Seconds after apparating away from the beach, Severus was standing in the foyer of Prince Manor, together with Harry and the rest of the Grangers. "All right, little one?" he asked Hermione, who was still perched on his hip. The young girl took a deep breath and smiled at him, somewhat shakily.
"Good girl," he said, kissing the top of her head, before lowering her down to stand on the floor. "Welcome to Prince Manor," he said to her parents.
"Dobby, Flippity, will you take Harry and Hermione out to the garden to play? Keep an eye on them, please. When they're ready to come inside, perhaps you could take them up to Harry's room to play there, and also give them some juice and fruit as a snack."
"Dobby and Flippity will do thats, Master Prince," said Dobby happily, as he and his mate took Harry and Hermione by the hand and led them outside.
"Dobby and Flippity will take very good care of the children. They won't let any harm come to them," Severus said, ushering his guests to a serene and comfortable sitting room, with French doors leading out to the garden. The doors were wide open and the three adults could hear the children squealing with laughter as they played.
When the three adults were sitting comfortably, with a tea tray and scones in front of them, courtesy of Kizzy and Lolly, Severus began his explanation. "As you saw, magic is real. Not a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat fakery, but real wizard and witch's magic. Back in the days of Merlin — yes, he really did exist — magicals and non-magicals lived peacefully alongside each other but over time, non-magicals began to fear magicals and with the spread of the Judeo-Christian religious faith, fear and persecution increased. From the early fifteenth century onwards the witch-hunts grew fiercer, until in the late seventeenth century, the International Statute of Wizarding Secrecy came into being in order to safeguard the wizarding community and hide its presence from non-magicals. Since then, the wizarding world has secretly existed alongside, but separate to, the non-magical world.
"Human magicals fall into four main categories: the first is those who call themselves Pure-bloods. These are the witches and wizards who claim to have a pure magical heritage, with no inter-marriage with those of non-magical or mixed heritage. Stuff and nonsense, if you ask me! If we magicals didn't inter-marry with those of non-magical heritage occasionally, we would have died out by now. As it is, the birth rates in the old Pure-blood families are mostly very low and many children from these families are not particularly magically powerful. Inbreeding in magicals tends to result in a lack of magic, rather than disability, like in the non-magical world. In many countries, most especially in Britain, the Pure-bloods regard themselves as the self-appointed nobility of the wizarding world. I should perhaps mention that the British wizarding world is quite medieval in its set up. Power is held by the Pure-bloods because it's inherited rather than earned, and as long as they're in power, they're never going to allow power to others. Power is addictive and those who have it are reluctant to give it up.
"Lower down the scale is those of non-magical heritage, or Muggle-born, as they're known in Britain. Non-magicals are known as Muggles. It's quite a derogative term, since wizards regard themselves as being superior to those who have no magic, despite the fact that most non-magicals are more intelligent, creative, logical and inventive than magicals. Particularly in hidebound countries such as Britain, many Pure-bloods regard Muggles as savages and barbarians. Even those who are pro-Muggle tend to regard non-magicals as little more than simpletons, I'm afraid to say.
"Between the Pure-bloods and the Muggle-born — the middle class, if you will — are those of mixed heritage, otherwise known as Half-bloods. They're tolerated better than those of Muggle birth but don't quite have the clout of Pure-bloods. Or mostly not, anyway. It depends on the particular mix in their heritage. For example, the child of a Pure-blood and Half-blood, or even a Pure-blood and a Muggle-born, has more influence than one whose ancestry is mostly of mixed heritage, going back several generations. The more distant they are from being Pure-blood, the more poorly regarded they are.
"Finally, there are those who are born to magical families but who have no magic themselves, otherwise known as Squibs — another derogatory term but I can't think of a preferable alternative off-hand. Being a Squib is regarded as a disgrace by many families and it's not at all unknown for the more fanatical Pure-bloods to kill their Squib children, as though they're animals, which need to be put down. Even those who don't go that far often disown such children. In some ways they're better off having been disowned," he mused.
"They're at a distinct disadvantage in the magical world if they don't have magic themselves. Think of it as a blind person being given a book to read that isn't in Braille and they have no one to read it to them. They can't access the story or information contained within. A Squib is unable to access magic and they therefore can't do the most basic of things, since magical homes and businesses are all powered by magic. Magic and non-magical technology don't mix well. And as you will have gathered by the fact that non-magical children tend to be disowned, the wizarding world is severely behind the times. Compare their attitude towards Squibs to that of non-magicals a century ago, who regarded those with disabilities as defective⁹. There was no provision for them and no attempt to help them. No guide dogs for the blind, no sign language for the deaf, no walking aids or any other assistance. That's the way things are for Squibs within the wizarding world. They're far better off in the long run leaving the wizarding world — preferably with their parents' blessing! — and joining the non-magical world, where they can have a life, family and career as equals," Severus declared passionately, the Grangers nodding in agreement with him. The world of magic may be strange to them but this they could understand.
"Of course, not all countries are stuck in the past like Britain," continued Severus. "The New World counties, such as the Americas, Canada, Australia and New Zealand are far more liberal. They don't have the concept of class that Britain and much of Europe still does. Although, to be honest, even that's mainly in Britain and in Central and Eastern Europe. The French had their revolution after all. Scandinavia and the Benelux countries are as open-minded and liberal as their non-magical counterparts. And, of course, Switzerland and Holland host major international organisations, making them among the most liberal of all, due to those influences. These countries all abide by the Statute of Secrecy — keeping the wizarding world hidden from non-magicals is still extremely important — but they're far more welcoming of first generation magicals and do not care whether a witch or wizard is Pure-blood, Half-blood or Muggle-born. All are treated equally."
Severus snorted. "There's a theory that all first generations are actually of magical heritage but it's so many generations back that the knowledge of magic in the family has been lost. For example, if we were to investigate your family tree, Hermione might be proven to be the however-many-times great-granddaughter of a Squib."
Severus suddenly looked pensive. "Do you know if your family name was ever Dagworth-Granger?" he asked curiously. "There's a Hector Dagworth-Granger in the wizarding world. If, perhaps, there was ever a Squib son, he may have chosen to change his name to Granger when leaving the wizarding world."
John looked stunned. "I believe my great-grandfather did indeed change his name from Dagworth-Granger," he replied. "I would have to check our family records to be sure but I think I heard tell of him having a brother called Hector. Does that mean...?"
"That you have magical heritage in your blood? Yes, it does. If I remember rightly, the Dagworth-Granger family has all but died out. Hector is getting on in years and I believe his wife and only child died during the air raids in the Second World War. Unfortunately, even magic can't prevent a bomb falling on your home. You should take a magical heritage test to check your lineage and, if you're proven to be related to Hector Dagworth-Granger, I can arrange an introduction for you, if you like. I'm sure he would prefer to know there's someone from the family to inherit, rather than allow the Ministry to seize everything after his death because there are no remaining blood relatives. Of course, you don't need to decide this now. This is all very new to you and, I'm sure, quite overwhelming, so take your time to think about it."
"What's involved in the magical heritage test?" asked John curiously.
"A special potion needs to be brewed and then three drops of Hermione's blood will be added. This is then poured onto a sheet of parchment (or into a tapestry wall hanging in the older families) and a spell is recited. The family tree then appears on the parchment or tapestry or whatever surface you choose to use. Three drops of blood will take Hermione back five generations, to her three times great-grandfather, which ought to be sufficient. For every additional three drops of blood added, a further five generations will appear on the tree. The family tree will retain its magic and subsequent generations will appear automatically. Descendants of those who have been disowned will not appear, however, and if your great-grandfather was disowned for being a Squib, that would explain why Hermione has not appeared on his family tree tapestry, if the Dagworth-Grangers have one."
"Is the potion difficult or dangerous to brew?" asked Helen.
"Not for an experienced Potions Master," Severus replied. "I would be willing to brew it for you. Although I'm not technically a qualified Potions Master, I do have the necessary knowledge, skills and experience. I haven't undertaken a formal apprenticeship because I've been busy raising Harry but he'll begin his schooling after the summer and I hope to have the opportunity to attain my Mastery then."
"Would you mind if we take some time to think about it?" Helen asked hesitantly. Mr Prince had been very helpful and she did not want him to think she was ungrateful.
"Of course not!" Severus exclaimed. "I would be surprised indeed if you chose to rush in without considering the matter properly. From our short acquaintance, I can honestly say that it wouldn't be in character for you."
John laughed. "You'd be right about that!" he agreed. "Thank you, Mr Prince, for all your assistance and explanations."
"Call me Rennard, please." Severus sighed. "I'm afraid that was only an introduction to my story. There's more that I must explain to you — not least of which is Albus Dumbledore! Are you ready to hear more or would you prefer to take some time first to digest what I've told you so far?"
Helen and John exchanged glances. "We should probably hear it all now," Helen said finally. "In case that Dumbledore fellow decides to come after us. What was he going to do to us anyway?"
"Magical children begin their magical education at age eleven, when their magical core is settled enough to allow for it. Before then, there is no formal education. Most children are either home-schooled or privately tutored, although there are those with ties to the non-magical world who choose to send their children to non-magical schools for their initial education. In Britain, first generations are not told of the wizarding world until they turn eleven and are ready to begin their magical schooling at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. As I'm sure you can imagine, this causes a lot of heartache for the non-magical families, as they struggle to understand the reason for the strange occurrences around their children."
Severus noticed the two Doctors exchanging looks of comprehension and empathy. It was obvious that they had been suffering that same anguish over Hermione. That explained why they so easily accepted Severus' confession of the existence of the magical world. Anything would be better than thinking something was seriously wrong with your child.
"Rather than contact the non-magical families once the child shows their first signs of magic, in Britain they instead leave them to try and deal with these strange occurrences generated by their children on their own. This means that the child doesn't learn to control their accidental magic, which is usually powered by emotion — although I noticed Hermione has learned to use her magic deliberately to some extent. As the Statute of Secrecy is of paramount importance, when magic occurs in a non-magical area, in front of Muggles, then it needs to be contained. Unfortunately, in Britain, that usually means wiping people's memories of the event. In countries like Switzerland, where children are told about magic as soon as they show signs of it and are then given help to control it, their bouts of accidental magic are reduced and there's no need to go around casually violating people's minds."
"Which is what that old man wanted to do to us?" John queried with a frown.
"Unfortunately so. I'm afraid there's nothing non-magicals can do to defend themselves against something like that, much as I wish there were," Severus replied regretfully. Even Occlumency would not be possible for Muggles.
"Who is he exactly? What authority does he have to do such a terrible thing?" Helen demanded indignantly. "That's … that's mind rape!"
"You're not far wrong with that description," Severus agreed. "As for Dumbledore's supposed authority… over the course of history, there have been many Dark witches and wizards. A Dark wizard named Gellert Grindelwald took advantage of the Second World War to further his own agenda, which, had he been successful, would have involved overturning the Statute of Secrecy and creating a new order in which wise and powerful wizards and witches (his definition of magicals, not mine!) were the benevolent overlords of the world, with non-magicals subservient to them. Dumbledore defeated him in single combat and since then has been treated as the wise and all-powerful leader of the Light.
"Since defeating Grindelwald, Dumbledore has been allowed to hold numerous public and political positions. Currently, Dumbledore is the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcrafy and Wizardry and the Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot, which is the ruling body, both legislative and judiciary, in wizarding Britain. It's like the House of Lords but without a House of Commons to balance it. Until recently, Dumbledore was also the Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation, which is equivalent to being the Secretary-General of the wizarding United Nations.
"Dumbledore became so revered for defeating Grindelwald, that he's come to believe in his own legend. In his mind, only he knows what's best for everyone and he regards himself as infallible. Unfortunately, the rest of wizarding Britain subscribes to that theory as well and treats him almost like a god. The result is that he does whatever he wants, believing it's his divine right to do so."
"So if we return to Britain to live, we'll be under his jurisdiction? Not only will Hermione be a second-class citizen but we'll likely have people messing around with our minds for no reason?" asked John warily.
"I'm afraid so," Severus sighed. "Theoretically, my putting you under the protection of my House should protect you, but in practice, that won't mean much if Dumbledore or his minions decide to go ahead and act anyway. I can claim compensation after the fact but it won't restore your memories."
"Switzerland is sounding better and better by the minute," John commented dryly.
"It's not so far away that our parents can't come and visit us, rather than us going to them," Helen agreed. "It'll be much easier for them if we're settled in once place, rather than moving around on a ship."
"You're welcome to stay here in Prince Manor for as long as you like," said Severus. "You're safe here, behind top-quality security wards. If you do decide to stay in Switzerland, once you buy your own home, I'll be happy to place wards on it that will prevent intrusion by other wizards. I'll talk to the goblins — they run the wizarding bank and are warding specialists — and they can augment the wards I erect for you. I guarantee that neither Dumbledore nor anyone else he may send after you will be able to break the wards and invade your home."
"Thank you," said John gratefully. "The idea of someone violating my mind bothers me immensely for some reason."
"You surprise me!" drawled Severus sarcastically. "Why don't I apparate you to your hotel, so you can check out? I'll stay with you in case Dumbledore has been released — although, hopefully he will have been ejected from Switzerland and told not to come back — and tries to come after you."
"I'd appreciate that," agreed John.
An hour later, the Grangers were ensconced in the guest wing. Flippity had been assigned to the Grangers to compensate for their lack of magic, although Severus intended to change many of the manor's enchantments, such as the operation of the lights, to simple voice recognition rather than the detection of a magical core. It would take a few days to complete but until then, Flippity was happy to help. With the addition of some old-fashioned, non-technological paraffin lamps, candles and matches, the Grangers would cope in the meantime. They went to bed that night with a selection of wizarding history books, to try and gain a sense of this new and strange world they had just been introduced to.
John accepted the job offer from the WHO and Helen began looking for a dental practice that needed a new partner, all the while mothering both Harry and Hermione impartially. Severus had created a reusable, password operated portkey for John to get him to and from work. It took him to an unremarkable alleyway close to the WHO building and he was able to return back to Prince Manor from any place, as it was keyed to the destination rather than the point of origin. When Helen bought into a dental practice in Geneva, Severus created a similar portkey for her, too. Both dentists wore their portkeys at all times, since they were in fact their wedding rings. This meant that if they were ever faced with a less than congenial witch or wizard, they would not have to waste valuable time searching for their portkeys but could leave immediately.
But that came later, as Helen did not start working immediately. The Grangers had never wanted Hermione to be an only child but, once she had started showing signs of accidental magic, they had been wary of having another child when they did not know what was wrong with their precious daughter. Now they knew there was nothing wrong with Hermione — she was simply magical. Much relieved, and knowing that they now had Severus and Claire to assist them with the challenges of raising a magical child — or children! — John and Helen started trying for a second child almost immediately, and a year to the day from their first and fortuitous meeting with Rennard and Harry Prince, Nathaniel Granger was born.
Time passed but the Grangers did not find a home. It was left unspoken that they were very happy living at Prince Manor and that Severus was very happy to host them there, as he was enjoying their company. Claire Bonnay had arrived at the end of August as agreed and soon fitted into the dynamics of the amalgamated Prince/Granger household. She and Helen got on very well together and Claire was perfectly happy to teach both children.
Severus brewed the magical heritage potion and it was soon proven that Hermione was indeed the three times great-niece of Hector Dagworth-Granger, a contemporary of Severus' old potions professor, Horace Slughorn, and potentially a useful contact for Severus when he tried to establish himself as a Potions Master under the name of Rennard Prince. Hector Dagworth-Granger was delighted to find that his brother's great-great-granddaughter had turned out to be magical. Severus had already begun teaching Harry and Hermione basic potions and Hector, who was the founder of the Most Extraordinary Society of Potioneers, was thrilled to learn of Hermione's keen interest in the subject.
In truth, Hermione was like a sponge and soaked up everything that she was taught, no matter what the subject area was. Severus could tell that she was going to be a very capable and quite powerful witch, no matter in which direction her interests ultimately led her. Harry was less focused than Hermione, which Severus understood was the result of his early years living in a house-elf's cupboard, but Hermione, although very powerful herself, could not come close to Harry in terms of raw power. In fact, Severus suspected that when Harry was grown, his magical power would far outstrip that of Albus Dumbledore. Both children very quickly picked up what they were being taught but Harry was an instinctive learner and understood better from physically doing, while Hermione's logical mind learned better from first gaining an understanding of the relevant theory. The children balanced each other out perfectly and were a joy to teach. All four adults — Severus, John, Helen and Claire — took great satisfaction from the children's development.
When Harry and Hermione reached the age of eleven, it was decided to send the children to the Catius Pater School of Magic in Switzerland. The idea of sending them to Hogwarts never crossed any of the parents' minds and, while Beauxbatons was a very good school, the Catius Pater School of Magic was preferable. Not only was it local but, unlike Hogwarts and Beauxbatons, the pupils were able to weekly board, coming home at the weekends. It had an unrivalled reputation for excellence and it was extremely hard to get into, as only the brightest and most academic of children were accepted. Harry and Hermione were welcomed with open arms, however, after the Headmistress, Allegra Lehrer, had met the two children. Not only had Headmistress Lehrer been very impressed with both their intelligence and their magical ability, she had also sympathised with Severus' desire to keep the children away from Albus Dumbledore. After a highly successful meeting with the Headmistress, both children were enrolled in the exclusive school and were greatly looking forward to attending.
Towards the end of Harry and Hermione's first year at Catius Pater, Severus received some horrific news from Britain, which made him even happier that he had not enrolled Harry in Hogwarts. Although James and Lily Potter had done their best to keep Charlie away from Dumbledore's influence, the old man's obsession with Voldemort had terrible results. Dumbledore had decided to test Charlie Potter and his best friends, Neville Longbottom and Ronald Weasley, to determine the fitness of the supposed Boy-Who-Lived to face the Dark Lord, who he still believed would return.
Dumbledore had hidden the Philosopher's Stone in Hogwarts and through the groundskeeper, Hagrid, a kindly, loyal and well-meaning man who was constitutionally incapable of keeping a secret, had dropped enough hints to the boys to stir their interest in the mysterious object hidden in Hogwarts Castle. The other professors had refused to assist Dumbledore in his plan, all being convinced that the Dark Lord was dead. They had thought that without their cooperation, Dumbledore would put aside his crazy plan but, unfortunately, this only made him all the more determined and he proceeded without their knowledge or assistance.
The boys had to navigate a series of dangerous obstacles. They had to pass a Cerberus, which was an extremely large and savage three-headed guard dog, and an Acromantula, which was a highly venomous giant spider with a taste for human flesh. They also had to navigate the types of traps one would expect to find in the tombs of ancient Egyptian kings — falling boulders, moving walls, pits full of spikes and other such challenges. They even had to solve a potions riddle, which would allow them to identify the correct potion to allow them to pass safely through a wall of fire, the other possible selections being various poisons. Charlie Potter had been killed, Ronald Weasley had suffered permanent brain damage and Neville Longbottom had received physical injuries from which he might never fully recover.
Hagrid had been devastated at what had happened to the three boys and was let off with a warning regarding keeping dangerous pets, since it was understood that he was just a very simple man who was devoted to and therefore easily led astray by Albus Dumbledore. Hogwarts Castle, the grounds and the surrounding Forbidden Forest were cleansed of all Hagrid's dangerous pets and he was given strict instructions on the type of animals he was allowed to keep in future, with the Care of Magical Creatures Professor promising to monitor him carefully.
Dumbledore, on the other hand, was arrested. The parents of the three boys were all spitting fire. Even James and Lily, who were devastated at the loss of their son, managed to rouse themselves from the depths of their grief for long enough to deal with Dumbledore. Severus was just surprised that the various parents and Sirius Black, Charlie's godfather, had not ripped the man limb from limb. It was apparently only due to the quick actions of two of the Hogwarts Heads of House, Filius Flitwick and Pomona Sprout, that saw Albus Dumbledore arrested and removed from the castle before the six parents had a chance to aim their wands at the old fool.
Because of the seriousness of what had happened, the goblins of Gringotts, with Severus' permission, released selected memories to the Head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement and the Head of the Department of Mysteries, who had both promised never to reveal or to act upon what they would learn in these memories. The memories saw the goblins using the Horcrux quill to verify the existence of other Horcruxes, the destruction of each one and the banishing ritual, whereby the final piece of Voldemort's soul had been banished to Tartarus. The memories were very powerful and the Head Unspeakable and Amelia Bones, who was now the Head of the DMLE, were left in no doubt that Voldemort was dead and would not be returning to this plane of existence. These memories were the final nail in Dumbledore's coffin. He was sentenced to life in Azkaban wizarding prison, with his magic bound so that he could not escape. However, at the age of one hundred and eleven, the shock of where he found himself and the harsh conditions were too much for the old meddler and he quickly faded and passed away, much to Severus' secret relief.
The Potters and Longbottoms both had younger children. When Charlie Potter died, Edmund Longbottom, who became very protective of his older brother after Neville's accident, was seven years old, Ruby Potter five, Daisy Longbottom four and Liam Potter two. Neville was sent to Beauxbatons the following school year and the four younger Potter and Longbottom children followed him there when it was their turn to attend school, even though Dumbledore was no longer at Hogwarts. Unfortunately, the Weasleys were unable to afford to send their children elsewhere, having received scholarships to send all seven of their children to Hogwarts. They had been awarded damages from Dumbledore's estate but these funds were mainly put aside for Ronald's ongoing care, as he now had the mental capacity of a five year old and would remain that way for the rest of his life. As his parents aged, they would use that money to employ someone to be Ronald's long-term companion and care-giver.
Filius Flitwick had been appointed the new Headmaster of Hogwarts, passing over Minerva McGonagall who, as Deputy, had been next in line. Minerva was deemed too much of a Dumbledore sycophant by the Board of Governors, even though she had refused to assist in the old man's plans for Charlie Potter. Filius wanted to appoint Pomona Sprout as Deputy Head; however, as the Herbology Professor, she had additional duties in the school greenhouses, on top of her duties as a teacher and Head of House, and had neither the time nor the inclination to take on the duties of Deputy Head as well. Reluctantly, Filius left Minerva in place but made it very clear she was on probation. The fiery witch was furious at his warning but had been horrified at the tragedy that had befallen her three Gryffindor cubs and privately had to admit that Filius had a point. Minerva never stopped blaming herself for not standing up to Dumbledore more.
Claire never realised her dream of opening a primary school. Six months after Nathaniel Granger was born, Claire married Severus, and the blissfully happy couple had three children in quick succession. The new Madam Prince spent the Granger and Prince children's early years tutoring them herself but when the youngest started Catius Pater, she began teaching there part-time, much to the bemusement of Severus. He had hated teaching and could not understand the appeal. However, his wife was a truly gifted teacher and Allegra Lehrer counted herself lucky to have Claire on staff, earmarking the younger woman as her own potential successor.
Severus requalified as a Potions Master under the sponsorship of Potions Master Hector Dagworth-Granger. His undoubted skill and natural talent for potions had Hector waiving the requirement to spend a minimum of two years apprenticed to a Master. If Hector was being truly honest with himself, Rennard Prince was a far greater Potions Master than he would ever be. With input and feedback from Hector Dagworth-Granger and his network of contacts, Severus eventually managed to achieve a permanent cure for lycanthropy. Severus, who had taken over management of the family company, Prince Industries, added a potions division to the company, which he called Salubritas. He focused on research and development and employed journeymen and apprentices to do the actual brewing.
Their younger children, Daddys' girls all, followed more closely in their father's footsteps. Laurel attained a Mastery in Arithmancy, which she put to good use in Prince Industries, both assisting in the research and development department and in managing the family investment portfolio; Bryony became a Potions Mistress and Jessamine a Herbologist, both working in Salubritas. All three girls were delighted to work with their father after qualifying in their various professions. Nathaniel Granger, on the other hand, after years of patching up the scrapes of the three younger girls, took after his delighted parents and became a magical Healer.
Harry and Hermione never lost the connection that they had experienced the moment they first met and, to no one's surprise, they married once they finished school. Hermione had continued to soak up magical theory throughout her schooling and had already begun experimenting with spell-crafting at the age of fourteen. Her keen intellect and her strong interest in the theory behind magic put her on the Swiss Department of Mysteries' radar and she was recruited by them as soon as she turned seventeen and was of age in the wizarding word. Hermione insisted on finishing her final year at school but managed to undertake a few projects for the Department of Mysteries all the while finishing her schooling, gaining exceptional results in her final exams, even by Catius Pater's standards. Hermione, who never lost her fascination with the theory of magic, rose rapidly through the ranks and became Head Unspeakable at an unprecedentedly early age. Switzerland's young Head Unspeakable quickly gained the respect of most Departments of Mysteries around the world.
Harry was an equally talented but less enthusiastic student — although, to be fair, very few students were as enthusiastic as Hermione! He had been a passionate and skilled Quidditch player while at school but chose not to turn professional. He had discovered within himself an affinity for working with wood, and with his tendency towards practical magic over theoretical, and his passion for Quidditch, had already designed a revolutionary racing broom even before he left school. Under the umbrella of Prince Industries, he founded his own broom company, Zephyros, which made everything from beginner training brooms up to top-of-the-line racing brooms. The Zephyros brooms soon became the standard brooms of many international Quidditch teams, and quickly became known as the best in the world.
After Dumbledore's death, Severus had considered coming back to life again but he realised that he was far happier as Rennard Prince than he had ever been as Severus Snape, even if he no longer had the distinction of being the youngest Potions Master to qualify in Britain in over three hundred years. His family was flourishing and he revelled in working so closely with his children and children-in-law — the three girls' husbands all ended up joining Prince Industries as well — and the formerly dour, ill-tempered and joyless man could not believe how much his life had changed for the better.
Adopting Harry was the best thing that ever happened to me. He has brought so much joy and happiness into my life. For all that I'm justifiably proud of my achievements as a Potions Master, nothing makes me prouder or happier than being a husband and father, he said to himself every day in wonder.
⁹ As a child, I loved the book Daddy Long-Legs (1912) by Jean Webster. I recently read the sequel, Dear Enemy (1915), for the first time and was horrified to read the main protagonist describing children with disabilities as defective. However, that truly was the attitude of the time. Not out of cruelty but because people genuinely didn't know any better. My perception of Potterverse is that Squibs are magically disabled and the wizarding world's attitude towards them can be likened to that of our unfortunate attitudes not so long ago towards those who are disabled.
Thank you to everyone who reviwed, alerted and followed this story. I appreciate each and every one of you.