Severus Snape has just been summoned by the Ministry of Magic. All single Wizarding citizens of childbearing age are mandated to report to Hogwarts, where an ancient magical artifact will be match them with their soulmates. Before he can even digest this summons, he is shocked to find a desperate Petunia Dursley at his doorstep, desperately seeking her nephew, Harry Potter. After a side-along Apparition to Hogwarts and a rapid sprint to the Headmistress's office, they encounter Harry Potter arguing with an ancient relic. Harry Potter is called upon to save his cousin, Dudley, familial relationships are revealed, and Severus Snape gets married, all on the day.
Anything from the Potter universe belongs to J. K. Rowling, the melodrama and plot twists are my doing.
Prompt: Petunia Dursley is desperate to speak to Harry Potter, but she doesn't know how or where to begin looking for him. She does remember where that awful boy Severus lived and decides to go there in hopes that he can help find Harry.
(See the end of the work for more notes.)
The silence of a beautiful Spring morning was shattered by a string of expletives violently erupting from the mouth of one seriously angry Wizarding hero, Severus Snape. Snape dropped a parchment bearing the Ministry seal onto his glass-top patio table and buried his face in his hands. He had had just received a mandatory summons to Hogwarts, to put on the Sorting Hat and have his soulmate revealed to him, with mandatory bonding with said soulmate immediately afterward. Did he really fight Voldemort for this Ministry-mandated insanity?
His sullen reverie was disturbed by a rapid-fire knocking at his front door. Snape stormed through the open sliding glass patio door, yanking the front door open with no small degree of malice. A further stream of invective died before he uttered a single word. Standing there, on his front doorstep, was the very last person he expected to haunt his childhood home, Petunia Dursley.
"Tuney, is there a reason you have seen fit to insert yourself on my doorstep? I can assure you, you are most unwelcome here. Leave immediately!"
"My son Dudley is dying of leukemia!" she shrieked. "He needs a bone marrow transplant, and none of his other relatives are compatible matches. Please, I must see my nephew, Harry! He must be tested! I can't lose Dudley, he's all I have left!"
"You and your violent walrus of a husband abused Mister Potter from the moment he was placed on your doorstep. He saved all of Great Britain from a brutal megalomaniac. He owes you nothing!"
Petunia grabbed the door handle and held on with a strength borne of desperation, preventing Snape from slamming the door in her face. "I have done my best to protect him from the moment he was entrusted to my care. Vernon was a brute! I tried my best to protect Harry.
"While Vernon was at work, Harry and Dudley were cared for by my aunt, Arabella Figg. Vernon kept tabs on everything - the food I fed Harry, any kindness I tried to show him, the clothing I dressed him in, and even the number of times he used the loo. Arabella kept him fed, clean, and cared for, and loved him as her own, when I could not.
"Vernon insisted Harry 'earn his keep' on Harry's fourth birthday, when he evicted Harry from the room he shared, quite happily, with Dudley, and threw him into the cupboard under the stairs. That brute insisted that I give Harry chores, and teach him how to cook, while he was at work. I ask you, what kind of monster shoves a four-year-old boy's hand in a hot frying pan full of bacon grease, because the bacon is 'too crispy'? My aunt had to summon Madam Pomfrey after midnight, once that fat oaf fell asleep! I loved my nephew. Harry, Dudley and I would have been killed before he made it to Hogwarts, had I ever shown Harry affection in front of that beast," she added.
Petunia took a deep breath before continuing her plea. "I demanded that Dumbledore place powerful protective charms on Harry, before he came home after his first year, to prevent Vernon from killing him. Dumbledore insisted that the harsh conditions Vernon created would eventually help Harry defeat Voldemort. Watching Vernon terrorize that poor boy was agony-"
"Now is not the time for this discussion, Mrs. Dursley-"
"It's Miss Evans now-"
"Be that as it may, I have been summoned to Hogwarts. You may, however, accompany me."
Severus locked his front and sliding glass doors wandlessly, grabbed Petunia Evans by the arm, and Apparated them both to the front gates of Hogwarts.
"You'll have to sprint to keep up, I am already late for a command audience with a ridiculous, sentient magical artifact. You may request a meeting with your nephew Harry afterward. I am certain he will be there."
It was a visibly winded Petunia Evans that rode the twisting staircase to Headmistress McGonagall's office. Severus Snape snarled, "Walkers Shortbread," to the stone gargoyle guarding the door. It slowly opened, revealing Harry Potter, oblivious to their arrival, arguing with an ancient wizard's hat.
"There is no way you will ever convince me that Severus Snape will agree to this," Harry protested.
"Why is Harry arguing with that hat?" Petunia asked.
Startled by the sudden appearance of his aunt in the company of Snape, Harry exclaimed, "Do come in, Professor Snape and Aunt Petunia. The Headmistress is in a meeting. I am currently arguing with this archaic fossil; if you're here to see me, I don't know when I'll be finished with this obviously insane relic!"
"Mister Potter, kindly tell me what you believe I will never agree to, before I have my audience with that thousand-year-old, moldy excuse for a head covering."
"Remember that you asked for this, before you hex the messenger, Snape," Harry hissed in Snape's ear. "This talking fashion disaster believes that you, Severus Tobias Snape, are my one true soulmate. Tell it that it is woefully mistaken!"
"Toss me that blasted hat, Potter, before I rip it out of your hands!" he snarled. Snape strode off to the Headmistress's fireplace, robes billowing, as he donned the Sorting Hat.
"Harry, I don't understand any of this. I would ask you why you are arguing with a dusty old hat, but we have far more important things to discuss.
"Harry, Dudley is dying. He needs a bone marrow transplant. None of our relatives are suitable donors. You are my last and only hope to save him. Please help him. Please help me," Petunia sobbed, before she dropped to her knees, pleading through her sobbing.
Harry reached down to his aunt, the only Dursley who ever tried to protect him, or show him any kindness or affection. He pulled her gently to her feet, hugging her tightly. "I am doing this for you, and only you," he whispered. "Kindly keep your husband far away from me, though, for I will defend myself from his violence by any means necessary."
"He will always be Dudley's father, but he is no longer my husband, nor your uncle. You do whatever you need to protect yourself, although I doubt he will show up for any medical procedure involving you. He fears you now, Harry."
Changing subjects abruptly, Petunia addressed the obvious question hanging over them. "Harry, would you please explain why that ancient talking hat was upsetting you so? You must admit, it looks a little odd to us non-magical folk." With that, Petunia cracked a small smile, directed at her nephew.
"Aunt Petunia, that self-aware, talking fashion catastrophe is the infamous Sorting Hat. It belonged to Godric Gryffindor, one of the four Founders of Hogwarts. It was imbued with the wisdom of all four of the Founders, in 990 A.D., when Hogwarts opened. A student places the hat upon his or her head, and the hat chooses his or her house placement."
"Why are you and Snape being commanded to wear it now? Neither of you are students."
"The birth rate in the British Wizarding population has dropped drastically. The war claimed many witches and wizards of child-bearing age. The Ministry of Magic has decided, in an act of blinding stupidity, to increase the population by matching all single, reproductively fit citizens to their most compatible match. The Sorting Hat is being used for that express purpose."
"That is barbaric! Why is no one fighting this?"
"I have argued to the highest level of the Ministry, and the Wizengamot, the supreme Wizarding legal authority, with no success. I rid the planet of the most evil wizard ever, and they still refuse to hear me."
"Why were you arguing about Severus Snape, Harry?"
"According to that flea-bitten old hat, Severus Snape is my one true soulmate. The man hates me. I can't allow the Ministry to bind him to me, no matter how much I would welcome it."
"You have feelings for him? He was crazy for Lily!"
"Aunt Petunia, it is not uncommon for the older soulmate of a true pair to feel a pull towards a relative of the soulmate. A romantic relationship with that relative never survives, for the older soulmate belongs to another. Severus Snape was likely attracted to the traits I ultimately inherited from my mum."
"But you just told me that he hates you. How will you overcome that?"
"He hated my father. The traits I got from him, repel Snape. My father was cruel to him. We have grown to respect each other. But he was bound in servitude to two powerful, opposing wizards for twenty-odd years. I will not allow him to be bound against his will, to the son of his deceased tormentor."
(It must be noted, at this juncture, that Harry was actually born genetically female. The immense stress of Lily's forced hiding had increased production of her adrenal hormones, which masculinized Harry in utero. This phenomenon is known as intrauterine virilization. This rare condition occurs, with increased frequency, in Muggle pregnancies during times of war or great turmoil. Usually, this only causes the brain to develop as male, but with Harry's powerful magic, his external genitalia were also affected. His condition was discovered during his sixth year, when Harry had presented to the Infirmary in agony, from retained menstrual blood.
Madam Pomfrey opened Harry's fused vaginal opening. Internally, Harry was a fully functioning female. Harry chose to keep the rest of his external apparatus male. Harry was therefore a male who could, one day, bear children. Only Poppy, Petunia, Dudley and, apparently, the Sorting Hat, were aware of this pertinent fact.)
Snape had just returned from a Floo call with the Minister for Magic and overheard the tail end of Harry and Petunia's hushed discussion.
"Allow me to decide whether I will fight this bonding. Harry, I just Flooed Kingsley Shacklebolt. The Ministry is allowing us to postpone any action until the matter of your compatibility as a bone marrow donor for Dudley Dursley is resolved."
"Professor, you just called me Harry-"
"So I did, Harry," Snape replied, smirking slightly. "Now, if you would kindly allow me to finish what I was saying - If you are a match, no action regarding the Sorting Hat's decision will be taken until you have recovered from the donation. Bone marrow donation weakens a wizard's magic, Miss Evans, Harry must be magically healthy to face the Ministry."
"Aunt Petunia, can I be tested today? I can't imagine that Dudley has much time to wait," Harry stated, letting his aunt know, by his willingness to do the testing immediately, that he held her in high regard.
"I have the address for the oncology practice, you can Apparate there any time today; they are expecting us," Petunia explained as she extracted the appointment card from her handbag. "Please Apparate me to Arabella Figg's first; she is caring for Dudley in my absence. You can then go along to the practice, to fill out paperwork and have your blood work done. We will meet you there."
Severus Snape turned to face Harry after they Apparated to the field behind the medical plaza. "You don't have to do this, Harry. You owe the Dursleys nothing. You saved us all from Voldemort, that is enough."
"Severus, there is so much you don't know about the complicated history between the Dursleys, the Evans family, and the Figgs. My aunt saw to it that I spent all my available free time with Arabella Figg. I also stayed with her when Aunt Petunia, Dudley, and Vernon went on holiday. I learned all about the Evans family, my parents, even about your childhood friendship with my Mother during my time with her.
"Arabella Figg is my great aunt. She was Arabella Evans prior to marrying her husband, the late Phineas Figg. She was Lily and Petunia's aunt, and the sister of their father. She and her late husband, Phineas Figg, were Squibs living amongst Muggles.
"Now, this is where things get complicated, Severus. Vernon Dursley is a pureblood wizard. His mother, Desmerelda Figg, married George Edwin Dursley, his father. Vernon was very large at birth, making for a very long and difficult delivery. His mother died after an emergency magical c-section. Vernon went into respiratory distress and suffered prolonged oxygen deprivation, followed by a neonatal stroke.
"Vernon's magical core was vastly diminished due to lack of oxygen. The stroke damaged an area of his brain responsible for suppression of violent impulses. The Obstetric Healer informed George that while his magical core could be healed, the brain lesion was permanent. The Healer recommended that his magical core not be repaired. It was inevitable that the child would endanger all he encountered if he possessed a fully functioning magical core.
"George made the very painful decision to place Vernon with Desmerelda's brother and his wife, Phineas and Arabella Figg, George instructed the Figgs to tell Vernon that his parents had perished in a car crash. His father thus became his 'Uncle George'."
Harry's story was interrupted by the arrival of Arabella Figg, Petunia, and a very pale Dudley Dursley. He was almost unrecognizable. He was wearing a surgical mask, had notable weight loss, and was totally bald, from the powerful combination of chemo- and radiotherapy he had received.
"Please let me escort you to the clinic," Arabella offered.
Petunia and Dudley entered first, followed by Harry and Severus, with Arabella bringing up the rear. Dudley and Petunia were directed to the oncologist's office, while Harry signed in at reception.
"I have the forms you need to complete, Harry," Arabella stated as she handed Harry a large, office-size envelope filled with medical forms.
"Potter, hand me those forms. I obtained your Hogwarts medical files before we left Hogwarts, I'll fill them out. Please continue with your story."
"Mrs. Figg can tell this story better than I can. I was just about to tell Professor Snape about Uncle Vernon's acceptance letter. Would you please continue, Aunt Arabella?"
"Of course, Harry dear. George Dursley called on my late husband and me just before midnight, on the eve of Vernon's eleventh birthday. He had received Vernon's Hogwarts acceptance earlier that evening. Remembering the warning he had received from the Healer, he forbade us from enrolling Vernon. We argued, waking Vernon. The boy overheard Phineas' argument that, as a wizard, the boy deserved to have his magical core healed, and the chance to attend Hogwarts. George vehemently disagreed, shouting that the boy would be danger to himself and the other students, and that his instability could prove fatal if he ever yielded a wand. As his father, it was George's decision to make.
"Vernon stormed downstairs, violently confronting him. That boy tackled George to the ground, striking him several times, before George wandlessly Stupefied his son. It was horrifying! George Obliviated Vernon to remove the argument from his memory. In his haste, he failed to remove Vernon's newly acquired knowledge that he was a damaged, dangerous wizard, and that his magic could kill him, and others.
"George Dursley could not remove the pull of familial magic that magical children instinctively experienced in their parents' presence. That instinctive pull frightened and angered the boy; as he grew, he began to despise it.
"During a visit with George, when he was fifteen, Vernon wandered off to George's library. A Potions book caught his eye. Leafing through the tome, he found a Magic Suppression Potion. Thinking it possibly useful, he copied the ingredients and instructions on a spare bit of parchment, concealed it, and returned the book to its place on the shelf.
"Vernon met Petunia, Lily and James at a Figg family reunion, when he and Petunia were twenty, and Harry's parents were eighteen. He was immediately taken with Petunia, and hated Lily and James from the moment he learned they were magical.
"When Petunia fell pregnant, Vernon was determined that no son of his would ever wave a wand. He found that potion recipe he had copied, and stole the ingredients for it from his 'Uncle George'.
"Vernon brewed the magic suppression potion at the end of Petunia's second trimester, and dosed her morning orange juice during the entirety of her third trimester. This destroyed her postpartum fertility, as well as Dudley's magical core."
Arabella paused and took a shuddering breath before continuing. "When Dudley was diagnosed with leukemia, I contacted Madam Pomfrey. She scanned Dudley and found minute traces of the potion lodged in his hopelessly damaged magical core. Poppy told us that prenatal exposure to that particular magic suppression potion, in the first two trimesters of pregnancy, triggered miscarriage, while third trimester or infantile exposure led to cancer in early adulthood.
"Petunia confronted her ex-husband. He tried to deny poisoning them, but he couldn't deny the scan results. When Vernon tried to forbid Petunia from contacting Harry, she went all Bellatrix Lestrange on him, screaming that he lost all say in family decisions when he poisoned his wife and son, and repeatedly assaulted her nephew. You know, she really does love Harry, Severus, She would send him to me, walking him there personally, not only for his protection, but so she could be her true self and give some love to that poor boy."
"Oi, Auntie, that poor boy is right here!" Harry playfully huffed.
After a silent interlude, Harry whispered, "Does Dudley still hate me?"
"Oh, Harry dear, I don't think he ever hated you, but I can tell you, he also feared Vernon's temper, so he learned to act as if he hated you. Vernon knew all of Dudley's friends, and monitored their interactions with you, Harry, He was deplorable! Petunia told me that Dudley really grew to like and respect you after the Dementors, and began to defy his father. Dudley is extremely grateful that you are willing to help him."
Severus briskly handed the completed forms to the receptionist. "Mister Potter, could you please follow me?" announced the oncology technician as she entered the waiting area.
"Come with me, please, Se - Severus, needles scare me," Harry pleaded.
"The strongest wizard since Merlin, and he's afraid of a little needle-"
"Shut it, dungeon bat, or I'll turn you into you into an actual bat!"
"Make it a vampire bat and I can collect your blood. I bite, you know!"
"I'd like to see you try-"
"Behave yourselves, gentlemen," the technician chuckled. "Madam Pomfrey is here today to scan you, Mister Potter, to determine if you are a match to your cousin. And before you ask, Dr. Artemis Pye is trained as a Healer, as well as in Muggle medicine. She will extract your bone marrow, and transfuse it into Dudley, today, if you are a compatible donor. I am sorry to say that it must be harvested the Muggle way, therefore the recovery will be painful for you. Do you have someone to look after you afterwards?"
"I'll take care of Mister Potter myself, should he be compatible. The boy is a menace to himself-"
"That he is, Severus, that he is," chuckled Madam Pomfrey, who had entered during the technician's little prepared speech. "Stand up, Harry, so we can find if you're a match."
The Mediwitch passed her wand over Harry, concentrating on the subtle fluctuations in his magic. A faint blue light enveloped the young man.
"Harry, you are completely compatible, by blood and by magic," Madam Pomfrey proclaimed. Addressing the technician, she requested that Harry be escorted to the oncology procedure room. "Stay with me, Severus," Harry mumbled.
"Your wish is my command, Harry."
It was a very subdued Harry that lay prostrate on the table, his hip prepped and draped, as Healer Pye began the bone marrow extraction.
"Bond with me, Harry," whispered Severus Snape.
"What did you say?" gasped Harry.
"Harry, you are the bravest, most loving and most forgiving man I have ever met. I don't need a sodding Hat to tell me that you're my soulmate. Besides, I've fancied you since the end of your sixth year. Bond. With. Me!"
"Well, alrighty then. Dumbledore always told me to trust you, I'm trusting you. That's a yes, by the way. Is today too soon?" Harry asked, before he saw the needle and promptly fainted.
After Dudley was transfused with Harry's bone marrow, and the farewells were exchanged, Dudley and Petunia were taken, by ambulance, to St. Mungo's Muggle Ward. Arabella Figg followed them by car. Severus then Apparated Harry back to Spinner's End, which already had all of Harry's possessions; Severus and Kreacher had seen to that.
When Harry and Severus arrived, Kingsley Shacklebolt was already waiting in their sitting room, clad only in a toweling cloth bathrobe and bare feet. Kreacher had taken it upon himself to Apparate him there. When Harry stated he wanted to bond with Severus immediately, the elf took him at his word. It was fortunate that Kingsley had just covered up after his shower, just prior to Kreacher's sudden arrival, or there would be far more than his bare feet on display.
"Harry, Severus, I now pronounce you bonded spouses. Deal with it. Kreacher, I demand that you take me home, NOW!" The smugly smirking elf complied, sending the Minister back to his locked bathroom. "Is there anything else youse be needing, Master Harry and Master Severus?"
"Yes, Kreacher, please fetch Harry a vial of extra strength pain potion. I will be levitating him into the master bedroom, he has had a painful procedure done to him today. He needs his rest. Thank you."
With Harry fast asleep, Severus pondered the events of the day. Petunia Dursley was not the brat of his childhood. She had always loved Harry. Vernon was a damaged, dangerous wizard. Dudley had also feared Vernon. Harry had willingly bonded with him, Severus Snape, the evil dungeon bat. And most amazingly, Severus and Harry would, Merlin willing, soon have children of their own. All in all, it was a story that would be recounted to all of their friends and family, throughout the decades that followed.
Without any magical intervention, Harry bore Severus five beautiful, healthy children, all girls. The Fates clearly had a twisted sense of humor.
Dudley and Harry eventuality became closer than brothers. Their children grew up in their parents' childhood homes, within a huge extended family. Petunia was a doting grandmother to all of the little cousins. Arabella Figg was an equally besotted great grand aunt, who gifted all of the Dursley and Snape children their very own kneazle familiars. All of the children were magical. All was well, if one discounted the mayhem a whole pride of kneazles could unleash.
As for the hat, it was forbidden from any future matchmaking activity, after the disastrous pairing of Grawp and Minerva McGonagall. After that debacle, the Mirror of Compatibility was used, and after a short, compulsory courtship, compatible pairs were given the choice to bond, or find their own partners. The Mirror had a startling 98% accuracy rate at finding true matches. The Wizarding birth rate rapidly recovered, and the Mirror became the preferred method for voluntarily matching unattached young witches and wizards over the age of thirty.
In Wizarding Britain, all was well, indeed.