Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 23 of 26

<< Previous     Home     Next >>

19 years later:


Severus folded the top of his paper down and watched his sixteen year old daughter slide into the seat across from him at their kitchen table.

"Ask your mother," he said, flipping the paper back up and attempting to resume his morning read.

"She told me to ask you."

"Of course she did," he muttered, folding the paper again and dropping it to the table. "She lives to torment me."

"Probably," his daughter agreed with far too much cheer. He scowled at her but it had no effect; it never had. His daughter was probably the only 6th year student who wasn't afraid of him. Just like her brother, he thought to himself with a sigh.

"Fine," he grumbled, picking up his coffee and taking a sip. "What is it you want to do now, Evelyn?"

She smiled at him beautifully, reminding him of her mother in that moment. For all the fact that her hair was as black as pitch and not nearly as curly, she was the spitting image of Hermione. Only her colouring, those dark, dark eyes, gave her away as a Snape. Well, that and her ability to play her father like a perfectly tuned instrument.

"Well," she started, "you know how James' mum and dad are letting him attend that Muggle summer camp, right?"

"I do not like where this is going." Sitting back and folding his arms over his chest, her gave her a look. It didn't have the same effect when he wasn't in his teaching robes but he never wore them at home.

"Just hold on," she said, grinning and him and holding up her hands. "This Muggle camp, do you know what they're doing?"

"I have a feeling you are about to enlighten me," he arched an eyebrow at her.

"They're going to America!" she beamed at him, her eyes alight with excitement. "And I wanna go so bad, Dad! Can I go? I mean, James is going so it's not like I'd be alone or anything. Besides, the laws are different in America and I'm old enough to use my wand over there!"

Severus' eyebrow arched further and he wondered just exactly when his daughter had begun to say things like 'wanna' instead of 'want to'.

"And has your mother given her opinion on this?" he asked, his voice carefully neutral.

"She said that she wanted me to talk to you first and then she'd talk to you about it," Evelyn said in a rush. "I have to sign up by tomorrow in order to go next week, so... can I go?"

"You expect me to just say yes or no, right now?"



"Daaaaaaaaad!" Evelyn whined, letting her head drop to the table with a loud thump. "Please, Dad! C'mon! When will I ever get the chance to go to America again?"

"When you've graduated Hogwarts and can decide what you want to do with the rest of your life," Severus answered immediately. "When you're an adult."

"Oh come on, Dad!" she looked at him beseechingly. "What else am I going to do all summer?"

"I'm sure you'll find something," he said. "You could start on your Advanced Potions."

"I don't want to spend my summer in the basement puttering around cauldrons, Dad!" Evelyn cried, distress evident in her voice now. "I love brewing with you, I do, but I want to do something! I want to go somewhere! Where's your sense of adventure, Dad?"

Severus sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose as a sense of déjà vu washed over him. Hermione had once asked him those very words.

"I used it all up," he grumbled to his daughter, half expecting to hear 'Well, aren't you lucky I've still got some left?'.

"But I haven't!" Evelyn protested. "Could you imagine how annoying James will be if he gets to go and I don't?"

He could, actually. The young man, nearly the exact same age as his daughter, had become an almost permanent fixture in his life and his house from the time of his infancy. He and Evelyn had been best friends, and the fiercest of competitors, since they had learned how to crawl. The squabbles that had sometimes erupted between the two friends as they grew up had been intense and as he separated the pair of them time and time again Severus often wondered if the boy's namesake wasn't laughing at him from somewhere.

"I am sure he would love to rub it in," Severus agreed heavily, eyeing his daughter somberly. Much like her brother, she had seemed to grow up far too fast. She would be a legal adult in less than a year's time and then he wouldn't be able to stop her from going where she pleased, whenever she pleased.

The thought made an unpleasant wisp of fear uncurl in his gut.

It was different, somehow, from Sebastian. Hermione would say that he was being sexist and that Evelyn was just as capable as her brother. Were he someone else, an outsider, he would argue that she was even more capable than Sebastian in a lot of ways—she had a solid head full of common sense on her shoulders and a wickedly fast wand—but this was his little girl and she would never be old enough for him to stop worrying about her.

"Exactly," Evelyn agreed, smacking her palm against the wooden table. "Do you want to have to listen to his bragging all year? I certainly don't."

He sighed. She was a Slytherin, his daughter, despite being housed in Ravenclaw to play on her father's obvious distain for teenage theatrics. Severus may not inspire fear in his children, which was a good thing no doubt, but that didn't extend to their friends. Despite James having grown up spending his summers with Evelyn at their home in Manchester he had a healthy respect for the Potions Master who would not hesitate to snap at him within the confines of the classroom and hand out a detention that would have made his famous father cringe.

"Let me talk to your mother," Severus hedged. Evelyn's dark eyebrows shot up and her eyes widened with glee seconds before she shot out of her seat and threw herself at her father. "I'm not agreeing to anything!" he cried, trying not to be strangled by his daughter's enthusiasm.

"I love you, Daddy!" she cried happily, half in his lap, half hanging off his neck. She planted a kiss on his cheek and straightened, beaming at him.

"You only call me Daddy when you want something," he grumbled, but he was smiling as he said it.

"Yeah, but you love it anyway," she smirked at him and he rolled his eyes.

"Away with you, mongrel," he said, waving his wand over the coffee she spilled when she nearly upended the table with her exuberance. "Let an old man have some peace."

"No chance of that!" she laughed. "Aunt Ginny is here, I was supposed to tell you."

"You little sneak!" he said, chuckling as she bounced happily out of the kitchen. She knew that he would have put her off until later had he know her aunt was in the house. With a sigh, he stood up and grabbed his mug before making his way into their little sitting room.

The house was fairly small for a family of four but since they lived at Hogwarts for the majority of the year there was little point in them having a large home. He had taken up the post of Potions Master once more when Minerva McGonagall had owled him, frantic and desperate in the middle of the year. He'd agreed to finish out the year for her but he never ended up leaving. He had closed down his shop at Diagon Alley and after lessening his number of customers, simply brewed by owl order from Hogwarts. The castle had always accommodated their needs, giving him a large lab above ground so that owls could easily come and go, adding an extra room to their quarters when Evelyn was born and providing a guest suite for Sebastian when he came in from London and stayed with them.

He walked down a small hallway, following the sound of voices and the shrieks of childlike glee until he came upon them in the den.

Much like any house owned by Severus and Hermione Snape, the walls were covered with more bookshelves than what was probably considered wise. It made the small room feel even smaller but neither of them particularly cared since they were the ones who spent the most time in it. If it weren't for the fact that it held their only fireplace they would probably be the only ones who spent any length of time there.

As it were, the small room held a large and comfortable sofa that sat in the middle of everything with its back to the fire and facing a Muggle telly. A large oak desk pushed up against the only free wall space right under the window on the far wall and a small end table rested next to the couch, closest to him and the doorway.

"Uncle Sev'rus!"

His eyes unerringly found little Lily Potter situated on his son's lap where he sat on the floor with his back against the couch. His smile was genuine and fond as he took in her happy face and frantically waving hand. She had enough exuberance to put Evelyn to shame.

"Hello, Lily," he said, leaning against the door jam. "What are you doing to Sebastian?"

She grinned with pure childish joy. "Braiding."

Hermione, seated with Ginny on the couch behind the pair, laughed as the six year old girl fought with their son's curls. The man in question sat with a quiet grin on his handsome features and let the child make a general mess of his hair.

"Hullo, Dad," he said, looking up at his father through Lily's little arms. "I hear Evie cornered you about America."

Much like the way Evelyn resembled Hermione, Sebastian had grown up to resemble Severus which, as Hermione often said, was a good thing since he would have looked funny had he taken after his mother. He was tall and lanky, just an inch shy of being the same height as his father, with pale skin that looked shocking next to his dark hair and eyes. Unlike his father his nose was straight, if a little on the large side, and he had a confidence and charm that Severus had never possessed. When he went out in public women took notice, as did some of the men, and when he flashed a white toothed smile at one of them the titters became an audible symphony of hormones.

Severus smirked as he remembered one particular outing. Hermione had hexed a woman who had propositioned their then sixteen year old son as he stood in the middle of Madam Malkins' Robes for All Occasions to be outfitted for new school set. The woman had been more than twice his age and when Severus had laughingly pointed out later that he was twice her age she had threatened to hex him, too.

"He's sixteen!" she had muttered, stomping her way through Diagon Alley with her husband, son and daughter trailing in her angry wake. "I was twenty-five when we had Sebastian, I was an adult!"

"I'm almost an adult," Sebastian had unhelpfully pointed out.

His mother had rounded on him in the middle of the street, her finger pointed at his nose.

"I will hex your unmentionables to another continent, young man," she warned. "She is too old for you, end of story! You can date older women when you are older."

Behind her, Severus had made desperate hand motions to his son to cease and desist immediately while Evelyn fought to keep a grin off of her thirteen year old face.

"Yes, mum," Sebastian had mumbled, ducking his head to hide his own smile as she wheeled around again, her anger fuelling her rapid march into Flourish & Blotts.

Severus sighed, slipping back into the present and eyeing his nearly twenty year old son. "She did, indeed," he shot a pointed look at his wife, who held up her hands.

"Blame Harry and Gin, they're the ones who let James go," she grinned.

"Tell me about this Muggle camp, Ginevra," he said, crossing the den and stepping over his son's long legs to perch on the arm of the couch next to Hermione.

"It's an exchange program of sorts," the red headed witch said. "They'll be staying with a Muggle American family. Both our children and theirs will attend events in the city that they're staying in. The idea is for young people to experience each other's cultures. After a month, the Americans will join our children here and the company will take them to events and sites in England."

"We'd have to house a Muggle child?" Severus asked. At Ginevra's nod, he turned an incredulous look towards his wife. "Are you insane, woman?"

Hermione laughed and leaned against his leg, reaching up to pat his knee. "I've thought it through, love. We'll stay at my mother's place and she'll come here for the month. It will be easy for the two of us to pop back here if we need anything and we won't have to hide as much."

"And what do you plan to do about having a Muggle child in your house?" he asked Mrs. Potter.

"Harry is up for the challenge," she laughed. "We plan to spend that month at Grimmauld Place instead of Godric's Hollow."

"Oh, the Blacks that will spin in their graves," he rolled his eyes. "It's almost worth all the preparation you're going to have to do."

Ginevra shrugged. "It's a good opportunity for them. They need to see what it's like to live like Muggles, not just what it's like in America. I know that I would have liked to have done something like it when I was a kid and I think it would have gone a long way to prevent the kind of prejudice Hermione got when we were kids."

"Could you imagine Draco Malfoy using a toaster?" Hermione asked, snorting. "Or having to wash his own clothes?"

Ginevra laughed. "He'd have had an aneurism."

"No," Severus said. "He would have cheated and used his magic when no one was looking."

"True," Hermione agreed. "So what do you think?"

He looked down at her and without thinking let his hand work its way into her thick hair, winding a curl around his finger and stroking it with his thumb. The action was now an unconscious one but it hadn't always been that way; it had taken him a long time to learn how to show affection in front of others, and even now he rarely did so outside of 'the family'. Again, he thought that James Potter, and probably Sirius Black, must be laughing at him from on high at the fact that Potter and his brood, not to mention some of the Weasleys, were people he considered to be like family.

"I think you're insane and if this goes pear shaped I will tell you that I told you so," he answered flatly, making his son laugh. Sebastian tipped his head back so that he could see his parents.

"You doubt Evie's ability to blend in with Muggles?" he asked.

"No," Severus shook his head. "The two of you grew up with enough Muggle culture that it wouldn't be a problem for her. I'm thinking more about hiding the fact that we are very much a magical family from a Muggle child, even if they are in your mother's house. Have you thought about all the owls you get from work each week?"

"Wards will take care of that."

"And what about Morgana?"

"My mum will be happy to keep her company here," Hermione shrugged.

"And my potions? I had plans for this summer."

"You could always stay here with my mother," she grinned. Severus glared at her.

"You could take my flat in London, Dad," Sebastian said. "I'd stay here with Grandma."

"Aren't you taking summer classes?" he said, turning to his son.

Sebastian had promptly enrolled in The London Academy of Magicks after he had graduated from Hogwarts to do a specialization in Transfiguration and Charms. In the two years since he had almost completed a four year program of study by over loading his courses and taking classes throughout thr summer. The amount of work he managed to plow through sometimes made Severus' head spin but Sebastian was anxious to finish his degree. He had his eye on a job with a private firm that developed pre-charmed products for the magical community.

"I can Apparate or Floo," he shrugged.

"This has got 'bad idea' written all over it," he declared, shaking his head.

"It will be fine, love," Hermione patted his knee affectionately. "You'll see."

"Famous last words," Sebastian grinned at them, wincing slightly as Lily pulled a little too hard on a lock of curly hair.

"I sincerely hope no—"

Severus' words were cut off by the familiar whoosh of the Floo being activated and all of them turned around to see who was paying an unexpected social call. He watched a figure grow larger in the green flame and knew that it had to be one of their trusted friends; otherwise the person would have been rejected. Not just anyone could Floo into his home—he hadn't been a spy for twenty years for nothing. The house itself was unplottable and warded almost as well as Hogwarts itself. Hermione had stopped him from putting it under the Fidelius only because it would mean that no one would ever be able to reach them without being privy to the Secret and so many people knowing would invalidate the point of the charm.

A familiar face and body materialized, stepping out of the flame without bothering to dust the soot from her robes. With her usual flare for the dramatics, Lavender Brown let out a little "eep!" and darted around their couch without so much as a 'by your leave' before throwing herself at the telly.

"Lav?" Hermione asked. "Are you okay?"

"Nice to see you again, Lavender," Severus drawled, watching as the blonde witch fumbled with the remote control.

"Shh! My telly stopped working! Stupid Seamus cast a Silencing Charm at it and now the damn thing won't work at all," she said, her voice frantic. "I. AM. MISSING. MY. SHOW," she growled as the telly came to life and she jabbed at the buttons.

"Did I hear...?" Evelyn's head popped into the doorway and her face broke into a smile. "Aunt Lavender!"

"Hello sweetheart," Lavender spared her a quick glance. "Come make this thing work for me, would you, doll?"

Evelyn took the remote from her. "What channel?"

"Twenty-three," Lavender said, throwing herself inelegantly onto the floor next to Sebastian. "It's an American one." She turned to Sebastian and Lily. "Hey little man, what are you doing here? Shouldn't you be in London?"

"Just visiting for the day," he said, leaning over to brush a kiss against his aunt's cheek. "And when are you going to stop calling me little man?"

"Never," she grinned at him. "You'll always be a wee, pooping, screaming thing to me."

"Charming," Severus drawled and Lavender looked up at him with a devilish grin. The pair of them actually got on quite well when she wasn't driving him nuts with her spontaneity.

Lavender Brown was everything he was not; she was exuberant, outgoing and lively. She made decisions on a whim and joked her way through life without much of a plan as to where she'd end up. It worked for her, but it made him want to back away slowly. Despite having been living with Seamus Finnegan for several years and being wholly committed to him, she refused to marry the poor bloke and make an honest man out of him. While he didn't begrudge her the reluctance to define her relationship by a slip of parchment, he didn't think it was the title that stopped her from taking that final step. He was of the opinion that things like contracts and the finality that they represent terrified the pants off of one Lavender Brown. Hermione firmly forbid him from saying such things to their friend.

"What are we watching?" Evie asked as she flipped to the channel requested and found that commercials were on.

"Friends," Lavender said, making Hermione laugh.

"You and the bloody sitcoms," she said, shaking her head. "I created a monster."

"Something like that," Lavender agreed before turning to Lily and holding her hands out. "Hello munchkin, can I have a hug?"

"No," Lily turned into Sebastian's arms, burying her face against his neck and watching Lavender from under his chin.

Lavender sighed and dropped her hands into her lap before she tipped her head back to look at Hermione and Severus. "Why is it that only your children ever liked me?"

"Exposure," Severus answered dryly. "They had to adapt in order to survive."

Lavender laughed along with everyone else and Severus smirked at the blonde's mumbled "git" as she settled in on their floor to watch the show with his children on either side of her.

If anyone had told him twenty years ago that this would be his life, he would not only have not believed them but he probably would have hexed them for trying to play a cruel joke. He had never expected to marry and have children—not that he did it in that order, of course—and he certainly never expected to be happy.

Even after Sebastian was born, it had taken him a long time to accept happiness and love in his life. He had nearly buggered it to hell when he had walked out on Hermione after that ugly scene with Ronald Weasley, someone who was still not welcome in his home by either him or his wife, and it had taken Hermione a long time to trust him again after it. It hadn't been smooth sailing for them, despite his impromptu marriage proposal, and it wasn't until Sebastian was almost three years old before either of them felt truly comfortable and secure in their relationship. Their son had been five years old when they finally married in a quiet, simple ceremony with only a handful of people present. They had fought for their relationship and he felt that it made the satisfaction all the sweeter.

He found that his eyes were drawn from the melodrama playing out on the screen down to his children on either side of their aunt. Evelyn was slouched down and tucked into Lavender's side as the older witch absentmindedly played with her thick, dark locks in a familiar manner that had started when Evie was little. When questioned about having her own kids, the blonde usually responded with some smart arsed comment about having already helped raise two little monsters, but there was no question about how much she adored them. On her other side Sebastian held Lily to his chest as the tiny witch alternated between getting caught up in the Muggle telly that was strange to her since her family didn't have one and eyeing Lavender warily every time she laughed at the on screen antics. It tugged at his heart to see his son holding a child and part of him wondered if or when Sebastian would make them grandparents.

There was another thing he never thought he'd be.

Of course, Evelyn might have children before Sebastian.

There was a thought he'd rather not contemplate.

"What's on your mind?" Hermione whispered, tapping gently at his hand that rested on her shoulder.

"The usual," he said, shrugging, his eyes wandering back to their children.

"Yeah," she murmured. "Me, too."

"Are we really going to let her go?" he asked softly, watching the back of his daughter's head.

"I think we should," Hermione said. "She's a smart girl, Severus, and she'll be with James. You know how fond the two of them are of each other, despite their bickering, and she'd be heartbroken if he went without her."

Severus sighed softly and glanced over at Ginevra Potter who was resolutely watching the television. The small smile on her face gave away her eavesdropping.

"It seems I have been overruled," he grumbled.

"Nonsense, love," Hermione smiled up at him, her eyes soft with affection. "This is a democracy, after all."

"Is that what you're calling it now?" he asked, arching an eyebrow at her.

"Yes," Ginevra agreed with a smirk. "It's also known as marriage."


Heathrow Airport was crowded, but that was to be expected.

Not that that made his mood any more pleasant, of course.

Severus glowered at any and all who dared cross his path, he didn't give a Kneazle's nut if they were Muggles and therefore unable to defend themselves against him, if they got in his way they were going to leave with a pair of ringing ears—if they were lucky.

"What gate is it again?" Harry asked, green eyes narrowed at the Muggle electronic sign.

"Forty-Five," Severus snapped. "Honestly, Potter, sometimes I wonder if you would be able to tell the difference between your arse and a hole in the ground."

Harry turned to look at him, his expression flat. "Don't get your knickers in a twist, Severus."

"I'm going to make sure they never find your body," he growled, glaring at the younger wizard.

"You've been promising that for years as I recall," Harry said mildly, turning back to the board.

"Yes," Severus agreed sourly. "It's about time I made good on it."

"Your wife would never forgive you," Harry smiled serenely.

"I think I could learn to live with the shame," Severus muttered, watching Hermione and Ginevra, James and Evelyn trailing in their wake, weave their way skilfully through a hoard of Muggles and their luggage laden trolleys. He often wondered if that was a mother's skill, or perhaps just a woman's? He had never developed the ability to slip through a crowd like an eel since he either stuck to the outskirts of it or, when at school, parted it like the bloody Red Sea with the sheer force of his personality. He'd never seen Potter manage it either, but that could have something to do with who he was rather than what dangled between his legs.

He shook his head; he didn't want to think about Potter's bits.

Wrapping his fingers around Hermione's as she slipped her hand into his, he let himself be tugged in the direction of the gate that they needed to head to.

"Remember to keep your boarding pass with your passport," she reminded them as they walked, calling over her shoulder to the two teenagers who were excitedly comparing their tickets. As Harry had never been on a Muggle plane it was left to her to explain the details to James and Evelyn. "Don't forget to ward your trunks when you land and keep your passports in there, do not bring them out with you because if you lose them I'm going to have a hell of a time trying to get you new ones since you don't technically exist as British citizens."

With a laugh, Harry slung his arms around his son and his niece. "Just think about much fun she would have if she had to go all the way to America just to bail you out of some jail for illegally entering the country?"

James laughed but Evie, having been on the receiving end of her mother's wrath more than once, made a face that clearly said she would rather take her chances with the American justice system. Severus grinned and tuned out the conversation as the children asked a few questions and Hermione rattled off information to them as if she were a human brochure. She was just as nervous about this as he was, despite her earlier confidence when they had discussed privately. He could tell she was fretting because she only rambled like a Reading Charm set on a textbook when she was trying to hide the fact that she was unsure about something. Gently, he squeezed her hand in his and rubbed his thumb over the back of her knuckles. She clutched back, making all the blood rush to the tips of his fingers, even as she continued to talk.

By the time they reached their gate, Hermione had over saturated the pair with information and put the fear of the Muggle god into James if he did anything so stupid as to reveal himself to the family he would be staying with.

"Okay, we have about a half hour before you board. Does anyone have to go to the bathroom?" she asked, looking from face to face. The children looked at her blankly while Harry hid his amusement behind a poorly timed cough.

"Evie," Severus spoke quietly, not wishing to broadcast his conversation. "I'd like to speak to you."

"What is it, Dad?" she asked, following him as he sat down on one of the plastic chairs.

Reaching into the pocket of the Muggle trousers that Hermione declared made his arse 'look fantastic', he pulled out a long silver chain and the pendant that hung heavily from it.

"Dad?" Evie's eyes followed the swinging of the large but simple silver 'S'.

Leaning forward, he slipped his hands under her thick, wavy hair and fixed the magical clasp around her neck. "This will only come off by your hands or by one of your blood kin," he said softly. "It is also a portkey that, when you hold it and speak a specific word, will take you directly home. It's quite illegal, so I'd rather you didn't advertise it to your mother."

"You went behind Mum's back to do this?" Evie grinned suddenly, picking up the heavy S and letting it sit in her palm. She ran her fingers over it gently and felt the raised ridges of an inscription on the back. Turning it over in her palm, she spied the small, cursive handwriting that read Evelyn. "You're mad, Dad."

"Yes well," he shrugged. "I can deal with your mother. What I can't deal with is knowing that you have no way to get home safely in an emergency."

"What about James?" she asked, looking up at him.

"If James touches it when you activate it, it will also take him home," he said.

"And what's the word to activate it?"

"That is up to you," he turned slightly and discretely cast a Notice-Me-Not charm on the area around them before slipping his wand fully out of his sleeve and taking the pendant from her. "You must pick a word that you will not accidentally say."


"What?" he looked up at her.

"No, that's my word," she smiled and the brilliance of it washed over him, leaving warmth in its wake. "You said it yourself, I only say it when I want something."

"Too right," he grumbled but he was hard pressed to hide his own smile. "Very well," he tapped the 'S' with his wand and murmured 'portus activia'. The pendant glowed with a bluish white aura before it faded, leaving behind only its natural shine.

"There," he murmured, letting it fall against her chest. It was a long chain for the purpose of being able to hide it under her clothes if she wished.

"It's beautiful," she murmured, looking down at it. "Thank you, Daddy."

"I thought you rarely said that word," he smiled wryly. "It's a good thing you weren't holding it."

"I know what I'm doing," she grinned. "I'm not a dunderhead."

"No," he agreed softly. "You're not."

"Aw, you're going to miss me!" she leaned forward and slipped her arms around him, tucking her head into the curve of his neck with a familiar ease. "Admit it, Dad. You're going to go batshit without me around."

"Should you be saying such words?" he asked, wrapping his arms around her anyway.

"I learned it from mum," she shrugged. "I'm gonna miss you, too, you know."

"Going to," he corrected. "You are English, you ought to at least speak it—oh Merlin, you're going to come home talking like an American, aren't you?" He leaned back slightly to look down at her laughing face.

"Whatever," she said, sounding distinctly air headed.

"That's it," he announced. "I take it back, you can't go anymore."

"Nice try," she squeezed him harder. "You already said yes."

"No, your mother bullied me into letting her say it," he clarified. "That word never passed my lips in regards to this."

"That's okay, Mum says she has final say anyway," Evie giggled at his snort of disbelief.

"Your mother likes to think so," he said. "I, however, know better."

Evelyn silently shook her head before pressing a kiss to Severus' cheek. "Thank you, Dad."


"Everything," she shrugged, sitting up and pulling away. "You know."

"You're welcome," he said softly, a smile on his lips. "Come, I have to terrify James into obeying my every word even when he's on another continent."

Evelyn laughed and stood up, practically dancing over to her mother to show her the beautiful necklace her father had bestowed upon her. Without cancelling the charm, Severus stood up and approached James, who was talking to his father excitedly. With a tap on the shoulder and a pointed look at the chair that Evie had just vacated, James followed him meekly.

"Yes, sir?" he asked.

"I wanted to give you something," Severus said, pulling yet another item out of his Muggle trousers.

Without any flourish, he handed James Potter a simple leather band almost identical to the one that Hermione had transfigured for him years ago in a Muggle bar.

"Sir?" James asked, clearly confused.

"This is a portkey, James," he said quietly. "It is keyed to the one that Evie wears around her neck."

James looked up at his friend and the silver pendant that was displayed clearly against the black of her blouse. Severus followed his gaze and was momentarily struck by how much she had grown up when he hadn't apparently been looking. She was taller than her mother, even without the low heeled leather boots that she wore under her Muggle jeans, and she had long ago lost the look of a young girl who would throw on anything her hand touched first. She had become a young woman who looked like she was well put together—because she was. He shook his head minutely and turned back to James.

"This portkey will take you to whenever Evie's portkey is, which will be around her neck since none but her or her blood relatives can remove it," Severus continued in his low tone. "In the event of an emergency, you get to her, and you get her out of wherever you are. Her portkey will take her home when she activates it with a word, you must be touching it as well in order to go with her. Do you understand?"

James nodded silently, his thumb sliding over the soft black leather as he inspected the cuff.

"I am trusting you, James. You're the only one she will know over there and I will not be around to look after her," he sighed heavily. "I know that she is quite the capable witch, she is her mother's daughter, but that doesn't stop me from worrying. I will rest easier knowing that you are looking out for her."

"Of course, sir," James said, looking up at the man he usually feared to irritate. Severus could see the sincerity in the younger wizard's face and a tight knot of tension in his gut eased ever so slightly. "I'd look after her even if you didn't ask me to. She's my best friend, I love her."

"I know you do," he said, part of him wondering exactly how much that sentiment covered but he pushed it aside for now. "Thank you for this, James. I am in your debt."

"Nah," he said, suddenly flippant. He slapped the leather cuff onto his wrist and it automatically fastened itself, tightening to the perfect size. "You can just let me call you Uncle Sev in class and we'll call it even."

Severus blinked at him for a minute and he had the briefest flash of a possible future fly through his mind. He pictured the look of utter confusion and, no doubt, horror on his students' faces if he were to allow the ever troublesome James Sirius Potter call him "Uncle Sev" in class. The image was too good and he promptly burst into laughter.

"Perhaps I shall," he said, his laughter unable to subside at the look on James' face. He was stunned, to say the least. "If only to see the looks on your classmates faces."

James grinned at that. "I know, eh? There'd be a few heart attacks, I think, especially if you didn't react."

"Oh, what a pity that would be," Severus found himself remarking dryly.

"You'll have to work on your concerned face for when Nancy Greene keels over," his nephew's grin could only be described as devilish. Severus shook his head, a bit bemused at the fact that he was joking around with James Potter. Perhaps they really have grown up, he thought to himself.

"I'll practice while you're away," he said, standing up and cancelling the Notice-Me-Not charm. "Come, let's rejoin the others before your mother starts to think that I'm terrorizing you."

"Mum thinks it's hilarious when you terrorize me," James admitted easily, falling into step beside him as they joined the others. "She says it saves her the stress of having to do it herself, and that you're better at it since you've had so much practice."

His words reached the rest of the group and Ginevra looked up at her son, glaring at him as she realized what he was saying to Severus.

"Does she now?" he asked, eyeing Mrs. Potter with a look that she remembered from her days in his classroom.

"It's true," she said, shrugging shamelessly. "You're proving my point right now."

Hermione laughed as Harry sidled up to him and nudged him with an elbow.

"You gave them portkeys didn't you?" he asked.

"Your powers of observation continue to astound me, Harry," Severus drawled.

"Thanks," he said simply.

"You're welcome," Severus replied.

Neither man looked at each other. They weren't that comfortable with the other even after nearly twenty years of tentative friendship, but they had a better understanding of their respective personalities these days. They would never be intimate confidants or the best of friends but neither disliked the other, nor did they avoid sharing company as they once would have.

Far before he was ready, a woman dressed in the blue uniform of a British Airways employee announced that they would start boarding and that passengers should begin getting ready. James and Evelyn picked up their small carry on rucksacks, their suitcases having been checked by Hermione, and made sure that they had their passport with their tickets before being enveloped in hugs all around.

Severus pulled his daughter into his embrace and held her tightly, pressing a kiss to her lightly scented hair. He didn't say anything because he knew he didn't have to, she knew that her father loved her dearly and that he would miss her with no little amount of anxiety until she was back home. She squeezed him hard enough to make his ribs protest the abuse and a soft grunt escaped him.

"Love you, Dad," she whispered before slipping out of his arms and into Harry's.

"James," Severus said, holding out his hand to the younger man when he approached him. "Have fun."

"We will," he grinned. "Try not to miss us too much!"

"You? No. My daughter? Yes," Severus said, shaking the hand in his.

"Ah, Uncle Sev, you wound me," James laughed, releasing his hand and slapping it against his chest. "You wound me deep."

"You are far too dramatic for your own good," Severus fought a smile. "Be gone, urchin."

"Did he just call you Uncle Sev?" Hermione asked, blinking furiously as she watched them get in line. "And you didn't hex him?"

"Don't cry," he said, avoiding the question and pulling her closer to him so that he could lay his hand on the small of her back. "She's only going away for a month."

"Says the man who gave her an illegal International Portkey," Hermione retorted, her voice amused.

"I haven't the slightest idea what you're talking about," he said, his face blank.

"Uh huh," Hermione smiled softly, watching her daughter hand over her passport and ticket to the smiling woman at the gates. "You always seem to forget that I'm an Auror."

"I think perhaps you should retire," he said neutrally. "You're getting rather paranoid, much like old Moody."

"Don't speak ill of the dead," she chided, poking him in the ribs.

"I was not," he defended, pulling her closer so that he could wrap his arm around her shoulders as he watched Evelyn turn to wave before she disappeared beyond the gate. "It was merely the truth."

Hermione sighed but did not respond as they watched James follow Evie, turning to give them a salute just as he too slipped out of their line of sight.

"That's it then," Harry sighed before turning to them. "You two want to share a cab back to King's Cross? We were going to go to Platform 9 ¾ to Apparate."

"That sounds good," Hermione said, her voice a little thick.

Ginevra and Harry turned, hand in hand, and slowly began walking back the way they had come when Severus bent to whisper in Hermione's ear.

"Let's go home, my love," he said, his voice deep with intent. "I know exactly how to get your mind off things and take advantage of an empty house all at the same time."

"Do you now?" she asked, a hint of humour in her voice as they began following the Potters.

"I do, indeed," he agreed solemnly, nodding. "I am quite good at multi-tasking."

"Oh," Hermione laughed. "That sounds like a challenge."

"Are you accepting?" Severus asked, smiling at the sound of her laughter.

"You may have just bit off more than you can chew, mister," she said, grinning up at him.

"I hope so."

He smiled and squeezed her hand, gently guiding her through the densely packed airport towards home.

Perhaps a month in an empty house wouldn't be so bad after all.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 23 of 26

<< Previous     Home     Next >>