Haunted Jaded Eyes

Chapter 67

The plan that Severus and Harry had started out for leaving for a year turned into three. Officially nobody had seen or heard from Harry and Severus in those three years, but the reality was Harry and Severus returned to visit Hermione and Ron. Usually met in the house that Severus and Harry had built for their own. Every time they returned, dozens of plants and herbs were placed in the solarium and flourished from each region they visited. As for Remus? Well, Harry always went a Portkey to their location, and Remus visited for a week at a time. He was loved dearly by Willow who loved her granddad.

"I'll see you in a few minutes," Harry murmured softly, kissing Severus on his lips, before drawing back, their son safely ensconced in their arms, merely six months old. In Severus' arms their daughter slept in the crook of his neck.

Severus nodded, a grimace on his face, he was definitely not looking forward to this at all. He'd not had to put up with anyone except Remus – who he had more than learned to merely tolerate – in three years. Now he was going to be enduring the entire Weasley clan, both married and blood.

Harry sniggered, "I promise it won't be long." He said, aware that his husband just wasn't very sociable at all.

"I'll hold you to it," Severus murmured, tightening his hold on his three-year-old daughter. He and Harry had made an executive decision to return to the British Isles. To continue to raise their daughter and son on a Nomad lifestyle wasn't suitable long term. They didn't want their children to end up unable to make friends in future.

So, they would return to Britain and settle down.

He just wished it wasn't the Burrow that would be their first stop.

"Harriet! No running!" Ginny scolded her three-year-old, her lips pursed. Merlin, help her, she hated her life. She thought that with Dumbledore dead things would have been easier, but no. Then her eyes widened dramatically, "What the hell is that?" she asked, staring at Harry – who had just Portkey'd in – in shock. Seeing proof that Harry had slept with someone else…and it had borne fruit was disheartening and angering in equal measures. He was tanned, he looked older, handsome and Merlin he was making her drool.

He had aged very well indeed.

"Harry! It's good to see you, man!" Ron said making his way outside, clapping him on the shoulder with a wide grin. "How's everyone? And you'd think you'd know the sight of a baby when you saw one, Ginny!" rolling his eyes at his sister, their relationship had never truly recovered but he loved his nieces.

Harry smirked, "We're all good, how's Hermione?"

"She's doing well, already up and about, you know how stubborn she is," Ron said shaking his head fondly. "Hugo is inside, he can't wait to meet his uncle Harry!"

"Is Willow and Sev coming?" Hermione asked making an appearance with the aforementioned little boy in her arms. She wouldn't be surprised if Severus decided not to come, the Burrow was packed with family and children. Definitely not his scene, no matter how much he loved his own children.

"Who's that?" Ginny asked, scooping her daughter up, her gaze never leaving Harry's. she'd been utterly dismayed when the Ministry had given her a year long restraining order to prevent her from contacting Harry. Which had been reinstated twice since then, he hadn't done it this time though…maybe because Dumbledore was finally dead?

"You didn't tell her?" Harry asked more amused than he had a right to be. Then again, the press didn't know a damn thing about him being married or his children's births. The beauty of homebirths, so to speak, meant he was able to register his children at Gringotts, which didn't allow anyone to find their birth certificates – which are public domain in the Ministry – Gringotts took their security very seriously.

Ron just gave him a look, 'are you nuts?' "I didn't even tell the rest of the family," he said dryly.

"Tell me what?" Ginny screeched causing her daughter to slap her hands over her ears from the pain of it. Ginny still lived at the Burrow with her two daughters, the rest of her siblings were all married – to either their jobs or people – and had places of their own and families.

"I knew this was a mistake," Severus sighed, as Willow was awoken quite rudely, but the screeching, looking rather confused until she caught sight of Ron and Hermione. "Rose!" she said gleefully, already trying to wiggle down out of her father's hold.

"Remember what we told you?" Severus turned his daughter's attention to himself, her beautiful face had the Prince characteristics, including black hair but with a cute button nose – thank merlin – and Harry's green eyes. She was a stunning mixture of both of them. She was just as tan as her fathers her brother though was very pale, as they naturally kept him out of the sun.

"Uh-huh," Willow nodded, green eyes blinking excitedly, "I won't go by myself,"

"Anywhere on your own, yes," Severus said fondly, kissing her on the forehead, ignoring the gaping he could feel from everyone around him. "Go on then," he murmured, letting her down. Not that she could go far, Severus and Harry were too paranoid, and knew where she was every second of the day. They also had alerts up if she left a certain radius.

They needn't have been concerned since Rose and Willow made a beeline for inside. Where Rose had a tea party all set up with all her toys that had been brought here with them.

"What are you doing here?" Ginny asked disgustedly, "This is a family gathering!"

"I see you still haven't changed, Mrs. Dumbledore," Severus said laconically.

"It's Weasley, I went back to my maiden name," Ginny sniped back, turning back inside she called out, "Mum! This is meant to be a family gathering!"

"What is it Ginny, Dear?" Molly asked, her voice strained as if she was tired.

"Why did you invite Snape?" she whined at her mother.

"Severus? Here?" Molly asked, sounding confused, bustling out, she blinked, "Oh! Severus! Everyone has been rather worried about you; nobody has seen you for three years!"

"A single letter could have assuaged your concerns," Severus informed her wryly, but nothing had come, not surprising really, he hadn't made any attempts to endear himself to anyone.

"You resigned, we simply thought you wished to be alone," Molly admitted, "Come in! Come in! We've heard about your latest exploits; Bill is in awe of your latest creations!"

"Mum!" Ginny screeched in annoyance.

"Ginny…I'd like to introduce you to my husband," Harry said wickedly, "And my daughter Willow and my son, Aspen," no surprise there it had turned out to be another tree Aspen Ashton Black-Potter-Snape.

The stunned silence that followed was just as amusing.

"The last time we saw you both, you could barely tolerate one another…how did it happen?" Bill asked, eyeing Willow trying to gauge her age. "It must have been very quick, Willow was it…looks around Rose's age!"

"Willows a little older than Rose," Harry commented, "We left together…" letting them draw their own conclusions. Only Hermione and Ron would ever know the truth and they would die before revealing it.

"I heard you have children of your own?" Severus commented, looking as if it physically hurt.

Harry laughed, his gaze seeking out his daughter, smiling at the sight of Rose and Willow playing with a few other children he didn't recognize. With cups of teas, whispering to their teddies and eating the cookies in the middle of the blanket. Yes, they were making the right decision to come back here.

"He has!" Molly beamed in utter pride despite her tiredness. The twins had been up since six o'clock today. "A daughter Victoire, a second daughter Dominique and a son Louis!" after so long of only having sons the Weasley family was flourishing with girls and she couldn't have been happier to have a lot of girls in the family. There were pictures of all of them all over the place, and naturally they had a place of pride on her new clock which was bigger and better – a gift from all her children and daughter-in-law's at Christmas – they had a new family member to place on it now. She just wished Ginny would take more responsibility for her children now that she was older.

"What do you mean you're married?" Ginny finally, finally found her voice. He was meant to marry her now that Dumbledore was gone and she was officially widowed.

"We just celebrated our third anniversary," Harry explained, perhaps now Ginny would get it.

"Bonded, not married," Severus corrected her, smirking viciously, Harry was his and would never be hers. They would always be connected; Harry would never be able to bond or marry another. They were in this for life.

"May I?" Molly asked, peering at the little boy in Harry's arms, eyes gleaming wetly, "Oh, Harry, I'm so happy for you." she could see that he was happy, she'd thought that sort of happiness was what he wanted with Ginny.

Harry stared at Molly for a few moments before he handed over his son. 'I'm forgiving you' was declared wordlessly between them. Beaming in delight, Molly relaxed a little, and began immediately cooing over the little boy.

"You're supposed to marry me!" Ginny choked out, shocked to the core. Bonded? Oh, she knew what that meant. She was a pureblood witch; she'd grown up on stories about bonding and marries throughout the family. Not many elected to bond anymore, preferring to marry instead. "You were supposed to marry me," she whined again plaintively.

"Ginny, get over it will you? you're not a kid anymore," Bill stated curtly. "Everyone else is outside, all the food's there too."

"Come with me," Arthur grasped a hold of his daughter, after urging Lillian to go play with her cousins. Leading her into his office, a stern look on his aging face.

"Did you get our gifts?" Harry asked Hermione, completely ignoring Ginny, as he had done for the past three years. Maybe now it would get through her thick skull that he didn't want anything to do with her. It was just utter rotten luck that she just happened to be family with Ron.

"We did, they're lovely!" Hermione said, "Thank you," handing Hugo over to Harry to let him hold him.

"You're welcome," Harry said, smiling down at the day-old boy. it was an odd time to have a baby shower after the child was there. Unfortunately, the pregnancy hadn't been an easy one for Hermione, and it was very doubtful Ron and Hermione would choose to have another after it. They'd decided to return for the birth, but go figure the child would be just as stubborn as it's parents and come stubbornly into the world early.

Everyone quickly made a beeline for the large gazebo that had been erected for the celebration of the next Weasley child. It had been used more in the past few years than the decades that they'd had it – even with Molly having numerous children herself – and the children loved it.

Arthur returned with the twins and without Ginny Weasley who didn't make a single appearance at the party afterwards. As much as Severus dreaded it, he rather began to enjoy himself, as he spoke about his current and past projects with Bill, Charlie and the twins surprisingly, as well as their significant others. The kids had their own tables, and enjoyed their own little tea party.

Severus didn't really have time to think too much on past occasions and begin to dislike it, thus time flew by.

"Where are you going next?" Arthur asked in delight, having been regaled with tales of all the countries that Harry and Severus had visited – which was them all – Arthur had never gone anywhere so it was amazing to hear of all the things they'd done.

"We've decided to come home and settle down," Harry admitted, "As lovely as it was travelling…Willow will need stability as she grows…" the founders loved her, he had a portrait they could visit in and they did often.

Arthur nodded in understanding, "Yes, she will do, she's a beautiful inquisitive little girl," not that he expected anything less from a little girl of Severus' and Harry's. She was an absolute darling, hadn't even cried when she fell down and hurt herself, strong resilient girl.

"Thank you," Harry said puffing up proudly.

"Do you have plans on a career?" Molly asked, her tone still a little hesitant. She'd thought her son would become an Auror and was shocked when he suddenly began to play chess professionally. She'd been disheartened at first…then she saw the income and began to realize Ron was doing something he loved and getting paid well for it. All her children except Ginny had thriving careers and were making more than enough money for their families to be more than just comfortable.

"Harry's bought a building in Hogsmeade," Severus entered into the conversation, "It's been entirely redone to be a children's dream, a nursery, for new-borns up to six." Not exactly what he'd expected Harry to do, but it was a wonderful idea and he suspected Harry just couldn't trust anyone else with their children. Which to be fair, he wouldn't be able to trust anyone else either. This way, their daughter could meet and befriend other children in a safe environment and he'd be there every moment she was.

Everyone expressed their interest, while Molly looked rather despondent. The thought of her grandchildren suddenly going to a nursery instead of coming home to the Burrow was rather…daunting.

"There's always room for volunteers as long as all children are treated equally," Harry whispered to her as they departed later that night. He intended for children of Slytherin students to be invited as well. Perhaps it would prevent the next generation of hatred and house prejudice.

Here's hoping his daughter and son would attend a fairer Hogwarts. One that didn't include house separation and practically segregating the Slytherins for the house they were sorted into.

More so if his daughter and son ended up in Slytherin.

As for the press? The first article contained pictures of his daughter and son, and Harry had rained hell down upon them, suing them for so much that they would have gone into liquidation if Harry himself hadn't stepped in. The reporter ended up in Azkaban for four months, while Harry bought the Daily Prophet for a pittance and since then it had become a very reputable newspaper that reported only the truth.

Harry systematically began to change the wizarding world over the next decade. The nursery was just the first step. The 'Shrieking shack' was torn down, and a building was erected in its place. A primary school, for children six years and up to Hogwarts age. For all students, pureblood's, half-blood's and the Muggleborn's who accepted their children into the school. The Ministry had resisted at first, until they realised the futility of it, in the end they had to agree it was worth it.

Students as young a six-years-old had 'training' wands, which had been overseen by Ollivander, Severus – as a spell crafter – and, Blaise Zabini and Bill Weasley. They collectively put their crafts together and came up with one that would prevent young wizards and witches attempting spells they had no right using. Such as ones they saw a parent using or an older student.

Having a primary school caused Minerva to completely overhaul the curriculum at Hogwarts. Otherwise the students were going to be so utterly dismayed and bored upon entrance to Hogwarts high. Co-aligning so that their education continued on an upward trajectory. Nobody had been more excited than professor Remus Lupin and Professor Babbling, since Runes for beginners were taught in primary school, which allowed her to utterly revamp her own style, and added to the fact first years were now able to take the class it wasn't for third years up.

Severus himself, had continued crafting potion after potion, spell after spell. He was in no way ready to retire, if anything he felt like his life had begun anew after leaving Hogwarts. It had been his crutch, his home, but it had also hurt his independence.

He always made time with his family, that was definitely the most important thing to him. He also wanted to his children to see how good and worthwhile a career was, and frankly? He wanted people who heard his name to associate it with good…not his spying days. He'd been cleared, yes, but it didn't stop the gossip.

He and Harry had spoken to Willow in the days leading up to her first year at Hogwarts. So that she wasn't so utterly blindsided if someone did have the audacity to say anything to her.

They'd had that very same conversation with their son just days ago.

Neither had so much as judged their father or cared overly much about mistakes he'd made in the past.

Just as Harry reassured him, they loved him and nothing would change that.

"Cedar Cypress Potter-Snape! Enough!" Harry stated firmly, separating his overzealous brother from his twin sister. Who grinned at her brother from between her dads legs, "Ebony enough!" warning her from tormenting her brother further.

"We want to go to Hogwarts too!" they wanted to be big like their big sister and brother.

"Wouldn't you miss your friends if you went to Hogwarts?" Severus asked the twins as he made his way into the hallway, he had a smattering of grey hairs, that he swears the twins had given him.

The twins stared at each other before staring at their dad before nodding.

"Then wait and attend with them, it's only a few years," Severus said, running his hand through their hair. Well adept in fending off the inevitable 'I want to go to Hogwarts too' questions having gone through it with Aspen. Who had hated being separated from his sister for the three years she'd been ahead of him. Although, in reality, he'd calmed down when she'd often come to see him at lunch while he was at primary school.

Hogwarts was still a boarding school, but the primary school was a day school all children returned home in the evening.

"Did you get it done?" Harry asked, putting the two sets of lunches – and the gold coins for the cart – into his children's school bags.

"Not yet, it's not cooperating," Severus sighed, shaking his head wryly, it would come to him eventually.

"Can I help dad?" Cedar asked eagerly. Completely forgetting that they weren't allowed in the potion's lab, well, more accurately couldn't get into it. It had been one of the first things Severus had done. Warded it to the nines to ensure nobody except himself or Harry could get in there. It was the same with the solarium, safety was the utmost priority in their lives.

They did get to play with their potion kits, which were all harmless ingredients and harmless potions. Beginning potions was fun for students at primary school, and in the long run it actually seemed to bring out more potential budding Potion Masters. Something the world sorely needed, after the way Severus had taught for years.

"How about after you return from school, and after any homework is complete," Severus suggested, Harry still worked in the nursery full time – no surprise – but Severus believed his husband would leave once Cedar and Ebony went to primary school.

"Salazar wants to talk to us, so it will have to be after that," Harry explained from the living room as he finished getting everyone ready for the day.

"What is it regarding?" Severus questioned as he flicked his wand putting away the food and drink Harry had been using to fill their children's lunchboxes.

"One of them taking over the Slytherin estate," Harry said quietly, out of all four of his kids, only the twins had so far displayed the ability to talk to snakes. "Makes sense really, they're the only ones that could take over the estate."

"Not necessarily, you certainly could have, just as Willow and Aspen," Severus pointed out.

"Not really, Willow doesn't have the ability to talk to snakes and Aspen already has the Black potential." Harry sighed, "Plus, I think you need the ability to talk to snakes to be legible to take on the Slytherin estate…or what's left of it."

"WILLOW! ASPEN! TIME TO GO!" Severus raised his voice but did not exactly shout, he didn't have to. "Good point," he'd forgotten that little detail.

"He's desperate to revive his name, can't say I blame him," Harry said thoughtfully, all of the founders wanted to see their names thrive.

"Let me guess, Rowena is going to be there as well?" Severus asked dryly, he wouldn't be surprised if she wanted Ebony to become the Ravenclaw heiress. She had Prince blood after all, and that made her a direct descendant of the Ravenclaw line just like him.

Harry laughed a little, "Yeah I think that's on the agenda,"

"Here, you're too late for breakfast," Harry said, handing them over a rapidly cooling pop-tart which would have to do them. Plus, if they did get hungry, they had a Tupperware container full of food. "Lunch is in your bags, trunks in the hallway?"

Both Aspen and Willow nodded to answer the question, mouths already full off the pop-tarts. They also had their school uniform on, Willow in her green and silver and Aspen in his blue and silver. Both excited to meet the rest of the Weasleys on the train and seeing their best friends. As if they hadn't just had dinner together last night with their uncle Ron and aunt Hermione.

"Cedar, Ebony, let's go otherwise you won't be able to see your brother and sister off on the train!" Severus called, knowing that would get their attention. After that Harry would Apparate the twins to his job at the nursery. Meanwhile he had three articles to write and a few potions he was trying to create all on commission.

They were happy with four children and had no plans for more.

Naturally, whether they had plans or not, Harry did end up giving birth to another boy, Rowen Lennox Potter-Snape.

Like all families they had their ups and downs, but Harry and Severus never forgot how hard they'd fought for this.

How hard Harry had fought for their family, their lives.

Severus had watched his husband's eyes go from haunted jaded eyes to happy jaded eyes which had been a beautiful accomplishment all on it's own.

The End

There we go! I'm not sure what else you might want to know but that's it! I hope you've enjoyed it, i might give it a do-over once I'm a 100% feeling better! The end! How about leaving a review and leaving it on a bang? :) R&R please!

Ginny ended up in St. Mungo's and her daughters were raised by Molly and Arthur where she couldn't hurt them or poison their minds (there was nowhere to put it)

As for the Slytherins who had stood back lost family...they worked tirelessly to prove they weren't their parents and donated a lot of money to the foundations that had been built by Harry in memory of those who had lost their lives fighting in the battle of Hogwarts...it had taken a decade but they had earned Severus' respect, and funnily enough...it had helped the Slytherin's move on far greater than anything else had.