Author: Sterling Dragonfly (aka Snapesgrrl)
Disclaimer: The lovely blond lady owns the characters. I promise to put them back after I'm done playing.
Warnings: Established relationship; implied mpreg; implied Harry/original male character
Feedback: Commentary, feedback, and constructive criticism are more than welcome at
Summary: Two years after fleeing England when his world collapsed around him, Harry decides to take his life back.
NO SPOILERS FOR HBP
October 27, 2001 – Heart's Ease Cottage, Hogsmeade
Harry Apparated into the front yard of his cottage and glanced around, smiling with satisfaction. The past three days had been a lot of hard work, but with the help of Dobby and two other house elves, the place was finally livable again. He carried the last of their luggage into the house and set it down in the front parlor. Molly Weasley had promised to come by around suppertime, bringing Dria back for the evening.
Walking over to the large stone fireplace, he carefully laid several logs onto the grate, then waved his wand, causing the wood to light. The flames licked merrily along the length of wood, gradually warming the cool room.
Harry moved about the room, lighting several lamps. The house elves had polished the wooden furniture until it gleamed in the soft glow of the lamplight. There was a settee and two armchairs arranged in a half-circle around the fireplace, with a small Oriental rug lying in front of the hearth. The small dining room set had been placed near the large window, so they could view the back garden as they ate. A hand carved roll-top desk sat to one side of the fireplace, with a matching chair in front of it.
Harry walked into the guest room where they would be sleeping and placed the suitcases onto the bed. The room was freshly painted, the pale cream color gleaming brightly on the walls. He had purchased a dark green duvet and bed curtains for the cherry wood four-poster and tossed several decorative pillows at the head of the bed. A dark, bentwood rocker sat in one corner, the green and gold brocaded upholstery matching the rest of the décor. Harry had found it the day before in a small antique shop just off Diagon Alley and thought it was perfect for their room.
Dria's crib stood in one corner, near the large wardrobe. It too was a four-poster, a delicate lace canopy draped across the top. All in all, Harry was pleased with the restful atmosphere of the house – he figured he would need it in the upcoming months, as he dealt with Severus and their broken relationship.
Once the last of their clothes were hung up in the wardrobe, he entered the kitchen and rummaged through the refrigerator. Harry had gone to the market earlier in the day and stocked up on enough food to last them for a week or so. After pulling out some chicken, he decided to make some soup. When the base was simmering on the stove, Harry switched on the radio to the Wizarding Wireless Network. The latest hit from the Weird Sisters was playing as he chopped some vegetables for the soup and he was singing along so loudly that he almost didn't hear the knock on the front door.
Wiping his hands on a towel as he made his way into the sitting room, Harry looked down at himself and shrugged. Whoever was there would just have to deal with his faded tee shirt and torn blue jeans. He flung the towel over his shoulder and pulled the door open. "Severus!" he exclaimed, surprised to see his husband standing there.
The other man was facing away from the door, a somber expression on his face as he surveyed the recently restored yard. Severus turned when he heard the squeak of the door hinges and thrust several gaily-wrapped packages at Harry. "Here, these are for Dria."
"Uh, thanks. Would you like to come in?" When Severus nodded, Harry moved aside to allow him to step inside. "Dria's not here right now; Molly's been keeping her while we finished cleaning the cottage. They should be here in a few minutes – would you like to wait?"
"I would like that. Do you mind?"
Harry chuckled as he walked back into the kitchen, Severus trailing behind him. "I wouldn't have asked if I had minded, Severus. Come sit down at the table while I finish preparing supper." He gestured at the small table then picked up the knife and started slicing some carrots. "Give me a second and I'll fix you some tea."
"Allow me." Rather than sitting down, Severus began to move about the kitchen, preparing the tea. Harry tossed in the last of the ingredients into the soup, stirring it one final time before lowering the temperature and placing the lid on the pot. As he cleaned up his mess, Severus set the tea, along with two cups and a plate of biscuits, onto the kitchen table.
Harry sat down across from his husband and poured himself a cup of tea. "Umm, I guess I should have asked you if it was alright for Dria and me to stay here." He reached for a biscuit and nibbled on it nervously.
"It's your house as well, Harry. I'm pleased that you've moved back in – the cottage has been vacant for too long." Severus took a sip of his tea then set down his teacup with a clatter. "I apologize for the state in which you found the place. I… well… I haven't been back since you… left."
"Given the number of cobwebs and the thickness of the dust that we found, that's a given." Harry snorted. He eyed Severus curiously as he asked, "Why haven't you been using the cottage? I know you liked to come here to escape the pressures at Hogwarts."
Severus replied simply, "You weren't here." He steadily met Harry's gaze, allowing the sorrow that he felt to be seen in his dark eyes. "When I realized that morning that you had discovered Lucius and me, I left here – I couldn't face what I had done to you."
Harry nodded, biting his lip as he glanced over at the closed bedroom door. Dobby had undertaken the cleaning of the room, since Harry still couldn't go in there. He knew he would need to face the memories contained within sooner or later, but he wasn't there yet – he wasn't sure when he would be. Deciding to change the subject to something less painful, he picked up one of the gifts, shaking it slightly, then grinned. "Well, whatever is in here rattles, so Dria should love it. She enjoys making as much noise as possible."
"You've done a wonderful job with her, Harry. I only wish…" Severus picked up his teacup again and stared down into the dark beverage. "I wish I could have been there for her as she was growing up – and for you."
"Merlin, Severus – you're going to have a lot of time to get to know her. After all, Dria's only a year and a half old!" Harry reached over and covered one of Severus' hands with his own. "I am sorry you missed out on her birth – it was incredible. She was so small, I was afraid to hold her for fear of breaking her."
Severus twisted his hand, entwining their fingers together. "Dria's still tiny – so delicate looking. She's wonderful, Harry." He looked up and met his husband's eyes. "I'm glad she's taken after you – Merlin knows she didn't deserve to inherit the Snape nose."
"Hey, don't insult your nose, you git. I'm rather fond of it." Harry went to kiss said appendage, but when Severus moved his head, their lips accidentally collided. Harry was quickly caught by the sweetness of the kiss – he didn't want it to end. Eventually though, he reluctantly pulled away and trailed a fingertip along Severus' damp lips. "That was nice."
"Yes." Severus hastily cleared his throat when he heard his raspy reply. He tightened his grip on Harry's hand as he said, "Harry, there's several things that I need to discuss with you. First of all, we need to ensure the wards here at the cottage are as powerful as possible, for your protection as well as Dria's." He brushed a strand of lank hair off his face impatiently and continued, "This place is fairly isolated and with the two of you living out here alone and I want to be assured of your safety."
Harry leaned back with a huff. "Let me guess – Tom Riddle is up to his usual tricks again." After Severus nodded, he tugged his hand free, jumped up and began prowling about the room. "Damn it, when's it going to end? I have Dria to think about now. I don't want to deal with him now – fuck, I've never wanted to face him."
Severus shrugged, not surprised by the bitter tone in Harry's voice. "I understand that, Harry, but you need to face facts. Voldemort is going to continue to pursue you, since you're the one who was named in the prophecy." He got to his feet and grabbed his husband's arm when he passed by him, swirling him to face him. "Harry, we need to consult with the Order – plans must be made."
Closing his eyes in frustration, Harry eventually nodded in agreement. "Fine – can you set it up? The sooner the better, I'm thinking." He opened his eyes, a troubled expression on his countenance. "Albus would be useful in strengthening the wards here, so I need to arrange that as well."
"Yes, I concur. The second thing I wanted to discuss with you – well, ask you, would be more accurate, is…" Severus paused, watching Harry's face carefully to gauge his reaction. "Our third anniversary is this Wednesday, and I would like to take you out for supper."
"Just supper?" Harry asked tentatively.
Severus smiled tenderly at his husband. "I promise to be a complete gentleman and keep my hands off your delectable body." He moved closer to the blushing man, lowering his head until his lips were mere centimeters from Harry's ear and whispered silkily, "However, that pledge only holds for the one night, you understand."
A shiver ran up Harry's spine as Severus' warm breath caressed his skin. "Umm… sure."
"Oh dear, am I interrupting?" Molly's voice held a touch of amusement in it, as she entered the front door with Dria in her arms.
Harry swiftly stepped away from Severus, running his hand over his hair nervously. He darted a look at the other man, who smirked at Harry's embarrassed face then smoothly said, "Of course not, Molly. Harry and I were merely discussing possible supper plans for Wednesday." Severus glanced at Molly, raising an eyebrow questioningly. "Would you be available to watch our daughter that evening?"
Molly's eyes flickered from Harry's bright red features to Severus' smug countenance, then she smiled happily. "Certainly, Severus. Will you be dropping her off at the Burrow, or shall I come here, Harry?"
"I… I… what time would suit you, Severus?"
Severus replied, "I'll make reservations for seven, and will meet you here at the cottage, if that's agreeable with you." After Harry nodded, he turned to the small girl in Molly's arms. Dria was cuddled up close to Molly's shoulder, sucking contentedly on her thumb as she studied him. "Hello, little one."
"Hi." Dria said around her thumb. She glanced at Harry then back at Severus. "You… Papa?"
"That's right, Dria. I'm your Papa." Severus reached out and gently brushed his finger down his daughter's soft cheek. "Did you have fun with Mrs. Weasley today?"
Molly giggled at Dria's confused look. "She's calling Grandma Molly, Severus – she doesn't have the slightest idea who Mrs. Weasley is." She handed the toddler to Harry and kissed her on the forehead. "I need to be going. Arthur will be home soon, and I haven't had a chance to get supper started yet. I'll see you on Wednesday, Harry?"
"Yes, thank you, Mrs. Weasley." Harry placed Dria on the floor then escorted Molly to the door. "I just want to thank you again for watching her these past few days. Things should settle down now that the cottage is finished." He hugged Molly and said, "We'll be by about six, okay?"
"Perfect. Why don't you plan on letting her spend the night? Arthur and Ginny would love to have the chance to spoil her and that way you don't have to rush your evening."
Harry looked over at Severus, blushing slightly as he answered, "That would be nice, Mrs. Weasley."
"Then it's all settled." With a small wave at Dria, Molly walked out, Apparating home as soon as she passed the protective wards on the cottage. Harry closed the door once she was gone then turned around. He grinned when he saw the others.
Severus was seated on the floor, a foot or two away from the little girl. Dria had retrieved a small, brightly colored ball from her toy chest, and the two of them were rolling it back and forth between each other. Dria's aim wasn't very accurate and she giggled merrily when the ball rolled past her Papa's outstretched hand. Severus made a show out of lunging for it, and she plopped down on her butt, excitedly clapping her hands at the sight.
Harry felt his heart lurch as he watched his husband and daughter playing together. He had always suspected that Severus would make a good father, and the guilt he felt from keeping her away from him for the first year and a half of her life was almost overwhelming. His eyes misted, and he blinked rapidly, dispelling the tears. He coughing inaudibly to dislodge the lump in his throat and asked, "Would you like to stay for supper, Severus? It's chicken soup and I believe I have some crusty bread to go with it."
Rising gracefully to his feet, Severus brushed his robes then regretfully shook his head. "Thank you for the invitation, Harry, but I must return to Hogwarts. Several of the fifth year Ravenclaws have detention this evening."
Harry smirked as he teased, "Well, we mustn't keep the dreaded Potions Master from his duties, hmm?"
Severus glowered at him, then snickered. "Fifty points from Gryffindor for your impertinence, Mr. Potter." Reaching down with one hand, he gently tangled his fingers in the curls on Dria's head. "Good night, little one." He stood upright again and kissed Harry lightly on the cheek. "I'll see you on Wednesday – six forty-five sharp." With a whirl of his robes, he quickly exited the homey cottage and headed back to Hogwarts.
Once supper was finished, Harry bathed Dria then carried her into their room. He put a fresh diaper on her and slipped a dainty nightgown over her head before sitting down in the rocking chair. He had lowered the lights in the room and the two of them rested quietly together in the peaceful atmosphere, Harry crooning a soft lullaby to his daughter.
Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
When you are King, dilly dilly,
I shall be Queen
Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so.
Call up your friends, dilly, dilly
Set them to work
Some to the plough, dilly dilly,
Some to the fork
Some to the hay, dilly dilly,
Some to thresh corn
Whilst you and I, dilly dilly,
Keep ourselves warm.
Lavender's blue, dilly dilly,
When you are King, dilly dilly,
I shall be Queen
Who told you so, dilly dilly,
Who told you so?
'Twas my own heart, dilly dilly,
That told me so.
As he sang the final line, Harry realized that Dria had fallen asleep, her tiny body a dead weight in his arms. He gently placed her in her crib, covering her with her blanket before dousing the lights completely and leaving the room.
After pouring a glass of lemonade for himself, Harry approached his desk, pulled out parchment, quill and ink and seated into his chair with a tired sigh. Joshua had asked him to keep in touch, and Harry felt he needed to let the other man know about the situation between Severus and himself.
Mr. Joshua Davenport
111 West Rich Street
United States of America
Saturday, October 27, 2001
The trip over went reasonably well. Dria was still suffering from her ear infection, so she was cranky on the flight here, but fortunately, that's cleared up now. She's back to being her usual sunny self, charming everyone she's met thus far.
We've settled into my old cottage for now. After a week of us staying at the tavern, we are both grateful for the peace and quiet of our own home. It took us several days to get it ready, but the wait was certainly worth it.
My adopted family came to see us the day after we arrived. It was good to see them again, and I was very lucky in that they seem to have forgiven me for disappearing without a word. Ron and Hermione are expecting their first baby and Ron's parents are looking forward to spoiling their first grandchild rotten. They are practicing their methods on Dria and she's enjoying every minute of it. Now, if I can only prevent her from becoming a holy terror over the whole thing!
There has been a change of plans as far as the divorce is concerned. I met with Severus a week ago, and it appears that there were circumstances about our break-up that I didn't know about. He's asked me to postpone filing the divorce papers until after the new year, in order to give us time to attempt a reconciliation.
Honestly, I'm very confused right now, but I have made the decision to go along with his request. He and I have a lot of history together, even before we were officially a couple, and it's hard just to walk away from it. I also feel I owe it to Dria to try to repair our relationship – she deserves to have both parents in her life.
I want to apologize to you for putting you in this situation. I will completely understand if you don't want to wait for me – I can't promise you anything other than my friendship. This hasn't been an easy decision for me. Obviously, there are no guarantees that Severus and I will get back together, and we have many problems to work out. However, I must admit that I want to try to repair our marriage.
Please give Robin a hug for me and tell her and Mike to behave! I miss all of you and look forward to seeing you sometime next year.
Harry sealed the parchment and rose to his feet, walking to the back of the cottage. He entered the glass-enclosed porch and made his way over to Hedwig's perch, petting her soft feathers as he spoke. "Hedwig, I need you to take this to Joshua please." She extended her foot and he tied the letter to it with a length of soft leather, then gave her several treats before opening the window. With one quiet hoot, she extended her wings and flew off, disappearing quickly into the night.
After ensuring that the cottage was locked up for the evening, Harry went into his bedroom and prepared for bed. He climbed under the covers and quickly fell into an exhausted sleep.
October 29, 2001—Somewhere in England
Lucius stood calmly in the anteroom, waiting to be called before his Lord. He mentally ran through the information he'd obtained from his agent in America, deciding exactly what and how to tell the Dark Lord what he had learned. The news had been good, and he knew that his Lord would be pleased with him tonight. He turned toward the door as it quietly opened, a robed and masked figure slipping into the room and closing it firmly behind him.
"Lucius, you're wanted within," Walden Macnair stated. "I hope you have something that will make the old bugger happy – he's in a particularly foul mood tonight."
"Ah, Walden, rest assured. By the time I'm through talking with our Lord, he will be in a much better state of mind." Lucius slid his white mask over his head, settling it comfortably across his face. He adjusted his robes one final time and grasped his silver-topped cane firmly in one hand. With a cool nod at his compatriot, he announced, "I'm ready."
Walden opened the door, motioning sardonically for Lucius to precede him into the room. Lucius haughtily sauntered through the entranceway, keeping his gaze firmly upon the reptilian figure ensconced on the throne in front of him. His fellow Death Eaters shifted uneasily and he overheard random comments about what an arrogant prick he was. He smirked behind his mask – this was exactly the effect he wanted. Upon reaching the dais steps, he made an elegant obeisance to his Lord, his head bowed respectfully as he waited for permission to speak.
Voldemort casually stroked Nagini's head as he asked, "My beautiful Luciusss, what have you for me tonight?" His red eyes flickered around the room, observing the movements of the other Death Eaters as they gathered closer, anxious to hear what the man had to say.
"My Lord, the rumors are true – Potter has returned to England." Lucius continued quietly, "There's more, my Lord. It appears the stupid brat brought his daughter with him and they're staying at a small cottage near Hogsmeade."
"Excellent, Luciusss." Voldemort sat back on his throne, a nastily triumphant smile on his snake-like face. "I want him watched conssstantly, making note of everyone he ssseesss, everyone who visitsss him." He turned to his left and addressed Macnair. "Sssend out the messssage, Macnair. Everyone mussst be prepared to move at a momentsss notice.
Macnair bowed as he said, "As you wish, my Lord. If I may be excused." He bowed again then twisted on his heel to leave the throne-room.
"You have done well, Luciusss, very well indeed." Voldemort said to Lucius as he stood up. He placed his hand on the man's shoulder, squeezing it tightly. "Talk to your contactsss at the Minissstry and let them know that the plansss ssshould begin sssoon. Ssshould everything work out, you will be greatly rewarded." With one final squeeze, he swept past the gathered Death Eaters and headed for his rooms.
Lucius allowed the tension to drain from his body – thank Merlin the Dark Lord had been content with his report. Now, he had business to attend to at the Ministry, then he planned on taking his wife out for a celebratory dinner.
He never noticed the dark, glittering eyes that followed him as he left the room.
October 29, 2001—Oceanside, Georgia, United States
Joshua unlocked his door, flipping on the lights in his living room and tossing his briefcase down on the sofa. He crossed into the kitchen and grabbed a bottle of water from the refrigerator, gulping half of it down in one long draw. Flopping down on the couch, he picked up the remote and began flipping through channels on the TV. It had been a long day at work, and he was tired.
As he idly listened to the latest sport scores, he wondered how Harry and Dria were doing. They had been gone almost two weeks, and he missed them both. Hopefully, Harry's soon-to-be ex-husband wasn't giving him a difficult time over the divorce.
After a quick glance at the clock, he decided to fix a light dinner then go to bed. Joshua was frying an egg on the stove when he heard a faint tapping on his living room window. He pulled back the curtain and was surprised to see Hedwig, perched awkwardly on the sill. He slid the window open and allowed the tired owl inside.
Joshua retrieved a bit of cheese from the kitchen, feeding it to Hedwig as he removed the letter from her leg. He sat on the couch as he cracked open the seal. After he'd rapidly scanned the words, he read them one more time then slumped back on the cushions, staring off into space.
Suddenly, he jumped up to his feet and exclaimed, "Ah, hell no." His movement startled Hedwig, who ruffled her feathers indignantly and flew out the open window. Joshua didn't notice her departure as he went over to his computer and logged on. Within a few minutes, he had reserved a seat on the next flight to London. There was no way he wasn't going to fight for Harry, and the only way he could that was by being in England with him.
An hour later, he locked his front door and picked up his suitcase. Joshua climbed into the waiting taxi and gave the driver instructions to take him to the airport. He would contact his Wizarding friends in London once he'd arrived and ask for their assistance in finding Harry's cottage. Now, all he could do was hope.
October 31, 2001 – Heart's Ease Cottage, Hogsmeade
Harry fastened his dark blue dress robes, fussing with the way the fabric laid over his shoulders. His fingers trembled as he finished and he firmly told himself to get over it. It wasn't as though he'd never been on a date before – there was no reason to be nervous.
Giving up on his hair as a hopeless case, he looked at himself in the mirror, satisfied with what he saw. Harry left the bedroom, stalking through the cottage as he waited for Severus. Dria was spending the night with the Weasleys, and his husband was due at any minute.
Finally, Harry threw himself into one of the armchairs by the fireplace, picking up a book that was lying on the end table and flipping through it in an attempt to distract himself. He kept glancing at the Wizarding clock on the mantel, willing the hand to hurry and move to the setting that stated 'Dinner with Severus'.
When the knock came at the door, he jumped up and rushed over to answer it. "You're late, Se… Joshua!"
"Hello, Harry." Joshua stepped into the cottage with a grin. "Surprise."