Snarry-a-Thon FIC: Far Away
Title: Far Away
Other pairings/threesome: Harry/Severus, One sided Hermione/Severus, Albus/OC,
Word count: 11,061
Warning(s): *Just a bit of angst and MPREG*
Prompt: Prompt 202- Snape has a son he didn't know about. He learns about him when the kid's 6 or 7. The kid's name's Albus.
Summary: Ill placed anger separated them. When Harry left he carried a secret. Now as time is working against him, Severus finds him again.
A/N: thanks to Morganlefay1958, and Atypicalsnowman for their support and patience...
March 2006, Hogwarts Castle, the Headmistress office...
"What do you mean, I have a son? And a daughter?" Severus Snape growled darkly.
Minerva McGonagall frowned at her younger colleague. The man had gotten almost impossible since he and Harry had gone their separate ways. Even now, no one knew the reasons why. They were so happy then... nothing. And since then, Severus had acted as if none of it had ever occurred at all.
Her lips pinched, "The book, Severus. I was looking through the Students Book and I saw an entry that caught my eye. The children's father was listed as Severus Alexander Snape! And you know the book cannot lie!"
"Show me, Minerva!" he snapped, his gaze indicating he thought she'd been in the Glenlivet a bit too often.
The older woman took the book and turned it around, pointing out the entry.
'Albus James Alexander and Cassandra Grace Rose _______________'
No surname name was listed nor was the name of the mother, only his name as father. He slammed the book closed so hard, the table on which it sat, shuddered.
"That's ripe coming from you, Minerva. Half a bottle of Scotch whisky and you're swinging from the rafters and giving a sailor a run for his money in language."
Her jaw dropped, then a look of anger came over her face. In the blink of an eye, a black and grey tabby stood in her place, ears back, tail fluffed, back arched, and hissing. Severus stepped back and in his place stood a small black fox with black eyes. If a fox could look smug, then this one did.
Minerva spat and hissed.
Severus just turned around, ran straight down the stone steps and took off down the hallway with Minerva hot on his tail. Very distinctive snorts of amusement could be heard from the portrait of Salazar and Godric.
* * * * *
A few hours later, the two were in Minerva's office again, languishing in the chairs by the fireplace, an open bottle of said Glenlivet on the table between them.
Clothes dusty and disheveled, Minerva's bun had come loose, strands of hair hanging around her face, and her glasses, one of the bows bent, sat on the table. Severus wasn't much better, his clothing in much the same state with some additional tears, his own braid had come undone, and there was a long, deep nasty-looking scratch down the side of his prominent nose.
Severus took a drink from the heavy tumbler in his hand, then reached up with the other hand to touch his nose, causing him to hiss. His fingers came away streaked with blood.
"I wish you would allow me to heal that for you, since you refuse to go see Poppy." She watched him rub the streaks of blood away between his fingertips. "I am sorry for that--though you did give as good as you got."
She shifted uncomfortably in her seat. If her tail had been visible, it would have been obvious it needed treatment. She wouldn't be sitting comfortably for at least a week.
Severus hid a smirk as he watched her. "Well, I suppose I did deserve it. Just a little bit."
Minerva took a healthy drink from her tumbler, "Whose children do you think they are?" The older woman was trying to be nonchalant about the sensitive subject.
Severus sighed heavily. "Miss Granger could be the mother, after everything she did. It would be something she would do, keeping me from my children. Although I thought I would have been informed if that were the case."
Minerva reached out and patted Severus leg. "I wish at the time we'd known what was really happening. We might have been able to stop her and Harry would not have left."
Severus closed his eyes against the emotional ache that was his constant companion since Harry had left and he'd realized what had happened. Albus was gone as well, having left not long after Harry had disappeared. The one person he looked up to as a father figure, and the one person he opened up to before he'd begun his personal relationship with Harry.
And Granger had taken that all away in one fell swoop, the evil bitch.
"Why doesn't the book tell us who the mother is? Or even the year they would start classes. It doesn't even say how old they are!" Severus asked. "The old man would know, if we knew where to find him. And we know he's still alive because his portrait still remains the same. Damn old bastard." Severus saluted the unmoving portrait of the ever-twinkling former headmaster.
* * * * *
April, 2006:: The Prancing Pony in Edinburgh, Scotland …
Albus Dumbledore, one of the greatest wizards of his age; Defeater of Grindlewald, former Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, former Supreme Mugwump of the British Ministry of Magic, and whatever other titles that the world had given him. But his favorite, he mused as he walked into the pub, was the name given him by his two adopted grandchildren, which they now called in greeting.
"Gumpy!" Two voices yelled as he walked through the shadowed pub.
Bracing himself against the bar he was ready for the two small bodies that plowed into him, wrapping their arms around his waist, as a soft 'oomph' escaped him. He looked up to see amused green eyes watching him.
"They've been waiting all morning for you," Harry said from the kitchen door.
"I had to wait at the confectioner's for the new batch of Cherry Sourbombs. Couldn't come to see my favorite grandchildren without them, now could I?" He grinned down at the almost identical faces beaming up at him.
"Gumpy! We're your only grandchildren. How can we be your favorite?" a shy female voice asked.
"Because he says so!" answered her brother. "Right Gumpy?"
"Of course Xander. And the both of you will always be my favorites, Gracie."
"Are you sure you weren't late because of the gentleman behind the counter?" Harry whispered as he walked past Albus to put another tray of clean pint glasses behind the bar.
Blushing slightly, but smiling all the same, Albus replied, "Charles is a very nice man."
"And just as taken with you as you are with him, evidently. Considering the amount of extra sweets you have been bringing here lately. I've had to put bowls of it out for the patrons. Merlin forbid, I should let the twins have that much sugar!"
Albus held out the bag of sweets.
"Only one piece, you two," Harry admonished, as he set out sugar and milk, and a fresh pot of tea.
"Aww, Da!" chorused two voices.
"You might start twinkling like your Gumpy and I don't know if I could handle that much twinkling in the same room." Harry set a teacup down on the bar and poured. "So where are you three off to today?"
"Edinburgh Zoo. The baby Panda is making his debut today."
"So, it's the Muggle side this time. They'll enjoy that."
"And... the unicorns are bringing out their new foals, on the other side, in the wildlife preserve. I've heard that there was a black one born with a silver horn."
"Really?" Even Harry was interested. "If I had someone to cover the whole day, I might be tempted to go along, but I have that appointment with Dr Cotton."
"Another day then, my boy?"
"Another day." The younger man turned, and shouted, "Jack!"
"Yes, Master Harry," an older man said as he waded through the tables.
"I'm gonna get the kids ready to go with Albus, I'll be right back."
"Of course. Of course."
Albus sat down at one of the tables near the entrance to wait for the children. His life since he'd left Hogwarts was so much better and fuller now. When he resigned as Headmaster, the wizarding world congratulated him and smiled. When he gave up his position as Supreme Mugwump, the populace went crazy. Since he wasn't forthcoming as to his reasons, The Daily Prophet went wild with speculation and their readership soared. He didn't care.
He had dedicated a good portion of his life to them; put them before all other things in his life prior to that point. What more did they want? Now it was time to consider someone more important as his priority.
Someone who had given more and lost it all.
The day he had arrived at Privet Drive and learned that Harry was hurt and no one had come when he had called, had hurt more than anything else had before. And then, bit by bit, learning that everything that had happened to this wonderful young man had all been because of one young woman's jealously, including trying to prevent him from knowing Harry had been almost killed, was too much.
Albus walked away and said good riddance to bad rubbish.
Flashback: Mid June of 2001…
Albus was worried. Harry had been sent back to Privet Drive by Fudge, using some obscure law so outdated that it had been all but forgotten long ago. A law basically stating that since Harry was not yet 21 years of age, and neither bonded or betrothed, that he had to reside with his guardians of record; that being the Dursley's. That was five days ago, and he had heard not one word since. Arabella Figg had long ago died, so his only living source living nearby was gone.
His only other choice was to go himself to check up on the young man he considered his pseudo grandson, if not by blood but by heart.
Changing into respectable Muggle clothes, he Apparated to the boundaries of the wards surrounding Privet Drive and walked towards number four. Vernon Dursley's sister, Marge, a very rotund, disagreeable, and the most obnoxiously rude and vocal woman he'd ever had the pleasure of meeting, greeted him at the door.
"What do you want? Don't you know we are grieving over the loss of two good men!" she shouted. "If they hadn't gone to the station to pick up that devil spawn of a nephew, they might still be alive!"
Albus stood tall, allowing his magic to make him look even more imposing, and looked down his nose on the loud woman, completely ignoring her grief, "That young man you call devil spawn is my beloved grandson, Madam! And if it were not for him, the Dursleys would have been dead long ago!" Ignoring her gasp of shock, he continued, "And, considering that young Harry, a warm-hearted and forgiving soul, has lost more in his short life than any man ten-times his age, I believe his grief is much deeper than you could ever conceive of! Now. If you do not mind, Madam, I must speak with Harry immediately."
"I will not have his filth here. He's in hospital still... and you can tell him to find somewhere else to go when they release him! I will not have him here, in my brother's house!"
With a quiet and very hard voice, his blue eyes cold as ice, he replied, "I would check the deeds to this house, Madam. It belongs to the Potter estate. Your brother was living off that 'devil spawn', as you refer to him, for all these years."
And with that, the door slammed in his face hard enough to rattle the windows, followed by the sounds of loud wailing and cursing inside. Albus shook his head and turned to head down the walk, casting a wandless Locating Spell for Harry. He ignored the neighbors peeking through their curtains as he headed toward a nearby alley to Apparate. He would have the Ministry process the papers to return the house to the full control of the estate. He knew Petunia Dursley would never be able to live on her own again.
When he entered the hospital and found Harry, his heart broke. Alone and feeling unwanted, despair came off Harry in waves. Then other pieces fell into place as he listened to the doctor. A good fellow who was a low-level wizard who hadn't made the rolls of Hogwarts, and decided to make a life in the Muggle world, with his parents' blessings.
Dr Brand explained that when he discovered who his patient was, he'd tried to make contact with someone using special spells that he could do. The three letters he had sent were accepted. Umbridge read the one for the Ministry and the other, sent to the Headmaster, was read by an H. Granger. Albus' ire rose but he tamped it down as he listened to the doctor.
"The third letter," he asked. "Who was it sent to?"
"Professor Severus Snape, but, it was also accepted by this H. Granger." The tall blond sat down behind his desk and regarded the older man; a legend among wizards and witches, who now looked defeated and distressed.
"Mr. Potter's condition is quite serious. If something isn't done about his leg, he'll never walk again. His head injury is grave as well. He would do better if he was transferred to one of the Magical hospitals."
"What of his aunt? That dreadful woman, his uncle's sister, didn't mention her--only the two men."
"She's alive, but in a coma. There's no hope there. The husband was drunk, Mr. Dumbledore. He caused the wreck and killed everyone in the other vehicle he collided with."
Albus had decisions to make and had to make them quickly. Harry needed the best, but privacy. "Queen Mary's Magical Hospital of Edinburgh. I know the director, he'll secure Harry's privacy, along with preventing any other nonsense."
"You'll make the arrangements?"
"Yes, just give me a few moments while you ready him for transport? And ready Mrs Dursley as well, please. It is possible they may be able to do a bit more for her as well."
The man nodded, but he asked before he left the office, "About this H. Granger? What do you plan on doing? The documents that were intercepted were confidential communications concerning a patient."
"Let's get Harry taken care of first before I deal with Miss Granger," Albus said, standing up. "And believe me, Dr Brand, she will rue the day she crossed me and mine."
End of Flashback...
Albus shook his head. Hermione Granger was the brightest witch of her age, but somewhere along the way, she'd lost something in her soul. She had a need to possess what she thought was rightfully hers no matter the cost to others' lives; Harry became her primary target when Severus Snape became her goal. When the obsession began, no one knew. Only that she wanted the Potions Master, and was bound and determined that she would be the one he married.
He didn't know if she had some romantic notion that the dour man loved her or that she was just obsessed with him. She most likely had detailed plans on how to catch him, rather than to win him over or have the man fall in love with her.
In the end, Severus Snape lost, as did Miss Granger, when Albus stormed into the castle and waylaid the lot of them. Especially when Percy Weasley informed him that it was Miss Granger who'd sent the owl to Umbridge, bringing the woman's attention to the obscure law.
When the dust settled, Albus learned that Severus' relationship with Harry Potter went much further than just comrades; they'd been lovers. Miss Granger had discovered the secret and was furious that the older man preferred men, thus the reason he refused her advances towards him. Scorned women were a dangerous breed.
They, Harry and Severus, had argued before Harry was sent away from the Castle, to stay with his relatives. Severus took his continued silence as rejection from his lover. Hermione thought she had won some leeway with the man, when he asked her to help him brew. It began her plan to worm her way completely into his life, his heart, and his bed, then she would take his name. That was, until the Headmaster stormed into the Great Hall.
No one won that day, Albus thought. Everyone ended up with broken hearts and broken dreams. Friendships were lost; irreparably damaged. Such is the pity with jealousy, an evil emotion.
Harry's trust in people was gone. His heart, he said, was ripped from his chest. He told Albus at the Hospital that Severus should have trusted him. Believed in him.
The older man thought that all hope was lost when he saw the despair and pain in the younger man's eyes. That was until the Healer came and spoke with them.
Harry was pregnant.
After all the turmoil he had gone through. With the deadly car wreck and waiting for treatment, Harry's magic once again saved not only himself, but his unborn children.
Yes, children: two distinct magical signatures, a boy and a girl. Despite all the bad, something good had come out of it. He remembered telling Harry after the young man had regained consciousness, then holding him as he'd cried with joy. It helped ease the pain of the stark truth of his injuries.
* * * * *
Harry watched as Albus and his children walked out of the door. There was a time in his life when he thought he would never be happy again. That all changed when he learned he was going to be a father. Whenever he was at his lowest and the darkest in his life, Gracie and Xander always came through; to remind him he was loved.
As did Albus. His former Headmaster had become the true parental figure in his life; something he had always craved growing up. The man had finally, with the war over, put personal and family priorities to the forefront. As a result, he was more relaxed and happy too.
His life was different from what he had planned seven years ago. The damages resulting from the car wreck were lasting. He had a permanent limp in his left leg; the ligaments and muscles in it severely damaged beyond what the healers of either world could cure. He was lucky he could still walk, and only with the assistance of a cane and a metal brace that fit over his denims. But, that wasn't the most devastating of his injuries.
The traumatic brain injury received from the wreck, was directly affecting his eyesight. It was just another thing that his uncle had taken from him: first his childhood, then his sense of self, and safety, and finally, now his eyesight. The Healers and Mediwizards all agreed that sometime in the future, be it a long time down the road from now or in the near future, Harry Potter would be blind.
He couldn't stare at his children enough, trying to memorize their faces, knowing at some point they would continue to look older but he would not see it. Maybe it was for the best that he was alone--no lover's face to miss seeing.
Not that there would ever be anyone other than Severus; the man who had, albeit unknowingly, given him two of the greatest gifts Harry would ever receive.
Both children had dark hair and his green eyes. Xander's hair was threatening to become a messy mop like his father and his grandfather's, but Gracie was a curious mix of a tomboy and an elegant little lady. Her hair was long and silky straight like Severus', but in the sun you could see a little something from her grandmother in the auburn highlights.
Both knew of their other father. Harry never denied them that knowledge. They even had a picture of him in their rooms. They still asked questions occasionally concerning him and Harry tried to answer them as best and truthfully as he could. He wanted them to be open-minded if and when the time ever came that they would meet him.
A large chocolate brown labradoodle with a fleece-like coat came around the bar to stand beside Harry as he replaced his regular glasses with tinted ones to protect his light-sensitive eyes from the sun. He reached out, grasped the harness, and walked out of the pub into the cool spring day.
"Let's go see Dr Cotton, girl."
* * * * *
April of 2006 in Edinburgh...
Severus made his way into the oldest part of Edinburgh, towards Scotsman Alley. The Magical community here was much larger than the one in London. Even the marketplace was much more organized and far more friendly. Here, there was no stark separation between Light and Dark. Oh there was a Dark alley, but the Dark wizards there kept things discreet. They seemed to blend with the rest of the merchants rather than stand out. Their clientele knew who they were and how to find them. It worked quite well for all involved and kept intervention by the local Aurors to a minimum.
But as everyone learned from the last war, not every Dark wizard is evil. Just a balance that was gained in the Magical Arts, since it was the intent that determined the Lightness or Darkness of a spell.
One also didn't stand out if they didn't wear wizarding robes here. Something that's still looked down upon in Diagon Alley. Once she'd been asked, Minerva had replied, "They are Scots! And Scots are rebels, Magical or not. They do things differently up here in the Scotland."
Especially, in the making of a good whisky.
That reminded him, he needed to stop at one of the shops for a couple of bottles for Minerva's birthday, even though he was tempted to just purchase a large quantity of catnip and sprinkle it about the castle. That thought brought a wicked smile to his face.
Today though, as he stepped through the swinging doors of Queen Mary's Magical Hospital of Edinburgh, he had a meeting with another Potions Master and others on the research team, about a new breakthrough on a nerve-regenerating potion.
This group of wizards and witches had been working hard over the years since Voldemort's first rise in the 1970's, when Muggles and Magical folk were Crucio'd into insanity; most at the hand of that madwoman, Bellatrix Lestrange. If they were successful, people like the Longbottoms would be able to live basically normal lives again.
The meeting was long and there was quite a bit of arguing and bickering back and forth. Not that there was anything bad about that. Sometimes the arguing produced ideas of what ingredients, or combinations of, to test, or what other avenues that could be investigated. Two Muggle-borns had brought in scientific texts and documented studies from the Muggle medical field of neurological treatments and suggested the inclusion of said research with the Magical research already being done. That in itself had instigated four hours of argument and discussion.
Another thing about this Hospital; they weren't afraid to seek answers in the Muggle world. Sometimes they'd meet in the middle and find solutions that weren't in any Magical tomes of medicine, magical healing, or potions.
Now, as one of his fellows broke out the Scotch and a bit of wine, they continued to banter back and forth. He picked up his glass of three fingers of said spirits and walked over to the windows. Severus could almost hear Minerva's voice in his head, her Scottish brogue thick as she called, 'Ah tol' ye, they aer Scots!"
Severus leaned against the cold window as he looked down on the bustling street. It was only April but there was a light sprinkling of snow coming down even though in a few weeks time, it would be time for the Beltane Fire Festival. Goddess willing, the weather would be amenable by then. He shuddered at the thought of being skyclad in this cold weather.
His eye was caught as a young man exited a shop across the street. Looking closer, he saw that he was holding onto the service harness of a large, curly-haired dog and there was a cumbersome metal brace encasing his left leg from the top of his thigh down to his ankle. He was also using an elegant black cane, but what really caught his attention was the very familiar messy, black, un-tameable hair. His heart skipped a beat as he held his breath.
"Harry," he whispered.
A familiar pain filled his chest. Would the pain from what he'd inadvertently done to Harry ever go away? He couldn't blame everything that had happened on the Granger chit, even though she was responsible for a good portion of the cause for his loss of Harry.
Never in all his years would he have thought someone would come along and decide he was a prize bull to be claimed. He would never have dreamed of something like this happening, to him, of all people! He'd been so happy and grateful for Harry's love; a blessing he was lucky to have had.
Then as always, especially when they fought, he let his doubts come to the surface and the one thing that was bright and beautiful was gone. In a single heartbeat, Harry slipped through his fingers. He should have been stronger, smarter. But no, the chit had preyed on his fears and self-doubts, that someone like Harry would want someone like him.
When Hedwig had come later and had tried to get his attention, he had just shooed the bird off, without even thinking that something was wrong. He had given up on Harry when he needed him the most.
When he had needed Harry to trust in him.
He closed his eyes for a moment as the familiar pain stabbed at his heart again, followed by the wash of regret.
"Ah, Severus, there you are. We were thinking of heading down to the Prancing Pony later for a bite to eat. They serve a good hearty meal there. You would enjoy it, I'm sure."
The head of team, Dr MacDonald was a tall man with a neatly trimmed, red beard, and piercing blue eyes. He could almost imagine him as one of the long ago Scottish warriors, face painted, dressed in clan tartans, and waving a sword in the name of Scotland and freedom.
Severus glanced out of the window again, hoping he hadn't lost sight of Harry. Spotting him again, he replied without looking at the man behind him.
Thanking the goddess that they were only on the second floor, he practically flew down the stairs towards the entrance to the Alley. His long legs carrying him speedily towards his goal. His heart beating quickly, his mind going over what he could say to Harry; thinking maybe he should get down on his knees and just beg forgiveness. Just beg like the starving man he was, but he dismissed that idea seeing that they were in public. If he was able to convince Harry to be alone with him, he'd reconsider.
Just as he rushed amongst the shoppers, he placed a hand on the younger man's shoulder. "Harry?"
His voice almost cracked as he finally approached the moment he had dreaded... and wished for, for so long. Harry's body startled then stiffened under his hand, and he turned, surprisingly quick, though not gracefully. Expecting - no, hoping to see those deep green eyes again, he was taken back a bit when instead, he was looking at tinted lenses.
* * * * *
Harry turned at the sound of his name; it was a whisper of longing that he hadn't heard in so long. That voice always sang to his soul. Whisky-rough and chocolate smooth, it awakened emotions he'd buried deep years ago. He closed his eyes, remembering things he had long buried.
"May I speak with you? Privately. I know I have no right to ask, but please?" There, he'd begged.
The tone caught Harry totally off-guard. Severus had never, in his memory, used that tone. A bit flustered by it, all he could say was, "Yes, alright."
Severus was looking around when Harry said, "Follow me. We can sit down at my place."
"Your place? Nearby?" Severus was puzzled and confused.
He watched as Harry turned, issuing quiet commands to the large, docile dog, and began his limping trek down the walk, other shoppers automatically parting to let them pass. Snapping out of his daze, he walked quickly to catch up with Harry, slowing to match his pace as he walked by his side, careful to avoid obstructing Harry's cane.
"You live here? In Edinburgh?"
"Yes, since the accident."
"Albus is with you?"
"Yes, he lives nearby in a flat. Still has his sweet tooth."
It took no time at all for them to arrive at Harry's place, which was, to Severus' surprise, the pub called the Prancing Pony.
"You live here, over the pub? A bit on the busy side," he said as he looking around.
"I own the pub, Severus. And I live in a house, behind it." With our children, Harry added silently.
"Convenient. No commute," Severus commented, with a slight smirk.
Harry led the man through the door, stopping at the bar for a moment to have some words with the older man there, then led him off to a booth in the back. A wave of his hand as they sat and privacy charms were raised. "I've owned the place for three years. I worked the kitchen until roughly a year ago. Now I just run it. Angus and Marta do all the cooking now." His voice seemed a bit sad.
Severus studied Harry. The tinted glasses and the odd way his eyes moved. And the leg brace. Guilt filled his gut. The accident had almost killed him.
"Ask your questions, Severus," Harry said as Jack brought over two heavy tankards of a dark beer. "You still enjoy a good ale?" He asked as he pushed one of the tankards in front of Severus.
The man remained silent even after he took a drink from his own mug.
"I know all about Hermione and what she did. And I know that Hedwig came to you and you just ignored her."
"I was a fool."
"I'm not going to argue that point with you, Severus."
"When I met you, I opened myself up for the first time in a very long time. I was so cold for so long. With her manipulations, the wench knew how to capitalize on my doubts." Severus floundered for a moment, before he added, "I looked for you, but you were nowhere to be found."
"Albus was responsible for me for much of the first two years. I was in such bad shape, and unable to make any cognizant decisions for myself. He was protecting me--allowing me peace and security... privacy... to heal."
Severus studied the man, yes man before him. "Why were you wearing tinted glasses outside? The sun was not prominent today. Is there something wrong with your eyes? He asked the question hesitantly, as if he was afraid of the answer.
Harry turned his head and swallowed. He always told himself that when the time came he would be truthful with Severus. That he wouldn't hide anything... even their children. And now the moment was upon him.
"My leg was not my only permanent reminder of my uncle's last manifestation of his careless and dangerous behaviors. I sustained a serious head injury that affected my sight."
"Uncle Vernon was drunk when they picked me up at King's Cross. Dudley had driven there to pick me up, but Vernon had taken the keys when we were leaving. They had a small row over it, too. Petunia told Dudley to get in the front and she sat in the back with me. Even made me put on my seat belt. Insisted--something she had never done before. As we drove away, I had a very bad feeling wash over me. When I'd finally stood before Tom Riddle, I wasn't scared, but at that moment, in that car, I was. I feared for my life."
"What happened?" Severus swallowed around the lump in his throat and the need to hunt down Vernon Dursley.
"He was driving wildly and erratically all over the motorway. He was angry. Angry, because he found out that I had money, and lots of it. That they didn't have access to it. That I didn't hand it over to them when I was eleven and that, as I was under their control, the money was theirs now! He was so busy screaming at me, he failed to pay attention to his driving."
Harry closed his eyes taking a deep breath. The memories always brought back a lot of pain. "Dudley was trying to get him to pull over when he swerved into the outside lane."
Severus sucked in a breath and held it, as he waited for the words he knew he didn't want to hear. But it was like they say: You just have to look... even though you know already what you will see.
"I don't remember anything after that. Not until I woke up in hospital weeks later. I still don't have those memories... and maybe that's for the best. I never saw what was left of the car, but from what Albus told me... it had flipped several times after being folded in half by the collision. Vernon and Dudley evidently died instantly, and Petunia was injured far worse than I was. She's basically in a vegetative state now and under long-term care until her body finally decides to give up. There's nothing to be done for her."
"And you? What are your long-term injuries?"
"My leg was broken in five places with multiple torn ligaments and muscles. And then there was the traumatic brain injury."
"My eyesight is deteriorating. The necessary surgeries were done, but there's nothing more that can be done now, unless there are medical advancements made in the near future. It's progressive, but as far as they can determine, I will be completely blind in about four to six years. That's the best estimate. It could be longer, but it's more likely it will be sooner, rather than later. At least I don't get the headaches anymore. Those disappeared about six months after my last surgery."
Severus breathed deeply. His emotions were welling up inside of him. His Harry was going blind.
"Bloody buggerin' hell!"
Severus lifted his tankard, drained it, and set it down, before slumping back in his chair, stunned, as he tried to absorb and process what Harry had just told him.
"Severus." Harry reached out for Severus' hands that were clenched into tight fists. "I'm going blind, not dying."
He looked at those eyes; beautiful green eyes an words escaped him completely. For once he didn't know what to say. Severus turned his hand until he was holding Harry's and then he stood and moved to sit beside him, opposite to where the dog lay next to his chair.
"I am a Potions Master, Harry. Tell me what I need to know. There must be a way. I'll find one." Severus spoke with conviction. His emotions were all there: fear, anxiety, concern, determination, anger, hope, and love. His love for this young man, driving it all. A love that never died.
Harry cocked his head to the side and studied him, silently. Just when the quiet was beginning to become a bit uncomfortable for Severus, under that viridian gaze, he finally spoke.
"Should I trust you again? Should I trust you with my life and my love? I would have even more to lose this time." His voice was soft, with no derision or accusation.
Looking down at the table, where he was drawing circles in the water ring left by his tankard, Severus took a deep breath and let it out slowly. His mind raced, trying to choose the right words to describe what he was feeling. Finally, he looked up and into Harry's eyes, so his honesty would be understood.
"There was a time when I didn't deserve your trust because I didn't know how to hold it, to cherish it. I think in the time we've been apart I've learned a great many things. Maybe, I've finally grown up into the man you need me to be."
When he finished, he waited while Harry gazed at him, in thought. Then Harry turned and motioned toward the barman, who shortly brought them two more beers. He pushed one of them to Severus and took a drink of his own.
"I'll have a copy of my medical file sent to you. Hedwig will bring it to you. It has everything about all my treatments and surgeries in both the Muggle and Magical worlds."
"Thank you." Severus leaned forward and kissed him on the forehead.
* * * * *
Ministry of Magic, London.... April, 2006…
Hermione held her wrists out as the current Minster removed the bracelets that had been placed on her four years previously. She had played her part well, as her time passed, waiting and watching. She made herself look remorseful during her time. The only ones who didn't succumb to her manipulations were those who were still blindly faithful to Harry Potter.
Damn the brat! Even though he had disappeared with the former Headmaster, they all remained devoted to him. She knew through her contacts in the wizarding world that Severus had remained unmarried and unattached, and was still teaching at Hogwarts.
She realized her mistakes and the flaws in her plan, including belatedly, that Severus Snape was a very intelligent man, and the ultimate Slytherin. If you want a Slytherin, then one must think like one; plan like one, be cunning and sharp; aware of everything around you, knowing your enemy and all of his flaws.
She thought she knew all of Harry's flaws, and those of Severus'; the older man's devotion to the young hero and his betrayal along with what she did, shaming him.
She was reentering the wizarding world today. She wasn't the smartest witch of her generation for nothing, and after all, one must learn from their mistakes; and learn, she had. She accepted her wand again, finally feeling the magic course through her, free once more. Oh yes, as she smiled at the Ministry official, they wouldn't know what hit them.
Two days later... The Potter Household...
Albus came through the kitchen door just as Harry sent off Hedwig with a package. The older man was leery of sending Severus Harry's complete file, but still encouraging at the same time. Only there was something, an important piece, that was eluding him; some small fact that he just knew he should remember.
That was until the twins came rushing into the kitchen. Then it hit him with the force of a stampeding herd of Hippogriffs.
"Harry?" Albus' eyes were wide.
"Is that your complete file?"
Frowning in confusion, Harry looked at his beloved mentor. "Yes. Everything that has happened to me since I was a first-year at Hogwarts, as well as copies of anything from the Muggle World."
"Including...?" Albus rolled his eyes toward the twins.
Harry's eyes became huge behind his glasses, as his face paled. "Oh shi-- Merlin!"
"Da? Are you sick?" Xander asked.
The twins had always known about the accident that happened before they were born, and how their Da's magic had protected both him and them. They also knew he would eventually go blind, but Harry played it down, saying his magic, and Sadie, would help him get around. Other than that, Harry was rarely ill, despite all he'd been through.
"Da? Gumpy?" Gracie added, her lower lip caught between her teeth.
Two pairs of eyes looked between him and Albus, filled with worry and fear. Seeing this, Harry took a breath and stilled his features before speaking in a calm voice.
"Everything is alright. I just forgot something important--nothing either of you need to worry about. Here, sit. I've made you some chocolate hazelnut brownies with fluff filling. It's a while till dinner so a little treat won't hurt."
He levitated two plates bearing a large square of brownie each, and two large glasses of milk to the table. The twins held out their hands so he could cast a cleansing spell on them.
"Remember to put your dishes in the sink when you are finished. Gumpy and I will be in the library."
Albus had already exited the kitchen as Harry followed him. They both waited until the library doors closed and a Silencio was in effect, before speaking.
Harry sat behind his desk, his head in his hands, breathing deeply. "Knowing Severus, he'll go over the file so thoroughly... meticulously...taking notes as he goes. Then, he'll put two and two together...."
"And be here before you know it, Harry," Albus added. "What will you tell him?"
Harry sat back in the large, worn leather chair, contemplating the past and future. "I've always told the twins that they have another father. If he comes, I won't hide them from him."
"He'll want explanations. And you've known the truth for awhile now," Albus stated.
"I know. It's not something I dwell on--being betrayed by someone I trusted completely, and using someone else I care deeply for, to hurt me... and using Severus like that..."
"Miss Granger paid for her actions. Not enough in my opinion, but I was not the Head of the Wizengamot anymore then. If I had, she would have been old and grey by the time she was released..." Albus' voice trailed off as anger flickered briefly across his features.
"Living without her magic, as a Muggle and working in a half-way house for disturbed individuals wasn't enough?"
"No. Not nearly enough, considering what she'd done to you and Severus--my boys. No one hurts my family and escapes unscathed."
A warm smile appeared on Harry's face as he looked at Albus. "Oh, Albus, your over-protectiveness is showing again. But the past cannot be changed. It's what has brought us to this point--and I wouldn't change a thing or a moment of it."
"I'd like to change a few things, but I am happy we made it to this place in our lives. And hopefully you will be able to make things right again with Severus." The blue eyes were twinkling again.
He leaned forward and asked, "What will you do when he shows up?"
"Introduce him to his children. His very well-behaved children." Harry just smirked. "No ill-mannered dunderheads here."
"He won't know how to react."
Both men laughed as they thought of the two mischievous little ones in the kitchen. Severus wouldn't know what hit him. Let alone be able to glare at the twins when they put on their best pouting faces--the ones that no one could resist. Or when they decided to be stubborn--just like their parents.
The same day at Hogwarts, Severus' Rooms...
Severus took the small package from the familiar white owl. "Hello Hedwig." The owl hooted and waited. Severus smiled as he pushed a bit of bacon from his plate towards her. "Spoiled still?" he asked, his eyebrow raised in amusement.
Hedwig hooted before attacking the bacon. She really like this human. She'd trained him so well.
Severus opened the package and removed the shrunken papers. When he placed them on the table in front of him, they enlarged to a very large, thick stack. As he started shifting through the papers, he noticed it was a mixture of both Muggle and Magical care, showing that Harry had gone beyond the Magical world to find the answers he'd sought.
The past two days, he himself had been going through the extensive libraries in his rooms, and at his house; even sending the over-exuberant house-elf, Dobby, to Knockturn and Diagon Alley to shop through the various bookstores. The small library the elf brought back was impressive in itself.
Sitting back in his chair, Severus had been pondering what to tell Minerva and the others about finding Harry--in Edinburgh of all places. The boy, now a young man, had been so close to them all this time and they hadn't even known it. Damn Albus and his spells!
Severus still felt like a fool when he recalled what had led up to Harry being sent to the Dursley's and then the wreck that almost took his former lover's life. He never learned all the details of what had happened, but at the time, he didn't feel he in all honesty, was blameless enough to know the details. Harry had trusted him. Loved him. But Severus wasn't man enough to stand up for himself and see through the things that the Granger chit had told him.
She played on his deep-seated distrust and self-doubt, and he had believed it because it was easier to do so, to believe that Harry had taken their argument to heart and forgotten him.
An argument, he realized later, had been started by Granger about the Weasley girl again. She had told Harry that the red-head had been asking about him. Then the letter from the Ministry came ordering him back to Privet Drive. What happened next was a falling-out suitable for the record books. They'd screamed, they'd yelled, they'd called each other names. And then Severus slapped Harry after calling him a "Clone of the great James Potter". He'd regretted the words the minute they'd left his lips.
His lover had walked away that day, climbed on the Hogwarts Express and he had not heard from him again.
Then, Albus had come back from London two weeks later. It was the day that his heart had stopped, his soul ripped to shreds. He was a very proud man and he watched with hidden glee as Granger had been taken away and, mere days later, sentenced to Azkaban for two years. Those two years were to be followed by three years monitored probation, working in a Muggle-Magical half-way house for mentally disturbed convicts.
It wasn't enough, he thought. It would never be enough. She had taken the one good thing in his life and destroyed it. And with his own uncertainties, sealed his fate, growing old alone.
Until fate took an unexpected turn, and he'd found Harry.
Shifting the file a bit, he found a letter tucked inside it, from Harry....
Knowing you as I do, and hoping that you are still the same in ways--but that is another conversation for later. I'm asking you to wait to tell others of my whereabouts for the time being. I have my reasons and in time, all will be revealed.
Well that solved that dilemma. He carefully set the letter aside, letting his fingertips stroke lightly over the familiar handwriting. Pulling the stack of papers and parchments closer, he began reading.
Two hours later, Severus was still poring over the medical file, finally at the section beginning with the accident. He had an empty journal open, writing away, making notations of the various tests and other treatments Harry'd had over the past five years. Listing tests, treatments, therapies, and surgeries as well, including the cesarean section performed four years ago.
Stunned, he read the entries again. He blinked, then frowned, and read it a third time.
Severus sat back in his chair, his mind trying to process the new information. Mentally he counted back the months, knowing in his heart that the child was his.
His heart stopped. The book! His eyes widened. Twins! Harry had given birth to twins! His twins--his children.... His head dropped back against the chair, and he rubbed his hands over his face.
Great Merlin! He really was a father! A parent. If his mother had still been alive, she would have been so happy, and so smug. She'd told him he would have heirs, and he had laughed at her. Now, she would be laughing at him from the other realm.
What should he do? How should he handle this? Glancing at the clock on his mantel, it was already quite late. He would go tomorrow and talk to Harry. Maybe tomorrow the questions he needed answering would come easier. He shook his head in disbelief as he headed to bed.
All through the night, and for the first time in years, his dreams were pleasant, happy... as he dreamt of a little girl and boy, both with green eyes and joyous laughter echoing around him.
* * * * *
The next day...
Hermione wasn't idle during her time in the Muggle world. After her release from Azkaban, she went in search of Potter. During the trial, she learned that he was in a comatose state. She wanted to find him, and whisper in his ear that she had won in the end anyhow. Severus wasn't there by his side. That he was all alone.
But by the time she had found him he was an outpatient, and living in Scotland somewhere. She was sure Albus had erected a Fidelius to keep others away. There was no way to get to him. She did find out that he returned to the hospital on a regular basis for treatment, therapy, and more surgeries.
So she had kept tabs on him. Except for the time she was busy doing her community service...with those individuals at that center she had to deal with. A demeaning job for someone of her intelligence!
When she went back to the hospital, he was no longer being seen there on a regular basis.
In the time she could get away, she seemed always to lose him in the crowds. Potter always stuck to the Magical alley and as long as her magic was suppressed, she couldn't see the entrance. Now as she walked along it, she waited and watched for the man who had ruined her life.
* * * * *
Severus got up early and dressed for the day. He sent a missive with one of the house-elves that he would be gone for the day and not to expect him back for dinner, or even very late into the night. The old cat was overprotective of him and always wanted to keep tabs on him; not exactly where he was, but the times so she would know if she needed to come looking for him.
He took his time getting ready to see Harry and to make a good impression on his children. Remembering their names as Albus and Cassandra, he knew in his heart that the children were well-loved, just by knowing Harry. The younger man would give them all the love he had missed in his own childhood. But neither would he spoil them, just let them know that he loved them.
Severus grabbed his short, black leather coat as he readied to leave. He chose to wear his favorite black silk shirt and dark jeans with the black dragonhide boots. Tying his hair back as he checked the mirror, he thought he looked presentable.
Once he had passed the gates of the castle, Severus Apparated away to Edinburgh and hopefully to a new future.
* * * * *
Hermione had been wandering up and down the alley most of the morning, waiting for her moment. Then she saw him striding quickly down the street, dodging other shoppers swiftly and efficiently. He was a god, dressed in his trademark black. Quickly, she began following him at a distance. She saw him enter a pub at the end of the street, the sign outside read 'The Prancing Pony'.
Pulling up the hood of her cloak, she followed him into the subtler lighting of the pub. Just as the door shut behind her and her eyes adjusted, she saw him head for the back. Hermione shot a quick smile at the barman, who was looking at her oddly.
"The ladies, please?" she whispered, and he pointed toward the back, in the direction Severus had headed.
Jack frowned as the woman walked away towards the bathroom. He knew everyone who came in here and if he didn't, they still, as a common courtesy, dropped their hoods. Jack had told the other man the way to the boss's home, but that he had to wait for him to step out to let him in when the wards chimed, announcing his presence.
Harry looked up from his desk when he heard the wards chime a sweet little ditty of a tune. Albus' idea as usual, but it came in handy as the chime had different tunes for different individuals. If they were recognized by the wards then it played their own special tune.
Such as the one waiting, the tune was for someone that the wards recognized as friendly, and who had no ill intentions towards those who lived inside them. Harry knew that Albus had designed the ward for his failing eyesight and that he was still working on ways to protect him better for the day when he couldn't be there for him.
Harry swallowed a lump in his throat, thinking of living a life without Albus Dumbledore somewhere around. Sadie fell into step with him as he made his way through the house. He opened the door. "Who is there?" he asked.
"It's me, Harry. Severus."
Harry closed his eyes for a brief moment. The time had come. Was he really ready? Well he had no choice now, as he grabbed Sadie's harness and walked outside towards the man he'd never stopped loving.
Hermione had quickly and quietly stepped through the barrier that Severus had passed through only a moment ago, before it closed and placed a silencing spell on her feet to keep him from hearing her steps. She stayed in the shadow of the building, listening. It was only a moment between one breath and the next when she heard the voice from her childhood.
No! This cannot happen! Severus Snape was hers! Her anger was boiling and raging inside of her as she watched the Boy-Who-Lived step into view from the shadows of the house. There he stood, with a guide dog and a cane, his left leg encased in a brace that ran from the top of his thigh all the way to his foot. Pathetic and useless. Why would a virile man like Severus want a broken one like Potter?
Harry stopped a small distance from Severus, unsure of his mood or how he had taken the notion of being a father. "Severus?"
Clearing his throat, Severus said, "I read your file and learned some interesting facts about your medical history."
"Just ask me, Severus. I won't lie to you," Harry said right before he crumpled to the ground as a spell hit his brace.
During their Hogwarts years, Hermione Granger had been known to her friends as a walking encyclopedia of spells. At a moment's notice she could recall more spells and what they did than anyone else. Now, fully grown, it was a deadly combination.
Severus watched as Harry crumbled at his feet when an unknown spell came from out of nowhere and hit him. Instantly Severus was standing over Harry with his wand drawn. "Come out and show yourself. Only cowards hide!" he growled.
A figure stepped from the shadows of the building. "Why couldn't you just die, Potter!" the figure spat. "It would have made things so much easier. But no, you just will not die. You just keep getting back up over and over again."
"Hermione," Harry said from the ground. His leg was throbbing with the extreme pain. "You just made a very bad mistake." He gasped.
"Why? Someone going to come and rescue you?" she said as the hood came down. Standing there was a very angry woman with twisted features. For a brief moment both men were reminded of Bellatrix Lestrange.
Severus was in full protective mode and ready to kill if need be. He felt he had finally come full circle, doing what he should have done years ago: protect the one he loved, doing what was right for them both, trusting him.
"Ah, Miss Granger, we meet again," a voice said from behind her. Hermione twirled around to face the newcomer only to fall victim to a stunner. "She might have been smart, but I'm still stronger than her."
Albus Dumbledore had been at the confectioner's again, visiting with Charles. The man had been telling him about his visit to the colonies this past week and the different pastries and candies he had picked up. One such was a creme horn, which he had been tasting when he felt the wards at Harry's home shake from spell-fire. He stood quickly and gave his regards, promising he would return, and Apparated away to his adopted grandson.
There he appeared behind the hooded figure who was pointing a wand at the two men: Harry who was on the ground, clearly in excruciating pain, and Severus standing over him, protecting him as always. His magic raised up as Harry named his attacker. When she turned towards him, Albus used a simple stunner. Nothing else was good enough and he would not jeopardize his life here with his family.
Casting Incarcerous around the woman, Albus saw Severus drop to the ground to help Harry.
"Take him inside. Just grab Sadie's harness and she'll lead you into the wards towards the house and Harry's room."
Picking up his beautiful burden after placing a Featherweight Charm on the young man, he grabbed the harness and let the dog lead him away.
One year later...at the Potter-Snape home in Edinburgh, Scotland…
On a trip into Muggle Edinburgh, Albus Dumbledore had found and purchased two Easter outfits for the children, one pink and the other green. Both were bunnies and if you asked Molly Weasley, they were quite adorable. She had purchased the same outfit in different colors for her own grandchildren, for a family picture for when Xander and Gracie arrived for dinner at the Burrow.
She wanted a picture of all the children in their Easter outfits right before the egg hunt. This would be the first holiday that Harry, Severus, and the children would be spending with the Weasleys after being away for so long. And since being reunited, both men had been taking things slowly.
Well for them, anyway.
Severus had spent time poring over potions texts looking for ideas to present to Harry's Mediwizard and doctor about his deteriorating eyesight. Harry grumbled one day that Severus saw them more than he did.
However, Severus had found an obscure potion in one of his older tomes, which he then perfected to use on the muscles in Harry's leg. Though he still needed the brace, he walked much better now. Severus always took his time at night to rub the salve into his leg with great patience and love.
The biggest surprise came when Severus handed in his resignation to Minerva and moved to Edinburgh. When he tried to rent a flat, the twins had a fit! In no time, their papa was ensconced in the guest bedroom with expanding charms for all the books he had brought.
The old man sat in his chair, smiling. This past year, so much had happened between the boys and the twins. Harry had been truthful about not keeping Severus and the twins apart. The little tikes were in awe of Severus and he the same of them.
It had taken time, but both men had found each other again. The house was filled with squeals of happiness and running feet as the children brought Severus further into the family.
On Valentine's Day, which also happened to be the twin's birthday, Severus asked Xander and Gracie for their permission to bond with their 'Da'. They tackled Severus to the floor, peppering him with kisses and hugs. (And Albus has the wizarding pictures to prove it.) Now, they were planning a Summer Solstice bonding.
Of all the trials of the past few years, nothing was more nerve racking than waiting for the various Weasleys and other friends to come to Edinburgh to see Harry. But they all came and met in a back room of the pub. Molly almost hugged Harry to death and then cried on his shoulder and cried more when she learned he was losing his eyesight.
Harry and Ron stood before each other, weighing the other before the once hotheaded red-head grabbed his best friend as if he would never let go. "Don't do that again. I missed my best friend."
Gracie broke the moment by crawling into Remus' lap and asking him if he was really a werewolf and if the pretty man beside him was his mate. Remus smiled when he heard Severus mutter under his breath, "Damn brat is too smart for her own good."
"Well, Sev, she is your daughter after all..." an amused voice purred in his ear.
"True. That she is."
Now they were locked in a debate, Severus, Xander and Gracie.
Xander was dressed in a green suit and Gracie in pink. She hated pink, with a passion. Now they were staring each other down even as Severus offered to change her outfit to a different color.
"I don't wanna go as a bunny!"
Pinching the bridge of his nose, he took a cleansing breath before replying, "Grace, it's only for pictures, then you may wear the new dress you picked out."
"And I offered to change the color to whatever you chose." He glanced up at Harry, who was standing behind their daughter, and gave the younger man a pleading look. Dressed in a dove-gray suit, white shirt, and dark green tie, Harry was smirking at him. He'd have to punish him for that lack of support later.
Then Xander chose that moment to stand beside his sister and mirror her crossed armed stance, in a show of solidarity.
"Merlin help me," Severus groaned, as Harry snorted in amusement, under his breath.
Oh, he'd pay for that later as well, Severus thought.
"And if Allon makes fun of us?" he asked.
"He won't. And Uncle Dray and Uncle Ron wouldn't allow it anyway, Xander," Harry said.
"Also, Allon Braxton is four years old," Severus added.
"We were four and never acted like that. Da would have made us sit in the timeout chair and no pudding," Gracie said, pouting.
Severus looked at both children. "What will it take for you to wear the suits until after the pictures?" He stood and looked down on them from his imposing height and crossed his arms in his dark suit and green silk tie.
Gracie and Xander looked at each other then back at their papa. "Madam Snow and Rina at the Celestial Pet Shoppe has a new litter of kneazle kittens."
Harry came to stand beside his lover trying not to laugh at the antics of his little Slytherins-in-the-making. Albus' influences didn't help either. "Two kittens! I take it they are already picked out?" he asked as he put an arm around Severus' waist.
Albus held up a covered basket, that was... mewing . "I think," Severus began, "we've been set up."
"Alright, the deal is done. Now come along, scamps. Aunt Molly is waiting for us," Harry said.
"You do have our other clothes?"
"In the bag by the door, of course. DeeDee!"
A female house-elf popped into view. "Yes, Master Harry?"
"Please take the basket and settle the kittens in while we are at the Burrow, please."
Everyone trekked outside to the courtyard and Albus took the twin's hands. He Apparated away with them, leaving the two men holding onto Sadie's harness.
Severus held Harry securely in the circle of his arms. "I was so lonely for so long, Harry. You were so far away for far too long. But now I have you in my arms." Holding him tighter, he continued "I love you and I would go into Hell itself to prove myself to you."
"Oh, Severus. You have proved yourself by loving me. For better or worse you have me."
"Well then, there is no longer a 'worse', as long as we are together. As long as we are together, there will always be some good in every situation."
"Even when I can no longer see your or the twin's, or Albus' smiles?" Harry asked quietly.
"Even then," Severus whispered against the messy hair, his voice filled with emotion, right before he Apparated them to the Burrow.
They appeared again moments later, and Severus turned Harry in his arms. "You will just have to feel how we look then." Then he kissed Harry deeply, pouring all his emotion into it.
"Gumpy! They're doing it again!"
"Can we do the pictures now?"
Harry and Severus broke off their kiss, laughing, their foreheads pressed together. "I guess we'd best get to it."
"Indeed. You can practice your touch-vision later." Severus smirked.
Harry laughed and called Sadie, wrapping his other arm around Severus' waist, so they could join everyone.
Two men against the world coming full circle, holding on so firmly to a new and promising future, they will never let go.
~finis.. but is it ever??? Never...