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They apparated inside Hogwarts. "Most curious Severus, only headmasters can apparate and dissaparate from Hogwarts. Come to think about it you apparated your family last time as well." Albus had that twinkle in his eye.
"The room of requirement is in the seventh floor." "I need to find the diadem of Ravenclaw." Severus paced and the door appeared. Severus and the older man entered the room and saw millions of things, furniture, books, statues, clothes, and old desks. It was a maze of forgotten things.
"I don't know how it looks like." Severus said despondently.
"But I do. Helena Ravenclaw is a ghost here." Albus then conjured an image of the headpiece.
They looked for it for about two hours before the older man succeeded.
Severus looked at the jewel and was comforted when he did not feel any connection. "Take my hand." Severus did so and they were in the countryside.
Severus conjured the fiendyfire. They watched as the flames consumed the diadem. "Do you feel anything son?"
"Nothing but relief that there is one less of them." He replied honestly.
"Where is the ring?" Severus asked. He wanted that ring gone.
"Nothing yet. The ministry official left years ago and has not been back to the United Kingdom. I have some leads." Albus said.
"He is not gone. He will be back. We need to find that ring." He hissed.
"We will. He is less than nothing by now. Go to your family Severus."
The young man nodded and then remembered. "Look in Albania." The older man nodded and left. Severus apparated as well. He landed outside of Grimmauld Place.
He entered the old house; most of the Order members had left. The Weasleys, his father and Remus were the only ones left. They were in the parlor. Narcissa served his dad some tea while Black played with Ron and Harry. Draco and the rest of the children must have been asleep upstairs.
Lily looked at him with worried eyes. "Is everything fine?" She asked when he sat by her.
"Yes." He kissed her cheek as in greeting.
Harry pulled on Black's fur. He decided to transform into his dog form. "Paddy, paddy Daddy." Harry screeched. Ron patted Black's snout. "Good doggy. Good doggy." The redhead said and kissed the dog's nose.
"Sweetheart, don't do that." Narcissa said sweetly while picking him up and giving him to Remus.
"Lily tells me, you two want to stay away from the wizarding world." Arthur said.
"For a while, until the rumors have died down." Severus explained.
Remus conjured a toy for Ron, "they are not rumors. You survived the curse; you were dead when we found you. He fell to you."
Black must have heard the conversation and transformed. Severus nodded, "He will be back. He fled; there was no body. Dumbledore believes he will be back."
Narcissa trembled, "but not now. He will not be back now, he is too weak to do so."
Tobias looked at him, "I agree with your decision. Your headmaster tells me the last of Voldermort's followers will be apprehended within a couple of hours. Augustus and I will move back to Cokeworth. I will sell our house and rent an apartment for your brother and me."
"Of course dad." Severus agreed.
Molly frowned, "Tobias, you can stay with us for as long as you need. There is no need for you to move so quickly."
Arthur nodded, "Who will take care of Augustus once you go to work?"
"I will figure that once I do go back to work." His father said.
"It is growing late it is best if you stay here tonight." Narcissa was in her element. She was a gracious hostess and called Kreacher who was ecstatic to have her there. Severus was surprised to see Dobby there as well. He looked scared.
"Kreacher, please have the guest room in the east wing ready for Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Mr. Snape will sleep in the west wing. The Snapes will sleep in the third landing." She said and the elf skipped up and down.
Dobby trembled and looked at the floor. "Mistress I is here."
Severus remembered the little elf. He saw big tennis ball eyes and remembered the punishments he went through because of Lucius and most of the times Narcissa herself. He did not know if they were aware that Dobby punished himself physically. Cissy must not have known. She could not have known. Severus did not pay attention to their interactions. He saw Lily look at the little elf uncomfortably. They were not used to the servility; his dad looked at the creatures with something akin to curiosity and pity.
The potion's master removed his left shoe and removed a sock. He remembered Dobby was very fond of socks. It was a black sock. "Give it to him." He pushed the sock onto Narcissa's hand.
"Why would I do that?" Narcissa asked.
"He wants to be free. Do it." Severus explained. Narcissa looked at the little elf. "Do you want to?"
Dobby looked at him and then at his mistress. He lowered his head, "Cissy, he wants to be free, please." Severus stated once more.
Narcissa gave Dobby the sock. Dobby's eyes filled with tears. "Mistress has given Dobby a sock. Dobby is a free elf." Kreacher gasped as he apparated.
"Dobby is very bad. What will happens to poor Dobby?" The older elf said sadly.
"Dobby is free." The elf cried and smiled. "Oh mistress is so good and kind. Master Snape is the champion of wizards and elves." He cried and hugged his leg.
"Oh now that Dobby is free he wants to works for mistress and take cares of little master Draco. Mistress can you takes Dobby? Dobby doesn't needs much; two sickles every month will do."
Cissy frowned, "I don't understand Dobby."
"I wants to works for you and little Draco." The elf bounced up and down.
"Yes, you can work with for me but I think two sickles is not enough, maybe two galleons." Narcissa conversed with the elves.
"Oh no Dobby couldn't." He shook his head profusely.
Tobias was utterly confused. Lily looked as puzzled as Narcissa. "A galleon, last offer."
"Yes mistress." He squealed. "What can Dobby do for yous?"
"Take the children and put them to sleep. Have Ron sleep in the room with the twins. Harry will sleep in the Snapes' quarters." Cissy said without missing a beat.
Arthur and Molly retired as did Remus and Black. Narcissa stayed a little longer, "Lily, Frank Longbottom's funeral is tomorrow. I think we should offer our condolences."
"Attending might not be the best idea for you Cissy. Lily and I will be there but it is best if you remained here." Severus pointed out clearly. His friend was hurt, he could tell.
"You are correct Severus. Thank you for your suggestion." She smiled tightly and then retired.
Tobias asked why would Narcissa not go and Lils explained the situation. Tobias did not say anything more after that. Lily looked tired and retired soon after.
His father lit up a cigarette and offered one to him. "I understand if you do not want to return to Cokeworth."
"I do not know whether Lily will accept. I have to speak with her and then decide." Severus smoked his cigarette.
"Needless to say that half of the earnings from the house is yours. I will not accept a refusal for an answer." Severus however refused and argued with his father.
"Dad, that is your house. You worked to buy that house. I did not, it is not mine." Severus explained. The house in Spinner's End was not his to keep. His father needed the pounds to start a new life with Augustus.
"I bought that house for you and your mother. It is yours and Augustus's." Tobias argued further.
"Dad, I couldn't take anything from you of Gus. Please, dad I would not feel right using that money." Severus stated with finality.
Tobias shook his head, "How are you going to live? Severus you have not been working since you went into hiding. Son, your inheritance is not as large as you would want to. You need to keep that money safe for later on. That house in London, your expenses, the monthly allowance for me and your brother, and the help you give the Order. You have to take care of your finances."
The younger man arched an eyebrow, "How do you know all of that?" Severus asked.
"Severus, I have been in charge of the Order's finances since after the first month I stayed in the Burrow. You wizards lack financial wisdom. I am very aware of how this war was financed. Sirius Black, Albus Dumbledore, James Potter, Frank Longbottom and you have put a lot of resources into financing and repairing the damages made by dark wizards. The Order and your ministry of magic have taken a disastrous hit. I do not know to what extent you understand this son but this war has left many pockets empty." His father looked at him with wary eyes. "Severus, think about your family."
The younger man shook his head, "I am thinking about our family. Take care of it dad. I don't have the head or the patience to administer my assets. You are an accountant, and better with money." Severus indicated, while they never lived in opulence and his father had a severe drinking problem he always managed to put food on the table.
"Fine, but you will be aware of every decision I make with your money and read every report I will have for you every month. I do mean read Severus, not skimming or pretending to read and then agree to what I have for you." Tobias said seriously.
"Yes, dad." Severus said.
"I am so glad this is finally over." Tobias stood up and kissed his forehead. "Get some sleep."
Severus nodded and stayed there in the quiet parlor. The nightmare was over for at least a couple of years. They needed to destroy the ring and then hunt Voldemort himself. He remembered it had been Albania; maybe Albus would find the creature and destroy it. The young man thought about his life since he came back from that other lifetime. Sometimes it felt like a dream but he was here, he had a father and a brother. Severus had his best friend back. Lily loved him; he had a son with her. He closed his eyes; he was tired but happy. Lily and Harry waited for him upstairs.
The man climbed the stairs; he knew the house well enough. He remembered the meetings that happened years ago but would not happen for years or maybe would not happen at all. He entered the room. It was spacious; there was a crib by the bed. Lily was asleep; he approached the crib. Harry was asleep as well. Severus pushed his son's hair back; his forehead was unmarred of any scars. He smiled and kissed his forehead. "Sleep well Harry."
He undressed and got under the covers with Lily. She turned and stared at him. "I thought you were asleep."
She shook her head, "I couldn't." Lily kissed his lips.
"How are you feeling?" He asked while putting some of her hair back.
She smiled sweetly, "I should be asking you that." She kissed his lips and cheeks.
"I'm brilliant." Severus smiled when she giggled. They could speak for hours and they did. They spoke about her training as mediwitch.
"I want to go back in September; things would have settled down by then. I don't want all of them to ask me about my husband the savior of the wizarding world just yet."
He frowned and she kissed the frown away. "You look absolutely handsome when you look cross."
"I do not." He smirked and ran his fingers over her back. "What are you going to do?" she asked him gently.
"Research for a bit. Dad was on my case about my finances. He wants to sell our house and give me half the earnings. He says this war was costly, especially for Black and me. I will find a job I suppose but I don't know how soon I have to find one just yet." He kissed her some more.
"I want to go back to Cokeworth." She said after a few kisses.
Severus nodded, "I thought about going back as well but I wanted to speak with you first. Dad wants to go back as well."
Lily agreed, "Love, I want to go back to my house. I was so happy there, that house, my parents were so happy."
"Are you sure? I would never want to go back to Spinner's End." Severus said carefully. He understood his father, their house was marred with horrible memories, and most important that was where his mother died.
Lily nodded, "I want to go back. It's my home. I want to take Harry to our park, remember our swings? I want him to grow up where we grew up."
He nodded, "we'll do as you say Lils."
Severus remained quiet for a few minutes until Lily spoke once more. "I don't know how to face Alice." She said with a very small voice.
He hugged her, "We'll offer her our support. Frank was a very brave man Lily. Alice knew that."
"You are alive and he is not. Frank is dead. Neville and Draco will grow up without fathers. Severus I feel guilty." She broke down and hugged him.
He let her cry for a few minutes and then kissed her tears away. "I don't want you to be sad Lily. Tell me, what do I do to make you feel better?" He said with a questioning voice.
"I'm better when I'm with you Sev, I always am." She kissed him again and again until they both forgot about being sad for Alice, Narcissa, Frank and everyone else.
He woke up early because of Harry who demanded to be out of his crib. "Out, out, now. Daddy out." The boy shook the bars of his little crib. He gently pushed Lily away from his body and attended to their child.
"Good morning Harry." He yawned and changed his nappy. Lily and him would start potty training him soon. He was looking forward to not changing nappies anymore. He smiled when Harry kissed him good morning. He was over his Snape phase and was now Lily's boy through and through. He might look like him but he was Lily's kid in temper for sure except for when throwing tantrums. He was his son then.
"Let's get you dressed." Severus looked around the room for clothes. "Kreacher" He intoned. The elf appeared and looked at him with big eyes. "Yes master half-blood."
"Get our clothes from this address." The elf nodded and grabbed the piece of parchment he was offered and disappeared with a crack.
Lily woke then, "What time is it?" She asked groggily.
"Half past six in the morning." Severus replied while holding an enthusiastic Harry that sought his mum.
"MUMMY." He yelled.
"Not so loud sweetheart. You'll wake everyone." Lily stood up and grabbed their son who kissed her noisily.
"Go shower and dress. The funeral is at 8:00." Lily kissed him good morning and then startled when the elf placed Harry's clothes near the crib.
"Master half blood's clothes and wife's clothes are in the wardrobes." The old elf disapparated then.
"He is strange." Lily said but changed Harry nonetheless. Severus left their rooms for the restroom and showered quickly, before contemplating future events too much.
He dressed in black robes and then went back to his rooms. Lily chose black robes as well. "I will shower and meet you downstairs." He nodded and saw her go.
Severus and his child entered the kitchen to see Molly cooking and Narcissa helping her. Narcissa wore a white sleeping gown, "Molly, go, you have to dress, I will finish breakfast." Molly nodded and left the kitchen in a hurry. Severus noticed that both Arthur and Black wore their best black robes, as did he. This would be a magical funeral unlike his mother's.
Dad was nursing a cup of tea. Draco and Ron were eating cereal, the rest of the children were surely asleep. Arthur fed little Ginny a bottle. Black ate some bangers and mash.
"Where is Remus?" Severus asked as he placed Harry in a high chair and served him cereal.
"He left earlier. The headmaster wanted to speak with him." Narcissa responded while she cooked more sausages.
Severus nodded and served himself some mashed potatoes and eggs. "We have to hurry before the floo network gets congested." Arthur said in passing.
"Where will the service be held?" Severus asked while wiping Harry's chin.
"Frank's ancestral home. The Longbottoms own a family crypt where Frank and his mother will rest." Black replied.
Severus nodded, "We'll have to go as soon as Molly and Lily are ready." Arthur explained.
Narcissa finished breakfast and sat by her son. They ate in silence. Lily and Molly came back and at as well. "Lily, could you please tell Alice how sorry I am for her loss?"
"Give her this letter please." Narcissa spoke in hushed tones but Severus could hear her well. Harry stayed back with his grandpa. He looked at Lily and him and stretched his arms.
"Go before he cries." Tobias said and distracted his grandson with some faces.
Lily went in first and then he went. They stopped in the old chimney. The house was filled with people. Frank and Alice were loved. He felt many people stare at him, at the scar. Most of them thanked him and went their ways.
Arthur and Molly arrived after them. They knew a lot of people in attendance.
Black arrived as well. He set out to find Remus. Lily and Severus sat by a sofa and waited. He spotted Alice from the stairs. She looked pale, tired but was not crying. She was stoic; little Neville clung to her chest. The boy probably was not used to so many people.
She walked with her son. The guests and them filed out to the place where the service would take place. Severus held Lily's hand as they walked and took their seats.
Albus preceded a beautiful ceremony; many spoke of Augusta Longbottom, a strong woman who was a dedicated mother and grandmother. Kingsley spoke of Frank, the man who became his best friend and of his sacrifice for his wife and child. The man's voice broke some but he finished the eulogy. Alice's eyes were watery when the wizards lowered the two mahogany caskets to the ground. Neville must have picked something because he cried, heart-wrenching sobs, that moved him. Severus thought of Frank, it could have been him. Lily could have been the one carrying a crying Harry. Remus would have given his eulogy and Black would have been the one trying to comfort Lily. He suddenly felt the anguish that Lils felt a few hours ago. It could have been his family. He felt sickened and sad for Neville, for Draco and countless of children who would not have fathers or mothers.
Augusta Longbottom rested peacefully on the ground. Albus would magically bury Frank next but Severus felt something possessed him. He stood up and conjured a shovel. Kingsley must have understood; sometimes magic was not enough. Severus rolled the sleeves of his robes and started shoveling ground. Remus and Sirius joined him as well. They buried Frank Longbottom that day. A photographer for the Daily Prophet would snap a picture of them while they shoveled dirt into the ground. A journalist would write a beautiful reflection about the war and it costs. Frank Longbottom died a hero, one of many who gave their lives for a safer, less prejudiced wizarding world.
They were dirty when they finished and tired but it felt like closure. They went back into the house. Alice held a sleeping Neville while she folded Narcissa's letter.
"Why didn't Cissy come to the funeral?" Alice asked with tears on her eyes.
Lily held her hand, "She wanted to but we did not think it would be prudent."
"I will owl her, I'd like to see her and Draco." Alice said with a sad voice.
"Alice I am so sorry. Is there anything we can do? How can we help you?" Severus asked.
The woman smiled a little, "Neville and I will keep the house. Frank loved this house. I want to be alone with Neville for a bit. We are leaving Great Britain for a bit."
"Where are you going?" Black asked.
"My aunt Gilda lives in Germany. I will go there for a bit." Alice caressed her son's face.
"I will stay with you tonight." Kingsley offered.
"Thank you Kingsley." She thanked them for coming and then retired. She was tired and like her son wanted to sleep.
Kingsley told them he would go back to the ministry and asked Black if he would do the same. Black shook his head. "I have had enough fighting for a lifetime. I have seen enough dead people Kings. I will have to pass."
Severus escorted Lily back to Grimmauld Place. The Weasleys were gone by the time they entered Black's home.
"Ginny and Ron were fussing a bit." Tobias explained.
Black came back a few hours later with Andromeda Tonks. Narcissa and her sister spoke for a while but according to Lily the reconciliation Black had in mind did not happen. They agreed to tea in two weeks or so his wife reported. Cissy and Lils spoke about sisterly relationships at length that night.
Severus could not input too much since his little brother and him got along spectacularly, especially since Augustus worshipped him.
The next few days were complicated. Narcissa and Lily visited Alice before the witch left for Germany. His dad packed his belongings and left for Cokeworth. The Weasley children cried. Bill and Charlie tried to convince Tobias to stay and Percy and Augustus clung to each other and no claim that Augustus would come and visit made him stop crying. Gus did not want to go either. He begged his daddy but Tobias was determined to go to his new house in Cokeworth.
His dad found a nice and relatively cheap house in town. He reconnected with the old firm and was back as an accountant next month. Severus offered to babysit Augustus as did Molly who loved the boy. Arthur submitted the paperwork to have the floo installed in the house. Augustus would go to the Burrow when he did not attend school or when Tobias worked.
Although Black wanted to leave he could not. Narcissa did not want him to go. He stayed for her and Draco. Remus stayed at Grimmauld Place as well. He would move soon or so he said.
Severus and Lily stayed with them for a few months. Tobias wanted them to stay with him and Augustus but Severus refused. "Dad would want us to stay." He said repeatedly and Lily agreed.
The Evans' house was in shambles. Lily found out that Petunia and Dursley sold the property to some real state company. Severus bought the house. Tobias frowned and cautioned him but Severus bought it for his Lils.
Remus, Black, Arthur, Tobias and him repaired it every week. Molly would host Narcissa and Lily, the children would play in the Burrow and they would talk.
Severus and his family moved in a day after Draco's second birthday. June 6th, there was a sense of normalcy to Lily and him moving in. They decorated Lily's room as Harry's room. Petunia's room became a guest room and they remodeled the Evans's bedroom as theirs.
Harry turned two and this time Lily and Narcissa threw him a birthday party. Severus laughed when his son, Ron and Draco destroyed the beautiful birthday cake Molly prepared. He kissed Lily when he saw her disappointed face. She wanted to take a million and one photos but their son had other ideas.
Life in the wizarding world was back to almost normal, the aurors still chased death eaters and other dark wizards. Narcissa and Andromeda had a cold relationship, as did his wife and Petunia, who never wrote to Lily. Tobias and Augustus were adjusting to living alone. Remus still lived with Sirius and Narcissa. Albus and him looked for the ring and destroyed it before the new term resumed. It was in the old Gaunt hut. Albus was tempted to touch it as soon as he saw the little stone. Severus was tempted as well. It was the resurrection stone.
"Turn it thrice." Albus mournfully said. Severus set the ring on fire but the stone remained. "Hide it away from me." The old man said with a trembly voice.
Severus picked it with glove and looked at it. He tightened his hold and apparated. He could see his mother once more. Father and Gus could see her. Lily could see her parents. Remus and Black could see Potter once more. Narcissa would see Lucius. Draco and Neville could see their fathers.
Severus shook his head and threw the stone to the river by Spinner's End. It was for the best, they would never be back; they did not belong here anymore.