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I off course don't own any of the characters, JKR is the genius who does.

Summary: Very alternate universe. Severus Snape defeated the Dark Lord many years ago, married Lily Evans and had a son that they named Harry. Marriages in the wizarding world are arranged for magical boys at age three, but Lily can't accept that. Ron and Hermione are friends with Harry separately for they never got to stand each other after Ron called Hermione a Know-it-all in first year. Now, a new wave of evil threatens the magical world and all witches and wizards must unite. Will Lily and Severus' love survive? Will Ron and Hermione find their way to friendship and maybe more?


PROLOGUE: The Promise

Lily and Severus ran through their small house like mad. Their son Harry was wondering around, running from them with a mischievous look that made them both smile as they tried to catch him. Severus took hold of him and held him up high, watching him laugh above him.

"You are my treasure - both of you" said Lily, as her husband brought their boy to her so she could fit him into his new robes. Severus watched them happily for a moment and then asked her to recount the plans for the day.

"We are visiting a place called the Burrow in Ottery St Catchpole. My friend Ileana invited us to meet her cousin Arthur Weasley who works at the Ministry in the department of Muggle relations. It is his youngest son's birthday and there will be lots of kids for Harry to play with, hopefully he will let the birthday boy touch his own present." They both chuckled.

"Ileana said Arthur would be happy to hear about my work with the ministry to continue to protect Muggles and Muggle-born witches and wizards. I know it's safe right now, but we both also know that no matter what, troubled times are coming ahead. I must do everything I can to make sure Hogwarts continues to be safe and nurturing for all witches and wizards, and that there are written laws for the protection of Muggle-borns, instead of simply hoping for the good will of whoever is in charge."

"Don't worry, I am with you." Severus looked into his wife's eyes, those beautiful green eyes that had enchanted him when he was only a boy. He looked at her with such intensity and love and she knew she could always count on him. Her faithful husband, who had risked his life and stood against all the twisted convictions of his fellow Slytherins, who had betrayed and helped defeat the dark lord after James and Sirius were murdered, he was the first and last keeper of her heart. She gave him a quick kiss and just said "let's go love".

Severus picked up Harry and headed to the fireplace with Lily right behind them.

"Oh, you must be the Snapes, welcome! Welcome!" said Molly as the visitors exited the fireplace.

"Please call me Severus. This is my wife Lily and our son Harry. It's great to meet you."

"Oh, it's my pleasure, I'm Molly Weasley. Arthur can't wait to meet you!"

Lilly smiled brightly and suddenly Harry tugged from his dad and moved towards Molly. Molly looked delighted and simply said "may I". Lily nodded and Severus handed Harry to Molly. She held him and Harry cooed happily. Lily was glad and thought – this family is trustworthy, Harry knows. Severus smiled and they all headed to the main room.

"It's my Ronald's birthday today, he turns three. How old is Harry?" Molly said as she walked the Snapes around the room introducing them to her family's friends and many relatives.

"He will be three in July" said Severus.

"That's great; they'll go to Hogwarts together someday! Oh, Arthur dear, these are Severus and Lily Snape, and this is Harry."

"How wonderful to finally meet you! I have heard so much about you dear girl. Your work on the Muggle protection act and equal rights for the Muggle-born, truly remarkable! And you dear sir, the man who helped defeat the dark lord from the inside, it's such an honor."

Lily's cheeks flushed a little and she simply said "Thank you Arthur, the pleasure is all ours."

Lily and Molly moved to the sitting room and placed Harry on large magically patted blanket to join the other small children. Harry and Ron seemed to be meant to be around each other. They played happily with Ron's birthday presents. Molly picked up Ginny and baby Anna lied quietly sleeping in a small crib. A pair of twins ran from corner to corner teasing their older brother who sat still in a chair with a book on his lap. The older kids sat on the floor by small table and were complete engrossed in a game of Exploding Snap. Lily was happy as she thought "these are the children my Harry will befriend at Hogwarts, they are good and innocent and full of joy."

"Lily, please feel free to join Arthur and Severus in the main room, I know you are here to talk to him about some Ministry business. I can watch the children until the ceremony" said Molly.

"The ceremony?" said Lily.

"Yes, today the Davies give Anna's hand in marriage."

"Baby Anna, in marriage, to whom?" said Lily, a bit of exasperation in her voice.

"To Ronald off course!" said Molly with a smile. "It's wizarding tradition, you see, all marriages are arranged when the boy turns three years old. I'm so pleased, the Davies are such wonderful people, it will be great to join our families."

"What!" said Lily, with anguish and anger in her voice. "How can these children get engaged? How can they be forced to marry without knowing they love each other? She is only a few months old, he's three, they're babies!"

"It's alright dear. I know it sounds awful at first, which is how I felt when I found out about Arthur and me. But then I saw him when I was 12 and I was more than pleased. In our time at Hogwarts, I fell in love effortlessly, it was meant to be. I know these two will find that same love."

Lily was horrified, but she noticed the sincerity in Molly's words. She knew, no, she felt, that the witch next to her loved her children fiercely and that she thought this was the best option for little Ronald. She gave Molly a weak smile and headed to the main room to talk to Arthur.

The rest of the day went fast. Arthur turned out to be one of the most pleasant men Lily had ever met. She felt she had a new ally for her cause. Even the engagement ceremony was not that bad. It was cheerful in fact and followed by the cake and birthday celebration. They left the Burrow after assuring the Weasleys that they will visit often and receiving Molly's warm hugs. Severus, normally not comfortable around many people, was rather talkative today, but still a bit shocked at the hugs. No one noticed though that before the ceremony Lily had held little Ronald and murmured into his ear "if you don't love her when you are older, you won't have to marry her. You are like my Harry, precious and innocent, you deserve happiness. I give you a choice and I promise to help you if you don't want this faith."