(Author's note: Without further ado, on we go.)
Now all he had to do was explain to Harry what it entailed, as there was still time for the boy to back out of it if he wanted to. He decided that it was too much effort to think on that at the moment, and fell asleep to dream of strange things, at least one of which involving a salamander and a potion.
"So we each put a drop of blood in the vial…"
"…and drink the stuff. That is, essentially, correct."
"And then some ministry official casts a spell to activate the potion, my visage changes and I am part of the Snape family?"
Severus nodded in assent. The child seemed to have picked it up easily enough, and was only repeating it to make sure he had heard right. Admittedly, it was a tad gross, but the whole idea of a blood adoption was sharing each other's blood as father and son.
Harry puzzled through it mentally. This was obviously one of those things that had no muggle equivalent. One could not simply become a part of someone's blood family like that, though one could be named heir to that line if there was no one else. He decided that the alternative was worse than going through this process in the end.
Severus hadn't been able to talk to Harry since Christmas to tell him what to expect, and now it was the 31st, New Year's Eve. They still had another few hours before the ceremony was to begin, though, so he had decided that there was still time to tell the boy that and let him get out of it should he choose. By the sight of his face, however, it was obvious he was determined to go through with the adoption.
Harry glanced at the clock, and said "If it's okay with you, Professor, I'm going to get a couple hours' sleep. I wouldn't want to fall asleep during the ceremony." The Professor nodded, and Harry got up from his seat to head to his dorm. He hadn't been sleeping well this past week, thanks to the constant nightmares. He really needed to suppress those again; otherwise it was going to become a hassle during school hours. Sighing, he set his alarm clock to wake him up about an hour before midnight, and settled into his bed. He allowed himself to slip into sleep, using the contented feeling of belonging to help him along.
The hours passed quickly for Severus, who had taken to nursing a cup of coffee. It was really just the dregs of the pot; he just didn't feel like getting up to get a refill. He was contemplating how is life was going to change. It was somewhat scary, but he also was feeling in a minor way the 'I'm going to be a father' feeling. So, when the child came back, he had already steeled himself against the nervousness.
Harry settled down across from the Professor again, this time with a book on hand. Mr. Malfoy and the ministry official weren't expected for another twenty minutes or so. It was a comfortable silence, the Potion Master still nursing his cup while Harry read his book. The equipment had been set up for the ceremony, now it simply was waiting for the other two to appear.
The fireplace flared green right on schedule, and out stepped Lucius Malfoy and a woman who was dressed in official ministry robes, and looked just as strict as Professor McGonagall did. Harry was tempted to shy away from her, though Mr. Malfoy looked enough like Draco that Harry prevented himself from flinching.
Severus put down his cup and stood up to greet his guests. He said "Lucius, always good to see you my friend." He turned to the woman "It is a surprise to see you, though, Madame Bones. I am glad to see you though." He knew that she was one of the few that had her own mind in the ministry, and she was not in Fudge or Dumbledore's back-pocket.
"Considering that you need a member of the Wizengamot to pull a Blood Adoption off, I don't know why you're surprised. However, I was glad to come. I know that you are one of the few that have the child's interest at heart, instead of as some weapon or trophy." stated Amelia. She looked Snape over carefully, and decided that the man had fully grown out of his death eater days. He was still deadly looking, but he had the look of a parent rather than a murderer.
"Much as I would love to sit here chatting, Severus, don't you think we should set up for the ceremony?" Lucius asked. He then noticed the items that were needed set-up, including the adoption papers, and felt like smacking himself in the face. Of course Severus would be prepared before it was even time.
Amelia went to work setting up the spell, only allowing Lucius to help on some parts. This had to be done precisely, and any mistakes could very well mean the life of either of the black-haired males. She was an expert in rune formation, however, and knew how to get something so complicated set up before midnight. The ceremony itself would start ten minutes before, and would end at exactly midnight if it was paced right.
Amelia stood up after the last rune was placed, and rubbed her back wryly. She was getting too old to lean over so long. Checking the time, she was unsurprised to notice that it was only a few minutes till the start of the ceremony. She had a sense of satisfaction, though, that she had made it in time. Now all she had to do was get the other three into position.
The men fell into position easily enough, Severus handing Amelia the equipment needed. At exactly 11:50, she started the ceremony.
"Family is the most important status in our lives. However, events occur that require a new family to be bonded. The strongest bond is that formed upon midnight of the New Year." Looking from one to the other, she said "I must ask: are you both completely sure of this? Once the answer has been given, you cannot turn back."
"I'm sure" both Harry and Severus said simultaneously. Lucius bit back a chuckle, keeping a serious face for the ceremony. He was going to needle Severus on that later though. He gave his answer of 'witnessed' when asked, knowing that his part was technically over after that.
Amelia un-stoppered the vial that contained the adoption potion, and held out a needle to Severus. He pricked his finger, and allowed a drop to fall into the vial. Harry copied his actions once he was given the needle. Amelia muttered the spell in Latin, and the potion turned a gray-white. She handed the vial over to Severus.
Severus drank down half of the potion without hesitating, knowing exactly what was in it, and handed the other half to Harry. The child also drank it down, noticing that it hadn't had an ill effect upon the Potion Master. Amelia spoke some more words in Latin, words that none of the others could even really hear, let alone understand.
As she finished the spell, the clock struck the beginning of midnight. The circle glowed, with the most intense light being between Severus and Harry. At the final stroke, Harry pitched forward, only to be caught by Severus' right arm. His left was held close to his body, his face a mask of pain.
Lucius moved forward quickly to check on both, not noticing that the circle of runes had vanished. Amelia had summoned a chair to sit in, shaking slightly from the major use of magic. She knew she would recover, but it was still a draining experience.
Lucius asked quietly "What happened, Sev?" His answer was given when Severus, who had sunk to the ground with Harry, pulled his sleeve carefully off his left fore-arm. The skin where the Dark Mark had been was raw, looking as if the mark had been cut or burned off by the magic that had been flickering between the two. Lucius commented "Is the connection gone?"
Severus nodded, and turned to Amelia "I would see you out, Madame Bones, but I need to make sure Harry is alright." She nodded, and waved him on. She didn't plan on moving for at least ten minutes. Summoning a house elf, she ordered herself a small, calorie rich snack to recover faster.
Severus, with the help of Lucius(though he'd never admit it), got Harry ready for bed and tucked in. He was then cornered by Lucius, who insisted on treating his left arm. Once that was taken care of, and with the promise that Lucius would make sure Amelia got home okay, Severus headed for his own bed, exhausted after the long night.
Harry woke the next morning, groaning softly. He felt like he had been put through a bone stretcher. Getting up, he headed for the bathroom to take care of business and wash his face. As he brought the cloth down after making sure he was clean, he was startled by his own reflection.
His eyes were still their bright emerald, but his face had lengthened, the skin becoming paler. His hair had finally straightened out in the back, though that was mostly do to the fact that it was shoulder length. His fingers seemed to be the last thing to have changed, becoming longer, more spider-like. Overall, he still looked like James Potter's son, but he also looked like Severus Snape's son as well.
He thought over it quietly, and decided it didn't matter. It was just an outward sign of what he had started to feel in his heart. Someone had finally seen more than his surface view, and given what he had always wanted: Family. He was home.
(End Author's Note: The chapter that everyone has been waiting for has finally arrived...but guess what everyone? This is the LAST chapter. That's right, I have finished More Than Meets The Eye. There will be sequels, but for now I want to work on my other stories. Please R&R and tell me which story you would like to see updated next! Thank you all for your patience in this two-year long run!)