Disclaimer: see first chapter.

Thanks to my betas Somigliana and Dacian Goddess

A New Life For More Than One.

Severus was freezing in his cell; the guards had pretended not to know how to perform a heating charm! Severus nonetheless thought it prudent to bite back the scathing answer that was sitting on the tip of his tongue. He could always cuddle Hermione's cat to get some heat. Besides, he'd become very fond of her familiar; all the more because the guards were wary of approaching him and his sharp claws. Said familiar started to squirm in his lap.

"A visit, Snape," a guard said from the corridor. Surprised, Severus stood abruptly, but Crookshanks had beaten him to Hermione's arms.

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The situation wasn't right; his masters ought to be together in a warm house. However, Crookshanks was at a loss about what to do. He'd kept the mean men away from his master, tried to keep him warm, but how to get out? He mewed his concern at his mistress, for she seemed to be able to get around freely. She petted him.

"You've been a good cat, Crooks. Now, I must ask a favour of you: will you stay with Severus? He needs company, and I can't stay myself."

Her tone was reassuring; perhaps his mistress had a plan.

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After a few days in the inhospitable place, Severus and Crookshanks were taken to the Wizengamot. The half-Kneazle spotted his mistress right away on one of the benches, with her friends all around her, whispering among themselves. She smiled to them, and love shone in her eyes. Crookshanks knew then that no harm would come out of this strange meeting.

Well, almost no harm; he was unceremoniously dislodged from his beloved master's arms by strange chains that pinned the man to the chair. He leapt back onto his master's lap, while a lion-like man stood up in front of them.

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From that moment on, everything proceeded smoothly. Even if Crookshanks couldn't make head nor tail of what was happening—why did so many people feel the need to change their place and to sit on the chair next to theirs?— he could feel his master's growing elation. He started purring.

"Not long, now," Severus told him. "They can't believe that even Potter is on my side!"

Every Order member, save Moody, had testified in his favour; the Wizengamot had needed three days to listen to all of them, and ten minutes of whispering to reach a decision about Severus' fate.

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Pandemonium took over the throng as soon as Minister Scrimgeour announced, "Severus Snape is acquitted!" Three days ago, there had been a consensus about his culpability; now, he was considered an unofficial war hero. It was an ordeal to get him out of the Ministry unscathed from yelling groupies. Cries of "Severus" or "You're my hero!" were heard; sweaty hands greedily gripped him but soon retreated, more to escape Crookshanks' ire than Severus' ineffective glares. The cat wouldn't let anyone other than his mistress touch him. He knew that fidelity between mates was of the utmost importance in human matters.

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Severus feigned exhaustion and went back to his house without waiting, Crookshanks still clinging to him. No amount of crooning or false promises could convince him to let go. Everyone then scattered to their respective homes, except that "home" didn't mean the same for everyone; Hermione's home was known by the public at large to be at her parents', while for Severus and her, it was on Spinner's End. He didn't wait long for her to arrive.

"Severus!" she said between kisses. "You know that I don't have to leave soon this time?"

He took her to bed straight away.

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Crookshanks felt old—ancient, but at peace. He had had very full lives; the ninth and last one had been particularly satisfying. He watched his master take his mistress in his arms, his lips never parting from hers. He watched them disappear up the staircase, the human song of seduction drifting to his ears.

He curled up on the rug in front of the fire, mesmerised by the kaleidoscope of red and gold colours, lulled to sleep by the soft warmth the embers were emitting. When he opened his eyes later, Heaven's doors were standing open in front of him.