Disclaimer: Nothing you recognize is mine. It mainly belongs to the goddess JKR or an awfully long list of people... (the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security- are mine). If you like it, review and feed my soul. And since we don't need to hurt each other, if you don't like it, don't tell me ! Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you !)
There were betas injured in the process of creation: all praise eccentric_femme and SilentG [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=197488]! All remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone.
Author's Note: We'll have some angst here... Not for long, I swear! But our happy guys need to deal with the world some day... Don't worry! A proud Gryffindor and a cunning Slytherin working together can *do* miracles... Trust me with this chapter, you'll be rewarded in the next! Hehe!
Chapter Six - When the World Wakes Up
When the world wakes up... The birds are singing for you or Hell opens the gates of the Grand Entrance especially for you...
There was not even the shadow of a bird that morning in London...
"Professor Snape, Mr Potter, good morning!" Tom cheerfully greets them, "You're the first to come down this morning... Your friends continued drinking for quite a long time last night... after you left that is... And those who will be able to crack an eye open today are not likely to do so for some time... I guess... Would you like some breakfast ?"
"Yes, please," Severus says.
Tom comes to their table and he first notices that they're not facing each other: they're sitting side by side. He gives them their tea and plates of eggs, beans and sausages.
Then Tom spots the rings and simply smiles before going back to his counter.
"You see, Love ? He does not judge..." Harry says.
"Optimistic, innocent one!" Severus answers.
"Yes, sir!" Harry replies, grinning happily.
Severus has barely poured their tea when the Auror Hermione Granger jogs downstairs.
"May I join you ?" she asks.
"Of course!" Harry and Severus say at the exact same time, which makes them grin and look at each other.
Hermione's training as an Auror was thorough and her instincts tell her that there's something strange going on. Besides, years of friendship with Harry don't hurt either.
She sits down and observes her friends.
She sees the threads on their fingers and, Auror training be damned, she squeaks.
"Bloody hell!... You... You..." she says, unable to form a complete sentence.
"Yes, Hermione! We did!" the two wizards chorus again, which produces another grin.
Hermione blinks. Several times.
"May your life be happy, long and blessed!" she declares solemnly.
Then, she holds out her hands for her two friends. She can feel their emotion and thinks that since Tom certainly wouldn't discuss such private matters with his customers, and with the pub so empty right now, she must be the first to congratulate them.
"Thank you, Hermione!" they say together, again.
"You know, I find that *cute*, if you'll pardon the word, but you should be careful not to sound like the twins. It could become disturbing..." she teases her friends.
Harry laughs heartily and Severus smiles.
"You should smile more often, Severus," Hermione states.
"I shall keep that in mind, Hermione," Severus answers pleasantly.
Tom barely has time to bring breakfast to Hermione before the whole pack of the Weasleys offspring, plus Draco Malfoy, trots downstairs.
"You'd better treat the lil' Ginny properly, Malfoy!" Fred (or George) is saying.
"Do you really think anyone could force *Virginia* to do anything she does not want to do ?" Draco asks.
The Weasley boys all stop in their tracks, look at Draco, then at Ginny and all shake their heads.
"No, you're right, Malfoy..." the other twin says.
Draco puts an arm on the Weasley girl's shoulder and walks to the table where Severus, Harry and Hermione have attacked their morning meal. When he's reached his destination, he clearly and loudly says, "Besides, you might all want to start to call me by my name since Molly and Arthur gave me permission to marry Virginia..."
Draco and Ginny sit down, while their *brothers* gasp.
Eventually, they all take a seat and breakfast turns into something unexpected. There might have been an overload of information... if the company had not been composed of caring friends ready to accept one another...
"Hermione ?" Draco purrs to get her attention.
"Have you stored the document ? I don't want my future parents-in-law to become my ex-future parents-in-law because the official document they signed while being highly intoxicated was lost..." the blond Slytherin says.
"Draco! By now, it must be registered at the Ministry! All you have to do is name a day!" the Auror replies indignantly.
"You'll come, of course ?" Draco says.
"You have a very strange way to issue your invitations, Mr Malfoy, but, yes! I would be honoured to attend to your wedding," Hermione answers.
"By the way, Hermione... How come you were not in bed when I woke up, Love ?" Ron asks.
"The bed was too small and Charlie kicked me out of it!" she explains.
"I did ? Sorry, Love!" Charlie says, blushing.
The twins are speechless, which does not happen that often. No, wait... That must be a first!
Harry visualizes his three friends sandwiched together and suddenly, he wants to go to Severus's home and learn *all* the applications of the Weasley phials. Severus brushing his ankle reassures him that they'll escape soon...
"Where are the others ?" Percy wonders.
"Mum and Dad are still snoring..." Bill says.
"And Albus and Minerva crashed in the same bed..."Ginny adds.
They all, but Severus and Harry, look at her as if she has suddenly grown another head.
"Don't tell me you didn't know!" Harry chuckles.
More wide eyes.
The information finally reaches most of the cortexes and the breakfast plates are plundered anew.
"I hope you'll come to my wedding, Professor Snape," Ginny asks.
"You're no longer my student... Call me Severus, Virginia, and , yes, I will come to your wedding..." One brush against Harry's ankle who brushes back to give his permission, "If you come to *my* wedding..."
"You're all invited in fact!" Harry says, grinning.
Silence lasted for two whole seconds. The information was processed and all cheered, whistled or clapped. Or all of the above!
Sandwiching the quiet Hermione yet again, Charlie and Ron ask, "You knew ?"
"I'm not blind!" she barks and points to the threads on their friends' hands.
Draco recognizes their nature and wonders, "Where did you get them ?"
Severus puts a gentle hand on Harry's shoulder before the younger wizard reveals the visit they had in the night.
"So! We have two weddings to plan!" one of the twins says.
"You're planning nothing, Fred. You're invited. Without those tricks of yours!" Severus growls.
"Same here, brothers! There are some parts of your anatomy you badly want intact..." Ginny snarls.
Some of the Weasley boys were planning to discuss some of the details of the weddings, such as: where, when, performed by... when Molly comes downstairs. She looks like she's got the worst headache of the millenium.
She sits down with them, and Tom gives her a potion and a strong cup of tea.
She downs the potion. The taste must be terrible if the look on her face means anything. Even the tea doesn't mask the horrendous taste.
When it becomes obvious that most of the side effects of the *party* are gone, they have no time to ask her what she exactly remembers because Rita Skeeter comes into the pub. She spots Harry and comes straight to him.
"May I have a word with you, Mr. Potter ?" she begs.
Harry's ankle asking a question, Severus's answering...
"Of course, Ms. Skeeter... Come over here..." Harry says, standing up and gesturing for her to follow him to a quiet corner of the pub.
The others see them sitting down. They chat and at one point, Harry takes her right hand and starts... stroking it. Only Hermione guesses that Harry must be doing some kind of magic and one look at Severus gives her confirmation...
Rita Skeeter smiles and leaves the pub without another word.
"You've nearly kept your word, proud Gryffindor!" Severus jokes.
"Why! Of course, Love! I didn't hex her, but she will never be able to write a word on us!" Harry announces.
"I don't think it is a proper way to address a former professor, Harry, even if he has become a friend," Molly declares.
They all start laughing. Except Severus who can see the clouds gathering and hear the gates of hell opening.
"Well... I'm sure there can be an exception for me!" Harry explains full of joy, showing her his left hand.
The look on Molly's face drains all happiness from the room faster than a Dementor would have. She turns to Severus and barks, "How could you corrupt him ?"
Harry places his hand on Severus's and answers in a cold voice none of them has ever heard, "Madam, if you cannot be happy for me, at least I expect you to respect my choice."
The change of temperature is palpable. Hermione's reaching for her wand shows the Weasley children that things are pretty bad: her Auror instincts are *not* to be questioned.
"We should have known that a Slytherin would do that! You tainted him!" Molly goes on, ignoring Harry.
"I think Harry has made a statement, and I have to admit that I would like you to respect it. Besides, he is not a child and can make his own decisions." Severus retorts, holding Harry's hand for dear life.
While that line was delivered, Harry looked at his Weasley friends, warning them that the next moments are going to be nasty. Fortunately, he sees only understanding in their eyes.
"And, pray, Madam," Harry starts, not shaking thanks to Severus's hold and his voice strong, "What am I supposed to do ? Get married to a woman against my heart and my nature and impregnate her repeatedly... Say, six times..."
Molly squeaks and blanches.
It's Percy who comes to the rescue, "You're really the pot calling the kettle black, Mother! As if the sexual preferences of your own children were not questionable! Honestly! I've *dated* more men than the twins have provoked explosions!"
"About us... You don't want to know!" Fred and George say.
"And I'm swinging both ways..." Bill announces.
"Ron and I are in love with the same woman." Charlie adds, which makes Hermione blush furiously.
"Oh! I win!" Ginny steps in, "Because you don't know how long Draco and I have been doing it!"
Molly now cries in silence, tears pouring on her cheeks.
"Listen carefully, because I won't say it again. If you do not like it, our ways will part, but I am in love with Severus Snape and I mean to spend the rest of my life with him," Harry declares.
"What *is* this nonsense ?" That being yelled by Sirius Black who just came in the Leaky Cauldron.
In a split second Sirius comes around the table and grabs Severus who finds himself pinned against the wall.
"Stop it, Sirius!" Harry growls dangerously.
"What have you done, Snape ?" Sirius says, ignoring Harry like Molly had.
Some of his role models may still see a boy in Harry, but he is a young man now. Harry's fist connects with the chin of his godfather. Sirius Black is sent away from Severus Snape.
Before turning to his godfather to deal with him, Harry looks at Severus, and the pain and hurt he sees in his eyes makes Harry want to kill Sirius. Harry puts a hand on his other half's arm and lightly strokes him.
Then Harry dives on Sirius, grabs the wizard by his collar and puts him in his turn against the nearest wall. Aside from Severus who has been working and training with Harry, nobody would have expected a show of such strength in the young man.
"I will not have my choice questioned, Sirius, is *that* clear ? Merlin! What's with you people ? Why do you want to separate me from the one and only who makes me happy ? My life has not been miserable enough for your tastes ?" Harry asks, securing his grip on his godfather's neck.
Sirius manages to utter, "But... Snape!?"
"So what ?" Harry barks defiantly.
"What would your parents say, Harry ?" Molly intervenes.
While Harry's right hand is on Sirius, he shows him his left hand and says, "Could you tell her what I'm wearing ?"
Sirius gulps and whispers, "James's wedding thread."
"Yes, Mister Godfather and Madam Prejudiced! My parents came to us and blessed us!" Harry explains, letting go of Sirius.
"But, as your godfather..." Sirius starts.
"*God*father... Not father! And even if! You cannot control my life Sirius. I've been fighting against Voldemort for most of my life. If I have to fight for happiness... I will! You have to move on, bloody hell, and stop seeing in me either a boy or a replica of my father! I'm neither!" Harry affirms.
Harry walks towards Tom and asks him how much he owes for the room and breakfast.
Tom extends his hand, and Harry takes it.
"Mr. Potter, you and Professor Snape are my guests," Tom says.
"Thank you," Harry answers, grateful for the gift and the civilized behaviour.
Sirius glares at Severus, but he does not dare say another word. Sirius thinks that Albus can certainly do something...
Percy taps on his mother's shoulder, not waiting for her to dry her tears, and says, "Thank you for bringing me into this world and taking care of me all of these years, but I think I'll go and find a flat near the Ministry... If someday you find my orientation acceptable, feel free to owl me..." And he storms back to the room he shared with the twins the previous night.
"Shall we go, Severus ?" Harry asks.
"It definitely sounds like a good idea," Severus answers.
Sirius makes a move to intercept his enemy, but Harry stops him with one declaration, "I am leaving with Severus now. My parents thought it was a good idea to make you my godfather and *I* will respect that. But... But if you ever interfere with my life... You'll pay for that... It's not a threat. That's an omen... Am I clear, Sirius ?"
The Animagus nods, his eyes burning with hatred for the man who has corrupted his godson.
"We'll owl you to let you know when and where the ceremony will take place and we'll see you then." Harry tells his friends, whose embarrassment is almost tangible.
Hell's gates fully open when four black-clad Ministry Officers of State Security come in with Cornelius Fudge.
Fudge is very pale and walks forward with an official parchment.
"Severus Snape, you are under arrest. You are charged..." Fudge begins.
"What ?" Harry Potter barks.
Hermione prepares herself for whatever is to come. The other witnesses are simply too surprised to even think.
Harry steps between Severus and the MOSSes.
The MOSSes are under Hermione's orders, and they saw what she was capable of during the War. She knows that when they have to choose, they will be on her side, not Fudge's.
"What's all this about ?" Harry barks.
"Mr. Potter, we have discovered the nature of the spell that was used to kill You-Know-Who and..." Fudge starts.
Harry is suddenly very calm: even if he has let his feelings speak in the beginning, now he wants to control the situation and get Severus out of this trap... Mainly, he wants Severus to be proud of him. He interrupts Fudge, "If the ones with brains who work for you have established the *exact* nature of the spell *we* used to finally kill Voldemort, may I know why, Minister Fudge, you aren't planning to arrest me as well ?"
"Because... Because..." Fudge hadn't thought that Harry would be with Severus and is totally unprepared to face the wrath of the Boy-Who-Lived.
Harry is just about to make Severus extremely proud of him, even if his friends are in for the fright of their lives, "You know, Minister Fudge, Severus Snape and *I*, Harry Potter, used the fourth, nearly forgotten, Unforgivable Curse to bring an end to the actions of Lord Voldemort. You certainly must know that two persons have to perform that spell, or else it won't work. You plan to arrest Professor Snape, but not me. I find that highly unfair. Yet, if that is your final decision, I will do all I can to prevent you from doing so... Even if it means reversing the spell and bringing the Dark Lord back..." Harry's voice trail off.
Severus, Hermione and Bill are the only ones who know for sure that Harry is bluffing.
"Harry! You wouldn't..." Molly squeaks, swallowing the bait.
"Oh, yes! I would! No, actually, I will... I will reverse the spell and make a deal with Voldemort. I'm certain he'll agree to let Severus and I live quietly somewhere in the Muggle world if I promise not to interfere with his plans this time!" Harry says, and to emphasize his words and his threat, he takes his wand out of his sleeve.
"Sir ?" One of the MOSSes asks Fudge.
"Huh ?" Fudge answers, lost.
"I... No... *We* never agreed to this arrest and it seems that we were right. You cannot do that. Without the work of those two wizards, many families would still be tortured by Death Eaters. We disagree with your plan, and solemnly declare that any action against Professor Snape will have to be taken without the participation of any MOSS and that we will feel obliged to report your actions to the public," the man declares.
"Politically, Minister, it would be highly unwise. Imagine what people, your electors, would think if they were told how you plan to treat two of their saviours..." Hermione intervenes, knowing that her MOSSes will stand by her.
"But I cannot forget that this Death Eater performed that particular Curse!" Fudge barks.
Hermione flicks her wand and whispers, "Actually, yes, you can!"
The Memory Charm she's used is extremely powerful.
"Are you with me, gentlemen ?" The Auror asks her MOSSes.
The four men chuckle before they start nodding.
"We'll take care of him on our way back to the Ministry..." one of the men says.
"Don't be *too* radical, my friends..." Hermione advises them.
"Don't worry, Ma'am! We know our job!" another one declares, grinning.
Two of the MOSSes take a badly disoriented Fudge out.
"I... I want you to know that we came with him to keep an eye on him. We wouldn't have let him take you, Professor." One of those who stayed behind declares.
"Thank you, Mr. Rettin." Severus says, clearly relieved.
"And I wanted to thank you both. My daughter is alive today thanks to your work. You have friends inside the Ministry..." the other says.
They nod their goodbye and leave the scene.
"Hermione!" Sirius says, his tone translating his disapprobation.
"What Black ? Don't tell me that you disagree with what I did! In fact, *you* should have done it!" She hisses, radiating power, "Sometimes I wonder why the Potters made you Harry's godfather. Remus or Albus would have been such a better choice!"
"But..." Molly starts.
"Oh! Shut up! Both of you! If you're too stupid to acknowledge true love when you see it, well... Too bad for you! Now if you intend to do *anything* to disrupt my friends' happiness, I'll kick your miserable asses up to the North Pole! Understood ?" She growls menacingly.
Molly flees to her room, and Sirius snarls.
"I don't like the idea of Harry living with Snape..." Sirius whispers finally.
"It's my life!" Harry says.
Then, the green-eyed miracle holds out his left hand and Severus takes it.
Hand in hand they walk towards Diagon Alley.
When they're out, Sirius mumbles something about doing something for Harry, against Snape, with Albus.
Ginny walks to him, smiles and kicks him somewhere where it's extremely painful. All the boys in the room wince in sympathy, Hermione laughs.
While Sirius is rolling on the floor, clutching his nether regions in agony, Tom gives them some advice, "Miss Weasley, Mr. Malfoy, I know what you're planning, and if I were you, I'd take care of the legal aspect of my project right now and have a party with family and friends *afterwards*..."
"Sound advice." Hermione comments, "I'll go with you if you want..."
Ginny looks at Draco, somewhat afraid that he'll back off. The blond Slytherin smiles and carries her in his arms.
"Let's go and get married before any of them recovers!" he says.
The couple is followed by the Auror Granger and Ginny's brothers.
Harry and Severus wait for the wall leading to Diagon Alley to reform itself behind them. They want to be sure that they're not followed.
The place is empty.
The wizarding world is still asleep after celebrating the Victory which, without Harry and Severus, would not have been possible.
Harry is about to speak. He wants to tell his love that he's sorry for what happened, that he'll always protect him, that he's *so* disappointed in Molly and Sirius, even though Severus had seen it coming... Harry wants to tell his love so many things...
But Severus puts one finger on Harry's lips and says, "Let's go home."
Harry kisses the finger on his lips and nods.
"We're going to Oxford." Severus announces.
And the couple disapparates, two phials clinking in the sleeve of the robe of the younger wizard...
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