"Shite, Harry! How much are you gonna throw up?" Ron was standing behind Harry, holding up the shaking man. Ron was really worried, this was the third day in a row that Harry couldn't keep anything down. "Maybe we ought to get you to a healer, y'know, to see what's wrong."
Harry leaned against the side of the shed and shook his head. "Hermione just had a look at me. She told me what's wrong. That's why I wanted to talk to you alone." Harry drew a deep breath. "Did you know that wizards can get pregnant?"
Ron's eyes nearly popped out of their sockets. "You're kidding, right?...You're not kidding!"
"Glad to see that I'm not the only one who didn't know."
"Does Charlie know yet?"
"No. He's not really keen on kids and I don't know how he's going to react."
"You need to tell him really soon, Harry. You're going to have to see all sorts of specialists about this 'n stuff."
"I know...not really looking forward to that part." Harry bent almost in half as another wave of nausea wracked his slim frame. Ron held on to Harry, making certain he didn't fall.
Hermione found them there and pressed a small phial into Harry's hand.
"It's an anti-emetic, Harry, to keep you from vomiting. It's safe for pregnant wizards, I checked." She watched as Harry downed the blue liquid in the phial. Almost immediately his skin colour changed from pale green and clammy to just pale and clammy.
"Harry?" Ron remembered something that Harry had said earlier. "What did you mean when you said that Charlie's not too keen about kids? Charlie loves kids...just look at how he is with everyone else's."
Harry raised his eyes to look at Ron and Hermione. "He thinks he would be a horrible father. We've talked before, about adopting, but he always dropped the subject quickly. The last time I brought it up, he disappeared for three days." All three remembered when Charlie had left that day and how worried Harry had been. Harry sighed and slid down the side of the shed to sit on his haunches. "Besides...I don't even know how he feels about me. He cares, yeah, but he's never said anything, and we've been together for three years."
Ron's jaw dropped. "What?" When Harry just shook his head, Ron's jaw quickly became hard...Harry knew that he was clenching his teeth.
Hermione looked confused. "What do you mean he's never said anything? He's told me several times that he loves you...he's made sure that Molly and Arthur know, too. How could he not say anything to you?"
Harry closed his eyes and ducked his head. Hermione realized that Ron was becoming very angry at his brother, if his red face was anything to go by...and it always was. Harry saw this too and shook his head again.
"Ron, don't say anything to him." Harry's voice was weary. "He'll either tell me what he feels on his own, or he won't. I don't want a forced confession out of him." Harry stood and swayed slightly. Ron steadied him and Hermione put her arm around his waist to help him walk inside the Burrow.
Ron and Hermione spent the morning convincing Harry to tell Charlie about the pregnancy that day.
"He needs to know, Harry." Hermione was firm. "He needs to know so that he can be beside you when you need him there."
"Mione...what if he doesn't want to be there? I won't force him to do anything. I can't. Even if he doesn't love me, I love him." Harry's last words were just a whisper.
"But you are going to tell him, right?" Ron's fists were clenched; he was having a hard time controlling his temper. He was mad as hell at his brother right now.
"Yeah," Harry sighed and stood up. "Don't see how I've got much choice."
Ron and Hermione followed Harry down the stairs to where Bill and Charlie were discussing investing money in the Muggle stock market. Hermione had made both Ron and Harry tidy sums by investing their money for them.
Harry stayed a little distance from Charlie.
"Did you know that wizards can become pregnant?"
Bill's head shot up, his eyes wide.
"Yeah...Hermione, are these returns correct?"
"Charlie, what if..."
Bill's eyes got impossibly wider.
"No, Harry. We've already had this conversation. I don't want children. Besides, it would take a wizard more powerful than Dumbledore to get past the contraceptive charms I've been using."
Harry's face lost all colour. Bill was, for the first time since the war, afraid. Harry's eyes were a dark acid green and very large in his white face. Bill was afraid Harry was going to pass out.
"You've been using contraceptive charms without telling me?" Ron touched Harry's arm, alarmed that Harry was visibly shaking.
Charlie looked up at Harry for the first time. Bordering on panic, he took in Harry's white face and his shaking. "Harry? What's wrong with using contraceptive charms?"
Ron's alarm ratcheted up another notch when he felt Harry's trembling suddenly stop. Bill had risen out of his seat and was looking between Charlie and Harry with something akin to fear. Hermione was frozen, staring in disbelief at Charlie. They could all feel the magic crackling around Harry, pouring off of him in waves.
"HOW COULD YOU DO THAT TO ME? HOW COULD YOU DO THAT WITHOUT ASKING ME FIRST?" A vase on the mantle shattered and the sound of dishes breaking in the kitchen reached them. This was the first time in a long time that Charlie could remember Harry raising his voice, and it was the first time Harry had ever raised his voice to him. Charlie felt like the room was closing in around him and opened his mouth to say something, but Harry cut him off.
"Never mind! But you've forgotten one thing, Charlie..." Harry stated softly.
Bill braced himself for an outburst that never came.
"I am more powerful than Dumbledore." With that said, and with no warning to anyone in the room, Harry disapparated.
Ron and Hermione gasped and stared at the space that used to contain Harry. Bill stood very still, in shock, staring at Charlie.
Charlie's face went pale and he stood slowly. He moved like he was sleep walking; very slowly and deliberately he walked up to Hermione and Ron.
"What did he mean, that he's more powerful than..."
They all watched as Charlie's eyes widened; he became even more pale and his knees buckled. Bill leapt across the space and caught Charlie before he hit the floor.
Harry didn't recognize where he was for a moment, after he apparated. Slowly, the familiar gates of Hogwarts impressed upon his conscious mind where he was. He silently opened the gates and walked up the rise to the imposing castle above.
Once inside, he made his way to the Great Hall and used the floo to get to the potions classroom in the dungeons. Severus heard the fire flare up and turned as Harry stumbled out. Harry's eyes flickered around the room until they settled on him. Severus watched as his young friend tried to walk toward him, but instead collapsed onto the cold stone floor. He quickly made his way to Harry's side and realized that Harry was beginning to hyperventilate. Grabbing a pinch of powder from a jar and throwing it into the hearth, he called out to the medi-witch in the hospital wing.
"Poppy! I need you! Now!"
"Step aside Severus, I'm coming through." Madame Pomfrey saw Harry at once and rushed to him. "Severus, help me...make him put his head between his knees...tell him to breathe." She started running her wand over Harry, performing diagnostic charms.
"Come on Harry...in through your nose, out through your mouth...BREATHE!" The command seemed to unfreeze Harry's muscles and he obeyed the orders. Some colour returned to Harry's face as his breathing began to slow. But as his breathing evened out, Harry started to shake.
Severus wrapped his arms about his friend and held onto him as Harry turned in his arms and began to sob into Severus' robes. Severus was actually frightened. He had never seen Harry cry like this, not even when Fred Weasley had been gravely injured in the final battle. That Mr. Weasley had survived was a miracle, but Harry had only wept then...these were the sobs of someone coming unhinged.
Poppy gasped and began to whisper spells and charms under her breath. Severus felt Harry relax in his grasp and realized that Poppy had placed him in a sleep of sorts. He laid Harry back, charming his own cloak into a warm pile of blankets for Harry as Poppy frantically worked over him. Severus didn't recognize any of the the spells being used, but Poppy knew what she was doing. The minutes dragged by. He watched as she concentrated her spell work on Harry's lower abdomen, wondering just what it was that had her working so frantically.
After what seemed like hours, Poppy sighed and stopped what she was doing. "Thank Merlin you called me when you did. If you had waited, he would have lost the baby."
Severus stilled and felt his eyes grow wide. "Baby?"
"Yes...by my calculations, Mr. Potter here is about 10 weeks pregnant. Male pregnancies are rare and can be complicated. We'll need to inform Albus that he's here and arrange for a suite off of the hospital wing. He'll need to stay in a healing coma for a few days, possibly a week, just to be sure that everything is alright." She looked at him. "Where did he come from?"
"I don't know...I heard the floo as he entered. I haven't seen him in months. Not since the start of the term, when he and his partner, Charlie Weasley, came to talk to the Care of Magical Creatures classes about dragons."
"Charlie Weasley? I didn't realize that they were partners." Poppy looked at him. "Did you know?"
"Yes, they've been together since about a year after the final battle." Severus thought quickly. "If Harry is here, and in this condition, I can only assume that something happened between them to cause a rift."
The sound of the floo activating again gained their attention. Neither was surprised when the headmaster, Albus Dumbledore, stepped into the classroom.
"Poppy, Severus." Albus' attention was riveted on the young man lying on the blankets. "The castle told me that Harry was back and was injured." Kneeling beside Harry, Albus gently brushed Harry's fringe away from his eyes. "What are his injuries?"
Poppy heard the worry in Albus' voice and hastened to reassure him. "Mr. Potter should be fine, but I need to keep him in a healing coma for the next few days, at least." Poppy paused for a moment and wondered how much she should tell the headmaster.
"You can tell me, Poppy, you know that the castle will tell me eventually, even if you don't."
"Albus, Harry is approximately 10 weeks pregnant." She felt the elderly headmaster tense in surprise. "When Severus summoned me, Harry's body was starting the process of miscarrying the baby." The light in Albus' eyes dimmed and he bowed his head.
Placing a hand on Albus' arm, she reassured him again. "I was able to stop it. The baby is fine and is healthy. Although, at this point, I am not too sure about Mr. Potter's mental health. He was crying like he was losing his mind when I started running tests on him."
"I'll ask the castle for a suite of rooms...where would you like them to be?"
"Off of the hospital wing, so that I can keep a close eye on him, and so that the students don't know that he's here. It would only cause him problems if the students keep coming up to him and asking questions. Some of the older students will remember him from when he was here."
"Of course." Albus was silent for a moment, concentrating on the castle and making his request. "The rooms will be ready in a few hours. We can move him there later, after curfew." He looked at Severus. "Can he stay in your rooms? Just until we can get him to the hospital wing without being seen?"
"Certainly." Severus was a curious man, quiet by nature, sometimes surly, but always curious. Now he had a puzzle to figure out. Why Harry was here and what had caused him to come unhinged. He felt he owed it to Lily to make sure that her son was alright.
Charlie remained unconscious for quite some time. Molly and Arthur had been home for a few hours and had been told of the situation when Charlie started to wake up. His head was pounding and it felt like he had been hit by a very large, angry bludger. He quietly sat up on the sofa and put his head in his hands. Merlin, he had made a mess of things. How was he going to explain to Harry that he was afraid of losing him in childbirth or that, if they adopted a child, he was afraid that he wouldn't love him or her like he should. It felt as if all of his love was reserved for Harry and there was no room for anyone else. Hell, he hadn't even told Harry how he felt about him. He knew he should have told him, there was no excuse for him not telling Harry. Merlin knew he had told anyone else who would listen to him. There was no other reason, other than that he was afraid to lose Harry. And now it looked like he had lost him, all because he couldn't admit that he needed Harry almost more than he needed air to breathe.
He didn't notice Molly and Hermione standing in the doorway. Arthur and Bill had taken Ron and started to go to the places where they thought Harry might go. Since neither of the women had heard anything yet, they assumed that they were still looking. The look of deep pain on Charlie's face made Molly want to go comfort him, tell him that they would find Harry. Hermione felt her tense up to go to Charlie. She took Molly's hand and drew her out the back door, into the garden.
"Molly, I know you are his mother and you want, with everything in you, to go to him." Molly nodded. "He needs to work out what happened on his own. He is scared for some reason, and he needs to figure out why...if he hasn't already. Harry said that they had discussed adoption and Charlie said no because he felt he would be a horrible father. I just can't see that. He's so good with all the children and was really excited when Fred and Oliver adopted. I don't know what's going on in his head, but I can guarantee that it has a high level of emotion to it. Charlie doesn't do anything by halves when it comes to Harry."
"I just don't understand what would make him say no to a family of his own." Molly sighed. "When Fred and George were born, he talked non-stop for days about how he wanted a child of his own, and he was only six years old then. What made him change his mind?"
Hermione shrugged slightly. "Like I said, he never does anything by halves when it comes to Harry. Something must have happened, at some point, to scare him silly about having children. I know, at first, they talked about adoption, and that Harry was looking into it. But I don't understand what, about childbirth, would..." Hermione's voice trailed away. Molly looked at her curiously. "Do you remember, about two years ago, when the wife of one of the other dragon handlers died in childbirth?" Molly nodded. "Charlie was there...he tried to help save her. They were only able to save the baby and she died."
"Merlin! Do you think that changed his opinion?"
"It may have." The more Hermione thought about it, the more certain she became. "Yes, I'm fairly certain that is what changed his mind. Think about it...Charlie knew that wizards can become pregnant. Granted, it is rare, but with a wizard as powerful as Harry, it's almost a foregone conclusion. He started using contraceptive charms after that, I'm sure of it. He asked if I had a book on charms and was almost lost in it for several days. I remember because I had never seen Charlie that set on learning something from a book."
"But, it's a rare thing, to have a mother die in childbirth. From what I remember, the only reason she died was because she had been attacked by one of the dragons right before that and it was the burns that killed her, not the baby."
"But what if Charlie got that turned around in his mind? What if he couldn't separate the fact that she had died while giving birth from the fact that she was pregnant? What if he now associates pregnancy with dying in childbirth? If his mind conveniently ignored the burns, it would make more sense. Does that sound like something Charlie might do? Get so caught up in only one aspect of a situation and ignore the others?"
"Yes, that sounds like Charlie," Molly breathed.
Hermione grabbed Molly's hand again, this time tugging her toward the house, instead of away from it. "Okay, now is the time to talk to Charlie...remind him that it was the burns, not the baby, that killed his friend's wife. You talk to him, I'll only botch it up."
Severus made his way up to the hospital wing. Harry was floating between Albus and himself. Since they were an hour into curfew, no one was anywhere to be seen...thankfully. He would hate to have to Obliviate a student. He could feel the magic pouring off of Harry and was glad that Poppy had placed him in a deeper sleep than before. Still, she might need his and Albus' help if Harry decided to come out of it before she thought it safe. Harry had woken up briefly, in Severus' quarters, and Albus had explained to him that he needed to rest. Harry had nodded and allowed Poppy to spell him into a deeper, healing sleep.
As they neared the hospital wing, Minerva McGonagall approached them. She was shocked to see Harry floating along between them and her normally pale face went white. "Albus! Is Harry alright?"
"He is fine, just sleeping. You wished to see me?"
"You have visitors, in your office. I tried to tell them it was too late to see you today, but they insisted."
Albus sighed. "Let me guess, one or more of the Weasley men."
"How did you...?" She looked at Harry again. "Oh."
"Yes. Please tell them I will see them shortly, as you had to wake me. And, Minerva?"
"You have not seen Harry; to your knowledge, he has not been here. Until we find out what, exactly, is going on, Harry's presence here will remain a secret."
Minerva nodded and hurried away toward the headmaster's office. Severus looked at the older man.
"Thank you. Harry will not want to be surrounded by people until he has had a chance to recover completely."
"You care for him."
"As I would a son. I promised Lily, all those years ago, that I would watch over her son and make certain that he was safe. I allowed my hatred of his father to overcome that promise when Harry was a student here. Since the battle, he and I have worked toward becoming friends...I like to think we have succeeded, somewhat."
"Severus, know that you have succeeded. Harry would not have come to you if you were not someone whom he trusts completely. You notice that he did not come to me. You have become true friends." The headmaster paused, choosing his words carefully. "Harry will need your support. I do not pretend to know what has happened between him and Charlie Weasley, but he will need your help to get him through this. He may need you to be a sounding board, please do not judge Harry by what he tells you."
"I wouldn't do that...Harry is a very complex person, even more so than I am. Whatever he tells me will be kept in the strictest of confidence, unless he gives me leave to tell you."
The elderly headmaster nodded and continued to walk toward the hospital wing. At the door, he turned to Severus. "I need to go see which Weasleys have come to call." He took a moment to charm his robes into a house coat and slippers. "Please stay with him, read to him or just talk to him, so that he knows he's not alone. I will return as soon as I have sent the Weasleys on their way."
Three men stood as Albus walked into his office. Arthur Weasley shook the headmaster's hand. "Albus, forgive us for intruding so late, but we have a very important matter to discuss with you."
Albus looked around, to Bill and Ron Weasley, standing behind Arthur. Bill looked calm, but very pale. Ron was anything but calm...his face and neck were very red and his hands were clenching into fists and then releasing. Albus could feel the anger and tension coming off of the young man and wasn't quite sure who to be concerned for, Harry or Charlie.
Ron started pacing. He stopped in front of the headmaster and begged, "Please tell me you've seen Harry! We can't find him and I'm really worried about him." He fell to pacing some more before stopping again. "He left the Burrow late this morning and we haven't seen or heard from him since. Charlie..." Ron stopped and drew an angry breath. "Charlie said some things to him that were hurtful and Harry disapparated. Have you seen him?"
Albus looked deep into Ron's eyes and saw only true concern for his friend.
"What did your brother say to Harry to hurt him? Maybe, if I knew, I could assist you in finding him."
Ron's shoulders sagged. "So you haven't seen him?"
"No, Ronald, I haven't...I'm very sorry."
Ron looked at Bill and nodded for him to take over the tale. "Headmaster, before we go any further into what happened, you should know why it happened, it may help." Bill paused. "Harry is pregnant."
Albus schooled his features into surprise and shock and motioned for Bill to continue.
"Charlie, for some strange reason, decided that he didn't want children. I don't know why, but I do know when. About two years ago, he came to me and asked if I knew of any contraceptive charms that were very powerful, stronger than the normal ones that we are taught. He was almost crying when he asked me for help. He wouldn't say why, but he was insistent that I help him. I did as he asked. For some reason, he didn't want either himself or Harry becoming pregnant. I knew there was a pretty good chance, because of the strength of Harry's magic, so I helped him. I didn't think that it would actually happen now, especially not with strong contraceptive charms in place...but it did. Harry tried to tell Charlie, this morning, that he is pregnant, but Charlie made the mistake of letting Harry know that he had been using contraceptive charms. Harry became very angry...he shattered a vase and several dishes..."
"So that's what happened to that ugly thing," Arthur mused. Albus motioned for Bill to go on.
"Charlie told Harry that it would take a wizard more powerful than you, sir, to get through those charms, so I know he had done some more research before using them. Harry went all pale and quiet...that's when he reminded Charlie that he is more powerful than you. Then he disapparated. We need to find him...I don't know much about them, but I've heard that male pregnancies are really complicated, requiring a lot of magic to stabilize them. I think, if anything happens to Harry, Charlie will come completely unglued."
"Where is your brother?"
"We left him at the Burrow with Hermione and Mum...Hermione said that either she or Mum will talk to Charlie to find out exactly what is going through his mind."
They heard the sound of the floo activating and in swept Charlie Weasley, supported by Hermione Granger. "Is he here? Please tell me he's here!" Charlie looked around and visibly deflated when he saw that Harry was not amongst their numbers. "Headmaster, please tell me you've seen Harry!"
Albus looked at Charlie very carefully. He had never seen this Weasley brother this agitated. His hair stood on end and he was very pale, with two spots of high color on his cheekbones. His hands were shaking and he looked like he was going to be sick. Hermione led Charlie to one of the chairs, while Ron pointedly looked away from him. At least now I know who Ronald is angry with, thought Albus.
"No, Charlie, I have not seen Harry." Charlie moaned low in his chest and curled into a ball in the chair. "Harry has not come to see me." Albus moved over to the hearth and tossed a small amount of powder into it. "Severus Snape."
They waited a moment, then Severus' head appeared in the green flames. "You called, Headmaster?"
"Yes Severus, have you seen Harry Potter?"
Severus blinked and slowly said, "No, I have not. Is there a problem I should know about?"
Albus looked at Charlie before continuing. "There might be. Is there anyone, besides yourself, who Harry would come to Hogwarts to see?"
"Not to my knowledge. I will let you know if he does come to see me." Severus stepped through the flames, making Albus move back. Albus had not seen his Potions Master this angry in a long time. Severus walked over to where Charlie was sitting. "What have you done to him?" Severus' voice was low and harsh, and Albus saw that his hands were fisted tightly. "What did you do to Lily's son?"
"Severus...not now. I am sure that Mr. Weasley did what he thought was best at the time." Severus glared at the younger red-headed man, then turned and flooed to the potions classrooms.
Hermione touched Albus' arm. "You haven't seen Harry? I was almost positive he would come here...if not to talk to you, then to see Professor Snape."
"The castle has not told me that he is here, child. Rest assured, if Harry was here, the castle would tell me." Albus could lie, if needed, but he really didn't like to... most of the time.
For the next 5 days, Harry remained in the healing sleep. He seemed to understand that it was necessary, if he was going to carry his baby to term. The magic flowing around him lessened by the second day, meaning that it was doing more important things...like concentrating on the life growing within his body. Albus, Minerva, Severus and Poppy all took turns sitting with Harry and reading to him. Albus chose books on concealing and glamour charms, Minerva chose to read from books on Quidditch, Poppy read medical texts and Severus read to him from the Daily Prophet and, surprisingly, the Quibbler. They each reported back to Poppy if Harry moaned or made any small movement.
On the sixth day of the sleeping charm, Harry decided he'd had enough sleep. Severus was reading him the latest Quidditch scores when he noticed Harry was moving much more than normal. He quickly summoned Poppy and Albus. Poppy motioned for him to lie on the bed next to Harry, so that he didn't try to get out of bed immediately. With a swish and small flick of her wand, Harry's eyes opened. When he realized that Severus was gently holding him onto the bed, he chuckled.
"Not going anywhere..."
"We thought it would be best to be prepared, considering how much you loathe hospitals." Severus let go and sat up on the bed, remaining next to Harry.
"Poppy, please come with me, I need to discuss one of the students with you." Albus looked at Severus and gave him a slight nod.
Severus waited until the door to the bedroom had closed firmly behind them before turning to Harry. "I realize that you may not want to discuss why you came here, but I want to let you know that, whenever...if you are ever ready, I will be more than willing to listen. We may not have been close in the past, but since the war, we have, I think, conquered our animosity. I think of you as I would a son, Harry, had I ever been blessed enough to have one. I hope that you would consider taking me into your confidence."
Harry looked at Severus and nodded. "When I am ready...not yet. It's still too fresh, too painful." Harry closed his eyes and a single tear streaked down the side of his face. Severus carefully put his arms around Harry and just held him close, stroking his hair, trying to let Harry know that he was there for him. Even though Harry didn't cry, he still allowed Severus to hold him. He'd never felt the arms of a caring parent that much, except for Molly Weasley, and this was different. This was like a father holding him, that much he'd never experienced. Harry relaxed and soon fell asleep, lulled by Severus' presence and the comfort of his arms around him.
The first few days after his awakening Harry spent re-acquainting himself with the castle. She seemed to know where he wanted to go and was happy he was there. He really couldn't communicate with her, but he felt the emotions she wanted him to feel. Mostly joy and happiness, but occasionally concern and slight anger when he did anything she felt was a danger to his condition, like climbing steps. Harry took to using the floo system in the castle, so that he didn't have to feel the last two very often. The first Saturday that he felt better, on Dumbledore's advice, he allowed himself to be taken to Hogsmeade by Severus. Albus had shown Harry how to cast a glamour charm on himself, so that he wasn't recognized.
Harry enjoyed the time spent buying clothing and necessities for himself. He'd really not cared what he looked like up until that point. Although, if the truth were told, he still didn't care. He knew that he was depressed over his situation, but allowed Sev, as he'd taken to calling his father figure, to help him try to work his way out of it. Slowly, Harry was confiding in the older man, trying to make sense of what had happened and, more importantly, what to do about it. He knew he loved Charlie, that wasn't going to change, and he didn't want it to. He just didn't know how Charlie felt.
He didn't know that Charlie had been back to Hogwarts three times since that first night. He didn't know that Charlie was starting to look like a ghost of himself; he was very pale and he had noticeably lost weight. They, Albus and Severus, didn't tell him...they felt that Harry needed to start taking care of himself and his baby. If they had told him about Charlie, it would only have made him worry.
While talking to Sev was cathartic, it still didn't solve his problem of what to do about Charlie. This was his child, too, and Harry felt that it was wrong to keep the baby from him. He didn't share these thoughts with Sev...he didn't know if he could. They were depressing thoughts and Sev and Albus would probably tell him that it was wrong to feel that way. They had, obviously, sided with Harry on this matter and were taking pains to ensure that nothing happened to upset him.
After about five weeks at Hogwarts, Harry decided that he wanted to go to Diagon Alley. He wanted to go to Flourish and Blotts to see if they had any books on male pregnancy and he had an intense craving for Florian Fortescue's ice cream. Albus and Sev tried to talk him out of it, but his mind was made up. Using one of the secret passages out of Hogwarts, Harry made his way to Hogsmeade early one morning. From there, he apparated to the Leaky Cauldron. Wearing the glamour that he had chosen, longer light brown hair, no scar and blue eyes, he walked through the pub and out the back door. Tapping his wand on the wall, he watched the bricks form the archway into Diagon Alley. This never ceased to amaze him, and he chuckled at himself.
As it was the middle of the week, and school wasn't out yet, the stores weren't that busy. After filling his money bag at Gringotts, he went to Florian Fortescue's first, to get rid of the horrible craving for mint and chocolate ice cream with strawberries. Next he went into Flourish and Blotts. He found two books on male pregnancy, and wondered how long it would take before he ended up in a revised edition of one, or both, of them.
He stood for a long time outside of Eeylops Owl Emporium before he got up the courage to go inside. He had not wanted to buy another owl since Hedwig's death during the war. But, if he was going to be away from Ron and Hermione, he wanted, no...needed, a way to contact them, but not have them know where exactly he was. Sev had told him that they were still at the Burrow. He hadn't asked how Sev knew. Half an hour later, he exited the shop with a beautiful brown and white barn owl in a large silver cage.
"I'm going to have to think of a good name for you." Harry thought for a moment. "Aeolus, Keeper of the Winds." Harry whispered. While he could change his appearance, he couldn't change his voice. He had already seen four people he knew and was starting to feel edgy. He started back toward the Leaky Cauldron when he saw a table full of red-heads at the ice cream parlour. His pulse sped up and he started to feel faint. Quickly moving back against one of the buildings, he watched as Bill, Ginny and Molly Weasley tried to get Charlie to talk to them.
Gods! thought Harry, He looks like shite! Do I look like that? Harry didn't know it, since he'd all but stopped looking in mirrors, but without the glamour, he did, indeed, look awful. There were dark rings, from lack of sleep, under his dull green eyes, and his face was thinner and very, very pale. He had lost weight, as well, though not as much as Charlie had. Harry kept his weight loss covered with the slightly too large clothing he was wearing to accommodate his increasing waistline...he didn't want to hear anything from Sev, Madame Pomfrey was bad enough. For a moment, Harry felt his glamour slipping, and hurried to correct it before anyone saw him.
He stood for a long moment, drinking in the sight before him. He knew he was playing with fire, but couldn't seem to help himself. Charlie had lost so much weight that his cheekbones stood out in stark relief. His bright blue eyes were shadowed and his beautiful mouth didn't smile. He just looked at his family and nodded, and then looked away. Right to where Harry was standing. Harry forced himself to straighten and walk away, toward the Leaky Cauldron. He felt as if Charlie was staring at him, could feel those blue eyes watching him. As the bricks closed back up after him, he risked a look back. Charlie was staring at him. Charlie straightened in his chair in shock and called out his name. "Harry!"
Harry hurried into the front of the pub and apparated back to Hogsmeade as fast as he could without splinching himself. Only when he and his new owl were back at Hogwarts did he allow himself to relax.
Bill watched Charlie watch a young man with long, light brown hair, and a brown and white barn owl, walk toward the Leaky Cauldron. There was something familiar about the younger man's walk. He paused by the wall and tapped the bricks with his wand...a wand Bill had seen before. He stood up, intending to stop the man, when he stepped through the archway back into the Leaky Cauldron. As the bricks started to close up behind him, the young man turned to look directly at Charlie. The glamour around the man's blue eyes fell and Bill found himself looking into Harry's extremely sad green eyes.
Charlie sat up straight in his chair and yelled. "Harry!" Charlie took off up the street and made it to the wall just as the bricks closed completely. Bill came up behind him and tapped on the wall with his wand to get into the Leaky Cauldron. They both rushed into the common room, but Harry was gone.
Bill turned in time to catch Charlie as he collapsed. Only then did Bill realize how thin his brother had become. Too thin...
Bill spent the rest of that day and all of the next trying to figure out a way to track Harry's magical signature. He finally found what he was looking for in a small book that Hermione had given him, in the hope that it would help. He jumped off of his chair with a shout, causing Charlie to jump and stare at him. "I've found it! Charlie, I've found a way to trace Harry!"
Charlie's blue eyes widened and he almost smiled. "Are you sure? Please don't get my hopes up!" Charlie was lying on the sofa in the living room, wrapped in a blanket. Their mother had told him that he wasn't to move unless it was to go to the loo or into the kitchen to eat. Charlie had actually eaten last night, something Bill hadn't seen him do for several weeks. Seeing Harry seemed to have helped Charlie make up his mind to live again. After almost 6 weeks of watching his younger brother waste away, Bill was ecstatic about the change.
He was also worried about Harry...the look in his eyes, after the glamour had dropped, bothered Bill. There had been tiredness, yes, but the sorrow was what had caught his attention. Sorrow...almost as if Harry thought Charlie wouldn't want him anymore.
They both turned as they heard Hermione shriek in the kitchen. They hurried into the kitchen in time to see the brown and white barn owl that Harry had been carrying yesterday wing off into the night. "Wait!...it didn't wait for a reply." Hermione choked back a sob as she opened the letter that had been attached to the owl's leg. Everyone hovered, looking over her shoulder as she read aloud:
I know you're going to be mad, but I told Aeolus not to wait for a reply. I'm not sure I can deal with that right now. Please don't try to stop him, he knows he's not to wait for a response.
I wanted to let you know that I am alright and am safe. I should have let you know before this, but I couldn't think of a way to do it without one or more of you trying to follow the owl back. I am sorting through things and am trying to come to grips with reality. I guess I had been living in a dream world where I thought I was wanted and needed. I'm alright, I won't do anything stupid...I have too much to live for now. I have seen a medi-witch and she said that I am doing fine, that everything is progressing how it should be. The baby will be here sometime in early to mid-November. I am being taken care of here, so there isn't any need to worry.
Tell Ron that I miss you both. Tell Bill, Ginny, Molly and Arthur that I miss them, too.
Tell Charlie that I still love him, even if he doesn't love me.
Hermione heard a whimper and jumped out of her chair as Charlie slid down the cabinets. She knelt next to him and put her arms around him, letting him cry into her hair. "Shhh...it'll be alright. Shhh..."
"I never told him...I never told him that I love him." Charlie's whisper reached everyone in the room. Molly put her hand on Arthur's arm and bit back a sob. Bill put an arm around Ron's shoulders, feeling them shake as he cried. Ginny came through the floo at that moment, her arm around Seamus Finnegan's waist.
"Mum! Dad! What's wrong? What's going on?" The fear in Ginny's voice breaking through Arthur's grief for his son.
"It's alright Ginny, we've heard from Harry. He said to tell you that he misses you."
Ginny put her hand to her mouth and turned into Seamus' shoulder. "Thank Merlin he's alright. After Charlie thought he saw him yesterday..."
"Ginny," Bill's voice was rough. "Charlie didn't think that he saw Harry, he did see Harry...I did too."
"And you didn't tell us it was him? You just said that the young man was gone." Molly turned accusing eyes on her oldest child.
"Mum, what was I supposed to do? I had to get Charlie back to you so that you could help side-along apparate with him. Not only that, but if Harry wanted to be found, he would have stopped and waited." Charlie let out a muffled curse that caused Hermione to chuckle. "Well, Charlie, he would have. But..." here Bill paused, making sure he had everyone's attention. "I may have found a spell to track Harry's magical signature."
"Do you think it will work?" Charlie turned to look at Bill. The hope in his eyes was almost painful to look at.
"I really don't know, Charlie. I'm hoping it will, but the only way to find out is to try it."
Harry looked at Severus, incredulity in his face. "He's been here how many times? And you never told me? You knew he looked like that and never said a word to me? Why?" Harry's voice broke on the last word.
Severus looked at his hands, "We, Albus and I, thought that it wouldn't be good for you or the baby to worry about how Charlie Weasley looked. We never thought that you might want to see him, you never said you did." Severus sighed. He and Albus had messed this up, royally. "Please don't hate me...I did what I thought was best for you."
"No, I don't hate you...I couldn't. Not after everything you've done for me. And, you're right. I probably wouldn't have wanted to see him. I didn't realize, until I saw him in Diagon Alley, how much I want to see him." Harry sighed, "I don't know what I want anymore, now. I thought that I could go on, just live my life with me and my child...seeing you, having you be a grandfather to my baby." Severus gave a start. "What? You think that I don't think of you as a father? Sev, I've never had a father that I could go to with my troubles, my questions. You stepped into a role that I never thought you could, let alone would. You've helped me in so many ways and I don't know that I can ever repay that." Severus made a small noise. "I know, I know, I don't have to." Harry smiled.
"What will you do now? Now that you've realized that your feelings for Charlie haven't changed?"
"I don't know...I really don't know, Sev."
"According to this, Harry is at...this can't be right." Bill was confused.
"What?" Charlie was sitting in a chair in the living room, holding the pair of Harry's old trainers that they had used for the spell. "What's wrong?" Charlie felt a little silly, holding those shoes, but the shoes and Harry's clothes were all he had of Harry. Sometimes, when it was hard to sleep, he set the shoes on the pillow next to his head, the pillow that smelled faintly of Harry, and talked. Just talked. About everything, his feelings for Harry, what he should have done, why he should have done it, and what he would say to Harry, if he ever saw him again.
"The spell says that Harry is near Hogsmeade. The magical signature is strongest there, but still faint. If he's been to Hogsmeade recently, that means he, most likely, is at..."
"Hogwarts!" Charlie breathed. "Dumbledore lied to us! If Harry's been there this whole time, Dumbledore LIED to us!"
"Calm down, Charlie. We don't know that this is correct. Not only that, but, if Harry is at Hogwarts, there is the possibility that Harry asked them not to say anything. Dumbledore and Snape may be arses, but I can guarantee that if Harry asked them not to say anything, they wouldn't. They will still protect him, even though the war is over and You-Know-Who is dead."
"So, how do we do this?"
Bill looked at Charlie and grinned. "We go storm Hogwarts!"
"It's about time he showed up again. Why did he wait? It's been over a month since Harry saw him in Diagon Alley." Severus was agitated. He was pacing the empty potions classroom floor like he intended to wear a rut in it.
"Severus...I think that Charlie Weasley has been more sick than we realized. He looks much better now than when I popped over to the Burrow two weeks ago. He had been very ill and was recovering from it. He probably needed the time to recover, all things considered. He also looks as if he has put on a little weight."
Severus continued to pace back and forth. "But what about what this wait has done to Harry? He's lost the weight that Charlie Weasley found. It's not healthy for the baby." Severus continued to pace. "He did, however, tell me that, if Charlie or Bill showed up here, we were to tell them that Harry is here and has been since the beginning."
Albus' eyebrows shot up to his hairline. "Really? I had not thought that Harry would want to see Charlie yet."
"No, he's ready...said that he needs to talk to Charlie about the baby and find out why he was so set against it. He's been owling Hermione and Ron since he came back from Diagon Alley."
Albus started to walk toward the door. "I must go see them; I will fire call you and then you can prepare Harry for a meeting."
"As you wish."
Harry made his way to the small antechamber off of the Great Hall. This was the first room he had ever been in, when he came to Hogwarts. There was a small table set up in the center of the room and several chairs. Severus waited for him, sitting with his back to the hearth, facing the door.
"You wanted to see me Sev?"
"Yes...please sit Harry." The older man held himself stiffly and Harry wondered if he had done something wrong. He almost laughed when he remembered he didn't have to worry about that anymore.
"Is something wrong, Sev?" Harry waited, almost holding his breath. The baby could feel his nervousness, and began to move. The fluttering feeling in his abdomen caused Harry to inhale sharply.
"What's wrong Harry? Are you alright?" Severus was alarmed by the strange look on Harry's face.
"It moved!" Harry breathed. "The baby moved! I felt it!" Severus smiled at him.
The door opened quietly behind Harry. Severus could see Albus and Bill Weasley. As Bill moved slowly and quietly into the room, Severus realized that he was supporting Charlie. Gods! thought Severus. He looks ghastly! No wonder it took him over a month to recover from an illness.
Harry was still entranced by the feelings in his abdomen. He looked up and saw the look of wonder on Sev's face and thought it was for him. He had no idea what was going on behind him.
Severus looked at Harry and realized that his expression was one of absolute beauty. I really hope you're worth all of this Charlie Weasley.
"Harry, I wanted to speak to you about what has happened since you've been here. I have told you most of it, but not all."
Harry looked up at him and realized that Severus was nervous. "Are you nervous, Sev? Why? It's not like you did anything wrong. I realize that you and Dumbledore were protecting me, and I am grateful for it. I'm still not sure how I made it here in one piece that day."
Severus smiled slightly. "Yes, Harry, I am nervous. I don't admit to it often, but I am. What I have to tell you deals with that first week you were here."
"The week I don't remember?"
"Yes. I don't know if you remember seeking me out when you did arrive here. I will tell you what I know from the time you arrived in my classroom until the end of that first week. Please ask questions, if you have any."
Harry nodded and wondered why Sev had waited this long to tell him. It wasn't like it was a state secret that he had been in a healing sleep.
"You flooed into my classroom, I am assuming, from the Great Hall. After a moment, you located me and tried to walk to me, but collapsed on the floor. I called Poppy to the room after I realized that you were hyperventilating. She started running some diagnostic tests on you while I got you to breathe more normally. Once your breathing calmed down, you started to cry, no... not cry, sob. I've never heard anything like that, Harry, and it scared me. You sounded like you had lost your mind." Harry breathed in sharply...why didn't he remember any of this?
"Poppy was still running tests, so I just held on to you. Poppy gasped and immediately started whispering spells. You were put into a sleep, so that she could work. I laid you down on my cloak and watched. After some time, I began to notice that all of the spells were being concentrated on your abdomen. Don't forget, at the time, I had no idea that you were pregnant."
Severus drew a shaky breath and continued. "This went on for quite some time, I'm not sure how long, but it seemed like hours. Finally, Poppy was done with the spells and she relaxed." Severus drew another very shaky breath and Harry wondered if he was going to cry. Harry didn't know if he really wanted to see Sev cry. He wasn't all that great to look at when he wasn't crying, Harry couldn't imagine it would get any better if tears were added to the equation.
"She told me that, if I had waited to call her, you would have lost the baby."
Harry stared at Severus in horror. "How?"
"I am assuming from the stress placed on your body due to your emotional breakdown. She managed to save the baby, but you had to be placed in a healing coma for a week. That was the hardest week of my life, Harry. I had to watch a young man, who I have come to look on as a son, be catatonic for a week while your magic turned inward to repair the damage that your emotions had done. I sat and held your hand and prayed to whatever deities I could remember that you and your baby would survive. I think that, had you miscarried, your mental stability would not have lasted long. That baby was what kept you going after you finally woke up." Severus paused. "I only know what you have told me about your situation with Charlie Weasley, but I would like to finally ask some questions, if I may?"
"Of course. What do you want to know?"
Shooting a quick look to make sure that he had Charlie's and Bill's full attention, he asked his first question. "Why are you so certain that Charlie doesn't want children?"
Bill stiffened and shot Severus a nasty look. He ignored it, keeping his attention on Harry.
"He told me he didn't. He said that he didn't want children...he never gave me a real reason. We had been talking about adopting, but after a couple of conversations about it, he changed his mind and said some rot about that he didn't want children because he'd make a horrible father." Harry let his head drop into his hands. "I tried to convince him that he would make a wonderful father, but he stuck to it. He wouldn't give in, so, about 6 months ago, I gave up asking."
"How did you tell him you were pregnant?"
Harry snorted lightly. "I'm not really sure I came out and told him. He had just got finished telling me that he had been using contraceptive charms, and then said that it would take a wizard more powerful than Dumbledore to get past them. I shouted a bit, I think I broke some stuff, and then reminded him that I am more powerful than Dumbledore, and then disapparated. I didn't tell him...not directly in words anyway." Harry sighed. "I'm pretty sure Hermione told him in very concise words after I left. I think Bill caught on, though." Harry thought for a moment. "Ron was really angry at him, I hope Hermione didn't leave it up to Ron to tell him."
"Why was Ronald angry with him?"
"Because, while Charlie had apparently told every living creature who would listen to him that he loved me, he never told me that. He never did." Harry felt tears start to slide down his cheeks. He tried to control it, but gave up. "I have no idea how he feels about me, especially since I am pregnant. He'd tried so hard to keep it from happening, but, apparently, my body thought differently."
"How did you find out that you were pregnant?"
Harry took a deep calming breath and placed his hand on his gently swelling abdomen. The look on Severus' face softened and he smiled slightly at Harry's bemused expression. He cast another quick glance at Charlie and Bill. Bill was silently shaking his head, however, Severus was more interested in Charlie's reaction. Charlie had leaned his head back against the wall and he was openly crying, not making any effort to stem the tears.
"I had been sick that morning, just like I had been for the three mornings prior. Ron caught me throwing up the second morning and made sure he was there, with me, for the next two. The morning I found out, I had just come down the stairs and headed into the kitchen...Hermione was cooking breakfast for all of us, Ron was sitting at the table, telling her about some Quidditch moves he wanted to try during the next Canons' practice. The smell of the food was more than my stomach could take, and I just about bolted out the door into the yard. Hermione came out, after telling Ron not to let the food burn and ran a couple of diagnostic checks on me, thinking I was sick or had food poisoning. Her potions are great, but her cooking's not quite there yet. I think her jaw about hit the ground when she really looked at the results. She was shaking and asked me if I had ever heard of a male pregnancy. Being raised by Muggles, of course I hadn't. Muggle men don't get pregnant, no magic to keep it going. She was really excited...now she'd have her own little experiment to watch and keep track of. It's not like there are thousands of male pregnancies going on. I told her to send Ron out to me so that I could talk to him alone. He'd never heard of it either. Merlin only knows where she found her information on them, because she was raised Muggle, too."
"What happened then?"
"They took me inside and spent the morning convincing me to tell Charlie that day. I wanted to wait until we were alone, but I gave in. I'm kind of glad they did, I really don't know what would have happened, had we been alone. The rest you already know."
"What are you going to do now?"
Harry shrugged, the tears streaming down his face. "Not really sure. I need to see Charlie, to see where we stand. I can't keep this baby away from him, he is the other father after all. Not only that, I wouldn't. I just wish I knew how he felt about me. Telling everybody else you love me is one thing, but how do I know what he feels, if he won't tell me? I still love him, y'know. But with his views on parenthood and everything, I don't know if he'll want me now. I didn't deliberately set out to get pregnant. Hell, I didn't even know I could get pregnant. That isn't something that's in the curriculum at Hogwarts."
"What will you do, if he says that he doesn't want you and the baby?" It was a harsh question, but Severus knew it had to be asked.
Bill had to physically restrain Charlie from getting out of his chair. Bill had one hand on Charlie's chest and the other around his shoulders, keeping him in his seat.
"No, you can't Charlie!" Bill hissed in Charlie's ear. "You need to hear this, you need to know. Harry doesn't know that you do love him, you never told him. This is what happens when you keep secrets, the repercussions are never worth the effort it takes to keep the secret. Harry doesn't know that we're here, that's why I agreed to this. I don't think that this conversation would have taken place otherwise."
Charlie stopped struggling and sank back against the chair. He ran his shaking hands through his hair and put his head into his hands.
"This is how Harry feels. This is something that you have to consider. You didn't consider his feelings before, but you have to now!"
"What will you do, if he says that he doesn't want you and the baby?"
Harry's breath hitched. He hadn't given that much thought...that Charlie would outright reject them. His fear of rejection rose up and began to wreak havoc in Harry's mind. What would he do? Where would he go? How could he live without Charlie, whether he loved Harry or not? The questions tumbled about in his head, crashing against one another and giving Harry a horrendous headache.
"I...I d-don't know. I hadn't thought about that." Harry's breath began to speed up and he quickly bent over as far as he could, so that he wouldn't hyperventilate again.
"Harry, are you alright?" The concern in Sev's voice told Harry that the older man was really worried about him. He owed this to Sev. He had to give him the best, most honest, answer he could.
"Didn't want to hyperventilate again. I think that I would probably come back here...I think that I could probably come to some sort of arrangement with Dumbledore about being an assistant or a teacher, maybe. At least here I know I'm going to be cared for, and, if not loved, then at least cared about." Harry sighed loudly, running his hand through his hair. "Do you think you could stand to have me about constantly? I mean, if Charlie decides he doesn't want us?"
Charlie couldn't take any more...Harry was his life and he wasn't going to have Harry living somewhere that he wasn't.
Charlie stood and slowly, carefully, made his way to Harry's side. He sat down on the floor, he didn't think his legs would hold him up anymore...not with the way they were shaking. The shock on Harry's face told him exactly how he looked. Merlin knew it wasn't good. But he couldn't just sit there anymore. He took Harry's hands in his.
"Please hear me out, before you make any kind of decision." He paused and took a deep breath. "Harry, I love you, more than anything in this world. The last three months have been absolute hell for me. I love you, I love our child. Please come home with me...please?" Charlie started to cry again. "I can't live without you. You are the only person I could ever feel this way about. I love you." The last words were barely a whisper, but Harry heard them as if they had been shouted from the highest tower in the castle.
Harry slid off of the chair and wound his arms around Charlie. He could feel the tremors coursing throughout Charlie's body and realized how much this confession had cost him. Charlie didn't do anything halfway. If it was really worth it, Charlie threw his whole being into that one thing. Harry knew that Charlie had told the truth, knew, without a doubt, that Charlie truly loved him and their baby.
"Why didn't you tell me?" Neither Harry nor Charlie noticed that Bill and Severus had moved to stand by the door. Not leaving, but not willing to intrude on this moment of discovery.
"I was scared, terrified, of what would happen if you became pregnant. I watched a good friend lose his wife in childbirth, we weren't able to save her. And I was determined that that wouldn't happen to me. I'm not worth anything without you, Harry. If you died, I wouldn't want to live either, baby or not. That's also one of the reasons I was against adoption. I felt that all my love was packed into this box labeled 'For Harry', and that I wouldn't have anything else to share with a child. I didn't think that I would be able to love a child like he or she would deserve to be loved. That's why I said that I would make a horrible father." Charlie concentrated on breathing for a moment. "Mum came and talked to me that first day, after...after you'd gone. She knew about my friend's wife and reminded me that she had been attacked by one of the dragons. That's what caused her to go into labour. The burns killed her, not childbirth. I had completely ignored the burns and, until she reminded me, I didn't even remember that she'd been burned at all. All I could think of was that I had watched my friend's wife die giving birth to their child and I knew I couldn't lose you to that."
Harry held Charlie tightly, all of his questions finally explained, except for one. "Why didn't you ever tell me that you love me?" This was the question that hurt the most.
"I'm not good at words, Harry. I thought that by showing you, by being the best partner I could be, that you would know that I love you. I guess that actions don't always speak louder than words. Had I known that you questioned it, I would have said it every chance I got...but I didn't know. I didn't think that it was a problem. Bill said that I hadn't considered your feelings when I decided to use the contraceptive charms, and he was right. I didn't ask you, I just assumed that you would fall in with it if I gave you no choice. I shouldn't have done that. I should have asked, should have talked to you about my fears, but I couldn't find a way. Because of my fears, I drove you away. I'm going to ask you now, do you think that you could forgive me? Do you think that we can start again? Not ignoring the last three years, but building on what I've learned about myself, and you, since you've been gone?"
Harry felt the tears well up in his eyes again. "Yes, Charlie, I think that we can start again...I still love you and want to be with you. But," Harry drew back slightly, to look into Charlie's eyes, green held blue captivated. "You can't go back to the way you were. If we're going to be partners, you need to remember what partners do...they share. You have to be willing to share everything with me, and I have to be willing to share everything with you. When we were apart, I didn't feel whole, like a huge chunk of me was missing. That missing part was you. I don't ever want to feel that way again. And I think that our baby will only add to our lives together, not take away from it."
Harry reached for Charlie's hand and placed it on his rounded belly. "Charles Weasley, I would like for you to meet your child. Sweetheart, meet your Daddy."
The look of wonder and sheer joy on Charlie's face was a sight to behold. Bill smiled at Severus through his tears and saw that Severus was affected the same way. Harry had been wrong, the tears only served to prove that Severus was human and could be happy.
The castle was happy that her Harry was once again happy. As Harry looked around the room, feeling her happiness, the bunting on the walls changed to the Gryffindor house colors, for both of the fathers had been housed in Gryffindor Tower when they attended school there.
The castle would never allow the bunting to again be changed, so, thereafter, that room became known as the Gryffindor Room. Wizards seeking to ask their chosen witch or wizard to marry would use that room, making the castle very happy.
The day dawned beautiful and bright, not a cloud in the sky to mar what was surely going to be a magical day, literally.
Charlie Weasley nervously fidgeted while Bill made sure that his dark blue dress robes were properly done up and looked perfect.
Harry Potter nervously fidgeted while Ron made sure that his forest green dress robes were properly done up and looked perfect.
Outside of the Burrow, Severus Snape stood quietly, listening to the hum of voices surrounding him. It was the day of Harry and Charlie's bonding. Their six month old daughter, Lily, lay asleep in her basket on the chair beside him. Looking down at his granddaughter, Severus smiled slightly. You see Lily, I told you that I would watch out for him and make sure he was happy.
Then, it was time for the ceremony to start. Charlie and Bill waited at the end of the center aisle, while Ron followed Harry and Severus to stand opposite them. Albus began the ceremony. When it came time to ask who gave Charlie into Harry's keeping, Bill answered. "The Weasley Family." When it was asked who gave Harry into Charlie's keeping, Severus answered. "Severus Snape and Lily Evans Potter."
Harry's green eyes shot to Severus' black ones. "I promised her that I would see you happy, so, in a way, she is here, too."
Severus stepped back to sit next to his granddaughter. The ceremony continued without incident. All present agreed that it was the most beautiful bonding ceremony they had ever seen. Albus held aloft a bright silver knife and quickly made two small cuts, one in Harry's palm and one in Charlie's. As the two men placed their palms together, to let the blood mingle, a bright blue glow encompassed the couple. Severus stared in shock, he had never seen such a strong magical bond form before. If there was ever any doubt in anyone's mind that both Harry and Charlie were powerful wizards, this sight dispelled all doubt. It also proved that Albus had been correct in thinking that Harry's magic would bond only to Charlie, and Charlie's only to Harry.
Finally, Albus allowed them the kiss that would seal the bond forever. As Harry's lips touched Charlie's, an even brighter blue light pulsed from around the couple. Harry leaned into Charlie and deepened the kiss. The light grew brighter and then shattered, showering the audience with small blue flowers.
Harry smiled at his husband and then leaned in to whisper something in his ear. Charlie paled slightly and looked at Harry and then at their daughter. "Another one?"
Everyone laughed at the announcement of another impending Potter-Weasley child. Severus smiled broadly. Yes, Severus, you did well by my son. He heard the words in his mind and looked around. Standing off to one side, by the house, he saw the hazy form of his first, and only, love, Lily Potter. Standing behind her was a taller man with messy black hair and glasses. Severus looked at Albus, only to see that he was also staring at the hazy couple. Harry turned to follow Albus' gaze and smiled at his parents. As Harry and Charlie watched, the couple smiled at them and disappeared. So good, thought Charlie, to have the blessings of both sets of parents.