~ Chapter 20: Family ~
Monday, 30th May 2005. Hogwarts.
Harry looked at his fourth-year students with a mixture of happiness and pride. Accepting the position was one of the best decisions I have ever made. He smiled, surprising a Ravenclaw who had glanced up at him while taking a break from her essay writing. The bell rang and the students hurriedly packed their things.
"Don't forget your assignment guys. It's to be handed in on Monday, all right?"
"We heard you, Professor Potter? Malfoy? Whatever!" one student said merrily.
Harry chuckled and cleared his desk. Two years of being an Assistant professor and they still haven't gotten used to my name. He negligently waved his wand at the board and set the wards before locking the classroom. He stepped out into the corridor and walked behind a group of his students.
"He and the Assistant Potions Master should settle on one name. It's always confusing trying to figure out which name goes first when you try to greet them," one girl muttered darkly to her girlfriends.
"Just call him or his husband Professor Malfoy-Potter," her friend suggested.
"That is why I said it's troublesome."
"Then just stick to 'Professor'." One of the girls rolled her eyes sarcastically and a playful argument erupted within the group.
Harry smiled and turned left to go down to the kitchen. A bunch of students greeted him and he gave them an amiable nod before continuing on his way. He let his feet carry him toward his destination as he thought about his plans for the night. He wouldn't have heard the Hufflepuffs' conversation if they had been talking in a less exuberant manner, but as it was, the girls were gushing and commenting rather loudly.
"He came again today!"
That's Andrea Harper, Harry reminded himself. Sometimes, he wondered how McGonagall remembered all the students' names, right down to the first-years.
"Blessed Merlin! I wish I was older!" A girl sighed plaintively.
"Get over it, Pauline. He's married."
"Well, that doesn't mean he'll stay married," Pauline told the girl philosophically. Harry couldn't quite remember her last name but it sounded like Sinclair.
"You shouldn't wish ill of the couple, you know," Andrea informed her girlfriend with a disapproving tone. "If you do bad things to people, you might end up experiencing bad things too."
"But that didn't happen to Lucius Malfoy, did it? He and the rest got away without even paying anything," Pauline retorted.
"Cool your heads," another girl said and she deliberately steered the topic away from Death Eaters. "I heard the professors' children call him 'Uncle Wintermoon'."
"Really? Wintermoon? What kind of name is that?" Andrea asked, wearing an amused expression.
"What kind of nickname is 'Andrew'?"
Harry watched as the girls proceeded on toward a corridor that would lead to the Hufflepuff common room. So … Lucius is here. Wait — why am I surprised? He told Draco he'd be visiting.
"Teaching couldn't have been so stressful that you forgot the visit?"
Harry turned and there Draco stood, leaning against the wall and appraising him intently. Harry couldn't help it; he grinned and his husband strolled forward. The pale-haired wizard looked around to see if there were any passing students. Since there were none, he gave his raven-haired husband a quick peck on the cheek.
"How was it?" Harry asked as both of them went for the kitchen.
"Awkward as always. They're still here by the way," Draco informed him.
Harry gave a sidelong glance at his partner. "Do you think I should make myself scarce?"
Draco chuckled lightly. "No, I don't think you should. Just give Jade a bit of time... you'll have to get used to the fact that she's a walking signboard of emotion."
Harry smiled crookedly and tickled the pear in the fruit bowl to reveal the secret entrance to the kitchen.
In the Malfoy-Potter personal quarters.
Jade nervously accepted the basket of freshly baked chocolate cake from Harry just as Dobby appeared with a tray carrying hot and refreshing coffee.
"You don't have to feel uncomfortable around us, you know," Harry whispered into Jade's ear. She looked up at him, briefly startled by his (correct) observation.
"I'm sorry — I'll try to be more considerate to you," she said earnestly.
"Don't be. It may be wrong of me to ask, but … how can you still love him even after knowing what he has done?" Harry looked at her solemnly.
Jade sighed and glanced at her husband who was deep in conversation with Draco, before gazing up at the young wizard. "To tell you the truth, I really have no idea why. It may be a weakness but I do not let his past actions affect my feelings for him." Even as she said it, Harry felt insecurity from the witch.
"He loves you too, you know," he said without thinking.
"Oh…" She blinked her eyes several times as she contemplated Harry's words.
The witch approached the square table and Lucius looked up at her with an amused expression. She scowled, wondering what she had done to cause his mirth. Harry sat next to his husband and poured coffee for everyone while Jade helped to serve the cake. If Jade was uncomfortable in Harry's presence, it only mirrored the way that he felt sitting across Lucius.
"I know that look," Jade mentioned to Draco. She turned to Lucius. "No more biting from you."
"Biting?" Lucius looked at her innocently.
"You very damn well know what I mean." His wife made a face. She was about to say something about her husband's keen interest in waging a sarcastic verbal war with Harry when the door burst open and two excited kids ran in.
"Harry! Draco! Uncle Wintermoon!" John and Anna were jumping up and down in excitement. "Aunt Jade! We have letters!!!" the twins shouted in triumph, hands waving their envelopes.
Draco laughed at the youngsters. "Of course you received letters," he said and Lucius snickered at his son's rather remarkable imitation of him. "But why waste paper at all?"
"Traditions," Jade muttered and tried to make the twins sit on the stools she had conjured.
"So the two of you have been invited to study here?" Harry asked gently and the twins nodded again.
"I can't wait till Father and Dad take us to Diagon Alley! We're going to have wands!" Anna flung herself on Harry and Jade sighed at her failure.
"Speaking of your parents; aren't they coming down?" Jade asked curiously.
"They're spending their free time before dinner together," John informed them without blinking an eye.
"Well then," Jade exchanged a sly grin with Lucius, "you kids stay out of their chambers, all right?"
The twins laughed and began eating the chocolate cake. While John listened attentively to the conversation between Jade, Lucius and Draco, Anna carefully wiped her mouth with a napkin and whispered to Harry.
Harry diverted his attention to his little sister and was taken aback at her troubled expression. "Can I talk to you?"
"Of course, Anna. Come on — let's take a walk to the lake."
"Drake —" But his husband waved him off, so Harry and his sister walked out of the room. They didn't speak even as they stepped out of the castle and the wizard chose a tranquil spot near the lake.
Harry sat down on the grass, plucked a stalk from the ground and began playing with it. He felt Anna hesitate before sitting beside him. She raised her knees and settled her chin atop them while she looked at the rippling surface of the water. He waited for a few more minutes before breaking the silence.
"Anna, what is it?" he asked, concerned with the young girl's emotional state.
"It's Father. He hasn't been himself for the past few days," the girl answered solemnly.
"I've felt it too, but I'm not sure why either," Harry admitted. In an attempt to lighten the mood, he joked by saying that she was being too observant. She made a face but began brooding again a minute later.
Well … so much for trying to distract her. Harry smiled faintly.
"Were you two very close? Before Father adopted us or before you got married?"
Harry wasn't sure why he felt so surprised at the question. He nodded and turned his focus back to the lake. He thought about his relationship with Sev. It wasn't strained but it didn't feel like it normally did either. How many times have I caught him trying to say something to me and then distract himself with something else just as quickly? Now he began to feel frustrated too.
"I think Father misses you." Anna's voice interrupted his thoughts. Then she sighed loudly. "Well, I'm not sure if that is right. I'm going back to wash up. Father won't like it if he sees grass stains on my robes." She crawled over and kissed Harry before bounding off.
Harry laid down and stared up at the sky, trying to think of ways to bring himself closer to Sev again. He must have dozed off because he suddenly saw Draco leaning above him. Nice thighs for a pillow… He willingly opened his mouth so that Draco could kiss him.
"You shouldn't fall asleep out here. Only Merlin knows what would happen if some students decided to prank you." The silver-eyed wizard stroked his hair gently.
Harry smiled, coloring a little with embarrassment. "What time is it?"
"Probably close to seven."
"Then I think we ought to go before —"
They moved too slowly however and a Ravenclaw couple spotted them. The students didn't seem to mind; the girl actually gave Harry and Draco a broad wink before breaking eye contact.
"That girl reminds me of Ginny."
"You miss them," Harry said shrewdly.
"Of course I miss them, right down to Ron."
"Fancy hearing you say that." Harry was forcibly reminded of his younger days when Draco smacked his head with a newspaper.
Wednesday, 9th June.
It was his birthday but he didn't really feel very happy. Sev looked around at his extended family — right down to the wizard who had tried to present him on a silver platter to Voldemort on numerous occasions. The exams were about to start but his family had managed to squeeze in a bit of time for a private celebration.
Maybe that's it. The exams seem to overshadow everything else and their attention isn't really on me. He suppressed a sigh and looked at his godson fondly. Harry was seated beside Remus and the two of them were going through the supply list, crossing out items that the twins wouldn't need to buy. His eyes fell on Lucius. Draco's father was content enough to have his wife sit on his lap — though Jade looked a little embarrassed.
He behaves like a goddamn gentleman. I never saw him act this way with Narcissa. Sev shook his head a little and the tiny box in his hand brought him out of his reverie. He realized he hadn't opened any of his gifts. He felt disappointment well up in him again. Harry had not given him anything. He wondered why he was beginning to care about such trivial matters.
The hours dwindled into late evening and his husband shooed their children off to bed just as Lucius and his wife stood to retire for the night. Finally, only he, Harry and Draco were left in the dungeon chamber.
Draco hugged him briefly and muttered goodnight before exiting. Sev tried hard to shield his feelings and mask his facial expression. It wouldn't do to have him know that I was expecting something from him.
"Goodnight Sev," Harry spoke softly and pulled him into an embrace. They stayed like that for several minutes. The older wizard stroked his godson's hair gently and kissed his forehead before releasing Harry.
He felt immensely better after the hug and said his goodnight to Harry with a real smile.
In Malfoy-Potter's bedroom.
There's absolutely no doubt. Sev's disappointed that I didn't get him a gift. Harry dried his hair with a towel while watching his husband getting the bed ready for them.
"Just what are you up to anyway?" Draco asked him, though it was a little muffled as his head went under the bed.
"Nothing," Harry answered innocently. "What are you looking for?" He sauntered over to his husband.
"I thought I saw something under there — ah, here it is!" Draco exclaimed and threw two familiar looking black packets on the bed. Harry picked one up and sat on the bed. His husband followed a second later.
"Isn't this what the twins gave me as a birthday present? I'd completely forgotten about them!" Harry's eyes were wide.
"Do you want to try them?" Draco inquired.
"Don't they expire after nine years?" Harry was a little doubtful.
"Let's try one anyway." The pale-haired wizard reached for his wand on the small table. "What was the spell that Fred said we should use?"
"I think it was a Light Spell," Harry said.
"Well then." Draco set the tip of his wand on the center of one of the packets and muttered, "Lumos."
At first, nothing happened, then Harry felt something stir inside the room. Draco's mouth dropped in shock when their bed suddenly began to expand and transform. When it stopped, Harry was close to shouting his relief aloud. They had thought that the packet would have included monsters but there were no such creatures.
"Merlin…" Draco rose from the cushion plant — their bed had been transformed into several rounded lumps of lush green carpet.
"Gods … I can't believe Fred and George could create something like this," Harry agreed, looking around at the scenery. It appeared as if they were in the middle of some forgotten fairy forest. There were flowers blooming and the air smelled faintly of snow, dew and pine trees at the same time. It was also cold but not to the point where his husband would be uncomfortable.
"Did we lock our chamber?" Draco asked suddenly and Harry nodded in response.
Harry saw that his wand was just beside his husband's foot and he quickly reached for it. Draco was already walking and exploring everything within sight. The twins must have also included something that expands space because I know that our bed isn't this spacious. They walked around for several minutes more. I do hope that when the spell wears off, we'll still be on the bed.
Harry soon began to tire and he sat on one of the cushion plants. While Draco knelt to look at a purple flower, Harry examined at the landscape. An inviting patch of lush green carpet caught his eye and the longer he stared at it, the more lusty he felt. That's a good place for Drake to do a little striptease. He hardened at the thought. Did the twins happen to incorporate something akin to an aphrodisiac in their merchandise too? He no longer cared about that when all he could picture was throwing his husband on the flat ground and … He shuddered and realized that Draco was staring at him. The Slytherin slowly licked his lips; Harry felt hot, and wriggled a little on the ground. However, he wanted to do much more.
He decided to approach his husband. Draco looked flushed and he was breathing rather heavily. Harry slowly let his robes fall from his shoulders and stood exposed before his husband. "Draco…" he managed to whisper before his husband grabbed him and began kissing him fiercely.
Someday … have to thank … twins. Bloody brilliant…Then he couldn't think as he knelt before his husband, parting the blue robes and licking the blonde-haired wizard all over.
Sunday, 19th June 2005. Evening. Great Hall.
Harry had felt nervous the whole day. He had been waiting for this day ever since his talk with Anna by the lake. But am I doing the right thing? He fretted constantly, causing his husband to glance at him several times during dinner. No, I shouldn't have second thoughts. It is the right thing to do — I should have done it years ago.
Harry Potter was nervous, not because of the confession that he was about to make to Sev, but rather his godfather's response. Therefore, the young wizard resolutely waited for the right moment to surprise the Potions Master. Hours passed but still, Harry told himself that the moment wasn't right. When he realized that it was already late and their evening together would soon end, he gathered all the courage he could still find in him. The Hall gradually grew silent as students returned to their dormitories.
Harry quickly sprang to his feet when he saw that Sev was about to rise. His godfather looked at him in surprise but it quickly turned into suspicion. The young wizard scanned the Hall again and smiled when it became evident that only his family was around.
"Spit it out boy," Sev growled and Harry was cowed suddenly by the wizard's annoyance.
Should I do it? What if it isn't enough? Should I have gotten him a present? Thoughts whirled inside Harry's mind. Bloody hell … I should just get it done with. I can die of embarrassment later.
He impulsively hugged the older wizard and was rewarded with a sensation of extreme surprise. Harry made sure that his godfather felt his happiness through the body contact as well. He didn't pay attention to his other family members, but concentrated his focus solely on the one wizard that had guided him through his teenage life and into adulthood.
When Harry pulled back, he was a little shocked to see that Sev was actually stunned. The young wizard grinned and kissed both of his godfather's cheeks. "Happy Father's Day... Father."
There; he had said it and what he felt coming from himself and Sev was beyond words. Harry was glad that he had stuck to his plan for the look on his godfather — no, not his godfather any longer but, his father — the look on his face made him feel loved and also gave him a sense of belonging.
Sev was stunned speechless. Is there something wrong with my hearing? Harry's hands still held on to his elbows and Sev searched the young man's face.
"No, there is nothing wrong with your hearing." That was Harry. Sev had forgotten that he could hear and speak if Harry was touching him.
"But —" His protest sounded weak even to him.
"But nothing, Father. I am glad that I am finally able to call you that." Again, Harry smiled brightly at him. "I think that is what you have always been."
Sev literally felt the bond change between him and the young wizard. What would Sirius think? By the expression on Harry's face, the young wizard had not expected to feel any magic just because he had accepted the Potions Master as his father. But there was magic — flowing between them steadily and they felt a 'click' in the back of their minds.
"Thus the circle has been sealed, stable and it will never part."
Trelawney's voice startled him and he stared dumbly at the seer. "Your family is now complete, Severus." Then she left, walking serenely out of the Hall.
I will not cry, he told himself in determination. His resolve was broken when Harry embraced him again and Sev couldn't agree more with the Divination professor. He no longer felt isolated from Harry and the fact that he was able to love the younger wizard as his own flesh and blood was the best reward he could ever have hoped for in his life. His eyes blurred and he closed them. Then he felt Anna and John join the embrace. Remus's hand came to rest on his shoulder and he felt Draco clasping the other one.
A family. A family that I can love freely…
"And you have a family that loves you."
The Headmaster watched the group with a satisfied smile. He couldn't help but feel happy that one whose past had been so bitter had finally found the sweetness of life. I suppose that everything happens for a reason, right down to Severus's life debt to James. A rush of cold air signaled the old wizard that he wasn't alone.
"What do you think about this, Sirius?" he asked the wraith bluntly.
"I don't at all, Headmaster. All of them got what they deserved — except for Lucius perhaps. If that witch hadn't fallen in love with him, I think Moody would have secretly pulled him into the Death realm."
"Hmmmm…" Dumbledore looked back at Sev and decided that love, was indeed a powerful tool.
"And a gift," Sirius added softly.
~ THE END ~
Well, it is the end of Transcendence people. Thanks to those who had reviewed and I hoped you have enjoyed reading this fic as much as I did in writing the twenty chapters. Love you all.