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 !)
I really would like to thank my editor! Without her my grammar goes down the drain... She's saving me and takes care of the coherence of the plot bunnies; she's the amazing and brilliant SilentG [http://www.fanfiction.net/profile.php?userid=197488] The remaining mistakes are all mine, and I apologize for those.
Chapter Fiveteen - Lessons
After their amazing dream, Severus and Harry manage to have a rather ordinary day, putting the last touch to their schedules, their classrooms and their offices.
They have lunch in private, with the white owl and the black kitten who now reside in their quarters, and far too soon, it's time to go to the Great Hall for the Sorting ceremony.
When the students of the four Houses arrive, their conversations stop at the sight of the Potions master and DADA teacher sitting side by side in almost identical robes. Most of them started reading when Harry was a student himself and they all know that they owe their freedom mostly to those two wizards, even if they don't grasp all the details of what occurred when they defeated the Dark Lord...
They sit down and the conversations resume slowly.
Minerva brings the first-years in and the Sorting Hat starts singing.
'Do you realize that it's the first time in years I'm here to hear the Hat sing!' Harry whispers to Severus.
'You haven't lost much, trust me, and in twenty years you'll want to hex it,' Severus murmurs back.
Harry smiles and the sorting begins, but the two wizards aren't too much interested till Minerva calls, 'Rettin, Amalia.'
As the Hat rests on her head, it almost turns towards the Potions master with a frown and, grumbling, it says, 'Slytherin!'
Amalia hops off the stool and curtseys when she walks in front of her Head of House; Severus bows and all the other students are in awe. Amalia has just succeeded in making the whole school notice her.
'Who is she?' Professor Sprout asks Harry.
'Amalia is the younger sister of James Rettin - he was a Slytherin, a friend of Ethan Bell, George Pierre and Bill Weasley, he's one of Hermione's MOSSes,' Harry tells her.
'Oh! I remember them! Do you think she'll be a good student?' she goes on.
'Certainly! I think she'll work well in your classes because she wants to be a Potions mistress,' Harry adds.
'That's good news! I've come to miss Neville and it'll be nice to have someone knowing one or two things about plants and herbs,' she says, patting Harry's arm.
When the last of the first-year student has been sorted, Minerva calls everybody's attention and Albus stands up.
'Welcome students! This is the first year in a long time that we don't have to fear the shadow of Voldemort,' Most of the students gasp and Harry grins, thinking of what he has in store for them. Albus goes on, 'All the teachers were secretly in the Order of the Phoenix and I want to thank them here tonight for the amazing work they've done over decades for some of them, and I want to thank particularly Professor Severus Snape, your Potions master,' the four Houses start clapping, 'And Professor Harry Potter, your Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher.' The applause doubles and some of the first-years grin like Cheshire-Cats at the prospect of being taught by the famous Harry Potter and all the Slytherins are delighted at the prospect that their Head contributed to end the War.
'Before we begin our banquet,' Albus adds, 'I remind you that the forest is forbidden to all students, night and day. The Duelling Club shall resume under the tutelage of Professors McGonagall and Flitwick and the interdisciplinary units will be supervised by Professors Snape and Potter. Let the feast begin!'
The food appears on the tables and teachers and students tuck in.
Severus and Harry are the diversion of the start-of-term banquet. The students talk about their actions in the War and about their bonding.
Some Gryffindor first-years wonder if this is common for people of the same gender to be openly involved. Amalia turns around.
'You're Muggle-borns, aren't you?' she asks.
The twin boy and girl who were so amazed nod.
'Our magical community has been used to accepting, mostly, all kinds of alliances. As long as people are in love, whatever their gender or species, there are ways to be officially bonded, married, or whatever... My brother has been married to a man for years and I have a niece and it's one of the happiest households I know,' Amalia explains.
'Species?' the boy says.
'Oh! Do be quiet Odin!' his sister orders, 'We do have a lot to catch up on. Would you help us?'
'Why not!' Amalia exclaims.
'I'm Odin Stewart,' the boy says extending his hand toward the Slytherin table.
'Amalia Rettin,' she says, shaking hands and thus surprising her Housemates.
'And I'm Osiris,' the other twin says, shaking hand with the Slytherin.
'Why don't you come over here for dessert, Amalia? There's plenty of room and I hate it when I'm clueless,' Odin asks.
She grabs her plate and spoon and joins them.
'What do you think you're doing?!' a Slytherin second-year hisses at Amalia.
She turns around from the Gryffindor table and announces, 'My brother spent most of his time at the Gryffies' table with his fiancé and he's the one who taught me it's not forbidden in the school rules. Now it's not like you've read those, have you, Seafare? And you should know better than to pester a Slytherin Pureblood!'
Seafare gulps and the teachers witness the start of a new era of understanding between the Houses.
Amalia tells Odin and Osiris as much as she can about their new world, about Magical Creatures, about laws and rules...
'I think the rest will have to wait till tomorrow, the banquet is almost over but we can go on at breakfast and we have our first class together,'Amalia states.
'What is it again?' Odin wonders.
'Defence!' Osiris barks, angry with her brother's poor memory, 'Double class with the Slytherins.'
'Oi! Gryffs!' McDonald, a Slytherin fourth-year, calls.
The twins and Amalia turn around.
'Yes?' Osiris asks.
'We were wondering who gave you your names. They're pretty powerful names for Muggle-borns,' McDonald inquires.
'A friend of our father's suggested those names and our mother loved them. That's all,' Odin answers.
Albus rises from his chair and they all sing the school song, following the Headmaster's wand.
Before going to their respective Houses, the Stewarts and Amalia say goodnight and Odin asks if they're far apart in the castle.
Amalia informs him that they're not particularly neighbours but that it could be worse...
When the students reach the Common Rooms of their Houses, their Prefects give them instructions; but the Slytherins are greeted by their Head, as usual.
'Welcome to Slytherin! I know what most of you had to go through over the past years or months and my door shall be open to you, day and night,' Severus says.
'Even now, sir?' one of the elder Slytherins dares to ask.
Severus smiles, a gesture only his charges have ever witnessed, and answers, 'Yes, even now... Though abuse of that privilege might get you into more trouble and detentions with Argus Filch than you ever wanted... Professor Potter is willing to welcome you as well. In our quarters, in case of emergency, or in his office during the day.'
McDonald raises his hand.
'Yes?' Severus asks.
'Which office has been given to our DADA teacher, sir?'
'The one three doors on the right towards the Hospital Wing when you leave his classroom,' Severus says.
The elder Slytherins nod, and the clueless first-years think they'll get the exact location from their older Housemates in the morning.
Severus gives his usual speech about what he expects from them and gives them recommendations. Then he wishes them pleasant dreams and goes back to his quarters after having activated wards that protect and monitor the Slytherins.
He finds Harry, wearing only the bottom of his blue pyjamas, sprawled on the sofa, reading the second part of Henry IV.
'Mind if I take a shower before joining you?'
'Not at all!' Harry says with a smile.
Severus hasn't been in the shower for two minutes when a ward signals a problem in the Common Room. Harry dons his bathrobe, grabs his wand and runs to see what's going on. Most Slytherins are trying to soothe a first-year boy who's crying his soul out.
'What happened?' Harry asks.
'We were all going to sleep when he started screaming and now he's crying and we don't know what to do, sir,' the Slytherin Prefect answers.
Harry kneels next to the boy who reminds him of himself the first time he left the Dursleys. He tries to remember the name of the boy, it's something simple like John or Peter. And then he remembers: it's Matthew Templeton and he's one of the children in care.
'What's wrong Matthew?' he asks in a whisper.
His eyes full of tears, the boy looks at the hero of his childhood and he decides to trust the man with those huge green eyes.
'It said I deserved what happened to me...' Matthew says.
''It'?...' then realization dawns and Harry says gently, 'No... You didn't deserve what happened to you, none of us did. And I'll prepare you so it won't happen again... But right now, I have to deal with "it" till you can protect yourselves... PEEVES!' Harry yells.
The poltergeist reveals its presence.
'Listen to me you useless thing, if you ever make any of the Slytherins cry again or if you try to hurt them, you'll have me hunting you till I have dissolved your very last particle. Do I make myself clear? If the other Houses are too lazy with you, good for you, but I will not allow you to pester the Slytherins!' Harry barks, magic crackling around him.
Peeves knows when to back off; he understands that he'd better not stay there and he leaves.
'Bloody Baron?!' Harry calls, and the Slytherin resident ghost comes into the Room.
'Could you please give him a lesson in House etiquette?' Harry asks and the ghost floats away.
'That was very Slytherin of you, sir,' the Prefect points out.
'The Sorting Hat almost made me join your ranks,' Harry tells them.
The first-years ask"hows" and "whys" that Harry promises to answer the next evening and he sends them all back to bed.
As he reaches the boys dorm, holding Matthew's hand, the Prefect whispers, 'A good thing you were not in Slytherin... It would have been hell for you, with our Head...'
'I didn't know at the time and will you go to bed, naughty Slytherin!' Harry jokes.
'Yes, sir! Good night!'
When they're all alone, Harry directs all his attention to Matthew.
'Will you be all right for the night?' Harry wonders.
'I hope, sir... I won't be alone in the room, that's a good thing.'
'Would you like a potion to sleep?'
'No, sir, thank you, but my granny gave me a lot of that after...'
Harry takes his wand and says, 'So, let me give you something different...'
He conjures something that looks like a Remembrall and offers it to the boy.
'If you're having really bad dreams, this will help you concentrate on happy memories.'
'Thank you, sir!' the boy is about to cry again, so Harry wishes him sweet dreams and leaves or at least he tries to for he collides with his soulmate.
'That was very nice, Harry.'
'You had a nice shower?'
'Yes, thank you. Why?'
'Because now I can play with you,' Harry whispers in his ear.
After breakfast on the following morning, they go back to their quarters to fetch their books and parchments.
'It's time to go and crack the whip!' Harry says.
'My! You're actually eager to start teaching,' Severus teases him.
'If you tell me you're not impatient to see what Miss Rettin can do in Potions, I'll call you a liar!'
'You won't have to,' Severus says, caressing Harry's back as they walk towards the door.
The Potions master goes to his classroom and the DADA teacher jogs upstairs...
The first-years Gryffindor and Slytherin are already in Harry's classroom. He walks in and slowly and quietly closes the door: he has been thinking a lot on the way he would start his first lesson of the year with his students and he didn't want to copy Severus's style.
As he walks to his desk, he smiles to his young charges. Those born in magical families look at him as if he were a living legend: the Boy of the "Fairy Tales" of their childhood coming out of the books their parents read to make them sleep. The Muggle-born pupils feel that something tremendous is happening.
Harry sits at his desk and with a huge smile, he begins, 'Good morning class! This is your very first lesson at Hogwarts and I am happy to have this charge. Some of you, I'm even tempted to say "most of you", know who I am...' Some pupils nod fervently and Harry goes on, 'But some of you, those who are coming from Muggle families, most certainly had never heard my name before yesterday... Who hadn't heard my name before?' Harry asks.
Shyly, the Stewart twins raise their hands and they're followed by some Muggle-borns.
'It's perfectly all right. When I was your age and I came to Hogwarts, I didn't know who I was either. When my parents were killed in the war, Albus Dumbledore decided that the best for me would be to grow up with my Muggle relatives, but they were so against magic that they never told me who and what I was. I discovered I was a wizard when Rubeus Hagrid came to fetch me, not before. Maybe I should have a word with the Headmaster on that topic, don't you think?' That makes them chuckle. 'So, my first lesson will be about magic. Who your family is, whether they're Muggles or Purebloods, shall never be important in this classroom; you will have to work on your magic, your strength, your abilities and your wits. Work to be the best for yourself, to protect those you love, but don't fight each other or compete without a real goal.'
Harry pauses for ten seconds, giving them time for his words to sink in. Meanwhile he scans the room and when he's certain that his audience is hooked, he goes on, 'Who hasn't heard of the war?' The Muggle-borns raise their hands again. 'I have a question for you, and for all the class. Do you really think that a name can be dangerous?' They almost all stare blankly at him, except Amalia and Osiris who exchange a look which doesn't escape Harry's notice. 'Let me give you examples... Do you know Shakespeare? William Shakespeare?' Some pupils nod. 'He was a playwright and my second lesson will be to recommend you to combine your classes: what you learn in Herbology will be useful in Potions and Care of the Magical Creatures and Charms will be useful here and in Transfiguration... for example. There aren't varieties of magic working independently, if you want to be good witches and wizards, you'll have to combine everything you'll be taught... But to go back to Shakespeare, he wrote in Romeo and Juliet "What's in a name? That which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet"(1), what did he mean by that?'
Matthew Templeton raises his hand and Harry nods to let him speak, 'It means that it's not its name that makes the rose, but the soft petals and the sweet smell and even the thorns.'
'Excellent Matthew! Ten points to Slytherin!' Harry exclaims, 'It's not because that particular flower is called "rose" that it is what it is... Now do you think that I would be different if my name was Henry Baker or Themis Dandelion?'
The children giggle and shake their heads.
'Good,' he goes on, taking them exactly where he wants them, 'So you agree that "Harry Potter" is not more or less powerful because of that particular name?' They nod again, falling quietly and steadily into his trap.
'When there is not a spell or a charm attached to a name, there is no fear to have of that name, right?' They nod again and Harry grins inwardly.
'So I take it you can say my name aloud?' he asks, and then some Slytherins understand what he's about to do and start fidgeting, but the class obeys and says his name. Then he makes them say the names of other teachers, of Quidditch players and of some of the other students present.
'Amalia Rettin... Your family is powerful, but should I be afraid of you for that reason? For the history behind your name?'
'Sir, I think you won't have much to fear from me,' the young girl answers and Harry kindly smiles.
'Thank you Amalia... When I came to Hogwarts, I knew nothing about the war that started over twenty years ago. I was totally at sea and I didn't understand why everybody was afraid to say aloud the name of one particular wizard. It was beyond me... Now I have two more names for you, one more lesson and then I'll give you our schedule for the year and then I guess it will be time for your first Potions lesson... Will you repeat after me? Tom Riddle.'
The class innocently obeys and Odin asks who he is.
'Who he was, Odin... His full name was Tom Marvolo Riddle,' Harry uses his wand to write the name on the blackboard and magic to rearranges the letters slowly as he says, 'He was an ambitious man made of blood, dreams, bones, joys and despairs and he changed his name into Lord Voldemort. I never understood why people were afraid of his name. I have faced him many times and I can swear that there was nothing special in that name... The man he was was cruel and mean and a lunatic, but I don't want you to be afraid of that name. The name itself was an empty shell... Repeat after me... Voldemort.'
After some initial stuttering, he gets his charges to repeat the name of the Dark Lord as if it were a day of the week.
'You see, there's nothing in it, no power to bring him back whence he's been sent. My third lesson will be to recommend you not to be afraid of mere names... Now, I won't tell you that you'll never have to face evil people, that would be a lie, but if you must fight, don't be afraid - be angry. If you have to fight for your life, be prepared to kill; the Dark Arts have always existed and no one will make them disappear with wishful thinking. You are still young, but if you work hard from your first year here on, I do hope you'll be able to face most situations...'
After the first years, Harry teaches Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw seventh-years and he starts his speech asking them what they saw of the war and he makes them repeat Voldemort's name till it becomes "just a name", but the older students need more time to get over the training they received from their families in that field. After that, Harry starts teaching them curses and counter-curses straight away.
When the Slytherin and Gryffindor first years arrive in their Potions classroom, their teacher is glaring at an apple that has been left on his desk.
Severus gives them his usual speech, he asks them theoretical questions and they start working on their first potion. The number of Slytherins and Gryffindors being uneven, Amalia ends up working with the Stewarts and Severus watches them carefully; Amalia is young, but he sees the potential in her and he also notices the gift the twins have. When Jules Ode stayed with him and Harry and Remus, the priest mentioned the twins of one of his former fellows in a Muggle newspaper; Jules is the one who suggested the twins' names to the Stewarts because he had felt their powers even before they were born. Now Severus wants to watch how the Stewart-Rettin team is going to work at Hogwarts...
Ten minutes before lunch, the Potions master dismisses his class, but the new Hogwarts trio walks to his desk.
'I wish I had thought of bringing an apple, sir,' Odin says.
'Don't be silly, Odin! That's a Muggle tradition!' Osiris intervenes.
'Your sister is right Mr. Stewart, and though there is nothing wrong with Muggle traditions, you don't want your schoolmates thinking that I'm becoming nice,' Severus answers, not as coldly as usual, 'Why aren't you heading towards the Great Hall and your lunch?'
'Sir, I'd like to know if we could come to your Potions tutoring,' Amalia asks.
'Miss Rettin, this course is for fifth years and above. Even if you could deal with the Potions teaching, I doubt you could mistress or master the spells involved,' Severus says.
'If I help them and you test us, could we join a group?' Amalia insists.
Severus looks at them... A new generation to whom he can teach everything without having the shadow of Voldemort over the school. They are eager and he can feel their magic demanding to be used for the best...
'If I, the three other Heads of Houses and Professor Potter agree to let you do so, then you can join the tutoring classes,' Severus concedes.
The children nod eagerly, thank him and go away.
During lunch, the Stewarts invade the Slytherin table, but the reaction they generate is nothing compared with the frightened murmurs that spreads when Harry's second class tell what they've done. A whisper of 'He made us repeat the name of Voldemort' reaches Albus who smiles at Harry. The DADA teacher is grinning like a very happy schoolboy...
This new year and new era is slightly disturbed when Severus and Harry receive an owl from Hermione Weasley.
She's pregnant and she's decided that she wants the two wizards to be the godfathers of her baby. To discuss that topic the three Weasleys and the teachers are to meet for lunch at the Three Broomsticks in Hogsmeade the first free Saturday the teachers have. They have to meet soon, while Hermione is still allowed to Apparate.
Severus and Harry are the first to arrive, but as soon as the Weasleys join them, they soon notice that she's even more bossy than usual.
'Hermione?' Harry asks.
'Yes?' the witch practically purrs.
'What did your mediwitch say?' Severus inquires.
'The usual... What kind of magic I can perform, what my diet should be, what I can do with my husbands...' she answers. Her husbands, Ron and Charlie, blush for three.
'What did she say about the baby?' Harry specifies.
'Er... nothing. There's nothing to say... yet... Right?' she wonders.
'Actually...' Severus starts.
'There's already a lot to know,' Harry ends for Severus.
'How come you know that?' Ron asks, quite surprised that his wizard friends know so much about pregnancy spells.
Hermione and Charlie blush because they think that the couple might have done some research for themselves.
'In fact, Ron, Poppy gave me some basic medical training and I shared it with Severus,' Harry explains and Hermione and Charlie blush again: magical first aid makes much more sense...
'So... what could you tell us?' Ron wonders.
'There are spells that can show if the embryo is developing normally, others to know if it's a boy or a girl... One of the advantages magic has over Muggle technology: we can know that for sure,' Severus reveals.
'I don't want to know the sex of the baby, but I'd like to know who the father is,' the witch says.
'We told you it's not important,' Charlie intervenes.
'But I want to know!' she almost yells.
'So you can dice the one of them who breached your potion?' Severus quietly asks.
'Hermione...' Harry says, taking her hand, 'You're not bossy... You're edgy...'
Silent tears rolling down her cheek, she whispers, 'It's the one who didn't breach through my potion I might want to dice...'
'We have time, Love... The next time, if there's a next time, we can operate differently. Whoever the father of that baby is,' Ron solemnly declares, a hand on Hermione's belly, 'It'll be a Weasley and we are a family...'
She sighs and says, 'You're right.'
'If you want, I can check that my future godchild is developing normally,' Harry offers with a grin and that makes her smile and she nods.
Harry casts the charm and looks bemusedly at Severus for one split second. Severus casts the same charm and looks at Harry.
'McDonald!' Severus calls, and the young Slytherin comes running towards his Head of House.
'Would you ask Madam Rosmerta to call Madam Pomfrey through the Floo?'Harry asks.
The Slytherins have totally adopted Harry in a very few days and after some private tutoring and Quidditch practise. They obey him as efficiently as they obey Severus.
'What's wrong?' Charlie asks, extremely worried.
'Nothing's wrong...' Harry starts.
'But there is something curious, and after all...' Severus goes on.
'We're not mediwizards,' the couple ends at the exact same time.
'You're scarier than the twins!' Hermione reproaches them.
Some minutes later, McDonald brings Poppy to their table and she performs the charm in her turn.
'I see why you called me,' she says to the Hogwarts teachers.
'So we didn't cast it wrong,' Harry declares.
Poppy chuckles and announces, 'Not at all... There are two sets of twins...'
Some tests and charms later, the three Weasleys are told that Ron and Charlie have each fathered one set of twins: Hermione's wish has been fulfilled, both her husbands are going to have children.
Poppy, Severus and Harry agree to help Hermione through this.
The next weeks and months make Severus and Harry think of their duties as teachers, role-models and - soon - godfathers of the next batch of Weasleys.
Hallowe'en offers them some unexpected training when some of the Slytherins - and not only the younger ones - eat too many sweets and cakes and... and the two teachers spend a good deal of the night taking care of them.
Yule is somewhat quieter. Of course, Albus insisted on a ball even if only very few students stayed. At eleven, the teachers send the students to bed and Severus and Harry stay behind when Albus offers a glass of sherry to the teachers in his office; his old eyes are twinkling when he closes the door, letting them all alone in the illuminated Great Hall. They lock all the doors and, with no music but the rhythm of the wings of the Faeries flying around them, they dance. Two black-clad figures madly in love, their world in peace... at last.
When they kiss at midnight to celebrate the new magical year, before the New Year inherited from the Muggle calendar, the magical bands that are a symbol of their bond touching, both make the same unconscious wish.
Little can they guess that the Above is listening to their souls...
When the post arrives on Valentine Day, Hedwig brings a letter to Harry. It reads: "Professor Potter, we have been asked to tell you that an owl will make a delivery in your name after your last class. We kindly ask you to open a window so that our owl can enter your classroom."; there are all the proper salutations and it comes from a shop Harry doesn't know. He may have been bonded to Severus for only a little more than six months, but Harry has been living with the man for years, and he knows when Severus's silence is pregnant with meaning: his lover is sending him a gift.
On his side, Harry has found, quite by chance, a very old Potions book that is going to be his present to his lover, but, now, he wonders what Severus has chosen to celebrate their first Valentine's as a couple...
Harry puts the parchment in his sleeve and does his best to ignore the fact that, except Severus who's really intent on pretending not to watch him, the whole school wonders about the message he received.
Severus's book has been Charmed and hidden in the library. Harry composed a riddle that his soulmate would have to solve before discovering his reward and he has waited for the end of the lunch hour to give the instructions to Severus. Harry knows that as soon as the last Potions student leaves the classroom, Severus will work on the riddle while Harry awaits his mysterious delivery.
His last class over, the DADA teacher opens the biggest window and waits. Then, he sees a huge owl fly towards him; she's carrying a big parcel. The owl is so immense that she has to manoeuvre with the parcel through the window. With skill, she deposits it on Harry's desk and perches on the white box. Harry gives her a treat and she departs.
Harry feverishly unties the white ribbon and opens the box. A delicate jade-green Japanese vase is holding one hundred and thirty nine red roses and three white lilies that have been spelled to be preserved.
He knows that Severus would hex him if the Potions master knew what Harry thought: that his black-eyed companion is the most romantic man on earth.
Harry hears the door open and he knows Severus has solved his riddle and found his book. He turns around and throws himself into Severus's arms and kisses him hungrily while caressing his lover's wedding band with his own. Severus has one hand in one of Harry's, the other holds the book that is trapped between their bodies, he's got his back against the door and Harry's other hand on his neck urges him closer. When they're an inch away from orgasm just kissing, they stop before it's too late, knowing that they cannot afford to make love properly where they are.
Panting, Harry says, 'From July 1st to August 31st, I'm going to worship you and make love to you and thank you and tease you and take you in the cellar and every other room of the house and tie you to our bed!'
'A most interesting schedule,' Severus purrs in his ear.
Harry grins and pecks Severus on the lips once more.
As Harry places his gift back in its box to transport it to their quarters, Severus says, 'When you're through your schedule, it'll be my turn to thank you for the book.'
'So... You like it.'
'It's extremely rare and you took time to offer it to me in a most entertaining way... and it's from you. Of course I like it!' Severus exclaims.
Harry guesses that the third reason is the most important for his soulmate and he falls deeper in love. No one ever told him it was possible, but his feelings for his love, lover, bonded and soulmate increase day after day.
In the dead of the night, after strengthening the wards in the Slytherin quarters and with the help of a collection of Silencing charms, the couple trains for the appointment they've made for July 1st...
Only seven months after the victory over Voldemort, on a sunny morning in March, Hermione is having the babies. Poppy had warned them that it could happen, so Charlie contacts her immediately through the Floo. She runs out of the Hospital Wing, warns Albus that she has to leave, fetches Harry on her way and both burst into the Potions classroom where Severus instantly understands what's going on. The Potions master dismisses his class and the three of them go to the Weasleys' London flat.
When they Floo in, Hermione is yelling at her husbands.
Her four MOSSes are there as well, patiently waiting.
Arthur is sitting on the sofa, pale as snow at the prospect of becoming a grandfather... four times in the same day.
Molly is making tea with Percy's help.
Bill is chatting with George; Draco and Ginny Malfoy are in a corner with Fred.
Poppy walks into the bedroom where Hermione is trying to give birth to the new generation of Weasleys and the mediwitch kicks the husbands out for it seems that their presence is doing more harm than good.
Ron, Charlie and all their friends and family become silent. They're waiting for Poppy to come back into the room to give them news, but instead, she calls, 'Snape! Potter!' and both wizards obey and enter the improvised delivery room...
Hermione looks positively exhausted and dreadfully pale.
'We've got a problem and I need your help,' Poppy announces without further ado.
'What can we do?' both wizards ask.
'She cannot have the babies naturally, we'll have to help her,' the mediwitch declares.
'A caesarean?' Harry wonders.
'No,' Poppy says.
'I'll do it,' Severus offers, understanding what Poppy means.
Mediwitch and future mother nod.
'Will you allow me, Hermione?' Severus gently asks.
'Yes, Severus,' she answers.
Severus takes off his robes and jacket and shoes and climbs in bed in her back so that she leans on him. He places his hands on her belly and signals Poppy and Harry and he's ready. The mediwitch gives a towel to Harry and places him in front of her on the other side of the bed.
'When Severus makes the first twins Apparate we will have only one second to catch them, spell the umbilical cords off and seal them... a simple healing charm will do... Are we all ready?' Poppy asks.
At that moment, Hermione has another contraction.
Severus holds her tight and whispers a spell before saying, 'Lean on me Hermione, share your pain with me.'
Poppy's not pleased because in spite of his past history as a spy and in spite of the Unforgivables he'd had to endure, nothing has ever prepared the Potions master to share the pains of childbirth with the young woman and the mediwitch truly fears that it might hinder his concentration, but Harry is deeply touched by what his companion has just done.
Hermione feels like crying: she's got a fantastic family, wonderful friends and she's going to be a mother in some minutes...
Severus channels the pain he's sharing and concentrates on feeling where the babies are inside the witch.
'Ready?' Severus asks.
The first twins appear in the hands of Harry and Poppy. Severus pales and Hermione yells: the magic used is not painful per se but the sudden "loss" of two of the babies is.
Poppy and Harry do their duty and identify the twins: the first two boys are Ron's.
Hermione is crying with happiness.
'Ready?' Severus asks again.
The twins fathered by Charlie are also boys.
Mrs Hermione Weasley then finds herself with six males in her home...
Finally Poppy declares the babies healthy, in spite of their early delivery, puts some spells on the mother to balance her hormones, then Ron and Charlie are introduced to their sons: respectively, James and Alexander, and Terence and Remus.
At last, family and friends are allowed to come in.
Severus is still very pale and Hermione proudly tells them what he's done for her. To everybody's astonishment, Molly brings him a cup of tea, arguing that a man who did that cannot be all bad.
Harry doesn't push his luck and say that it's one of the reasons why he's linked his fate with Severus's: he just enjoys that truce with Granny Weasley...
Soon, Poppy orders everyone out but her improvised assistants and the husbands.
'You know what I want someday Severus?' Hermione whispers, an inch away from sleep.
'No, I don't know Hermione... Tell me,' he murmurs in her ear, holding her gently.
'A daughter...' she murmurs and falls asleep in the arms of the Hogwarts Potions master.
Just on time Harry casts a Levitating spell on both Ron and Charlie who have swooned in perfect synchronization.
'Brilliant! You're holding the mother and I'm levitating the fathers!' Harry chuckles.
Severus manoeuvres and leaves Hermione on her pillow; then he helps Harry place Ron and Charlie on chairs.
The four babies are sleeping and the couple watches them, Harry in Severus's arms, like when they defeated Voldemort.
'Our godsons,' Harry whispers dreamily.
'We'll have to organize their presentation to the world with the four other godfathers,' Severus murmurs not to wake them up - parents or children.
'I don't know how they found out your second name,' Harry adds.
'As an Auror, Hermione has access to the Official Registry, she certainly knows all my names.'
Severus sighs, 'Yes, so it's a good thing she has taste and picked the second...'
While the two teachers silently admire the babies, Ron and Charlie regain consciousness and join their friends. They look at their wife, then at their sons and tears roll down their cheeks silently.
'A miracle...' both murmur and Severus and Harry smile.
When they go back to Hogwarts, it's hours after Poppy Flooed back, so everybody knows what happened, but they all insist on being told everything about the Weasleys.
It's Minerva who finally concludes by saying, 'Two sets of male Weasley twins... Remind me to retire in eleven years, please!'
Severus and Harry discreetly clasp hands and Albus whispers, 'Being their godfathers, you can hope they'll listen to you when they come here.'
'Albus?' Harry whispers as well.
'How are children put on the Hogwarts list? I've never thought to ask before.'
'By magic. The Four Founders made a book that writes down the name of every magical child in the country as soon as it's conceived...' and when Albus says that, Harry and Severus could swear that there is that strange twinkle in his eyes... the twinkle that they can see when the old wizard knows something that no one else does...
When they talk about it later that night, they think that, maybe, Draco and Ginny...
The end of the year finally comes. The results are extremely good and the new curriculum is a success - except maybe for the Stewarts and Amalia who cannot join the tutoring program yet, but the New Trio as they are now officially called end their first year with the best grades in their year.
For the first time in years, in decades even, the school will not need a new DADA teacher next September.
Harry and Severus let Câly take care of their possessions and they Apparate in their Oxonian garden.
Severus deciphers the feral grin of his lover and he knows that they're going to make love here and now: it's been too long since they've had time for themselves without having to wonder if they're going to be interrupted.
Kissing his lover, Harry undoes each and every button on Severus's robes without magic. It's long and teasing, but Severus doesn't complain.
When robes, jacket and shirt are off, Harry unfastens his own clothes and he does so faster because he wants to feel Severus's skin against his own.
Their robes on the grass will serve as improvised mattress and Severus guides him downwards, their lips breaking contact only for seconds to allow them to breathe.
Both men kick off their shoes and keep caressing each other and roll on the ground one on top of the other, not knowing which position they prefer.
With one hand, Harry looks for a phial of lubricant in his sleeve, his other hand is busy getting his soulmate completely naked. Severus helps him and divests Harry of his trousers as well.
Harry places his wedding band on his other hand so it will not be in contact with Severus's when they inevitably clasp hands or it would trigger their orgasm; he pours a generous amount of lubricant in his palm and prepares Severus's shaft.
'Make love to me, Severus. I need you in me, on me, without spells.'
He invades his lover and starts moving to and fro, most of his weight on Harry, whose prick is trapped between their bodies. Both men crash into orgasm.
When he recovers, Harry pants, 'My! That was fantastic!'
'That must be our record without using magic... Twenty seconds to orgasm that was?' Severus teases him, using Harry's chest for pillow and still buried in him.
'Are you complaining?'
'No... Because I know that you're going to use magic before five minutes and try to make me scream till they hear me at the Ministry in London,' Severus suggests - or would it be a wishful declaration?
Harry quietly and clearly - to tease Severus - recites a whole collection of spells and trades place with Severus. Finally, the dark-eyed one finds himself neither exactly on his belly nor on his side and Harry is pumping his prick in and out of him, adding a new spell with each thrust...
London doesn't hear Severus shout when he comes, but he breaches through their combined Silencing charms and the Synons hear them.
'Severus and Harry are back it seems,' Thomas says.
David and Susan chuckle.
Two days afterwards, as they are coming back from the store with groceries, they meet Odin and Osiris Stewart.
'Are you visiting the town?' Harry inquires.
'No, sir, our mother is now working in one of the colleges and father has found a position at the Oxford Mail,' Osiris says.
Severus sees that Odin has noticed their shopping bags and he enlightens his charge, 'Yes, Mr. Stewart, we live here.'
They have no time to ask other questions when the three Synons join them.
'Odin, Osiris, were you coming to see us?' Susan asks.
'Do you know them?' Severus wonders.
'They're my sister's children, how do you know them?' Thomas answers.
'The world is consistent...' Severus murmurs.
'Don't quote McNair, please!' Harry begs.
'That's the only intelligent thing he ever said, so I'm using it... and it's true,' Severus answers.
Harry and Severus look at each other and at the Synons and their nephews.
'Our parents gave us permission to tell them where we go to school and that's what we were about to do, but if...' Osiris tells her professors.
Severus and Harry have been discussing this and they came to the conclusion that life might be easier if the Synons knew they're wizards and if they're really too much afraid, they can always be made to forget.
'No, Miss Stewart, you can tell them where you go to school and what we are teaching you,' Harry says.
'But maybe you could all come home and have a cup of tea with us,' Severus adds.
'We don't want to bother you,' Susan declares.
'There's something we want to show you,' Harry says.
They all walk back to Severus and Harry's house, come in and the house, feeling the Muggles, doesn't transform. In the small hall, the teachers look at their pupils who nod that they're ready for whatever is to come.
'I've been lying to you,' Severus starts, 'I don't teach chemistry, but the art and science of Potions at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry where Osiris and Odin have been spending the last year.'
'And I teach Defence Against the Dark Arts,' Harry adds.
The Synons think their neighbours and nephews have all blown a fuse, or two, so Severus and Harry take their wands and reset the wards so the house transforms into its wizarding form.
The eyes of their Muggle guests grow to house-elf proportions.
'I think tea was offered,' Severus says and leads everybody into the garden.
The children are delighted and the Synons, step by step, understand what they're being told.
David is the first to react and whispers, 'Bloody brilliant.'
'You sound like my friend Ron,' Harry says with a smile.
'Is he a...?' David starts.
'A wizard? Yes. All my friends are. I still have some Muggle family, but my aunt, uncle and cousin never accepted my being different and I haven't seen them in years,' Harry tells him.
'Don't be afraid,' Severus warns the Synons.
'Of what?' Thomas wonders.
'Of whom... and that would be me,' Câly says as she pops into the garden with a tray.
Susan strokes her forehead.
'Headache?' Severus asks.
She nods. Harry Disapparates and Apparates back with a phial of potion.
'You can try this if you want,' he offers.
Susan barely hesitates and downs the liquid. Her headache leaves almost instantly and she looks very surprised.
'It's normal, Auntie,' Odin says with a grin.
'How much can you tell us?' Thomas asks.
'And why didn't you tell us before?' David wonders.
'You'll have to give us your word that you won't mention this outside of your family and I couldn't tell you before last year because we were at War,' Severus answers.
'At... war?' Susan says.
And the two professors start their tale...
When they're finished, the Synons, and the Stewarts, are speechless.
Yet, they don't have really time to think of what they've been told because Leila runs into the garden followed by the snake chasing after her. The children take their wands out of their sleeves, but their teachers stop them.
Harry surprises them by hissing and the snake slithers onto his lap.
'Don't worry, they're friends now and they were playing together,' Harry says.
'Can you all speak with animals?' Thomas inquires.
'No, only Harry can speak with snakes because he's been linked to the last heir of Slytherin,' Severus says while Harry introduces everybody to the snake.
'He's great!' Osiris exclaims, 'Can I give him some milk?'
'Milk' being the only human word the snake understands, Osiris instantly becomes a potential friend and as she takes him on her lap, Severus tells the frightened aunt that he's a grass-snake, not a mad cobra.
'Professor Potter?' Osiris asks.
'Yes, Miss Stewart?'
'I guess this one stays in your garden, but could you ask him if he has a friend who would come with me?'
Harry and the snake chat and the wizard says, 'He's going to ask one of his children. They were conceived and born in this garden, so they will have some magic in them and will live longer...'
'You're keeping your wands with you?' Severus asks.
'That's what Professor Potter taught us,' the twins say in unison.
'It could get you into trouble with the Ministry,' Severus states.
'Better safe than sorry,' both twins say, 'We are always vigilant.'
'We need a new Minister and new laws or a less enthusiastic Defence teacher,' Severus declares with a fake sigh.
Harry simply grins.
The humans talk for so long that they end up having lunch together and the snake brings back one daughter who is adopted by Osiris.
That night, Harry and Severus reflect that that day has been strange, but fruitful.
For their birthdays, they're invited by Albus and Minerva to the Hogsmeade house and they gladly accept.
Their mistake, so to speak, is to formulate again the same wish they had made at Yule at the exact same time at the exact moment of their birthdays.
The wish is granted and they will be told so on the following morning...
A/N: I've had students named Odin and Osiris (yes, a girl) and even though they were not related, you can see that they've made quite an impression on me...
A/N2: the apple is for Annemarie and Sandra.
1. . Romeo & Juliet (II, 2, 43).
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