Harry wondered what James and Lily Potter would have thought of today’s events. Would they have understood his choices, or would they judge him for his desertion?
He hadn’t meant to turn his back on them so thoroughly; part of him still loved them fiercely and always would. But the truth of the matter was that his real parents weren’t there. They hadn’t been there for years and would never be there again. It wasn’t their fault; Harry knew that. And he didn’t resent them for their absence, but he was tired of the heavy weight of loneliness he had carried around his entire life.
He wanted—needed—the support system of a proper family. Harry wasn’t a child anymore. But he needed to know that he had someone on which he could depend. Doubts wouldn’t cease because he had turned seventeen; he would always need a second opinion, a helping hand, or the occasional shoulder to cry on.
Both Severus and Saturnine were willing to offer him that and more, but Harry couldn’t accept their love and care without returning the gesture wholeheartedly. He had never been the kind of person who did things by halves, and he had to release the chains to his past to move forward. So, Harry had to relinquish the Potter name and inheritance that came with it and agree to become a member of the House of Snape instead.
“I can’t believe you gave them your vault’s key,” Draco marvelled with a pensive look. He had already changed into his nightclothes, and he sat calmly on his bed. Saturnine’s picture frame rested on his bedside table, and he kept sneaking glances at it.
“It’s just money, Draco; it’s not that important,” Harry replied, shrugging off his shirt and tossing it aside.
“Just how much money are we talking about?” he asked.
“I don’t recall,” Harry answered dismissively. His head was lost inside his wardrobe as he looked for something to wear through the night. It was a little colder in the dungeons than in Gryffindor Tower, and his usual worn-out shirts weren’t up to par. He found one of the new ones Saturnine had bought him last summer and pulled it on.
“Why do you care?” he asked Draco as he turned to face him again.
The blond gave him a crooked smirk. “Well, seeing as half of it will be mine one day…”
Harry gave him a sour look. “Don’t joke about that.”
“Hopefully in a very long time,” Draco amended, raising a placating palm. “But still—it’s good to know that I’m back on the most eligible bachelors list.”
Harry scoffed. “Like that matters.”
Draco shrugged. “It matters to some.”
He arched an eyebrow questioningly.
“Not to me. Not anymore,” Draco hastened to add. “I’m done playing that stupid Pureblood game. But a tiny, teeny part of me is happy to know I still make the list—force of habit, I guess.”
“Severus isn’t married,” Harry remarked. “Does he make the list, too, then?”
Draco looked at him as if he’d just swallowed a vat of Polyjuice and transformed into Filch. He blinked, once, twice, then exploded into peals of laughter. “Merlin’s beard, that’s a good one,” he said once the laughter had died. “Please wait until I’m in the room to bring that up with him, though. I don’t want to miss his face when he realises the answer is hell yes!”
“I’ll make sure every one of us is there,” Harry said, chuckling. Then, sobering up, he crossed the room to sit next to the Slytherin. “What’ll happen to the House of Malfoy now?”
Draco shrugged as if he couldn’t care less. “I guess it will fade into nothingness—once my uncles and cousins finish tearing it down for scraps, that is.” A small, bitter laugh escaped his lips. “Fancy that—Lucius’ last twisted scheme caused the downfall of his entire House. Guess he didn’t see that one coming.”
Harry stayed silent for a while as he contemplated the situation. Then he added, “It’s not the only old House that’s going extinct. The Black’s ended when Sirius died, and the last Lestrange sons will spend the rest of their lives in Azkaban.”
Draco nodded. “Three more of the sacred twenty-eight will join the already extinct Crouch and Gaunt families.”
The sacred twenty-eight were the last one-hundred-percent Pureblood families of Wizarding Britain, some of the wealthiest and most influential Houses in their society. Harry had no regrets about seeing more of them hit the dust; it was time for a wind of change and new Houses to be afforded a seat at the table. That blood purity crap had divided their community long enough. It was time everyone realised success in life was about more than blood.
“I say the House of Snape is sacred, too,” Harry declared. “At least, it is to me.”
Draco nodded solemnly. “To both of us.”
“But it’s just the four of us, though, right?” he asked.
“As far as I know, yes. I don’t think there ever were other wizards in the Snape branch of the family.”
“What of the other half—the Prince’s?” Harry asked, curious. “Do you know if it’s a significant House?”
“Can’t recall ever hearing about them,” Draco said, frowning. “Either it’s very small, or Severus and Saturnine are the last descendants. But we could look it up in the genealogy books of the Hogwarts library someday.”
Harry nodded, interested in the idea to know more about his new family. “I think it had to have been a great House at some point. It has this nice crest and all.”
Draco looked up with a puzzled look. “A crest?”
“Yeah, Severus had it engraved on his mother’s headstone,” Harry explained, remembering the time he’d accompanied Saturnine when she visited her mother’s grave. “Saturnine said it was the Prince’s. It must have been a large family to have a crest, no?”
“All the Pureblood families have one, regardless of their size. And most mixed families have one, too,” Draco explained. “It’s a common thing in our world.”
Harry perked up at that. “Does that mean the House of Snape has one, too?”
“Doubt it,” Draco shrugged. “Severus and Saturnine are the first generation of magical children in the family. So, a crest would only exist if they’d bothered to make one—which, knowing them, sounds unlikely.”
“You can make your own?” Harry demanded, curious—if so, he had a few ideas. “You create it? Whatever you like?”
“Pretty much—whatever fits your fancy,” Draco explained. “Then you have it registered with the Ministry, and it becomes official. It usually comes with a motto to live by and a strong representative symbol.”
Harry had no idea what kind of motto would fit the Snape family, and he didn’t have many references from which to draw inspiration from. “I have no idea what the Potter one looks like, but I know the Black’s is all about blood purity.”
Draco nodded. “Toujours pur—Always Pure. The Malfoy’s Sanctimonia Vincet Semper—Purity Will Always Conquer.”
“That’s not much better,” Harry said, frowning. “Does it have to be about blood purity?”
“No, it doesn’t. It’s just a trendy theme, I suppose. It’s not mandatory to have one, though. The Lestrange crest doesn’t have any; it’s just the family name written weirdly. And the Rosier crest is all about flowers.” Draco shrugged. “It depends on the family, really.”
“I think we should have one,” Harry decided. If all the big Houses had one, there was no reason theirs should be an exception.
As she prepared for bed, Saturnine wondered at the situation and what her life had become. She had lived in so many places over the years: France, Hungary, China…
Wizards and witches willing to teach her about Elemental Magic had been hard to find, and she travelled the world for many years to try and understand who she was. She thought she had had it figured out eventually, but she’d been wrong. She hadn’t known—until today. Now, she knew who she was and where she belonged. And that was here, with Severus and the boys—their boys.
Looking at the small bedroom and cramped bed they’d pushed against the bookshelves, for lack of a better place to put it, she saw nothing wrong with it. Besides, she had slept in smaller quarters during her years abroad. She didn’t think she would ever sleep elsewhere now. Thirty-four years old, and she still shared a room with her brother. That might have made some laugh, but to her, it felt natural. They’d shared a room when they were little, too, and no one had thought it weird then. She saw no reason why it should be strange today.
“Part of me is wondering if I dreamed this whole day up,” Severus said as he emerged from the bathroom in his nightclothes. “Please tell me I didn’t.”
“You didn’t.” She smiled at him. “Or else we both did, and I don’t ever want to wake up.”
Severus chuckled at that, and she laughed with him. They kept going until Severus’ laughter turned into something much sadder, and tears welled up in his eyes. Drawing closer, Saturnine held out her arms, and he came to her willingly.
“I’m scared, ’Nine,” he admitted, whispering the words in her ear as if he didn’t dare be any louder about it. “I’m scared about what’ll happen now. I never had anything to lose, but now I do.”
“You and me both, brother-mine,” she said, holding him a little stronger. “You and me both.”
“I don’t know what to do, Saturnine. I don’t know how to raise children. I don’t even know if I can.”
“It’ll be fine. You’ll see.”
He huffed over her shoulder. “You were always the optimistic one.”
“Do you want to know how I know?” she asked, leaning back slightly so that she could catch his gaze and hold it. “I know because you, Severus Snape, woke up in the middle of the night to decorate the living room because it was Christmas—without anyone telling you or asking you to. You just did, for them, because you wanted them to be happy and have nice memories of today. So yes, my dear brother, everything will be fine. You are already the best thing that’s ever happened to them.”
Severus tried to smile through his insecurity but failed.
She hugged him again.
“I missed you,” he murmured into her neck after a while.
She nodded, knowing he would feel it. “Me, too.”
“I didn’t mean when they arrested you,” he added. “I meant before—I missed you terribly.”
She held him tightly as she fought to keep the emotions at bay long enough to finish this conversation. “I know; I missed you, too.”
“I’m sorry,” he whispered, words barely louder than his breath. “You were right. You tried telling me, but I didn’t listen.”
“It’s okay. It’s all in the past now.”
“I didn’t mean what I said. I was an idiot.”
She smiled at that and told him what she had waited over fifteen years to tell him. “It’s okay. I was angry with you when I left and scared for you—but I never stopped loving you.”
She felt something wet trail down the side of her neck, and she held her brother a little stronger.
“I have loved you all my life, Severus. And I always will,” she said, her voice choked with emotion but assured. “No matter what you do, no matter which mistakes you make, I will always love you. Always.”
“Please don’t go again,” he asked. “I need you.”
“I know,” she said, feeling her tears join his. “I need you, too.”
“I’m still not dreaming?” Severus asked after a while.
Saturnine smiled at how it had sounded like he was twelve again. “No, you’re not.”
She felt him nod against her shoulder. “Good.”