Title: A Year and a Day
Pairings: Harry/Daphne, Draco/Astoria
Pairing(s): Harry/Daphne, Draco/Astoria
Warnings: EWE, drunkenness (mentioned, never seen), non-canon pairings, magical transformations, meddling mothers, snogging
Summary: Young Severus Potter saw her first, then Harry noticed her and her world changed forever.
“Pardon?” Daphne asked, taking a sip of her tea. “Why do you say that?” She was visiting Draco Malfoy along with her sister Astoria. He was dating Daphne’s younger sister and as she was still of Hogwarts age, Daphne had come along to chaperone. She should chaperone despite Astoria’s age anyway, so propriety could be upheld.
The two sisters couldn’t be more different. Daphne was tall and willowy with piercing blue eyes and dishwater brown hair that she dyed blonde and charmed into ringlets. Astoria was slightly short for a witch, with straight strawberry-blonde hair and eyes that were as golden as a werewolf’s.
Daphne was glad that Draco had taken an interest in her sister. She certainly didn’t want him for herself.
Draco clicked down his teacup. “Remember that rumor?”
Astoria looked at him politely. Daphne rolled her eyes. “Which one? Wasn’t he supposed to be marrying the Weasley girl but then broke it off for some Muggle? That one?”
“No,” Draco answered succinctly. “The one about the boy he calls Severus.”
Daphne’s eyebrows shot up. She didn’t bother to look at Astoria; instead she gazed at Draco. “The lovechild?”
“That’s just the thing,” Astoria put in. “He’s too old to be a lovechild. I heard he was four years old and Harry Potter was not even eighteen when he gained custody. I heard one of the Slytherins say he was Snape’s lovechild, not Potter’s.”
Daphne laughed lightly. “I doubt it. Who would procreate with Snape?”
Draco looked at her harshly. “Some of us, it appears, have a higher opinion of Headmaster Snape than others.”
That shut Daphne up. Still, she wondered.
“Well, what about Severus Potter?” Astoria asked in curiosity. “He must be nearly five now.”
“Yes. On his fifth birthday Potter’s making me godfather. He says it’s what Snape would have wanted. It’s cryptic. I can’t figure out whose child it is.” He took a sip of his tea. “Why would he name the boy Severus if it was his own?”
“I’ve never seen Severus Potter,” Astoria admitted. “What’s he like?”
“Pale, black eyes, short black hair. Not as messy as Potter’s. Could be either of theirs. That would have made Potter fourteen when he was born.”
“It doesn’t bear thinking about,” Daphne put in quickly, not liking where the conversation was going. “Congratulations on such an honored position. Many would give their magic to be godparent to the Chosen One’s child.”
“Yes,” Astoria agreed. “They would, wouldn’t they?”
Draco looked between the two of them. “I admit I’m just flabbergasted. I’ll do it, of course. I’ve asked that Astoria be present and you, of course, Daphne, as her chaperone.”
“Really?” Astoria asked happily. “It would be a wonder to be present at a godparent bond. I never have before.”
Draco smiled at her, that rare elusive smile that he only seemed to give to her. “I’m glad then. It’s a week from Saturday. Two o’clock. I’ll send you the floo address.”
Daphne was dressed accordingly as she stepped out of the floo the designated Saturday, Astoria right behind her. She was wearing blue robes and a woven hat with a small veil to show the importance of the occasion. They were the only formal robes she could afford out of her savings. Her parents certainly couldn’t put nice or new clothes on her back.
Draco had purchased Astoria’s clothes. He was quite the considerate suitor.
The house was dark but clean. Daphne understood from Draco that it was the old Black seat.
Twelve Grimmauld Place. She’d read about it, after the war, how it had been the hide out of the Order of the Phoenix and then of Harry and his compatriots on the Horcrux Hunt. Somehow, she couldn’t imagine a more dire place.
A little boy from the top of the stairs jumped for joy. “Guests!” he called up before rushing down the stairs. He did in fact have short black hair and black eyes, his skin paler than the moon, and was wearing Gryffindor red robes. “Who are you?”
Astoria instantly smiled. “I’m Astoria Greengrass,” she said, stretching out her hand. “And you are?”
“Severus. Severus Potter.” He shook her hand.
“A pleasure to meet you,” Astoria cooed. “This is my sister Daphne.”
Severus’s sharp eyes locked on Daphne and he didn’t look away. She tried to smile at him but found that she couldn’t. He was too eerily familiar to her.
The floo lighted up and a woman with stringy blond hair and radish earrings stepped out. “Severus!” she called and the little boy instantly forgot about Daphne as he launched himself into the woman’s arms.
This was the infamous Luna Lovegood then.
Draco was the last to arrive. He immediately went up to Astoria and kissed her cheek, making her blush. Potter, at this point, had joined them all and was talking happily to Luna.
Daphne couldn’t take her eyes off him. She had never thought he was electric at Hogwarts, but he radiated power and good looks now.
Severus came over and tugged Daphne’s robes. “Were you in Gryffindor?” he asked in his child voice. “Dad was in Gryffindor.”
“No,” Daphne answered carefully. “I was in Slytherin. Your namesake was head of Slytherin House.”
He nodded solemnly. “Yes, Daddy told me. He said I could wear Gryffindor robes, though, because it’s my day, and I wanted to, you see.”
“How very thoughtful of him,” Daphne replied, catching Potter’s eye. “I think you look splendid.”
The ceremony was held in the living room and was solemn as it should be. The vows were recited and little Severus squirmed and kept on looking over at Daphne for whatever reason.
“It seems he’s quite taken with you,” Potter laughed as he brought her some punch after it was all said and done. “I’ve never seen him take to someone so quickly.”
“I’m not one for children,” she admitted. “Astoria’s always been better at it. I envy her that. She’ll be a wonderful mother.”
“Wedding bells any time soon?” Harry asked, looking over at where Astoria was talking animatedly to Luna Lovegood. Loony Lovegood. She certainly deserved that epithet given what she was wearing.
“After Hogwarts, in a year. It’s not official, of course, but unless something serious happens…”
“Yes, of course,” Harry agreed.
Severus escaped from Draco’s clutches at that point and ran over to Potter, who scooped him up and rested him on his hip.
Daphne gave them a small smile. “Will he spend much time at Malfoy Manor?”
“Draco’s agreed to weekly dinners. I have the same for my own godson Teddy, who’s much younger than Severus. That’s two nights out of the week planned. Oh, and then Luna’s coming over every other Wednesday when she’s in the country.”
“Sounds like you have quite a schedule.” She looked Harry over critically just as he began to eye her. He was tall for a man, with broad shoulders and shining green eyes no longer obscured by glasses. Potter really was quite the specimen with his Quidditch toned muscles. “I heard you haven’t become an auror like everyone planned.”
“No,” Harry laughed. “I want to see Severus grow up first. He deserves a happy home and a full time father.”
“If only we were all so lucky,” Daphne said, thinking of her own alcoholic father and her matchmaking Mama. Her older sister Leto was married unhappily to a rich Vienna banker and now Astoria had caught the eye of Draco Malfoy. Calliope was much too young to think of such things. If Mama ever found out Daphne had been present here today—
“Come to lunch,” Potter said suddenly. “Tomorrow.”
Daphne looked at him oddly. “Here? Without a chaperone?” The incredulousness in her voice must have been audible because he looked at her strangely.
“No. There’s this nice restaurant—family owned—in Russell Square. Muggle. I like to avoid reporters. I can get a sitter for Severus and we—could have lunch.” He was blushing now. Somehow it made him more attractive.
She really shouldn’t be thinking such things. If only he could see her dishwater hair, he would know she was the plain one in the family.
“You know I’m a pureblood.”
Harry looked her straight in the eye. “Yes. I know the Muggle world isn’t exactly your thing, most likely, but I—I want you to come. No chaperones, just us. I’m not going to go through a pureblood dance where I barely get to know you. Severus is a good judge of character and—“
“You fancy me,” she put in. “You’ve been watching me this whole afternoon.” She thought for a second. Yes, Potter was fit and gorgeous in an unconventional way. Mama would be pleased. “I only have one set of Muggle clothes,” she allowed. “They’re these things called jeans and a blouse.”
“That’d be fine,” he promised her. “Come here around 12:30? We can Apparate over together.”
She looked at him. “Swear you’re not trying to ruin my reputation.”
Harry held up his right hand, the other one was still holding little Severus. “I swear.”
“I’ll see you tomorrow then.” She swept off to where Draco was standing, studying the old Black Tapestry.
Daphne didn’t tell Astoria where she was going. She didn’t tell Mama either. Calliope was out with some friends, she was going into her fourth year, and Astoria was rereading all the love notes she had from Draco. He’d sent an entire ham today so they wouldn’t have to scour the fields for food. Draco had also been kind enough to send over an elaborate salad for Astoria, who was a vegetarian.
That was more than Daphne could say for Leto’s husband. He kept his wealth to himself and didn’t bother with the wellbeing of the Greengrass family. Being poor was not a crime, but it certainly made life difficult. Daphne had always had to wear hand-me-downs from her sister Leto and only now could afford a nice set of robes. She always saved her pocket money when she was a girl so she could go to the Muggle chemist to get dye for her hair.
Muggle London was strange and boisterous. Harry led her to a little Italian restaurant, where she was a little underdressed but not terribly so. In solidarity he had worn what he called khakis and a pullover.
“I don’t know Italian food,” she admitted, looking over the menu. “What’s good?”
“Penne alla Vodka,” he answered succinctly. “And we’ll get a nice bottle of Merlot, I think.”
“I hardly drink,” she admitted. They didn’t have the money for alcohol other than what her father spent at the local pub.
“Can I convince you to make this one of the occasions?” Harry asked, a twinkle in his eye. “I promise not to get you tipsy.”
“If you promise,” she answered frostily, putting down her menu.
He looked at her piercingly before ordering from the waiter. Daphne just sat there, uncertain what to do. She’d never really seen anyone at Hogwarts, she was the Ice Queen after all, so she was a little confused as to how to behave. It was so much easier when she was chaperoning Astoria. She could just fall into old house ways with Draco.
“Relax,” Harry said, taking her hand. “You look lovely.”
“In this?” she asked, a little surprised. “I know nothing of Muggle fashion, but it seems odd to me.”
“Very beautiful,” Harry confirmed. “I wouldn’t compliment you otherwise.”
“You know I was anathema at Hogwarts,” she stated carefully, her hand still in his. “I was nothing. I was next to nothing, and in Slytherin where position and money mattered.”
“I don’t care about those things,” Harry refuted. “You’re beautiful and I know you’re intelligent. You’re one of the most accomplished astrologers despite your age and you weren’t even in Divination with me!”
“It’s a gift—not something learned,” she admitted, thinking of her profession. She had to work to help keep food on the table. Indirectly. She paid rent now that she was out of Hogwarts, and that helped put food on the table—and allowed her father to drink more. Her Mama thought it was shameful that she worked, but as Daphne wasn’t married, she didn’t object. Daphne hoped that within a year she could get a flat for herself somewhere, once her reputation had grown and she had a few stable clients.
“What do you read in the stars?”
“People’s fortunes mainly,” she admitted. “People are terribly self-centered. I’ve read your fortune several times for female clients. When you never got back together with the Weaslette, an open season was declared.”
Harry blushed. “One of the many reasons I avoid the wizarding world when I can.”
“There’s also the fact that everyone is curious about your son,” she admitted. “I’ve read his fortune a few times as well.”
His face turned stony. “What did you learn?”
“I’ve told my clients that he was Severus Snape’s son, left to you in his will. The stars, however, hold many secrets regarding him. I could no sooner tell if he was your son by a Beauxbatons witch, as is usually supposed, or if he is, in fact, Severus Snape’s son.”
“Neither,” Harry admitted. “However, I’d rather they thought he was the son of a Beauxbatons witch. It would make him mine.”
“I’ll change my vision of the stars appropriately,” she promised. She tried to smile, but it came out weak and shaky. “Tell me a bit about yourself. Not the legend of Harry Potter, but Hadrianus Potter, the man.”
“How did you—?” He looked at her befuddled.
“I read the stars, remember? They speak of nothing regarding Harry Potter. I had to do my research to find you.”
“Well,” Harry breathed out. “I’ve only had one real girlfriend. She said she loved me, but she really loved the idea of me. When Severus came into my life, she insisted that I put him in an orphanage and forget about him.” He looked at her with soulful eyes. “But I couldn’t do that to Sev. I know what it’s like to grow up cold and hungry.”
“So do I,” Daphne admitted. They stared at each other for several moments before Daphne looked away, a slight blush to her cheeks. But how do you? her mind whispered in confusion as she looked at the man before her.
They walked back to Grimmauld Place, hand in hand, neither speaking to the other. It was a companionable silence and Daphne kept sneaking glances at Harry. He would smile back at her, and she would quickly look away, pretending she hadn’t been looking all along. Then the process would be repeated a few minutes later.
“I can Apparate from an alley,” she finally offered. “It might be easier. I could go directly to my room and no one will know I’ve been out in the Muggle world.”
“Your family not fans of it then?” Harry teased.
“Hardly,” she answered, and he led her down an alley and looked both ways. She disengaged her hand and was ready to turn on the spot, when Harry’s arm wrapped around the waist. “What are you doing?”
“Kissing you goodbye,” he said quietly, moving closer to her until they were just a breath away.
“Don’t you think that’s a little out of form?” she asked, a little afraid. She’d never been kissed before. Pureblood courtships didn’t allow for such familiarity and she’d never had a boyfriend at Hogwarts.
“Don’t you want me to?” he asked instead, and she stared into his electric eyes and felt a shock move through her. He must have seen something in her expression because he moved in and pressed his lips softly to hers.
Daphne, when she was in her room and changing, couldn’t figure out how to describe the kiss. The flesh of the lip was somehow naturally moist and the press of a mouth to her own was strange and foreign. However, she didn’t pull away. She stood there and carefully brought her hands up to behind his neck so he wouldn’t move and this moment she had secretly dreamed about since she was a little girl—her very first kiss—wouldn’t end.
The thought brought a smile to her lips now.
The flowers arrived the next day. Mama originally thought they were from Draco to Astoria so she brought them to her younger sister, but Astoria soon knocked on her door and brought the simple bouquet of lavender and forget-me-nots in. “It’s for you,” she said, holding out the card. “This was nestled inside.”
Daphne took the note and saw that it was written in a child’s hand. Severus, then.
“Well?” Astoria asked, and Daphne pinked.
She quickly opened it and saw a message about how her eyes reminded Harry of forget-me-nots and the lavender was to help her achieve sweet dreams. Both Harry and Severus had signed the note.
Taking the flowers, she inhaled deeply and was glad that they hid her blush.
“You,” Astoria said pointedly, “have a secret admirer.”
“Don’t tell Mama,” Daphne begged. “She’ll push until it’s all tangled up and ruined.”
“She’s not like that with me and Draco.”
Daphne looked at her incredulously. “Draco sends us food. She’s hardly going to mess with that. I do my best to provide for this family, but Father steals the money and drinks it away.”
“Yes,” Astoria agreed sadly. “I understand why you opened that secret account at Gringotts.”
When her father first raided her galleons, Daphne thought she had simply misplaced the money. When it happened again and again, she started to suspect, especially when he came home drunk more often. Resolutely, she decided she had to hide the money, so she did so in the only place she could think of: Gringotts. She didn’t even bring the money home now. Once she was paid, she would immediately deposit it, even sitting for hours on the steps of the bank, waiting for it to open.
She had a nice tidy sum now, but it wasn’t enough for her to strike out on her own. Daphne didn’t touch the money except to pay her measly rent and to occasionally buy robes. It was sacred. It showed that she could survive on her own and move past the destitution of her childhood.
“Who is it, though?” Astoria wheedled. “I won’t tell.”
“True, you’re not Callie.” Calliope would tell their Mama anything if it won her a smile. “It’s—it’s from Harry and Severus Potter.”
Astoria almost fell of her perch on the small table that housed Daphne’s star charts. “Harry—Potter?”
“Yes,” Daphne agreed. “Not a word.”
“Not a word,” Astoria promised, coming forward and grasping Daphne’s hand. “Is that where you went yesterday when you were supposedly working? Don’t think I didn’t notice that your work robes were still in the closet. I came in here to borrow your school books.”
“He took me on what I think is called a date,” Daphne confided. “We went to this restaurant and he kissed me afterward.”
“Harry Potter kissed you?” Astoria asked in awe. “What was it like?”
“Strange. It was not unpleasant.”
Astoria looked down and blushed. “Sometimes I wonder what it would be like for Draco to kiss me. It seems horrible that we’ll have to wait until our engagement kiss.”
Daphne looked at her. “And when will that be?”
“I’m hoping by the end of summer,” Astoria answered plainly. “I’m seventeen in September, and it would be wonderful to plan a summer wedding for next year.”
“Yes, I suppose so,” Daphne answered. She wondered, to herself, if she would ever have a wedding or if she would end up an old maid.
More flowers came, and of course Mama found out about it.
“This is the third day,” she trilled. “I know they’re probably not for Astoria because Draco prefers greenhouse flowers, and I can see that they’re all in your room. Who is he?”
Daphne looked at her balefully. “A widower,” she finally decided on. Harry did have a son and no wife. The war had also taken several witches. It was a conceivable not-quite-half-truth.
“A widower?” her Mama asked. “So, you’re playing second fiddle.”
Daphne tried to hold back a flinch. The words hurt, even if they weren’t entirely true.
She looked around at the flowers. “He sent you foxgloves,” she noticed. “Wild ones.”
“I think he likes wild flowers—or his son does.” All of her notes were addressed to her by Severus so she wouldn’t be surprised if he was the architect of some of the bouquets.
“How old is the son?” Her Mama was now going about the room, inspecting the flowers with a critical eye.
“Not yet Hogwarts age,” Daphne responded.
“That could mean anything,” Mama retorted. “Who accompanied you on your first encounter?”
That was pureblood for ‘date.’ Daphne took in a deep breath. “We were alone but in public. Please, Mama, let me see how this romance turns out. I’m not like Astoria—I’m not personable, I’m not as pretty, I was the Ice Queen of Slytherin.”
“Ice Queens are notoriously beautiful. However, I take your point.—Is he wealthy?”
“Wealthy enough.” To be honest, Daphne had no idea how much he was worth. She knew Witch Weekly had tried to approximate his wealth with little to go on, but what she did know was that he was wealthy enough to not work. That had to count for something.
“I’ll go with you next time. Astoria and Callie are too young,” Mama said decidedly. “You need a proper escort.”
“Absolutely not,” Daphne argued. “I will see him my way for however long we’re both inclined.”
“Not a pureblood then.” Mama sighed. “Have I taught you nothing?”
“I’m going after my own happiness. Be thankful that both his parents were wizards.”
“Not a hint then.” Mama’s voice was cold. “You know, I could throw you out of this house. You’re of age. You have a profession.”
“Astoria would never hear of it,” Daphne argued back. “And you know you have to keep her happy. She’s the one who keeps food on this table!” Daphne had never been so forceful but she would not have Mama interfere with Harry in the least. “I have a headache,” she finally said, “and an appointment at ten tonight. Please—just go.”
Surprisingly, her appointment was with Ginny Weasley. The Weaslette had sent an anonymous request with coordinates, and when Daphne Apparated in she was surprised to see the younger girl. She knew the Weaslette had enough money. She was one of the Sports columnists for The Daily Prophet.
“Excellent!” the Weaslette enthused, her jeans hugging her hips. “I need the stars read.”
Daphne looked around her and saw they were in a field. “Where are we exactly?”
“Oh, about a mile from my childhood home—the Burrow. Ottery-St-Catchpole. It’s an excellent place for stargazing. We’re away from all those horrible city lights, don’t you agree?”
Daphne looked at the sky. It was certainly clear. “I suppose we’d better lie on our backs, then. It will be easier since we don’t have a telescope.”
The Weaslette looked affronted. “Won’t that get my shirt dirty?” It was rather flimsy and white. Almost transparent, but the Weaslette was fortunately wearing a brazier.
“There are cleaning charms,” Daphne deadpanned. “What is your query?”
“An ex-boyfriend. I want to see if there’s any chance he’ll give up his bastard son and come back to me.” She said this a little breathlessly, a tint of pink on her cheekbones that clashed with her hair.
Daphne looked at her critically. She was pretty, in her way. She had long ginger hair and expressive brown eyes.
“I take it we are speaking of Harry Potter,” she mused, before sitting down in the grass. She took out one of her star charts and then gazed at the heavens.
“He’s not giving up his son,” she stated resolutely. The Weaslette was still standing. “Do you see the second star of Orion’s belt? It shines brightly compared to the other two, showing that there will be a great hold on him from someone dependent. Young Severus is the link in his very being.”
The Weaslette huffed and crossed her arms. “Anything else?”
“He’s getting married,” Daphne said in astonishment. “Look at Venus. She’s cloudy and just beginning to appear, showing that the idea is new and forming, but it’s definitely marriage. I’d say he’ll be married before the year is out. Hmm.” She paused. “A ‘year and a day’ is important. Look at Cassiopeia.”
The Weaslette clapped her hands and jumped in her place. “Perfect! We’ll be married and then I can deal with that nasty child.” She grinned at Daphne. “Thank you ever so much. Ten galleons, wasn’t it?” She held out a bag and Daphne took it as she stood. “You really are a wonder. I’ll tell all my friends, you’ll be sure. Marriage to Harry! How utterly perfect, isn’t it?”
Daphne didn’t answer. She wondered if the Venus meant that Harry would be marrying her—and not Ginny—instead.
When Daphne saw Harry the next morning, Severus ran into her arms and she almost dropped him in surprise. He hugged her legs fiercely and looked up at her with that familiar stare that she could not quite place.
“There you are,” Harry said with a grin. He leaned over and kissed her gently and she smiled minutely at the action. “Severus thought we could all go to Florean Fortescue’s as he hasn’t been in at least a week! How did you like our flowers?”
“They brought a bit of the outdoors into my room,” she answered truthfully. “I appreciated how different they are from the bouquets Draco sends Astoria.”
“I’m doing all right then,” Harry said, scratching where his hair met his neck nervously. “Is the lavender helping you sleep after your late nights of stargazing?”
She did manage to smile this time. “Like a baby.”
Severus was still holding onto her fiercely. She really didn’t understand it.
Of course, Severus was covered in ice cream by the time they were finished. A photographer had found them and had snapped a picture for The Daily Prophet, making Daphne feel uncomfortable as she wanted to keep this a secret for as long as possible.
She wondered what the Weaslette would have to say.
“Bath!” Severus announced, pulling Daphne back to Grimmauld Place. “Daddy gets me the best shampoos,” he explained with the excitement of a five-year-old. “He sends for some of them from Milan.”
Daphne looked over at Harry. ‘Spoil him much?’ she mouthed.
Harry smiled enigmatically back at her.
“You will take a bath with me, won’t you?” Daphne looked at him horrified. He wanted her to—strip and get into the water with him?
Reaching out a hand to touch her arm, Harry explained. “He wants you to help give him a bath. He likes playing with bubbles and adores the way his shampoos smell.”
“I—“ she began. “I’m sure your father would love to give you a bath once I leave.”
“No, please!” Severus begged. “Daddy told me you were special, and I knew the moment I saw you! I knew you were meant to be mine!”
“He’s a little Clairvoyant,” Harry explained. “He’s good at predicting when unexpected visitors are going to arrive or what the wizarding stock market is going to do.”
“Really?” Daphne asked, impressed. “Perhaps he’ll make prophecies when he gets older.”
“I don’t know,” Harry said, as if he was trying to remember something. “Perhaps. I would be surprised, though.”
Daphne ended up staying for bath time. Severus would hear of nothing else. Harry taught her how to scrub Severus’s hair, which turned out to be naturally greasy which is why he had all these expensive shampoos, and Daphne was soaked by the end of it.
She couldn’t stop giggling once they had dried Severus off and put him to bed for a nap. Harry caught her in his arms and she lowered her head to his shoulders, just laughing. “I haven’t had such fun in an age!” she admitted, surprising herself. “We could never afford bubbles—“
Harry smiled at her and lifted her head. She still continued to giggle, her cheeks flushed pink.
“I like to see you laughing,” Harry admitted huskily, and she looked at him with an openness she hadn’t expected of herself. Keeping his gaze, and feeling the wonder of his strong arms around her, she reached up slightly on her toes and kissed him tenderly. When she pulled back, eyes closed, she heard him sigh.
Then his mouth was on hers again and he was crushing her to his body, leaning her down so that he was partly sweeping her off her feet and she laughed into his mouth.
“You smell of apples,” Harry growled, and then he was pushing her against the door, tongue meeting tongue, and although Daphne was a little unsure, Harry coaxed her through the movements for all the passion that stirred between them. “God, you’re amazing,” he whispered when they finally pulled apart, her heart racing and her eyes glazed over with want. “Why did I never just steal you away from Pansy Parkinson and snog you in a closet?”
Daphne was laughing again, her forehead meeting his. “I wouldn’t have let you,” she admitted. “And weren’t you worrying about more important things?”
“What’s more important to a young wizard than having a beautiful witch in his arms?”
“His son,” Daphne reminded him. “You are still a young wizard after all.”
Harry’s face lost a little of the wonder as he sobered a bit, but he still kept her close to his body. She nestled her head beneath his chin and listened to his heartbeats.
“I know you’re a father first,” she murmured into the silence. “I respect that.”
“Do you?” he asked. “If you knew who Severus was—well, you might have a different reaction than Ginny, come to think of it—but—oomph.”
She leaned up and kissed him, hard, her right hand cupping the side of his face. He held her closer and the kiss lengthened until her legs felt like goo and actually gave out on her. Harry was quick to sweep her up and carried her to a room with a sofa, where he laid her down, all the while kissing her.
Daphne’s body warmed under the assault and she moaned when her back hit the soft sofa. She could stay like this for years, she decided, Harry hovering next to her, arm around her waist, hand roving up her corset.
She broke away quickly. “You—can’t—it’s just not done!” she exclaimed. Harry looked at her befuddled.
“Too soon, I get it,” he placated, taking his hand away from where it was hovering just beneath her breast.
“Too soon? I shouldn’t even let you kiss me! I shouldn’t be alone with you, especially in your house! And you—and you—gah!” She threw her head in her hands and tried not to hyperventilate.
She felt Harry shifting beside her and suddenly her back was leaning against his chest.
“I’m sorry,” he murmured into her hair. “I’ve only had two girlfriends—if you can call Cho a girlfriend—and although Ginny was a pureblood, we messed around a bit before she got fed up with Severus and left.”
Daphne took in a deep breath. “How could anyone be fed up with a little boy? Yes, they scream and cry, but they grow out of that eventually.” She was thinking of her own sister Calliope, who did actually cry a great deal. Callie hated any sort of change and couldn’t quite take it.
“Yes, Severus never was one for temper tantrums,” Harry mused.
“But you and the Weaslette—you did things?” Daphne asked, slightly affronted. “How dreadful!”
Harry looked at her askance. “I take it nothing like that happens in Slytherin.”
“We don’t even snog in closets,” she admitted. “Anything else would just be—strange.”
He hummed and kissed the top of her head. “We all got a little war crazy. Ron and Hermione started sharing a sleeping bag around Valentine’s Day just before the war ended. And Ginny—she’s a bit frisky.”
“Her idea then,” Daphne surmised. Pondering for a moment, she finally said, “She was my client last night. She had me read your fortune in the stars.”
“Do I want to know?”
“Not all of it, I think, though perhaps you better be warned. She interpreted it as meaning that the two of you were going to get married and then she could get rid of Severus. I’d not let him around any of the Weasleys if I were you.”
“No,” Harry agreed. “Not even Ron likes him. Sometimes I wish Sev were my lovechild with a Beauxbatons student. It would make life so much easier.”
“The years don’t match up,” Daphne noted. “He would have to be just four now if she gave birth at the end of our fourth year. He’s a year too old.”
“Tell the world that,” Harry laughed. “I’ll keep an eye out for Ginny, though, thanks.”
He combed his fingers through her hair and she closed her eyes in contentment. She could stay like this forever…
She woke up and found that the sun was setting. “Oh, no,” she murmured as she got up from the couch. “Calliope’s certainly home by now and would have noticed.”
“I sent a note to Malfoy,” Harry said from the door. “You’ve been invited to our weekly dinner.”
“Have I?” she asked in bewilderment. “Is Astoria going to be there?”
“No,” he answered carefully. “We didn’t want to overwhelm Severus.”
Astoria had gone to the washroom.
“Thinking?” Daphne questioned.
“You and Potter. The only reason that photograph wasn’t in The Daily Prophet last month was because I bought it. You’re being far too reckless.”
“I disagree,” she answered. “Harry is a gentleman. He just doesn’t know our ways.”
“Then make him know our ways.”
She shook her head, her blonde hair falling in a cascade behind her back. “No. I like things how they are. They’re—comfortable.”
“Comfortable.” He didn’t sound at all convinced. “What does your Mama say?”
Daphne bristled. “She’s commented on his flowers but nothing else. She thinks I’m being pursued by a widower with a son not yet in Hogwarts.”
“Well, it’s all correct except for the widower part. That should keep her off the scent—but for how long?”
“Long enough,” Daphne responded coolly. “Astoria’s had you since her fourth year. I’ve had nobody. Let me have this, Draco.”
“Does Astoria know?”
“Of course, she does! She keeps on telling me how to spoil Severus rotten.” She laughed slightly. “Really, all that boy wants is a hug and someone to listen to him.”
“Oh,” Draco breathed. “You’re in deep.”
“Beg pardon?” Daphne looked at him a little curiously.
“You’ve fallen for his son—the one none of his friends can stand. Potter actually told me in confidence that he considered giving Severus two godfathers—me and Ronald Weasley—but Weasley flatly refused. Apparently the whole Weasley clan blame him for the Potter-Weaslette break-up. I have no idea how Granger feels.”
Daphne raised her eyebrows. “Well, the Weaslette certainly doesn’t like Severus,” she conceded. “I don’t see why. He’s such a sweet mannered boy.”
“Two points,” Draco said melodically and a bit stuffily. “One,” he held up a finger, “he’s the son of Severus Snape. Gryffindors hated Headmaster Snape. It doesn’t matter if he’s a war hero. Their general mistrust still lingers. It wouldn’t make sense for their precious Potter to take in his son. Two,” and now he raised a second finger, “he’s Potter’s illegitimate son by some Beauxbatons student. Who is she? Could she possibly swoop into Potter’s life and take him and Severus away? What did she have our fourth year that none of the Gryffindor girls had?”
She looked at him nonplussed and he stared at her with calculating gray eyes.
“Well,” Daphne said after a pause, “I was rather fond of Professor Snape. He always sent us a goose at Christmas although he hardly needed to. As to the second, it’s absolutely absurd. Harry was concentrating on not dying fourth year, not seducing some French witch.”
“I think that’s enough of that,” Astoria said, floating into the box. “I barely have any time with Draco as it is. We can talk about Harry and Severus Potter later.”
Daphne saw Harry two days later. “I thought we’d go to Potter Abbey,” he said, toeing the ground. “I’ve only been there once or twice, and I hadn’t really planned on moving in unless I had a large family, but—well—you deserve more than Grimmauld Place.”
She looked at him with suspicion. “Doesn’t Severus deserve more than Grimmauld Place? It is a little shabby.”
“He’s a happy child,” Harry deflected. “He just wants to be loved.”
“Something I’m sure he doesn’t lack.” Daphne sighed. “Harry, we’ve been doing whatever we’re doing for a month. Don’t you think it’s a bit soon?”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Harry argued. “We both know that I send your heart racing and that whenever I walk into a room, your eyes immediately go to me.”
“I could say the same about you. But you’re a Gryffindor. Surely, you have other requirements apart from attraction.”
“You love my son,” he stated soberly. “You don’t even know who he is, but you love him.”
“He is rather adorable,” Daphne conceded. “He loves his shampoos so much. It’s rather endearing.” She remembered just the other day when she had given him a bath with almond scented shampoo. His hair had come out soft to the touch, and she couldn’t help but bury her nose in it and smell the freshness of childhood and almonds. “But I won’t look at Potter Abbey until we’re engaged. I’m not one for stepping ahead in the rounds.”
“Ever the Slytherin,” Harry said slyly. “Fine, I’ll take you dancing.”
“Dancing,” she said cryptically. “You can’t possibly take me dancing without a reporter spotting us.”
“I can in the Muggle world.” Harry was grinning now. “What do you know of clubbing?”
“Never heard of it,” she admitted. “I wouldn’t know what to wear.”
“I’ll take you shopping. It will be splendid.”
“I have a feeling I’m going to regret this,” she stated prophetically.
“You’ll love it,” Harry promised against her ear. He kissed her on the neck and a shiver ran down her spine.
Severus, of course, came along. They ended up in a shop where the shopgirl dressed her first in tight leather pants and a sequins—well, shirt is too kind a word—thing with no straps and that hung off her torso in a triangle that shimmered. The back was simply strings that held it together. It was very snug around her chest so that it wouldn’t fall off. Harry matched it with a leather jacket to keep her warm.
The second outfit was a dress, also without straps, with layers of sparkling lace, one on top of the other, that moved as she did.
Severus decided he liked the first. Daphne did feel a little more covered in it with the jacket.
Of course, the jacket was soon forgotten about when she went dancing. Harry had let her use his owl where she informed her Mama she would be out late on a reading, and then whisked her away in a cab.
He stored her wand for her in his sleeve as she obviously didn’t have any place to put it.
The music—so strange and different and what Harry called “dance music” or “electronica”—throbbed around her and the lowlighting was offset by the sparks of shimmering light that came from the ceiling.
“Can I get you something to drink?” Harry shouted into her ear. It was rather loud.
“I told you. I’m not used to alcohol.”
“A cocktail, please,” he begged and kissed her on the nose.
“Pick something for me, then,” she relented. “And if I get sick, you’re pulling back my hair!”
He laughed and headed to the bar. Daphne was just left standing there. She wasn’t alone for long.
“Hey, beautiful,” a man in a black shirt said, sidling up to her. “What brings you here tonight?”
“My boyfriend,” she answered as she stepped out of his grasp. It seemed like he was trying to swing his hand around her waist.
Harry ended up bringing over her drink and shooing the man off. He had an innate power of being dangerous, although she knew he could never hurt a fly unless it was the Dark Lord, that scared people when he wanted it to.
The drink was orange and bubbly. She took sips of it as Harry drank from what he informed her was a ‘beer,’ and she told him never to get beer again. Her father drank beer, after all. In large quantities.
He instantly threw it in the trash and got a “Pop!drink” called Vodka Blue that was electric blue and smelled like cotton candy.
“It’s disgusting!” he shouted in her ear, but at least he didn’t smell like her father anymore. She wouldn’t be able to stand that. She kissed him hard on the mouth, and he pulled her to him, the upper part of her bare hips touching the smoothness of his trousers. It was utterly intoxicating.
She held her drink out to the side as she wound her hand through his messy hair, and he pulled her closer to him, his drink held in his fingers where his hands met at the smoothness of her naked back.
“God, this shirt should be illegal,” he murmured into her mouth.
“It is,” she answered, “in the wizarding world.”
They looked at each other and she could help but giggle and he had to save her drink from being sloshed. It was in a tall champagne flute and made her feel rather giddy. Just having Harry near her usually made her heart beat quickly. She dreamt of him, hovering over her on that couch, caressing her body, where she let him go further…
But now, this was just too funny. Daphne Greengrass, Ice Queen, was flaunting all of wizarding propriety. Her Mama would have a fit! She would be utterly ruined if anyone found out.
Harry watched her avidly as she tried to regain control, her hand on his strong shoulder, and eventually she breathed loudly and stopped giggling. “Miss Greengrass,” he intoned, giving her back her drink. She took a sip of it.
“What’s this called?”
“A mimosa,” he shouted. “It’s champagne and orange juice.”
She looked at him and then took another sip. Clearly, he had taste.
Within the hour, her empty glass and his bottle discarded on the bar, she was on the dance floor and in Harry’s arms. It took her about ten minutes to just get used to moving to the music, her hands above her head, twisting in spell patterns that Muggles just wouldn’t recognize, or around Harry’s neck. When he kissed her, long and slow and just a bit sloppy, she stilled and surged forward, meeting him with every movement, just being alone in their little dance world. He felt so strong in her arms and she felt loved and protected. Could he love her? It had only been a month. He had wanted to show her Potter Abbey—a house to rival Malfoy Manor from what she had heard—that had to mean something.
Her lips were bruised by the end of the night, and Harry had to carry her home, her feet hurt so much from dancing. They Apparated away in a back alley and she rested her head against his shoulder.
“I had a room made up, just in case,” he told her huskily. “It used to belong to the second son of the house. It’s quite comfortable.”
She sighed in agreement and he carried her up the stairs to a room in blues and silvers. He took off her shoes carefully and didn’t look when she shimmied out of her leather pants, going to sleep in only her strange shirt and her underwear. If only Astoria could see her, oh, how she’d laugh! Then scold. Definitely scold.
Severus was overjoyed to see her the next morning. He launched himself out of his seat at the kitchen table and clung onto her. She was back in her robes, her dance clothes tucked away in their shopping bag. She was only a little worse for wear. Harry had kindly left her wand on her bedside table. It was eleven and a half inches, unicorn hair and maple.
“Here’s my little magician!” she teased as she lifted Severus up into her arms and he squealed happily.
Harry looked over at them in contentment. She could see it in his eyes. He was imagining the three of them as a family.
“You were gone all night!” Calliope announced as soon as she was home. “Wherever were you?”
Daphne looked at her tiredly. “I had a long reading. The young lady kindly offered me a bed to stay in as it was past four in the morning.”
“I hope she paid you well,” Mama scolded. “Not that you contribute to the household.”
“I pay rent!” Daphne snapped, unhappy to be away from Harry and Severus. “Or would you rather I move out and you lose the galleons?” It would be hard, but she could make it work. She had Slytherin resourcefulness.
“Daphne, how unlike you,” her Mama admonished. “You know you are always welcome here. How is your gentleman friend? Have you seen him recently?”
“Yesterday,” she answered somewhat truthfully. “We went to Muggle London with his son.”
“Oh, Daphne,” Calliope said with wide eyes. “To marry a man and not carry his heirs! This son will inherit the entire estate!”
“I expect he’ll inherit the bulk of it, yes,” Daphne answered. “But ‘my suitor’ would never leave his other children with nothing.” Unlike us, Daphne thought. None of the girls would inherit even the house. Uncle Diomedes let them use it because he felt sorry for them. It wasn’t the sturdiest of properties but it had a beautiful view of the Cornish coastline.
“Calliope,” Mama then said. “Tell me about the Selwyn boy. You were out with him again with all of your friends?”
Daphne’s youngest sister blushed. “I—he—well, you know Chase is a year older.”
“And yet he still manages to be friends with you,” Mama noted. “Come now. Have any other fifth years taken to your little band?”
“No,” Calliope whispered slowly. “But there’s Violet and Io. Or he could just be chummy with Helios or Jonathan.”
“However, he could be paying special attention to you,” Mama said, clearly wanting it to be true. “You must foster this relationship, Calliope. It’s in your best interest.”
“Callie,” Daphne put in, “is fourteen. It’s a little young to be husband hunting. Even if he were interested in her, it could be just a passing fancy. Let it develop naturally.” She had placed her hands firmly on Calliope’s shoulders and her sister looked up at her devotedly. She had the same strawberry blonde hair as Astoria and Leto, only it was wavy instead of straight. Daphne was the odd one out with her hair.
Clearly, that ended the conversation. However, Calliope later confided in Daphne, “Chase is sweet on Iolanthe Malfoy. Everyone knows it, even Draco, I suspect.”
Unfortunately, Ronald Weasley was the next person to seek her out for a reading of the night sky. He’d brought the Weaslette along, of course, and they were standing on the top of the Weasley Wizard Wheezes building.
“It’s not that I don’t believe Gin,” Ron said. “It’s just, we haven’t heard from Harry. Shouldn’t we have heard from Harry if he’s thinking of marrying my sister?”
Daphne remembered Ron Weasley from the Yule Ball. He had been dressed in old-fashioned robes, which didn’t fit well, and were just plain ugly. If rumor was true then his date had also abandoned him. Daphne had gone with a Durmstrang student named Rolfe who could barely speak a word of English. That was frankly the way that she had liked it at the time.
Now, Ron was dressed in expensive mauve robes with gold brocade trim. He had clearly come up in the world.
“She’s a wonder, I tell you,” the Weaslette was now saying. “She was able to predict that Ursula was able to get pregnant.”
That, at least, was true. Ursula Wodehouse had been trying to get pregnant for three years and Daphne had been able to tell her that she’d be with child within the next four months. Ursula was now expecting a little boy, according to her last letter.
“Does that matter?” Ron asked. “What matters is Harry!”
Daphne sighed. She looked down at her star chart and stared at the heavens. “He’s still getting married. Venus is in the fourth house and is getting brighter. The idea is solidifying more and more every day.” And she knew why. “No lady is mentioned in the stars, however.”
The Weaslette squeaked. “But it has to be me! Who else could it be?”
“Probably someone Malfoy introduced him to,” Ron stated darkly. “You know he’s Severus’s godfather.”
Daphne wanted to roll her eyes. However, it was technically true. Daphne had only become reacquainted with Harry because of Draco.
“I’ll drop by,” Ginny decided. “I’ll bring his horrible child some expensive shampoo. It will be all right then.”
At this, Daphne didn’t comment. She could only hope that Severus would hate the shampoo.
She collected her ten galleon fee and quickly fled the rooftop.
It was a few days later when Daphne was playing with Severus in the living room that she heard the floo activate. She knew that Harry was somewhere in the house, he’d only nipped out of the room, and she continued to make Severus’s train emit sparks and run up the furniture.
“Harry!” a familiar voice called, and Daphne froze. “Harry, where are you?”
“Ginny,” Severus stated. “I thought she’d wait until four. Then you and Harry would be gone to dinner by then.”
Daphne looked at the clock. It was half past three. “Well, it seems she’s a little early.” She went back to the train, but the sound of footsteps coming up the stairs halted her. Fortunately, loud footsteps pounded down from the other direction, and they met in front of the door.
“Ginny. What are you doing here?” Harry’s voice was cold and accusing. Daphne had warned him that Ginny might come, so at least it wasn’t a complete surprise.
“I brought some shampoo for Severus—“ Ginny tried, but Harry cut her off.
“Don’t act like you care, all of a sudden. You can’t weasel your way back into my life through my son.”
There was a pause. “Look, Harry. I was wrong. You should love your son—I get that now. I was young and stupid, and I didn’t understand. Of course you would take in a war orphan. You were one yourself.”
“No, please,” Ginny said, and Daphne erected a silencing ward.
“We don’t need to hear that,” she told Severus, and he climbed into her arms.
“You’re going to be my mum this fall,” he told her quite matter-of-factly. “I’ve seen it.”
“Am I?” Daphne asked. “And what kind of ceremony am I going to have?”
“A hand fast—fast—“
“A hand fasting,” Daphne supplied. That would mean only she and Harry would need to be present. No Mama, fortunately. They would slit their palms open with an athame, mingling their blood, and then feed each other from a pomegranate.
“You’ll be beautiful. Daddy will think so, too.”
“That’s nice to know,” Daphne said, thinking of something else. It was less than a month away until the first of September when both Astoria and Calliope would be off to Hogwarts—and if what Severus said was true, then she would be married by the time they got home for Christmas break.
Draco popped the question early, with two weeks left for summer, and everyone was invited to Malfoy Manor to celebrate, including Harry and Draco’s godson, Severus. Daphne accepted congratulations with ease and hoped her Mama hadn’t seen the way Severus ran up to her in joy, Harry not far behind him.
“I’m afraid you’re stuck with us now,” Harry commented as Daphne petted Severus’s hair. “Have you been cursed?”
She looked at him, startled “Pardon?”
“Your hair, it just—it’s not blonde near the center.”
Daphne flushed. “No, I just—oh, is that Chase Selwyn? It must be. He’s talking to young Iolanthe in the corner.”
Harry looked over, clearly uninterested. “Darling, your hair.”
She hadn’t had a chance to dye it before tonight. She’d been on cases over the past three nights and it was such an exhaustive process that she only performed in the dead of night—a remnant of her time at Hogwarts when she had to hide it from Pansy Parkinson.
“You’ve never called me ‘darling’.”
He smiled and took her hand in his. “You know how I feel about you.”
She blushed. “You really shouldn’t. What if Mama sees?”
“Let her see,” Harry challenged. “I know your suitor is supposedly a widower, but surely I’m a more pleasant surprise.”
“Hadrianus,” Daphne whispered as she came up to him to show him the seriousness of the situation, “Mama forces us to marry as well as we can. I’ll never hear the end of it for keeping you a secret or for potentially losing you.”
“Then marry me,” he stated in all seriousness. “We can announce it in The Prophet tomorrow.”
“You cannot mean that,” she stated icily. “Don’t you Gryffindors marry for love?”
“And who says I don’t love you? Severus saw that we were to be married the moment he set eyes on you. I want to go to sleep by your side every night and hear you tell me ‘good morning’ every day. I want you to be the mother of my other children. I think about you whenever I’m not thinking of Severus. What more do you want?” He looked at her in all seriousness, clasping her hand.
“I don’t even know who Severus is!” she replied desperately. “You’ve never told me!”
“A year and a day after we are married, I swear I’ll tell you everything.”
“A year and a day,” she parroted.
He took her hand and squeezed it. “A year and a day, Mrs. Potter.”
Harry came in with a smile on his face. “He loved your bedtime story,” he whispered, kissing her lips lightly. “You always tell the best ones.”
“That’s because I read Muggle fairy stories to him. They’re all about magic.” Her tone was cool, casual, but she knew Harry could read the warmth in it. “It’s been a year and a day.”
“A year and a day,” he whispered as he came to her side. “Daphne,” he whispered, “promise this won’t change anything.”
Their eyes met, ice blue to green, and she nodded.
“After the war,” he whispered quietly, “I thought back to Snape and how he had given his life to keep me safe.”
Daphne was about to interject, but he held up his hand.
“I went to the place he died, the Shrieking Shack. Everything was as I remembered it, but there was a small boy in robes meant for a man, greasy hair down to his shoulders, and black eyes.”
“Headmaster Snape,” Daphne realized.
“I think magic gave him a second chance. I couldn’t leave him there, hungry and alone. He’d done so much for me and I wanted someone to love him unconditionally. He never had that his first time round. So I took him and made him my son in the eyes of the law.—Now you know why we have so many expensive shampoos. I won’t have him teased at Hogwarts for greasy hair.”
“He’ll be teased for vanity,” Daphne said matter-of-factly. “If he ends up in Slytherin. As a Clairvoyant he might wind up in Ravenclaw.”
“I’ve thought of that,” Harry admitted. “When he’s old enough I’ll tell him who he is, how he loved my mother, how he protected me even though he hated me. I’ll tell him what a great man he had been and will become again.”
“Was Snape ever Clairvoyant though?” Daphne asked, kissing the back of Harry’s hand.
“Not that I know of,” he admitted. “Perhaps it is part of the magic that transformed him.”
“Perhaps,” Daphne agreed. “Magic does strange things.”
He leaned over and kissed her deeply, pulling her into his arms until she was breathless. She had stopped dying her hair—it was bad for the baby—and it was now a dishwater brown but Harry said he loved it. Harry had never lied to her so she believed him.
“A year and a day,” she murmured when they pulled away, her eyes sparkling in happiness.
“A year and a day,” he agreed.