Epilogue; 18 Years later
Nil nequit amor *
"Good evening to you too," Severus smiled at his husband when he stepped from the Floo into their private quarters in the Hogwarts dungeons.
"Sorry," Harry smiled up at him tiredly from the couch. "Good evening Sev. No problems at the shop, I hope?"
Severus sat down next to him and gave him a tender kiss. "Not at all. Just the regular; suppliers wanting a ridiculously high price and customers wanting to pay unreasonable low prices."
"What's new?" Harry rolled his eyes and moved in to the other man's embrace.
"Of course. First day of term is always ... like this."
"Tell me about it," Severus grinned. He didn't miss being a teacher at all, he was perfectly happy with his potions store, but he liked hearing the stories from Harry.
"Earlier this evening, I found two first-years dueling."
"In your house?"
"Of course," Harry rolled his eyes. "Slytherin still has the most pureblood families. And which other first-years would know any spells at all?"
"I warned you when you became Head of Slytherin."
"You warned me about more things," Harry chuckled. "And I'm really glad that I don't always listen to you."
"So how many times did you have to explain how a Gryffindor became Head of Slytherin?" Severus easily talked over Harry's comment and the younger man playfully nudged him in the ribs for that.
"Just once. I figured it was easier if I assembled all the newcomers and told the story right after explaining the house rules and stuff like that."
"Stuff like that? Seriously Potter, will you ever grow up and stop using those horrible phrases?"
"Fat chance," Harry grinned widely as he got up from the couch.
"Where are you going?"
"I haven't made my rounds yet."
Severus snorted. "Don't you usually just check the map?"
"I want to make sure everybody's settled in fine," Harry shook his head. "First evening away from home, remember? It can be pretty scary when you're just eleven years old."
"Fine. Check the dorms. I'll see if you need to make your rounds through all of the castle," Severus sighed and pulled the Marauders Map towards him. Harry paused at the door, watching his husband with a barely concealed grin.
"I solemnly swear that I am up to no good," Severus muttered, a dirty look on his face. He scowled at Harry when he saw him watching.
"I love it when you say that," Harry winked and left their cozy living room.
"Took you long enough," Severus commented when Harry eventually returned.
"Homesick girl," Harry shrugged his shoulders.
"Huh. I never got those in my years."
"You did. They just stopped crying when you got remotely near. You were the scariest teacher of all, even to your own students."
"And you're the friendly one who comforts and -" Severus had started sarcastical, but stopped for a moment, then gave a fake sigh. "You are."
"I am," Harry nodded his head solemnly and wanted to plop down on the couch, but Severus stopped him. "What now?"
"There's a Weasley on the loose," Severus pointed at the open map. "Heading this way."
"Don't tell me it's Laurent."
"Well, it certainly isn't Victoire. If Laurent wouldn't have looked that much like Bill, I would have sworn he was George's. You think he told him all the secret passageways?" Severus watched the pair of tiny feet move over the map.
"If he didn't, I'm pretty sure Charlie did," Harry looked at the direction of the seventeen-year-old boy and headed towards the door. "I'll be right back."
Laurent cursed silently when his surrogate uncle seemed to appear out of nowhere in front of him. "Uncle Harry."
"Laurent," Harry inclined his head coolly. "Where do you think you're going at this hour? Never heard of curfew? Or never learned to tell time?"
Laurent grinned. "Weren't you the one who taught me to tell time?"
"I guess that's true," Harry couldn't stop himself from smiling. "Still doesn't explain your presence out of your dormitory."
"Please, uncle. I was just ..." he mumbled something unintelligible.
"I haven't seen her all summer! Her parents took her to some stupid camping place in Italy!" the boy called out with a pained look on his face.
"Seen who?" Harry frowned, but then he suddenly understood. "Were you off to see your girlfriend, perhaps?"
"Please, I just want to say hi to her! I had Prefect duties on the train and we had to go to our Houses right after the feast, we couldn't even -"
"You will have plenty time to go over to her in the morning during breakfast. And lunch. And dinner," Harry shook his head.
"Uncle!" the pretty boy whined.
"No. I will not make exceptions. It's past curfew, go back to bed. Now, or I will have to take points."
Laurent chewed the inside of his cheek for a moment, then seemed to decide that he was serious. "Good night," he mumbled.
"Good night Laurent. And I will know if you don't go straight back to the Gryffindor tower," Harry warned him with a stern look. "Oh, and don't take the passage past the Charms classroom. I just saw Peeves somewhere over there."
"Thanks. Give my love to uncle Sevon," Laurent smiled his brilliant smile and hurried off.
Harry shook his head smiling and headed back to his own quarters.
"What house did Rose Weasley get sorted into?" Severus asked when Harry hung up his robes and kicked off his shoes.
"Gryffindor, of course. Did you hear that the young Malfoy got sorted today too?"
"Scorpius is his name, isn't it? Poor you, having your high school enemy's son in your house," Severus frowned.
"He's not," Harry shook his head. "Scorpius got sorted into – don't laugh, I know what you think of them – he got into Hufflepuff."
"Dead serious," Harry said, but then laughed at the incredulous look on the other man's face. After a few seconds, Severus burst out laughing. "This is priceless!"
"Everybody where they should be?" Harry said when they finally stopped laughing.
Severus nodded and tapped the map with his wand. "Mischief managed."
Harry felt a shiver run down his spine when he heard the other man's low voice. "You haven't done anything mischievous," Harry whispered in the other man's ear when he wrapped his arms around him from behind.
"Oh? You're up for something mischievous? Maybe even naughty? You'd better get your wand out then," Severus turned around and looked down in the emerald eyes.
"My wand?" Harry said puzzled, but when his husband pulled him flush to his body and ground their hips together, he suddenly understood. "That's tacky, Sev. Really tacky. I might have to -"
"Please do," Severus mumbled just before he molded their lips together in a deep kiss. They stumbled to the bedroom, leaving a trail of clothes behind.
Severus woke to insistent knocking on the door. He looked over and saw Harry deep asleep. After all those years of troubled sleep, Severus didn't have the heart to wake up his lover. He put on his boxers and got out of bed, pulling on a robe on his way to the door.
"Yes?" he opened up to a worried looking third year.
"Uhm, sorry to disturb you Mr. Prince. I was looking for Professor Potter."
"He's asleep. What is the matter?"
"It's Thomas, sir. He's running a fever I think."
"Lead the way Mr. ... Greengrass, isn't it?"
"Yes, sir," the boy nodded and chanced a smile at the man striding next to him, his black robes billowing behind him, flapping around his ankles. He looked quite impressive, intimidating. But if Professor Potter was married to this man, he couldn't be that bad, could he?
Severus shooed the boys away who were gathered around one bed. "Tell me what seems to be the matter," he looked down at the sweating, pale boy.
"I don't feel well, sir."
"Well, you don't look too good either," Severus shook his head and shot a stern look at the other boys to make them get into their beds. "Don't worry Thomas," he said softly and gave the boy a small smile when he ran some basic diagnostic spells over his body. "You just seem to have caught a cold. I will get you some potions, and if you don't feel better in the morning we will take you to the Hospital Wing."
"Sir? Shouldn't he see Madam Pomfrey?" one of the boys said hesitantly when Severus returned with some vials.
"No use waking Poppy up for a simple cold," Severus said curtly, then sat down next to the sick boy. "Don't worry, Professor Potter brewed these himself," he helped the boy sit up to take the potions.
"Thank you sir," Thomas smiled relieved when he felt the immediate effect and eyed the empty vials. "Will you thank Professor Potter from me?"
"He will come and check up on you in the morning, so you can thank him yourself," Severus smiled. "Don't hesitate to let someone wake us up if your fever returns. Good night."
"Good night," the boy mumbled back, already sinking into his pillows.
"Thank you sir!" the Greengrass boy called after him.
'Children aren't that bad, after all,' Severus mused when he went back into their own quarters. They even thanked him for coming. And thought of thanking Harry for the potions. They weren't that insufferable if you didn't have to teach them. And their antics did make him laugh sometimes.
"What's wrong?" Harry mumbled, waking up when he slid back into bed.
"Nothing's wrong, go back to sleep," Severus kissed him softly and sighed contented when Harry's warm body wrapped around him.
He sometimes still couldn't believe that this incredible man, that Harry was his forever. But he'd stopped questioning it, he was happy the way it was. He knew he had changed, a lot, under Harry's influence. Not because Harry wanted him to change, but just because of his presence Severus learned that there was usually a different, kinder way to approach things.
The sick boy had seemed to be at ease once he'd smiled at him. The Weasley kids thought he was a fun uncle when he played Quidditch with them. People seemed to like him.
"You changed me Harry," Severus whispered into the messy hair of the sleeping man.
"I didn't," Harry answered, surprising him. "You changed yourself, because you allowed yourself to love other people and let them love you back."
"Is that really what did it?"
"Nil nequit amor, Sev," Harry mumbled and snuggled deeper under the blankets.
"Love can do everything."
* Nil nequit amor – Love can do everything