Severus woke up slowly, delighting the feeling of being warm and comfortable under his heavy blankets. He stretched his arms out and above his head, frowning slightly when he encountered no resistance in the form of the body that usually shared his bed. It was extremely unlike Harry not to be still sleeping when he woke up, since Severus was the early riser of the two. Harry loved to lie in bed hours past sunrise, unless he had to teach an early class.
Severus opened his eyes and looked around the bedroom, noting that some of Harry’s drawers were slightly ajar. He thought Harry must have been in a hurry this morning as he was normally more respectful of Severus’ need for keeping their rooms orderly. He resolved to have a word with Harry about that, when he saw him later.
He made his way to the bathroom and performed his usual morning rituals. Once dressed, he strode to the kitchenette to make his usual cup of tea. As he passed by the little 2-seater table in the kitchen nook, he noticed a piece of parchment folded under the sugar jar. Since neither of them were in the habit of leaving notes for each other, he determined it must be an important note about whatever had Harry getting up so early and leaving their rooms.
He made his tea and sat at the table, opening the parchment to read what Harry had left him.
By now you will have likely realised I am gone. I have so much to say to you, and I know I will be rambling quite a bit, but I beg you to persevere and read the whole letter.
I love you more than I ever thought it possible to love someone. I have respected you since I was 15 years old, and I have loved you (in one way or another) since I was 17 years old. I had hoped, after the war and everything was settled, that we would be able to make a life together. To get a chance at the happiness that was denied us during those terrible years. I see now I was wrong to presume that you would ever allow me to get that close to you. You wear your supremacy and your sincere martyrdom like a dragon hide cloak that I have no hope of ever penetrating.
I have spent the last 5 years attempting to show you how much I love you and honour your presence in my life. How much I adore you for your protection all those years, however unwilling it may have been on your part.
I woke up this morning (after going to bed angry again following yet another pointless argument about why you never tell me how you feel about me) wondering why it is that you can’t (or won’t) believe me when I tell you what I truly feel for you.
Oh, I have no doubt that you believe that I am with you willingly. I just finally understand that you believe that I don’t deserve to be with you, not the “whole” you, anyway. You honestly believe that you have deigned to “allow” me to stay with you, and I think you just expect me to be grateful to you for allowing me that much.
I am sorry for leaving you what is essentially a “Dear John” letter, however I have never been able to speak to you and have you take anything I say seriously. You constantly berate my opinion on everything and negate my right to have an opinion on you at all.
I have tried so hard to make you see that I know what you went through during the war, having to serve two masters, neither of which (in my honest opinion) deserved your devotion. Both Voldemort and Dumbledore used you to their ends, neither taking any care to ensure your safety or well-being. I have tried to show you that your well-being is paramount to me, only to have you treat me with scorn.
I have tried to relate to you my own history, to make you see that I have suffered too, however you have blatantly scoffed at the idea that I suffered in any way, let alone that my suffering may have been on a level with your own. You become insulted if I try to relate something you deign to share with me to something in my own past. You simply look at me with your most derisive glare and tell me to stop being so childish and grow up. To realise that there are worlds of pain out there that I would have no idea about and which you have vast experience with.
Since you refuse to listen to me, I will tell you about my past in this letter. It won’t do any good at this point, since I have left anyway, but I feel this is my last chance to show you the real me….if you haven’t already tossed this letter in the rubbish with the same callous disregard you show to everything else that I offer you.
I grew up with the Dursley’s, this you know. Petunia, Vernon and their son Dudley. I slept in the cupboard under the stairs for the first 10 years of my life, as I was a “freak” and not deserving of the things that normal people have. I was not to be allowed to taint their hallowed household with my filth. I was not to do anything “freaky” or suffer my Uncle’s wrath. I have a lot of scars from those lessons, which I’m sure you would know if you had ever touched me with an ounce of caring.
My days consisted of waking up before everyone else so that I could have breakfast waiting when they came downstairs. I was not allowed to eat anything until the rest of them had finished. By then, of course, there was rarely anything left apart from some toast scraps and the rinds off the bacon that I had to watch them eat like pigs feeding at a trough. Yes, I had to stand in the corner like a good little house elf and wait on them during their breakfast, ensuring I fill their juice or coffee in a timely fashion or, again, suffer my Uncle’s wrath.
When it was time for me to attend primary school, Petunia took me out in the back yard the day before my first day and told me to mow the lawns and paint the fence and shed. She then, rather offhandedly, told me that my name was Harry, and that was how I would be addressed at my school. She told me that I was to be “normal” while at school or I would suffer far worse than I ever have before. So that was how I learned my name was not “boy” or “freak”.
Petunia and Dudley told everyone at school, including the teachers, that I was a criminal and possibly insane. The one time I had a teacher who noticed bruises on me and tried to help, she was fired and I was locked in my cupboard for a week without food or medical treatment. That was the first time Vernon broke bones. I remember being in so much pain that I wished to die, to have someone, anyone really, come and take me away, even if it was only to kill me like the “bad people” that my relatives warned Dudley about.
Then one day, Hagrid arrived. He told me about my parents (not drunks who killed themselves and almost me in an horrific car crash) and about Voldemort. He told me about the wizarding world, and I thought “Ah, here is where I belonged, all this time. This is the place where I will finally understand why I am so different from my relatives. This is where it will all make sense. No one will hurt me here, no one will tell me how worthless I am every time I breathe too loud. This is my world.”
I was given Dudley’s second bedroom after the first letters arrived, since the Dursley’s were convinced someone knew about their treatment of me. Having been relegated to the cupboard for such a long time, I was terrified of being in such an open space. I often emptied the broken toys and other junk out of the cupboard in that room and crawled in, so I could feel safe.
When I finally got to school, I was overjoyed and awestruck and all the other things that first years feel when seeing Hogwarts initially. I was stunned by the splendour of Diagon Alley when Hagrid took me, but this…this was amazing and I felt like I was finally home. I felt that here was a place where I could fit in. I should have known that this was not a feeling I was allowed to have in my life.
I came to my first class of the year, Potions. I had been so fascinated by the subject and couldn’t wait to learn about it. I was so good at cooking, after all, how hard could Potions be? I had no sooner started taking notes, listening to your mesmerizing voice discussing the art of potion making so passionately, when you rounded on me and started what I realised was the first of many humiliating moments between us. I was mortified, horrified that someone could hate me that much when they had never met me. My relatives I could understand, to an extent, they had to put up with my “freakishness” and I was taught that I deserved their hatred. You, I had never seen before and had never interacted with, so what was it about me that made me so horrible that everyone instinctively knew that I was to be put down and avoided? I never did figure that out, but I knew there was something.
I went through the next few years, alternately hated and adored by the students, staff and the general wizarding public. I had my eyes opened about Dumbledore in 4th year, during the Tri-Wizard tournament. I realised that, where I had felt that I finally had someone who cared about me and wanted to help me, I was once again just a means to an end. Someone to be used until I fulfil my purpose in his plans, then cast aside. Dumbledore’s little weapon.
I stopped caring about what Dumbledore wanted so much, but I had to keep up my “golden boy” image because I knew that he could so easily turn against me, never accuse me of “going dark” as so many had done previously. I wanted so badly to believe that someone cared whether I lived or died that I didn’t realise that everything I was put through in Hogwarts was just a means of making me stronger, of training me for the final outcome.
When I found out that you hated me because of my father, and why you hated him so much, I could understand to a certain degree. I had been bullied my whole life, if anyone could understand those types of feeling, it would be me. However you never let me tell you that, or anything else that would allow you to know me or my motivations.
I began to watch you more closely. I worked out then that it was you that had been protecting me over the years, and I thought that perhaps you treated me the way you did because you had to be seen to hate me, with all the junior Death Eaters in your house. I gave you your space and I fought back as much as I could to make it seem like I hated you too. But that was when I finally began to realise that what began as respect for your strength was developing into a crush on you. I was embarrassed, but hey, I was 15. It didn’t take much to get my hormones raging, and hearing your voice and seeing your elegant hands moving in class as you spoke, I was drawn against my will.
When I saw your memories, I realised that, of course, the end of the war was meant to allow everyone else to live peacefully. Not me, never me. I was again supposed to just do my job and allow everyone else to have what they wanted, without thought for what I might want or need. When I was given the chance to come back, I made the decision to return, determining that never again would I allow myself to be used, to be someone else’s plaything.
I broke things off with Ginny, and I told my friends I was gay. They didn’t take that well, as you should know if you had listened to anything I have spoken to you about over the past few years.
With the war finally finished, when I came to see you in St Mungo’s, I thought now, finally, I could get to know the real you, without the pressures of the war in between us. You would no longer be forced to behave towards me in such a manner as you had in the past, because it was all over now. You could really be you and I could finally be me. I could get to know you without Dumbledore’s meddling, or Voldemort’s evil plans, getting in the way.
You did everything you could to force me to turn away from you. You derided, you scoffed and you spewed your usual venomous hatred to me and I thought “Ah, I get it now. You really do hate me with every fibre of your being.” I was so disappointed, so heartbroken, that I decided I would allow you to be free of my taint. I kept away from you and left you to your solitude, believing that you had suffered as I had, that you deserved to have your wishes honoured in this regard.
When I came to Hogwarts to teach, I was still determined to leave you be. I sat as far away from you as I could at the staff table, trying to give you the respect of the distance I believed you craved. Whenever we crossed paths you would either ignore me completely or say something hateful, so I knew that you hadn’t exactly mellowed over the intervening years.
I stayed away and I was so crushingly lonely. You know that Hermione and Ron had not spoken to me since I broke up with Ginny and told them I was gay. You know that I had no friendships outside of the Hogwarts staff, so perhaps you can imagine how lonely I might have been.
When I went to the Hogs Head that night during Christmas break 5 years ago, to have a drink and perhaps find some companionship, I was so surprised when you sat next to me at the bar and ordered a drink as well. I didn’t speak to you, how could I when I knew that you would not welcome any conversation from me? I sat there awkwardly, waiting for you to get your drink and move away, but you didn’t, you stayed there, right beside me and drank your Firewhiskey. I kept my silence, firmly believing it was what you wanted. Then you turned to me and said that you knew how arrogant I was, but to deliberately avoid any conversation in a public setting like this was unconscionable.
It took me awhile to realise you were actually speaking to me, voluntarily anyway. When I did realise, I turned to look at you and attempted to explain that I was respectfully doing what I thought you wanted, leaving you alone. You, of course, turned that around and accused me of trying to lay the blame for the strained atmosphere between us at your own feet. I didn’t get to say anything else before you slammed your glass down and left. I thought that was the end of it, and once again determined to stay out of your path.
The next Friday at the Hogs Head, you once again sat next to me and ordered your Firewhiskey. This time I turned around to say something to you. I casually asked you how your week was. You snorted at me and turned away. I got so angry Severus. I shouted that there was no pleasing you, that if I ignored you, you accused me of feeling too superior to lower myself to talk to you. If I spoke to you, I was not deserving of a response. I left, storming out into the snowy night. You caught up to me on the road back to Hogwarts and grabbed me, forcing me to face you. You then did something that, to this day, still shocks me when I think about how this all started. You kissed me. Not just a little peck either, but a full-on snog. I pulled back, stunned into silence, eyes likely as wide as Hedwig’s when on a hunt. You told me that you felt that you deserved a reward for all that you had suffered during the war. That you felt it only fitting that I was the one you had decided to honour with the gift of your presence.
I had honestly thought you were making a sarcastic joke at the time. Now, I feel I know you better and suspect you were serious.
I spent every day after that trying to get closer to you. You finally allowed me to move into your rooms 2 years after we started having sex. I thought you were letting me in, letting me get closer to you. I then spent another 3 years telling you that I loved you and getting nothing except a derisive snort in return. I told myself that you were just very reserved, very private about your feelings and not given to “Gryffindor sentimentalism” as you called it whenever I told you how I felt. It made sense that someone who had been a double-spy, that had to hide every emotion away lest it be used against you, might be so reserved. I told myself eventually you would come around and tell me that you loved me too.
I kept trying, banging my head against that brick wall that was your heart. Until finally, last night, I came to the realisation that you would never return my feelings. That you would only ever consider me a “reward for services rendered”.
And now, I want you to understand what led to our argument last night, when I asked you how you felt about me, if you loved me. I had been to see Poppy that morning after waking up sick every morning for the past 3 weeks. She told me that I was pregnant. I was in parts both overjoyed and terrified. I hadn’t even known that wizards could get pregnant! I knew that I couldn’t bring children into our relationship, not as it was now. There was no way I would allow any children of mine to grow up with a parental figure that was unable to show any affection. I had been through that my entire life and I was not going to subject any children of mine to the same. I was also terrified that you would accuse me of getting pregnant deliberately, to try and trap you into staying with me since you wouldn’t discuss emotions.
So I pushed you, I demanded you tell me that you loved me, that you show some type of genuine affection for me, outside of the bedroom. I asked you why you felt it necessary to hold back, even after all these years. I felt my heart break when you looked at me coldly and asked why I would ever think that you held any kind of genuine affection for me. You said that I convenient and that you had no wish to seek another while I was still amenable to the idea of sharing my body with you.
Seriously, Severus? I couldn’t believe you actually said that to me. I watched as you laid down and went to sleep, as trouble-free as any other night that we had been together. I stayed watching you sleep for hours, wondering how you could be so unaffected. That was when I made the decision that this is not the “home” I wanted to raise my child our children in. So, I wrote you this letter and I left.
You finally have what you wished for Severus. I have removed my unwelcome presence from your home and your bed. I have packed everything that might have reminded you of me and I am now far away. I am sure you will find another to grace with your supreme presence.
I will never contact you. I will never ask you to be a part of this child’s life. And I will never again presume myself wanted where I so obviously am not. You have managed to beat that lesson into my heart very well, finally. I’m sure you will be relieved.
Take care of yourself Severus. It is, after all, the only thing that you have ever been good at. And I, well I will put myself first, for the first time in my life.
Severus sat there, stunned, as he read the final lines from Harry. He didn’t notice the tears tracking down his face silently. He didn’t notice anything around him until a beam of sunlight shone through the little window above the kitchen sink and reflected off the copper teapot on the stove, blinding him with the intensity. When he finally noticed the tear marks on the parchment, he carefully used the sleeve of his robe to dry them off. He then reverently folded the paper and put it in his pocket.
Severus mindlessly wandered out of his rooms, vaguely realising he was already late starting his day but unable to comprehend what it was he was meant to do next. He stopped when he suddenly noticed that he was at the doors to the Great Hall. He couldn’t make himself go inside. He couldn’t face the hall, the students and the staff, knowing that he had driven away one of the best (and most popular) Defence teachers the school had ever had.
He thought, rather hysterically, that it was rather true, the old saying that you don’t know what you have until it’s gone. Suddenly faced with the prospect of never seeing Harry again, or knowing his child, their child, he let out a heaving sob and ran out the front doors of the castle, fleeing like the hounds of hell were after him. He fancied he could feel them nipping at this heels as he ran towards the main gates. He could feel the wind, cold against the drying tears on his face. He knew that he had always expected Harry to leave him so he had held himself back, in the belief that it wouldn’t hurt so much when he finally did leave. He had kept his masks on as he didn’t know how to function without them anymore. He had been a fool. This felt like his whole being was split in two and would never be whole again. How could he not have realised that Harry had become his entire world? Was there ever anyone as blind as he?
Finally he couldn’t run anymore and tripped over a tree root, hidden in the grass. He stayed there, on his knees, drawing in great gulps of air like he was drowning. And indeed he felt that he was drowning. Drowning in his own stupidity, his own duplicity. He had never allowed himself to listen to Harry when he tried to tell him about his life before and during Hogwarts. He had believed that his suffering was greater at all times, and that keeping his distance was the safest way to maintain his dignity. He never wanted to give anyone anything that could be used against him, but he had not considered the fact that Harry would never have done that anyway. And just like that, he knew. He trusted Harry. He trusted Harry more than he trusted himself most of the time. None so blind as those who cannot see, he sneered to himself.
Finally he raised his head and looked into the distance. He could see the main gates a hundred yards or so ahead of him. He could feel the sunlight beating down on his dark robes and somehow it felt entirely inappropriate for today, of all days, to turn into one of the rare sunny days in Scotland. He felt like cursing everything in sight, but knew he should only be cursing himself.
He started to lower his head again and begin to try and pick himself up off the ground, when he noticed a figure standing at the gates, could feel those eyes on him.
“Harry,” he breathed brokenly. Just as he started to rise, Harry raised his hand in a farewell gesture and started to spin on the spot, to disappear out of his life, forever. He lurched to his feet, shouting “HARRY!” again and again as he ran towards the man he now knew that he loved with his whole being.
Harry seemed startled, and almost panicky, as he watched Severus hurtle towards him like a juggernaut. He started to back away but Severus called out to him again.
“Harry, please, wait!” he cried out desperately.
Severus saw him hesitate, hoped he would wait until he got close enough to grab hold of him. He wanted to tell him that he would never let him go once he got his hands on him again. Just as Severus reached Harry, he reached out his hand to touch his arm. Harry shied away, hiding his face from him. It was then he noticed the tears running freely down Harry’s face and felt all the more wretched for them.
“Please, Harry, don’t leave me,” he said, an urgent tone to his speech that Harry had never heard before. “Please, I’ll do anything, I promise I’ll take such good care of you that you will never again have cause to question how I feel about you. I love you Harry, desperately and completely. Please don’t leave me,” he begged as he fell to his knees before him.
Harry stopped backing away and looked down at Severus. He had never seen him so undone before. So emotional. With dawning realisation, he assumed that Severus must want to stop him from taking the child away from him. Heaven knows, he was aware that Severus didn’t think he was necessary to make this kind of effort for, so it could only be the child. Although Harry was surprised that Severus would even care about any child, let alone his own, he stayed and waited for Severus to talk again.
When Severus remained silent staring at him with a beseeching gaze, Harry finally spoke up.
“Was that all you wanted to say, Severus?” Harry asked coldly. “What reason could you possibly have for this display?”
“Harry please. I love you. I’ve been so blind. I had no idea until I thought you had left me just how much I take for granted that you will always be there every morning and every night. I will do anything to make you believe me. Please, please, give me another chance?” he asked.
Harry laughed, a harsh grating sound that seemed so wrong coming from his Harry. He looked down at Severus and sneered, “You, love me? Me, who you yourself said you couldn’t possibly feel any genuine affection for? You have to be mad to think that I would believe that now. Is this about the child then? You think I would allow you anywhere near our child, to allow you to hurt them repeatedly the way you have hurt me? I would never do that to any child of mine,” he stated emphatically.
Severus shuddered at hearing that beloved voice sounding so cold. This was not something he had ever heard from harry before. His voice was always warm, like honey on warm buttered toast. Even when he was arguing passionately about something with Severus, he was always warm. He didn’t know how to get through this wall of his own making.
Severus took a deep breath and slowly let it out before he started to speak.
“I have always believed that allowing anyone close will only give them ammunition to use against you. I have never allowed anyone in before and I didn’t know how to do so with you. I am a fool for believing you to be like the rest of the wizarding world. I should have known that you are far too honourable to ever use my own feelings against me. I was so deep in denial that I had honestly thought I was content with the way things were. That I would never need to worry about foolish sentimentality, or allow it anywhere in my life. I thought we would just continue as we have been for the last 5 years.
“I never listened when you told me about your life, because I wanted to believe that I was within my rights to consider you my reward for all that I had suffered during the last 20 years. I honestly thought that you had been pampered and praised by all who knew you. Yes, I knew the wizarding world was fickle, but I thought that the people who knew you, the ones you were closest to, gave you whatever you wished. I thought all of your demands for me to tell you how I felt were the demands of an arrogant brat that simply wanted constant acknowledgement and praise. Had I but listened to you I would have known differently, but I was so caught up in my own past reflections that I had no idea what you were feeling. I freely admit I have been a fool and a heartless bastard and I wish that I knew how to make it up to you now. I want so desperately for you to understand what I feel for you, but I have no way of making you believe me except for my words.”
Severus stopped to take a deep breath, then seemed to come to a decision. “Harry,” he said slowly, “I will drop my shields for you. I will let you see into my mind so that you will know, once and for all, how I feel about you. I know that, this time, words are not enough. There is nothing I could possibly say, no mere words that would convince you of my sincerity. Perhaps this will help you to understand? Please Harry, please. Take a look and see for yourself,” he asked desperately.
Harry looked at Severus, stunned at the offer. Severus never let his shields down, ever. He knew how guarded the man was and he knew that this was a momentous risk for him. However, he wondered if he should even bother. This would not make up for the last 5 years of uncertainty and emotional torment.
As the silence stretched, Severus remained on his knees in front of Harry, his eyes riveted on Harry’s face, leaving him to decide in his own time what he wanted to do. Harry could still decide to turn him away and leave him, and he worried about pushing him any further than his speech may have already done.
Finally Harry sighed and looked away. Severus thought for a horrible moment that Harry had decided he wasn’t worth the effort. He could feel his hope fading the longer it took for Harry to return his gaze to him.
“Let me look Severus. I can promise no more than that, and in truth, you deserve no more than that,” Harry said quietly.
Severus looked at Harry, waiting for him to lock his gaze to Severus’ own. Finally, after what felt like an eternity waiting, Harry met his eyes and he heard him say Legilimens in a near-whisper. Harry sorted through Severus’ memories, looking for anything to do with him. Severus tried to bring his most recent thoughts to the forefront of his mind, but Harry looked deeper than that.
Finally, Harry saw various memories of their last years together from Severus’ perspective. He felt the emotions that Severus hid during their times together. He saw Severus’ thoughts, after yet another argument, that he would show Harry how he felt in the bedroom and that should be enough for him.
Then he saw Severus reading his letter this morning. Felt his wonder when reading about the baby, and then his despair at realising that Harry had left him, and his acknowledgement that Harry had good reason to do so. He saw Severus’ desperate flight out the front doors of the castle. And he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, that Severus really did love him. But Harry wondered if Severus would ever be able to show him his love, if he stayed with him. Could he trust Severus not to close up on him again?
Harry broke the connection and turned away, aware that he was once again crying. He always seemed to be crying around Severus these days and he was heartily sick of it. He would like to blame it on hormones, but he knew it had been going on longer than he had been pregnant. He wanted, for once in his life, to be happy. He wanted to belong to someone and have them belong to him just as much. To have someone care enough about him to want to take care of him. Didn’t he deserve that, after all he had been through?
He turned once more to Severus, still kneeling in front of him. “You can get up Severus, there’s no need to remain kneeling,” he said wearily. He felt like all the fight had gone out of him. He was so desperate to believe that Severus meant it, that he truly loved him and wanted both him and this child, but he was scared to give in.
Severus rose slowly, eyes still locked on Harry’s dejected form. He waited for Harry to make a decision. He didn’t want to force him into anything this time. He wanted Harry to come to him and commit to him knowing without any reservations that his heart would be well cared for this time.
Harry looked at Severus. “I’m sure you can understand why I would have doubts Severus. You have never shown me any inkling of caring in the entire time we have been together. You have closed yourself off from me in every way possible and I was forced to just accept it. Can you understand how much that hurt me? I felt like I was dying a little more each day, but I was determined to hold out, to be stronger than your stubborn pride. I was stupid,” he said with a bitter laugh.
“No, Harry, you weren’t,” Severus said, reaching out to Harry again. This time Harry let him put his hand on his shoulder. Severus took that as a good sign and moved a step closer. “Please Harry, I promise, I vow, if you let me I will make it up to you. I will be the perfect husband and father to our child. Just please, give me this chance and I promise you will never regret it,” he said.
Harry found himself leaning into Severus touch for a minute. Severus took a chance and moved his hand up to cup the back of Harry’s neck. Harry stared at Severus, searching his face, before he finally moved forward and slowly leant his head against Severus chest.
“I’m so tired Severus,” he whispered. “I’m so tired of having to be strong all the time, having to constantly put my own needs aside for everyone else. I just want to be loved. Isn’t that all anyone wants? Why am I the only one who doesn’t get that in my life?” he cried.
Severus’ heart flipped in his chest. His Harry sounded so broken, so dejected. He hated seeing him so lacking in his usual exuberance for life, knowing that he had done this to him. He vowed again to make sure that Harry never questioned his love for him. That their child would always know that they were wanted and loved.
Severus picked Harry up in his arms, bridal style, and started to walk back towards the castle. Harry didn’t seem to notice they were moving at first, then he started to struggle a little. Severus tightened his grip on Harry and made gentle calming noises. Harry settled down and it seemed the last of the fight left him again.
Severus started talking quietly, telling Harry that he would always care for him, that he would put Harry’s needs before his own. That he would do the same for their child. He promised fervently that Harry would come first in all things from this day on. Harry softly sobbed in Severus’ arms as he was carried back to their rooms.
When they arrived in the sitting room, Severus sat on the couch with Harry still in his arms and just held him, running his back and whispering sweet words to him. Harry finally seemed to run out of tears and started to sit up, wiping his eyes on his sleeves as he did.
Severus conjured a handkerchief and wiped his love’s tears away. He kissed him sweetly and told him again that he loved him.
Harry just sat there, looking at Severus, and feeling like he was dreaming. He didn’t know if he would be able to stand it if he woke up and found it was all a dream. He knew he would shatter irreparably. Once he had looked his fill, he took a deep shuddering breath and asked, “So, where do we go from here?”
Severus smiled at Harry, a gentle smile, and said, “I was hoping that you would agree to bond with me and live here with me and our child. I want to be a family with you Harry. I want to make all of your, our, dreams come true. I would like to bond with you as soon as we can arrange it and then begin the rest of our lives together. However, I would like to know if this is what you want too? I don’t ever want to take anything for granted again,” he finished quietly.
Harry smiled back at Severus. “That’s all I’ve ever wanted with you Severus. I have wanted to be a family with you. I want to go to bed with you every night and wake up with you by my side every morning forever.”
Severus gave a heartfelt sigh of relief. “I’m so sorry Harry. I never meant to hurt you, although I knew I was but I just kept pretending it would all be ok. I was just so desperate to protect myself, at all costs…” he trailed off as Harry put his fingers over his lips.
“Shh Severus, it’s behind us now. I want only to think of the future for now. I never want to remember how desperately unhappy I was this morning, or the majority of the past 5 years. Please, can we just move forward and begin our lives?” Harry begged.
Severus kissed him sweetly, “Yes,” he said against Harry’s lips. “Yes, that is what I want as well. If you can forgive me, I will move forward with you and make a wonderful new life together.”
Minerva left the Great Hall after breakfast, wondering why neither Harry nor Severus had come down to breakfast this morning. It was unlike them to miss a meal, except the occasional weekend or during the holidays.
When Minerva reached the gargoyle at the bottom of the steps to her office, she noticed both Harry and Severus standing there, arms wrapped around each other and just waiting patiently for her. “Harry, Severus, are you both ok? I was worried when I didn’t see you this morning.” She smiled at them both as she greeted them.
Minerva gave the password to the gargoyle and rode the steps to the office door, Harry and Severus behind her. She went around behind her desk, taking her seat, and watched Severus sit and pull Harry into his lap. She raised her eyebrows at this, as Severus had never before been one to show affection in public. Harry just smiled and blushed, while Severus kissed Harry’s forehead.
“Minerva, we are wanting to bond and were hoping you would officiate for us,” Severus finally said with a smile towards Harry.
Minerva’s eyebrows went up again as she looked between the pair of them. “Truly?” she asked. “You actually want me to officiate your bonding?”
Severus dragged his eyes away from Harry and met Minerva’s gaze strongly. “Yes,” he said vehemently. “We would very much like you to bond us as we begin a new stage of our lives together.” The he grinned at Minerva, making her startle a little as she had never seen that expression on Severus’ face before.
Harry then turned to look at Minerva, still blushing, and said “We would ask your blessing on our bonding, and it would be only fitting that our child’s “gran” be the one to do this for us.” He placed a hand on his still-flat stomach as he spoke.
Minerva flopped back in her chair and looked stunned. “You’re pregnant? Really?” She asked.
Harry and Severus both nodded at her with matching grins. “Gran? You mean me? You would consider me your child’s grandmother?” She asked breathlessly.
Harry nodded again. “It could only be you Minerva. You have been a mentor and parental figure to both of us over the years. There is no one else I would consider taking on that role apart from you.”
Minerva was flustered, but very flattered. “Oh, my boys, I’m so happy to hear that you have found true happiness with each other. I have often worried about you both, wondered if you would ever get to the point where you could give yourselves whole-heartedly to each other. I’m so proud of you both. And I would be proud to be Gran to this little one.”
She got up and came around the desk, enveloping them both in a hug, tears of joy running down her face. As she straightened up, she looked at Albus’ portrait, only to find him smiling at them all with pride and joy and his face. Harry and Severus followed her gaze, both nodding at the old headmaster, although they didn’t smile at him.
They both knew that Albus had used them during the war, but they also both knew that he had cared about them both, to the extent he was able to anyway. They had not yet forgiven him for the part he played in the misery that was their previous lives, but they had decided that it was time to move on from the past.
Minerva then clasped her hands in front of her and bounced a little on her toes. “So, when will the bonding take place? And how far along are you? When will my grandchild be here?” She asked excitedly.
Harry and Severus both laughed. Harry said, “Your grandchild will be here in a little over 5 months, and we would like to bond as soon as possible. Now if we can.”
Minerva stopped bouncing and looked at them both in shock. “Now? You mean, now now? Like here and now?” she asked.
“Yes Minerva, now would be amazing if you could manage it. However if you feel you need more time, then we can give you a few days to make any arrangements that you might feel necessary,” Severus replied with another blinding smile.
Minerva stopped and thought about it. “No, I can do it now, I was just obviously not prepared for this when I got up this morning,” she said with a mock-stern look at the both of them. “Well, then you had best come and stand in front of me and we can be getting on with this.” She said, with a grin of her own.
With the portraits of all the previous headmasters looking on indulgently at the pair, Minerva led them through the bonding rites. As she said the final words, she wrapped a ribbon around their hands, tapping it with her wand. It transformed into beautiful gold and platinum wedding bands, with the word Alwaysetched on the inside of the bands. On the outside of the bands were matching emeralds, flanked on either side by 2 smaller onyx stones. The bands themselves were very symbolic of the two. Minerva looked at them both proudly as she announced them as bonded.
Severus and Harry leaned into each other and shared their first kiss as husbands, feeling the bonding magic working through them. A gorgeous golden glow surrounded them, gently fading as they drew apart. Minerva sighed to herself at the beauty of true love.
She gave them both congratulatory hugs and sent them on their way, advising that she would cancel their classes for the day and allow them some privacy. Severus and Harry both leaned forward and kissed Minerva on each cheek, giving her matching cheeky smiles as they turned to leave. Holding hands they ran down the stairs, through the halls and into their own rooms again. Severus stopped at the door to their rooms and picked Harry up again, carrying him over the threshold. Harry squealed and laughed as he was carried through to their bedroom.
Severus kissed Harry, the laughter turning to moans of passion. Severus made love to Harry, showing him how precious he was with every look and touch. Harry couldn’t get enough of Severus’ skin, it felt like it had been forever since they had touched intimately and he had missed it keenly. They both cried out their completion, tears of joy on their smiling faces as they truly became one for the first time, with no barriers between them.
Severus rolled them both onto their sides and spooned Harry in his arms, one hand gently brushing back and forth over Harry’s stomach.
“Have you thought about what you want? A boy or a girl?” he asked Harry softly.
Harry gave it some thought. “To be honest, I was so worried about coping with everything, I haven’t really had time to think much about either. What would you prefer?” he asked.
Severus didn’t hesitate. “I would like one of each eventually, but for this first one, I’d love a little boy with your beautiful green eyes. And hopefully your nose,” he finished with a chuckle, swiping his finger down Harry’s cute button nose.
Harry laughed, turning in Severus’ arms. “I could live with a little boy, a big brother for all the others to come after him,” he said with a mischievous grin.
“Oh really? And just how many children are we talking about here?” Severus asked with a grin, completely relaxed for the first time that Harry could remember.
“I was thinking we could just wing it,” Harry said. “If my luck holds, we’ll have enough for a Quidditch team in no time.” Harry started shrieking as Severus began to dig his fingers into Harry’s ribs in retaliation. “OK, OK, just kidding, really!” he said. “I was thinking at least 2-3 though. Would that be ok with you?” he asked as he finally got his breathing under control again.
“Harry, I would give you anything to keep you smiling like this. We will start with 2 or 3 and see how we go. Alright?” Severus asked.
Harry beamed up at Severus. “That would do wonderfully.”
Outside the infirmary doors in Hogwarts, every professor on staff, and a few of the students, sat waiting for news on Harry and Severus’s first child’s birth. They were all nervously chatting amongst themselves when they heard the sudden wailing of an infant. They all held their breaths, waiting for their first sight of the newest member of the Hogwarts family.
When the door eventually opened, Poppy stepped out and waved them in. “Just the professors for the moment please. The new daddies would prefer smaller groups for the moment. Students, they have advised you may come in after the professors have been to visit. Please wait here for the moment,” Poppy said to them.
The professors all rushed in and over to the bed, seeing Severus standing beside Harry’s bed with a bundle in his arms. As they got closer, he turned and they could see the bundle was in a blue blanket.
“A boy?” Minerva breathed. “I have a grandson?” She asked.
Minerva then noticed a matching bundle in Harry’s arms, also in blue. She swayed a moment, feeling a little faint. Twins were very rare for wizard births, and they had made no mention of having more than one child during all of their check-ups.
“We knew we were having twins,” Severus said with a chuckle, “however we had believed we were having one of each sex. It seems our other little boy was quite shy about showing off his tackle.” Everyone laughed at hearing this and crowded around the bed.
Severus placed his bundle in Minerva’s outstretched arms. “Meet your firstborn grandson, Damon Anders Potter-Snape.”
Minerva choked back tears as she kissed her grandson on his forehead. He blinked up at her with brilliant green eyes. His hair was midnight black and straight as a board. There didn’t appear to be a hint of Harrys’ unruly locks there yet. Minerva checked on the other little boy and found him to be a carbon copy of his brother.
She smiled as she looked at Harry and asked, “And what is the name of my second grandson?”
Harry smiled tiredly at the gathering. “Meet Kyron Aiden Potter-Snape.”
The babies were passed around, with Minerva having first hold of each of them, claiming it as her right since she was the grandmother to them both. All the staff cooed and giggled at the identical little bundles of joy.
Eventually they all said their farewells and left the new fathers alone for a short while. Poppy then showed the waiting students in and they repeated the introductions. The students all volunteered for babysitting duty as needed. Harry and Severus laughed and told them they would likely take them all up on their offer at least a few times, since they knew they would be sleep-deprived, at least in the first few months until they all settled into a routine.
Once the students left, Severus widened the bed and laid next to Harry, placing the twins between them. They stared into each other’s eyes and, as one, leaned forward to share a sweet kiss over the babies. Poppy came bustling around with bottles for the twins and both fathers fed one each. They finally felt complete. Their little family was a bit bigger than they originally thought it would be for their first pregnancy, but they couldn’t be more thrilled.