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!).
Note: Parseltongue is noted like that: //----//
Chapter Twenty-One - Changes Inside the Ministry
Everybody knows that Harry is born on July 31st.
Some people know that Severus is born on the same day (and some Seers more competent than Sibyll Trelawney have spotted that other link between the most famous couple in the magical world).
Matthew thinks that besides his schoolmates no one knows he's born on August 1st and he doesn't dare mention that. He's no longer feeling ill at ease with Severus and Harry, but he's still a bit down from the various shocks he received over the last few years, and with the two journalists who broke into the house and their trial, the young wizard doesn't think that his birthday is important and he almost forgets it.
Matthew has a lot to do for school, whether it is essays on his official list of homework or research assigned by Osiris and Amalia - Odin has decided to follow the witches' orders, it avoids problems with his twin who knows perfectly how to make her point using only Muggle tricks. Matthew has all the Muggle books that Harry brought him back to read.
Severus and Harry have to prepare their lessons for the coming year, so they propose that they all work in the morning and they enjoy their afternoons and evenings together. That schedule helps them all to find some sort of peace.
The quiet presence of Minerva and Albus also helps them to recover.
Matthew is absolutely flabbergasted when Minerva suggests a family walk one evening and that everybody gathers in the hall in Muggle clothes - everybody, but Albus who's still wearing his wizard's robes. They all blend in, except Albus who has chosen purple robes for the occasion; yet, no one around pays too much attention, and that surprises Matthew.
Once they've reached the Cherwell, they sit down and enjoy the relative calm of the spot they've found. Minerva has noticed that Matthew is closely observing her companion.
She leans towards the young Slytherin and says, 'Some people just don't care for weird outfits. Those who would have the odd idea to say anything to Albus would be hit by a spell he puts on himself when he goes out into the Muggle world.'
'Oh! I see, Ma'am,' Matthew answers.
Minerva hasn't been a teacher for so long for nothing, she can see that there's something else that he wants to ask.
'What is it, Matthew?' she simply says with a warm smile that convinces him to speak.
'Well, Ma'am, the Headmaster's robes are always extremely colourful and I was wondering if sometimes it doesn't bother you,' he asks in a whisper.
'He would not be Albus without those and I would be a pitiful companion if I tried to change him and,' she leans even closer and murmurs in his ear, 'I like some of his robes, but don't tell him.'
Matthew smiles and is about to say something when Albus squeaks, and they turn towards him. They follow the direction of his pointing finger and they see that Harry is helping Harold to stand up while Severus is helping Sarina.
Harold looks toward Albus and Minerva as if he were wondering if he can reach them four feet away.
When he takes his first unsteady step, Harry is still holding him. Very inelegantly, Harold walks for the first time and lands between Albus and Minerva. He looks at them and says, looking at each of them in turn, 'Nana, Poppy.'
Severus is whispering encouraging words in Sarina's ear when Matthew has an idea; he kneels in front of her and holds out his hands.
//Can do, Little Princess!// he encourages her.
//Really?// she answers back, using her other native language.
She takes one unsteady step and walks straight into Matthew's arms. She says a word in Parseltongue that Matthew doesn't know and he looks at Harry for a translation. Right now, his DADA instructor, and other father by proxy, is holding tight the hand of his bonded and he looks deeply moved. Harry mouths "elder brother" and Matthew's heart melts.
Matthew hugs Sarina and whispers in her ear so she's the only one to hear those words, 'Yes, my beloved Princess. Forever.'
She smiles and says, //I want to walk back to Dād.//
Matthew only understands "back" and "father", but that's enough and he turns her around and she scurries along back into Severus's arms.
'Dād!' she giggles.
Severus forgets the latest shadows in his life thanks to that moment of happiness.
Harold decides to imitate his sister and he manages to reach Harry's embrace.
Both fathers close their eyes and open them when they hear applause.
Odin, Osiris and their parents have witnessed the scene and they are very happy for them. The four Stewarts walk towards them and they spend some minutes together.
'So, they'll be walking when we go back to school,' Odin says.
'The beginning of our end,' Severus states.
'Oh! I can see why Jules is your best friend!' Mrs Stewarts says with a kind smile.
'We do have some things in common, indeed,' Severus grants her.
'My dear almost godfather by marriage finally made his coming out and told you what he is,' Harry adds with a grin.
'There were comings out,' Mr Stewart says.
Severus can easily imagine Jules coming to visit the Stewarts' one day and quietly announcing that he's a wizard, a priest and married to a wizard who happens to be a werewolf.
'Can we share the good news with the others?' Osiris asks.
'You can't use the Owl Post!' Matthew intervenes.
'I'll have Amalia tutor you in Muggle solutions, Matt! We can phone her and her brother will spread the news among our Slytherin schoolmates,' Osiris explains.
'Her brother has an owl?' Mr Stewart wonders, obviously lost with his children's friends.
'Dad, Amalia is in our year, but her brother is an adult; he's a Ministry Officer of State Security. He's the one who adopted the little witch you found adorable in that wizarding picture; do you remember now?' Odin intervenes.
'Oh, yes, I remember now! And there are so many years between Amalia and her brother because it's normal within magical families,' Mr Stewart goes on.
Osiris chuckles and says, 'From what Amalia says, it happens within some families, but she was a surprise for her parents like the one mum is preparing for us.'
Harry smiles at the blushing Mrs Stewart and offers, 'We happen to know some spells which could help you.'
'Really?' she says.
Harry and Severus nods.
Severus looks around and is about to cast a first spell when Harry stops him with a grin and says, 'It's time for some summer tutoring, my dear.' Then he turns to the children and asks them to take their positions.
Matthew, Osiris and Odin stand up, observe the area, take their wands out of their sleeves and declare that there are no Muggles around.
Severus and Harry cast some spell on Mrs Stewart who's surprised to feel nothing.
'Well, though your pregnancy apparently was a surprise, your baby is perfectly healthy,' Harry starts.
'Now if you want to know more, we can tell you one or two things,' Severus offers.
'Such as?' Mr Stewart wonders.
//Muggle alert// Osiris says.
They all hide their wands and the children sit down with their parents.
'I'll never get used to it,' Mrs Stewart complains, pushing a lock of hair away from her daughter's face.
'Parseltongue is no longer connected with Dark magic, Ma'am,' Harry tries to reassure her.
'That's not the issue, Professor Potter, I've always suffered from ophidiophobia and each time Osiris speaks Parseltongue, Silk comes out and I'm afraid. It's stupid because that brave little snake has protected me from a rat that had ventured into our house,' Mrs Stewart confesses.
On cue, Milk's daughter comes out of the pouch Osiris has attached to her belt and she slithers towards Sarina and Harold who pet her.
Mrs Stewart is so pale that Minerva is afraid that she might faint.
'That's a medical condition,' the elder witch says, 'and we should do something especially if I'm feeling the waves I think I'm feeling.'
'Yes, Professor Snape, are we going to have another witch or another wizard in the family?' Odin asks.
When their parents start gaping, the Stewarts twins admit that they can feel the magic coming from their mother. Finally the Stewarts nod and Severus says, 'Witch.'
'Excellent!' Osiris exclaims, clapping her hands.
Odin nudges Matthew, winks and says, 'Oi! Another bird on our stage!'
'Maybe that one will have the brilliant idea to be a Slytherin,' Matthew suggests, clearly intending to tease Osiris.
'I hope she'll be a proud Gryffindor like us!' she answers.
'Oh, my! Professor Dumbledore, could you remind me who won the House Cup these past two years?' Matthew asks mock-innocently.
'My dear child, I will not help you against such a devoted witch,' Albus declares, eyes twinkling.
Matthew sighs and says, 'Yes, she is devoted, but she can be scatterbrained.'
'No, I'm not! I haven't forgotten that I'd like to phone Amalia, but I happen to know that she won't be back home before five minutes and I still haven't been granted to do so by our teachers,' she growls.
Matthew chuckles and pretends to whisper something about "gullible Gryffies".
Harry and Severus fight not to laugh, but Odin fails.
'You can tell the good news that we will have walking twins very soon,' Severus tells Osiris.
'When you phone, would you mind asking Miss Rettin's brother to Apparate here, please, Miss Stewart? Ministry Officers know spells that could help your mother with her phobia,' Minerva suggests.
'Yes, Ma'am!' the young witch answers to her head of house.
That day, their quiet outing ends with the reunion of the Quartet and a Ministry spell put on a Muggle for medical reasons and to protect the health of the mother and the future witch.
Amalia is invited to Floo to Oxford whenever she wants - her brother points that with her ambitions it might be a bit dangerous. Amalia hits him and declares that she would never bother her Potions master.
Albus and Minerva stay another fortnight and they go back to Hogsmeade.
All the friends of the Potter-Snapes and Matthew keep in touch, but they're careful not to be too invasive so they can recover and try to enjoy their summer of freedom.
During their afternoons and evenings of fun, Harry often ends up flying with Matthew while Severus reads for the whole family. The only mother-hen who's unable to stay away for long is Susan Synon, but since Thomas has taken to apologizing with an amazing number of cakes, no one complains in the house and they always welcome their Muggle friends.
On July 30th, Severus gets an owl from Albus who's inviting them over for lunch for their birthdays and that makes him laugh.
'What's so funny?' Harry asks from his broom.
'We'll be getting our yearly dressing gowns after lunch tomorrow,' Severus announces.
'I beg your pardon?' Matthew wonders from the lawn where he's playing with the twins and trying to improve his Parseltongue.
Severus turns to him and explains that Albus has been giving him extremely colourful dressing gowns for years and that Harry has been added in the weird tradition.
'On which colour do you bet?' Severus asks Matthew.
He suddenly understands better the gowns that he privately refers to as "the dirty honey nightmares" and says, 'Raspberry?'
'And you, Harry?' Severus goes on.
'I say light blue. The one of us closer will get the usual prize,' Severus declares.
'What's the usual prize?' Matthew wonders.
'An ice cream wherever it pleases the winner to eat it,' Harry says. 'Câly is our referee.'
The house-elf beams at her wizards.
There's one thing frightening Matthew about this invitation.
'Will we have breakfast here?' he asks.
'Yes, we'll Floo just at noon,' Severus answers.
Both wizards know that Matthew's question was not innocent, but they'll allow him to have a secret.
On the following day, Severus and Harry understand why Matthew wanted to know where they'd be for breakfast: two owls deliver their birthday presents. Severus gets a tiny plant from Corsica and Harry a Muggle book on Chaos magic.
'The twins and Amalia helped me,' Matthew says when his fathers have opened their parcels.
Severus and Harry hug Matthew and peck him on the cheeks.
Still sandwiched between the two men, he notices a weird light in their eyes and he pointedly looks at them.
Holding out one hand to Severus, who takes it, Harry tells Matthew why this day is so special for them. The young wizard reflects that he's seldom seen so much love on anyone's face, not even his parents, and he hopes that one day he'll be as lucky as they are.
Lunch in Hogsmeade is as colourful as it can be in Albus's home. When the "Potter-Snapes and Templeton" are back in Oxford after cheese, Câly declares that Matthew is the winner: Harry and Severus are going to spend the next year in strawberry gowns!
'Where do you want to have your five o'clock ice cream?' Harry asks.
Matthew hadn't thought that he'd win. 'Can we really go anywhere?' he asks.
His fathers nod.
He thinks a little bit, then, absolutely beaming, he says, 'I'd like to show you Templeton Hall.'
Severus looks at him, rather concerned, and he must admit a bit afraid that Matthew misses the place where he grew up too much. His adopted son looks at him and says, 'It's really beautiful and I'd like you to see it before I can claim it legally and we can go there freely and spend the holidays there.' Suddenly, it's the young boy's turn to feel insecure. 'You'll come to Templeton Hall after I've passed my N.E.W.T.s, won't you?'
'When you invite us, we will gladly come,' Severus says.
'You can come anytime,' Matthew declares.
'When you're a fully qualified wizard, you might have other wizards or witches to invite first,' Harry explains.
At five, Severus and Harry are ready to Apparate with Matthew.
'Don't you want to Apparate the twins first?' he wonders.
'We're not going with the twins,' Severus announces.
Matthew pales and is about to protest when Harry says, 'There's Câly, our menagerie and the wards; if we don't do this now, we'll never leave them and one day it's going to be hell for them, and for us.'
Matthew doesn't like it, but he understands.
The three of them kiss the twins and they Disapparate with their tea and ice creams.
They haven't enjoyed Templeton Hall for five minutes, when the Auror who came when the Ministry spotted Matthew's illegal use of magic Apparates in front of them.
'Good afternoon!' he says, trying to be cheerful when he is the bearer of Fudge's orders.
'What now?' Harry almost growls.
'I'm sorry, Professor Potter. Fud... er... Minister Fudge has resolved to take one last decision about Mr Templeton before the elections,' the Auror says.
Severus sighs and asks, 'And that decision would be?'
'That after you've taken him back to your home, he cannot be Apparated; and I'm afraid you'll have to find a way to make him board the Hogwarts Express with his fellows. I'm sorry. When there's a new Minister you should be able to have this decision revoked.'
'I guess we can always take the Muggle train to London,' Harry says, resigned.
'If you need help with anything, you can contact me through the Floo. I must confess that the Minister has charged me to watch Mr Templeton.'
'And us,' Severus quietly states.
'Yes, sir. Auror Weasley's spell must be wearing off.' In front of Severus and Harry's lack of reaction, he adds, 'We're working in the same Division and I was there when her M.O.S.S.es brought the Minister back. I helped a bit.'
Severus looks at the Auror to assess if he wants to trust him or not, and he finally says, 'Pity it's wearing off, it was a good spell.'
The Auror chuckles and says, 'My unpleasant job is done here. I'm going to leave you alone and let you enjoy the park. Should you need me, ask for Leon Orville through the Floo.'
Auror Orville notices that Severus is looking at him, certainly trying to remember him from school, so he helps him and says, 'I doubt even you would remember a Hufflepuff who left just before you came back to teach.'
Soon he Disapparates.
Before Matthew can open his mouth to apologize for the inconvenience, Harry declares that it's a good thing that Matthew takes the Express to be with his classmates. Besides, it's a family tradition to go to Platform 9 3/4.
They finally enjoy their ice creams sitting on the lawn by a nice pond and they go back home, where nothing happened.
Diner is quiet and Matthew goes to bed, hoping to have sweet dreams.
On the next morning, Matthew wakes up when he hears Câly calling everybody for breakfast.
His hair looks like Harry's on a bad day, he's only wearing the bottom of his pyjamas and he's yawning when he opens his door.
That is the picture that Odin takes.
Matthew blinks and all his guests and his parents start singing "Happy birthday". The extended Potter-Snapes family is there, with some of his classmates. Amalia, Odin and Osiris are now somehow used to being close to Severus and Harry, but some of the others are simply speechless to see how their teachers are in private.
After a collective breakfast that is worthy of Hogwarts, Matthew is taken to the garden where the table under the cherry tree is covered with presents.
Some of the adults must go to work, but most of Matthew's friends spend the day with him.
After diner, when Amalia is the last to leave through the Floo, Matthew ends up on Harry's lap while the latter is on his bonded lap and he thanks them profusely for the wonderful day.
'Wait till we have a copy of the picture that Odin took and that we have it framed,' Severus says with a grin.
'Oh! And we have one last present for you!' Harry announces.
He carries Matthew in his arms and places him on Severus's lap. Severus knows the strength of his bonded, but Matthew is really surprised by the ease with which Harry handled him, though he knows he's not that big or heavy.
Harry brings back one packet where Matthew finds a strawberry dressing gown.
'You didn't think we'd be the only ones wearing such wonderful gowns in the morning, did you?' Harry teases him.
Matthew looks at him, at Severus and starts laughing heartily.
When he stops laughing, he looks at the new parents he's been given and he pecks their cheeks. He jumps off Severus's lap and whispers, 'Goodnight, Dad and Dād.'
One minute later, Harry is still holding tight Severus's hand.
'Am I becoming a sentimental old fool, Darling?'
'Maybe you'll be old in a century, but right now, you're just beginning to enjoy love. We became parents suddenly and now we have Matthew and it's yet another kind of situation,' Harry whispers against the skin of his bonded's neck.
'Do you realize that he's thirteen now?'
'It's a blessing that Osiris is in Gryffindor!' Harry answers with a happy grin.
From that day on, their nightly patrols become less frequent.
The rest of August is rather quiet.
For their anniversary, all their children are invited at the Malfoys' so they can enjoy the day; at tea-time, Hedwig brings them a note informing them that the children have voted to stay for the night so they should not worry about them.
The couple makes the most of it, enjoying good Silencing charms and Love spells they haven't had the opportunity to appreciate for a long time, since they can't perform magic near the wards monitoring the children.
When Draco and Ginny bring back the children on the following day, they can feel, and identify, the waves of magic coming from their friends and they're happy to have given them that.
Draco offers to help them when it's time to go to Hogwarts.
Severus and Harry go to the staff meeting before the new term, and they let Câly pack for them and bring most of their possessions into their quarters and the Slytherin dormitory. On the following day, she'll only have to take care of the pets while Severus and Harry take the Muggle train to London with Matthew and the twins. The Malfoys and their son will join them to keep them company.
They finally board the train and find seats.
Sarina is in Severus's arms, and they're in front of Harold in Harry's and Matthew is next to him. On the other side, Draco is sitting in front of his wife and son.
The one-hour trip might have been pleasant if a most insufferable Muggle had not demanded to sit next to Ginny.
Matthew had thought that they might be surrounded by Muggles, so he's bought a pad and a Biro, so he can keep on working on something Amalia asked and soon he's absorbed in his work.
The others envy him, because the Muggle is a real pain in the neck.
She keeps asking them very personal questions about the children and she makes two mistakes. First, she doesn't understand that the twins are Severus and Harry's children and she dryly comments on children adopted by sinful couples. Then she turns to Ginny and tells her that she thinks she's way too young to be a mother already.
Even before Draco or Ginny or their two friends, or even Matthew, can utter a word, the Muggle transforms into a goldfish and she lands in the bowl that is on her seat.
They're still all speechless when Auror Orville Apparates in their wagon.
'Oi! I did nothing!' Matthew protests.
The Auror blinks. He pales when Sarina speaks Parseltongue, //No one say bad things about my James//
//I like fish. I made bowl. Keep it?// Harold adds.
Matthew who understood most of what they said is giggling, but the others have to wait for Harry's translation.
Astounded, the Auror points at the twins and asks, 'Did your daughter transform a Muggle and your son made a bowl for the fish she'd become?'
'That's what they say,' Harry confirms.
'But they're way too young to show first signs of magic!' he exclaims.
To prove just how much he was wrong, Harold summons the bowl to play with his fish, but Sarina prefers to try and boil it.
The Auror takes the bowl away from them; he transforms the woman back into her human form, Memory-charms her and puts a Sleeping spell on her so she won't bother them.
'They're so young!' the Auror exclaims.
'Do you remember who their parents are, don't you?' Draco teases him.
Auror Orville looks at Severus and Harry, and nods. 'If they're so precocious, I'm going to wish you courage, gentlemen!'
He says goodbye and Disapparates.
'Severus, you're going to have to lecture Sarina about what she did,' Harry says. 'I'll deal with Harold's wish for a pet.'
'And why not the contrary, I pray you?' Severus growls.
'Because you're more gifted than I am in the biting Slytherin role and I would not be as effective remembering what I did to my aunt Marge.'
Severus manages to show Sarina why it's bad to use magic on people, especially when they're not witches or wizards, and even if they're not saying nice things about James.
Harry explains why they have enough pets with Hedwig, Leila and Milk, but Harold keeps pouting.
Then, Harry has to tell his eldest son and his friends what happened to Marge.
Matthew is still giggling from the goldfish incident when he boards the Hogwarts Express, and all the students know that they must expect walking twins discovering magic in the corridors and in the Slytherin Common Room.
Curiously enough, they're all waiting for the new term to start and the new adventures with the Potter-Snape twins to begin.
The twins are keeping everybody on their toes so well, that the General Election almost goes unnoticed.
They register that they're rid of Fudge, which is one of the best news items of the decade, but they barely acknowledge the fact that Arthur Weasley has been elected: they just have too much on their plates.
To Be Continued...
Return to Archive | next | previous