Portraits of Life
The old woman walked slowly back through the castle gates, a small smile playing upon her lips, green eyes sparkling. 'Everything will be all right now,' she mused. 'I have fulfilled my final destiny.' Pulling open the great doors, she climbed the stairs to her office. The stone gargoyles slid aside and she winked at them. Her password, lightening bolt, was unnecessary. The stone monoliths knew that she was the Headmistress. Sighing, she stepped from the moving stairs into the large circular room. Ignoring the chair behind the desk, she sank down into one of the blue overstuffed chairs flanking the fireplace, settling her tired legs on the matching ottoman. The portraits of the previous Headmasters and mistresses shuffled within their frames.
"Ahem," Dumbledore's portrait cleared his voice. "I take it that everything went well?"
"You know it did, Old Man, otherwise I wouldn't be sitting here now," she chuckled, pointing her wand at the magically enlarged scar on her forehead. "I remember the day this scar shrank to a very thin white mark. The day Voldemort was gone for good and I was free at last." Memories drifted through her mind of those long ago events. "So many lost…," she mumbled.
"All wars have their losses, Harry. You know that. You shouldn't dwell on those who were lost," Dumbledore admonished. "Think instead of all those whose lives were spared. You and Severus were instrumental in the saving of our world. It is a debt which can never be repaid. Even after the wars were finally over, you two continued to strive for a better life for wizard kind."
"We had lots of help, Albus, you know that."
"You were never alone, Harry. Your friends and family have always been your greatest asset. Think of all the good times, rather than dwell on those that gave you pain."
"I remember them all, both good and bad." Harry looked up at Dumbledore, her green eyes shadowed. "In fact, I'm surprised you haven't mentioned my use of the time turner."
"Why? You knew I was aware you had gone back in time to see your teenaged self prior to the battle with Voldemort. You needed to believe in yourself. Who could have been better to convince your youthful self than your own older personage?"
"Well, I'm just glad it worked. Of course, I never appreciated my expression than when I realized who I had been talking to." She grinned. "I wonder how I would have reacted if I had told myself that I was going to spend the rest of my life as Severus' wife?"
"Hmm…I daresay you would have argued the point. You were only just getting to know him."
"I really miss him, you know? " Harry glanced up to the wall where Severus' portrait was hanging only to find it empty. "Where is he?" she queried. "I expected him to be here." Harry frowned looking at the empty frame.
"I believe he went to his portrait in St. Mungo's with Dilly. They are discussing the potion and treatment for a child with the same heart condition that little Olivia succumbed to."
"Olivia…" she sighed. "He tried so hard to save her. If only she had hung on for another six months. I still blame myself…" her voice trailed off.
"Harry, it wasn't your fault. You were well into your forties when she came along. It was just a rare congenital defect that no one could have anticipated."
"But if I had taken better care of myself…"
"No, Harry, it would not have mattered in the least. Just be thankful for the happiness you gave her in her short life," Dumbledore remarked sadly. "Your husband and family rallied around you during your darkest hours."
"She died in my arms, you know?"
"Severus told me. It was one of the few times I wished I were actually still here. He was in so much grief. You were beside yourself and he didn't know what to do. He was also grieving and he feared he would lose you too."
"He didn't though. People always think I am the strong one because I am so powerful, but it isn't true. He stayed by me when I closed myself off from everyone and helped our other two children who were still teenagers. Our eldest had gone off on his own by then, but he came to help too."
"Yes, he may have looked the most like his father, but he has his mother's heart. I believe he was Olivia's godfather was well as her eldest brother?"
"Yeah," Harry smiled, "He was so excited when he found out we wanted him to be his baby sister's godfather. After all, he was old enough to be a father himself, being twenty two. I think that Olivia's death is what made him finally settle down and become a healer."
"I do not doubt it. I know it was always a sore point with Severus that young Severin was uncertain what he wanted to truly study when he finished Hogwarts. I think he wanted him to follow in his footsteps and study towards his Mastery in Potions. He has the talent."
"He does, but Severus didn't want to push him towards it. He wanted him to find what would make him happy. It was something we agreed on when each of the children were born."
"Remember when you first realized you were pregnant with him? If memory serves me it was not long after the problems we had with that mirror Phaedra brought home."
"Yeah, he was conceived the night we defeated Bellatrix," Harry laughed, a blush creeping up her wrinkled cheeks. "I had wanted to tell Sev with a quiet dinner, but Remus and his blasted werewolf nose realized it before I could."
"I don't think you ever really went into what happened."
"Oh, Merlin, it was hilarious. My cycle was late and I bought one of those Muggle pregnancy tests. I was nervous, since I knew the night we destroyed the mirror Sev and I made love, and I forgot to take any precautions. I was pretty sure he hadn't either. I hadn't planned on getting pregnant till we were married for at least a year and here it had only been a few weeks! Well, anyway, when it was positive I didn't know if I should break down and cry or jump for joy. I decided to try and get everyone out for the evening so I could tell Severus. Unfortunately, it never happened. When I came downstairs for breakfast Moony was sitting next to me with Phaedra on the opposite side. Sev was at the head of the table as usual. Sirius was facing us on the opposite side with Tiberius. I wasn't saying much, being lost in my thoughts about what to do, when Sev became concerned thinking something was wrong." Harry began relating the story to Albus, smiling as she remembered the conversation at the breakfast table…
"Harry, you're awfully quiet. Are you not feeling well? You seem a bit pale," Severus inquired, concern etching his features.
"What? No, I'm fine, I was just thinking is all. I guess I'm not very hungry this morning."
"Are you sure Harry? Severus is right, you look a bit peaked. Did you sleep okay?" Sirius studied her closely.
"Sirius, I slept fine. I'm just not really hungry." The smell of the food was making her stomach queasy.
"Well, you certainly don't look fine. Maybe you should go and see Pomfrey."
"I said I was okay, all right, so just drop it."
"Sirius and Severus are just concerned is all, Princess," Remus remarked, stirring his tea thoughtfully. "Your scent is different today though," he said, giving Harry quick sniff.
"Lupin, what do you mean that her scent is different? Is she coming down with something?"
"I would say she already has." He grinned over his cup at Harry.
"That settles it, Harry, I will fire call Poppy as soon as we have finished eating. If I have learned nothing else in all the years I have known Lupin, it's that his werewolf senses are very rarely wrong when it comes to things like illness," Severus declared.
"I said I was fine!" Harry exclaimed. "You should keep your bloody nose out of my business!" Harry glared back at Remus, who was trying desperately not to laugh. Across the table Tiberius raised his brow and kept silent.
"Lupin, what is so funny? If my wife is ill you would do well to show some concern!" Severus seethed. "It could be something serious, and you look like it is just something to joke about."
"I'm Sirius, and I could do with a good joke when I'm not feeling well," Sirius kidded trying to lighten Severus' mood as he studied the two sitting across the table.
"You're not funny, Black. If Harry is ill you should show a little more decorum."
"I am worried, Snape, but Moony seems to believe it is nothing too bad or he wouldn't be trying to hold in his laughter."
"Well, Lupin, what is so funny? Is something wrong with Harry or not?"
"You could say that," he answered, swallowing a mouthful of tea. "It's nothing that won't pass by itself though." He ducked his head trying to avoid Harry's glare, but she was having none of it. Tiberius kept his face blank. He had his own suspicions about what was wrong with Harry.
"I told you to keep your nose out of my business, Remus, and I meant it." Harry scowled, followed by a loud thunk from beneath the table.
"Ow! You didn't have to kick me. I wasn't going to tell, you know."
"See that you don't!"
"Tell what? Lupin what is going on?" Severus was becoming angry now, frustrated at the hidden innuendo between his wife and her Protector.
"You'd better tell, Harry, I am not in the mood for one of Severus' hexes." Remus smiled in her direction.
"Humph, I'll tell someone all right, and then just you wait Remus. It is not supposed to be like this." Harry pouted before turning to Phaedra. The child had been watching the adults curiously, confused by the conversation.
"Phaedra," Harry addressed her in Parseltongue, a trait Harry had passed onto her when they had been kidnapped. "I know you're wondering what is going on. Your Uncle Moony's werewolf nose has detected that my scent is different."
"I know that, Aunt Harry, but why? You aren't really sick are you? If you were he wouldn't be laughing."
"You're right. I was going to tell your Uncle Sev tonight, but since this commotion started I think I will tell you first." Harry took a deep breath, before continuing. "I am going to have a baby."
"Really, when will it be? I am going to have a cousin?" she asked excitedly.
"Yeah, the baby will be born in the spring."
"Oh, Aunt Harry, I am so excited. I can't wait. Can I tell Uncles Sev, Tiberius and Sirius? Please let me tell."
"Yes, you can tell them."
Sirius and Sev watched her speaking with Phaedra in Parseltongue. Her godfather and husband seemed worried but Remus was studying the ceiling, feigning innocence. Whatever was wrong, Harry apparently felt Phaedra should know, and Phaedra's reaction only increased their fears.
"Uncle Severus, everybody," she began, only to be stopped by a hand on her shoulder.
"Phaedra you are still speaking in Parseltongue. They can't understand you," Harry chuckled.
"Oh, sorry, I was so excited I forgot." She blushed, brown eyes wide with her secret. "Uncle Sev, everybody, Aunt Harry told me a secret. I know what is wrong and she said I could tell."
"Phaedra, what ever is wrong I promise you that I will make sure your Aunt gets better. There is no need to be frightened," Severus stated, believing his niece to be worried.
"I'm not scared, Uncle Sev. Aunt Harry will be better in a few months just like Uncle Moony said."
"Phaedra, what did she say to you?" Severus asked, glancing towards Sirius, who seemed equally confused at this point. He missed the slight twitch of Tiberius, lips.
"Oh, she told me that she's going to have a baby." She grinned smugly. "It will come in the spring."
Severus sat, frozen, brows drawn up in shock. Sirius jaw dropped and Remus ducked his head, unable to conceal his laughter at the expressions on his friend's faces. Tiberius merely inclined his head with a smug look. It took about ten seconds for the reality to sink in for the three younger wizards. When it finally did, Sirius let out a whoop and Severus knocked his chair backwards, leaping around the table, squeezing Harry in a bear hug. Remus grin grew even bigger and looked decidedly wolfish…
"My dear that is a wonderful story," Dumbledore chuckled. "I remember the day when Severin was born. Severus was so proud but he was also worried to death about you. Between the birth, and how his concern over your feelings about whether you had a boy or a girl. He told me that you kept hoping for a little girl."
"I was. My insecurities about his having lost his first wife and son reared their ugly heads while I was pregnant. He did everything he could to reassure me that it didn't matter, that we would have found one another anyway, but my hormones kept getting the better of me. I spent the pregnancy going from happy, to worried and crying. It was amazing that he was as patient as he was." Harry smiled at the memory. "We were still here at Hogwarts when I went into labor two weeks early. I was in the middle of teaching a class when my water broke."
"If I recall correctly, you just dismissed the class and summoned Poppy."
"I did. I knew Sev was giving an exam that period and didn't want to interrupt him. Poppy just walked me up to the infirmary and put me in a bed. I wouldn't let her call him till he was done with his class. Unfortunately, she summoned Sirius and Remus who went down and got him."
"Indeed, I believe he was furious. They burst into his classroom while the Seventh years were brewing a delicate potion for their final prior to the Easter holiday."
"He damn near hexed Sirius," she laughed. "When they burst into the classroom one of the students jumped in panic dropping too much Henbane into the cauldron and it nearly exploded."
"If I recall, Remus had to use his werewolf strength to grab onto Severus and hold him back once he dismissed the class."
"Yeah, Sirius had his wand out and they were ready to duel, but Remus quickly told him why they had come in like that. Next thing they knew Severus ran from the classroom at breakneck speed, all the way up from the dungeons, to get to the infirmary. Sirius told me later that Remus was almost as fast being a werewolf but he had to transform to keep up with them."
"Only to find you lying calmly, not yet in hard labor," Albus stated, eyes twinkling.
"I know. I wanted Severus to go back to his classes but he refused. Sirius and Remus wanted to stay too, but Poppy said they had to wait outside. She only let Sev stay with me. I'm glad she did though. I was more scared than I was willing to admit. He knew it though. He just sat down next to me and took my hand. It turned out to be a long and difficult labor too," Harry said, letting her mind wander back to the birth of their first child…
Poppy stood over her, waving her wand in an intricate circle. It had been fourteen hours, and Harry was tired. Poppy frowned, shaking her head, and looked over at Severus, worry clouding her features.
"What's wrong?" Severus inquired, keeping his worry under control.
"I won't lie to either of you. The baby is still breeched, and shows no sign of turning on its own. I may be able to turn the child, but if not I will need to call for help from St. Mungo's to do a cesarean."
"I don't want a section," Harry moaned, as another strong contraction wracked her tired body.
"I know, Harry, but the labor has been going on for too long. You're exhausted and the child may go into distress if it isn't born soon," Poppy stated.
"You said you may be able to turn the baby?" Severus questioned.
"Yes, but I will need you to help hold Harry. It will be quite painful and I will also need to keep an eye on the monitoring charms to monitor the fetus heart rate."
"Please…Poppy…I want to try," Harry gasped as another pain wracked through her back and into her abdomen.
"I know, Harry, but I want you to understand that if it doesn't work I will be calling St. Mungo's." Harry nodded her understanding and the mediwitch turned towards Severus. "Severus, I will need you to get behind Harry and keep her as still as possible. I can't give her anymore pain killers or it could interfere with the baby."
"I understand, Poppy." Severus gently sat down and pulled Harry up onto his chest, arms around her so that her upper body was held still and whispered into her ear. "It will be all right, Harry. I'm here with you and our child will be born soon," He soothed as he felt her body stiffen, face contorted in pain, a sob escaping her.
Once the contraction eased, Poppy placed Harry's legs in a set of magical stirrups, so she was unable to move. Putting on a pair of sterile gloves, she sat down on the stool at the bottom of the bed waiting for the next contraction. Harry was fully dilated, but the baby was trapped, and she also had to worry that the cord could become compressed or wrapped about the infant's neck while she tried to turn the child.
"Harry when the contraction starts you have to try not to push," she instructed.
Harry nodded weakly as she felt the tightening of her muscles begin once again. Severus tightened his arms around her as Poppy reached up inside of her and pushed upwards, while the contraction intensified. Harry screamed, breaths coming in shallow gasps as she tried not to bear down.
"I know it hurts, Harry, but it will be over soon," Severus soft voice soothed. "Just think about our baby and how much I love you," he whispered.
As the contraction began to ease off, Poppy leaped up and pushed sideways on Harry's swollen abdomen, watching the fetal monitor, attempting to get the child to move back and around. Harry screamed again.
"Sev," she sobbed, "this feels like someone is putting the Cruciatus curse on my insides. I can't do this. Please make it stop."
"Harry look at me," Severus said, making a quick decision. Harry was growing more agitated and was so exhausted, sweat dripping from her forehead from the strain. "Come on, look at me," he coaxed. Her eyes met his and she immediately felt the push of his mind into hers. He was there with her, sharing their happiest memories, holding her in his arms, soft voice telling her how much he cared. He could sense her pain, both physical and emotional, and told her how he didn't care what sex their child was. He just wanted them both to be safe and happy. Harry held tight, resting her head on his chest, the warmth of their bond giving her strength.
"Severus, I'm done," Poppy's voice came from far away, as he slowly withdrew from Harry's mind, aware of the Mediwitch patting his arm. "I was able to turn the child."
"Will it be much longer, Poppy? Harry is exhausted and I do not believe she can take much more."
"Harry is a strong young woman, Severus. She survived Voldemort, but to answer your question, no, it shouldn't be more than another hour if that," she replied, ignoring his glare when she mentioned the Dark Lord. She looked down, conjuring a damp cloth she wiped the sweat from Harry's brow. "Harry, I want you to push with each contraction. Can you do that for me?"
"I'll…try. I am…just so…tired."
"I know, dear, but your baby wants to come out and you will have to help."
Harry simply nodded as she was engulfed in another contraction. Severus eased out from behind her, sitting down in the chair at her bedside, offering encouragement, as she strained to deliver their child. Twenty minutes later, Harry's eyes opened wide, and Poppy smiled.
"Two more, Harry, and your baby will be here!"
Harry pushed with the last of her strength as she felt the baby's head emerge and giving on final effort, she felt the child slide from her body. Exhausted, she closed her eyes relaxing with the blissful end of pain, drifting into a half sleep, listening to the sounds around her. She was vaguely aware that Severus had gotten up from his seat and was speaking quietly with Poppy. Suddenly she realized she didn't hear the baby, and her eyes snapped open.
"Poppy, what's wrong? The baby isn't crying!" She looked at the older woman in panic.
"Nothing's wrong, Harry." She smiled warmly. Gently lifting what Harry saw to be the child's foot, she gave it a light tap on the sole, and a loud wail ensued. She wrapped the tiny bundle keeping it hidden from Harry's full view and handed it to Severus. Awkwardly cradling the bundle he soothed the tiny child, moving back to sit beside her on the bed.
The door to the infirmary opened, Sirius and Remus poking their heads in when they heard the baby start to cry. Remus held Sirius back, allowing him to only pass into the infirmary to give the couple a few minutes alone with their new baby. Severus spoke quietly to his wife, but both men could hear what he was saying.
"Harry," he looked at his wife, a small smile touching his lips, "We have a son." Much to his relief, Harry smiled back, reaching out for the infant. "You're not upset that it isn't a girl?"
"No, Sev, I think he's beautiful." Harry held the tiny bundle studying his face, running a finger over his soft cheek. "He looks like you." She smiled.
"Fortunately, he does not have my nose."
"Nope, I think he has my mums, cause it certainly isn't mine either."
"I believer you are correct." He nodded.
"He has your long fingers too." Severus merely pursed his lips in amusement, his eyes shining with pride.
"Does he have a name yet?" Sirius asked, breaking free from Remus and moving towards the couple.
"Siri, give them some time alone!" Remus growled, trying to pull him back.
Severus glanced at his wife, and motioned them both forward. He would spend time with her after they left, but for now he knew she would want them to see their son.
"Are you okay, Princess?"
"Just tired, Moony. Have you both been out there all this time?"
"You didn't think we would be anywhere else did you? It's not every day my goddaughter has a baby!" Sirius huffed, grinning from ear to ear. Moving around Severus he planted a kiss on her head.
"In answer to your first question, Black, no he does not have a name. Harry wanted to wait till the baby was born before choosing a name."
"Well, as the father of the first born male tradition says that you are the one to name him," Sirius remarked. "Do you have anything in mind?"
"I thought perhaps that keeping with the tradition of my family of using Latin names Claudius Octavian would be suitable."
"Yuck, don't you dare name him that!" Harry looked up at her husband with pleading eyes.
"Why not? Claudius was my great great uncle and Octavian was also a several times distant grandparent. The names are usually given from a deceased relation also."
"I hate to admit it Severus, but I agree with Harry." Sirius shook his head.
"It is far superior than naming one's children after a constellation."
"I wouldn't let Draco hear you say that," Remus remarked. "Narcissa kept to the Black tradition when they named Draco."
"Only because Lucius agreed before hand as her father had no male heir himself."
"Please don't argue," Harry sighed.
"It's all right, Harry, since you don't like the name I will let you suggest one. Just keep in mind it should be Latin and have been the name of at least one deceased relative on the paternal side.
"No Sirius, I am not going to use James," she stated. "Not this time anyway, but I did consider something beforehand just in case." She grinned sheepishly up at the three wizards. Severus had arched his brow, Remus chuckled softly, and Sirius was rolling his eyes. "What, you didn't think I knew there was a fifty fifty chance we would have a son."
"It's all right, Harry, I understand how you were feeling." Severus gently brushed a hand over her hair. "So what is this name you think we should consider?" Harry beamed up at him, pleased that he would allow her to help name their first born.
"Well, I think it will make sense. Especially now that I have seen him. I like Severin Tiberius."
"Severin is a variation of Severus, Harry, but he is not deceased and neither is Tiberius." Remus pointed out.
"No, Harry is correct. I had an ancestor named Severin on the Prince side. I believe that I may have been given the variation for him, and Tiberius will be pleased."
"I hate to admit it, but I like it myself. I must be getting soft in my old age," Sirius sighed, but his mischievous expression belied his words.
"Sirius, what are you up to?" Harry studied her godfather.
"Nothing, I just can't wait to get little Snivellus junior up onto a broom to bring out his Potter side."
"Sirius, that is not funny!" Harry burst into tears, exhaustion and her godfather's sick sense of humor taking their toll.
"Harry, I didn't mean it, I swear! I just wanted to tease Severus but it really was in bad taste. I will never call this little guy by that nickname again, or Severus either. Just don't cry."
"Harry, it's all right. I am used to the mutt and his remarks." Severus glared at Sirius.
"When will the two of you just stop it!" she sobbed, cradling the baby who had begun to whimper.
"Princess, they just like to bait one another for fun. There really is no more real animosity between them."
"Remus is right, Harry. I accepted Severus a long time ago. He loves you and that is all that matters to me. If he makes you happy then I'm happy." He cupped Harry's tear streaked face bringing it up to look at him. "You're tired. You had a rough time. Why don't you go to sleep? I know Sev is tired as well but I doubt very much he plans on leaving the infirmary any time soon."
"Not until I know Harry is sleeping peacefully. Then I will go and notify Tiberius and Phaedra about the birth."
"That's all right, Severus. Moony and I can do that. You just spend time here with Harry and little Severin." Sirius looked at Harry fondly. "By the way he really is a nice little chap. Do you mind if I hold him before we leave?" He directed his question towards Severus.
Severus merely nodded and placed the baby into his arms, easing Harry back onto the pillows, his annoyance having faded. He looked on in amusement as Sirius fussed over the child, Remus adding his own two cents worth. He was a bit uneasy when the werewolf took the child, but he knew Lupin would never do anything intentionally to harm his son. He spotted Albus standing quietly near the doors, blue eyes twinkling merrily. He turned back to Harry and began to card his fingers through her hair, talking softly until her breathing level off alerting him that she had fallen asleep…
Coming out of her reverie, Harry glanced over to where Severus' frame still remained empty. "Still not back yet," she sighed.
"Harry you know what Severus is like when he is working on a potion," Dumbledore reminded her. "I am sure he will be back as soon as he can."
"I really miss him, you know. I miss them all." Green eyes stole over to the pictures of Sirius, Remus, and their adopted daughter, Antares, Harry's goddaughter.
"Harry, Sirius and Remus had a good life together. Sirius died saving his grandson, Phoenix, and Remus survived longer than most do with his condition."
"I know, Albus. It still hurts though. I'll never forget the look on Remus face when he told me what happened. It felt almost like history repeated itself."
"I know. When you were finally came up to the office to tell me I almost couldn't believe it."
"Remus was just so stunned," Harry remarked, green eyes clouding when she remembered what had happened. "They had gone to meet Sirius for lunch at the Ministry, but he was tied up in court. I always worried about Sirius when he gave up teaching here at Hogwarts to go back to work as an Auror. I just had a bad feeling about it. You know how I still feel about the Ministry." Albus' portrait nodded in affirmation as Harry continued. "Anyway, they were talking with Mr. Weasley; he was finally retiring, and didn't realize right away that Phoenix had wandered off. Sirius came out of the courtroom and asked where he was. Antares had only turned her head for a few minutes but it was enough. They started searching immediately, and Sirius transformed to pick up his scent. How he ever got into the Department of Mysteries I'll never know. After Voldemort it was supposed to be so heavily warded that only the Unspeakables could get through. He was in the Death Chamber looking at the veil. From what Moony said, he could hear the voices and was going to walk right into it. Sirius just leaped forward, as he went to step through, knocking him out of the way. He transformed back as he did so, but his body was twisted and he fell backwards, passing through the veil. Moony had grabbed onto Phoenix and was just holding onto him." Harry shook her head, recalling when Sirius had fallen through during her rescue attempt in fifth year. "I hoped for a long time that he would come back again…" her voice trailed off.
"I understand you all searched for him at Grimauld Place, even though the house was never repaired."
"Yeah, we did. The only good thing was that Phoenix was too young to understand that his grandfather was dead. We told him that he went to visit Uncle James. After awhile he just stopped asking when he would be back. He was only three at the time."
"Fortunately, Remus held up, although I believe that he blamed himself right up until his dying day."
"I know, Albus, but it wasn't his fault or Antares," Harry sighed. "Sirius and Remus would have been so proud of Phoenix. He's head of the Auror division now."
"I'm sure they are, Harry, and Remus lived a long time for a werewolf. Mercifully he died peacefully in his bed with his family around him."
"Even with the Wolfsbane Potion he just couldn't handle any more transformations. His poor body was just too worn out." Harry fell silent for a few moments. "I know they would have been thrilled with their great grandchildren too."
"Not to mention, all of yours," Albus chuckled.
"Remember the look on Severus' face when they told him our second child's name?"
"Well he did agree to allow them to name him," Albus laughed.
"It wasn't Severus' fault he missed the birth. The floo network was a mess with that blizzard. He couldn't apparate because of the storm. By the time he got a portkey home from that potions conference in Austria, Remus and Sirius had delivered the baby. Poppy was stuck here and couldn't get to Snape castle. We didn't expect him to be born over the Christmas holiday."
"He was grateful that everything was all right with you both."
"Well, our second son was in a bit of a hurry. Severus blamed the Potter genes for his birth coming so fast. Fortunately, he had my mum's Evans features." Harry grinned. "At least they kept to the Latin names. Otherwise, I think Sev would have exploded. He always claimed they did it to get even, but I think he secretly felt that the name fit him."
"Indeed it did. Romulus Rex Snape. He was a magnificent Quidditch player, just like his mother and grandfather. Not to mention that his animagus form was an Irish wolfhound."
"I think Sirius had a lot to do with that. He gave him a broom when he was two. Sev had a fit."
"Ah, but he always cheered for him when he played here at Hogwarts."
"That and he was on the Slytherin team, and later became Captain. Severus was delighted when he was sorted into his house, Severin having been put into Ravenclaw."
"It gave him the opportunity to keep an eye on him. I was retired by then and Severus was Minerva's assistant."
"I'd say poor Romulus, but he adored his father, even though he often found himself over his knee. Sev was the first person he told when he made it to the Pro's."
"Severus always said he was the Slytherin equivalent of a Marauder, with the cunning and slyness of his house. He often wondered if you had listened to the Sorting Hat if you would have been the same."
"Nah, I would have been too busy fighting off the Junior Deatheaters."
"I personally think you would have kept more of them from joining Voldemort."
"Maybe, but it's water under the bridge now." Harry shrugged. "He was a great father. He even named our youngest son after my parents. Hadrian James Evan Snape. He told me that he was still moved by the night they accepted him following their resurrection and wanted me to know it."
"He was in Gryffindor, like his grandparents, so I think he was aptly named."
"Yes. I'm sorry you never really got to know him. He was born the week after you passed away."
"Harry, I did get to know him. His brother, Romulus, may only have gotten caught in his antics here at school by his father, but I believe his Uncle Remus sent Hadrian up to this office a number of times."
"As did his mother." She arched her brow with a smirk. "Severus caught him sneaking into the Potions lab on more than one occasion with the invisibility cloak to brew some potion or other."
"He did like to brew. He still does. He is the school's Potions Master, just like his father before him."
"He didn't find out till he was older that I gave Severus the Marauder's map to keep an eye on the boys while they were here at school."
"Ah, so that's how his father always knew what he was up to in his lab."
"He never told him that he used to disillusion himself and watch, just to make certain he would be all right and not blow anything up. Once he was done he would sneak up on him and scare the daylights out of him." Harry smirked. "Hadrian always wished he could be as silent as his father."
"I think he does just fine. I know Severus was very proud when he followed in his footsteps and took his Mastery in Potions. I remember when Severus became Headmaster, and Hadrian came to work at Hogwarts. He was thrilled to not only have his son as the new Potions Master, but also head of Gryffindor House."
"At least our family has been well represented here at Hogwarts in each of the houses. We were all a bit shocked when Phaedra ended up in Hufflefuff. Once we thought about though we realized she really was loyal. It's a shame she never married."
"In many ways she always reminded me of Poppy. They both cared about the children they cared for."
"She still does. We all thought Poppy drove us crazy when she was the school's Mediwitch. Hah! Phaedra makes her look like a saint. She's liable to tie the kids to the beds to keep them from leaving the infirmary until they're fully healed."
"Not to mention her aunt, the current Headmistress." Dumbledore's blue eyes twinkled furiously. "I heard about your little stunt on the Quidditch Pitch."
"I only broke my arm, nothing serious." Harry glared at the portrait.
"You know how much she loves you, Harry. You're not a young woman any more."
"Humph, I can still out fly most of this school!"
"Gryffindor foolishness! You are far to old to be flying about like a banshee!" An oily voice sneered slipping into the frame on the wall above her.
"Sev, you're back!" Harry exclaimed in delight, looking up at her late Husband's portrait. He was painted younger than when he had passed away, with only some light gray streaks in his hair, to mark the passage of time.
"Of course, someone has to make sure you don't demolish the school. Albus still lets you get away with too much mischief. At least you don't offer the staff those infernal lemon drops!" Severus rolled his eyes as Dumbledore's portrait reached into his pocket, pulling out his favorite sweet.
"Aren't you going to ask me how things went with the time turner?"
"Obviously, the way you had planned, as you are still Headmistress and nothing has changed." He sneered down at his wife, but his eyes were warm. "However, I am pleased to know that I was missed."
"I've missed you for these past twenty years." Harry moved from her seat, reaching up to touch his cheek on the canvas. Her eyes filled with tears, but she refused to let them fall, turning away for a moment. Her beloved husband had died of a heart attack following their one hundredth wedding anniversary. It had been sudden and swift and she was grateful that he didn't suffer. His last words were, 'Harry, I love you. I'll be waiting.' He then closed his eyes as the light faded from his onyx orbs and sighed his last breath. Harry would have been inconsolable, were it not for her family, and the portrait which magically appeared in the now Headmistress' office. She had always found it amazing that his portrait was of his younger self. He had told her that was how he wished to be remembered by her. "Will the child in St. Mungo's recover?" she asked, changing the subject.
"He will. His mother was most grateful. I had to leave before she soiled my canvas with her incessant tears. I left Severin to deal with her. He is quite adept at that sort of thing." His voice held it usual snide tone, but Harry knew he was thinking of their lost daughter, Olivia.
"I'm glad," she whispered. "It's been a long day. I think I'll just sit for a while and have a nice hot cup of tea and some biscuits. I'm feeling rather cold, despite the sunny weather." Summoning a house elf, she settled herself back in the chair, lighting a fire in the hearth with her wand before covering her legs with a blanket.
Staring into the fire, she quietly sipped her tea, thinking of her long life. It seemed like only yesterday that she had boarded the Hogwarts Express for the first time, a scared child, masquerading as a boy. That was when she had first met Ron and Hermione, her best friends. They too, were gone now, Ron having passed away two years ago, peacefully, in his sleep. Hermione had not been so lucky. She had developed the Muggle disease Alzheimer's when she was in her nineties. It had pained Harry deeply to watch her friend loose her memory, her brilliant mind slowly being taken from her. Ron had taken care of her up to the end though, and Harry couldn't have been more proud of him. He had been a good father too. His daughter Rose and son Hugo had grown into fine adults. Rose was now senior researcher for the Department of Mysteries and Hugo, oddly enough, was the head of S.P.E.W., his mother's foundation to aid the plight of the house elves. He had been instrumental in expanding it to include other magical beings as well, and had won the Magical equivalent of the Nobel Prize.
Harry was still close with the succeeding members of the Weasley clan, and her own great-great granddaughter was dating one of Hugo's progeny of the same generation here at Hogwarts. Ginny had finally married Draco, and like her mother, had proceeded to fill Malfoy Manor with a large brood of children, something no one had ever expected. Draco had been delighted, having been an only child. Surprisingly, of their five children, none had been sorted into Slytherin House until the following generation. Draco had staunchly stated that it was just too much Weasley influence, but had always said it with a smile towards his wife. They had both died tragically, when a long distance Portkey failed, following a holiday in Egypt, falling to their deaths from several hundred feet in the air.
Neville, had gone on to study for his Herbology Mastery, and taken over for Professor Sprout, but had retired from Hogwarts five years ago. He had passed away last month, and Harry had spoken at his funeral, remembering the shy, brave boy from their youth. Luna had married him, and continued to run the Quibbler for her father. She had also become known as a brilliant seer, but preferred to remain in seclusion until her death at one hundred and three. It was Luna who had predicted that Harry would live to be the last of their generation, having secured the future of the Wizarding World, her final destiny. Harry had never told her friends about the old woman she had met as a teenager, but Luna had somehow seen what was to come, and simply smiled serenely, a vague smile on her face. She and Neville had only one child, a girl, whom they had named Moon. She had never married, and when Neville had passed away, she sold the Quibbler to one of the Weasleys twins grandson's, retiring to Australia.
Harry's mind continued to drift as she looked at the pictures on her mantle. Hagrid with his wife, Madam Maxime, who had both been killed in an Avalanche in the Swiss Alps, Dean, Seamus, the Creevey brothers, Dobby, Winky, and so many others. All of them were gone now, yet living on through their children and grandchildren, never having to fear the darkness that had been Lord Voldemort.
She shifted to try and get comfortable attempting to doze. Her body ached. The crick in her neck felt as if it were traveling down into her left arm, the chill continuing to creep into her tired limbs. Fighting the fatigue which was overcoming her, she glanced up at the portraits of her husband and mentor. Severus was sitting in his chair, pretending to read a book, looking at her surreptitiously through his black hair. Dumbledore was softly snoring. Although, she suspected he was not really sleeping. The other portraits shuffled softly within their frames. She could feel Phineas Nigellus watchful gray eyes staring at her back. She sensed that they knew something she could not quite put her finger on, but dismissed the notion as exhaustion, her eyes drifting shut once again, thinking about summoning a potion for the growing ache within her body. She knew she should put her teacup back on the table, but was unable to move, sighing, as the cup slipped from her fingers to the floor. Somewhere off in the distance she could hear the Hogwarts bell begin to toll, never seeing the portrait of the young woman, which had mysteriously appeared upon the wall between Severus and Dumbledore…
Hadrian Snape had been helping his cousin Phaedra restock the infirmary, when they heard the bell begin to toll. He looked up quickly, dark gray eyes meeting brown. For a fleeting moment, Phaedra was reminded of her uncles. Both Hadrian and his elder brother had the sharp Snape features, but Hadrian had dark gray eyes, where as Severin had his father's black. Romulus on the other hand looked more like Harry's relatives, with his wild mane of dark chestnut hair and green eyes, the Evans and Potter influence clearly seen. All three of the boys had inherited the rich baritone voice that the Snape males were so proud of. Fortunately, none of them had inherited the infamous Snape nose. She didn't ponder over this thought however, since Hadrian had started to stride towards the doors of the infirmary, robes billowing behind, just as his father's had, while the bell continued to toll. She followed behind, struggled with her emotions, knowing Hadrian was doing the same. The slow tolling of the bell at this hour could only mean one thing…
Harry was drifting, feeling strangely light headed. She stretched; surprised that she no longer felt any discomfort from the aches which usually accompanied her old limbs on a daily basis. 'Humph,' she thought. 'So much for Phaedra believing that playing that round of Quidditch would cause more harm than good.' She was no longer cold, a hot glow suffusing her and attributed it to the fire and the warm sun hitting the blanket covering her legs. 'Think I'll just snooze a bit more. It'll be nice to get some relaxation in before dinner,' she mused, without opening her eyes. 'I hope they have the treacle tart for pudding tonight. I'm getting bored with Phaedra pushing fruit on me all the time. Who cares if she thinks it's good for my digestion. I never would have believed that a child who had loved chocolate so much would become such a diet crazed Mediwitch!' She was mulling this over in her mind when she thought she heard a soft giggle. 'Now what would a student be up to in the tower? I do hope one of my great grandchildren hasn't been up to some more pranks. Sev will be absolutely livid if I so much as let them off with a warning again. Of course, telling them that I could charm his portrait to come out from the frame and give them a good spanking didn't seem to hurt,' she chuckled to herself. 'They're faces were absolutely hilarious. They actually believed it and were quite repentant after that. Obviously they heard from their parents and grandparents what a heavy hand he had when necessary.' Amused by this idea she determined not to let whatever was going on interfere with her nice comfortable state, when she became aware of soft whispers from over by her office door. She swore she heard someone telling the child to be quiet, but this was only accompanied by another bout of giggles.
"I don't know what you are up to but I warn you that if I have to get out of this chair you will be in detention for a month!" Harry stated aloud, making her voice as ominous as possible, clenching her eyes shut. She truly did not want to get up from her nap! She listened for a few minutes, only to be met with silence. "Good, at least I learned how to finally scare the little imps to make them behave," she said. "Now I can get back to my nap." Once again feeling that serene sense of drifting, she welcomed the feelings of tranquility, a slow smile gracing her lips, when she became aware of a soft tugging on her arm, a child's voice whispering into her ear.
"Mummy, wake up. Granny Lils and Grandpa James said you were coming home with us today!"
"Oh, 'Livia, let mummy take her nap….Olivia!" Harry's eyes snapped open, as she leaped from the chair, landing on the floor in a heap. Peering down at her was a pair of emerald eyes with fine dark brows, surrounded by a mane of thick black curls, a pert nose, and fine lips, now drawn up into a big smile. Harry could only stare, eyes wide, her mouth gaping.
"Mummy, are you okay? Granny Lils said you would be happy to see me, but you don't look happy. Daddy always says you look like a fish when you do that thing with your mouth," she babbled, looking over her shoulder uncertainly.
Harry closed her mouth, following the little girl's gaze, when her mouth dropped open once more. Standing in the doorway were her parents, Lily and James Potter, Tiberius Snape, Padfoot, Moony, her best friends, Ron and Hermione, and a host of others. Blinking, she shook her head, letting her eyes sweep around the room. On the floor beside where she had landed lay a broken tea cup, an old woman's arm hanging limply. Still unable to speak she turned her head to look over towards the portraits of her mentor and husband, only to find them strangely absent, but a new portrait sat between them, sleeping peacefully. It was a younger version of herself, made to compliment that of the portrait of Severus. The Hogwarts bell was tolling its lament through out the castle. Harry looked back towards the child, reaching up her arms.
"Olivia? Oh baby, I've missed you so," she sobbed, grasping onto her with a fierce hug. "My beautiful little girl."
"Hey, we could say the same thing, you know," James Potter quipped coming forward, pulling Harry and Olivia into a hug.
"Dad…Mum," Harry choked, reaching out towards her mother. Lily immediately joined their embrace before leading them back towards the door.
Harry immediately began hugging relatives and friends alike, laughing and crying at the same time, when suddenly she froze.
"Harry what's wrong?" Lily questioned, noting her daughter looking around anxiously.
"Where's Severus?" When no answer was forthcoming, she looked at Albus, who merely shrugged. Harry began to panic. Her husband was not there. "He promised he would wait for me," she wailed.
"Harry, don't cry," Remus soothed, while James and Sirius looked from one to the other. "I'm sure he'll be along shortly."
"How do you know? Where is he?" She continued to look at countless relatives and friends, frantically scanning the crowd, when Olivia giggled.
"Olivia, where is daddy? " Harry questioned, swinging back to look at the child, James now held in his arms.
"Uncle Paddy played a prank on him when we were getting ready to come."
"Prank? What sort of prank? I swear, Padfoot, if you don't tell me…."
"I…uh…hid his robes." Sirius smirked.
"YOU WHAT!" Lily and Harry yelled simultaneously.
"And what part of this prank were you involved in JAMES POTTER?" Lily screeched, green eyes flashing furiously.
"Well…Lils….I uh…sort of…uh…charmed the door…to lock him in," he mumbled quickly.
"Moony, how could you let them get away with doing this?" Harry frowned, taking in the werewolf's guilty expression. "Didn't you learn anything from all the time we spent together with the Protectorship?"
"Yes, Harry, we all learned something. Even your dad. We learned how much you cared about one another. Soulmates like that deserve a special reunion. We simply made sure you got one. By the way, Olivia helped to keep him distracted." He waved his hands with a sly grin. The crowd of relatives and friends silently moved aside, slowly fading back towards the afterlife, leaving the door to the landing ajar. Prongs, Padfoot, and Moony, pulled Lily with them, leaving Olivia standing with her mother, revealing a tall pale figure dressed in black robes within the door.
"Sev…" Harry whispered, green eyes locking with onyx.
"I've been waiting, Harry," he replied softly, taking two swift strides into the room. Sweeping her into his arms, he brought his mouth to her lips, locking them into a passionate kiss, only to be interrupted by their daughter's giggles.
"Now what, pray tell, do you find so funny young lady?" Severus looked down his long nose at his daughter.
"You and mummy are kissing. Uncle Paddy and grandpa said you would." She beamed up at her parents. "Are you still mad at them for pranking you?"
"Perhaps, they had your mother's feelings at heart." He looked at Harry again, brushing his lips over hers. However," he picked his daughter up, "We need to be getting on home."
"And just where is home?" Harry asked, following him out of the door.
"Why, second star to the right and straight on till morning," he teased, quirking the corners of his lips. "Or if you prefer our next great adventure." Putting his arms around his family they faded away, knowing that they would see their other children in due time, the door to the Headmaster's office slowly swinging shut…
Hadrian and Phaedra reached the landing and burst through the door. Harry looked like she had fallen asleep, a smile on her face. Phaedra was about to sigh in relief when she realized Hadrian was checking for a pulse. They both looked up at the wall when Severus quietly spoke.
"As you can see, Son, that will not be necessary." He indicated the sleeping portrait of his wife. His son closed his eyes for a moment, collecting his emotions, as Phaedra burst into tears. "Phaedra, she is finally at peace, and it is not as if you will not see her again. In the meantime you will all be able to speak with her when she wakes."
"Dad is right, mum would want us to go on with our lives. As much as it pains me to say it, I know she and dad are together right now with Uncle Ti, and Olivia, as well as the Potters and Uncles Padfoot and Moony."
"I know. I am going to miss her though." Phaedra turned away, wiping her tears. "She taught me so much. Aunt Harry was my second mother, but she never let me forget my own mum."
"When I was little I remember hearing her talk to you about Circe. She said that she would want you to go on and be happy. There was also something about some mirror."
"Yes. I always let them believe that I didn't really remember what happened, but I did. I owed her my life and my soul, as well as our uncles."
"Perhaps, later on, once we have grieved and the funeral is over you could tell me about it?"
"I think that would be nice, Hadrian. Family needs to stick together in times like this."
He nodded in understanding, summoning a house elf. He needed to notify his brothers, and have the younger children summoned from their houses. He realized that he was now acting Headmaster. Yes, he was grieving, but the school would be too. He was not alone. Hadrian looked up to see his father lips quirked in a slight smile, watching him with pride, as he silently slid into the portrait beside his sleeping mother, looking as she did in his youth. Once he had contacted his family and the Ministry, he would have to make sure the Daily Prophet reported his mother's obituary accurately and with the dignity she deserved. He knew just the person to write it properly too. Carefully picking up his mother's body, he carried he up to her bedroom, and ordered the house elf to summon the Heads of Houses, while Phaedra went back to the infirmary, to mourn in private.
The Daily Prophet
Special Evening Edition
June 2, 2121
WIZARDING WORLD MOURNS THE PASSING OF
HARRY POTTER SNAPE, SAVIOR OF THE LIGHT
By: Jeddiah Ronald Weasley
Owner and Editor of the Quibbler
Harry Potter, defeater of Lord Voldemort, greatest dark wizard of the past century and current Headmistress of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry passed away quietly in her sleep of an apparent heart attack. Born in 1980, Harry was the only child of James and Lily Potter, nee Evans. She first stopped Voldemort as a toddler when her mother sacrificed herself to save her child. The Dark Lord's killing curse rebounded from the child's head, leaving nothing but her famous lightening bolt scar, while Voldemort was left disembodied and helpless. He remained this way for twelve years until finally, following the last Triwizard Tournament; he regained his body, to began his second reign of terror. Despite his numerous attempts on Harry Potter's life she continued to fight him, even during periods of adversity from the Ministry claiming that she was a delusional attention seeking child. Their final confrontation took place during the second resurrection of Lord Voldemort when he used Dark Necromancy to bring back the Potters.
During Harry's youth it was originally thought the she was a boy. This was a ploy by the late Albus Dumbledore and her parents. This plan was orchestrated to protect her from the Dark Wizards who wished her dead, as well as various prophecies made about her life. Harry Potter was a winner of the Triwizard Tournament at just fourteen. Prior to that she was able to save the Philosopher's Stone from falling into the hands of the Deatheaters, who planned to use it to resurrect Voldemort, during her first year at Hogwarts. It became know that she was a Parselmouth in her second year and many feared she would go Dark or that she was precipitating the petrifactions which were happening at the school. These rumors proved to be unfounded and she managed to kill the lost Basilisk of Salazar Slytherin, which lurked within the Chamber of Secrets, hidden within the bowels of the school for centuries. In her third year, she was able to produce a Patronus Charm under the tutelage of the Defense Against the Dark Arts instructor, Remus Lupin. Lupin left the school when it became known that he was a werewolf, returning several years later, at the request of many of the parents, for his role in the war effort on the side of the light. In subsequent years, Harry Potter helped to form a clandestine teaching organization, Dumbledore's Army, when former Minister Fudge and his lackeys, attempted to take over the school and prevent our children from being able to defend themselves. She was also instrumental in clearing the name of Sirius Black, her godfather, from murder charges. It was believed he had betrayed the Potter's and killed thirteen Muggles, but it was in actuality Peter Pettigrew, whom everyone believed dead.
Harry Potter was extremely gifted in Defense and was a multiple Animagus. The first since Merlin. Her Animagus forms were a Phoenix, a serpent, and a winged serpent, combining the two animals. She turned down a chance to become an Auror, her initial ambition, stating that she had had enough of fighting Dark Wizards. She was also a gifted Quidditch player and was recruited by several professional teams, but chose to become a teacher at Hogwarts instead. In her career on the Gryffindor Quidditch team she only failed to catch the snitch once, when the pitch was invaded by Dementors, and she passed out on her broom, nearly falling to her death.
Harry Potter married Professor Severus Snape, formally, Viscount Snape, and youngest Potions Master of record and a former teacher and Headmaster of Hogwarts. She succeeded to Headmistress upon his death twenty years ago. Professor Snape was a spy during both wars, and was also instrumental in the downfall of Lord Voldemort. They were formally wed in 1999 when she was nineteen and he was thirty nine. Prior to their formal vows they were joined in the Ancient Rite of Protectorship with Sirius Black and Remus Lupin. Both Black and Lupin were given the right to wed one another during the course of the Protectorship. They are both deceased.
Harry Potter Snape and Severus Snape are survived by three sons, Severin Tiberius Snape a prominent Healer, who along with his father, helped to develop the cure and treatment for a rare wizarding birth defect known as Invetrto Pectus, which affects the development of the heart. Romulus Rex Snape was a prominent Professional Quidditch player for England and now manages the Chudley Cannons, bringing them to the World Cup a record twenty one times. Hadrian James Snape, the current acting Headmaster of Hogwarts is also a well known Potions Master. Another child, their only daughter Olivia Eileen, passed away at the age of four from the same birth defect that her father and elder brother worked so hard to correct. Her death came six months prior to their discovery of the potion and treatment needed to cure the disorder. In addition to their three sons, they had ten grandchildren, twenty four great grandchildren and sixty three great great grandchildren.
The funeral will be private at an undisclosed location for family and close friends only. A formal memorial service will be held at Hogwarts on June tenth, for students, families, and Ministry officials.
Our sincere condolences go out to Headmistress Snape's family. We wish to let them know that the entire Wizarding World is mourning with them. We have lost the greatest witch of our time. Were it not for Harry Potter Snape our world would have succumbed to Darkness and Evil. In the words of the Late Albus Dumbledore, 'Death is but the next great adventure.' Enjoy the adventure, Lady Snape, for you have earned it well. We will miss you dearly.