry announces, rolling on his back and waiting for his lover to join him.
Severus chuckles, and takes the blue one to please his love...
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