Author: Athea (
Fandom: Harry Potter
Pairing: Harry/Severus Snape
Title: Harry Potter and the Child of Love part six
Date: 31 December 2001

I gave them three days before I sent a message via Hedwig. They were either at daggers drawn or they were ready to think about the prophecy. I must admit to extreme curiosity as to which had occurred. I was worried about Severus and had been for some time. Now that I realized all that we'd missed when he came back to us, I was even more shocked and appalled.

Forgiving myself took years, especially when I had to inform him of Ophelia and my great-godson Thomas' deaths. To this day, I'm not sure why he was already depressed when I arrived. Taking him back to Hogwarts was the only thing I could do and luckily the Potions Master slot was open. He'd always been good with them and he'd graduated quite a number of good apothecary mages.

But the depression had remained and I was curious whether young Harry could get through to him. I knew that we could let the Child of Love prophecy go for another twelve years when the year of fire came again. There was however, another reason that I'd set these events in action. Harry needed the stability of a family that loved him completely.

Severus was a tenacious man and if his heart could be engaged, Harry could have no better defender. Whichever of them carried the child to term, both parents would love him or her with all their hearts. Finally, they would both have someone who loved them unconditionally. And if the match took hold, they'd each have a mate of power to watch over all three of them.

Gordius, Severus' owl, returned with an invitation to visit at teatime. That worked quite well for me and I went back to my work with a lighter heart. It sounded like they hadn't killed each other yet. I'd still take a peace offering with me, some of Harry's favorite chocolate frogs perhaps. I settled a dispute between two of the houses and fended off an inquiry from Malfoy about his dear friend Snape.

I doubted very much that they were friends. Severus had better taste than that. I told him that the potion's master had been exposed to the polka-dot mumps and was in quarantine until we knew if he had contracted that dread disease. He looked quite taken aback and I quickly swore him to secrecy to prevent any rumors from the school. He agreed too quickly and I smiled at the thought of Severus' return to teaching with that gossip around him.

It would liven things up considerably. About five, I procured some frogs and put up a note that I was taking a nap and wasn't to be disturbed. Then stepping through the bookcase, I came out in the cottage where I'd spent some of my most restful leaves. The living room was a little untidy and I could have sworn that most of the pillows had been on the floor until very recently.

Odd but odder yet was the sound of laughter from the kitchen. I quietly tiptoed to the doorway in time to see Severus pull Harry onto his lap and kiss him. I froze for a moment before hastily pulling back but neither of them was paying any attention to anything but each other.

But with the very air sizzling around the two of them, I began to rethink my celibacy. It had been a while since I'd taken a lover; the school took up much of my time and energy. Perhaps Minerva would like to go out for dinner? While I was pondering my alone state, they must have broken their kiss for the laughter reappeared.

"None of that, young man. I have no need of any aphrodisiacs when I have you to keep me on the qui vive." Could that be Severus' voice?

"It isn't for you, Sev. I was thinking that Dumbledore is stuck in a rut and might need a little help to finally ask Professor McGonagall out." Harry's laughing tones almost made me forgive his insinuation that I was slow.

"Well, I guess a little couldn't hurt. Sprinkle it on the lemon bars but for heaven's sake don't eat any of them yourself." Severus might have sounded stern if it hadn't been for the chuckle. "I'm going to need a stamina potion to keep up with your sex drive the way it is."

"It's all your fault, Sev, for being so sexy. I can't be blamed for attacking you every spare moment."

The sounds of another kiss were quite distinctive and I tiptoed back to the bookcase. It looked like my plan had succeeded beyond all expectations. Goodness, I blinked at the seascape over the mantle; they'd fallen in love. Severus' laughter had been absent for much too long, twenty-one years too long. If Harry could release that precious emotion then the Child of Love might really have a chance to be born now.

It had been centuries since the last one. I smiled delightedly and gave myself a pat on the back. It was time to let them know I was here. "Hello! Is tea ready? I brought frogs."

Severus appeared in a moment with his shirt rather haphazardly tucked in. "Albus, sit down. Harry is bringing in the tea tray."

I chose the wing back chair so they could sit together on the couch. Harry appeared carrying a very loaded tray. He was biting his lip with the effort to keep everything from tilting. Severus pulled up a small table and watched him like a hawk, ready to spell it up should it spill. But he got it down safely and soon I had a steaming cup in one hand and one of the lemon bars in the other. Soothing my conscious, I decided I'd been living a very staid life lately. I could use some livening up.

"Congratulations, it appears that you are well on your way to a friendship." I smiled at them and watched them exchange a look.

"More than a friendship, Albus," Severus still had that slightly stunned look of a man in love. "We have spoken about the prophecy and we ... would ..."

"We'll do it." Harry helped his lover out. "Sev wants to carry the baby but we have a couple of questions."

"Good, I'll answer them the best I can. It's been almost five centuries since the last Child of Love." The lemon bar was quite good.

"There may be a problem, Dumbledore. I'm sterile although no longer impotent." Severus spoke hesitantly with a quick look at Harry.

"I'm more glad than I can say that 'unable' has become 'able'. But you're not sterile, Severus." I assured him.

And that's when I heard what Ophelia had told him about Thomas before leaving him. The witch, the damnable witch had actually told him that he wasn't Thomas' father. I saw Harry slip an arm around his lover and could see from his face that we agreed about her nasty self.

"Severus, I can tell you uncategorically that you are not sterile. One of the tests that you go through every year for the physical would have told us that. And I know for a fact that Thomas was your son. His blood test came back with Wenton and Snape markers. Quite high markers actually, he would have been a fine wizard had he lived."

The poor man sat as if pole axed. I couldn't believe that he'd been keeping this horrible secret for all these years. No wonder he'd hidden away from the rest of us. He'd thought himself a failure in more ways than one. Thank goodness that Harry had broken through his hard shell, draining away all the poison that had filled him, first from Voldemort and then from Ophelia.

Tears were sliding down his face while he looked blindly at the fire. When his cup began to tilt, Harry rescued it. Putting both of their cups aside, he curled up in Severus' lap and hugged him close, rocking him gently. Severus' arms came around him and he buried his head in Harry's shoulder.

"See, I told you that you were a great father, Sev. He was your son and he would have realized that. He was so lucky to have you for a father." He laid his head on top of his lover's. "Maybe he'll come back to us."

"I'm not sterile." The muffled words were barely audible.

"Nope, not sterile. Not hopeless or unable or any of those evil things that Voldemort and Ophelia told you." Harry's eyes weren't all that dry themselves but his voice was steady. "Remember that I told you that I love you and now I'm even luckier that you love me."

His response was unheard by me but not by Harry, if that beaming smile was any indication. I finished my tea and waited for Severus to grow calm. It seemed that I'd been extremely remiss in my care of my only godson. This time I would do better, I think Harry will see to that.

Finally, Severus' head came up and he blew his nose on the handkerchief that Harry handed him. The look of peace on his face was one that I had never seen and I rejoiced at his newfound serenity. He looked at me and his smile was quite the nicest thing I'd seen in ages.

"Then, the last objection being taken care of, I guess we are ready to start preparing me for the ceremony." He moved Harry off his lap and picked up their cups again. "We've been going over the exercises that will link all four channels together. I remember the potion for conception but I'll need some of the ingredients from the lab."

"Yes, of course. Make a list and I'll procure them from a private supplier. I don't want anyone snooping around the lab to spot something gone."

The sharp look was much more familiar. "Snooping? Who are you talking about?"

"Malfoy Senior asked today after his dear friend Severus."

Harry stiffened and the fire in his eyes was not something I'd seen before. "Isn't there a way to keep him out of Severus' rooms?"

Severus smiled at his young lover and ran a calming hand over the stiff shoulders. "It's better that he looks around now and sees that my rooms are lonely and barren of all good cheer. Once we're back, we'll make sure that neither he nor anyone else can get back in."

Their eyes met and an entire conversation went on with just the lift of an eyebrow and a little grin. Really, this was quite fascinating. I'd had no idea that they were so ideally matched. I'd been hoping for friendship and instead they'd found a love that grew deeper with each passing moment.

The last time I'd seen emotions this strong was when Harry's parents met and loved. How very astonishing, I felt fifty years younger in the reflected glow of their joy. "Ahem! Back to the spell, please. Once you've used the potion, you'll need a safe place to consummate your love. Have you given thought to that?"

"Yes," Severus brought his eyes to me. "The safest place is the hot springs deep inside the mountain. If you'll set a guard over the entrance, no one will be able to interfere. And the earth magic will mask the flaring energies at the moment of conception."

"Why earth magic?" Harry looked from one to the other of us. "What 'flaring energies'?"

I'd more experience at explaining these energies. "Earth magic is slow, very slow, but also incredibly dense. The flaring energies will be the combination of your fire meeting Severus' water. Conception spells have an incredible display of power and light. Being underground and in water will keep anyone but the two of you experiencing the surge of energies."

"Brilliant!" Harry said with a sly glance at Severus.

"Slang, Potter." He admonished him with a mere shadow of his previously haughty self.

"Goodness, the two of you are going to have to work on your masks once you return to Hogwarts." I joked and caught the guilty looks they exchanged. "Never mind, I'm quite sure that you're up to the playacting needed to keep both of you safe. Now, I'll need another wizard to complete the guards. I believe that Minerva would enjoy helping out and she'd be safe with your secret."

"Why bring someone else in?" Harry was instantly suspicious.

"The four elements must be accounted for when the guards are placed. Harry, you provide fire, Severus is water personified, I am strongest in earth and Minerva is a master of air. That way, nothing can get in to harm you and nothing you do can get out." I explained a sixth year concept and watched him catch on immediately. Perhaps I should make some adjustments in the curriculum?

"She would be perfect, Albus. Perhaps you should take her out to dinner tonight and ask her?" Severus sounded perfectly innocent but Harry's eyes were watching me finish a second lemon tart.

"What a good idea, Sev. I haven't been on a date in almost twelve years. Why I'm feeling quite elated now that we've got a plan. Give me the list of ingredients to get from my private apothecary and I'll go back and get started. Now, you need to explore the hot springs before Sunday. I suggest that you spend the next two days doing that. Harry will need to practice holding you together while you reach inside of yourself to link the channels."

"That sounds dangerous, Sev, are you sure you want to do this?" Harry looked a little worried and Severus picked up his hand and placed a kiss in his palm.

It was quite the most erotic thing I'd ever witnessed.

"I want to carry our child more than I've ever wanted anything before." He said simply and I watched Harry melt into his arms. "I'll show you how it's done. It's really not all that dangerous, just a little tricky."

"Okay." I barely heard the answer but my eyes met my godson's and we nodded to each other. It was a little more than tricky but we'd get it done safely.

"Excellent, I thank you for the tea. May I take the lemon bars back with me? I don't believe I've ever eaten better."

Harry smothered a snort against Severus' chest then sat up looking innocently tousled. "I'll wrap them up for you, Headmaster. Perhaps Professor McGonagall would enjoy them, too?"

"What a good idea, they'll go well with the port I usually serve my guests after dinner." I smiled just as innocently back at him.

Severus looked a bit worried but he got up to get the list he'd made and Harry made a great show of wrapping the lemon tarts in wax paper. Taking both of them, I wished them a fond farewell and went back through the bookcase to my study. Closing and locking the portal behind me, I smiled at all we'd accomplished.

This Child of Love would be a very special child indeed.

The end for now