Severus studied the letter he had written.
Mr Colbert Prince,
I would appreciate an opportunity to meet with you and discuss the future of the House of Prince. To that end, I have included with this message a single-use portkey to my home, the activation key is mother's full maiden name.
Severus Colbert Snape
It was short, but he had no idea what else to tell his grandfather. There was much he wanted to tell him, but none of it could be put on parchment, he only hoped that Colbert Prince would give him a chance to explain. He sealed the note and the portkey, one of his Slytherin school ties, in the envelope and sighed.
He had no owl, he would have to go to a public postal service to send it. Blast. Good thing the postal service was open day and night, as it was well after midnight. It was also a good chance to fix Severus in the public eye as having a child before Dumbledore knew of Harry Potter's (fake) death and no one would be insulted if Severus had his sleeves pushed up, while holding a child.
Add an owl thing to the, rapidly, growing list of things that he needed if he was to care for his son properly.
Up in Hadrian's room, he transfigured a pair of socks into warm pyjamas for Hadrian and a towel into a fluffy green and blue blanket. He lifted the tiny body and stripped it of the baby-clothes that he'd dressed Hadrian in, before they'd left Gringotts. A change of nappy, which Severus was glad he'd learned how to do for Lucius' son, and he redressed Hadrian in the soft green pyjamas that had fluffy yellow ducklings waddling across them. Wrapping Hadrian in the blanket and making his way back down the stairs, Severus was surprised that Hadrian had not stirred, nothing more than his fingers clutching at Severus' shirt, which made donning a robe difficult.
A flick of his wand and the moss-green robe held itself ready, Severus slid one arm through the appropriate hole and switched his hold on Hadrian to slip his other arm into it's sleeve. A warming charm on Hadrian's blanket and he was as ready as he was ever going to be.
A deep breath and Severus stepped out onto the pavers at his back door, a few steps and he was standing on the single cracked paver, which was the only place a witch or wizard could apparate to or from around Severus' home. A crack of sound and that twisting feeling and Severus was standing at the apparition point, just inside Diagon Alley.
He quickly checked Hadrian, but the boy was still sound asleep, the movement of his blanket causing him to push his face into Severus' shoulder.
"Sh, sh, Hadrian, sh." Severus whispered. "Papa's got you."
No one gave them a glance as Severus made his down the sparsely crowded alley towards Gringotts and the double bayed windows of the Owl Postal Service. Pushing the door open, he stepped into the small shop.
"Evening, sir. Owl can we help you?" The attendant asked.
"I need to send a letter." Severus ignored the attendant's snort.
"And you don't want to send your own owl, for any number of reasons, I'm sure." The attendant smirked.
"No. Just that, at present we have no owl." Severus informed the young wizard.
"Oh… my apologies. At this hour of the night, most people are sending owls to… particular friends." The wizard backtracked quickly.
"Not a concern, Mr Ackerly, I merely wish to invite my grandfather to meet his great-grandson." Severus replied automatically, before pausing. "Ackerly? Spencer Ackerly?" He frowned. "Really? Given the way you were always following Professor Sprout around, I assumed you would end up working in the herbology field."
"Severus Snape?" Spencer Ackerly gaped. "Well, given how you were always asking Professor Slughorn questions, I assumed you would be working in potions. I didn't know you married." The startled young man replied.
"I didn't. Gringotts facilitated a private adoption for me, it was finalised, just an hour ago." Severus swapped the hand holding Hadrian's little body on his shoulder and held out the letter with his left hand, the sleeve pushed back to the elbow. Spencer's eyes flicked from the hand to the forearm and back, but he said nothing, nor gave any indication of taking any notice of the bare skin.
Spencer accepted the letter and stamped it.
"Oh… well, congratulations, dad. And the letter will cost δ3." Spencer smiled.
A soft little voice sounded.
"Papa?" Severus looked down and saw that Hadrian's eyes were blinking tiredly.
"Hush, now, Hadrian. Sleep, Papa's got you." Severus whispered, rubbing the boy's back softly.
"Papa…" The little voice trailed off, as Hadrian yawned and tucked his head back into Severus' neck.
Spencer waited until the boy settled, taking the coins that Severus handed him and wrote out a receipt.
"You're good with him." Was all Spencer said.
"I do my best. It helps that he likes me, he was reaching for me the same minute we met."
"That's a good thing. Snape…? Can I ask… what happened to his parents?"
"His birth father was the Head of an old Family, but there was… contention around Hadrian's birth. Today, when Gringotts performed Identity and Inheritance Testing on Hadrian within minutes of my Blood Adopting him, he had been repudiated by both this Maternal and Paternal Families."
Spencer gasped, his eyes wide.
"Both? Both families repudiated him? But he's a child. A baby. How could they?"
"I will grant this, the spokesman for the Families insisted on waiting until the Blood Adoption was complete and even suggested an Adoption booster after the repudiations. He believes that this was the best action, for Hadrian's future."
"Removing Ancestral Magics is best for his future? Are they joking?" Spencer spluttered.
"No. Hence my writing to my grandfather. I am hoping that he may recognise Hadrian as his blood family. Giving-"
"Giving him Ancestral Magics." Spencer nodded, offering the receipt to Severus. "That's not a bad option."
"It's all I have available to me, so I hope that it works." Severus sighed.
"I'll offer a prayer to Lady Magic for success, Snape."
"Thank you, Ackerly…" He paused, not sure if this was a wise move, or not. "Ackerly, are you still interested in herbology?"
"Oh, yes. I've a few applications in for an apprenticeship, but it's the wrong time of year and no one seems very interested in a Hogwarts Graduate, right now." The young man sighed.
"Hmm… I may know someone. He would want to assess you, himself, though."
"Really?" His eyes flicked quickly to Severus' arm and he bit his lip in indecision.
"I guarantee nothing, but… with your permission, I will pass your name and interest to him. It's up to him. Master Gibbon is a good and fair man, he will not push you to do more than you are capable of."
"Thank you, Severus. I would appreciate that." Spencer smiled at the other wizard.
"You are welcome. Now, I'd best take this little one home, how long he will sleep for is anyone's guess." Severus nodded and stepped back to the door. "Good evening… Spencer." He pulled the door closed behind him and strode back up the Alley.
Morning came and a scared child woke Severus.
"Papa! Papa!" Hadrian cried. "Me wants Papa!"
"I'm coming, Hadrian." Severus called, levering himself out of his bed, he stumbled over the mat at the foot of his bed, but stayed upright. He was across the hall and into the room he'd decided was Hadrian's, without hesitating, reacting without thought.
"Papa!" The tears stopped the instant Hadrian saw Severus.
"Hadrian. Did you wake alone, sweet boy?" Severus plucked the boy out of the cradle, holding him close.
"Uh huh. Me's want Papa." Hadrian smiled, patting Severus on the chest and laying his head on a broad shoulder.
"Alright, then, young man. Let's get you clean and dressed, ready for the day." Severus gently peeled the boy out of his pyjamas, noting the transfigured fabric was already breaking down, he'd stretched it too far. "We'll have to go shopping for you today, sweet boy, you need your own clothes." When the boy was clean, Severus took him into the master bedroom, sitting Hadrian on the bed while he rifled around in his cupboards, looking for clothes that could be shrunk and altered to fit a tiny individual. That done, he dressed both himself and Hadrian and headed downstairs.
In the kitchen, Severus transfigured a chair into a highchair and placed a chattering Hadrian in it. He turned to the stove and quickly put together the makings of porridge, dishing up a small bowl and sprinkling some finely diced dried fruit over it, he set it down in front of Hadrian. He sat and watched as Hadrian attempted to spoon the meal into his mouth.
"Do you want some help, there, Hadrian?" Taking the spoon from into fingers.
"Papa." Hadrian laughed, opening his mouth wide.
Severus fed the boy porridge until the bowl was empty.
"A piece of apple, Hadrian?"
"Nummy, appl'." The boy nodded before pausing, his eyes open wide. "Papa? Who dat?" Hadrian pointed over Severus' shoulder.
Severus was up and out of his seat, his wand drawn, stepping between Hadrian and whoever the intruder was. A heartbeat to see and recognise and Severus' shoulders slumped in relief.
"Oh, thank Merlin. It's only you." He said.
"Yes. Who were you expecting?" The newcomer said.
"I wasn't, at least not yet. hence my reaction."
"Papa?" Hadrian's voice was scared, now, whimpering.
Severus turned from the newcomer and lifted Hadrian from his seat, hushing and comforting the little boy. Balancing him on one hip he turned to the stove, he measured leaves into a teapot, poured water, at the right temperature, over them, setting the teapot on the table, he reached up into the cupboard and pulled out a pair of fine china tea cups down. Rinsing them with warm water, followed by a quick drying charm, he placed them on the table, pulled sugar and cream from the cold cupboard and both joined the teapot on the table.
"This is what you wanted to talk to me about? Your bastard child?" The older man asked.
"No. What I wished to talk to you about is the son I Blood Adopted yesterday." Severus stated.
"Adopted? Blood Adopted? Why in the name of Hades would you do that?"
"Let me put him down to play and I'll explain." Severus requested.
Severus gave Hadrian a bowl of sliced apple and a few segments of orange.
"Let's go into the other room. I've put up some childproof shielding on the shelves and the fireplace." Severus said, waving his wand so the teapot, sugar, cream and cups floated after them.
He lowered Hadrian to the floor and sat him on a large mat. Another wave of his wand and a few pieces of firewood were transformed, some into blocks and some into farmyard animals that Severus charmed to act like the living creature.
"You play with them for a bit, while Papa talks to Mr Prince, alright, Hadrian?" He ran his fingers through the boy's hair, before he waved Colbert Prince to a seat.
"Tea?" He asked, tapping his wand against a knot of wood on the fireplace surround, activating strong privacy shields around the room.
"Yes, please." Was the reply. "Tea and answers. Why would you adopt a child?"
Severus twitched his wand and put up a weak silencing shield, Hadrian would still hear them, but it would be muffled and soft, but more importantly, Severus would still be able to hear Hadrian.
"Yesterday morning Lucius Malfoy fire-called me." Severus began.
"You're still supporting that madman, then?" Colbert sneered.
"Please allow me to finish." When Colbert sighed and nodded, Severus continued. "A Seer had brought-"
"Another prophecy?" Colbert scoffed.
"No, not a prophecy. Vision. And she wasn't pleased to have inherited the gift, either. She said, quite clearly I might add, that she had used a pensieve to watch the memories of the vision. Not once, but 14 times, trying to find a reason to not involve Lucius. She did not find that reason. Shortly after midday he told me to enter the pensieve. I did. It was… not pleasant. If the Dark wins this war, they will bring about our downfall by targeting muggles. Muggles will fight back with weapon that can destroy all of Diagon Alley in seconds." Colbert inhaled sharply. "But if the Light wins, muggles will be introduced into our world and eventually magic will be spread too far, no one have a core magically strong enough to cast the simplest of spells."
Alarm shone on Colbert's face.
"What can be done?"
"We are doing it, now. The vision showed us the outcomes of various different actions. The only one that allowed the continuation of Magic beyond the next 15-20 years, was creating a third party in this war. Hadrian's faction."
"Hadrian? Him?" Colbert pointed the small boy playing with a toy hippogriff.
"Him. He was born Harrold Evans Potter." Colbert nearly choked on his tea. "That's right. That child is, or was, Harry Potter. Dumbledore had placed him Lily Potter's muggle sister. I knew her when they lived on Benson Grove, she was and still is, a particularly nasty individual. The vision told of injuries that she and her husband inflicted on the boy, simply because he was her sister's child and she did not wish to be reminded of the fact that her sister had something she did not. Magic."
"They hurt him?"
"Yes. But there's more. Let me start at the beginning. Dumbledore heard a prophecy, I doubt the validity, but he does not. I was at that point trying to be a true follower of Voldemort, desperate for a place to belong. I was present that day, when Trelawney spoke the prophecy. I went to the Dark Lord and told him. Some weeks later I was told to bring Peter Pettigrew to the Lord's manor. It was during that interview that I discovered that the prophecy applied to Lily Potter… and her family. I begged Voldemort to spare her, but he gave not reply. I went to Dumbledore and begged him to hide her, to protect her. At that point I cared not what happened to Potter or his child, I had forgotten that the child was also hers. But it was to no avail, she was dead, as was Potter and Voldemort. I retreated into myself. Distanced myself from Voldemort's supporters, from Dumbledore, from the world in general."
"Until the vision?" Colbert asked.
"Until Lucius called about a vision. It took nearly three hours for me to watch the complete vision. After I emerged, Lucius, Xander and I knew that the only chance for the future was to take action ourselves. We split that into two sections. I have one, Hadrian. Lucius and Xander are dealing with the other."
"Can you trust them to do that?"
"It was Lucius' suggestion and he knows the ramifications of failure. He and Xander Gibbon will not fail."
"What are they doing?"
"I don't know."
"What?" Colbert asked confusedly.
"I don't know and there is no way I plan to find out. Hadrian and I are safer if I don't know." Severus said.
"How do you figure that?"
"Dumbledore. He knows I'm almost finished my apprenticeship. Every time I see him, he reminds me that Slughorn wants to retire, and Dumbledore wants me to take his place. He obviously believes that I will bend to his will. I will not. But I wouldn't put it past him to use legilimency or veritaserum on me and at this point, I know I'm not strong enough to resist."
"You can't tell what you don't know." Colbert nods.
"So what do you plan to tell Dumbledore about the boy?"
"I will tell him the truth… just not all of the truth."
"I see… please continue."
"After watching the vision, Lucius sent me to fetch Xander Gibbon and for the two of us to meet him at Gringotts. We did this and once again watched the vision. The goblins were incensed, it took minutes to calm them. The Director himself, assisted us, in total only two goblins and the three of us wizards knew who the boy was. The goblins created a golem, tied to Harry Potter's Paternal Magic. They swapped it for him and brought him to Gringotts." Severus paused. "Just a moment."
He got to his feet and fetched in a small metal cup with a broad base, he filled it half-full with water and offered it to Hadrian. The little boy smiled brightly and held the cup with two hands and slurped at the water.
"Once the boy was in Gringotts, our plans became actions." He continued after sitting back down. "Firstly we decided to regress him. we felt that de-aging him was the quickest and least painful way to heal his injuries. Knowing that the… event happened six weeks ago, we decided to go further, we de-aged him ten weeks. We wanted to make sure that he would be healthy. Then Director Knifesplitter and another goblin did what they called Ancestral Purges, Maternal and Paternal."
"Purges. A Purge is like it sounds. It removes all trace of the Family Bloodline from the child. Having the child purged, meant that there is no way Dumbledore can gain control of the child's life. The next thing we did was increase the boy's age, not all of it, though. Knifesplitter said that the re-aging potion contained a setting agent that would register a new date of birth. I decided that he should be a little younger, only a few weeks, but that will be enough that Dumbledore won't look harder."
He poured a fresh cup of tea and sipped at it.
"Then we needed to add Family Magics, but we wanted a family that Dumbledore wouldn't be concerned about having a child removed from. We also wanted there to be a reason for removing the child. So we decided, Lucius, Xander, Knifesplitter and myself, that we would add Bellatrix Lestrange as mother and Rabastan Lestrange as father."
"Isn't Bellatrix married to his brother?"
"Yes, Rudolphus. There was a fierce jealously between the brothers over who got to marry her, but it's pointless, Bellatrix only has eyes for Voldemort, anyone else has no chance of gaining her affections, not even her own husband."
"And you took that into account."
"Indeed. The reason for removing the child is simple, all three Lestranges are in Azkaban. Who would raise Bellatrix's child? Narcissa Malfoy. But any such child would be targeted by those that had suffered at the Lestranges' hands. It would never be free of the taint of the Lestrange family. The next thing we did was a Blood Adoption, with myself as parent."
"Ah… I wondered where that came in."
"A Blood adoption would give me the right to raise him, as the Lestranges' were unable to. But then? Lucius is the closest Head of House, technically as he is married to Narcissa and the Ancestral Adoptions made her the boy's blood aunt and is Lucius the Head of her Family. He ordered an Ancestral Repudiation for the Paternal Ancestries."
"Oh my." Colbert whispered.
"Followed by an Ancestral Repudiation for the Maternal Ancestries."
"Oh sweet Nimue."
"At that point a Blood Adoption booster was given and Identity tests done." Severus paused and handed both pieces of parchment to Colbert. "Then a Curse-breaker and a healer checked him over and both assessments declared that he was uninjured and bore no external magics."
"Is that when you brought him home?"
"No, not yet. First the Curse-breaker set to work on my arm and removed Voldemort's Darkmark." Severus pulled his sleeve up and showed a bare forearm.
"Then I brought him home, feed and bathed him, put him to bed and sat down to write to you, but I didn't know what to say. So… I simply said what I hoped would catch your attention."
"And you have. What are your plans, now?"
"Xander raised an interesting point. My… father is a muggle. My mother was a witch."
"Is she still alive?" Colbert asked.
"No, she died a few months ago. I returned from my Hogwarts graduation to find them packed and ready to leave. He was in a car waiting, while she stood in this room. She told me then that she was ill, Tobias was taking her to live the last of her days in the sun, she gave me two Gringotts' keys, one for her vault and one for a vault she had setup in my name. The last thing she did before walking out the door was to give me her wand. St Mungo's had told her that her illness would only increase with the use of magic. He turned up here, in August, just knocked on the door. When I opened it, he handed me a box. Said she wanted her ashes to go home. Then he turned and walked away."
"I never understood what she saw in him."
"Neither do I." Severus agreed.
"What was the point Xander mentioned?"
"Tobias is a muggle, you disowned mother when she married him."
"I did." Colbert nodded.
"Gringotts can facilitate Ancestral Purges. If I were to Purge the Snape lineage… would you accept us back into the Prince Family?" Severus stated bluntly.
"I…" he paused and hummed quietly, in thought, for a few minutes.
"If you and your son… Purge yourselves of the Snape bloodline, of all the things that make one a Snape… I will welcome you into the Prince family. I am old Severus, wizards may live for more than a century, but the damage done to my core during the war with Grindelwald, means that I may live only another 10 or 15 years. I will be lucky to see my century. As it stands right now, I have no heir, no one to carry on the Family name. Purge Tobias Snape from your body and your core… and I will name you my heir, as you would have been if your mother had of chosen anyone but Snape."
"Would you like to meet your great-grandson?" Severus dropped the silencing shield.
"I would, very much."
"Hadrian?" Severus called quietly.
The little boy looked up from his toys.
"Papa?" He asked.
"Come here, sweet boy, I have someone for you to meet."
"Papa." The boy climbed to his slightly unsteady feet and toddled over to Severus, lifting his arms and asked to be picked up.
Severus lifted Hadrian onto his lap and the boy leaned back against his father's chest.
"This is your Grandfather.
"Papa?" Hadrian didn't understand
"Grandpa." Colbert corrected.
Hadrian's face lit up and he smiled brightly.
"G'ampa!" He squealed, reaching for the older man.
Four year old Hadrian ran down the hall from the back and into the front room, only to come to a skidding halt.
"Papa!" He screamed, turning to run, but his feet tripped on the mat and falling on his side.
"Oh." The old man who'd been waiting gasped.
"Hadrian!" Came a man's voice.
A man in a deep green robe burst through the door, grabbing Hadrian up, swinging him onto his back and spinning to face the old man, his wand pointing at the intruder a snarl on his face.
Severus froze, one hand holding his son to his back the other not wavering from the old man's face.
"Severus! What are you doing?" Dumbledore's voice showed his surprise.
"What are you doing here?" Severus snarled. "How did you get in?"
"I let myself in." Dumbledore said. "I needed to speak to you, you've been ignoring my letters."
"Well, of course I have."
"All you've done is nag at me to take a position I have no intention of taking."
"I need a potions master, Severus."
"Fine, you need a potions master, it's not going to be me." Severus was firm on that.
"Why not?" Dumbledore didn't understand.
"One? I have no interest in teaching dunderheads that don't want to learn. Two? I would have to live in the castle, that's not going to happen. Three? I have a business to run."
"Students are students, Severus, they deserve to learn from the best. And why will you not live in the castle? I wasn't aware that you had opened a business. Why wasn't I told?"
"Why would I tell you? We've not spoken since I begged you to protect Lily and her son. Which you failed to do. Not once, but twice."
"I'm sorry, my boy, I tried-"
"You sent a magical child to live with muggles that hate magic." Severus retorted, his voice harsh enough that Hadrian buried his head into Severus' back. "And now he's dead. You placed him there and now he's dead."
"I'm sorry, I-"
"Papa? Tan I det down? Pwease?" A little voice asked.
Severus sighed and flipped Hadrian around and under his arm, until the boy was in front of him, letting him slide to the ground.
"Tan I pway up'tairs, Papa?"
"Of course you can, my sweet boy. Take your robes with you and leave them in the bathroom, please."
"Yes, Papa." The boy replied.
"He calls you 'father'?" Dumbledore asked.
"Of course, he does, he's my son."
"I wasn't aware you have married, Severus." Dumbledore chided, gently.
Severus waited until he heard Hadrian reach the top of the stairs.
"I didn't. You know full well that Lily was the only woman I've ever loved."
"I adopted him, of course."
"Adopted? I… When?"
"A few days before you let Lily's son die."
"You were responsible, you placed with magic-hating muggles. The Prophet said his injuries were horrendous. You may as well have signed his death warrant. And you expect me to trust you with my life and that of my son? Never!" He swore.
Dumbledore hastily reassessed what he'd been about to say.
"You said you adopted him? What happened to his parents? Who are they?"
"Were." He sighed, removing his outer robes and rolling his sleeves up. "Sit down, Headmaster. Six weeks after Voldemort killed the Potters and was in turn killed by-"
"He's not dead, Severus. I told you this, we need-"
"Headmaster. Enough. Do you want to know how I came to adopt Hadrian or not?" Severus cut the old man off.
Dumbledore blinked, Severus' arm was bare, he sighed, his plan of having Severus work and spy for him was fading, fast.
"Thank you. Six weeks after the… incident, Lucius floo-called me, he said that Bellatrix, Rudolphus and Rabastan were sent to Azkaban."
"He asked Xander and I to help him sort through their house and called in a Gringotts Curs-breaker to destroy whatever dark artefacts we might find. What we found… sickened us. A child, little more than a year old, locked in a closet. He'd been beaten, starved and had his magic bound."
"A child? They stole a child?" Dumbledore gasped.
"No. Gringotts tested him. he was Bellatrix's son."
"Bellatrix and Rudolphus had a son?"
"No, he is not Rudolphus' child."
Dumbledore's eyes widened in surprise.
"Then, who's…? Surely not Voldemort's?"
"No, Rabastan is his father, according to Gringotts."
"Dumbledore, there is something you must understand. Bellatrix only married Rudolphus because Lord Black insisted and Voldemort agreed. She had no liking for Rudolphus or Rabastan, none at all. Lucius and Xander think that may be why the boy was so badly beaten. Rudolphus because he was Rabastan's child and Bellatrix because he wasn't Voldemort's child."
"Sweet Merlin." Dumbledore whispered.
"Gringotts provided a healer and a Curse-breaker to tend to him. Lucius, Xander and I were appalled that someone could treat a child like that and we decided that with Bellatrix, Rudolphus and Rabastan, all in Azkaban, someone would have to raise the boy. When he woke, I was the only person he would let touch him, so we discussed it and Lucius, with the consent of Gringotts, declared that he was the closest Head of House, he would take legal responsibility for the boy."
"He then offered me permission to adopt the boy. At that time the child had no name. I insisted on a Blood Adoption and Lucius agreed. Gringotts provided the potions and supervised the process. Immediately afterwards, Lucius speaking as Legal Representative for the boy, declared a Paternal Repudiation."
"A Paternal Repudiation. It's a more involved version of a disownment. A disownment removes a wizard from the Family Line, prohibits them from accessing the Family Magics. A Repudiation goes further, it strips the wizard of the Ancestral Magics that fill their core."
Dumbledore's jaw fell.
"Malfoy repudiated the boy? Why?"
"Protection. Repudiating the boy's Paternal Magics removed almost all traces of the Lestrange Magics, leaving him a Black."
"That would make Arcturus his Head of House." Dumbledore stated.
"Yes, but Arcturus is in America and has been for nearly a decade. So, Lucius was still the closest Head of House, being the husband of his maternal aunt. Then Lucius ordered a Maternal Repudiation."
Dumbledore gasped in horror.
"Think about it. The son of Bellatrix Lestrange? He would never be safe. With both Maternal and Paternal Repudiations, only the Blood Adopted Magics were present. The boy was now more my son than theirs. I wrote to my grandfather-"
"Oh, my boy."
"-and told him what had happened."
"I'm so sorry."
"Why? He came here and met Hadrian. When I told him what Lucius had done to give me a son, grandfather offered to welcome us into the Prince Family, but only if I was prepared to do a Snape Paternal Repudiation for both myself and my son."
"It was an easy decision. Tobias Snape was a violent and abusive man, at least to me. Giving away whatever I had received from him was an easy thing to do. Grandfather then ordered both myself and Hadrian an Ancestral Adoption, making us truly sons of the House of Prince."
"What will you do, now?" All thoughts of having Severus as potions master and spy were gone.
"Now I will raise my son, run the business I share with Spencer Ackerly and our master Alexander Gibbon. I will do whatever I have to, to keep Hadrian safe, safe from retaliation over who his parents were, safe from Voldemort's supporters who do not approve of Lucius, Xander and myself leaving their august company."
"That I am aware of, only the three of us took the mark reluctantly and the theory is that when he… died, the link was broken. It lasted minutes before it was gone."
"Do you really think he is dead?" Dumbledore asked. Maybe his research was wrong.
"I don't know, Headmaster. If he does return, I will do what I need to, to protect my son, but that will not be teaching at Hogwarts. I do not have the disposition for teaching, even working with Spencer, I find it irritating and I quite like the boy, I have no doubt that any students forced to learn under me would very quickly come to hate me as much as I disliked having to teach them."
Dumbledore hummed in thought.
"Would you be willing to provide one-on-one training with a very gifted student or two?"
"Not at Hogwarts. The potions facilities there are disgusting. I might… be convinced to accept a single student that would attend my laboratory. If my colleagues agree."
"I'll asked, my boy."
"No. I will ask them. There may be other things to consider, things that do not concern you, Headmaster."
"I see." And Dumbledore did see. His actions, or inactions, had cost him greatly. Gone was the meek boy that sought a place to belong, a boy he could manipulate. No, this was a man that was sure in his place, his business and in his Family. A man that would not tolerate interference in his life. Such a pity.
"In that case, Severus, I shall leave you in peace." He knocked a copy of that day's prophet from the end table to the floor between them.
"Black?" Severus picked up the paper and studied it. "Black freed? Innocent? Really?" He drawled. He remembered Black from the Seer's vision, he was innocent of the crimes he'd been accused, but not convicted. It seemed that grandfather had been successful in his latest venture.
"What?!" Dumbledore cried.
Severus handed the old wizard the paper, the front page almost screaming the headline, 'Black Innocent'. Dumbledore studied the page, reading the entire story before sighing and handing it back.
"Thank you Severus." All his plans scuttled. Harry Potter dead. Severus Snape, unmarked and a father. Black free of Azkaban. How could the day get worse?
"Well… I suppose I'd best send him a reminder…" Severus mused.
"A reminder?" Dumbledore asked.
"Yes, Headmaster. When we left Hogwarts, I stated that I intended to complete my Mastery in Potions, Black, Potter and Lupin, were unconvinced that I was capable of achieving this prior to reaching 35, I however, stated that I would complete my Mastery before reaching 25. A wager was entered, I offered two phials of Felix Felicis, Black put forward casting a Fidelius at a place of the winner's choice, Lupin knew of my obsession and offered two phials of his own blood."
"He just laughed, but at Lily's urging offered his notes of achieving his Animagus transformation."
"Lily was our holder. She did not enter the wagering, she knew of my plans to study under Master Gibbon."
"I wonder… The prophet says that Black is staying in an undisclosed medical facility. I dare say the easiest way to contact him will be via Lupin."
"Perhaps not the best thing, Severus."
"Why? Both men will require potions and I am in a position to provide them, plus both men know of my… connection to Lily Potter."
"That is true."
"I shall send an owl this afternoon, as soon as we finish here."
"Yes, Hadrian and I are only here to select a few personal items, we will be staying with grandfather for a few days, while Gringotts packs our possessions and moves them to our new home in Ayrshire."
"Ayrshire, you're leaving Spinner's End?"
"Yes, it's no place to raise an energetic child and Hadrian is hardly ever still. The goblins are going to remove our possessions and all traces of magic from the property before the new muggle owners take over."
"Ah. I see. Would that be why you were concerned that I'd let myself in?"
"Partially. The other being Hadrian."
"Of course, of course. I shall pass your intentions along to the Order, to ensure no one inadvertently disturbs the muggles."
"Thank you Headmaster. Now, if you will excuse me, my son has been a bit too quiet for a bit too long. Good day."
Severus ushered Dumbledore to the back door and after watching the man apparate out, closed, locked and shielded the door. He had a letter to write and a son to find, not necessarily in that order.
Remus Lupin looked at the envelope a second time. Who was Severus Prince and why was he writing to Remus?
Lupin (and Black),
Not knowing where Black is recuperating from his unwarranted incarceration, I felt that you, Lupin, were the best option for communication.
You both owe me, Black for sending me through the Womping Willow and Lupin for almost biting me. I'm calling in those debts. Do not tell Dumbledore that we are in communication. He was the one to cast the Potters' Fidelius charm, he knew Pettigrew was the secret keeper, but it was not Dumbledore that saw to Black's release, but rather, my grandfather and I. I request a meeting with the two of you to disclose my evidence and discuss the matter further.
This letter is a portkey and will activate with the formal name of the issue that took you to the shack, any time during daylight is fine, at night I request a 30 minute warning. I offer accommodation, medical treatment and even entertainment for us all.
Severus Prince (formerly Snape) MoP,
What the hell?
Remus read the letter three times before he decided that he had no idea what was going on. He placed the letter in his pocket and made his way to the rehab hospice, where Sirius was staying. Nodding to the guard he entered the building and after speaking with the staff, he was tapping on Sirius' door, he entered and sat down beside the raven-haired wizard.
"Remus…" Sirius whispered.
"Hey Pads, ready to get out of here?"
"Hell yes. What's the day like?"
"Bright, fine and cold." His voice was distracted and he knew that Sirius would pick up on it sooner or later. So, he felt it best to get the subject out in the open. "Pads?"
"I got a letter today."
"It's from Severus."
"What does Snivelles Snape want?"
Remus handed Sirius the letter and watched as Sirius read the short message. Like Remus he re-read and re-read it.
"That was my reaction, too." Remus sighed.
"Evidence? What sort of evidence, Remus?" Sirius' voice was rusty and cracked.
"I don't know. But… Accommodation? Treatment? Entertainment? Prince? Sirius, I'm beginning to wonder… This does not like the Severus Snape we knew at Hogwarts."
Sirius tilted his head and thought.
"Maybe we should meet with him." Sirius said.
"I think… we should." Remus hesitated. "I have no problem sharing my place, but it's not really suitable for your recovery, Pads."
"Alright let's go see, this person who used to be Severus Snape. Grab a bag would you?" Sirius grasped a bag. "Do I need to wait or can we just go?"
"I need to tell the healers that we're portkey-ing out and then we're good to go. Back in two." Remus headed out the door to find a healer.
Ten minutes later the portkey plopped them down in a lush wildflower garden in front of a two-story home built from a pale grey stone, with a slate tile roof. At one end of the walled garden was a large green house, at the other end a tree with a swing underneath a branch and a tree house nestled in the upper branches.
"What the…? Where are we?" Remus asked.
"Papa!" A young child's voice cried. "Dey's here, Papa!"
"Papa?" Sirius raised an eyebrow in Remus' direction.
"No idea." The werewolf answered.
"Coming, Hadrian." A man's voice answered the child.
Moments later, a tall man rounded the corner of the building.
"Snape." Sirius bit back a sharper reply, there was something very different about this man, from the boy he knew. What was it?
"Not anymore. Prince, now. My grandfather welcomed my son and I into the family, after we purged the Snape magics. Welcome to Onyx House. Come on, inside. It's time Hadrian was put down for a sleep."
"But Papa, I wants to pway in da sand." A small child ran out from under a bush and was snatched up by Severus.
"After a nap, my little one."
A pouting face was tucked into Severus' shoulder when he saw that he wasn't go to get out of a nap.
"Come on in." Severus lead them into a large brightly lit kitchen. "Have a seat, I'll be just a minute. Give the stew a stir, Lupin, don't let it burn before I get back."
Severus disappeared through a door and the two wizards heard footsteps on stairs. Severus' voice wafted down to them, the little boy's voice joining him for a few moments, before footsteps were heard returning.
"Thank you for coming. I wasn't sure if you would or not." Severus said as he re-entered the kitchen.
"You asked us to come, you sent a portkey. Why?" Sirius asked.
"How's your health, Black, really? I want the two of you to watch something, but it will take about three hours. Are you physically capable of that?" Severus asked in a sombre tone.
Both men froze at the questions and gave them due consideration.
"Right now, three hours would be pushing the limit. I could do it but, it would probably put my recovery back a week or so." Sirius stated in a, well, serious voice.
"In that case, no, I'd rather not risk it. Lupin, if you'll watch it now, you can tell Black what's in it. And when he's a bit more recovered, he can watch it, then. Black? Will you take lupin's word that what he tells you is what he watched?"
"Yes." Sirius nodded.
"Alright, this way, I've rooms for you both or you can share, whichever you prefer." Severus lead the two men from the kitchen and down a hall, passed a set of stair and into what was clearly an addition to the main house. "Two double rooms, that share a bathroom. Use one or both, that's up to you. When you're ready, I'll be in the study next to the stairs." He nodded and left the wizards to sort themselves out.
Barely five minutes later the two entered the study.
"Sna- no, you said, you're not Snape any longer? What do we call you, now?" Sirius asked, plopping himself down on a two-seater sofa opposite Severus.
"My name is Severus Colbert Prince, now. The boy upstairs is my son, Hadrian Ridley Prince. I'd prefer that we get past the need for surnames, I'm Severus, or if you must Sev."
"Severus, then. At least for now." Sirius replied.
"Fair enough." Severus nodded.
"You mentioned something you wanted us to watch?" Remus reminded.
"I did. Lu… Remus, there's a pensieve in that draw there, pull it out. I suggest sitting down first, like I said, it'll take about three hours."
"Then I'd best get started. You two try not to kill each other before I get out. Please?" Remus gave Sirius a pleading look.
"I'll behave, until you get back."
For the next three hours, Sirius caught up with the Daily Prophet's news and for the first hour, Severus made notes in a book, then went to tend to his son.
Remus staggered as he fell from the pensieve, two steps and he collapsed into the sofa beside Sirius.
"Severus? You did that? All of it?" Remus asked, his face pale and his voice shaky.
"Dumbledore gave Harry to Lily's muggle sister." He began.
"But she hates Lily… and magic."
"Yes, she does, both. That was a vision by a Seer, who's name I shall not mention, other than to saw she wasn't happy at having a vision." Severus said.
"If that was what she saw, I can sympathise. That was horrid." Remus agreed.
"Remus?" Sirius asked again.
"The vision showed what would happen if the Light won the war. Then it showed the Dark winning. Both times magic was gone within years. Then there was variations, if this was changed, this happened. If that changed this happened. The only change that let magic survive? Was… the goblins took Harry from Lily's sister, in the middle of the night. They de-aged him, healing the injuries Lily's sister caused, then removed James and Lily's magics from him before re-aging part the way. Added in magics from another couple, then Severus Blood Adopted him, then they removed the new adopted parents magic and Severus became his father."
Sirius looked at Remus, his eyes just blinking. It took him almost a full minute to process what Remus had just said.
"Dumbledore put my godson in a home where he would get abused and he knew it?"
"Yes." Severus said.
"You took him away from them?"
"You Blood Adopted him?"
"You changed his age?"
"You changed his name?"
"Do you care about him?"
"Yes." Severus said. "He is my son and I love him, dearly."
"Will you raise him as Lily would have wanted?"
"Will you let us, Remus and I, be a part in his life?"
"Will you keep him safe, from Dumbledore, from Voldemort?"
"Are you still a Death-Eater?"
Severus rolled up his sleeves and showed a bare arm.
"How the hell…?" Sirius frowned.
"Firstly, please, no swearing, particularly where Hadrian can hear you. Secondly, I took the mark reluctantly, myself, Lucius Malfoy and Xander Gibbon never really wanted to be a part of Voldemort's great plan. All I wanted was a place to belong, where people would accept me for who I am, not what I can do for them."
"Oh, don't be so surprised. It was Lucius and my grandfather that got you out of Azkaban. They called a closed, surprise, session of the Wizengamot and demanded that you have a trial. Bagnold was not pleased, neither was Crouch, when it came out that they'd denied you a trial. Finding that Dumbledore knew you were innocent but left you there? No, the Wizengamot aren't very happy."
"Yes, that sentiment says it all."
"Does Harr-Hadrian know who is-was?" Remus asked.
"No. And I don't plan on telling him, he doesn't need to be burdened with that."
"No. What about us?" Sirius waved between he and Remus.
"I had planned to just say, that we went to school together. And that I'm providing potions to help in you healing."
"That's true… at least the school, bit."
"Also, Sirius is a cousin… or was. Both for Harry Potter and for the other couple." Remus added.
"What? Who? Who were the other couple?"
"We felt we needed a couple that even Dumbledore wouldn't question us removing a child from their family."
"Who?" Sirius growled.
"Bellatrix and Rabastan."
"Bella and her… hang on, Bella's husband is Rudolphus, not Rabastan."
"Exactly… That was what we planned."
"But…" Sirius trailed off and was silent for a few minutes. "It makes sense. They're all in Azkaban and there's no one to raise their son. But he'd be in danger from retaliation, Dumbledore would approve you taking the boy, raising him right."
"Dumbledore's not really happy with me, today."
"I refuse to teach for him. I have no Darkmark, so cannot and will not, spy for him. I will not fight for him. I almost turned my wand on him, when he entered my house unannounced. He was not pleased."
"No… I can image he wouldn't be."
"Papa?" Hadrian padded into the room, climbing his father's leg and resting against Severus' chest. "Who dey?"
"These are two people I went to school with, Hadrian. That is Sirius. And this is Remus."
Hadrian's little face scrunched up in thought. His lip was pulled between his teeth.
"Papa?" He asked.
"Is Siri'us… is 'e Padfoo'?"
All three men looked at the boy in shock.
"You remember Padfoot?" Severus asked.
"What about Remmy?" Sirius asked.
"Woofy Wemmy?" Hadrian asked.
Two of the three men laughed.
"Yes, sweet boy. Padfoot and Wolfy Remmy." Severus smiled.
"Yay!" The boy squealed. "Tan I pway with Padfoo'? Pwease Papa?"
"Sirius?" Severus asked. "Want to play with Hadrian?"
"Yes!" Sirius dropped to the floor and shifted into his Animagus form.
"We can hash out the details later, Remus, but I'd like the two of you to hang around. I did imply to Dumbledore earlier that the three of us have had more contact than he's aware of. I mentioned that wager we had going. You owe me two phials of blood, wolf. And when he's more recovered, Sirius can cast a Fidelius on this place, with all three of us as secret keepers."
"Oh lord, I'd forgotten that. But as you say later."
"Yes, later. For now, let's just enjoy the fact that our friend's son is safe, happy and well… And riding Sirius around my study." Severus shook his head, sighing.