Disclaimer: I'm just playing with someone else's toys. May I be forgiven in my next incarnation... (and what you do not recognize is mine, such as the MOSSes -Ministry Officers of State Security). Flamers will be adopted by my family (if you don't believe it's a threat... too bad for you!).
Chapter Eighteen - Family
Harry is having a very pleasant dream and he's sprawling on Severus's torso. Harry leisurely starts kissing his lover's chest and he finally finds a nipple. Out of habit, he starts sucking Severus's nipple. He had just forgotten that they're lactating and Harry wakes up with a start.
'Have you gone mad?' Severus growls.
The Potions master might be madly in love with Harry, but being woken up that way on his very last day of holidays - even though they have to go back to Hogwarts for the first staff meeting - it is not something Severus is ready to enjoy.
'Sorry, Darling!' Harry squeaks.
'Speak up, man! I don't have all day!'
'I sucked you by accident,' Harry whispers.
'You sucked me?' Severus repeats, unable to put two and two together so early in the morning.
Then, he feels some moisture on one nipple, the one closer to Harry, and he understands.
When Severus is feeding either Harold or Sarina, he can reasonably control the arousal that never fails to happen, just as if his nipples were connected with his groin. He's hard as a rock and it's almost painful now and it's his husband he has to thank for that.
'Oh!' he simply says.
'Actually, I think I woke up because I was starting to enjoy myself too much,' Harry confesses.
'You... liked that?' Severus wonders.
'It's very good you know. I hadn't planned to do it, but I'm glad I did. It's very tasty.'
'Yes... Er... Would you care to try as well?' Harry offers.
'No, thank you!' Severus barks, as if it would be a sin to taste the milk Harry produces to feed their children.
'No need to bite my head off, Darling! But if you change your mind... You can ask me anytime.'
Harry settles against his lover and falls asleep again.
Severus lies awake. He wonders. He imagines. His curiosity as a scientist is titillated. His curiosity as a man is killing him. All he has to do is slightly move his bonded and suck one nipple... That's all.
For two hours, Severus lies awake, wondering if he should try it or not.
When Harry finally stirs, Severus still doesn't know what he wants to do.
They get up and feed the twins. As Severus looks at Harold in Harry's arms, and he goes on wondering how their milk tastes. He's drunk many sorts of milk in his life, but not human, and he had never thought he'd ever find himself considering tasting human male milk from his soulmate! And yet...
Harry is not blind.
'You know, I sucked you by chance last night, but I wouldn't mind trying it again fully awake, and then you can try it too,' Harry offers.
Severus only nods.
They wait for the twins to finish their morning meal. They change them and put them back in their cradles where they instantly fall asleep again.
'If other parents knew just how easy they are, there would be even more people jealous of us!' Harry exclaims.
Severus professes his agreement in their morning kiss.
Harry drags Severus back into their bedroom and he throws his lover on their bed. One spell later, Severus is naked. Severus blinks and retaliates in kind. Harry laughs heartily and jumps on the bed next to his lover. He pins Severus to the bed and fastens his mouth on the first nipple he finds. Severus can feel Harry sucking milk and that arouses him more than he would have thought. Harry stops and spreads out on his back.
'Your turn now,' Harry purrs.
Severus rolls on his soulmate and starts by lapping a nipple.
'Don't be a tease! It tickles!' Harry growls.
Severus still feels unsure about all this, but curiosity gets the best of him and he sucks his companion's nipple. Soon he is forced to admit that Harry was right about the whole experience.
Severus pecks Harry on the lips.
'Thank you! That was extremely pleasant.'
'You know what would be even better?' Harry says.
Severus knows Harry well and he immediately identifies lust in the eyes of his bonded; yet, some game can be funny.
'No, I don't know. Why don't you tell me?' Severus teases him as he caresses his lover's sensitive chest.
Between gasps, Harry manages to regain some control so he can caress Severus as well.
'Câly is packing for us and the children are asleep. We could enjoy each other before taking a bath and going to Hogwarts to inspect our quarters... No?' Harry suggests.
'We don't have much time,' Severus regrets.
'Let me...' Harry's voice trails off.
He summons some lubricant, pours a generous amount of it on both their erections and he covers Severus with his body. He aligns their pricks and starts moving to and fro.
Without magic to help them go on, they crash in orgasm fast.
'Merlin! We are a sticky mess!' Severus says, panting.
Harry kisses him tenderly and Severus grins: who gives a damn to be a sticky mess when one has love sprawled on oneself?
Severus and Harry made it to the bathroom; they got dressed and put on stronger wards on the house: after all, Câly would come and check the house only once a week.
Their elf Apparates their luggage and each take one child. Curiously, they finally notice that Sarina often ends up with Severus and Harold with Harry, as if there was a special link with the parent who held them first.
When they reach Hogwarts, Câly has already put everything away into their quarters.
'Do you think we should bring the children to the staff meeting?' Harry wonders.
'Well, if we don't want our fellows to come and visit us tonight one after the other, I think it could be a good idea to introduce them right away,' Severus answers.
'Uhuh... That's what I thought. Besides, I'm sure Albus and Minerva will be delighted to see them,' Harry says.
They go to their quarters to fetch the babies' floating cradles and they go to the staff room. They control the floating cradles with a ribbon attached to it and the sleeping twins fly behind their fathers.
They enter the staff room and all their fellows stop chatting and rise all together as one body.
'You brought them!' Minerva exclaims, grinning like a happy cat.
'Of course! We thought you'd like to meet Sarina and Harold,' Severus answers.
On cue, the children wake up and work on making the whole staff fall for them. It takes approximately ten seconds. Even Argus Filch who came to discuss the corridors that would be forbidden to the students this year falls for Sarina and her huge green eyes.
All the teachers share stories about children.
'What kind of milk do you give them?' Professor Sinistra wonders.
'Oi!' Severus says, a first in his entire time at Hogwarts - as a student and a teacher.
'We're feeding them,' Harry announces.
'Can I... Could I...' Poppy starts.
'You'd like to examine us,' Harry says.
The mediwitch nods and blushes at the same time: they are her friends, she's cured them more times than she wants to remember, but that is extremely intrusive of her and she knows it.
'I'll let you have fun with me if you want,' Harry says with a wink that deepens Poppy's blush.
'Shouldn't Albus be with us by now?' Madam Hooch wonders suddenly.
'I'm here. Sorry I'm late, but I received some disturbing news,' the old wizard announces as he enters the room.
'What is it, Albus?' Minerva asks, knowing well from the way he spoke that something unpleasant must have happened.
'I received an owl from St Mungo's. Ginny Malfoy had to be Apparated there in emergency. Fred owled to let me know. It seems that they didn't know why she had fainted. I breached Hogwarts secret in favour of her mediwizard,' Albus explains.
'How come you knew something about her condition?' Poppy wonders.
'Merlin!' Harry exclaims.
'She's pregnant and she hadn't noticed it!' Severus adds.
'And you knew because the name of their child is written in the Hogwarts book,' Harry states.
'Albus... is the name still in the book?' Minerva asks.
'It's... It's fading. As soon as I understood, I contacted the mediwizard who's taking care of her, but it's too soon to tell,' Albus says in a whisper.
'Severus, have you prepared the potions I usually need?' Poppy asks.
'Yes, I did.'
'Anyone needs anything special from me?' the mediwitch goes on.
Her fellows whispers "no" or shake their heads.
'Then, if you don't mind, Albus, I'll go to St Mungo's and will help and bring back news,' Poppy offers.
'Excellent idea, my dear,' Albus answers with a small smile.
'Tell them we send our love,' Harry calls after the mediwitch.
She turns around and nods.
Sarina starts crying and Harold joins her.
Severus takes their daughter and Harry their son and they try to soothe the children, but they must feel that something is wrong because tears keep steadily rolling down their cheeks.
The Headmaster and the staff try to go on with their meeting, but they're all fond of Ginny and they're worried about her.
'This is unbearable!' Albus finally exclaims, 'Do we have any particular problem to face before tomorrow?'
The teachers shake their head and they start waiting for news from the hospital. They all know that Ginny could lose the baby, that she could never have the opportunity to bear another child, and they know that she might die. It all depends on her strength and the magic to which she's been exposed.
Albus orders tea and cakes from the house-elves.
Finally, Sarina stops crying.
'Ahah!' Albus says.
'What?' Professor Sprout asks.
'Maybe... I have to go to my office,' Albus announces.
'Can we go with you?' Harry asks.
Albus nods and the whole staff follow him.
Harry and Severus carry the twins in their arms, but the babies are quiet now, as if they knew something.
In his office, Albus opens the book where the names of the future students are written and he sighs with relief. So does the staff after him.
'The Malfoys will have a son,' Albus declares.
'And he'll be strong and powerful,' Poppy says as she comes into the office, covered with soot from the Floo network.
'So?' Minerva asks her old friend.
'Ginny never had a very regular cycle, so she didn't pay attention, and as she kept taking her potion, she didn't know she was pregnant till she woke up in St Mungo's. She's well and so is the baby. She's been ordered to rest, but Draco could take her home,' and after sharing the good news, Poppy starts giggling.
Her fellows blink.
'What's so funny?' Professor Sinistra wonders.
'Fred and George are grinning like they've lost half their brains, but it's nothing compared with Draco once he knew for sure that his wife was out of danger and that his son was perfectly healthy!' she exclaims.
Severus looks at Sarina and whispers, 'She knew!'
'She's been afraid to lose her godmother and felt it when she was out of danger,' Harry suggests.
'It's either that or...' Professor Trelawney starts.
'What, Sybill?' Minerva growls.
'Maybe she felt that James would be her classmate and Housemate, after all,' the Divination professor says with a strange voice.
Albus's eyebrows rise in surprise: he's the only one knowing the name of Draco and Ginny's son.
'The Potter-Snapes, the Weasleys and the Malfoy heir are going to enter Hogwarts the same year?' Minerva squeaks.
'Apparently, yes. James should be born in three months and though he'll be the younger one, he's on the same year list as his cousins and the Potter-Snapes,' Albus confirms.
'I'll retire before they come to school!' Minerva practically wails.
Harold giggles and the tension leaves the room.
'That was one of the weirdest staff meetings ever!' Professor Flitwick declares.
Harry and Severus send flowers to Ginny, and Draco contacts them through the Floo to thank them for his wife, who's forbidden to stand for more than minutes for a whole week.
The two teachers understand what Poppy meant: Draco is simply beaming. They tell him to hug Ginny for them and they promise to come and visit them on the next Saturday.
'I'm happy that Ginny is well and that their baby is fine,' Harry says after Severus has closed the Floo in their quarters.
'It's a blessing she's strong. We could have lost her,' Severus murmurs as he prepares to feed Harold.
The fathers feed the twins in silence.
'If you don't mind keeping an eye on the twins, I could go and see Poppy now. I know she must be curious about our condition,' Harry says.
'I think I can survive till you're back,' Severus teases him.
Severus places Harold on the sofa next to him and Harry deposits Sarina in her brother's arms. He kisses his husband, brushes their wedding bands against each other, and he leaves their quarters and goes to the Hospital wing.
There, he lets the mediwitch examine him and he asks some questions about Ginny, just to be sure that his friend really is all right.
Poppy is fascinated with Harry's condition and she reassures him that the young Mrs Malfoy is truly out of danger.
When Harry reaches their quarters and he opens the door, he finds his lover singing lullabies to their children. He reflects how lucky he is to have found a true soulmate and such a fascinating man. Harry silently nears the sofa and starts singing along with Severus; the twins seem to enjoy their fathers' voices tremendously, yet they soon start to blink and they fall asleep. Their fathers take them to their cradles; as usual, they activate the monitoring wards and put a Silencing spell on the small beds.
'This nursery is really fantastic,' Harry says, looking around.
'I think it's going to be strange for them when they enter Hogwarts as students and are sorted into a House,' Severus says.
'We'll never be far and I bet they'll have a lot of fun without us... Where do you think they'll be sorted?' Harry wonders.
'I haven't thought of it yet. Of course, I'd like them to become Slytherins so they'd never be far from us, but I'm not sure it would be such a good thing for them to have one of their fathers as their Head of House. We're already going to have to teach them, without favouritism, and that sounds difficult enough, even now when they're just babies!'
'In eleven years, they'll be sorted! Merlin! That's going to be weird! Well, we'll have time to worry when they're sitting under the Hat!' Harry finally decides.
They prepare for the arrival of the students the next day and go to bed.
Some hours later, Severus's spy instincts wake him up: he feels something wrong.
Harry is lying awake next to him.
'What's wrong, Darling?'
Harry caresses Severus's cheek and whispers, 'Go back to sleep, Love.'
'In Salazar's name, what's bothering you?' Severus insists.
Harry sighs and answers, 'We could have lost Ginny and...'
'And, what, my love?' Severus coaxes him.
'Even without Voldemort around, or any other Dark Lord, I... I think I've just realized that we can lose our friends and things could happen to our children. I knew that, of course, but it feels so strange. I'm afraid because of things I cannot prevent and I'm feeling stupid.'
Severus holds him tight and kisses him with tenderness.
'We're bound to lose some of our friends... Albus is not Flamel and accidents happen. We've both lost our parents, so we've been confronted with loss when we were very young. Harold and Sarina are certainly going to hurt themselves when they start walking, when they start brewing, when they start flying... That's life, Love. There's nothing we can do, but be vigilant and prepared,' Severus says.
Harry nods and settles against his lover; soon he falls asleep in Severus's arms.
Severus lies awake in bed, thinking that some of their friends are no longer young and he can't begin to imagine their life without them. He also thinks of their children. He remembers the first time he was burnt by a potion he was brewing; it was Câly who healed him. She was fast and efficient, but Severus remembers that it hurt like hell and he doesn't want his children to experience that. Yet, he knows that he can't protect them from everything. He knows they'll be hurt and they'll cry, and he hates the mere idea.
It takes him a long time to find sleep again.
The students finally arrive and the Sorting ceremony is rather quiet. The feast is only disturbed when Harry has to leave the staff table to go and feed the twins. He offers to feed them both so Severus can stay with their Slytherins.
It takes Harry some more time to feed both babies and he decides to take them to the Slytherin Common Room. When he arrives, Severus has just finished his introductory speech and he sees his soulmate grin when he enters dragging the two floating cradles behind him.
'They're beautiful!' one of the seventh year witches exclaims.
'Thank you,' both fathers answer.
From that moment on, the Slytherins decide to baby-sit the twins. They're more often in the Common Room than in the nursery and soon Câly can go and spend more time in the Oxonian house. There's not one swear-word heard among the Slytherins and baby talk is not even attempted.
The babies are either with their fathers, spending one day with each of them, except when dangerous spells or potions are scheduled, in which case both twins spend the day with the one of their fathers who has a quiet program, or they are with the Slytherins.
They're all entertaining them, trying to teach them things: how to stand, how to speak...
Even some students from other Houses beg to visit the Slytherins just to spend time with Harold and Sarina.
The Stewarts are the first to be granted access. In fact, a fortnight after their coming back to school, Osiris ran into the Common Room looking for Harry: her snake seemed ill and she didn't know what to do. Harry helped her and ended up offering lessons of Parseltongue. Osiris is the most motivated and she can decently chat with her snake, Silk, but she is not the only one learning that language.
The Slytherin Quidditch team has totally adopted them and before each game, the team promises to play for them and they haven't lost their first games!
Every evening, Severus and Harry have taken to reading stories to their children - all their children! In the Common Room, there's not one Slytherin who misses the evening treat, whatever the amount of homework they have to do; they all organize and help each other so that they can enjoy that moment of the day with their teachers and their children.
Some evenings, the Headmaster even comes down into the dungeons and brings hot cocoa and cakes for the Slytherins.
The days follow each other.
In late October, sooner than they thought, a healthy James Malfoy is born. Jules Ode-Lupin and Remus Lupin-Ode become his godfathers and both wizards enjoy the little surprise they had prepared for all their friends since no one knew they had bonded their lives.
The Yule Ball turns into a birthday party for the twins and even the news that Sirius Black came to his senses on that day and has decided to emigrate to Australia doesn't darken the mood for Severus and Harry.
One late afternoon in March, as Severus is grading essays in the Common Room, one eye on the parchments, one on his children playing with Amalia Rettin and the Stewarts by the fireplace, he notices something odd.
'Mr McDonald,' Severus calls.
The fifth year runs to his Head of House and asks, 'Yes, sir?'
'Could you go to our quarters and fetch my husband as fast as you can, please?'
Soon, Harry jogs into the Common Room.
'What is it, Severus?' he asks, slightly worried.
The Potions master points one elegant fingers towards their children and says, 'Harold and Sarina are hissing, but I can't tell if it's Parseltongue or not.'
Harry goes near their children and his eyes grow to Dobbyesque proportions.
'They're babbling in Parseltongue!' he exclaims.
'Fantastic!' Osiris declares with a huge grin.
Harry looks at Severus, somehow embarrassed to have given that gift to their babies.
Severus smiles and declares seriously, 'We never did anything the usual way. Isn't it logical that our children's first words are in Parseltongue?'
'It sounds so logical when you say it!' Harry answers with a smile.
Severus comes near them and wonders, 'So, what do they say?'
'Literally: "pwetty snake"... That's a start,' Harry says.
Then, he starts talking in Parseltongue to Sarina and Harold. Both look at Severus and say, 'Dād(1)!'
Their first word in English and they called him.
The twins turn toward Harry and they say, 'Dad?'
Harry grins and nods. The twins giggle and go on hissing.
'No, speak English, not Parseltongue,' Harry orders.
They go on giggling.
Severus takes Sarina in his arms while Harry takes Harold.
'Dād,' Sarina purrs.
'Dad,' Harold giggles.
The fathers kiss their children.
'Do you think they're learning Parseltongue?' Odin asks.
'No, I think it's natural, like it was for me,' Harry answers.
'I think that if they were learning two native languages, they would not speak yet. Not even one word,' Severus adds.
'That's what I've read, yes,' Harry confirms.
'Have you read a lot about parenting?' McDonald wonders.
'Dozens of books, Muggles or not, and every day is a new adventure!' Severus says.
'When I think that homework is hell!' Odin exclaims.
They all chuckle.
'Professor Snape, Professor Potter, can I go and share the good news with the others?' McDonald asks.
Harry and Severus have barely nodded when their young charge is already running towards the dormitories.
From the leather-green sofa where he's reading, Matthew Templeton offers them his first smile in months and that makes the two professors melt all the more.
'You told them to call me in their other language, didn't you?' Severus asks his soulmate.
'Not exactly. I encouraged them to say something in English and they called you, Dād!' Harry teases him.
Severus grins and soon the students come to see the babies.
In April, the quiet life of the school is disrupted again.
Severus is the first to spot the raven from the Ministry of Magic. Those ravens are sent exclusively to announce deaths. When the bird doesn't come near the staff table, they all understand that the bad news is for one of their students.
The bird lands in front of Matthew Templeton.
The boy doesn't know what's happening and as he takes the parchment and opens it to read it - it might be news from his gran who's been taken to St Mungo's - Severus and Harry stand up and go to him.
Matthew has read that his grandmother, his only relative who was still alive, has left this world long before his two teachers can reach him and the second-year flees from the Great Hall.
Harry hears Severus hissing, 'Bleeding bastards!'
Both start running after the boy and they catch him by the lake. They fear that he might have tried to do something silly if they hadn't caught him.
Harry hugs the young Slytherin.
'I'm so sorry, Matthew,' Harry whispers in the ear of the crying boy.
He looks at Harry, then at Severus and whispers, 'Why did she leave me? What's going to happen to me, now? What have I done wrong to deserve that?'
The health of Matthew's grandmother had been on the blink since the boy came back to school. His friends took care of him and helped him with his work, but all joy had been taken away from the boy and day after day he was worrying about his grandmother. Harry and Severus feel sorry for him.
'You did nothing wrong, Matthew. It's not your fault if your parents were killed in the War and it's certainly not your fault if your grandmother left this world. We're going to take care of you now. Don't worry,' Severus gently whispers.
'Really?' Matthew says between sobs.
'I give you my word,' Severus solemnly declares.
Then, he picks his young charge in his arms and, holding him tight, the three of them walk back to the castle.
Minerva is waiting for them at the door.
'What's wrong?' Harry and Severus ask, knowing that the look on her face doesn't bode well.
'There are MOSSes in Albus's office,' she announces.
Severus puts Matthew down and says, 'Mr Templeton is my responsibility during the school year. I'll go and see them. Harry, would go take Matthew to my office, please?'
Harry takes Matthew's hand and says, 'Of course, we'll wait for you there.'
Before entering the castle, Severus murmurs to Harry, 'Trust me?'
'Always,' Harry whispers back and he leads Matthew down to the dungeons.
Severus looks at Minerva and as they walk to Albus's office, he asks, 'What's the latest blunder from the MoM?'
'They've sent three MOSSes to take him from Hogwarts and place him in a Muggle orphanage. When I left Albus's office he was arguing that the Templetons have enough Galleons to see Matthew through his schooling. Albus wanted them to let him read here, even if he has to go to an orphanage during the summer,' Minerva explains.
'Bastards!' Severus hisses again.
Minerva knows that it's a very bad sign when Severus swears. The last time he did so in front of her was when he was told about the Potters' deaths.
They finally reach the Headmaster's office and Severus storms into it.
'What's the matter?' Severus growls.
'We're here to take Matthew Templeton. He has no family left in our world and the Minister's Cabinet decided that he should go to an orphanage,' one of the MOSSes repeats for Severus's benefit.
'That child lost his parents. He saw them killed by Death Eaters. His grandmother just died and you want to send him into a world that is totally alien to him?' Severus says.
'We have orders,' another MOSS answers.
'Can I ask you one question?' Severus says.
The MOSSes nod.
'Can you watch your reflections in the mirror without being sick?' Severus snarls.
'How dare you?!' the third man snaps back.
'You're going back to the Ministry right away and you'll bring me back the files to adopt Matthew. As you may know, it is my privilege as a Hogwarts' Head of House to give shelter to a State ward. I expect you back at noon, and tell whoever sent that raven to Matthew that he or she will have to answer to me about it - and I'm sure my husband will be delighted to add one word too. Go now!' Severus barks.
Quietly, the Officers Floo out back to the Ministry.
Albus claps his hands.
'Severus, my child, you are a good man!' the Headmaster practically purrs.
'I'm sure Harry told my plan to Matthew, but now I have to check that the boy is all right with all this,' Severus says.
'Would you like me to go with you?' Albus asks.
Severus nods and says, 'Yes, please!'
'Meanwhile, I'll stop by your and Harry's classes and will tell your students to read their books while waiting for you,' Minerva offers.
Severus hugs her and whispers, 'Thank you.'
Slightly blushing, she leaves the two wizards.
'It's a good thing I'm not the jealous type!' Albus teases Severus, then he goes on, 'All this reminds you of your own life somehow, am I right?'
'Unfortunately, you're right.'
They walk to Severus's office in a friendly silence.
When they enter the room, Matthew is on Harry's lap and crying his soul out.
'Did you have the opportunity to tell him?' Severus asks.
Harry shakes his head.
Severus sits down on the chair's armrest and caresses Matthew's hair to soothe him and catch his attention.
'Matthew, I gave you my word that I would protect you, but I must know if you agree to the terms,' Severus says in a soft tone.
Matthew sniffs loudly and looks at his Head, totally at sea and with more tears threatening to fall off his eyes.
Severus goes on, 'Someone decided that you should leave Hogwarts, but you can stay here if you let me adopt you.'
Matthew blinks and remains silent.
'Did you understand what I said? Would you like that? I cannot force you to accept,' Severus says.
'You... You have nothing to do with me. You won the War. You defeated Voldemort. I'm nothing,' Matthew sobs.
Harry holds him tighter, seeing the boy's impending collapse.
Severus takes his chin and forces him to look at him.
'My aunt gave me away to Voldemort and I obeyed him for some time. There are shadows in my past. Would you let me do something really good and help you?' Severus asks.
'But you're our war hero!'
'Nothing is black or white in the world... Just as you don't deserve what's happening to you. Will you let me help you through this?' Severus tries again.
Matthew looks at Harry with a silent question in his eyes.
'I cannot adopt you too because there are not enough years between us and because I'm not a Head of House, like Severus, but... but I want to take care of you too and if you let Severus adopt you, there won't be legal ties between us, but I'll take care of you just as much as your adopted father. Will you let us protect you?' Harry says.
Matthew blinks again and looks at Severus and Harry. Both men nod.
The young Slytherin starts crying again, but he nods his agreement.
Albus sighs with relief.
'You should take your new son to Poppy so she can take care of him this morning and I'll go to the Ministry to give an earful to Cornelius and bring back the papers you'll need,' Albus announces.
'I... I don't want to go to the Infirmary!' Matthew wails.
'One or two potions and you'll feel better, I promise,' Harry says as he carries his new charge.
When they reach the Hospital wing, Matthew is still crying and Poppy has already prepared some potions.
First, Matthew is given something to quiet him and then the mediwitch tricks him and offers another potion to make him sleep till lunch.
The boy fights against sleep till Severus hugs him and whispers, 'Sleep, little one, we're protecting you.'
Matthew blinks, but surrenders.
'Don't worry, I'll stay with him and I'll wake him up for lunch,' Poppy says.
Harry pecks her on the cheek, then the two wizards go to their classroom.
'I'm happy that you're adopting him! It's a pity I can't make him mine as well,' Harry says, caressing his husband's wedding band with his.
'We'll make a fine family, even if you won't be officially linked with him,' Severus declares.
'You're a good man, Severus Snape!' Harry says with a grin.
'It seems that Albus agrees with you.'
'Then we can't be wrong!' and with those words, Harry kisses his husband and enters his classroom where the Slytherins seventh-years are waiting for him with Ravenclaws. The Slytherins have brought Harold and Sarina with them since Severus's first potion with the Slytherin and Gryffindor second-years will most certainly produce a lot of smoke.
Severus shakes his head and goes down to the dungeons where Matthew's Housemates and friends must be waiting for him impatiently.
'What's going to happen to Matthew, sir?' one of the Slytherins asks Harry.
'Are you familiar with the Rules of Hogwarts?' Harry purrs.
The Slytherins put two and two together and grin happily. The Ravenclaws smile.
Harry begins his lesson.
When Severus arrives in his classroom, it's buzzing like a beehive.
'We heard that Ministry Officers had come to take Matthew away. Is it true, sir?' Osiris asks.
'Miss Stewart, as long as I am the Head of Slytherin none of my charges will ever be sent to a Muggle orphanage. Now prepare your ingredients and start your potions, you're already late on schedule!' Severus orders.
The two classes sigh with relief and smile at their teacher with love and gratitude.
At lunch time, all seven years and the four Houses know what happened and when Poppy brings into the Great Hall a slightly groggy Matthew, the Slytherins take care of him and some of the Gryffindors come to the Slytherin table to cheer him up.
Albus, Severus and Harry were discussing some legal aspects - Albus has brought back all the files Severus will need and they'll have to go with Matthew to his grandmother's funeral - when Aurors and Ministry Officers come into the Great Hall.
All the Slytherins gather around Matthew to shield him. The Hufflepuffs understand that the Ministry is about to try and make some blunder so they all stand up and join the Slytherins. The Ravenclaws join the two other Houses. The Gryffindor look at one another and the elder ones are the first to draw their wands against the men from the Ministry.
The look on the face of the trained officers is absolutely priceless. They had not imagined that students would fight them.
'I think they've all made their point clear,' Severus says, his voice orotund.
One of the young Aurors takes his wand, but in two seconds he's hit by more spells than in all his years at Hogwarts and during his training at the Ministry.
'My adoption of Matthew Templeton respects one of our oldest laws,' Severus adds.
'If the files are correctly filled in, then we will leave, Professor Snape,' that is said by Hermione Weasley who just entered the Hall.
She walks towards the students and winks at them. They blink with surprise and let her go to the staff table.
'May I see the parchments?' she asks Severus with another wink.
He gives her the files and she mutters a spell that fills in everything in the proper way. She turns towards her fellow Aurors and their MOSSes and says, 'Everything's in order. The Cabinet made a mistake. We can leave: the adoption is valid.'
Severus sighs with relief.
'I'll take those back with me to be archived if you want, Professor Snape,' she says.
'Yes, thank you, Auror Weasley!' and Severus adds a wink.
'How did you know?' Harry whispers.
'We saw an apparition of the spirit of Mrs Templeton. She was afraid for her grandson and she asked for help. By the way, she gives you her blessing with all her heart,' Hermione explains.
Severus offers her a small smile.
On her way out, she gives a hug to Amalia Rettin and the Stewarts and she pecks Matthew on the cheek.
'Never fear, we'll always protect you!' she promises.
Osiris is holding Matthew and when all the intruders have left, the students go back to their places.
'I'm efficient,' Harry declares.
Albus chuckles and grants him that he is the best DADA teacher they've had in the last two decades.
Severus and Harry - and everybody at Hogwarts - work on making Matthew's life as normal as possible and, come June, his room-mates report to their Head that he almost no longer has nightmares. The two teachers know it's a good sign, but they wonder how the boy will react during the summer. He was used to his family estate and, even if it's protected till he comes of age, he can't go back to the house where he grew up.
A week before the end of the school year, Câly announces them that the Oxonian house produced yet another extra-room: Matthew will have his own bedroom!
While they're packing, Harry reflects that the Synons will have their yearly surprise again and that makes Severus laugh.
Matthew finally says goodbye to his friends, but Severus announces that he and Harry contacted the Stewarts through Jules and the Rettins through Hermione and that Odin, Osiris and Amalia have been invited for a week and Matthew smiles at the prospect.
Câly Apparates their luggage, Hedwig and Leila, Harry Apparates the twins and Severus takes Matthew's hand.
'During the holidays, you can use our names if you want to,' he answers.
'It... It would be weird, sir...' his voice trails off.
'What do you want to say?'
'Thank you. For not letting them send me away and for keeping me with you. I know I'm a burden and I'm very grateful, sir.'
Severus takes his chin and forces the boy to look at him before he says, 'You are not a burden. You will never be a burden. I'm very proud that you allowed us to help you. You are, and always will be, a Templeton, but you belong in our family too and when they grow up Sarina and Harold will see an elder brother in you. All right?'
Matthew forgets that the man in front of him is his Head of House and his Potions master and he hugs Severus.
'That's the spirit, as our cheerful Headmaster would say,' Severus comments, just before Apparating his other son into their Oxonian garden.
'Welcome home!' Harry greets them from under the cherry tree.
Câly has prepared some cakes, coffee and hot cocoa.
'I fear we'll have to go out and shop,' Harry says.
'That'll be one opportunity for Matthew to visit the town before the Stewarts arrive,' Severus answers.
'Oh, it's true! They're living here too!' Matthew exclaims.
Harry and Severus trade a smile: the boy is relaxing visibly.
The door-bell rings.
'The Synons?' Harry wonders.
Severus checks their outer wards and confirms, 'The Synons!'
'I'll get the door,' Harry says.
While Severus explains to Matthew who the Synons are, Harry tells them what happened to Matthew and what they did for him.
The Potter-Snape's neighbours are delighted with Matthew.
He ends up thinking that becoming Professor Snape's son might be a very good thing and something very pleasant.
Harry and Severus let Susan and Thomas baby-sit the twins and they go shopping with Matthew and David.
They find everything they need and are heading back to their house when they hear, 'Potter? Harry Potter?'
Harry turns around and bumps into Dudley Dursley.
1. Just like in Latin, that vowel would be a long one: Daad. I had to find some trick for Harry and Severus.
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