The war had left too many casualties. In order to encourage partnerships, the government was brainstorming the most ridiculous ideas. Thankfully Kingsley didn't sign on any of the extreme laws proposed. One went as far as to try to forbid wizards marrying muggles and forcing marriages. What was the point of the war if that was going to be the result?
One sensible idea did come out of all of this. Young unmarried wizards and witches, all over the country were encouraged to find their soulmates. The artefact that allowed such a thing to happen was a mirror, made from the same fires as the mirror of Erised, and had been under lock and key in the ministry for decades. Now the ministry was bringing it up several floors. All unmarried wizards and witches are to report to the ministry, during their assigned slots. The hope was that it would encourage wizards and witches to marry and procreate young.
Harry realised quickly that this whole soulmate thing was a cause for excitement for almost everybody. Harry figured it would be nice to know who the person you're meant to be with is, but somehow he had a bad feeling about this.
Ginny had to go first, all the seventeen year olds were the first to go, then it would be the eighteen year olds and so on and so forth. But Harry had received his invite that morning. A snowy owl, with the same patterns as Hedwig, but smaller, came down with it.
Turns out Hedwig had some hatchlings before she died. One morning Harry was feeling particularly upset after the burials were finished and the snowy owl came to greet him. He didn't know how he knew, but he knew that owl had been Hedwig's and since then the little one always remained by his side.
"Thank you Ellwyn." Harry petted the snowy owl and offered her some food from his plate. She took a small piece of bacon and content with that, flew off. Harry looked at the letter from the ministry and opened it with a little less excitement than his other colleagues.
Many students had returned to repeat a year, the school had needed to create a second dormitory for all first years because of it. The eighth years getting another dormitory aswell. Harry was glad to see that Slytherin table hadn't been as empty as everyone had expected. It included several familiar faces, including the one and only Draco Malfoy. Thankfully the animosity was practically non-existant, but it didn't mean they were best friends now.
Speaking of animosity, Harry turned to look at the returned headmaster, looking as sour as always as he tried to avoid conversation with the other teachers. Only nodding every once in a while with a look of pure boredom. Harry had tried talking to the man ever since he recovered from the snake bite, apparently he'd gone in having already downed anti-venom in case he met his demise through Nagini. Turns out Voldemort didn't disappoint and the anti-venom had managed to stop the venom from spreading throughout the body, though if they hadn't gotten Severus to the infirmary in time he most likely would just be another portrait in the headmaster's office. Harry was thankful for that. But it didn't change the fact that the man acted like nothing had changed. No, that wasn't true. There wasn't any spite when he did talk to him, but it still wasn't what harry had expected when the man got better.
"What time did you get Harry?" Finnegan asked drawing Harry's attention back, away from the eternally brooding headmaster.
"Oh… um…" He looked down. "At six pm." Harry said.
"That's some bad luck mate, I get to miss potions." Ron said triumphantly showing him his timeslot. Harry of course, didn't get to miss anything.
"You came back to study Ron." Hermione reprimanded him.
"Yeah, but I never counted on Snape taking half of Slughorn's classes on top of being headmaster. He's still a bastard as a teacher… despite being a war hero." He quickly added before Harry could snap at him. He still managed to glare at him but said nothing. It wasn't a lie, Snape still favoured slytherins slightly, and was mean to griffindors. But well, Harry figured he wouldn't be Snape if he had changed into a saint after the war.
"What time is Ginny getting back?" Harry asked.
"She should be here soon, don't worry mate, there's no way she didn't get you." Ron said. Harry wasn't so sure, even before this whole mirror thing was announced he and Ginny had been on rocky terms. He didn't have to wait long for his answer. Ginny approached him before lunch.
"I'm sorry Harry… but it was Neville…" She whispered. Harry nodded slowly.
"I see… so what does this mean?" he asked gently.
"It means I'm going to try to be with him… after all he's the one I'm meant to be with." She said gently. Harry nodded and smiled kissing her cheek.
"I hope you are able to be happy with him." He said gently. Ginny smiled and nodded.
"Don't worry Harry, tomorrow you'll find out who you're paired up with and you'll be glad that we broke up." She said. Harry tried to find some comfort in that and nodded simply as she left.
The news that Harry was now available filled several girls', and some guys', hearts with hope that perhaps they were the one for Harry. Another surprising turn of events was Luna Lovegood having been paired with Draco Malfoy. Something Malfoy was refusing to accept until he saw for himself in his turn tomorrow.
Draco returned somewhat disconcerted from his turn but still went straight for Luna who was waiting calmly. He invited her out and she accepted, as if she'd always known he would ask her. Somehow Harry found the way Draco blushed at her smile somewhat endearing. Is that what it would be like for him?
He almost couldn't concentrate whilst he sat in potion's class, working on the latest potion. He didn't realise that he should have crushed the Foxfire seeds instead of dropping them whole, and it didn't take long for his cauldron to turn a dark purple and start smoking, instead of being a sky blue.
"Disgraceful potion if I've ever seen one Mr. Potter. Clearly you can't concentrate even for the simplest of potions. Clear your things and get out." Snape said coldly banishing the contents of the cauldron. Harry was rather grateful for that, he knew he wouldn't have been able to concentrate anyway had he been allowed to stay.
It was this soulmate thing. From what he'd seen everyone who'd found their soulmate, would leave any relationship they had currently been in, to try and be with that person. It wasn't all happiness, some were heartbroken to realise their partners weren't the ones, but even then they would separate to go to their real partners. He figured that meant it was pretty important.
Of course not everyone was from Hogwarts, had sent letters to their partners, whom had graduated already or maybe were in another country. Malfoy himself had expected someone from france, having grown up there himself.
Harry was walking to the headmaster's office so he could flu to the ministry passing by the two blondes sitting on one of the staircases below.
"Préféreriez-vous si je parlais français?" Harry had to stop and confirm that it had been Luna that spoken. Draco was shocked too.
"I didn't know you spoke French." He said. Luna smiled.
"I do, my mother was French." She said calmly. Draco held her hands. Harry was surprised to see how… open Draco was about his feelings.
"Vous êtes le meilleur partenaire que je pouvais espérer." He told her. Harry didn't understand but Luna's dreamy smile was indistinguishable.
"Merci, Draco." She said kissing his cheek.
Harry kept going then wondering if his partner had been Voldemort, seeing as the other was the only parslemouth he knew. The mere thought sent disgust down Harry's spine, not only was the other a monster, but he was almost sixty, seventy years his senior.
"Come on Mr. Potter, you don't have all day." Snape said from the door of his office, waiting impatiently for him. Harry rushed ahead.
"Sorry Professor." He said, Snape simply guiding him to the fireplace.
"Professor Mcgonagal is already waiting on the other side." He said going back to his desk to work. Harry grabbed a handful of flu ash and spoke clearly.
"Ministry of Magic." With that the other disappeared.
He stumbled forward, barely stopping himself from falling flat on his face. "Honestly mr. Potter." Mcgonagal said and Harry laughed gently at himself, standing up straight and following her. The mirror was in a lower floor, but still in a large room. He saw Ron and Hermione coming out happy and he could only guess that they got each other. They waved at him and wished him luck. Harry figured he'd already spent all his luck in the last war. The mirror was carved out of marble, with inscripsions above it, just like the mirror of Erised, but the mirror itself was coppery in colour.
"Some veritaserum Mr. Potter." A man with a desk by the door said handing him the small potion.
"Why?" Harry asked with a frown.
"We're writing down who everyone sees, Veritaserum ensures you say the truth." He said simply. Harry looked at Mcgonagal who nodded. Harry drank the potion in one swig and was guided to the mirror. Harry stared at it. This is it.
He took a couple of steps forward until he was close enough to see an image appearing. The man, yes, a man, beside him was taller than him, with dark chin-length hair and dark eyes, standing with his arms crossed looking at him with an annoyed look.
"No… no…" He mumbled standing back. It couldn't be.
"Mr. Potter? Who did you see?" The secretary asked as if used to this reaction. Harry tried to keep his mouth shut, tried to cover his mouth and looked horrified at the secretary.
"Severus Snape." He mumbled.
"Oh my word…" Mcgonagal whispered looking at Harry in shock, Harry blushed darkly at that. He couldn't… what was he supposed to do? Go and tell him? That would go down well. Harry's heart was racing. It couldn't be him… he hadn't even thought of the man like that… had he?
He hadn't noticed Mcgonagal guiding him back to the fireplace, his friends asking him but getting no response. All he registered was being back in the headmaster's office and hearing the other's voice.
"Well, Potter. Don't just stand there, carry on." He said not even looking up from his work. Harry opened his mouth to reply, but found he really was speechless. He simply turned and ran, leaving a perplexed Headmaster watching him run.
All Severus heard was a chuckle from Dumbledore's portrait and Ron and Hermione appearing and running after Harry with questions. Mcgonagal followed close after.
"Just who did the boy get to cause such a ruckus?" Snape asked her. Mcgonagal stared at him and wondered how to tell him.
Well? Since when was Mcgonagal speechless? "Let's just say that person will be getting a notification soon." She said simply and left. As if on queue, a brown government owl came and dropped a letter before him. It was a letter to confirm his soul mate, as he had been named by one of the young wizard's called. Severus' stomach churned and groaned.
"This is definitely not happening." He grumbled glaring at Dumbledore chuckle again. Severus stood and went to the fireplace, going to clear this mistake, whoever it was that had called his name out after standing before the mirror.