Thanks to each and every person who has reviewed this story!

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AN: This story is a continuation of all those fanfics in which Harry and Severus are forced together by a "Soul Mate" potion (or spell), usually masterminded by Albus Dumbledore. I've never written such a fic myself, but after having read more than my share, this plot bunny just wouldn't let me be. I've chosen to remain true to the variety of fics I'd read which sported this particular plot so Harry is an Auror, Sev is no longer teaching at Hogwarts, and the rest you will find out in due time…

AN2: I'd like to apologize for the mess I've made with certain detail of this story. I just reread it from the beginning and was appalled by the copious inconsistencies I came upon! For example, in Chapter 1 their last name is Snape-Potter but since Chapter 2 it's been Potter-Snape. Another thing is Luke's age. He couldn't possibly be 15 years old since they'd just celebrated their 15th wedding anniversary! Oh well, I'm glad you've stuck with the story regardless of my embarrassing mistakes.

Warning: HP/SS Slash!

He Who Knows Best

Chapter 10:

With Albus' help the three grown wizards quickly rearranged the office to comply with the strict setting needed in order to cast the "Animus Ligare" spell. The furniture was spelled to disappear as the walls caved in, leaving the room much smaller and more constricting. The ceiling was charmed away so that the necessary airflow from above would have plenty of access. The lovely marble floor was replaced by shiny alabaster on which the three wizards cast a strong sterilizing charm, ensuring no external residue would affect the spell.

Once the room was set Harry and Severus found themselves facing one another, each one's expression mirroring the concern and fear felt by the other. Realizing the emotional turmoil the two men must be experiencing, Albus cleared his throat and suggested Luke and Ariel join him in the library for a final glance over Luke's research regarding the spell.

Harry and Severus were about to put their relationship, their hearts and their futures in fate's fickle hands once again, and they could certainly use a few moments alone beforehand.

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Once the door to Albus' office shut Sev and Harry closed the distance between them and shared a searing kiss. The potions master cupped his husband's face, looked deeply into his emerald eyes, and said nothing.

After all, what was there to say? In a short while their lives could be turned upside down and there was nothing they could do about it. They'd decided to learn the truth, no matter what the cost might be. So the two men simply looked into one another's eyes, each one trying to bore into his mate's soul.

Their intense gazes were interrupted by Harry's sudden ungraceful fall, broken by Severus.

"Harry?" Sev asked worriedly as he clutched the younger wizard closer to him.

"Mmm, dizzy spell. Don't worry." Harry mumbled to soothe his husband's nerves.

"You're awfully pale too. Perhaps it would be wise to reconsider casting the spell on you today" Sev argued.

"No love. We're both going through with it today. I'm alright. It's probably just all the excitement and tension." The green-eyed wizard snaked his arms around his husband's waist and tilted his head up towards Sev's, his eyes pleading for a kiss, which the older man was only too happy to oblige.

This was not the time to tell Sev about the dizzy spells and fatigue he'd been experiencing lately. He'd find time to deal with all that later. After the spell.

For the time being they conjured a plush sofa where they snuggled together, allowing themselves one last moment of intimacy before heading off to the unknown. Severus was laying on his back, with Harry atop him, cuddling, kissing and whispering loving endearments to one another. There was a constant sense of finality and graveness to their ministrations as they both feared this would be there last opportunity to love one another freely.

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Nearly a half an hour after they'd left, Albus and the children returned, bright eyed and eager to begin. The Potter-Snapes and the aged wizard gathered around young Luke as he explained the procedure that would take place.

The spell would be cast exactly as it had been 15 years ago, given a single modification. Rather than touch the tip of his wand to the tip of that of the spell's recipient, Albus would be connecting it directly to the wizard's body via his blood. This would entail a single prick to establish contact, but save this small inconvenience, the spell should not be painful. Albus and the spell recipient would be the only ones in the room, which will be completely sealed off to prevent contamination of the magical forces at play.

"Very well then, shall we begin?" Albus asked, placing his hand on Harry's shoulder.

Harry and Severus shared a 'now or never' glance followed by a final soft kiss as the younger man led the children outside.

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"Before we commence, Severus, I'd like to say how proud I am of you" Albus' eyes twinkled. "It takes an exceptionally strong man to search for the truth knowing the cost could be so dear."

Surprised by Albus' words of encouragement, Severus gazed up at the old man before him, finally managing to see past the anger that had consumed him of late. He realized that even with all his faults, Albus Dumbledore was still Albus Dumbledore, a kind and brilliant wizard with a penchant for sneakiness and secrecy, but without an evil bone in his body. This was no tyrant ruthlessly toying with innocent lives. It was an old man weighed down by guilt for actions he'd committed with a pure heart.

"You've given me Harry once before. Kindly attempt to do so again." The potions master muttered, taking his place in the center of the room.

Albus gave Severus a sympathetic nod as he assumed the position, bringing himself into a meditative trance, as he knelt before Severus chanting the 'Animus Ligare' incantation: "Ligo animus uterlibet infinitas…"

Severus felt a slight prick to his finger as a surprisingly large amount of blood trickled down his hand.

And then it happened.

The magic enfolded him just as Albus' wand connected to the red trail marking said hand. He was completely surrounded by a strong whirl of gold and silver sparks, which spun around him beautifully, shimmering and entrancing him. The sensation was overwhelming, causing him to weep silently from the force of it all, as the magic reached his very core, working its way through every single one of his nerves.

Suddenly Severus slumped over and fell to the ground, tired and spent. The haze of sparks surrounding his limp body evaporated quickly as he lay panting. Albus had ceased chanting the incantation and removed his wand from Severus' direction, as he leaned back to the wall, breathing deeply. He too needed to rest from the exertion the spell had demanded.

Moments passed in silence before the two men regained their composure and stood to face one another. Severus' eyes were burning with curiosity, pleading with the old man to enlighten him as to the outcome.

He was awarded a soft smile as Albus placed a comforting hand on his.

"Perhaps we should cast the spell on Harry before divulging its findings."

A wave of panic caroused through the slender wizard's body as undesirable possible outcomes raced through his mind. To be honest, any outcome other than Harry seemed horrible to him. Yet he agreed with Albus' logic that he and Harry should discover the truth together. Just like last time…

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So Severus swayed towards the door, exiting the room without a word. In the hall, he was met by his nervous family, as they looked at him with questioning glances, as if attempting to read the lines of his fatigued expression. Harry brushed up against his husband, squeezed his hand tightly, and sauntered into the office to join the headmaster.

This is it, he thought to himself, as Albus motioned for him to assume his position in the center of the room. The next ten minutes will undoubtedly dictate the rest of my life.

The worry lines on his face must have been evident for Albus stepped towards him and asked if he was ready to begin. Upon Harry's nod of approval the aged wizard explained briefly: "The spell works, Harry. Thanks to Severus we now know that it is quite draining for both the caster and the recipient. You seem pale, my dear boy. Are you certain you wish to proceed at this time?"

The green-eyed wizard straightened up in an attempt to exude strength as he replied: "I want this over and done with as quickly as possible."

A gentle chuckle escaped Albus' lips before he schooled his features to a concentrated expression, readying himself for the second spell.

Not quite knowing what to expect, Harry twitched gently as the wand pricked his finger. Seconds later he gasped, mesmerized by the trail of sparks swarming around him as powerful gusts of magic infiltrated his very soul. He stretched his limbs as far as he could, trying to devour the glorious sensation pulsing through his muscles. Harry's illuminated face relaxed into a warm smile as he rode the tidal wave of splendor created by the spell.

Similarly to Severus, once the trance ended the young wizard found himself plopped on the ground, trying to catch his breath. His eyes traveled upwards where they rested on a smug looking Albus Dumbledore clutching his wand as a rather manic twinkle twirled in his eyes. The older man offered Harry his hand and helped him back to his feet while casting a wandless spell that caused the door to open behind them.

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Severus and the children rushed in with tense yet hopeful expressions on their faces.

"Ah, such a lovely family, the Potter-Snapes" Albus chuckled, his eyes roaming over them all. He then took a step forwards so that he was facing Luke. His next action shocked everyone in the room. Albus bowed before the teen, offering him the highest form of respect known in wizarding etiquette, as he said:

"I have no doubt you will grow into a most prominent member of our society, Luke Potter-Snape. Fine blood flows through your veins offering you a vast amount of magical ability. But more importantly, you are a thinker. Your power is enhanced by your mental capacity. I have high expectations from you, my boy, and wish to offer you the highest praise for your achievement."

Luke shook the headmaster's hand proudly as tears formed in his eyes. Happy tears. He, Luke, had succeeded where others have failed. Thanks to him the 'Animus Ligare' spell has been brought to life!

Harry and Severus congratulated their son on his accomplishment as each one pulled the boy into a tight hug, thanking him for all his hard work and determination. Before turning back to face Albus Harry pulled his husband and two children into a strong embrace, a family hug he knew they all needed before facing the final results of the spell.

Once the family had composed itself they once again stood before Albus Dumbledore in silence, awaiting his verdict. Do they remain together, united in the bonds of eternal love and commitment, or must they go their separate ways, each in the arms of another?

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Albus looked at the men standing before him for a short moment before offering them the information they were expecting. His favorite boys: Severus and Harry. As different as oil and water, yet so much alike at the core; both loyal, courageous, responsible and capable of such intense emotions. That was what had made him pair them up together in the first place…

With a small smile Albus cleared his throat and announced:

"Severus Ignatius Snape, by agreeing to receive the 'Animus Ligare' spell you have consented to accept its final result as binding.

"It is with great pride and hope for the future that I present to you your one and only soul mate: Harry James Potter."

The first one who seemed to register this information was Ariel who immediately began jumping up and down, flapping her arms and shouting gleefully at the top of her lungs. She threw her arms around Severus who was looking at Harry neutrally. Harry was transfixed back at Severus, concern laced with reserved happiness present in his expression.

Luke stepped forward and asked the question that was lingering in the air:

"What about dad? Who is his soul mate?"

Albus stroked his beard thoughtfully. "Ah yes, as the muggle saying goes, it takes two to tango, doesn't it?"

The old man cleared his throat once again, more for adding theatrics than for actual need, and solemnly announced:

"Harry James Potter, by agreeing to receive the 'Animus Ligare' spell you have consented to accept its final result as binding.

"It is with great pride and hope for the future that I present to you your one and only soul mate: Severus Ignatius Snape."

As soon as the words escaped Albus' mouth Harry and Severus both exhaled loudly, finally relaxing from the stressful wait they'd had to endure. The two men literally jumped into one another's arms and plunged tongue first into a heated kiss, savoring the other's taste as they allowed themselves to conveniently forget, for one lustful moment, there were others present in the room. They didn't part until their daughter's embarrassed giggles brought them back to reality. Severus pulled back immediately and schooled his face to an unconvincing sneer, but as soon as Luke offered him a mock glare, the stern faced wizard eased up and joined his family in their happy celebration.

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Albus had offered his congratulations and drifted off to the sidelines, not wishing to rob the Potter-Snapes of their privacy during such a pivotal intimate moment in their lives. Severus, however, had other plans for his former mentor, as he surprised him from behind, placing a cool hand on Albus' shoulder and whispering slyly:

"I believe there is one more spell to be cast."

If this had upset Albus in the least, he hid that fact very well. The bearded wizard simply looked at Severus, an amused glint joining the natural twinkle in his eyes, as he replied:

"Ah yes, my penance I believe. And who shall be rewarding me for my services this fine afternoon?"

This time the potions master managed a rightful sneer as he asked Harry whether he wanted the dubious honor of binding the legendary Albus Dumbledore to his soul mate.

"Nah Sev, I think I'll leave the disciplinary services to you." Harry teased, as he ran a quick hand over his husband's well-toned bum.

"Very well. I request that the three of you march on out of here so that I can thank Albus properly for his matchmaking services."

Harry offered Albus a sympathetic smile as he led the children outside, stopping for a fraction of a second at the doorway to regain his fleeting equilibrium. Severus had noticed his husband's momentary falter out of the corner of his eye and tucked it away in his mind for future reference. He'd be sure to find out what's wrong with Harry once he was through with Albus.

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"Alone at last" Severus drawled once the door closed.

Albus eyed the man in front of him, the amused expression never leaving his face, as he glided gracefully to the center of the room standing in the exact spot Harry and Severus had claimed a short while ago.

Severus went through the exact motions he'd seen Albus perform as he efficiently cast the soul-binding spell on the wizard before him. The radiant expression on Albus' face was short to follow as he too felt the electricity of magic flow through his veins. Just like the former two men, he also found himself floored at its end, feeling disoriented and confused.

He looked up at Severus just in time to see the perplexed look on the younger man's face, as he realized what the spell had discovered. With Severus' assistance, the headmaster rose to his feet and waited for his former protégé to grace him with an answer.

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Severus walked to the door, opened it and invited his family back in. He then asked Harry to assist him in reverting the spells they'd cast on the office so as to return its previous form. During this time Albus was standing in the same spot, wondering how long he'd have to wait, but savoring the last moments of his life-long independence.

Without so much as a word Severus marched over to the fireplace, grabbed a handful of the floo powder and disappeared in the green flames, while whispering something incomprehensible. Harry was surprised by his husband's strange demeanor. He neared Albus and offered encouraging words.

"I guess it can't be that bad if Sev's gone to get whomever it is, right?"

Dumbledore seemed to be assessing the probability of Harry's theory as Severus reappeared walking proudly out of the hearth, followed by no other than Sybill Trelawney.

Albus and Harry stared in utter disbelief as the odd woman bustled around neurotically.

"Close your mouth, dear. That look is quite unbecoming on you." Severus scoffed as he closed his husband's mouth tenderly.

He then faced Albus, cleared his throat, and said:

"Albus Dumbledore, by agreeing to receive the 'Animus Ligare' spell you have consented to accept its final result as binding.

"It is with great pride and hope for the future that I present to you your one and only soul mate: Sybill Teresia Trelawney."

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Later that evening:

Harry and Severus were wrapped in each other's arms, laying lazily in their bed after several rather exerting rounds of love making.

"The look on his face! I swear Sev, it was priceless! I mean who would have thought it: Trelawney and Albus???" Harry laughed, shaking his head in amusement.

Severus smiles at his husband. They'd both found the match rather unorthodox, but after giving it some thought had realized it did actually make sense.

Both were quirky and eccentric, both had good intentions at heart yet went about achieving them in roundabout ways. Both were dreamers who didn't quite have their feet planted on firm ground…and Albus seemed quite taken with the woman's weakness for tea. Or tea leaves maybe. In any case, they'd be able to spend long evenings drinking tea, popping lemon sherbets, and foreseeing grims in their near future.

After sharing yet another laugh on the matter Severus' expression grew somber as he asked Harry about his health.

"Don't try to fool me, Harry. As ungraceful as you usually are, these past few weeks have been indubitably worse! I demand to know what is going on!"

The green-eyed wizard decided this was the best time to inform his soul mate of his medical 'problem'. He gave Severus a dazzling smile while placing his husband's hand on his lower abdomen.

"Do you feel that, love? That's our future."

It was then that Severus Potter-Snape realized the past month had been but a mindless game, in the greater scheme of things.

The betrayal, the hurt, the jealousy, even revealing the truth…none of it was needed.

For who could ever make a better match than he who knows best?

Or at least He Who Knows Severus and Harry Best.

Fin
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Ligo animus uterlibet infinitas: (bad Latin translation) Bind together whichever two souls you wish, for all eternity

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