Author's Note: For enhanced reading, I recommend listening to "In Noctem" from the sixth film's soundtrack during the first two scenes of this chapter. It was playing on repeat while writing those sections, so it will probably help the mood, but it is up to you, the reader. Enjoy. ~ RK
Chapter Thirty-Five – Remembrance & Recovery
From the moment Severus informed Tevin of Ophelia's death, he knew he could have done it better and gentler. "It was an accident, Tevin." Only a second after he'd said those words did Tevin's brown eyes well with tears of guilt.
"It's because of me."
Horror filled Severus and he knew his expression showed it. "No, Tevin. It wasn't your fault. It was never your fault."
"If I'd paid attention to Draco and the potion and where the kneazle was then it wouldn't have happened."
Severus took his son into his arms and pressed his head to his chest, to comfort his son and to hide his own guilt. "You can't control anyone or anything else's actions. You know that."
"But I could have stopped it."
Severus thought back to the main cause of the event that brought them both to this moment. It had seemed such a small price, such a small asking price, so that Severus could keep and raise his son.
"Will you, Ophelia Fay, protect Tevin from any danger, including those who do not seem to approach with a harmful intention, so long as it is in your power?"
"Will you, Ophelia Fay, keep the other identity and relations of Severus Snape's son, particularly that of Lily Evans, secret from all who do not presently know of it?"
"Will you, Ophelia Fay, act the part of the mother to Severus Snape's son, putting Tevin's safety and well-being above that of all others, including your own, until it becomes unnecessary or death first takes you?"
"I will. It is done, Severus. You can keep your son."
So simple, an Unbreakable Vow, and yet so dangerous. He looked down at his son, knowing that despite his friend's death, having his son with him, having her play the part – to near perfection – of Tevin's mother, was certainly worth it. As much as he regretted Ophelia's death, as much as her absence now pained them both, he knew that he was grateful for what she'd sacrificed to give him his son. To prevent Petunia Dursley from raising his son, from raising Lily's son.
Yes, it had been worth it.
It had all been worth it.
Severus ran his fingers through Tevin's hair, and let the silence reign between them. He didn't want to give his son the news like this, not in Saint Mungo's. Not in the presence of the Malfoys. He didn't want their pity, or their condolences. Severus closed his eyes, trying to block out the world, and sooth his son's trembling. Tevin was putting up an admirable fight in holding back his sobs, but not even his father's dark clothing could disguise the wetness of his tears, nor muffle the sounds coming from his throat. The young boy sounded like a wounded animal.
He refused to open his eyes until he felt a hesitant hand on his shoulder. When he looked up it was to see Lucius Malfoy wearing an expression he had never seen on the man. The blonde looked overwhelmingly compassionate.
"If you need anything…" He trailed off, uncertain how to do this.
Severus understood and was merciful. "Thank, you Lucius."
Lucius nodded, tightened his hand on Severus's shoulder in an attempt at support, before he returned to his family on the other side of the room, where Narcissa sat at their son's side, her hand clasping her child's as both of them slept. Lucius settled himself close by on Draco's bed without disturbing them to keep silent watch over them both.
Severus continued to hold his son until the quiet sobs subsided, and Tevin fell asleep. Lucius and Severus watched over their family silently.
It was beautiful magic…then again, a wizarding funeral usually was beautiful. In the distant past, there were very specific funeral rites, all dependent on the blood status of the deceased. The purer the line, the more elaborate the funeral. However, once half-bloods and muggleborns became more and more common, these distinctions began to blur. Instead, it became a matter of what the deceased had expressed he or she wished to occur upon his or her death. The only exception was if the deceased had made no such plans, which then led the decision to be determined by the next of kin.
Severus Snape decided that it was only fitting that he give the woman that had publicly been his wife the funeral that his first and only wife deserved but never received. There was still some bitterness in him that James Potter had determined the manner in which Lily had been cared for post-mortem. That decision should have been hers – and if not hers, then it should have been Severus's – certainly not that of the man who had only masqueraded as Lily's husband.
Lily had deserved better than to be simply laid to rest in the earth. In a simple wooden casket, lowered into the cold November ground in Godric's Hollow, in the place that Severus had chosen for them to live. She should have been brought home, to him where she belonged. Instead, she was forever linked with James Potter. And to the rest of the Wizarding World, the truth of her marriage, of her son's father, died with her and the Dark Lord on the night of Halloween in 1981.
A truth was only kept alive now by four people.
Ophelia's funeral took place on the grounds of Hogwarts, at the Black Lake.
Severus wanted it to be a mixture between a muggle funeral and a wizarding funeral, as was appropriate for Ophelia, having come into the Wizarding World to muggle parents. And while he was a man of potions, he was uncertain as to the process of preparing someone for a funeral upon their death. He had experienced the pain of loss many times, but he had never been charged with how to care for the dead. But he knew that it was going to be a funeral worthy of the woman and friend that had sacrificed so much of her own life in order to protect another woman's secret. To protect his own secret.
Despite being partially against a public funeral, he did not wholeheartedly protest when Professors Flitwick, Sprout, and McGonagall held meetings with their houses in order to rally the students in supporting their professor and his son in their grief. And therefore Snape did not fight when McGonagall declared that the students of the school would be attending Ophelia's funeral.
The houses were separated just as they were in the Great Hall. A central walkway formed an aisle between Ravenclaw and Hufflepuff students on one side, and Gryffindor and Slytherin students on the other. In the front row of the seating for the students were the prefects for each house, and various members of the staff. Even Filch attended, though looking less than enthused, and was clutching Mrs. Norris to his chest, as though imagining how he would function without his beloved pet. In front of the four Houses was a single row of seats on either side of the aisle. In the seats directly in front of the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw students, were several places reserved for the Head Girl of Hogwarts, followed by an empty chair for Professor Sprout. Next to that seat was a family consisting of three members: Celene, Xenophilius, and Luna Lovegood. The youngest was the closest to the aisle.
She stared across the aisle at her friend. Tevin was not looking anywhere but the ground, as though the grass was the most fascinating thing he'd ever seen. However, the boy sitting next to him realized that Tevin was not even really looking at the grass. Draco's gaze flicked from his silent friend to the waters of the Black Lake, to Dumbledore – who stood at the edge of the lake – who would be overseeing the funeral, to his parents besides him, and then to Luna across the way. He wasn't sure where he should be looking, so he looked everywhere. There was an empty seat between Lucius and the Head Boy of the school.
Tevin barely listened to what was going on around him. He heard the Headmaster announce why everyone was gathered at the edge of the Black Lake that morning, but he did not fully comprehend the words. He did not want to. He heard everyone shift in their seats to face the back of the assemblage. But he did not. He was overwhelmed with guilt, despite what his father tried to tell him. He knew he was responsible for Fay's death. When he finally looked up and met his best friend's gaze, he knew that Draco was also feeling responsible for what had occurred to lead everyone to being there that night.
Ophelia was dead because of them.
Severus was assisted in the rear of the gathered students, staff, and friends by his fellow Heads of House. He looked upon Ophelia's lifeless face. All of the heads of house did an admirable job in helping with these preparations. Professor Flitwick had done his best to keep her in stasis until this funeral, keeping as much of her color as possible. Professor Sprout had given up some of her time in order to pick some of the more aesthetic buds in her greenhouses. She had placed them all around Ophelia's body where she lay in the shallow, one-person boat that served as her casket. The buds decorated her loose dark hair and filled in the empty spaces in the boat. Her hands were crossed just below her chest. Clasped in her grip was not a bouquet of flowers, but instead two items balanced one atop the other. The first was a broom, decorated with silver and green ribbons and trails of vines with unbloomed flowers. The second item, atop the broom, was her wand.
Severus stood at the front of the boat, just to its left, nearest her head. Professor Flitwick stood to the right of it, looking more somber than Severus could remember. Just behind the small professor was Professor Sprout, who'd managed to remove all traces of dirt and leaves from her formal robes. And behind Severus was the firm and silent Professor McGonagall.
From the edge of the Black Lake, Dumbledore welcomed everyone to the funeral, and gave his signal to approach to the four heads of house with a deep nod. As one, the four drew their wands and silently incanted a levitation charm. The boat rose from where it rested on the grass and hovered only three feet from the ground. With Dumbledore narrating Ophelia's qualities in life, and her role as Severus's wife, and Tevin's caring mother, they began to bring the boat down the aisle. Everyone gazed upon the procession as it passed, and everyone wondered how their Potions Master was handling the situation so seemingly stoically. But one look at the man's son gave their answer. Tevin was watching the boat come closer to the front where he sat, and the child finally let his tears fall. Slowly, those gathered began to realize that their professor could not allow himself to grieve yet. He was trying to keep as much of his strength as possible for his son.
The walk to the edge of the Black Lake was one of the longest walks Severus had ever made. Flitwick erected a hovering charm on the boat to keep it from resting on the grass before he took his place to stand in front of the humble choir of Hogwarts. Sprout took her seat in front of their houses between the Head Girl and Celene Lovegood. Severus remained beside the hovering boat, his attention focused down on Ophelia's body. McGonagall waved her wand the length of the boat slowly before she, too, took her seat in front of her house, just to the left of Lucius Malfoy. It was only after she sat that the purpose of her gesture became clear.
All of the unopened buds in the boat surrounding Ophelia began to slowly open, to bloom, and fill the boat with life and color. She might have only been sleeping.
Severus heard nothing that was being said. He heard nothing that Dumbledore was saying about Ophelia. He only heard the soft sounds coming from his son. His attention only shifted from his child when Dumbledore approached the boat, and used his wand to slowly ease Ophelia's wand from her grasp.
"I present you, Severus Snape, Ophelia's next of kin, with her wand. May you treasure it in her loving memory for as long as you shall live." The wand rested suspended above the boat between Dumbledore and Severus. The younger man held out his hands, palms up, in silent asking for the wand. Dumbledore slowly sent the wand into Severus's waiting hands. "I am truly sorry for your loss, Severus. And for your son's." Severus looked at Tevin, who stared at him in return sharing their grief. And in that moment, Severus realized that Tevin was still carrying the guilt of Ophelia's death, just as he was still carrying the guilt of Lily's death. He hoped that Tevin would not follow in his footsteps and continue to grieve and carry that burden for the rest of his life as he had, and still was. He tore his gaze from his son, clutching the wand to his chest.
"And now, we must all say farewell to a clever witch, a skilled herbalist, compassionate woman, caring wife, and loving mother. May you rest comfortably in the afterlife to come, Ophelia Snape." Dumbledore stepped aside and nodded to Flitwick. He turned to face his choir students who all straightened in readiness.
With his wand, Dumbledore sent the funeral boat out onto the waters of the Black Lake just as the first phrases began under Flitwick's leadership. "Carry my soul into the night. May the stars light my way…"
Everyone watched the boat as it drifted further and further away from the shore. Severus knew he had to wait until it was only a little further out before he did what he needed to do. "Cantate vitae canticum, sine dolore actae…"
Finally, the time was right, and Severus quietly whispered, "Flagrantia," and swept his wand in a grand motion ending in an abrupt flick towards the boat. A single ball of fire shot forth from the tip of his wand and traveled in a steady arch to land directly in the boat. Ophelia's body began to burn. "Incendio," he said afterwards, sweeping his wand in the required pattern of the spell, sending a shower of smaller flames onto the boat. Everything, including the wood of the vessel, began to burn on the water.
"…the ones I loved, I never will forget. Never will forget."
Severus did not know exactly when everyone began to leave to return to the indoors of Hogwarts. He did not care. He remained where he stood at the shore holding Ophelia's wand in one hand, and his own in the other, watching the fire on the lake. It seemed as though froma great distance he heard people's footsteps and their murmured conversations. He never heard him approach, but he felt his son's quiet presence at his side.
"I'm..." a small and hesitant voice spoke up just behind them.
"Go on, darling," urged a male voice.
Luna took a breath before speaking again. "I'm sorry about your mother, Tev."
Severus heard the little nickname that Luna had given his son and inhaled sharply. As he stared at the fire, he did not hear Tevin's response, nor did he actually see what was taking place before him. He was lost in a memory he had nearly forgotten.
He looked around at the other children in the nearby boats, including those that were sharing theirs on the first journey to the castle across the lake. "Don't call me that, Lily, not here."
Her surprise was clear. "Why not? I've called you Sev since before we came here, since before we got our letters."
"Because it's…" He hung his head, his long black hair hiding his blush. "Because it's embarrassing."
Her laugh, even at eleven, was musical. "So, just because we're magical and going to Hogwarts that has to change?"
"Seriously?" Severus heard the mocking voice behind him of one of their train compartment companions. "I like our name better for him."
"Snivellus? Yeah, me too!" Then, they snickered to themselves.
To his shock, Severus felt his hand taken by his friend. His eyes darted to hers in surprise. What if someone saw them? What if they made fun of them? Or worse, what if they made fun of her? Lily smiled at him. "Ignore those dunderheads," she whispered. "They're just stupid toerags, anyway."
Severus tried to return her smile, and when her own widened he knew that she appreciated the attempt. She knew that he had little in his life about which to smile. She leaned closer and spoke teasingly. "And I'm still going to call you Sev, Sev."
"Look!" the sandy-haired boy in the next boat shouted excitedly to a boy with identical features to his own. "Look, Romulus! It's Hogwarts!"
Lily's gaze turned away from him in complete excitement. As the castle came into the view of the boats, there were unanimous sounds of awe. Lily was the only one who laughed. "It's beautiful!"
Severus agreed but he was not looking at the castle. He just stared at their entwined hands and smiled.
"Bye, Luna," Tevin managed to reply.
There was an awkward shuffling of feet and then it was quiet again near father and son. "Severus," came a familiar low tone on his other side. He heard it but could not respond. Lucius seemed to understand this. With a soft sigh, the blonde man next to him slowly raised his wand. "Favillae et sertum ascendare ad caelum."
Severus was still staring at the burning boat and Ophelia's remains as a soft white light similar to a Patronus shield enveloped the boat. "Dad," called Tevin at his side. "What's that do?"
Severus couldn't speak as he watched what was happening on the water. The light was absorbed by the flames for a moment before the fire was extinguished abruptly. Then, slowly and softly something pale rose delicately from the boat. Severus's eyes filled with tears as he watched. "It's a…" But he could not continue.
Lucius realized his grief and began to explain to Tevin. "It is a spell that encourages passage to the afterlife."
"But what's coming up from the boat?"
"That is everything about your mother that was good, and that loved you and your father."
It was quiet as the three of them watched the ashes rise up from the lake. "She looks like snow."
"Yes, she does, Tevin. She loved you both very much."
Tevin was quiet again for a moment. "I'll miss her."
Lucius's response was genuine, and the three simple words a surprise to all three on the shore. "So will I."
It was at that moment that Severus finally let his tears fall.
Things were not improving in their home, however, even after the funeral. Tevin began to spend an excessive amount of time sequestered in his room, no matter at which home they spent their time. Like he had for the last three weeks, Severus would often find him sitting alone on the floor, with Minnie curled up against one of his legs. Tevin did not much speak to his father. He did not know what to do. It was just such a day that he found Tevin curled up on the large chair in their parlor, with a book open on one arm of the chair, his kneazle curled up just to the side of the furniture piece.
"Tevin?" His son did not look up. "It is dinner in the Great Hall."
"Not hungry." The response was hoarse, but Severus wasn't sure if it was due to lack of speaking or from crying.
"It's one of your favorites tonight. And treacle tart is for dessert."
"I said I'm not hungry!"
Severus sighed. "Tevin, please. You need to eat something. You haven't eaten all day."
"How do you know?" snapped the boy. "You're teaching all day."
"You know I must do that. I have to do my job here, so that I can take care of you."
"You've never taken care of me! Fay always took care of me, because you were too busy teaching or making potions!" Finally Tevin looked up, and Severus saw the evidence of recent crying. It was something he never wanted to see, and he couldn't speak at the sight of it. His son gave him no time to respond anyway. Tevin tossed his book onto the nearby table as he stood, his face twisting into anger. "And if she wasn't then Uncle Remus did! Or the Malfoys! And if they're all busy I'm always by myself or with the older kids when they don't have classes because you're never here!"
"Tevin," Severus choked. "I try—"
"No, you don't! You don't try at all! You just hide in the lab or class all the time."
"I'm working to keep you safe."
"You didn't keep her safe!"
Severus stepped back as though stricken. He wasn't sure if Tevin had meant Ophelia or Lily. Either way, the accusation stung. It was true. "No, I didn't."
Tevin faced his father stubbornly, his expression twisting further in an attempt to hold back tears. "Then how can you keep me safe?"
Severus couldn't hold back the sob. "I don't know. I can only do my best, son. That's why I have your Uncle Remus, and the Malfoys, and everyone else looking out for you."
"Why am I so important?"
Severus could have said anything at this moment. That Tevin was the same boy as the missing Harry Potter, famous for defeating Voldemort in infancy. That should Voldemort ever return to life, as many thought highly possible, that Tevin was destined to defeat him again. But that would not have been the truth. The truth was far simpler. "Because you're my son, and I will do anything to protect you."
The boy's tears finally streaked his face. "But why?"
He could not restrain himself any longer. He took his son into his arms and held him close. "Because I love you." As his son's tears soaked through his collar, his own began to wet the boy's black hair. He ran his fingers through his son's hair. "Just like Remus loves you, and the Malfoys." He fought the lump in his throat. "And Ophelia." He choked back his sob. "And your mother, your real mother. She loved you so much."
"I wish…" Tevin sighed softly. "Nevermind."
Severus tilted Tevin's head up toward him to meet his eyes. "No, no, what is it? What do you wish?"
"I wish they didn't die. Fay and mum. I wish they didn't die."
"So do I." Severus tried desperately to think of something to say. Anything else to say to ease his son's pain.
"Even though everything is arranged and it's only days away I…I don't want you away from me. I know it's for the best, but I…I wish it wasn't Potter."
Lily frowned. "You've never wanted to back out of a plan like this before. Why this one?"
"Because it's Potter. I don't trust him, or Black."
"Sev, it'll be fine. You trust Remus, though, right?"
"More than the others, yes."
She grinned knowingly. "Stop lying. I know you like Remus. You've actually called him your friend once or twice." He nodded in reluctant agreement, chuckling to himself at the idea that he'd managed to become friends with one of the people that associated with his former tormentors. Then, Lily's tone grew serious. "We both know this won't be permanent. Once this stupid war is over, and there's no more Voldemort, and we don't have to hide anymore, then everything will be fine."
"That's very utopian."
She swatted his arm. "Don't crush my dreams, Sev. I'm serious!"
He sighed. "But what if it doesn't happen, Lily? What if you actually like being married to Potter?"
She snorted. "I won't."
He did not even hear her as his thoughts raced. "What if something happens? What if he can't protect you enough? Or what if one of us is killed?" He was interrupted by his wife firmly planting her lips to his, cutting off his panicked thoughts.
"Neither of us will get killed. You know more defensive and offensive spells than anyone, and James Potter is in the Order, and used to fighting off dark wizards. We picked a good person in him. I'll be safe. I have someone to protect me. But there's no one to protect you, and that's what makes me nervous. What if something happens to you?"
He shook his head confidently. "Nothing will happen to me."
"It better not." Then, a wicked smile grew on her face. "And as for liking Potter over you?" She shook her head and snorted again. "I'm surprised you even thought that, Sev." She turned contemplative. "I love you, and I will never leave you because I'll always be here." She ran her hands gently from where they framed his jaw, down his throat, to rest together over his heart. He reached up and covered her hands with his. "No matter where I am."
Their eyes met for only an instant before husband and wife kissed.
Then, suddenly, he had the words. "Tevin, your mother, Lily…" Tevin looked up at his father. "She was very wise. There was a time when I had to go away from your mother for little while. And I was afraid that she would forget about me, or that she wouldn't love me anymore by the time I could come back." Now, more than ever, Severus wished that the eyes looking up at him so hopefully were the beautiful green of his mother's. He wished that he never had to change them. "She told me that she would never leave me."
"But she did."
"Not on purpose." Severus waited until Tevin was listening attentively. "You see, son, the ones that love you can never leave you. You'll always be able to find them again in your heart, and in your memories. And so long as they're there, they never truly die."
He knew that his son understood the words, but not the meaning. And Severus knew that it would only be until Tevin stopped grieving that the meaning would become clear.
Severus spent as much time as he could with Tevin after their argument that night. He allowed him to visit during potions classes that were not brewing dangerous concoctions, so long as he stayed near the front of the room, nearest his desk. He even allowed him to join in the First Year classes, occasionally, as he'd let Draco and Tevin do many years ago. Not to show off, but to brew quietly on his own. While Tevin did this, though, he did not have the same spark of curiosity in his eyes as before.
One day he realized his innocent mistake. Tevin no longer enjoyed potions. He was most likely reminded of the day of Ophelia's death. A potions accident began the whole horrible chain of events that led to Tevin's silence and grief.
Severus did not offer potions experiments again. He did not like seeing his son deflate while listlessly stirring a brew. Instead, while keeping his father company in his classes, Tevin would seek shelter in studying other subjects. With a moment's curiosity one day, Severus looked at the book in front of his son. It was a large tome on plants and on herbs. Was it Tevin's way of remembering Ophelia? By studying her field of expertise?
The Great Hall was a different matter. Tevin had typically bounced from house table to house table, mingling each meal with countless students. Now, he only put himself near certain students, all of whom were frequent visitors in Severus's special auror training program. His mood determined where he would sit. It was more often than not the Gryffindor table and thus Charlie Weasley. There all he had to do was ask Charlie one question about some magical creature and the young Gryffindor would talk incessantly, mostly about dragons even if that wasn't what was asked about. He would stear the lecture that way. When he wasn't terribly keen on talking about anything, he would go over to the Hufflepuff table and sit beside Nymphadora Tonks. She knew his spirits were down and so she would try – and impressively to Severus, she almost succeeded – to coax a smile from Tevin when she would use her metamorphmagus talents to change her face into various animals. Her margin of success did not always get even a small upturning at the corners of the boy's mouth, but with each hint of a smile she managed out of Tevin, Severus knew there was hope for his son's healing.
"At least he is beginning to smile again," said Flitwick from his seat at Severus's side in the Great Hall.
Severus's gaze did not waver from his son. "Not as freely as before."
Flitwick did not quite sigh. "Death grips some more strongly than others. This you should know very well, my boy." He laid his hand gently on his former student's arm at the elbow. "Have your wounds healed at all? Not just this last one, either."
Severus understood. "I don't think they ever truly will, no matter what happens."
Flitwick nodded to Tevin. "Then you must give him time as well. It's taken you so long to get to where you are, Severus. He's a child who's truly experienced loss for the first time. And as we both know, first deaths are sometimes the hardest. Give the boy time to heal. He has friends and family who love him and will help him. Some of us are not so lucky." He looked pointedly at Severus.
He understood what the small professor was trying to say. "I know. I was not so fortunate."
"You never had time to grieve properly, because you had to be strong for your son."
Severus nodded gravely. "And I still do."
Flitwick shook his head. "Let yourself share in his grief. You'll always grieve for your wife." Severus caught the change in his voice. He knew he was not referring to Ophelia. "Because no one else quite understands that pain. You both share this one, however. You must support each other now."
Severus looked across the Great Hall and met his son's gaze. "Thank you, Filius."
Flitwick patted the elbow where he'd rested his hand. "You're welcome, my boy."
Tevin was sitting next to Charlie Weasley at breakfast one day when a shadow loomed over a section of the Gryffindor table. Both boys turned around. "'Ello, Tevin…Charlie," greeted Hagrid. "I just hatched those eggs, ya know, the, uh…" His voice lowered. "The fire crabs."
Charlie straightened his posture. "Really?"
Hagrid grinned proudly. "Cute lil' fellas, they are. Shiny shells an' all."
Finally, something managed to get Tevin's attention. "Can we see them?"
Hagrid was so excited that he nodded immediately. "O'course. Jus' ask yer father, Tevin. Don't want him to worry 'bout where yer goin'."
Tevin nodded and then swung his legs over the bench at Gryffindor table. Hagrid and Charlie watched him run up to the staff table. Severus listened to his son and then nodded, saying several short words. Tevin ran back and looked up at Hagrid. "He said I can go, but only if I watch. I'm only allowed to face the crabs so I don't get burned."
"Good idea, yer father has," Hagrid agreed. "Wouldn't want him after me if one o' the crabs accidentally burns ya, ya know."
"Right, then!" Hagrid clapped his large hands. "Off we go, then."
Charlie sprung from his seat and waved to Tevin. "Let's go, little Snape. Time to see how those lessons of your dad's are paying off, right?"
Tevin nodded and followed Charlie and Hagrid to the half-giant's house. They reached it quickly. Obviously, the three of them were more excited than they were willing to admit by the length of time it took to get there.
Hagrid went over to a cage in front of the house and took hold of a ragged and burned piece of fabric. With an enthusiastic flourish he removed the fabric from the metal cage. "Ta da!" His joyful noise instantly shifted to an alarmed shout when the cage was filled with bursts of fireballs. "Ooh! Must'a scared 'em a bit." He leaned down closer to the cage. "Sorry 'bout that, little guys!" There were sounds of annoyance from the cluster of tiny creatures in the cage. Charlie and Tevin crept closer slowly. "Aren't they adorable?" gushed Hagrid.
Tevin looked at the fire crabs, straining and stretching his neck as much as he possibly could. "What…are they?"
Charlie answered for Hagrid. "They're kind of a mixture between a crab, a turtle, and an incendio charm."
Tevin's eyes widened. "So, they…they made the fire?"
Charlie smiled. "Yeah, you know how dragons shoot fire from their mouths?" He waited until Tevin nodded. "Well, with these guys, the fire comes from the other end." He knew Tevin understood when his expression shifted from the furrowed eyebrows of thinking to the widened eyes of comprehension.
"You mean they…" The boy gestured what he was too embarrassed to say. "…and it comes out their…" He couldn't say it as he stared into the eyes of one of the newborn fire crabs.
Charlie indulged him. "Out their bums, yeah."
"That's not right."
Charlie and Hagrid both laughed, while the fire crab that was staring at Tevin defiantly shot out a tiny burst of flames from its rear.
Tevin didn't like to interrupt classes at Hogwarts, and if he needed to he would try very hard to wait until just close to the end of the period. And so he anxiously waited next to the door to Professor Flitwick's charms class. As soon as it opened and an impressive number of conjured birds flew from the opening, Tevin quickly made his way into the room.
"Now, everyone!" shouted Flitwick to his students that were gathering up their materials. "Remember to cancel your avis charms! We don't want birds flying all over the school, do we?"
Tevin heard cancelling charms murmured by the students that had managed to conjure the birds as he made his way towards the small professor. When he caught sight of Tevin, he seemed to skip for a moment on his pile of teaching books. "Young Master Snape!" he exclaimed. "What can I do for you?"
Tevin looked up at Flitwick on his perch. "I'm having…nightmares."
Flitwick's head tilted like a watchful and curious bird. "This sounds like something you should be discussing with your father, little one, or Madam Pomfrey."
Tevin waved his hand dismissively, looking so much like his father in that moment. "But there was a charm or a curse in it, and I don't know if he'd know it."
Flitwick stared at Tevin for a long moment before he acquiesced. "Go on."
As Tevin began to speak, Flitwick climbed down from his stack of books. "Well, I'm in my bed…in a room, but it's not my room. Not here or at home, so…I don't know where I am." Flitwick nodded in encouragement. "And then all of a sudden the door flies open and someone's there. I can't see them, and then a girl is screaming, and then it's very quiet. Then, a green light explodes and—" Tevin didn't even notice that the professor had frozen where he was just near the bottom of the book stack.
"Have you had this dream before?"
The question surprised the boy. "Yes."
Flitwick nodded. "And does anyone else know about this dream?"
Tevin ignored the question. "What is the green light?"
Flitwick stared at the floor as his fingers twitched on his wand. "I..." He considered a complete lie to the boy, but knew as soon as the thought struck him how impolitic it would be. "It is a dark curse, Young Snape. A terrible curse."
Tevin nodded at the non-answer. "Can I look it up?"
Flitwick nodded, but knew that it wasn't exactly in a book that was easy to access, particularly by an underage witch or wizard, nevermind a child. But Flitwick thought this might be a good thing. It would give the boy something to do. It might get him to focus on something other than his grief. "It's difficult to find, but you can find the spell."
Tevin nodded, and then turned around to leave. "Thanks."
The boy did not hear Flitwick scurry to his fireplace, throw in floo powder, and call his father. He did not hear him say, "Severus, the boy is trying to find out about the Killing Curse." Tevin was already down the hall by this time.
Madam Pince had been the librarian in Hogwarts for far longer than she cared to admit. She'd seen the interests of countless students shift from one thing to the next. She's seen thousands of students grow up from their first year in the school to the day they left for bigger and better things. But she'd never had the privilege to see a wizarding child's interests shift from infancy before.
She watched as Severus Snape's young son ran his fingers along the spines of the books on the shelves. He was very much like his father already, refusing help and choosing to do things on his own time and in his own way.
She remembered Severus as a student, usually on his own, unless he was studying. Severus would spend a great deal of time in the library typically researching the Dark Arts. What many of his fellow students did not know was that while researching the Dark Arts, he spent almost as much time researching Defense Against the Dark Arts. Madam Pince was certain she was among the few that knew this about Severus Snape.
However, where Tevin Snape was usually quick to find what he needed, today he seemed to get increasingly more frustrated with each book he returned to the shelves. As a librarian, it was Madam Pince's duty to assist those who could not quite find what they were looking for.
She walked to the table that he had managed to fully take over, and looked at the subject matter of his tome choices. Her eyebrows rose as she took it in. She mourned just a little for the loss of the tiny and innocent child that Severus Snape had carried into the Hogwarts library for the first time.
"This is Madam Pince, little one," Severus informed the toddler he held against his chest with one arm. The boy had a firm grip on the man's dark robes, and his face was almost hiding in the young professor's long dark hair. "Come on, say hello."
Slowly, the child turned his head to face Madam Pince. "Hi," he whispered.
Madam Pince smiled wide. "Hello, young man." Then, her attention went to Severus as the boy hid among his hair and burrowed his face into Severus's neck. "It took you long enough to bring your son where you would so frequently hide."
Severus actually looked admonished and tried to hide a grin. "He's very shy." Both of them took in the boy who was trying to make himself invisible.
The librarian laughed. "I can see that." Then, she was back to being a librarian. "Are you looking for something in particular or are you only here for introductions?"
Severus shook his head. "I, uh…It seems I need some children's books temporarily added to my own collection."
She tried very hard not to show her reaction not only to the idea of this formidable young wizard reading a child a story, but also trying to disguise children's books among his collection of potions and spells texts. The idea brought a smile to her face. She instead nodded and turned to lead them away to the section that would contain what they needed. She kept sneaking glances behind her as she walked.
"Look, Tevin, look," Severus was saying as he pointed at something to the side. Tevin peeked out from the safety of his father's shoulder. When he saw what his father wanted him to see – a student holding a book up near a shelf, let it go, and then the book float to its place on the higher shelf – the young boy gasped in shock. "And over there, look." Tevin whipped his head around to where his father pointed again and this time began to giggle. There was a stack of books with legs! As the stack passed them, Tevin realized that it was a person behind the books, which were floating in front of her. Either way, it was still funny to the little boy.
Madam Pince reached the section and flicked her wand sharply. Several books came off the high shelf and drifted down to her free and waiting hand. "Do you already have some books, Severus?"
"Very, very few, so I'm sure almost anything would be acceptable."
She nodded as she read out the titles to see if he wanted them. "Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet?" Severus shook his head. She listed off several others before she just had to ask a question. "Muggle or Magical authors?"
Madam Pince stared at him. "You are not making this any easier, Mister Snape." She continued. "Anything by Hans Christian Andersen?" She let the books with the titles facing him drift past. Occasionally, he would take one from the procession and let it hover next to him. "The Brothers Grimm?" This category was much more successful apparently. "Ah, and you must read him some of these." She practically forced him to accept the last book. Both adults noticed the interest the boy was showing in it.
Severus turned to his son. "Should we take them home?"
Tevin nodded. "Read?"
"Yes, I'll read some to you tonight."
Severus shook his head. "No, not now. Before bed." Tevin looked at his father with an expression that Madam Pince knew well on children. Few could resist it. Severus sighed. "Alright, on the way home I'll start one. Which one?"
Tevin's smile was instantaneous and monstrous. He pointed to the last book. Severus gave a look to Madam Pince, which she understood. She used her wand to make notations of which books he was taking with him, the dates they were to be returned, and lastly conjured a string with which to tie his stack of books together so they would stay in one stack despite the numerous people in the halls of Hogwarts. Just in case. With a nod, Severus placed a following and charm on the books, and then used his wand to have the requested book float in front of them as they walked back to the suite in Hogwarts he called home.
Madam Pince heard Tevin's delighted laughter as his father began to read as they left the library. "There was once a kindly old wizard who used his magic generously and wisely for the benefit of his neighbors. Rather than reveal the true source of his power, he pretended that his potions, charms, and antidotes sprang ready-made from the little cauldron he called his lucky cooking pot."
"No, not quite like me."
Madam Pince smiled when she heard Tevin insist, "You."
She knew that she would never see that child again as she looked at the subject matter in which he was so engrossed. He was so absorbed in his research that he did not even hear or notice her approach. "Mister Snape, I remember when you would prefer fairy tales to looking up spells like a student."
He was in no mood to be playful, however. Not today. "I'm trying to find something."
She looked again at the books spread out before him. "A spell or curse it seems."
He nodded, seriously. "It's green. It happens and then there's a green light."
Madam Pince stiffened. She knew perfectly well what he was looking for. It was at times like these that she was grateful for the restricted section. "Well, I'm sure you'll—"
Tevin sighed in frustration. "Can you help me?"
She shook her head. "Not this time, Mister Snape."
Tevin did not look angry, but rather confused and discouraged. "Why?"
She looked at him wondering why he wanted to know the Killing Curse. "Because it is a dangerous curse that you're researching. And someone your age would not be able to access the books which contain it."
"It's in the restricted section." It was not a question.
Madam Pince nodded deeply. "For which – as you know – you need a professor's permission to access. And I'm sure none of them would grant that permission." Tevin's face twisted in displeasure and complete annoyance. When she continued, her voice softened. "Let this rest, Tevin. Don't go looking for the bad in the world before you have experienced the good."
He nodded, but she knew he was just agreeing so that she would leave him in peace amongst his books. She decided that she would humor him, and walked away, leaving the young Snape to his fruitless endeavor.
January had just begun and Remus Lupin did not see much of a change in his godson. If anything, the boy was beginning to resemble his father more and more recently. Both of them now shared dark, brooding moods, and would constantly bury themselves among the ink and parchment of books. 'Not terribly unlike Lily in the books aspect, though,' he thought, with a bittersweet smile.
He stared out across the street of his new home away from home. There he was watching Lily's sister's family. Rather, he watched the door for any sign of activity from the house. There was not terribly much. The portly husband would go to work every morning while Petunia Dursley would stand in the open doorway waving to him like she'd never see him again. Despite the repetitive life these Dursleys led, it seemed they were a very contented family. He rarely saw the child, unless it was when he went to school or somewhere with his parents, but otherwise, the boy never much went outside, never really did much of anything, it seemed. Petunia, on the other hand, seemed to be trying so hard to be the perfect housewife – pretty to look at, sweet to her husband, doting to her child, keep the home picture perfect, and…that was it.
It was almost time for him to meet Tevin at Spinner's End, while Severus was teaching and then monitoring detentions. He sighed. Remus told Tevin to bring a broom with him this time. Surprisingly, Severus gave his approval on this idea. It seemed that he was as desperate as Remus to bring joy back into Tevin's life since Ophelia's death.
All he had to do was feed this plethora of kneazles before he left. Thankfully, it did not take long to do. How did Arabella do this all the time? It was exhausting, and something of which he was not terribly fond, but he would do his best. He would certainly rather be a kneazle minder than be a woman, however. It was an extremely disconcerting experience. For the first time in his life, he did not mind that he turned into a werewolf once a month. Masquerading as a woman was far worse. He had to remind himself that he was adopting the traits of the opposite sex willingly, unlike his lycanthropy. Either way, he'd rather the fur and the claws, and the craving for raw meat, and the madness than this.
He fed the kneazles and used the floo to go directly to Spinner's End. There he waited for the Polyjuice Potion to wear off so that he would shift into his own body…but in woman's clothing. He'd begun keeping a change of clothing everywhere he typically went. It was akward enough for him that he had the body of a woman and wore women's clothing nowadays…but that didn't mean he wanted to wear it all the time. When he was Arabella, he was Arabella. But once Remus Lupin started to come back, he needed men's clothing. It was that simple.
And so, he arrived at Spinner's End, and immediately waited out the transformation in the loo, then changed his clothing, and snatched up Severus's old broom on the way back to the parlor to await his godson's arrival.
It was not long. The fireplace blazed green for a moment before Tevin stepped through, a broom in one hand. The dark brown eyes looked up at Remus. There was nothing there. They were empty.
Remus said nothing to Tevin. Did not offer him a smile. He knew he'd probably been receiving too many of those comforting, pitying smiles lately. He did not want to be one of them. He knew what that felt like. He knew that pity was suffocating.
Instead, he simply nodded, and then slowly headed toward the back door of the house that led into the small herb garden. His step faltered only once when he remembered that the garden could be painful for the boy. Ophelia had tended it for her work selling potions ingredients to Jayce in Diagon Alley – at least those that Severus didn't use for his own work. Tevin and Draco had spent many hours assisting her while learning about potions ingredients. Remus continued, knowing it would be worse if he were to change direction now.
Tevin had followed him silently, but Remus knew he was close behind him. He could feel the boy's presence. Remus went into the garden – the exact center – and waited. After many long moments of silence, he turned around. Tevin was taking in the garden, slowly making his way toward Remus, with his broom held high in one hand so it didn't drag on the ground. Occassionally as he passed various plants, all without leaves and dusted with a thin layer of snow, Tevin would gently touch it. Remus allowed him this. From the look in the boy's eyes he was lost in his memories. He stood staring at one plant and then would take several steps closer to his godfather before catching sight of another plant, experiencing another memory. Finally, Tevin reached Remus.
Ignoring the sheepish and apologetic expression, Remus simply nodded and held out his hand. Tevin understood and did not hesitate to take it. Then, godfather and godson disapparated away from the garden…
…to reappear in one of the biggest empty fields Tevin had ever seen.
Without a word, Remus mounted the broom, knowing that Tevin would follow his example. Slowly, he brought the broom to hover and then he urged it slowly forward and up. He had the sudden thought as he gave a little more direction and speed to his broom as to how much Tevin had grown. He remembered teaching his godson how to fly when he was still so young. How he'd fallen off the broom several times, and knocked over and broken his lamp – but it was easily fixed with a simple Reparo charm. Tevin had made so much progress since that day in his shabby little flat.
He picked up Tevin's training broom and held it in front of the child. "Now, ready to try again?"
Tevin nodded, accepting the broom. Remus held up his own broom and he walked to the most open spot of his parlor. Tevin followed him with his little broom. "Now, I want you to do what I do, alright?" Tevin nodded excitedly. Remus and Tevin mounted their brooms. The older wizard showed the child how to properly hold the handle. The brooms rose off the ground. This time, Tevin did not fall off.
Tevin had not fallen off since that day when he fully learned how to properly ride a broom. Remus was deliberately going slowly so that his godson would not think it was a race. It was just for the peace of flying that he was doing this for Tevin. With the chilly wind rustling through his hair, and cold air stinging his eyes, it was still fresh and soothing in its own way.
He looked behind him, and found himself simply gazing at the boy. He looked completely calm as he flew at a leisurely pace. He was not racing to pass off his godfather, or to catch him. He was trailing behind him, sure that Remus would not lead him astray. He trusted Remus.
Tevin followed Remus for only a little while longer before he decided to drift to a stop in the air, hovering where he stopped. Then, Tevin closed his eyes. Remus watched him as he stayed hovering in the wintry breeze, letting the snow that was being coaxed up from the ground by the wind brush against his young face. Tevin licked his dry lips, and then let his mouth stay open just enough to breathe. Remus turned his broom and began to circle widely around him, watching him as he gave him a wide berth.
After Remus circled around for the fifth time to get in view of his godson's face, he almost stopped breathing when he saw that Tevin was calmly and peacefully smiling.
Several days later at breakfast, while Charlie Weasley was in mid-sentence talking about how to properly take care of a Peruvian Vipertooth when it was sick and manage to avoid being eaten, an owl flew over the Gryffindor table directly to Severus Snape. Tevin knew the owl's owner very well. This yellow-eyed Eagle Owl was quite familiar. Tevin watched his father open the letter the owl had delivered, and saw the dark eyes read it quickly before glancing up to meet his curious gaze. With a soft expression, Severus curled his index finger at his son. Tevin jumped up and jogged to him quickly.
"Would you like to go to Diagon Alley today during lunchtime?" He flicked his gaze down to the letter in his hand meaningfully.
Severus almost chuckled. "Draco and his parents." Tevin nodded. "I'll let Lucius know." He held out a smaller piece of parchment towards his son. "And there's a letter for you as well."
Tevin took it. He opened the letter, wondering who in that family was writing to him this time. When he looked at the unfolded parchment, he saw that the writing was not the elegant script of the father, nor the feminine slant of the mother. It was most definitely his best friend's writing, which was growing closer and closer to his father's penmanship every time he wrote to Tevin. He must be trying to emulate it…but Tevin didn't know if it was because he admired his father or because he was determined to forge his father's signature in the future. He wouldn't put it past Draco.
To Tevin Snape,
Mother and Father have decided that we're going to Diagon Alley to look at some new things. I think there is a new broom! I want it. It's the best broom these days. I'm not leaving until I have it.
Do you know the World Cup is this year? Father got our seats. One of the best views of the game, of course. I'm not sure who is playing. Are you going? You should come with us. I'm sure Father can get you a seat next to us. Father can do anything.
You should come and fly with me on the broom I'll get today. It will be fun.
There were times when Tevin wondered what it would be like to be Draco, to afford any and everything…and never really have to learn what the word patience meant. Times like this, when his friend would brag about owning the latest broom or always going to things like the Quidditch World Cup.
He must have been scowling for his father to ask, "Tevin, what's wrong?"
Tevin shook his head. "Nothing…just…" He handed his father the letter as an explanation.
Severus read it even quicker than the letter from Lucius. He sighed. "Draco is a privileged boy, and is not always aware how he sounds to others sometimes. You'll have to forgive him for that."
"I do, I just…"
Severus knew what his son wanted to say. "Wish that I could give you everything you want like Draco's father. I hope you know that I try my best for you."
Severus offered a sad smile to him. "And I, too, wish I could do more. But—" His smile turned wicked. "—I am not so proud as to refuse gifts for my son from his friend's father, now am I?"
Tevin grinned back at him. "Do you think he'll get me a broom, too?"
Severus's eyebrows rose mischievously. "Maybe not a broom…but he does like to spoil you just a little." Tevin grinned. "Go back to Mr. Weasley. He probably wants to continue his lecture. What is it today?"
Tevin rolled his eyes. "Another dragon."
"Ah. Then, don't keep him waiting. Where will you be right before lunchtime?"
Tevin chewed on his bottom lip for a moment, thinking. "Um…"
His father sighed again. "Have Miss Tonks bring you home after her last class. You tend to go with her to Charms class, if I'm correct?"
Tevin didn't even try to lie. "I like Charms class."
"So did your mother."
He knew he meant his real mother. "Really?"
Severus nodded. "We often tutored each other. I would help her in potions while she would assist me in charms. We both became very skilled in both subjects that way." They both shared a smile. "I'll see you then, son."
Lucius Malfoy waited with Narcissa and Draco at the entrance of Quality Quidditch Supplies. It was the year of the World Cup, and so – as it could be expected – sales in that particular store rose drastically. Brooms were sold very quickly, and the displays were cleared almost as fast as they could be replaced. That is, all except the very expensive items, like the newest model broom displayed in the store window that Draco was staring at excitedly.
Lucius saw his son staring and blocking out almost everything else around him. His world had come to consist of just the broom and the glass between them. Lucius smiled fondly at his son. Narcissa caressed his elbow with her thumb from where her hand rested in the crook of his escorting arm. He knew from the gesture that she, too, was watching Draco fondly.
However, movement caught his eye and he looked in that direction. Severus and Tevin had arrived in Diagon Alley and had found them. Severus said something quietly to his son, and then made eye contact with Lucius and held his index finger to his lips. Lucius understood.
Tevin crept up to stand beside Draco at the window, his attention split between his friend and the broom. "It's not as nice as you made it out to be," he announced.
Draco actually jumped and smashed his forehead into the glass of the display window. "Tevin!" he whined. Then, he turned firey eyes on his friend. "Are you mad? Look at it! Anyone who has that broom will be the envy of all wizard kids!"
Tevin smiled. "And that's why you want it? To make everyone jealous of you?"
Draco straightened and posed like an immature peacock, but he snorted. "People are jealous of me just because I'm Draco Malfoy. I don't need the newest broom to make people jealous."
Tevin shook his head and spoke around a quiet chuckle. "Just more than before."
"Well, announcing to everyone that my father can afford the best helps."
Tevin's amusement died just a little. He was painfully reminded of the brief conversation he'd had with his father at breakfast. He turned his head to look at his father, who gave him an apologetic smile. Tevin realized that the comment had stung them both, even though Draco did not mean for it to happen. 'You'll have to forgive him for that,' his father had said that morning. He smiled at his father, who seemed to relax at their new private joke.
He turned back to Draco and they continued to discuss the appeal of showing off the newest broom model to everyone they knew. "Except with Crabbe and Goyle," Draco rambled on. "They don't know the difference between last year's brooms and the latest ones. It'll be amazing if Goyle can read by the time we go to school, Snape."
While this was going on, Lucius had given Narcissa permission to take the boys into the shop to get Draco's broom. At her husband's urging, Narcissa did just that and ushered the boys inside. Draco didn't need to be told twice. Tevin followed his friend, the blonde's excitement carrying over to him.
"So, Severus," Lucius said, once they were alone outside the shop. "What do you say to the proposal in my letter?"
Severus pursed his lips in thought, watching the boys through the window of the shop. "I don't know, Lucius."
Lucius frowned. "But he's never been to the World Cup match, has he, your son?" Severus shook his head, and the blonde man sighed. "I've already got him a seat. Draco will be excited for him to go with us. You know the boys enjoy the game. And honestly, you can't expect them to be content with games played by students forever."
"I know, but…I suppose I wouldn't mind if he went." Lucius smiled in victory. Severus held up a hand. "But I want him to decide, not me. If he wants to go, he can go. I'm only telling you that I won't mind if he decides to go."
Lucius was confident. "Oh, he'll go." The boys were already at the register with Narcissa. "Once Draco asks him to go, your son won't be able to say no."
Severus knew that was true. "Is anyone else going with you?"
Lucius scowled. "Your son is the only appropriate friend Draco has. Do you really think I would be foolish enough to spend money on someone unworthy of my son? Really, Severus."
Severus was surprised and flattered. He briefly wondered if Lucius would say the same sentence if he knew that Tevin Snape was the same boy as the still missing Harry Potter. He highly doubted the words would have left the blonde's mouth. "What about Vincent and Gregory?"
Lucius actually laughed at the question. "Those two are complete imbeciles! When they get older, they'll make better bodyguards than friends. The muscle behind the brains, if you understand me."
Narcissa and the boys were on their way to the exit.
"And Draco is the brains among those three?"
Lucius stood proudly. "Of course. Draco's incredibly intelligent." He seemed to realize his mistake. "And Tevin. Both our boys are going to be formidable wizards when they grow up." This was a claim that Lucius had been announcing since the boys received their training wands when they were tiny children. And with each year, Lucius grew more and more convinced that it was destiny that Draco and Tevin would be the greatest young wizards of their age.
As Draco and Tevin came bounding excitedly out of the shop, Draco holding up his new broom like it was a trophy to show off, they both collided with a young boy who was approaching the store. They all landed in a heap right in front of the doorway. Narcissa stared and proceeded to block the doorway to prevent anyone from leaving the store and stepping on the boys. It took another moment for the other three adults to act.
Severus hauled his son to his feet and proceeded to brush off the dusting of snow from his clothing, while Lucius only attempted to help Draco up. The younger blonde, however, was having none of it, and preferred to place the blame on the other boy who was still on the ground. And as per usual, Draco did this loudly and shamelessly.
"Are you blind? Didn't you see there were people coming out of the shop?"
The older woman, who must have been the boy's grandmother, looked positively frightening. Tevin could not look away from the taxidermied bird that was perched threateningly on her wide-brimmed hat! Who wore dead birds on their heads? He endured his father's fussing without complaint simply because he could not look away from that bird!
The young and chubby boy, on the other hand, was quivering in the snow and obviously trying to hold back tears. "I'm sorry," he said, miserably.
"You should be!" shouted Draco. "Clumsy oaf, you are! Some wizard you'll make one day! Can't even stand up or walk without causing disaster!" He picked up his new wrapped broom from the ground, and shook it in front of the boy's face. "Could have broken my new broom, and then you'd have to replace it! And this broom is expensive! I bet you can't even afford one from ten years ago, nevermind this one."
"Draco!" hissed Narcissa. She prided herself on her family's name, but sometimes that pride could be taken a tiny bit far by her son.
Draco turned to glare at his mother, who glared right back. Lucius grabbed Draco's upper arm and jerked him forcibly out of the way, using his wand to get the snow off of his clothing, and then to dry him off.
While this silent confrontation occurred between the Malfoy family, Tevin finally managed to look away from the bird on the older woman's hat and offered a hand to the boy still on the ground. "Are you alright?" The boy didn't look up at him, but he nodded miserably. He wiped his nose with his hand to try to cover up his sniffling, then with that same hand he took Tevin's and let the dark-haired boy help him up.
"I'm sorry about this, ma'am," Severus was quietly saying to the older woman.
She was firmly building up walls and seemed determined not to allow this encounter to wound her pride. She hissed her reply to him so low that only he heard it. "At least your boy isn't as rude as that one."
It wasn't quite an acceptance of the apology, but it would have to do.
Severus was about to use a drying spell on the chubby boy, but the strict-looking woman beat him to it. He lowered his wand helplessly. He did notice, however, that she had included Tevin in the drying charm. That alone indicated the acknowledgement and acceptance of his apology to her.
"Ignore him," Tevin was saying softly to the other boy. "He's a little proud." The quiet one just nodded as his lower lip trembled.
Satisfied that the boys were dry, the bird-hat-wearing woman grabbed the boy's arm and led him into the store, shoving forcibly and meaningfully past Narcissa Malfoy. "Let's go, Neville. These people are not worth your time."
Draco sputtered from his place next to his father, who still had his arm in a firm grip. Narcissa was openly shocked at the comment and stared after their departure. Severus stared after them, too, but not for the same reason as Narcissa. He suddenly realized who it was they had just encountered. Tevin, meanwhile, was extremely confused.
"Dad, who were they?"
It was not Severus who responded to the question, but Lucius. "That," he spat venomously, "was Neville Longbottom and—"
Tevin interrupted as he looked back at the now empty doorway. "He was so quiet."
"He's a coward!" said Draco.
"Well, you yelled at him like that."
"He could have broken my—"
"Was that his mother?"
Draco snorted again. "That old bat? That's a really old mother, if it is!"
This time Tevin looked at his father. He was about to ask something else, when Lucius gave some more information. "That is his grandmother, Draco. He lives with her."
Tevin simply accepted the statement, while Draco asked for more information. "How come he doesn't live with his parents?"
Severus drew in a sharp breath. Lucius's response was flippant. "Oh, they were driven to insanity."
"Lucius, that's enough!" snapped Severus.
The boys noticed the tension between their fathers as they glared at each other fiercely. Narcissa then did the only thing she could think of to break the tension between everyone. She turned to Tevin. "Sweetie, would you like to attend the Quidditch World Cup this year?"
This question was enough to divert the attention of at least the two boys. Tevin's eyes widened. "Really? But," he gestured to his friend, "Draco said you'd have to get another seat, and didn't have an extra one."
Narcissa smiled. "He didn't know. But we do have an extra seat at the match. Would you like to go?"
Tevin's face brightened and he nodded excitedly. "Yes, please!"
Draco clapped his friend on the shoulder. "It's going to be fun, Snape! You never went, did you?" Tevin shook his head. Draco's excitement increased. "Well! It's not like the games at Hogwarts! It's much bigger and faster! The rules are still the same, and everything. You do know the teams, though, right?" This time, Tevin nodded. "Good. At least you're a little prepared. Of course I hope the England team plays, but if they don't then I hope the Nordic Team hosts this year. Their pitch is in a glacier!"
"Really? It's all ice?" Tevin was extremely interested now.
"Of course it's ice, Snape. Glaciers are ice, you know."
Draco and Tevin suddenly started walking away from their parents. Lucius broke his gaze away from Severus to follow them protectively, though mainly he was getting uncomfortable with the fury Severus was aiming at him through his eyes. The boys continued talking as they led their parents through Diagon Alley. Lucius kept close to the boys, determined to avoid another confrontation like the one with Neville Longbottom and his grandmother, while Narcissa and Severus trailed behind them. "I'm sorry for that," he said, quietly.
She shook her head. "It's alright. I don't think the boys need to know about the Longbottoms yet, either. They're still children."
The boys were talking animatedly, and sometimes drawing Lucius into the conversation as well. They loudly talked about Quidditch all the way to the next store. There was a comment that Draco made about the hopelessness of some Quidditch teams from ever getting better than last place that amused Tevin so much that he burst out in unrestrained laughter. Severus's gaze softened at the sound that until that moment he had been unaware of the degree of which he missed hearing it.
The sound must have been heard by Narcissa. "It's been a long time, hasn't it? Since he laughed like that."
Severus's tone was soft. "Yes, it has. He's been so different since Ophelia's death."
She nodded. "I know. It's good to hear him laugh again. It means he's healing." She smiled at Severus encouragingly. For the first time in many weeks, Severus felt the weight of Ophelia's death lessening.
Chapter Notes: The funeral was inspired by Viking Funeral Rites, but obviously tweaked a little for the Wizarding World.
Lyrics sung by the choir are from "In Noctem" by Nicholas Hooper, from Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince film. They belong to him and Warner Brothers. I'm just borrowing them.
Flagrantia: A canon spell. 'Causes any object affected to burn human skin when touched.' Thought this would serve well as a cremation spell, also.
Incendio: A canon spell. Sets things on fire.
'Favillae et sertum ascendare ad caelum.' = My own spell. It is a funeral spell. Lit. Trans.: "Glowing ashes and [chains of] garlands/flowers ascend to [the] sky/heavens." Latin word order may be incorrect. If so, please accept apologies for ruining the language.
The library memory scene was inspired by actual events from when I worked in a library, watching a young man with a toddler looking for children's books. It was such an endearing moment, that it needed to be shared somehow.
"Misha, the Magician and the Mysterious Amulet" is a book written by Anthony Horowitz in 1981.
Hans Christian Andersen's famous works include: The Emperor's New Clothes, The Little Mermaid, The Princess and the Pea, Thumbelina, and the Ugly Duckling.
Famous works by the Brothers Grimm include: Rapunzel, Hansel & Gretel, Cinderella, Little Red Cap, Little Briar Rose, Rumpelstiltskin, Snow-White & Rose-Red.
The excerpt: "There was once a kindly old wizard…called his lucky cooking pot..." is from The Tales of Beedle the Bard, The Wizard and the Hopping Pot by J.K. Rowling. Once again, just borrowing it.
Hope everyone enjoyed this chapter. Let me know what you thought. Please, however, keep your flames to yourself. They are unnecessary and unhelpful. Thank you! ~ RK