Chapter Twenty-One: Remembrance and Reunion
It was a merry party that returned to the Burrow after the rededication of the parliament building. Arthur had performed the ceremony, declaring at its end that, "This is a happy time for us all, a time when the remembrance of our debts and the reunification of the peoples of our society shall lead us toward a stronger future. I look forward to the work of many hands," he said, looking toward where the emissaries of the giants, the fairies, and the other beings now welcome in the governing body stood, "as we together shall build a better future for our people. I hereby dedicate this building as the Governing Hall of Merlin's Friends!"
No mention was made, however, of the hand of the Muggle queen in their affairs. Arthur had felt that some changes were better left for later.
"Perhaps my grandson shall have a hand in illuminating our people about our Muggle affiliation."
One month previously, on February the fourteenth, Harry Frederick George Valentine Weasley had been born with all of his fingers, all of his toes, a shock of bushy red hair, and a skin tone that promised to freckle at the earliest opportunity.
"And so it continues," Severus intoned.
"Don't be cross," Harry admonished him.
"I am never cross."
"Here," Bill said to Hermione, "I'll take Valentine to give you a rest."
Everyone laughed again, for the new parents were in complete disagreement about what to call their son, and sides were being taken by their friends and family.
Ron smiled, "Thank you, brother."
Hermione stuck out her tongue at Bill. "Fine, I'm certain that Harry would love to spend some time in his uncle's arms. Valentine, indeed!"
Hagrid made his way toward the newest Weasley's namesake. "It's so good to see you, 'arry, and the little mite, too. So precious."
"Would you like to hold her?"
"Oh, no. I'm too clumsy for that."
"Hagrid," Severus said, taking his daughter from his wife's arms and settling her into the half-giant's, "you've held a baby before."
"Yes, indeed," Albus said, joining them. "And I, too, can think of no one safer in which to entrust the safety of an infant—or the interests of your people," he continued, alluding to the fact that Hagrid had been made the giants' representative in the new government.
Hagrid blushed with pride.
"Never thought I'd be a politician," he said gruffly, embarrassed by his friends' trust and praise.
Harry laughed, reaching out a hand to Severus. "There are a lot of things I never thought I'd be," she said, also blushing.
Mrs. Snape, Severus thought, caressing Harry's mind with his own.
"Yes?" Azalea called from her position by the fire. "What is it, dear?"
"Oh, you weren't thinking at me?" she teased.
"You know very well that he wasn't, Cousin Azalea," Draco told the old witch in mock disapproval from his position by the door to the kitchen before being dragged into that room by Ginny Weasley.
Severus looked around the room at the gathering. Augustine Marks and his sister, Miranda, were deep in discussion with Remus Lupin. Miranda, Snape understood, worked for the Department of Mysteries and had been spending a great deal of time at Hogwarts. Tongish Oddfish had taken a seat next to Bill Weasley, and they were talking about potions. Earlier, the old wizard had assured Snape that there was nothing to worry about as far as Harry's stabilizing potion was concerned. The fairy magic that had healed had her removed all chances of her further transmogrification. Severus was relieved, and, as he watched the good cheer of the other party-goers, he realized that he was happy. For the first time in his life, he felt free to be happy—and to enjoy his friends.
It was more than he ever imagined for himself, and he was grateful.
Husband? Harry asked silently.
The could both feel their magic and love embrace the other through their bond.
"Husband," he whispered into her hair. "I like the sound of that, my wife."
Suddenly, a small popping sound burst over their heads, and Severus and Harry looked up to see a levitating Dobby, who held a sprig of mistletoe in his hands.
"Dobby is thinking that you is wanting to kiss."
Everyone laughed and clapped as Severus bent his head toward Harry's to kiss her soundly.
I know a better word, you know.
Oh? And what is that, Harry?
His wife stopped their kiss to look toward Elizabeth Gift who was sleeping contentedly in Bill Weasley's arms, and then her gaze swept over each of their friends in turn before settling warmly again on Severus. Her eyes were full of promises as they met his own.