Princely Names

Chapter 3: Harry's Epilogue

They were identical twins: black-eyed, black-haired, small for their age, and looking more like their father every time Harry saw them. One miniature Snape was bad enough, but two of them— He smiled at the boy standing in front of Hermione. "It's good to see you again… Julian?"

"I'm Anton." The defiant Snape scowl looked odd on a seven-year-old face.

"Anton," Harry said. He nodded to the other twin, "Julian." The second boy stood shyly behind his father. "I apologize for not recognizing you. You've both grown since I saw you last."

"Telling them apart is simple," said Snape. "If he smiles, it's Julian; if he glares, it's Anton."

"Don't be ridiculous, Sev," Hermione said. "Anton has a beautiful smile." She looked down affectionately, briefly smoothing her younger son's hair. "He just saves it for special occasions. The same way his father does."

Anton met his mother's eyes, his grave face just a bit softer. Then he looked away, his eyes glinting at the sight of the Weasley family bearing ice cream cones. He touched Julian's arm and tilted his head at Marcus Weasley, their age-mate, and his eight-year-old sister Emily.

"'Scuse us," said Julian. The twins ran to meet Ron and Ellen's two youngest.

The three adults watched them for a few moments. They couldn't hear what was being said but Anton stood with his arms crossed, staring with lowered brows at the two bigger children, while Julian leaned forward, talking and gesturing.

Hermione sighed. "What are those two little terrors up to now? The ice cream, I suppose. I'll go rescue Emily and poor Marcus." Hermione followed her sons.

Harry's eyes narrowed. "They're trying to steal the ice cream? I didn't think you'd be raising a couple of bullies, Snape."

"Steal it? Of course they won't steal it. The youngest Weasleys would have been persuaded to share," said Snape in his best ironic tones. "Anton threatens, Julian is re-assuring, and their victims come to see the benefits of generosity. I assume you learned the technique in auror training; the twins imagine they have invented it."

Harry nodded. "Ron and I do it all the time. Good cop/bad cop it's called in the films. Ron's the Good Cop, I'm the Bad Cop."

Snape raised a skeptical eyebrow.

"I can't do grim as well as you do, Snape, but I manage. It helps to have defeated Voldemort."

"I'm sure it does."

Harry let out a sigh and looked round. Hermione had rescued Emily and Marcus from her sons and was laughing with Ron, Ellen, and Ginny; it didn't look like she would be rescuing Harry himself from her partner any time soon.

"So," he said, pointedly changing the subject, "any guesses about Theodora's House? Slytherin, I suppose."

"Possibly, although Ravenclaw seems just as likely. She is very much her mother's daughter, in more than just looks." Harry started to say something, but Snape held up a hand to forestall him. "Yes, that means she could also be in Gryffindor. Only Hufflepuff would surprise me; she has a tendency toward laziness, and prefers to slide by on talent."

"I know I was surprised when Lily became a Hufflepuff, but Ginny wasn't. Apparently I hadn't been paying attention."

"You never do, Potter." The insult was perfunctory and without bite.

"You know, before Al's first year he was absolutely terrified that he'd be Sorted into Slytherin," said Harry. "Now he's a Slytherin prefect."

"A prefect. I must congratulate him."

Harry gave a small laugh. "I suppose I should have named him for you after all."

"What are you talking about, Potter?"

"Oh Merlin, I was never going to tell you about that."

"Tell me what?" Snape gave Harry a glare beside which Anton's was a mere hesitant frown.

Harry began nervously, "Well, when Albus was born I seriously considered naming him after you. Albus Severus: Ginny would have gone along with that." Harry felt like he was thirteen again, rattling away in front of his stern Potions master. "If Nagini had actually killed you…"

Snape's scowl deepened.

"I mean, martyrs aren't round to be smug about it, are they?"

"I'm sorry to have inconvenienced you, Potter." Snape's voice was icy.

"I should have done it, though." Harry said with sudden seriousness. "You deserve at least as much credit for what I did as Dumbledore. And you were a lot braver about it. He mostly sat in his office and manipulated us. Not entirely, of course, but…" He looked away. "It still makes me angry sometimes. It's what I think about when I need to be threatening at work: what I'd like to say to Albus Dumbledore."

Snape was silent, taking a few moments to calm himself; it was his turn to change the subject now. When his face was neutral he said, "Hermione was saying today that she fully expects Julian and Anton to be Sorted into Slytherin when the time comes. One can't predict so far ahead, but I could easily imagine them going into two different Houses. I recall that happened to a pair of identical twins in your year."

"Parvati and Padma Patil, yes," Harry said. "What do you think: Good Cop into Gryffindor and Bad Cop into Slytherin?" Harry looked embarrassed. "Sorry. Reflex action."

"No, you're right, though at this point I think Julian could become a Hufflepuff as easily as a Gryffindor. Separating them wouldn't matter much in any case: they're far more loyal to each other than to any outside connection. Unless this changes over the next few years, they would certainly treat two separate Houses as belonging equally to both of them. I have no doubt they would share passwords and house tables along with everything else."

"Their housemates wouldn't like that."

"I doubt that would stop them."

"No, not if they're anything like you."

"Hermione tells me that if I had had Julian's charm as well as Anton's ability to intimidate, I would have been the Dark Lord."

Harry looked appalled.

"One of her little fantasies," Snape said mildly. "Now, I believe I will speak with the younger Mr Potter about his prefectship. If you will excuse me."

One year after Emily Weasley and Cassiopeia Malfoy enter Hogwarts, Marcus Weasley is Sorted into Hufflepuff; Julian becomes a Gryffindor and Anton a Slytherin. Assisted by Marcus in Hufflepuff and Cassie in Ravenclaw they wreak havoc on the House system by entirely ignoring the principles of House rivalry. Julian is charming, Anton is intimidating, and together they get anything they want.

The End