Obligatory Disclaimer: The characters belong to JK Rowling (although I don't think she quite saw them in this way) without permission and without malice. While I wish I could make money off of it, none is being earned and this piece is strictly for entertainment purposes; suing me would be pointless as I have no assets except my mind and I dare you to try and get it. The original story line this one follows (with permission) is "Pledges" by Amireal and I have tried to maintain the storyline continuity and to establish some fixed-action patterns (a fancy psych term for habits) for our ironic, errant professor and his irrepressible, but sometimes overenthusiastic husband. I tried to write the story as a stand alone piece , but if you are confused (or even if you're not), I would suggest you read the most excellent "Pledges" before this one as the story is set wholly in Amireal's World, many, many years in the future.
Author's Notes:This story is set wholly in Amireal's World, many, many years in the future and concerns the continuation of the relationship of our ironic, errant professor and his irrepressible, but sometimes overenthusiastic husband. Amireal has written a lovely love story and you really should read it.
Yes, I know the Prologue is really weird and really depressing, but necessary--don't worry--it's the only piece like it in the whole story.
My thanks to my betas--Haldolpoim and Rainyshiny.
Bring Me To Life : A Continuation
A Harry Potter Fan Fiction
By I Got Tired of Waiting
When Did They All Get So Young?
After settling down with warm snifters of old brandy Severus had acquired in their travels together, they finally relaxed from what had become a long and tiring day. Severus made the comment that the brandy, while old, was younger than he was.
"Think they'll miss us?" Harry asked.
"Not with the Forget-Me-Please Charm I placed before we left. One of the more useful things Albus taught me," Severus said with a small smile. They could talk about Albus now without the deep hurt they had once felt in his absence.
"Here, you can open this now," said Ron, rising painfully from the old love seat and handing Severus the large package.
Setting down his snifter on the table by his side, Severus took the package with a nod of thanks and began removing the paper wrapping. Harry leaned over to get a better look at the book revealed under the plain brown paper. Severus reverently ran his hand over the fine old leather of the tome. At his touch, letters began to flow across the cover, "Memories __ Our ____."
Mystified, Harry reached over to touch the cover and other words flowed in filling the gaps, "___________ Of ____ Life."
"Memories of Our Life," Harry read out loud. He looked at Ron and Hermione, "A memory book? Thank you so much!"
"Yes and you're most welcome. It took us forever to gather all the photos and I went to Diagon Alley several times to find the book we wanted--it's very old."
"Older than me?" Severus chuckled, "Must be positively ancient, then."
He and Harry turned the pages and were greeted by wizard photos of Ron, Hermione, and Harry at school along with Draco and even one of Snape, the Potion's Master, green slime dripping off his hooked nose.
"Good thing Creevey's not here right now," he growled watching a glob of slime fall off the ceiling onto his photo head. "What a scowl! I must practice that more often. Might have come in handy last month with the Board of Governors," he said, his face scrunching up into a ridiculous parody of the look he had often worn at the time. The three remaining laughed uproariously at the sight.
Still wearing the scowl, he somehow made himself look like Lukas Peabody, the current Minister of Magic, a sour suspicious man who had been one of their worst opponents over the years. Severus hated him and would rant at length about how very much he missed Cornelius Fudge, who had just been an idiot and Arthur Weasley, who had been a prince.
"Now Severus, I'll have no more of your--unnatural--practices." he snarled in an uncanny imitation of Peabody's persnickety, nasal voice, "We must set a--good example--for the children, of course. I MUST insist that you and Professor Potter reside in separate quarters for the duration of the term."
Stopping mid-laugh, Harry stared at Severus, his jaw hanging open, feeling the strong latent anger under Severus' imitation of the Minister. Trying to lighten the mood, he said, "He didn't? Oh Merlin, what did you tell him? I can't wait to hear this!"
Severus struck a pose, like he was behind his desk, his hands folded; the whitened knuckles the only indicator of how furious he had been. "I told him (and I quote), 'No. No, I don't think that will be necessary. We are most circumspect and discreet while out in the student body, but what I do in my student's body comes quite naturally and is only my own private concern. Now I would sincerely appreciate it if you would butt out of my life--I can only handle one at a time."
Three pairs of rounded eyes gazed back at him. Harry was the first to recover, his body twitching as he fell back on the sofa, arms clutching his stomach, legs on the floor, as he writhed with the force of his silent laughter. Ron and Hermione were in no better condition, both desperately trying to gulp in air, their faces turning purple.
Severus sat there, the beginnings of a huge smile of satisfaction brightening his austere face.
Harry let out a humph of air before settling back helpless in his peals of laughter, his hand on Severus' arm. Severus' mouth began to twitch, his perspective restored and within moments, the four of them were belly-laughing.
"Oh god--oh my god--oh my," Ron chuffed, "Oh, gods, a moment worthy of Draco."
"No," huff, "Draco--would--have--been--more--graphic ," Hermione finally gasped out.
Their laughter increased and then faded until they were reduced to quiet chuckles and low hiccups. Ron held a hand out and pointed at the book still in Severus' lap. "Keep going," he commanded loftily.
Severus raised one sardonic brow at him, but complied. The next photos were of Severus and Harry including one from their wedding.
"Where did you find that?" Severus queried, his eyes fixed on the photo of the two of them, the cord wrapped around their hands during their binding. Albus beamed down at them benevolently, his hands on theirs. Harry was gazing longingly at Severus whose half-lidded eyes devouring Harry's was the only indication of how much control he'd been exerting at the time. He remembered that moment with a slight shiver of distaste at the compulsion they'd been under. He much preferred the chosen loving than the coerced. Were we ever that young? he asked himself.
Ron told him it had been found a few months ago in the Dumbledore Archives. "When the curator would neither give nor sell it to me, I took it upon myself to--liberate--it from the collection." Ron stated proudly.
"In other words, you stole it," Harry said with a grin.
"That's such an ugly term; I prefer 'returning it to its rightful owners', myself.
"He stole it," Severus said to Harry with a laugh.
Subsequent pages were eagerly turned and shared.
When they came to the photo of a champagne-soaked Ron from this evening and one of a triumphant Severus, Harry asked them, "How ever did you get these in here so quickly?"
"Dennis took the pictures with that self-developing film you designed and he gave us the pictures as we were leaving to intercept you. Hell, he's been combing through his brother's photos for months for us. The rest, as they say, was magic," Ron said on a laugh.
Severus turned the page to the last picture in the book. It was on a page by itself and was of them locked in their timeless embrace at the end of the Lightspell. Their long-shared passion was bespoken by their intimate stance, their bodies pressed close, and love shone on their lined faces. As they broke apart, eyes to eyes, hand to hand, the wonder and joy of their devotion glowed from their very skin.
Harry gently ran his finger over the photo as it began to cycle a second time. "So that's what we look like, now," he said softly, a catch in his voice. "Not so much different than what we were, then," he slowly finished turning back to their bonding picture.
"Don't go soft on me now, boy," Severus said, hoarsely.
Harry chuckled, "Quiet, You Slippery Snake Oil Salesman."
On a laugh: "--Graceless Bludger Fodder--"
Spoken harshly: "--Snape--"
"--Mine," rumbled so softly no one else but Severus heard.
On a whisper: "Mine--"
Clear dark eyes locked with misty green and then closed. Lips parted--joined--their memories and minds fused into one. The spell chose its own moments.
Ron and Hermione taking one look at their preoccupation, talked of other matters, giving them their privacy. When it became apparent they might not ever come up for air, Hermione, looking steadily at the two men, nodded to Ron indicating they should either end it or else quietly leave.
Choosing to stay and looking around the living room, everywhere but at them, Ron spied all the boxes still awaiting transport and clearing his throat loudly, broke the moment. He asked them, "So, when are you leaving?"
Pulling apart abruptly, Harry and Severus, were startled, but still sat cosily next to each other on their old beloved couch. They looked at each other and by unspoken agreement, Severus, setting the book and wrappings aside, took a deep breath to steady him and answered, "Harry leaves tomorrow morning with the bulk of our personal things. I will follow in the afternoon, after briefing Colin and Dana, with the rest of the library and my own personal items."
He paused and picked up the snifter, "We transferred the Wards of the castle over to Colin and Dana yesterday--you might have felt the rumblings. It was MOST upset that Harry is leaving," he said with considerable understatement.
"I do NOT intend to spend my last days in this castle," Harry mumbled and then speaking up, said, "The bloody thing just didn't want to let go. I think it got too--cosy--over the years. With all the extra Wards, and the expansion to Hogsmeade, and the Draconus Wards, its bond with us just kept getting deeper and deeper. One would think the bloody thing was married to us or something."
Severus looked startled at that statement as did Ron and Hermione. "I'd never thought of it that way, but Harry, you may be closer to the truth than you think. Even now, as I think about it, I can still feel part of the castle through you. Are we sure we transferred all the control over to them?" Severus asked.
This was a disconcerting thought for all of them. Hogwarts and Hogsmeade were totally dependent on the Wards protecting them from Muggle discovery and if any small part was missing, the occupants would be vulnerable. What its collapse would mean to the rest of the Network it was tied to was unthinkable.
Harry reached inside himself and Severus to--feel--the bond of both their relationship and their relationship with the castle. He found nothing to disturb him. He shrugged. "No, we transferred full control. What I am feeling right now is almost like a--memory--for lack of a better word, an afterimage of what we once shared with it," he finished, not quite sure he had expressed it right.
Severus had taken his own hard look and as he caught the--feeling--Harry had, he nodded and said, "I concur. Control is definitely Colin's and Dana's; although I had not realised until now just how strong our--bond--was with the castle itself. I'm going to miss the ruddy thing."
Harry laughed at this, and said, "I know what you mean," as he stroked the hand entwined in his own.
Ron cleared his throat and they were suddenly aware of the others in the room. They'd forgotten for a moment. It happened often when they were alone with their friends, who tended to overlook the momentary lapses because they were just as guilty of them, themselves.
"I would like to propose a toast," Ron said suddenly, raising his snifter.
At the nods around the room and the raised snifters, he continued, "To old ties and new beginnings--to those we have lost and those we will meet, may our lives be as sweet as they have been today."
"To Albus," Severus and Harry said together.
"To Draco," Ron and Hermione said in unison.
To this they saluted, silently, and drained their brandy.
Taking the book from Harry, Hermione said while looking through their wedding pictures. "You two were lucky in a way, it was only public opinion that kept marriages like yours from being more common, we on the other hand had to fight the law to get married."
Ron said with a wicked chuckle, "I still can't believe it took us twenty years to get that damn law passed,"
"They never did give us any trouble over the two women, one man marriage, did they?" Hermione asked, her eyes dancing.
"I would have thought they would have given more thought to that one, it's not every man who can satisfy two lusty women and live to tell about it. I would think just one would be quite enough," Severus said looking at Harry.
"Two women? It took both Draco and me to keep this winsome wench satisfied," Ron declared, ducking the blow aimed at his head from Hermione.
"Me? It took BOTH of us to keep Draco satiated," she retorted.
Severus and Harry exchanged an amused glance, [[*Too much info,*]] Severus thought using another phrase they had picked up while among the Muggles.
[[*Wa-ay too much info,*]] Harry thought back to him, his hand tightening on Severus' as he remembered. Hermione and Ron likewise looked at each other in silent communion.
It had meant different things to each of them.
A Case of Law and the Order of Things
"What do you mean we can't get married?" Ron was saying with some heat.
"It's the law, sir. Multiple partner marriages between opposite sexes are not allowed; now if all three of you were men--" the hapless clerk at the Registry Office said. He was wishing he was anywhere but where he was being faced by one of the most respected and feared Aurors on the Force. He sincerely wished he could help him, not because he had any special feelings on the subject, but because he wanted Ron well away from his office.
Giving him one more disgusted look, Ron, turned on his heel and strode back to his office in another part of the Ministry wondering how on earth he was going to tell Draco and Hermione. He was confused, too, for he'd never heard there would be difficulties and knew neither Draco nor Hermione had either or they would not have sent him on this errand--to get the license.
On his way, he stopped by his father's office on the off-chance Arthur was around; he knew the odds were not in his favor and were worse if he wanted to actually see him. As the Minister of Magic for Great Britain, Arthur was a very busy man. However, his luck held, and the first secretary he came across, Esmelda, showed him in with little fanfare.
Arthur looked up from the parchment he was reading, a rather boring petition from a rather boring Wizard out in the sticks, and with one look at Ron's face, he put it down on his desk, rather grateful for the interruption. He would soon regret that thought.
Ron flopped into the chair across from Arthur, disheartened with residues of the previous anger mixed in for good measure. He looked around the office, pausing at all the photos of the family all over the walls. That's all I want--a family--damn it!
"Problem?" Arthur asked.
Ron humphed out some air, blowing the hair out of his eyes and looking at the concerned face of his father, let loose some of the anger he was holding in. He responded in an unreasonable voice, "Yes, I suppose you could say that. Hermione, Draco, and I decided to make our relationship official only to find out a few minutes ago that we can't--unless we're all guys."
Arthur was pleased with the decision--he and Molly had secretly hoped they would marry before the first child, for he had no doubt they were devoted to each other and would not allow something as small as public opinion stand in the way of procreation. But, not permitted? He'd never heard of that before--but then again, their triple was the first he'd ever heard of that had survived.
Leaning back in his chair, he looked over the books on the shelves next to his desk. Finding the one he wanted, he levitated it over to his desk. A mumbled spell opened it to the section he wanted and he bent over the tome, trying to decipher the tiny crabbed writing on the page. After reading a few paragraphs, he closed the book and sent it back to the shelf. He looked long at Ron.
"Technically, they are correct. A multiple partner, same-sex marriage is permitted in any number of partners, although personally, I would call that an orgy, not a union," he smiled half-heartedly at his own joke when Ron failed to respond.
He continued, "A multiple partner marriage of one male and any number of females is also permitted providing they all cohabitate in the same house and take the traditional surnaming of all resultant issue." Privately, he thought of exhaustion and screaming Harpies, but did not voice the sentiment out-loud.
"A union of the type you want is permitted only if ALL male partners but one are sterile--and it must be proven by public Medi-witch certification. Simply put, the law allows for either no children or proof of only one father. Since I am assuming that both you and Draco are fully functioning males and neither one of you is willing to be sterilized, then no--you would not be permitted to marry as we have no way of proving parentage."
"I'm sorry; it's a question of bloodlines. The law is specific that clear bloodlines must be established through the marriage. You would, however, be allowed to adopt."
Ron looked at him, the incredulity warring with his black sense of humour. He shook his head and rising from the chair said, "Thanks Dad, I appreciate the help, now I got to go home and tell Draco and Hermione. They'll be so thrilled."
Arthur, understanding his son's frustrations replied, "If you need my help in changing the law, just let me know."
"Well, you're not going to just accept it are you?" he asked. Seeing the forlorn look on his face, he decided to pursue this track, maybe it would give Ron some purpose. "I mean I assume you're going to change it--for the kids and all." Something akin to panic flitted across Ron's face. He nailed it home, "If you're not married, they have no bloodlines and it will be hard to set up their future, not to ment--
"Uh, thanks Dad, I appreciate the support. I'll see what Hermione and Draco want to do." Suddenly he couldn't get out of there fast enough and as he bolted out of the office, Arthur allowed himself a small smile of satisfaction. He sighed, and went back to the petition.
"I'll do it." Draco said after hearing about Ron's trip to the Registry Office.
"Go down and get tied. After all the Malfoy name is not exactly very popular right now, the Weasley name is well respected, and it IS important we make it official." he replied reasonably, a sick feeling in his stomach.
"Like bloody hell you will," Hermione and Ron cried together. "I would rather our children be illegitimate than have you do that," Hermione finished. "So, don't even think about it."
Draco, looking relieved despite his brave selfless words, accepted their loving embrace.
"We'll just have to fight it, that's all. There's got to be a way we can do this." she continued, irate at the whole thing. "Besides, there's nothing stopping us from being bound, we just can't make the marriage contract official."
"Maybe Severus knows--Harry said he's had to deal with all kinds of legal issues over their marriage, especially the name. Can you believe they made them hyphenate their name?"
"If I recall," Hermione said, "It had something to do with the legality of your guardianship and the way Severus executed your father's estate, Draco. We all know he did exactly as you wanted and even with our testimony, they still gave him a hard time."
She shook her head, "I guess we should be grateful, we are not as scrutinized as they are and everyone pretty much leaves us alone--seems someone is always gunning for Severus."
Ron chuckled, "It's because Harry is so young. As if Harry was EVER that young." They all laughed at that.
Draco, ever the pragmatist said drolly, "Now that we all agree that everyone picks on Severus, who by the way is perfectly capable of taking care of himself and if not has Harry as husband to help him, what are we going to do?
"It's too bloody bad we can't run the family lines down the mother's side, then there would be no question as to the bloodline--you always know who the mother is."
Hermione and Draco stared at Ron. Draco recovered first. "Ron that is abso-fuckin-lutely brilliant! We're in the presence of a genius! That's it, that's how we can pass the law--change how the family line tracks, then it doesn't matters who the father is."
"Let's go see Severus," Ron suggested.
Severus had a headache. A really stupendous headache--he felt he had the entire tympanic section of the London Symphony pounding Tchaikovsky in the upper lobes of his brain. In front of him, on the desk, was a thick booklet with charts--birthing and genetic charts so complicated they made the star charts he regularly churned out look like a child's crayon drawing.
He rubbed the bridge of his nose, willing it to go away. He'd begged for weeks for these charts and now that he finally had the time to go over them, he knew he had to master them quickly if he was ever going to be able to use them in a timely manner.
The more he thought about WHY he had to learn them, the deeper his headache crept until his whole head was pounding in time with his heart, the throbbing robbing him of thought. He put his head in his hands. He didn't even have the energy to go to the shelf behind him a get a potion to bring it down to a dull roar.
A gentle kiss was tenderly placed on the back of his neck, the lips moving against his skin in cadence to a spell. Strong cool fingers appeared at his temples and with the gentlest of touches, they stroked the skin back into the hairline, each sure, soft stroke timed to the words spoken by the lips--stroke by stroke, the headache receded until he shivered at the now silent lips nipping his neck.
"I wish you wouldn't sneak up on me like that." Severus growled.
The lips smiled against his nape, "You're welcome," they said and then they were gone, the room as empty as it had been a few minutes before.
Damn, I keep forgetting I have my own private health barometer now. Even after the four years they'd been together, he couldn't help but wonder if Harry did things like this to help him or to allay his own discomfort.
[[*I heard that--stupid git.*]] He felt the smile coming along with the words and realised, once again he was being foolish. He heard the distant laugh, [[*Much better!*]] And, then he was gone.
Shaking his head over the incident, he bent back to the charts.
The Trio sat on the couch Harry and Severus usually occupied while they sat on the old love seat. Need to get the springs fixed, Harry thought as he shifted again trying to find a comfortable spot.
Severus leaned forward, "Let me see if I have this straight. You want to change not only the law, but centuries of tradition to run the bloodlines down the cognate line instead of the agnate line. Damn, and I thought you wanted something complicated. We should be able to do that in a couple hundred years, give or take a century." Severus was at his sarcastic best.
Draco closed his eyes; I won't kill him, I won't kill him, I won't kill him, I won't--, a much needed calming mantra.
Hermione laughed, "Oh nothing quite that simple Severus--we also want to get married."
Severus sputtered. He was beyond words. This was impossible.
She continued in a low serious voice, "I--we want babies--"
Severus noted the wince from Ron and the panic from Draco and smiled to himself
"--Lots of them. And, we want them legitimate."
He could feel Harry suppressing his laughter.
"Do you know how much time you are talking about?" he asked, serious.
Hermione studied him, her head cocked, "I have the time, Severus. I'm on sabbatical from the University and with our degrees finished, I am free to do as I please."
Harry spoke up before Severus could open his mouth. "Really? How about we make a trade then," he said thinking of Severus' headaches the last few weeks, "WE'LL help you with the legal language and paperwork you need to change the law as well the Summation of Arguments and YOU help Severus trace the bloodlines he needs for the Succession Plan. They're your charts so it should be pretty easy for you to figure them out."
Severus blinked, Now why didn't I think of that? Then the full import of what Harry had said hit him and he almost choked. He silently urged Hermione to accept for he realised that in typical Potter, excuse me, Snape-Potter, fashion, Harry had just made them one sweet deal.
Hermione looked at him suspiciously, trying to find the catch, for she knew there had to be one--Severus was just being too quiet. She looked at Ron and then Draco. When both shrugged and nodded, she made up her mind--it really didn't matter in the long run--she knew it would take them years and even if it took her the same amount of time, at least they were experts in what she wanted and she certainly was the expert in what they wanted, so it would at least be done--expertly.
"Deal!" she exclaimed.
Severus almost expired on the spot--he couldn't believe she'd bought it. "Done," he said quickly holding out his hand, afraid she was going to change her mind before he could bind her to it. They shook on it, magically sealing their contract.
Severus showed proper gratitude to Harry that night starting right after they left and continuing well into the wee hours of the morning.
Severus is very lucky I have an infinite capacity for humour and the absurd, Hermione thought as she put the quill down for the last time on the Genealogy Charts she'd put together for him over the last five years. 'Trace the bloodlines Severus needs for the Succession Plan', my ass--he forgot to mention the little detail about how bloody long the bloody-line would be. Git.
Writing finished, she tried to feel a sense of pride at her work, but it had taken so long, so much energy, so much--thought, she couldn't dredge up more than gratitude it was over. She looked over the hundreds of pages in the document and realised that not only would Severus not have been able to finish it, now that she knew how important it was, she was assured it had been done correctly.
Hermione (with Draco and some help from Severus), as part of her University studies and now as Head of the Oxford Genealogy Center had developed methods combining Muggle genetic research techniques with magic to determine paternity of all their children. The result were the charts she'd laboured with.
Actually now the real work has to begin and he has HIS work cut out for him. Should take him about 65 years to finish it. She chuckled and her equilibrium was restored knowing she really HAD got the better end of the deal.
And, she knew Severus had not been idle either. Somehow, and she suspected it had been Harry's idea, he had gathered the support of the women of the Wizarding community through Molly Weasley. With this subtle, but powerful support, public opinion had turned faster than they'd thought. They already had legislature pending in the Council to change the bloodlines to the Cognate (maternal) Line and with Arthur Weasley backing it, it was sure to pass. Then they only had to figure out how to establish paternity and overcome the public's stigma against triple marriages. One down two to go.
She'd not revealed to any the full results of her studies though, knowing the resulting confusion would just delay the law. Starting with Seth and his unusual genetics, she'd taken her own research further with some astonishing results.
The bloodlines melded in a triple. Children in her union and a couple of others she'd found were sharing the traits of ALL their parents.
When she'd first learned she was pregnant with Seth, they'd asked Severus to bind them regardless of the law. It somehow made it better this way. After a lot of research, Severus had found the right combination of spells and they'd been bound much the way Severus and Harry had been over a couple of days. By ancient law, they were married and that would have to hold them until they could get--public--approval of their joining.
Then Seth was born, looking like BOTH Draco and Ron. Her charts showed conclusively that neither one of them had the genetic material to have made Seth the way he was on their own. She hypothesized that the special bonding spells they had taken had, over time, had mutated the resulting children and increased the magic each one had--the genetic lines were blurring as more children picked up the genetic AND magical material of ALL parents. The genealogists would have fits.
So she sat on her discoveries awaiting the passing of the law allowing her to marry. She had her own ideas about how to go about this and as if drawn by the thought, little Seth came bouncing into the room with typical two-year old energy. She picked him up, wincing at the pain in her back from this, her second pregnancy, well advanced. Any day now, she thought, and not a moment too soon for me.
"Hi little man," she cooed to him. He gave her a wet kiss, trying to sit on her tummy. The baby kicked at the pressure and Seth laughed delightedly. Any time now would be VERY good!
C'mon Seth, let's go look at the baby's room. You can help me get it ready, all right?"
"A-righ" he said and together they went to the new nursery.
Arthur danced with Hermione, but drew the line at Draco, so Molly did the honours with him and Ron. He first had to find her in the Powder Room trying to recover from her children's first dance as Husband, Wife, and Husband.
It had been a long time coming. Twenty years in fact, from the time Ron had first come to his office broiling with frustration to today, the day the new law was enacted, the day the three of them were bound, and their seven children legitimized. They all now bore the Malfoy-Granger-Weasley name.
So far it had been a wild and noisy wedding.
As Arthur caught his breath, he recalled the gentle look gracing Severus' normally harsh face when he had joined the three of them, the silk cords wrapped in a new significant pattern around their three joined right arms, their bodies forming the ancient Trivarium. Harry was Witness with Ginny and Neville, he and Molly, and as a surprise, Seth who had insisted he was old enough at 14 to do the honours.
Draco, surprisingly had been the one to overcome their objections saying that the--young man--had stoically suffered enough at the hands of the other children at school and in their neighborhood to warrant an adult place at their side and had asked him solemnly if he would stand as witness to his bonding with his others. The maturity with which Seth had responded with the ancient acceptance had been reason enough to allow it.
He'd also surprised everyone by asking him, Arthur, to stand for him. Hermione had asked Ginny and Molly, while Harry and Neville had stood for Ron. And, of course, there had never been any question that Severus would bind them. Arthur reflected that the relationship the five of them had, while odd at best, was the most amazing thing he'd ever seen. It was as if they could read each others' minds, although on reflection, with the bonds they had taken, ancient and deep, they might just at that.
Then came the speeches. He was especially touched by Draco's--the boy had really grown on him over the years--heartfelt thanks to the Snape-Potters and the Weasleys for their efforts over the long years in passing the new law (despite the accusations of nepotism) and their support of their relationship, their--family--regardless.
Everything had been fine until the first dance of the evening. When The Trio had begun their sensuous three-way dance, Molly had gasped and covered the eyes of the littlest ones, the youngest being two. Arthur, after getting over the initial shock of the thing had privately thought their--coordination--was especially entertaining.
The dancing continued and after a couple of turns with Molly, they retired to the sidelines to let the younger folk take the floor.
Draco had come by and put his hand on his shoulder and leaning close to him so Molly couldn't hear said softly, but wickedly, "I'm starting a pool on how long it takes Severus to take Harry--home.
Arthur looked up at him and then followed his eyes back to the dance floor. Well, will wonders never cease?
There on the dance floor, gliding across the floor like they were all alone was Harry and Severus. The music currently playing was a slow waltz and Arthur was amazed at the grace with which they covered the floor, their formal robes sweeping out around them. There was a mature sensuality to their movements that made the efforts of the other guests, equally adept at the dance, seem crude and jerky.
Arthur wasn't quite sure what surprised him the most--their solemn movements, lost in the music, or the fact they were together like this in public in the first place. Except for a few rare moments in private while they'd worked together over the years, not really embarrassing in the least, he had never seen them even touch in public. That they should do so now was astonishing and Arthur began to understand why Draco had made the comment--and offered the bet.
He whispered to Draco, "You're on--2 Galleons on 30 minutes." He passed the coins over to him with a wink.
Draco grinned--"I'll see your two and go for twenty minutes--Hermione's not even sure they'll last that long."
Arthur won the pot, for exactly 31 minutes 30 seconds later, Severus and Harry made their hasty distracted good-byes.
Severus was feeling a little out of sorts. He couldn't begin to count how many times he'd officiated at weddings and bindings and joinings or whatever the current jargon was for a marriage contract. Usually he went alone or they came to him. On rarer occasions, like with friends, Harry was asked to Witness and when the ceremony was done, like most officiators, they would fade into the background and make good their escape.
He did not find weddings particularly romantic, not that he considered himself as such in the first place. But little by little, over the years, Harry's more romantic nature had worn off on him and he was a little less crusty than he used to be.
All right, a lot less crusty.
But there was something about The Trio. He'd always liked Draco, finding his irony and wicked insight amusing when he'd been his student and he approved of the precise way Draco went about everything in his life from making potions to stalking enemies.
Hermione he could understand and there was a secret part of him that had always admired her ability to be absolutely brilliant, clearly his equal in that regard, yet likable. It was a skill he'd never really mastered.
And he supposed that one could admire the stalwart loyalty of Ron. Ron had been the unexplained one to him in The Trio--until he'd seen him on some of the Auror raids and realised that Ron carried the most magical power of the three. The calculated risks he took in his job were neither foolhardy nor haphazard; Ron was the master chess player, always a few steps ahead of his opponent and like his chess game he was wicked and usually won.
So today, when three of the people he'd come to admire the most were finally joined, one would think he'd be happy.
But, he wasn't. Well, he was happy for them. They'd waited longer than anybody should be expected to. He just wasn't happy for himself. And, he was confounded by it. His normal state could be described as not unhappy, but not ecstatic either. So this downswing into the doldrums was unusual for him and he did not like it a bit.
And, he knew why too, which was why he was depressed. Even knowing what the problem was, he couldn't fix it and that made him feel even worse.
Everyone was touching. Arthur touched Molly, The Trio touched each other, Ginny and Neville--it went on and on--even people who did not know each other touched. Except him and Harry--aside from The Trio (and that was different somehow), no one touched them. And, they couldn't even touch each other except with their eyes.
Harry zeroed in on him from across the room. He felt Severus' thoughts and wondered what he could do to cheer him up. The choices were very limited. He caught sight of the dancers and sighed, he knew he was a horrible dancer, but--
Severus followed his eyes and saw the dancers on the floor and caught the small wistful tendril from Harry.
Severus thought about it for a while. He watched the others and realised there was a good chance he and Harry could take few spins around the floor, a socially acceptable way of publicly touching and no one would probably even notice.
So when Harry moved away from the group he was talking to, Severus went up to him and almost shyly taking his hand, asked him to dance. Harry stared at him, incredulous, and said yes.
Dancing--after twenty four years together, it had been the first time Harry and Severus had danced.
It was pure joy watching Severus' concentration and Harry felt no surprise that Severus was as good a dancer as he was in everything else he did.
Not knowing what was going to happen, Harry simply followed Severus' lead and found that moving with his graceful body in time to the sweeping music was as arousing as watching him stalk. There was an animal grace and power to his movements and when Severus forgot himself and shifted to pull Harry even closer, there'd been passion as well.
Each turn, each sweep of bodies to the music drove them deeper and deeper into themselves until they could not separate the music from their movements and the rest of the world faded away leaving only them.
After they'd left early--after they'd gone home, in the privacy of their own quarters, oh so tender their love-making.
In the firelight, their ardor spent, dark eyes captivated green ones. "I love you," spoken lighter than a whisper, stronger than the tide, the first time he'd ever said it out loud, but always known, always implied.
Harry's response, "I know. I love you back," spoken into ardent lips as they fell into the gentlest of kisses, which spun away once more into heated passion.
The spell, finally replete, left them with a feeling of peace like they had never known before--and rarely experienced since.
Confession, They Say, Is Good For the--Soul
[[*It was rather special, wasn't it? I find it strange that with all my verbosity, I had such a hard time with those three simple words.*]]
[[*There are not words enough--you had to figure it out before you could say them, and of course, get around that stubborn pride of yours,*]] he smirked.
[[*Me? Stubborn? Au contraire!*]]
Harry just sent him his mental snort of derision with a roll of his eyes. Some things were just better left unsaid.
Harry looked over at Ron and Hermione, who were talking quietly to each other.
[[*Oops, we did it again,*]] he thought.
[[*Remind me to thank them sometime,*]] Severus said with a snort.
[[*I can do that, right after I remind you to tell me what it was you skipped over this evening.*]]
Shit, I forgot about that, Severus thought hoping he could distract Harry from asking again, later.
"Hey you two, we're done. Severus says to thank you," Harry called out.
"It's about time," Ron declared turning back to them. "Geez, the way you two carry on sometimes--"
"Not bad for a couple of old geezers," Harry said on a laugh.
"Old? OLD?! YOU may be old, but--I--am just starting," Severus said, laughing, his shoulder joint cracking as he waved his arm around. They all dissolved in laughter at the startled look on his face.
"Tell that to your joints, then. I'm tired of getting the potions in the morning, AND hearing you complain about your poor blighted back," he said with a knowing chuckle.
Severus swatted him on the shoulder. [[*I'll show you old,*]] he thought to Harry, [[*I have plans for you tonight.*]] Unexpectedly, their bond ran ripples through them, their hands tightened, and with a great effort, they tore their eyes from each other and focused on Ron and Hermione.
The exchange between the two men was not lost on the other two, who with a fond knowing glance at each other, knew from past experience, that these momentary losses of control would only increase as time went by until it would be utterly embarrassing to be there with them. Time to go, they both thought together, their eyes conveying worlds of meaning.
Winding down with a little desultory conversation, they rose to bid their adieus until the morning, promising to meet at breakfast. After exchanging hugs with each other, Severus closed the door behind them.
They were finally alone.
Severus felt singularly--impatient.
With a strong stride, he closed the distance between them, and threading his hand through Harry's silky hair, pulled him into a crushing kiss, the likes they had not experienced for quite a while. Harry immediately responded by pressing himself closer, arms wrapping around him, trying to meld himself into his lover, their hearts racing as one.
They eventually found themselves in bed, clothing divested in stages, punctuated by low moans and hot mouths on satin skin. The soft mattress cushioned them, making them forget--in the heat of the moment--age fell away as each of them forgot the present and loved through the past. Each wanting more, each intimately knowing what pleased the other most; they took advantage of their years together to pleasure each other to the fullest.
Harry fell captive to Severus' long-fingered dexterous hands; Severus burned with Harry's hot, wet, trailing kisses.
Hot wet lips--
Trembling hands coating his length--
Sliding into Harry--
Hot and tight--
[[*Oh gods, there is nothing like this*]]
Smooth sweat-slicked bodies fusing into one--
Chest to chest, heart to heart--
Frantic--mouth to mouth--tongues dancing--
The rhythm of their loving took its own course.
--Hot nips with teeth and tongue on Severus' neck--
--Severus' talented hands stroking the hard, hot length between them--
--Holding tight, arms bound around each other, bodies straining, their minds screaming in one voice as they reached their exquisite, shuddering release.
Slowly drawing nearer to earth--hands caressing--
Hips writhing in involuntary pushing thrusts--
Short sweet nips of lips on willing flesh coaxing out every ounce of pleasure--
Back to reality--the waves of pleasure subsided, leaving only a deep abiding sense of peace and fulfillment.
Pulling apart--dealing with the separation--it was sweet torture.
"Oh, I'm going to regret this in the morning," Severus said with a smile and a stiff stretch. Sliding off of Harry, he found himself, once more, on the floor. Without thought, he mumbled the cleaning spell.
"Probably, but it was worth it. You have not lost your touch, lover," Harry replied with a sated but tired grin. Turning on his side, he leaned in and lightly kissed Severus on the lips.
" 'Quit trying to be nice. You're creeping me out,' " Severus said, his voice mimicking Harry's words when they had first got together. For some reason Harry's phrase had always amused him.
"Understated simpleton," he retorted with a grin.
"Better, much better," Severus said on a yawn. He eyed Harry through narrowed eyes for a moment and then muttered, "Insolent boy."
"Which reminds me," he said with a finger down Severus cheek, "You were going to tell me something earlier." He continued dragging the finger down his neck and started playing with his ear.
"I was?" Severus shivered under Harry's expert touch.
Damn, I guess I did NOT distract him enough.
"Yes, you told me to remind you--something about a lesson from Albus." The finger curled its way into his hair. "It was MOST intriguing."
"You're not going to let me go to sleep are you?" he asked grabbing the tantalizing hand with the finger. He slowly ran his tongue up the offending digit.
Harry shuddered, surprised by a wave of fresh desire. With an effort, he continued, "Not with a juicy tidbit like that floating in my head. Really Severus, where are your manners? It would be exceedingly impolite to make me lose sleep over it."
"As ill-mannered as making me lose sleep with--" He slipped the finger into his mouth, slowly sliding it out, licking the end. Harry moaned, the tickling tingling making him hard again.
Huskily--"You're redirecting again--very well, I might add."
Damn. It was worth a try--
Harry dampened the waves of desire flooding him--I'm too old for this.
"Now what is so important that you are willing to risk my sleep to keep from talking about it?"
"You're not going to let it go are you?" Severus growled.
"Nope," Harry replied with a little grin.
"Damn, I knew I should have kept my mouth shut."
With a small smile of triumph, Harry got up and extended a hand to Severus, pulling him up from the floor. Severus took a moment to admire the still-sculpted chest, the muscles rippling as Harry shifted and took part of his weight as he helped him up. Severus still felt like a Dirty Old Man whenever he saw Harry as he did now.
He's still a very fine looking man. And all mine, he thought with possessiveness.
He felt the sweet tightness again.
Harry flushed lightly when he caught the avaricious nature of Severus' thought and the growing evidence of his need. We're both too old for this, he thought privately, but said nothing, although he looked pleased, and handed him his dressing gown ostensibly against the chill in the room before donning his own. Maybe not seeing it will help , he thought with a grin.
Severus looked at him sharply, one eyebrow raised. Harry shrugged, tilting his head.
They went into the living room, Severus settling himself on the couch, one leg tucked under him, still half-aroused, while Harry poured them both a brandy. Bringing the snifters over and the decanter, he handed one over, put the bottle on the table in front of them, and then sat down facing him and waited.
Severus cleared his throat and looked uncomfortable. He took a long swig of his brandy and looking away said, "I suspect this would have been much easier had I done it earlier with about fifty feet separating us."
Harry chuckled and waited, his usual impatience missing. He gently touched Severus' cheek somehow knowing what Severus needed to say would be hard for him.
Severus took his hand and settled it in his lap, the fingers of his other hand running lazy circles over the up-turned palm, "You remember those days, before I started travelling with you?"
At Harry's nod, he continued, "I learned something important during those days--and before if truth be told. Like I said earlier, Albus seemed to think I was missing the point--and, as usual the old bugger was right; he was teaching me before I ever knew I needed the lesson." He took another sip of the brandy.
Harry privately thought Albus had always been like that; a trick they'd never learned.
"Before coming to Hogwarts, and even after, I admit, I always thought myself--superior--to everyone because of my intellect and my studies--into the Dark Arts."
Harry sat up and stared at Severus. While this was not new information, he was surprised Severus would say so out loud.
"Albus is the one who dragged me away from my studies to teach at Hogwarts. I didn't want to come. But, he begged me to. And, Albus begging is something to see--and impossible to resist. By this time I was deeply regretting my involvement with Voldemort. I'd done it mainly to stay close to Lucius, but quickly discovered that my Lucius didn't exist anymore. I didn't know until Albus came to me, just how much I--needed--to leave."
"At first it was torture. I was expected to teach a passel of smarmy brats and deal with Professors like Trelawney. It was awful. My neat and ordered world was shredded--my life reduced to stuffing knowledge into the heads of inattentive little gits, more concerned with an exciting game than with things that could save their lives.
Harry nodded; he'd heard words to that effect from him before.
"The teachers were not much better--I could not abide their gossip--so similar to the cretins I was expected to teach. They--crowded--me; I needed my space. I wallowed in my solitude. I played the part of the contemptible Potion's Master--Snape: The Death Eater." he said on a sneer.
Well, that explains a lot, Harry thought.
"Minerva was never fooled nor was Albus or Poppy and they three, in their way, kept me from falling, kept me--connected .
"You have most of my memories; I needn't tell you the sequence of events. Albus recruited me to spy for his beloved Order; the subsequent consequences of that little game. And, all the while the students went about their petty business, unconcerned with what was happening outside their insulated little world--While I suffered--It was very hard to take sometimes."
Harry leaned over and kissed him. Severus looked at him, his eyes softening.
He whispered, "And then you showed up, with your--wonder, your innocence despite the treatment from your Muggle family. Oh yes, there were whispers of that too in the staff room."
Harry took his hand. "I felt a deep--connection--to you when I first saw you, but I couldn't see past your father and my memories of his friends to who you were. All the actions in your first year, the impetuosity, the foolhardy bravery, the disregard for your friends, all pointed to James. You were--are--such a Gryffindor," he chuckled.
Harry twined his fingers with his not minding his candor.
"But something changed over the following three years and by the end of the Tri-Wizard competition, I began to see past all the public trappings. I saw the first thing Albus wanted me to see--that we really were kindred souls. That you were as privately tortured by the deaths you felt responsible for as I was with my own ghosts."
He looked down at their entwined hands. "It was the first time I realised we were more alike than I wanted to admit. But, you were so young, and I--I was old--well, I felt old anyway--a teacher--the responsible one. There could be no congress between us--so, I pushed you away from me with hurtful sarcasm and hateful demeanor, constantly picking on you in a desperate attempt to blind you to ME."
"I used to see you look at me with such hate and confusion--I knew it was the only course I could take, so I perpetuated the charade. I never even considered waiting for you until you were older--the years between us seemed insurmountable. But Albus--Albus knew better and bided his time."
He looked at Harry then and was surprised by the intensity of his pose--it was as if he was listening with his pores.
"And, so it continued until you hit me with that spell in Diagon Alley. The--Witnessed--spell that bound us. To this day, although I don't know how he did it and though he claimed he only took advantage of sheer happenstance, there is still a part of me that thinks Albus engineered the whole sordid thing."
Harry, looked at him, eyebrow raised, conveying to Severus that he had thought this, too.
"It was torture, sweet torture--I fought with myself constantly--gods help me--how I wanted you--I needed you--needed to belong. Suddenly, I was in the position to win the only thing I really wanted from you--your approval. I still wasn't convinced it would work, but you know the story as well as I."
He lifted his hand and touched Harry's face, the fingers lightly tracing the line of his cheek. He dropped his hand back into his lap and continued, "It wasn't until we were working on the Draconus Wards and later when we were really separated for the first time that I SAW the next thing Albus had wanted me to see--your power. I knew you had power--had felt it when we worked together, felt it when we--joined--but I never really--knew--just how powerful you were until I watched you wrestle with the Wards. You worked day after day expending--squandering--that power like it was infinite. And, you did it with such ease."
Harry moved to protest.
"Yes, I know," he put his fingers on Harry's mouth to stop his instant objection, trembled when Harry kissed those fingers, "I know how much it drains you to use it--intimately I know it--but what you have inside is so--huge, so--wild, I was and still am awed at the control you have over it--as natural as breathing to you. Had Voldemort even a fraction of the power you wield with such ridiculous ease, he would be ruling us even now."
He took another sip of the brandy, emptying the glass. Harry reached over and refilled it; he hadn't even touched his--he was drunk on Severus' words, his dulcet voice.
"Draco was the one who pointed-out the obvious to me. With his usual forthright style he told me I was a git for closing you out, for treating you than less than an equal--for mistaking your humility for weakness."
"Which is when I realised the third thing Albus was trying to show me--your strong innate core, your good heart, your humility were the intuitive tools you use to control your potent magic; this made you at the very least my equal, even though you were younger. While my skill is equal to yours, it is hard-earned, learned, honed; yours is instinctive. The lesson was that intuition and instinct can equal intellect--and in your case, can even surpass it--it is the end, the result that matters, not the means to it. It was very humbling to get his point--I don't do humble well."
Harry chuckled, and finally took a sip of the brandy, trying to hide his dancing eyes in the glass.
Eyeing him suspiciously, Severus went on, "When you were gone setting the Wards, I had a lot of time to think. I'd watch you stagger back, exhausted, but quietly triumphant, and as I held you those nights, I realised you never bragged. You had earned the right to do so with everything you were doing, but you didn't. You were more concerned with getting back out in the field and finishing the work, than you were of your own safety. At first I thought this was a Gryffindor thing, and maybe it is; however, it didn't--feel--that way. I'm not very good at that either, am I?"
Harry leaned over and gave him a lingering kiss. Looking at him, green eyes to black, he said, "Oh I don't know about that, you--feel--pretty good to me."
Severus chuckled, his hand rising of its own volition to cup his cheek. Holding it there, the pad of his thumb running over Harry's lips, he leaned in and whispered, "I learned from your example the last lesson Albus tried to teach me--humility makes one stronger than arrogance."
He gently replaced his thumb with his lips, saying quietly into them, "It was quite a trying time for me to wrap myself around and embrace the concept. But, little by little, I stopped fighting you"--He nipped his bottom lip.
"Stopped trying to keep you out"--His tongue lightly traced his lips.
"Accepted you as my equal"--He explored the depths of Harry's mouth.
[[*Became accustomed to your presence inside of me--*]] He continued the kiss, burying his hand in Harry's hair.
[[*It was such a relief to finally feel ALL of you.*]]
He kissed Harry deeper, his hands framing his face. Harry's hands grasped his wrists and he held on while swells of pleasure roiled through him.
He broke away slightly, his heart racing, breath coming in fast gasps, smouldering black eyes to fiery green.
"Now--I cannot imagine--not having you there--inside me--one with me--"
It was too much for Harry. He'd yearned for this final capitulation, wanted it, and now that he had it, he was NEVER going to let it go.
He set the snifter aside and gently pushing Severus back into the couch cushions, covered him with his happy, enthusiastic body, his arms braced on either side of the older man, saying with a wicked gleam, "You are VERY lucky you DIDN'T tell me all this earlier in the Hall. YOUR little spectacle would have been NOTHING compared to MINE."
Severus laughed appreciatively at the distinction and the mental picture forming in his head, [[*Wicked boy--*]]
He wrapped his arms around the slender body on top of him, his legs curling around to capture his legs even as Harry, still braced above him, dipped his head and captured his mouth in a searing kiss, his hips undulating into Severus'.
What they shared next was beyond words, beyond touch. They were one, they were--real--in body, in mind, in soul; fused not only by the spell, but by their own deep love for each other.
All the barriers were gone.
They each could feel the other's pleasure and with the each touch, each caress, their pleasure doubled as both felt not only what they as individuals felt, but what the other was feeling as well.
It was intense.
It was wild and intoxicating.
It was breath-taking.
In the sweet quiet delight following their loving, they knew true contentment.
But all good things cannot last forever. Reluctantly, they got up stiffly, their bodies loose and sore, and made their way to their bed chamber. Removing their dressing gowns, they climbed gingerly into the bed, and sinking into its downy support, lay back down with deep sighs of relief.
Harry settled his back against the front of Severus, who rolled over to slightly cover him, his arm covering Severus' as he snaked it around his front at his waist. He snuggled deeper, touching as much of his body against him as he could. Used to this, Severus patiently waited until Harry was settled in comfortably before he warmly kissed the side of Harry's neck and pulled the covers over them.
"Mmmm--Nice--Night Severus," he murmured, kissing the palm of his hand. "I love you," he whispered.
Another silky, wet kiss graced his neck; "I love you back," whispered tenderly in his ear was his answer.
Harry sighed, replete.
Their legs and hands tangled and with the feel of warm, soft breathing, they fell into a deep, languid sleep.
Return to Archive | next | previous