Disclaimer: 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: //----//
Readers: Stephanie and Mikee. Thanks a lot! The remaining mistakes are all mine, and I apologize for those.
Chapter Twenty-Two - Magic and Friendship
Hogwarts - students and staff alike - almost doesn't pay attention to the new Minister of Magic, but the new Minister is deeply interested in the various activities in the school and particularly in the curriculum of some of the staff members.
Arthur Weasley discovers in Fudge's dossiers exactly how Harry and Severus killed Lord Voldemort. No sooner has he read that piece of information than Arthur knows exactly what he must do.
Two days after discovering the use of the fourth Unforgivable curse, Minister Weasley Apparates before the gates of Hogwarts. He travelled with Percy, Hermione and her MOSSes.
Arthur is walking slowly, because the weight of what he's about to do is extremely heavy on his shoulders.
It is lunch-time, and Arthur goes straight to Albus's office. Percy is sent to ask the Headmaster, the Potions master and the DADA teacher to join the Minister immediately.
The three wizards wonder what's going on, but they can't get any piece of information from Percy because Arthur told him nothing and he is completely at sea.
Hermione and her officers are in Percy's boat, and this slightly bothers Harry who hopes that his job is not starting to make him somehow paranoid.
Albus is the first to go in his office. Severus closes the door behind them; apparently, Arthur ordered those who came with him to stay outside of the office.
While the officers and Percy wonder what's going on, Hermione smiles and can't help being happy to have voted for her father-in-law.
'I didn't really have the opportunity to congratulate you, Arthur,' Albus says as he greets the Minister.
'Well, I didn't take time to contact you either,' Arthur says as he stands up from the chair where he had settled.
'I guess you have some ministerial duty here,' Albus goes on.
'In fact, I've been reading some of Cornelius's files and I have decided to do something about some of his blunders. That's why I've asked you to come here. I checked the school schedule and I know that Professor Snape and Professor Potter are not working this afternoon. I hope that I didn't come too early and that you had time to finish your lunch,' Arthur says.
Neither Harry, nor Severus like Arthur calling them by their titles.
'I do not think you came here with Ministry officers to discuss pudding, Minister,' Severus declares in a cold voice.
Suddenly, Arthur blushes and he looks at the two teachers. 'I have to deal with this in the official way, Severus,' he says.
Arthur takes a deep breath and takes some items in his sleeve.
'The Cabinet has been revising some of the former Minister's decisions,' he announces. He holds out a first piece of parchment and says, 'This is a Court spell. It's been put on the two men who broke into your home; not only will they serve the full sentence in Azkaban, but also they will never be able to come physically near you or your home. They will never be able to even pronounce your names. The spell is legal and permanent. If you give me permission, I can have that announced in the media.'
Harry looks at Severus. Both nod and Arthur sighs with relief.
The Minister takes another piece of parchment and goes on, 'This is my decision to stop the monitoring of Matthew Templeton, your son. His Apparating with you is no longer forbidden. By the way, I think it might be time to revise some of our laws about underage magic, and I hope all the members of the staff will agree to help me.'
By then, Albus is grinning as if it were his birthday, Hallowe'en and Christmas on the same day.
Severus and Harry know that all this is but staging for something bigger and they wait before they start to really rejoice.
The couple is so quiet that Arthur understands that he can't fool those two wizards. Therefore he takes two more items from inside his sleeve and takes a deep breath. Arthur hopes that Severus and Harry are not going to wish to hex him into the next millennium.
'While I was reading some files,' Arthur starts, 'I discovered how you fought against the Dark Lord.'
Harry freezes, but Arthur holds out a hand and smiles. 'No one has to know what you did exactly, but I find it hard to believe that you haven't been thanked properly. Without telling the Cabinet what was done, since that piece of information has been kept secret, in spite of the inquiry asked by the former Minister, I have decided that something had to be done to thank you. You have already been given the Order of Merlin, but that is not enough out of regard for everything you did to help us in that War. I have ordered the creation of a new decoration: the Feather of the Phoenix. Those who fought in that War will receive a gold or silver brooch representing a feather, but...' Arthur stops to open the two small boxes that he was holding, 'something special had to be found for you. In the name of our community, I am honoured to be able to thank you by presenting you with two real phoenix feathers which will be the only two given.'
Arthur pins the feathers on Harry's and Severus's robes.
Albus applauds and the two teachers are simply speechless. The new Minister really is better than Fudge.
'I think everybody will know about those feathers before dinner,' Albus declares.
'Secrets seldom last here,' Harry says.
Arthur notices that Severus is remarkably silent. 'Is anything wrong, Severus?' he wonders.
'I'm sorry, but I tend to be careful when too many good things happen at the same time,' Severus explains.
Albus and Arthur try to cheer him, but Harry agrees with him. Their lives have never been quiet.
Albus is inviting Arthur to spend the afternoon with him to organize things to change the laws about underage magic and to have dinner with them when the new Muggle studies teacher comes in.
The latest addition to the staff is in his late twenties and he could be mistaken for Severus's younger brother.
'Arthur, you haven't met Nicolai Vlad yet,' Albus says and he turns to Nicolai, 'This is our new Minister, Arthur Weasley.'
'I'm pleased to meet you, sir. I hope you'll forgive my interrupting you, but no one can find Sarina,' Nicolai says.
'What?!' Harry yells. He checks the bracelet that monitors the wards on Sarina's playpen.
'I'm sorry, Harry. Harold is fast asleep, but Sarina is nowhere to be found. The playpen is in the Slytherin Common Room, surrounded by your Slytherins who don't have classes. Even Câly is there, but Sarina is missing,' Nicolai says.
Severus and Harry immediately run to the dungeons.
Nicolai is calling after them, 'The Slytherins and the free students are looking for her and the officers that where waiting at the door said they'd help.'
The Quartet is in the Common Room, trying to understand what happened.
'She slipped out of the pen and no one noticed it,' Amalia tells Harry and Severus.
Severus looks at the door of the Common Room and he walks back to the portrait of Slytherin that guards the entrance and he asks, 'Did you see Sarina go out?'
'At last, someone thinks of asking me!' the portrait complains.
'Answer!' Severus growls.
'Your daughter didn't pass that door, I am positive,' the portrait says, slightly surprised by the reaction of the Head of Slytherin.
'Call everybody back,' Severus orders the Quartet, 'She's somewhere here or in the dormitories.'
They search for Sarina, but do not find her.
Harry decides to wake up Harold to ask him if he knows where his sister is.
Blinking as he wakes up, the boy says, //Go see friend.// and he falls asleep in Harry's arms.
'Maybe she's trying to find James,' Harry suggests.
'Which one?' Arthur wonders.
'Malfoy, not Weasley. She seems to be quite fond of him,' Severus says.
'When I chose Harry's second name, I never thought that Draco and Ginny would call their son James as well,' Hermione says. 'It was the name of Narcissa's father.'
With one warning glance, Severus makes sure that no one discovers that if Ron's elder son has been given Harry's second name, Charlie's elder inherited one of Severus's names.
'She must be here,' Nicolai reflects.
'Yet, she is not...' Harry starts.
'... so there is only one logical explanation,' Severus ends.
Both turn towards the fireplace.
'She's quite gifted, but she couldn't Floo out of the castle!' Nicolai exclaims.
'Why not?' Hermione intervenes. 'She's powerful, she can walk and talk.'
'She can't speak well enough yet,' the Muggle studies teacher insists.
'In Parseltongue, she can,' Matthew declares.
Harry and Severus are about to try that theory when Filch uses the Slytherin password and comes in with Mrs Malfoy. There's a Moses basket floating behind her.
Harry and Severus run to her and see Sarina asleep in James's arms.
Both sigh with relief and thank Ginny.
'I've tried to bring her back all alone, but she starts screaming as soon as I try to take her from James's embrace,' she says.
The little girl quite loudly demonstrates what Ginny meant and they all end up spending the afternoon in the Slytherin Common Room. The Quartet and the other Slytherins keep an eye on the three children while all the adults start working with Arthur on the new laws.
By dinner time, everybody in Hogwarts knows everything that happened, from the Feathers to Sarina's escapade to the new Minister's "brilliant idea".
When Harold and Sarina wake up, they naturally include James in their games, and when Ginny goes back home, Sarina agrees to let James go.
On the following days, Sarina repeats her exploit and Ginny spends her afternoons in Hogwarts. Albus decides that something has to be done; after a chat with the four parents and a reunion with the Board, Ginny is granted permission to come every day to Hogwarts with her son. James is extremely quiet and with Ginny around, the twins leave the students and their parents alone. She even manages to channel their magic.
When Harry and Severus give her a huge bunch of roses, she confesses that she loves helping them: with Draco working with Fred and George, she was beginning to feel a bit lonely at home. Now, she's got something challenging to do and she likes to be an active godmother in Harold's and Sarina's life. She admits that she is a bit surprised with the bond that seems to exist between their three children, but she likes it.
She signals both men to lean towards her and she adds, 'Besides, I like this Common Room, but if you repeat that to my husband, I'll put a nasty spell on the both of you!'
They don't know how long Ginny will come with James and take care of the twins, but they all like it and the Slytherins all adopt her, and not only because she's married to one of them.
After some additional help from Ginny and Nicolai, the Quartet is finally authorized to join the advanced classes.
The four of them like it a lot, but the two witches are the most enthusiastic with that.
At one time, Severus even thinks that Osiris might be overworking Matthew, because of what happens one day in Potions class.
They're brewing a Healing potion with the Gryffindors and Slytherins third-years and Matthew put his hand up to ask a question to Severus. He nods to give him permission to speak.
'When did you say we have to add the pansy cream, Dād?' Matthew says.
He immediately realizes what he's said and he blushes.
With a bright smile, Severus answers, 'As soon as your potion turns pink.'
He walks towards Matthew and inspects his cauldron. Thanks to one discreet spell, Severus assesses that Matthew is not overworked or even tired. It was just a slip of the tongue.
Severus makes sure that the other are not watching and he winks at Matthew, who finishes his potion with a silly grin stubbornly pasted on his face.
Thanks to Ginny's help, Severus is able to work on some projects for Fred and George, and he admits that those two comics do have good ideas.
Harry seizes the opportunity to help the Slytherin Quidditch team, with the help of Nicolai Vlad who went to school with Viktor Krum's coach.
Soon, another year is gone, the House Cup goes to Slytherin and Gryffindor, because the Quartet and their friends managed to earn the exact same number of House points all year through.
It almost feels like time is fleeting faster now that Voldemort is gone.
The children are growing up so fast that Severus and Harry regularly thank the Power that gave them the twins.
The Potter-Snapes, the Malfoys and the triad of Weasleys decide to spend some days all together. Minister Weasley authorizes Matthew to invite everybody to Templeton Hall.
Before they go, the Potter-Snapes and Matthew will spend some quiet days in Oxford; they have to meet the Stewarts' baby witch.
To Be Continued...
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