Disclaimer: I own very little.
A/N::blushes: I know my French's not that good. True, I studied it over two years, but about the only thing I can say right is "Je ne parles pas francais." If it even goes that way. I only made them use French as I've always pictured Remus with French parents, and I do think he'd speak fluent French.
So, the French from last chap has been removed... Anyway, I hope you have enjoyed this story. This epilogue will give you more information about Jeremy's beginning in Canada, as well as a (hopefully) satisfying ending to the story.
A Father's Love
Five people stood in front of an enormous castle. The tallest one, a man with raven hair and warm beetle-black eyes turned towards the two smallest ones. "That," he said to them, "is Hogwarts."
The small people, two little girls with equally black hair and twinkling amber eyes, both squealed. "It's huge!" exclaimed one of them, and the other added, "It's great!" And with that, they pried themselves away from the man's grip and started to chase each other to the castle.
Severus Snape shook his head as he watched his twin daughters run. "They are not mine," he muttered. "I refuse to believe that they could be mine. You have cheated on me, Remus."
The golden-haired man on his side rolled his eyes towards the sky, ignoring the snicker from the young boy who was still there with them. "I'm sorry to tell you this, Severus, but they are indeed yours," he said.
Now, Severus sighed deep and shook his head. "Very well," he grumbled. "Let's go before they bring the entire place to ruins." And with that he, to, started to walk towards the castle, determinedly ignoring the amused glances his husband and son were exchanging behind his back.
Ah, yes. After seven long years, family Snape is finally back at Hogwarts, hopefully to stay this time. It is time for young Jeremy to start his magical education, and despite having greatly enjoyed themselves in Maltedaux, the two fathers wanted him to attend their old school. Without Albus Dumbledore, Hogwarts was a lovely place, that they had to admit.
Anyway. Leading their way towards the castle, Severus glanced around. Nothing had changed as far as he could tell. Hagrid's hut was where it had always been, as were the greenhouses and the Quidditch pitch. The last thing made him shake his head in exasperation. Oh, the twins would love it there. Despite Severus's fea -- er, dislike of heights, and Remus's complete disinterest in flying, their daughters were nuts on flying and Quidditch. They were pretty good at it, too, at least by Severus's mind -- and anybody with sense in their heads would agree with him wholeheartedly or else.
The onyx eyes caught a glimpse of the Whomping Willow, and he shivered. Well, at least that wouldn't be needed anymore, thanks to the potion he had developed recently.
The twins had seemingly decided not to enter the castle alone, as they soon ran back to meet the rest of their family. "Hurry up, Papa, Father, and Jeremy!" one of them demanded.
At this, Severus raised an eyebrow. "We are in no hurry," he said. "But if you so wish, please, by all means, do run ahead. Don't bother to wait for us, we will follow eventually."
Now, the girls exchanged a quick glance. Then they shouted in delight and again started to run towards the castle. Severus watched them go, shaking his head.
When the three eldest Snapes finally got inside, they already heard voices through the open doorway of the Great Hall. "Look at the ceiling, Marié!" shouted one voice, and an identical one answered, "No, look at the staff! They're all ancient!" Girly giggles followed this announcement.
Although this was undeniably amusing, Severus couldn't approve his daughters' topic of discussion. Therefore, he soon walked into the Great Hall. The sight that met him was certainly unique.
The twins were running around the Hall, seemingly managing to be in at least four places at the same time. Every now and then one of them would point at something and shout to the other, to which the other twin would reply with a shout of her own. In the middle of this sat the Hogwarts staff, stunned.
"Now, that's enough, girls," Severus said sharply, easily making his voice carry over the whole Hall. He wasn't a teacher for nothing, after all. "Marié and Celesté, here, now."
It looked like they had materialized out of thin air beside him. Giving them the last stern glance, Severus then turned towards the staff. "Long time no see, I'd say," he said with a smirk.
For a moment they all just gaped at him, most probably having a hard time trying to recognize him. With his clean hair, fixed nose, tanned skin, and blue robes he looked admittedly very little like his former self. The years in Canada with his family had truly done him a lot of good.
Filius was the first one to recover -- unsurprising, seeing that he was the one who'd seen him last, four years earlier while visiting his little goddaughters. "Severus!" the tiny wizard exclaimed. "It's you! So you came after all. Merlin, are these the little twins?" he asked then, eyeing the girls.
Nodding in response, Severus pushed the girls forward. "Yes, they are," he admitted. "Not so little anymore, as you can see. However, I think they have something to tell you."
Marié and Celesté glanced at each other. Then they exclaimed in unison, "Thank you so much for the broomsticks you sent us, godpapa Filius!" The tiny wizard started to beam at this.
Now, Cleopatra Sinistra seemed to regain her senses. "Severus? Severus Snape?" she asked disbelievingly. "No way. You look like a human, and you have human children. You can't be Snape!"
"Well, sorry to disappoint you, Cleopatra," Severus said, smirking, "but yes, I indeed am Severus Snape. These are my daughters, Marié and Celesté. And these," he said as two more people finally entered the Hall, "are my husband Remus and our son Jeremy. Oh, and pleasant to meet you, too," he added.
For a moment, everybody just stared at him. Then, Victoria fainted, and the others still stared.
Severus rolled his eyes towards the ceiling. "Well, that went well," he said sarcastically.
Later that night, Severus lay awake. Remus was sound asleep in his arms, the golden and grey hair spread over his chest, where the werewolf's head was resting. Despite his husband's calming presence and the vague familiarity of his old quarters, however, Severus was unable to sleep.
He was relieved to see how well the children had taken to the move. Well, of course Jeremy missed Mark, but he would meet a lot more children of his age in Hogwarts. As for the girls, well, they hardly would miss anybody overly much, having been the only ones younger than Jeremy and Mark in Maltedaux.
Severus still couldn't help but remember what Jeremy had been like when they had first moved to Canada. The boy had been afraid of about everything and everybody but Remus...
"Good evening," said a man who seemed only a couple of years older than Severus and Remus. "I am Billy Grocer, the Charms Professor. Headmistress Merce asked me to welcome you to Maltedaux; she will be here shortly herself." He eyed curiously the two men in front of him.
"Good evening, Mr Grocer. I am Severus Snape, the new Potions Master, like you are probably aware already. This is my husband, Remus Snape." He nodded towards Remus, who smiled pleasantly in greeting.
"Pleasant to meet you, too. Please, call me simply Billy." Then he added, "I was told that you have a son of about four years. Is that true? I have a son of that age myself, and he certainly wouldn't mind company."
Now, Remus sighed. "Yes, we do have a son," he admitted. "However, I'm afraid that Jeremy is rather shy." With this, he turned around and picked up the tiny boy who had been hiding behind him until then. Holding the boy in his arms, he said gently, "Do greet Billy, Jeremy dear."
The boy glanced cautiously at this new acquittance. "Hi," he muttered, then quickly hid his face in Remus's robes. Yes, definitely a shy one, he was.
Billy seemed a bit startled at how awfully shy and thin the child was. However, he soon got over his shock. "Hi, Jeremy," he said with a friendly voice. "Do you like it here in Maltedaux?"
Jeremy shook his head franticly, not taking his face away from his carrier's chest.
'Shy... or afraid.' At that thought, Severus shuddered. He would certainly do everything in his might to make Jeremy forget his fears and become just a normal four-year-old boy.
"Miss Smith, please refrain from passing notes in the class," snapped a cold voice. The addressed teen flinched and shrank back in her chair under the glare of the onyx eyes. After only a week, the students of Maltedaux had already noticed that their new Potions Master was not only a true master of his subject but also a cold and frightening man. The only ones he had ever been seen being more than forcedly civil to were his husband and son, whom all the students pitied. Well, they were rarely seen together in public anyway.
Just as Professor Snape was about to continue his lecture, the door was pushed open. "Father?" asked a very quiet, timid voice from the doorway, and a little boy peered in, his golden hair in a mess.
Some of the students had to bit their tongues so as not to shout at the boy and tell him to go away. Thanks to the sickly and thin appearance of both Remus and Jeremy Snape, and especially the little boy's overly shy and fearful behaviour, rumours were running wild, stating that Professor Snape abused and neglected his family. Jeremy was such a sweet little child, nobody wanted him to face his father's wrath.
However, they were amazed at the change that now happened in their Potions Professor. The usually so stern expression immediately melted into a gentle smile, and the long arms were extended towards the child as the man turned to face him. "Do come here, Jeremy," he said, sounding more friendly than any of his students could have even imagined he could. The boy glanced at the students, then quickly ran to his father's arms, climbing into his lap and hiding his tiny face into the black robes.
Now, Professor Snape wrapped an arm around the shivering boy, hugging him gently against his chest. The students stared at the scene, dumbfounded. This man was certainly not a child abuser.
After a moment of silence, during which the professor whispered something to his fearful little son, he again glanced at the class. "Continue with your work," he said softly so as not to startle the child.
So, the students continued working with their potions, every now and then stealing a glance at the professor. He was now talking to little Jeremy with a low voice, every now and then pointing at something, never minding that the boy didn't dare to take his face away from his robes for a time long enough to see anything. After some time, Jeremy relaxed enough to start looking around. Especially much he paid attention whenever his father said, "Too much Venderroot, Miss Jameson," or, "Add a few beetle eyes, Mr Kaye," or something else concerning the potion they were brewing. It was like he was absorbing all the knowledge into himself and filing it away for further use. A perfect albeit shy mini-Snape.
About halfway through the lesson, the door was pushed open again. This time, the last Snape looked in. "Oh, so there you are, Jeremy!" he said, sounding relieved. "I'm sorry, Severus, I really didn't mean to let him disturb your class. One of the ghosts scared him and he ran off. I looked everywhere, but I never expected that he might come here in the middle of the class!"
"It's quite okay," Professor Snape said, and smiled. Smiled! Nobody had ever seen him smile! "He hasn't disturbed the lesson one bit, as I was already done with the teaching part when came in."
"Well, that's good." Mr Snape smiled. "Will you come with me, then, Jeremy? Or do you want to stay?"
Now, the tiny boy looked at his father as if to ask for permission. When Professor Snape just nodded calmly, he turned towards his carrier. "...I want to stay," he muttered.
"Well, if that's okay with your father..." The thin brunet man smiled warmly at his husband and son. "I will pick him up later, then, if you truly can look after him, Severus."
"There is no hurry with that, love," replied the professor levelly. "I can handle him very well."
The students were now even more bewildered. True, Professor Snape was never openly hostile towards his husband -- a facade, like most claimed -- but this was something else entirely. What was wrong?
Suddenly, their work and pondering were interrupted by a child's clear voice. "Too much powdered Morrow," Jeremy said, and pointed towards one student. "Was I right, Father?" he then asked eagerly, looking up at the darkhaired man, his equally black eyes shining.
The professor took one glance at the girl Jeremy had pointed at, noticing that the amount of Morrow she'd been going to add to her potion was truly too large. "Yes, you were absolutely correct, Jeremy," he said levelly. "That was well done indeed, little one. I am very proud of you."
Now, the little child beamed, looking far less fearful than before. The students, however, now had to concentrate about as much on not fainting as on their potions.
Little by little, step by step, Severus and Remus had managed to coax Jeremy out of his shell. And, at the same time, Jeremy had coaxed Severus out of his own shell. Having formerly been very cold and reserved whenever he was under the public eye, the Potions Master couldn't help but melt whenever he saw his little son, no matter where it was. As Jeremy soon took on a habit to sneak into the Potions lessons because of his great interest in the subject, more and more students saw this softer side of him. And, finally, Severus couldn't help but be warm and friendly in almost every situation. It was all Jeremy's fault, and partly Remus's. He blamed those two for this end of a perfectly good -- or rather bad -- reputation.
Anyway. Now Jeremy was eleven, and the twins were six, and they were back at Hogwarts. Soon enough, Jeremy would be Sorted, and the school year would begin. Severus knew that he couldn't gain back his former reputation. Never mind that his healthy appearance wouldn't have gone along well with his image of a 'greasy git,' the twins would have never let him. They never had been interested enough to interrupt his classes, but they certainly enjoyed hugging him in random places, usually in public, just to see how he would react. Between them and Remus, how could he ever be as frightening and cool as before?
Well, he certainly didn't mourn the loss of his former reputation. After all, that only meant that he was free now -- free of his Death Eater image, free of his spying, free of everything. Nobody would believe that he had ever meddled with Dark Arts. Most probably nobody would even connect him to the old Snape. Even the youngest students he had taught had now left the school, and his former self was but a scary tale.
With this in mind, he wrapped his arms gently around Remus's sleeping form. Then he sighed happily, placed a light kiss on the werewolf's rapidly greying hair, and closed his eyes.
Within mere moments, he was asleep.
"Snallow, Athene!" Severus called out. From the Staff Table he felt Remus's and the twins' eyes at his back. Well, he couldn't blame them for being anxious. He could hardly wait himself. So, he was rather impatient as he waited for Athene Snallow to come and sit on the tiny stool.
After the small, pudgy girl had been Sorted into Hufflepuff, he finally got to the point on the list he had been waiting for. "Snape, Jeremy!" he said, and saw Jeremy immediately hurrying forward.
While little Jeremy, like he'd first seen his son all those years ago, would have easily fit inside the Sorting Hat, now the Hat only covered his son's head. After what couldn't have been more than half a minute but felt like hours, the Hat finally opened its mouth and shouted, "RAVENCLAW!"
It was all Severus could do not to join the applauding as he saw his son walking to his new House table. The twins cheered loudly, gaining everyone's attention for a moment, but then -- probably at Remus's scolding -- they fell silent. Ravenclaw was truly where Jeremy belonged. Ever since that first Potions class, the boy had been curious about everything and anything. And everything he found out, he remembered.
In the Ravenclaw table a girl with bushy hair and rather large front teeth immediately said something to Jeremy. Granger, Severus recalled, and filed that name away until further notice. If she did befriend his son, he would have to remember her. Better start early.
There were still a few names on the list, and he read them all, one by one. Finally, after "Zabini, Blaise" had been Sorted into Slytherin, he could put away the Sorting Hat and go to meet his family.
Minerva stood up and started her beginning-of-the-year speech, to which Severus only listened with half an ear. The rest of his attention was directed half at the twins, who were discussing something very quietly, half at Remus, who was just sitting there beside him, looking quite happy with himself and the world.
Under the table, Severus sneaked his hand further to grasp Remus's. Then he squeezed his husband's hand gently, receiving a warm smile and a similar squeeze in response. Their gazes simultaneously flickered towards a certain golden head in the Ravenclaw table, then at the twins. Then, they shared a smile.
Yes. Everything was indeed well and good in the world, for now, and, hopefully, forever. Who knew?
They certainly hoped.
A/N: Thank you for reading the story. I hope you'll tell me how you liked it if you liked it, and I also hope that you'll find some other stories of mine equally satisfying to your reading interests.