"Uncle Sevvy! Uncle Sevvy!" The child's voice came from across the room, and Severus couldn't help but grin as he waited for the dark-haired little one to jump into his waiting arms. He had never, ever thought in a million years that he would enjoy, and even want to, be around little children- but Harry's firstborn certainly did have a special place in his heart, that much was for sure. James Severus was his name, and at first the Potions Master had had a problem with sharing anything with James Potter. However, he had gotten used to it quite quickly, even if only for Harry's sake. Now, the older man loved to see the child he considered to be family.
"Severus!" Ginny's voice followed her son's as she walked briskly across the now-crowded yard. "How have you been?"
Severus gave a generic response as he shifted James to his other hip so he could pull Ginny into an awkward one-armed hug. The general dislike that had been shared between the two had long ago disappeared, after a difficult apology from Severus. Ginny had chosen to see that keeping Harry was more important to her than hating Severus was, and so the strange family was formed.
Severus, after all that had happened, found himself content and slightly pleased with the irony of the situation he seemed to be living.
James had just begun to tell him a story that Severus was trying very hard to pay attention to, and Severus smiled down at the child.
Merlin, he was getting soft.
Severus would never admit it, but he had resented the title of "uncle" at first. Perhaps it stemmed back to the fact that he had never felt deserving of a family; he had Harry had had many long talks on the matter, however, and Severus had chosen quite readily to ignore his feelings of unworthiness and doubt in favor of ones such as pride and happiness. It all seemed rather cliche- but then Severus did have to admit that his life HAD turned out to be almost completely picture-perfect, as those damn Muggles would say.
Severus smirked to himself as he greeted his former students warmly, playing quite the little host as he graciously took their coats and presents for Harry. It was all a show, of course; but it was Harry's birthday party, and Severus had found out over the years that he loved Harry as his own son, and would do nearly anything for him.
Sometimes, the complete change in his own character was even too much for Severus himself. He didn't often take time to contemplate where all his hatred and sadness had went; instead, he focused on what he had. After Voldemort's death, both his material and spiritual possessions had grown in size tremendously, which Severus was very pleased with.
Not long after the war, Harry immediately married Ginny, to both Severus' and the Weasley family's excitement and approval. It was a dream wedding, even Severus had to admit- Ginny had looked gorgeous, and Harry had been simply glowing.
Severus had quickly swallowed back the lump in his throat when the similarities between Harry's wedding and that of his parents hit him like a knife in the gut. The redhead bride, the dark-haired groom, the emerald green eyes... it was like a perfect flashback, one that Severus chose to carefully ignore. It was Harry's, and Ginny's, day- and ruining it with his own emotions would be rude and unfair.
After their wedding, Severus finally had enough time on his hands to officially move out of Prince Manor. It was one of the best things he had ever done, at least according to him; he had moved to a moderate house on the coast of a small lake, where he could be in solitude and yet still enjoy the water and the sand when he wished.
Harry was a frequent visitor, and the only one with explicit access through Severus' wards. Hermione and Ginny both had access, but special approval for them to come through without Harry had to be given by Severus himself, except in the case of emergencies. Hermione had protested this rule countless times, to the extreme displeasure of Severus, but he liked his privacy just as much as any other man, and would not give that up.
It hadn't taken a long time after the war for Harry to open up again to both Severus and his family and friends. Despite the way he had closed himself off for the first few days after Voldemort had died, Severus knew Harry truly was strong- stronger than Voldemort, or even Dumbledore, had realized. The boy's many struggles in his lifetime had truly moulded him into something respectable; and Severus couldn't help but wonder if he had a part in that development. Dumbledore had once told him that Harry had an extremely large capacity for forgiveness, and the truth of that statement rang in his ears as he looked at the small child in his arms. Harry had moved through the pain and the tragedy that seemed to encompass his life, and the family that he had proved that.
Harry was now turning twenty-five, and Severus didn't bother to stop to think about how many years he and Harry had been functioning well in a father-son relationship. Severus thanked Merlin every day for his luck; not only had he survived the bloody war with both his pride and dignity intact, but he had also gained something even more valuable- a son. Severus knew that Dumbledore had looked at him as his own son, but the Potions Master could have never imagined the pride that one feels when they watch their child succeed.
Seeing Harry be happy was now Severus' greatest desire and wish in life, and he worked hard to achieve that goal. Harry, of course, had more than enough of his own money to support both himself and his family; Lily and James had ensured that, and Severus for once couldn't help but be grateful to his former arch-enemy. As much as they had despised one another, Severus had eventually come to terms with the fact that even though the man could be cruel and often arrogant, his biological offspring was worth more than anything in the world. He only wished he had seen it earlier.
Shaking his head as if to clear his thoughts, Severus turned back to James, said something witty, and continued on to the rest of the party.
Since the war, new forms of magic had been discovered that allowed for many people to at least say goodbye to their loved ones. Harry had been the main executor and supporter of the discovery, and it was he who introduced it to the world.
The new discovery was that a person didn't need to be still alive for their soul and personality to be painted into a portrait. Harry had seen many times the portraits of the great headmasters of Hogwarts in Dumbledore's office, and he knew from experience that they could be just as real and fiesty as their original character. With the new opportunities to make the dead of the war into portraits, families were reunited and fond memories were shared.
It all worked out rather nicely, Harry thought. The extreme guilt that had plagued him for the entirety of the war was at least a little soothed by the fact that the survivors could give their final respects to the dead- and not only that, but talk to them if they so desired on a regular basis. The portraits were placed in a war museum in the center of Diagon Alley, where thousands of visitors went every day. The logistics of the situation were rather unclear to Harry, but it seemed to him that the portraits were only available to speak to visitors for a certain portion of the day. For the rest of the day, the people of the paintings could travel through different houses, of course through other portraits. The situation was really rather perfect, and Harry was proud of it.
His name was boldly stated across the top of the museum- The Light War Museum: Established by Harry Potter. He had fought tooth and nail against putting his name on the building, saying it was not for his glory but for the honor of those dead; the only thing he had been able to achieve, however, was to stop them from putting Established by Harry Potter, the Savior, or Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived-and-Won, or Harry Potter, the Chosen One. It hadn't even taken any money to influence Kingsley, the new Minister's, decision- he immediately understood about Harry's hate of all his fame, especially the hero worship that began anew after the defeat of Voldemort.
Harry had been quite relieved to not have his status up there- if he had to have his name, at least let it just be the name.
Testing the portrait technology had rested entirely in Harry's hands, much to his both relief and fear. Choosing a person to paint first was extremely hard, as Harry's mind had flashed to so many different people. He could have his mother painted, for Severus' sake; he could choose Fred, for the Weasleys'; he could pick Remus or Tonks, for Teddy; he could choose his father; or he could choose Sirius, for his own personal reasons.
At Severus' urging, Harry chose for himself. The painting of Sirius Black's portrait was taken underway immediately, and the week-long wait was complete torture for Harry. What should he say? Should he apologize? No doubt he would have to explain the outcome of the war, but still Harry's thoughts were completely jumbled with both fear and anticipation.
Merlin, he had missed his godfather.
When the portrait had first been placed in front of him by a very proud artist, with a red velvet cloth covering it, Harry had immediately thanked the man and asked to be left alone. It took him a good few minutes before he picked up the courage to reach out and pull off the covering- and when he did, he was greeted with the sight of the one and only Sirius Black looking back up at him.
The words that came after that had been completely natural, and Harry hadn't been able to hold back his tears as he explained to Sirius the outcome of the war and all he had done to get there. It had taken his godfather a few minutes to accept the fact that Harry now had a very good relationship with Severus, and even looked to him as a father; but Sirius had obviously been able to see beyond the surface, and Harry looked completely content. It was for that reason that the older man didn't give his beloved godson any grief.
Their reunion was sweet, loving, and it made Harry extremely happy.
After that, for a good two months Harry became obsessed with getting portraits painted, not only for himself but as surprises for others. Getting a person painted cost a good deal of money, and although nearly everyone in the Wizarding world knew of it, many couldn't afford it. Harry surprised the Weasleys with a portrait of Fred, which had caused many tears and thanks from Mrs. Weasley; however, the most rewarding thing for Harry had been the look on George's face when he saw the portrait. His eyes had completely lit up, and he had immediately began talking so fast you could barely understand him; but Fred obviously understood, and the two brothers caught up and in no time were back to finishing one another's sentences.
Harry also had his parents painted, and their reunion was slightly more awkward but still sweet all the same. As time passed, Harry regularly visited them and began to establish better, more knowledgeable relationship; after that, Harry felt that he truly did have his parents back.
Dumbledore had, of course, been painted also; and Severus had meaningfully thanked his mentor and "father" for all he had done, and most of all giving up his life. The man had cried once again as he looked the old Headmaster in the eye and said for the first time in many, many years, 'I love you'. It really was a changing point for him, because after that Severus had been willing and able to open up even further with Harry about their own relationship.
Times were changing for the Wizarding World, for the better. Families and blood lines were being established once again; however, Harry's influence had firmly pressed upon the world that discriminating by blood would not be tolerated. Hogwarts re-opened the year following the battle, and the flood of students was greater than ever. Kingsley was a great Minister of Magic, and the corruption of the government changed slowly.
Harry, much to everyone's surprise, became a teacher at Hogwarts. Hermione headed the Department for the Protection of Magical Creatures at the Ministry, and Severus opened his own Potion-making business, and once his reputation had cleared he became very successful. Harry would have never expected it, but they were all happy, content, and moving on with their lives.
For the first time in what seemed to be decades, all was well.