Disclaimer: I borrow them from time to time.. Jk owns them.. Lemon Drop anyone?
Title: Keeping Secrets
Gift For: Lyska
Pairings: Harry/Severus, Ron/Luna, Hermione/Draco, implied Minerva/Poppy, Remus/Lucius,
Warnings: slash: male/male, slight angst, fluff, AR/AU, Not EWE compliant
Summary: Harry has been keeping a secret... and so has Severus. Everyone is about to find out...
A/N:: Thanks to Kay for having patience with me while I dealt with real life issues and my best friend Nee who supports me anyway she can and beta'd this as I wrote it and kept it from being an epic! Merry Christmas and Blessed Yule, Lyska. I hope you like this..
"He's gone. Already left." Poppy, the school's mediwitch, spoke as she came in and placed herself before the Deputy's desk, clearly pouting.
Minerva looked from the papers she was grading. "You know as well I do. Since the end of the war that he claims the Winter and Summer holidays as his time alone, Poppy."
"I have a list of potions that need to be restocked for the infirmary."
"And he told you last week that he would do it before he left. But you waited and now he's gone."
Poppy humphed. "I'll give him the list when we visit for the New Year gathering he's invited us too."
Minerva rolled her eyes. Poppy wanted no one else's potions for the infirmary but Severus'. Not that she blamed her. He was the best there was in all of Europe.
Severus Snape had packed everything that he would need for the three weeks he was planning on being gone. A few things he had planned on leaving at the home he and his partner had purchased eight years ago. They spent their free time refurbishing it and remodeling it the Muggle way. Some work was done by contractors while they were busy with their jobs.
He smiled. Soon they would be retiring to a quiet life and raising a family. He couldn't wait.
Especially for the New Year's gathering they had planned. No one knew who he was involved with or that he was. Or where he spent his summers and winter holidays. He glanced in the mirror above his armiore. He looked better than he had in years. His hair was shorter now, with a few scattered gray hairs throughout. The lines around his eyes and mouth were now from smiling, rather than from anger, stress, and tension. He was tanned from his time spent working outside in the orchards they had brought back to life. The blueberry and strawberry fields had been planted and cultivated as well.
They were talking of adding a small vineyard in the spring and planting maple trees.
When they first saw the place, they'd both fallen in love with the quaint log home and surrounding countryside. They hadn't really been looking for a place, until they saw this home and the for sale sign. After looking through it, they had both looked at each other and came to a silent agreement. The house was theirs within a week. They happily argued and laughed the rest of that summer as they started working and planning on the future they would make here.
His partner had already made the move to the house at the beginning of the past summer. Severus missed the time they spent together here in secret.
Severus pulled out his pocket watch and opened it. His bonded and husband of seven years waved back at him. "Miss you, Brat."
The small picture of Harry Potter-Snape smiled back and blew a kiss at him. "Miss you too, Sev. Be home soon, then?"
"On my way."
Harry padded across the living room to settle on the couch. The fire was nice and warm, keeping the chill of the Vermont winter from seeping into his body. Eight winters now, here in the Colonies-no, the States-and he still wasn't accustomed to the cold. One would think that almost ten years in the Scottish Highlands would have prepared him, but no, it hadn't. He pulled the heavy afghan off the back of the couch and onto his lap. Dobby appeared at his elbow with a cup of cocoa with big fluffy marshmallows floating on top.
Harry moaned as he took a sip, "Love you, Dobby! Just what I needed!"
"Dobby thanks Master Harry!"
Harry snuggled down into the couch and waited. Severus would be arriving from town off the train anytime now.
They had planned on moving here together in the spring, after the end of term at Hogwarts, but an incident with a group of dark wizards led by Fenrir Greyback, had changed his mind about his life. Even though he and Severus had already planned on retiring from that life, the look on Severus face was enough for him to tender his resignation the day he was released from St. Mungo's.
He and Ron had led a squad of Auror's into the midst of an attack Fenrir was leading on a group of children out camping for the night. They lost two men that day and Harry ended up with five broken ribs and his left leg shattered, leaving him with a permanent limp. Ron had a jagged scar that ran down the side of his face now, not that Luna minded. She said it gave him the rakish look of a Muggle pirate.
All the children had been saved and Fenrir Greyback was no more.
But Harry left his job knowing that all of the Death Eaters were now captured or dead. Ron hadn't been happy about it and had been quite vocal. They argued. They threw things. Then they got drunk on Firewhiskey and managed to come out of it friends again. But, Harry vowed after that, to never touch the stuff again. Never. Ever. Again.
Of course, who's to say that when Ron finds out that Harry has been married for eight years that he's not going to throw another hissy fit. Harry'd almost bet on it. Ron was just Ron-predictable.
Once Hermione learned of his marriage, she would give him a look. Question him. Think about it. And then hopefully give him her blessings.
Harry glanced out the large bay window down into the valley below. Albus' cottage was snuggled into the edge of the woods along the road that ran up towards the main house. The old man was already planning on staying up here when everyone came for the New Year's gathering. He'd have to have Dobby hide the Maple candies again, or Albus would have them all gone before the party.
And there were a lot friends and family coming. Harry was glad they'd added the wizard space onto the side of the house, adding twenty rooms for company, complete with the silencing charms.
He knew once Lucius and Remus came, there would be no getting rid of them anytime soon. Not that he minded. Teddy, his godson would be here too and under his feet for more than a day or two then.
He loved his place. This town. It was so peaceful and quiet.
No one looked down at Harry or Severus for being married. Here they were accepted for who they were. And the population was a mixture of Squib, Muggle, and Magical folk. The Wars weren't a big thing here in the States, and he was only a small paragraph in the history books here. People were polite and he wasn't mobbed; he liked that.
He visited the Farmer's Market every Saturday, visiting with the locals and making purchases. Miss Gertrude Wallace had made him promise when the apples came in next year to bring her ten bushels of his Rome's. She had pies to make and those were the best. She also placed a standing order for blueberries and strawberries as well. She was one spunky woman for her advanced age. Albus liked her.
Pine Tree, Vermont was a grand little place to live, quiet and sedate.
Just wait till the Weasley's invaded in three weeks time. The place wouldn't know what hit it.
Harry stretched out on the couch and dozed, while he waited for Severus. He smiled as he remembered the first time he and the older man had a dinner date. Which happen quite by accident. He was suppose to meet Hermione and Severus, and another Potions Master, both which never showed.
So instead of wasting the evening, they had dinner. And the fudge that Harry had made for Hermione had gone home with Severus. Three days later, an owl with his shrunken tin appeared on his desk, making him wonder if there were more wonderful delicacies to be found.
They had been together secretly for two years before they had gone off to Paris to bond in secret. Of course, only Albus knew. The old goat somehow knew what was going on and had showed up at the bonding. Their eighth anniversary was on New Year's Eve and the gathering would be a combined announcement to everyone and a celebration.
Severus actually enjoyed the train ride from the Portkey station in Montpelier to Pine Tree. He had flown from London to Boston, then Portkeyed to Montpelier. He was a wizard and some would say he should have taken the international Portkey, but he hated the feeling after using one and vowed to never again. And he enjoyed the travel and he was able to relax and enjoy the countryside. He could have apparated but the wards that surround Pine Tree didn't allow for that mode of travel.
Suspicious bunch of bastards, Severus had commented to Harry when they first came here. Phil, their driver, was meeting him at the station. He was so glad to be going home. To shed the persona of the grouchy stern Headmaster. Here he was Severus Potter-Snape, soon-to-be proprietor of the newly opened Pine Tree Orchard.
Hopefully they could plant the vines for a small vineyard next spring and a stand of Maple trees. There was some on the property that they tapped, but a few more wouldn't hurt in a few years. Especially if Harry's fudge making takes off again, like it had last Christmas. Everyone wanted his fudge.
But Severus just wanted Harry.
Who would have thought? He never did. Until that one day. Then it was like learning to breathe again. His heart starting to beat to a new rhythm as it woke up anew. Such a steady rush of emotions he had never thought he would ever feel. Let alone live to see it happen.
And with the son of James Potter, no less. Who would have ever thought?
"Almost there, Severus," Phil said from beside him. "We had five inches of snow this week. Should be good for skiing."
"I was never one to push myself off the side of a mountain, Phil. That would be my husband."
Phil chuckled, as he angled around a snowdrift. "Daring, that one is."
"Phil, you don't know the half of it."
The older man laugh heartily all the way up the drive to the main house.
Severus dropped his bag by the door as he stomped the snow from his shoes. A wave of his hand and the rest vanished. After toeing off his shoes, he took in the sight of his home, his and Harry's. The hardwood floors gleaming with scattered rugs. The house had a rugged look but a modern feel to it. There in front of the fire was a large cushy couch in a deep maroon that Harry adored from the moment he saw it in a catalog. Matching chairs and other bits of furniture made up the rest of the living area.
Severus hung up his coat and made his way quietly to the couch where he knew that his husband would be sprawled under the Afghan that Mrs. Wallace had made for them when they bought the place. She made the quilts that adorned their bed upstairs as well.
She called the one currently on their bed, a wedding ring quilt, done up in greens and blues. It was exquisite. It was his favorite, though he'd never told Harry that. The interlocking ring pattern, a symbol to him of how their lives, souls, and magick were intertwined by their love for each other.
He carried a matching lap blanket she had made for him, to Hogwarts. It bridged the gap between him and Harry while they were apart.
Severus walked into the living area, there on the couch laid his love. His Heart sleeping quietly and peacefully when at one time, Harry never slept more than three or four hours a night without some type of sleep potion. The same could have been said for himself as well. This new life has been so good for them both in so many ways.
Severus reached out and carded his long fingers through Harry's tousled hair. So soft and thick. Harry's long lashes were dark against his cheeks, his mouth relaxed, looking utterly kissable. Toeing off his shoes, he cast the spell to widen the couch and laid down next to Harry, pulling the afghan over himself.
Harry sighed as he shuffled closer to his husband, in his sleep, as Severus closed his eyes.
Now he was home.
Albus and Hoggle, a rather large English Shepherd walked a magically cleared path up to the main house. He'd seen Phil driving Severus home earlier, but he had waited till his boys had their time together before heading on up to catch up on things from across the pond.
"Come along Hoggle. Leave the rabbits be."
The sable and white Shepard raced up the path ahead as Albus laughed. The older man was dressed in dark red Carhartt's today. He had an entire closet full of them, coats, overalls and trousers, and all in the oddest colors. No tan, dark blue or black for him.
The locals would just shake their heads and chuckle when they saw him, that was, once they'd grown accustomed to his odd appearance, and gotten to know him. In the cold weather, along with the Carhartt overalls and coat he always wore one of the fur-lined hats with the ear flaps. He'd kept his hair and beard long, despite Severus' protests, just braiding them.
That and the little spectacles that sat on the end of his nose, combined with everything else, made him the oddest looking grandfather figure anyone had seen. Mrs. Wallace had even knitted him rainbow scarfs to go with all of the Carhartt's.
But the locals, especially the children loved him. He always had candy for them and mints for the grown-ups, the really strong ones. He loved the watch their eyes go wide when they popped one in their mouths.
This life was so different than that of Britain. He hadn't really known peace until he came here. The strife and old ways of the British Magical world was just that. It was harsh and unyielding in its beliefs. They still read by candlelight when the rest of the world used electric lighting. It was insisted upon that magic be used for everything, when Muggles on the other hand, had discovered such clever ways to do so many things. He found it all so fascinating! He and Arthur Weasley exchanged letters on it weekly.
He chuckled as he reached the main house. When the boys had their gathering and made their announcement, he wondered how many Weasley's would move to Pine Tree?
Albus chuckled as he smirked. Would make things interesting for sure. Of course, Severus would be mortified, and Harry would just pour him a glass of Scotch, telling him to get over it. He reached the back door to the house, Hoggle loping up alongside. He cast a spell to clean his boots and Hoggle's feet, and opened the door. They entered, Hoggles sitting down beside him as he closed the door. Pulling his coat and hat off, he hung them up and went in search of his boys. He knew there'd be coffee or tea in the kitchen and lots of lively conversation.
New Year's Eve...
Everyone had arrived by shuttle early in the morning. With the time difference, the witches and wizards ended up having brunch and taking a kip. One by one, and in pairs they started coming downstairs.
Hermione and Draco walked hand in hand towards the dining room where Albus Dumbledore waited. The only good thing was that he was wearing dark trousers and a dark green Aran cable knit jumper that Harry had Minerva had sent him. Severus had stared at him in shock when he'd first walked in, then breathed a huge sigh of relief. Harry had chuckled uncontrollably for twenty minutes over the whole thing.
Hermione had assumed that his party was for those of his friends and comrades who'd survived the War. Draco said it was something different. Something more important. Ron and Luna came down behind them.
"This house is amazing," Ron said as he guided a pregnant Luna before him.
"I love the wood," Hermione said as she touched the wall. "I can smell it. Reminds me of Ollivander's."
The kitchen was very large and modernized and Severus had seen that it be well stocked. Two wine racks hung from the ceiling over the long butcher block counter in the center of the room. A gleaming pot rack hung near the huge commercial style stove and ovens. There was a huge sink on the other wall and a smaller on in the center island, quite handy for prep.
Bar stools dotted along the peninsula where Dobby was setting out drinks of hot chocolate and tea. Draco held out a stool for his wife. When she was seated, "Hello Headmaster."
The others turned to see Albus enter the room, followed by a large brown and white dog. Eyebrows went up at the normalcy of his attire. He chuckled at their expressions.
Albus smiled, "Madam Malfoy, as I'm no longer the Headmaster, you may call me Albus."
"Hermione, then if you please."
"The countryside is so beautiful here. Is this where Harry, and you, have hidden yourselves away from the world?"
Before he could answer, more of the guests were arriving. In walked Lucius, Remus and Teddy, Neville and Kingsley, Minerva and Poppy, and all of the Weasley's. The room was full of chatter as Dobby moved around making sure everyone had something to drink.
Ron took a drink of his eggnog, "And where is Harry?"
Severus entered the room from one side and Harry came in from another. Both men wore smiles on their faces, ready to greet their guests.
"Severus Snape!" Poppy began as she weaved around the people in the room. "I need to speak with you."
He chanced a quick glance across the room at his husband, before fixing her with a stern gaze and a raised eyebrow. "Indeed, Poppy. What couldn't wait till we returned to Hogwarts?"
Huffing, "My list of potions I need brewed."
"And I asked you for a list before break began. I have no time now."
She sputtered, staring at him. "Wha-"
Minerva arrived at her side. "Poppy, honestly, bothering Severus outside of school hours. You have enough stores for the time being. Come have some nog." She winked at Severus as she led her mate away.
"That ol' cat does have her moments. Must remember to get her more of that catnip tea she enjoys." He mumbled to himself as he looked for Harry.
Molly spotted Harry first as he stepped into the Kitchen. "Oh Harry!" She cried as she enveloped him in a breath-stealing hug.
"Oh you look good Harry." She held him away from her, giving him a look over, liking what she saw.
"I feel good as well. The change has been good for me."
"But we do miss you, Harry. Not having you around."
"I know but it was time for me to step away from that part of my life. To finally have something that was truly my own."
"And this house. It's so lovely. I can't believe that this is Albus Dumbledore's home. Who would have thought?"
Harry hid a smirk behind his hand as he coughed. "Yes. Who would have thought." Wait until they saw his cottage!
Lucius was walking along the counter. Wine bottles were stored in various places. He stopped near one of the windows below which sat a very interesting wine rack. Though, it wasn't a wine rack, per se, but more of a wine cradle. Two long curved pieces of wood, joined in the center so the curves faced away from each other, making one the base, and the other curving upward to cradle a dozen or so bottled stacked on their sides in it. It was elegant and simple, but very eye-catching.
He pulled a bottle and examined the label, "Local wines?"
Severus stepped up beside his old friend and nodded. "They are very good. Especially the Ice Wine."
"You should come back in the fall when they do the wine festival. They match cheeses from around the country and the world to the local wines. It is a delight for the palate, especially one as discerning as yours."
"Is Albus going to let us open up a few bottles?"
Severus smiled. He wasn't one for sharing his wine, but his extra bottles were in the cellar locked away. "We'll see."
Albus clapped his hands together, "If you will all follow me, Dobby and Winky are going to finish up and set up the table for our dinner." The older man turned and walked into a large open room with windows that went from the floor to the ceiling. Harry rolled his eyes. The old man was clearly loving this bit, letting everyone think he was the host and owner of the house.
Everyone was in for a big surprise.
Harry stood near Ron but within sight of Severus as he listened to his best mate drone on about things happening in the department since he had been gone. "I so want to give Dawlish a piece of my mind, but I keep hearing your voice in my head telling me to be a professional and not meet him at his level."
Harry snorted, "My voice is your voice of reason? I would have thought it was Hermione's!"
"Harry," Luna began, "I think it's both. Depends on what's happening at the time." Ron turned red in embarrassment, but laughed with everyone and hugged his two best friends.
"I must say, Albus, this house is superb! The wood and architecture is beautiful." Lucius said gazing around the room. "And your tastes have improved greatly."
Remus stood next to one of the large windows looking down into the valley below. "Serene views. This is something to wake up to everyday. Peaceful and no neighbors for miles."
"The quilts on the beds are wonderful craftsmanship. Are they local?" Molly asked.
"Yes, they are." Harry replied. "The house and all the work is local. The wood is Douglas fir and cedar. All locally harvested as well. A lot of hard work and hours went into fixing this place up. Used to be an Inn but the man who owned it had passed and his granddaughter had moved away. The place needed some love and lots of work."
As Severus and Harry smiled at each other, unknown to both men that they were being watched.
When they were finally called back into the dining room, Severus took the head of the table with Albus on one side and Harry on the other. A young Teddy Lupin sat on the other side of his Godfather.
Teddy had been born a few years after the war when Nymphadora and Remus had tried to make a marriage work, but things were rocky and she died during childbirth. Harry loved being a godfather to the boy. Severus even enjoyed the boy's company when Remus brought him to Hogwart's with him. Harry only wished he could see the boy more.
The dinner conversation was light as everyone caught up with other.
"Dessert will be served in the living room, if you will all follow me."
Harry chuckled. Albus was soaking it up being the host tonight.
When the last person had walked in, "Dobby will be passing out wine to everyone and then I have an announcement to make."
Severus sniffed his glass, "Ah, St. James' Red Velvet. Perfect."
He looked around to make sure everyone had a full glass and their attention was on him and Harry. Albus just happened to be standing next to him. The old man cleared his throat.
"Ten years ago, a missed appointment and a forgotten dinner brought two very important people together. For two years they grew closer until they decided to join their lives together on the first night of the New Year. In secret, they thought, but I found out and joined them that night as a witness to the joining."
"Who are you talking about?" Lucius asked glancing around the room.
Albus smiled looked to his companions. "May I present, Mr. and Mr. Snape-Potter!"
The room was quiet as no one knew what to say. The sound of a twig snapping in the nearby wood would have been audible. Harry looked to his two best friends. Hermione's head was leaning to the side as if she were thinking through a tough problem. And Ron.
Well Ron's head was bowed.
"The missed dinner? That was when a meeting I was in ran over and I had forgotten that we were supposed to meet," Hermione said.
Harry nodded his head. "I brought you fudge and Severus took it home with him."
"Quite delightful it was. I'm not ashamed that I asked for more."
Ron walked forward and stood in front of Harry. "I know I've not been the greatest best friend in the world. We've had our moments. I've had my moments of jealously." He turned to look at Hermione and held out his hand beckoning her forward.
Everyone in the room was quiet as they watch the events unfold.
When Hermione took Ron's hand, he held out his other hand to Harry. "Now I should be throwing a fit of epic proportions because you've kept this from us for eight years. But I'm not. We've shared something that no one else has. And I've always known that you were meant for someone more mature than anyone our age because you've seen more. Felt more and done more than others. I look at Snape and I can see what you see."
Harry took Ron's hand and Hermione and completed the circle. "Friends forever," Harry whispered, his voice thick with emotion.
"Friends forever," Hermione joined as the tears ran quietly down her face.
"Friends forever. So Mote It Be," Ron finished. The three young adults pulled together and hugged each other in a three way hug. Their head together.
"...that was intense..."
"...and some joke..."
"...you played on us. Funny..."
Molly whacked both twins on the back of their heads, "BOYS! Don't ruin the moment."
That broke the moment and the room filled with laughter as the twins rubbed the back of their heads and glared at their mother.
Lucius raised his glass, "Too Severus and Harry. May your lives be filled with happiness and joy."
Albus beamed, his blue eyes twinkling madly. "Oh! I can assure you they already are!"
Harry turned to his husband. Severus took his lifemate into his arms and proceeded to kiss him within an inch of his life.
Everyone began clapping and cheering as Dobby and Winky brought out a huge five tiered chocolate cake with white icing.
Behind them, the Grandfather clock began chiming the midnight hour, and together everyone began counting down to the New Year.
At the chime of twelve, glitter and confetti rained down on group as couples began kissing their loves and friends.
"Happy Anniversary, my Boys!"
Severus and Harry broke apart from their kiss, "I love you, Severus," Harry whispered.
"And I you, my Brat."
~finis... but is it ever? No ... never..