Hello, everyone! Thank you all for your reviews! I hope you'll enjoy this chapter! Oh, at the end of Chapter 30, I said this one would be about Christmas, the Weasleys and Hermione, that school would start back up and Harry and Draco would have an interesting encounter. Well…Christmas Day ended up taking a lot longer than I thought it would, but Hogwarts will re-open and Draco will be in the next chapter.
Previously…Severus recovered from the Death Eater battle, he and Harry patched up their disagreement and they both agreed they wanted to go ahead with the adoption.
Harry woke early on Christmas morning. For a while he just lay in bed, remembering the events of the previous day. It had definitely been one of the most exciting Christmas Eves he'd ever had, and one of the most rewarding.
A father. He finally had a father, someone all his own who would love him and protect him and guide him. Harry was unable to keep a big smile from crossing his face as he thought about last evening. After dinner, he and Severus had filled out the adoption paperwork and summoned Dumbledore, who as head of the Wizangamot had authority to approve it. Dumbledore had immediately signed and sealed the papers, and just like that, Harry and Severus were officially a family.
Dumbledore had conjured a bottle of fine wine and they had all celebrated by drinking a glass. Then the headmaster had left them alone. Harry and Severus had settled themselves on the sofa and begun a game of chess, but Severus had apparently been more tired than he'd wanted to admit. He'd drifted off to sleep in the middle of it so Harry had quietly moved the board aside and read one of his favorite books, Quidditch Through the Ages, instead.
The night had grown late and Harry had debated over whether he should wake Severus or leave him sleeping on the sofa. His bed was more comfortable, but it seemed rather silly to wake someone just so he could try to go back to sleep. Severus had solved the dilemma himself, waking on his own when the clock struck midnight.
He'd lightly scolded Harry for sitting up so late, but then had given him a long, fierce hug and when they'd stood apart, he'd carded his fingers through Harry's hair and said gently, "Good night, son."
It was the first time Harry could remember anyone ever calling him 'son' as a parent would and now, lying in bed remembering, he grinned to himself again.
He was somebody's son now. He had a father.
An image of Lily and James Potter came to his mind, and Harry wondered if they'd ever called him 'son' or some other nickname.
You don't mind, do you? He silently asked them. I know you and Severus didn't get along, Dad…well, I guess that's an understatement, really. But so much has changed since then. You would want me to be with someone who really loves me and wants me, wouldn't you? The Dursleys never did, and I used to feel so alone. But not anymore. Severus really does love me and I love him. I love both of you, too. Of course I do, but you can't be here. I really need Severus and maybe it's crazy, but I think he needs me, too. Well, I hope you're happy for me. I think you are. I'll always love you.
Underneath the warm glow of happiness, Harry felt a pang of sorrow but he truly did thinkthat Lily and James were happy for him, wherever they were, and slowly the sadness faded. It wasn't a day for sorrow, after all.
There was a knock on the door between the two bedrooms and Harry looked over to see his father waiting, his warm robe wrapped over silk pyjamas.
"Happy Christmas," Severus said, almost solemnly.
Harry hurried over to throw his arms around him. "Happy Christmas, Dad."
He stepped back to study Severus anxiously. "How do you feel?"
"I am perfectly fine," Severus assured him. "I was well enough last night, simply a bit weak and tired. But I'm rested now and completely recovered."
Harry kept studying him. Severus had a tendency to downplay his own well-being…Harry had learned that, but his father did seem all right. After a moment Harry relaxed.
"Let's go eat breakfast," he suggested.
Severus arched an eyebrow. "I always thought young people were more interested in opening gifts on Christmas morning than eating, but whichever you wish…"
"Gifts?" Harry stared at him. "I mean, I have gifts for you, but you already gave me mine yesterday, didn't you? I thought the adoption was my present."
"How could the adoption be your present when it's made me so happy?" Severus asked softly. He shook his head. "Of course I have gifts for you, foolish child."
For a second, Harry felt that almost overwhelming emotion that he'd felt when the Weasleys had given him his first birthday party last summer, and he had to wonder why there was such a huge lump in his throat when he was so happy. It was a moment before he could nod and speak, though his voice was slightly rough.
"Well, let's go open presents then."
"Put on your robe and slippers first." Severus heaved a mock sigh. "Unless you actually want to catch your death of cold."
So Harry grabbed his own robe and shoved his feet into slippers. He took several gift-wrapped boxes from his wardrobe and then they headed to the living room. Harry's mouth dropped open at the sight of a small tree, glowing with tiny white lights and golden decorations, and with a pile of brightly-papered boxes underneath.
"This wasn't here last night." He looked at Severus in amazement.
Severus smirked. "Well, I woke a couple hours ago and realized that with everything else that happened, we never did get around to decorating yesterday, so I asked your house elf friend if he could assist me in making the place look a bit more festive. I did wrap the presents myself," he added. "Last week in my office. The elf only brought us the tree."
Harry grinned. "It's amazing."
He sat on the floor by the tree, and Severus flicked his wand and one of the armchairs scooted over for him.
Harry handed him a long flat package, decorated in Gryffindor scarlet and gold, to Severus. "Here, Dad. You go first."
Severus rolled his eyes at the decorations, but Harry thought he seemed touched nonetheless. He carefully removed the paper and opened the box; then lifted out a long-sleeved emerald-green shirt, finely woven from a soft silky material. A pair of grey woolen trousers lay underneath.
"I did tell you I was going to get you some new clothes, but you can wear these…they're Slytherin colours," Harry teased. It was partly a joke, but at the same time he did hope Severus would like the clothes.
"They're lovely. I shall wear them when we go up to the Great Hall," Severus told him and Harry beamed.
His father gestured to the pile under the tree. "Now it is your turn."
They spent a happy hour sharing their gifts. Harry received more clothes than he'd ever dreamed of owning, a new pair of trainers and a new winter cloak. He also got a new and larger cage for Hedwig, a biography of famous Quidditch players, a CD player, and the Weird Sisters' latest CD. He gave Severus a surprised look at that one.
Severus shrugged. "Your friend Mr. Weasley thought you might like it."
He'd bought Severus several jars of rare potions ingredients, a CD of classical music, and a photo album with a dark green leather binding.
"Open it," Harry instructed when his father came to the photo album. He came to perch on the arm of Severus' chair so they could look at it together.
In the middle of the page was a photograph of the two of them sitting side by side on the sofa, heads bent close over a book, Severus in his dark robes and Harry in his school uniform. As they watched, the small Severus in the picture placed an arm around Harry's shoulders and pulled him close in a one-armed hug.
"I don't remember anyone taking a photograph of us," Severus murmered.
"I asked Dumbledore for help," Harry explained. "He said he had a specially-designed miniature camera and one day when he was visiting he took the photograph for me."
"Very Slytherin of you," Severus smiled and gazed at the picture for a few more seconds before slowly closing the cover. "I suppose I shall have to invest in a camera of my own now."
He gestured towards the tree, where one more wrapped package waited, a large rectangular one in sparkling red paper with a golden bow. "You have one more present to open, Harry."
Harry just looked at him for a moment. "You've already given me so much, Dad."
"I wanted to at least attempt to make up for all the past Christmases I've missed," Severus began.
But Harry shook his head. "I didn't mean just all this stuff. You've saved my life. You've given me a home and a family. I can never thank you enough, or tell you how much it all means to me. Just…I used to feel so alone. Now I don't."
Severus reached over to gently squeeze his hand.
"You are not the only one who used to feel alone," he said quietly, gazing at their intertwined fingers. "Albus gives me a bottle of mead each year, but other than that, I've never received a Christmas present until now. I've never shared the holiday with anyone until now."
Acting on a sudden impulse, Harry bent and pressed a quick kiss to the top of his father's head. Then he jumped up and went over to the last gift.
"Hmm, this is pretty big." He dropped to his knees and began ripping into the paper, laughing a little as he did so.
But when the paper was off, he just said softly, "Wow."
It was a trunk, made of dark shining leather and wood, with a fancy crest of some kind engraved on the top. At first Harry thought it was new, but upon closer examination he could see a few small nicks and scratches. Still, the trunk had obviously been well-cared for and was handsomely made.
Severus seemed a bit embarrassed. "It was my old trunk when I was at school. The markings on top are the Prince family crest. The Princes were my mother's family. I thought, perhaps now that you are my son, you might like to have it. It's not new, of course, but it is in excellent condition, and it's been spelled with a wizard-space charm, so it can hold an enormous amount inside."
He paused. "Of course if you prefer your own trunk, that's all…"
Harry interrupted him. "I love it. It's my favourite present because it was yours. Thanks, Dad."
Severus inclined his head. "You are welcome."
They ordered breakfast and took their time eating; then dressed for the day. True to his word, Severus wore the shirt and trousers that Harry had given him though he looked self-conscious at first, while Harry wore a red jumper and jeans, along with his new pair of trainers.
He listened to the Weird Sisters CD in his room for a little while and then went back out to the living room to join his father. They resumed their chess match from the night before while the wireless in the corner quietly played Christmas carols.
The calm was broken after lunch when Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, the twins, Ron, Ginny, and Hermione Flooed in from the Burrow. There was a great round of hugs, handshakes, and "Happy Christmas"es. Then Harry pulled Ron, Ginny, and Hermione off to the side.
"You guys won't believe what I got for Christmas," he told them, feeling as if he might burst from joy.
"A new broom?" Ron asked.
"Tickets to a Quidditch match? But no, you're not supposed to be going out." Ginny frowned as she thought.
Hermione clapped her hands. "A copy of Vancoot's Modern Anthology of Ancient Runes!"
Harry gave her an incredulous look. "No."
"Well?" They all looked at him expectantly.
"A dad." Harry beamed.
They all just stared at him.
"What?" Ron finally asked.
"Severus adopted me. He's my father now."
As he looked around at their stunned faces, he felt a glimmer of nerves. They would be happy for him, wouldn't they? They were all getting along better with Severus now, and they knew how much it meant to him to have a family of his own.
"Huh. Didn't see that one coming," Ron stared hard at Harry and then stepped close and put his hand on Harry's arm. "You're really happy about this, mate?"
Harry nodded. "I love Severus," he said quietly. He felt a little embarrassed to state his feelings so bluntly in front of his friends, but it was the truth and he wanted them to know. "And he loves me. We really need each other."
Hermione came close too, and hugged him. "That's wonderful, Harry."
Ginny smiled and hugged him, too, when Hermione moved away. "Congratulations, Harry."
The girls moved off and Ron and Harry studied each other.
"You're okay with it, aren't you, Ron?" Harry finally had to ask. He stared at Ron, tensely waiting for his best friend's reply.
"If he ever does anything to hurt you, like before…" Ron began slowly.
"Ron, he won't. He's my dad now. He loves me."
Ron's face turned red, but he spoke without hesitation. "You're my brother, Harry, and I love you too. I just don't want you to get hurt anymore."
"I'm not going to get hurt, not by my dad," Harry said. "I'm happier than I've ever been."
Ron's face slowly spread into a smile. "Well then, I'm happy for you."
The two of them stood grinning at each other…like a pair of idiots, Harry thought, until suddenly Fred and George came bounding over.
"What's this about you getting adopted, Harry?" Fred demanded.
George just shook his head. "Never thought the day would come when Snape would be part of the family."
"Hey, Harry, you actually got him out of the bat clothes," Ron whispered.
"And don't anyone say a word about it, or he'll never wear them again." Harry gave them all a fierce stare, concentrating in particular on Fred and George who gave him identical innocent smiles.
But apparently even they weren't brave enough to make jokes within Severus' hearing and everything went peacefully. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley seemed overjoyed to hear that Harry and Severus were now father and son. Mrs. Weasley gave them both tearful hugs, much to Severus' consternation, while Mr. Weasley pumped their hands up and down with such vigor that Harry's arm actually ached.
Once the greetings were over, they all settled down to exchange more gifts. Harry got another Weasley jumper. This one was one of Mrs. Weasley's better efforts, a dark red one with a black H embroidered on the front. He noticed that Ron, Ginny, and Hermione were wearing similar ones; Hermione's a powder blue with a pink H, Ginny's a deep purple with a lavender G, and Ron's a dark blue with a golden R.
"Finally convinced her maroon's not my colour," Ron muttered when he noticed Harry looking.
The twins were in jeans, white shirts, and their lurid green dragon-hide vests, though Ginny said they'd received Weasley jumpers too, as had Bill and Fleur.
"Should've seen Phlegm turn up her nose at it," she grumbled.
"Aw, be fair, Gin. I think that was more because Mum did hers in bright orange and mustard yellow," Ron said.
Ginny just sniffed and handed Harry a gift. "Here, Harry. This is from me."
It turned out to be a box of owl-treats and a small stuffed owl that was a miniature replica of Hedwig.
"Ron said no guy your age would want a stuffed animal, but it looked so much like Hedwig I just couldn't resist." Ginny glanced Hermione's way and grinned. "At least it's not a homework planner."
"Hey!" Hermione said indignantly.
"I love my homework planner," Ron assured her. Hermione leaned over and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek, which of course led to Fred and George leaping on him and making all kinds of teasing remarks, but Ron just laughed and pushed them away. Harry noticed that he and Hermione held hands after that.
Ron gave him another Quidditch book, a thick one filled with photos of great matches from the past hundred years, and the twins gave him a big box filled with supplies from the joke shop.
Harry gave both Ron and Ginny new Quidditch gloves, and a Chudley Cannons jersey for Ron, too. He gave Hermione a book, a stack of new parchment and quills, and the twins some vivid red shirts ("Thought they'd look good with your vests," he smirked), which they promptly insisted on changing into.
The adults had presents for one another, too. Even Severus chuckled when it turned out that he and the Weasleys had given one another the exact same bottle of wine.
"Ah well, great minds think alike," Mr. Weasley said, cheerfully slapping Severus lightly on the back.
Severus looked completely startled for a moment, as if he might take offense, but then his lips quirked and he relaxed. "Yes, indeed."
The predicted rain was holding off and soon the young people decided to go down to the Quidditch pitch and play a quick game before dinner. Harry glanced at Severus, knowing his father wasn't always comfortable around people he didn't know well, but he was gratified to see that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had managed to put him at ease and the adults were sipping tea and chatting comfortably.
Harry had a great time playing Quidditch, and he hoped that he would be able to play regularly again at some point in time, even if it didn't seem possible for him this year. He and Ginny had several close races for the Snitch. She caught it once, her fingers closing over it just a fraction before his could, and then Harry caught it twice.
Ron and George played Keepers for each team, and both did well. Ron was a little nervous at first, but then he seemed to settle down while George was, as always, both cavalier and talented. Fred and Hermione played Chasers, but they took turns switching sides because as Hermione herself readily admitted, she was a lousy player and it was only fair to swap her around.
Before long it was time to head back to the Great Hall for dinner. They met up with the Weasley parents and Severus, but before they went in, Severus pulled Harry over to the side and said softly, "Albus would like to announce the adoption at dinner. Do you have any objections?"
Harry shook his head. "No, of course not."
Severus patted his shoulder and they followed the Weasleys into the Hall. Once again, the House tables had vanished, to be replaced by a smaller round table. Most of the other professors were there, and there were a few moments of everyone greeting one another. Then they all sat down, except for Dumbledore who welcomed the Weasleys and wished everyone a Happy Christmas.
Then he looked over at Severus and Harry, seated together on the opposite side of the table and his blue eyes twinkled.
"Before we begin enjoying another marvelous feast, I have a very special announcement. Our own Professor Snape has become a father."
The other staff members stared at Severus in stunned silence while he scowled at Dumbledore.
The headmaster just gave him a beatific smile back. "Yes, Professor Snape and Mr. Potter have decided to become a family. The adoption was finalised yesterday."
There was another few seconds of silence, and then a great buzz of chatter arose. Everyone was calling congratulations to Severus and Harry. Hagrid came around and pulled Harry into a bone-crushing hug, tears rolling down his cheeks. A few of the other professors, McGonagall, Sprout, and Flitwick, came over to shake hands with both of them, and it was some time later before everyone finally began eating the roast goose, vegetables, and potatoes.
After the dinner, everyone still wanted to stand around and talk, and it was late before the Weasleys and Hermione left to go back to the Burrow, with Ron, Hermione, and Ginny promising to see Harry again soon. It was even later when Severus and Harry were able to escape back to their rooms.
They changed into pyjamas and when Harry came back out to the living room, Severus had ordered cups of cocoa and a small dish of biscuits. Harry smiled his thanks and curled up on the sofa next to him.
"Umm, this is good. Want one?" Harry sampled a butterscotch biscuit and offered another one to Severus.
The professor took a small bite. "I am not inordinately fond of sweets, but I will admit that this is passably good."
"It's delicious and you know it." Harry took a second biscuit and leaned against his father. "Thanks for everything, Dad." He yawned. "This is the best Christmas I've ever had."
Severus' arm slipped around his shoulders. "For me as well."
Author's notes: I know CDs and CD players are not mentioned in the books, but since they do have a wireless and in the movies, an old-fashioned record-player, but I decided it would possible to think they'd have some other things that could play music, too.
Thanks for reading!