Title: Starting Over – Prologue 1/?
Warnings: Post war, Torture, Abuse, Child Abuse, Character Death (SS o HP)
Disclaimer: Nope, doesn’t belong to me. I only play with them a bit.
Summary: This is based in the Adoption Challenge issued in WIKTT. I did not make the deadline, but I still think I’ll post this one.
From the Adoption Challenge at WIKTT
Rating: PG-13 so far might make it R later though
The Adoption Act
The war with Voldemort has been won but at a high cost. The loss of life in the wizarding world is staggering. Everyone has lost at least one person close to them, and a many people can now see the thestrals that pull the Hogwarts carriages.
The losses have affected more than just the hearts and minds of people. There are an alarming number of children that are now without parents, many more than the Ministry can take care of. Makeshift orphanages are overflowing. As a result, the Ministry has made the Adoption Act. It requires everyone above 20 years of age that is not attending University to take in at least one child (anyone below 17 years of age), unless they already have at least two children in their care. Married couples are only required to take in one child. Those who are over the age of 80 don’t have to take in a child. (Okay, you caught me here, I was inspired in part by the Marriage Law Challenge, hope no one minds. If you do, just tell me.)
The Challenge: Severus Snape survived the war and is thought of by many to be a hero. However, this does not exempt him from this new law. What happens when Severus has to take in a child?
- Takes place in or after Hermione’s 7th year, so Hermione and the rest of her year are not put in homes.
- Girl or boy? How old? Did he know the child beforehand? How does the child feel about him?
- Show some interaction between him and his charge. Does he see him/her as a burden, or did he willingly take him/her in (perhaps as another form of redemption)? If it’s the former, does he start to care for him/her?
- How do Hermione and Severus get together? Does she help him with his charge, “baby-sit” for the staff, or is she taking care of a child herself? Do she and Severus come to an arrangement of convenience?
- Someone challenges Severus’s right to be a care-giver, and someone unexpected defends him.
- Deal with some of the emotional aftermath of the war and its affect on the children, as well as them having new parent figures that are not really their parents.
- It can be any length and any rating.
- Percy gets saddled with a troublemaker.
- Minerva McGonagall takes in a child.
- Remus wants to be a care-giver, but there is controversy because of his “condition”.
- Hermione teaching some man how to braid hair because their charge is a young girl.
- Severus’s charge manipulates him and Hermione into being together.
- There is controversy over the fact that some of the “children” are the last of longstanding pureblood lineage, and people want to adopt them. Some problems pop up because of this.
I hope some people will take up this challenge. It just came to me the other day, and I thought it would be interesting to see different takes on it. If you do, please post links in the challenge folder, and to conserve space, please post off list, i.e. ff.net, aff.net, LNLS. If you have any questions, email me at
From Severus Snape’s journal
The last battle between the Dark Lord and Harry Potter had been bloody and cruel for both sides. Many Aurors and Death Eaters lay dead on the ground. The battle had taken place in one forgotten plain in the Scottish highlands, with only the ruins of an old fortress as witness. Potter had been the victorious one in the end, although his triumph over Voldemort was far from an easy one. The Dark Lord had toyed with the nineteen year old Gryffindor, and Potter had let him do it, letting him get overconfident. By the time Voldemort realized his mistake he lost his head to the sharp magical edge of Gryffindor’s sword.
The Dark Lord had protected himself against any kind of spell, hexes and curses, confident that those were enough to keep him alive. Not even an ‘Avada Kedavra’ could kill him. But his body was still vulnerable, even if he had never thought one would dare attempt anything on his life with any other thing besides magic. His soul of course remained intact and for that Potter had used an ancient incantation that bound it to the fate of the body, and then in one spectacular show of magical power he obliterated the corpse. When the intense light it created finally dimmed, there was nothing left of Voldemort, unfortunately there was also nothing left of Potter. Both had vanished.
I stood there dumbstruck, as did the Order members and the Death Eaters inner circle that had been covering the combatants’ backs. For long moments no one made any move, and then all hell broke loose, with hexes and curses flying every which way, none of the remaining Death Eater wanting to be captured. I became the main target of course, they would not tolerate the traitor in their midst. But I had no intention on dying that afternoon.
By the time it was over almost all the Death Eaters were dead, and those who were not were not in any shape to pose a threat to anyone. I managed to make my way from the carnage to the old ruined fortress. It had become Voldemort’s last stronghold, improvised as it was. As I limped towards the fortress entrance I kept a close watch on the surrounding ground, looking for the hidden door that I knew was there. The Dark Lord’s latest victims were trapped behind it. Hundreds of orphaned children, sons and daughters of those who fell to the Death Eaters wands, had been gathered in the old dank dungeons.
These children were to become the Dark Lord’s new army; he had realized that there just were not enough pureblooded progeny from his Death Eaters to join his ranks. At first he raided the orphanages, taking all the children regardless of age and gender. Then when the orphanages were better protected or just abandoned, he ordered that the children of all their victims were taken as well. I had to devise a potion that would allow Him to control and condition them to follow him, I had stalled of course, despite not liking the little nuisances I had no wish on turning the older ones into potential soldiers, all the while I tried to find the location of the fortress and when I did… well the condition of the plain was the result.
The sun was setting in the horizon when I finally found the door, it was open. Three Death Eaters lay dead beside it and I could hear the sound of the frightened children inside. I shot a signal to alert the Order members of my finding and went inside. The stairs down were fairly illuminated by evenly spaced torches, and just round the bend I met a group of male teens armed with sticks and whatever they had been able to scrounge from the dungeons. I explained who I was, and was grateful that I had never been required to be present during the ‘acquisitions’ or to guard them. I had a wand, but they were many, and I had no intention of harming them.
A tall brown haired, amber eyed boy around sixteen was their impromptu leader, he sent a group of volunteers to scout the way out and confirm my words. They knew someone had already been inside, got the Death Eaters out of commission and freed some of them from their cells, but no one had been able to see who it was, only the shadow of someone limping badly. One of those sent outside came with the confirmation that my story was true, moments later a group of Aurors and mixed Order members came down. We set to freeing the remainder of the children.
I was appalled by the condition of some of them, they had either resisted being captured or were severely punished. You could tell those who had been held prisoner longer by the haunted looks, and the fact they were practically skin and bones. Getting them out took a while; there were more than we had originally estimated. As I was doing a last round to verify that no one had been left behind I found a little boy that looked no older than two years old. He was in a terrible condition; his curly dark hair was matted with blood and he had clearly the markings being tortured.
The child was barely alive and yet he was conscious. He looked at me with wide relieved eyes and raised one skinny arm to me asking to be carried, the moment I took him in my arms he passed out. As we were in the last room of the dungeons, I made my way out and reported to Shacklebolt that they were clear. He was in charge of organizing the children and those who would bring them medical attention. To my surprise they were rather well prepared and had already set the tents where they would be keeping the children until each was evaluated and either sent to an orphanage or to a Hospital. There was also one tent exclusively dedicated to tend those injuries that were severe enough that waiting would leave the patient dead.
I made my way there. Inside it was much bigger than I anticipated, and although it looked to have been well equipped, it was evident that the amount of injuries far surpassed the capabilities of the place and the medi-wizards and witches inside. I tried to locate someone available to look at the child, but it was a complete chaos. I could only stare, until someone crashed against me. I managed to keep my balance, but the person that ran into me did not. I turned around with a scathing remark on the tip of my tongue and was surprised to see a teary eyed Hermione Granger in full medi-witch attire.
As it happened, Granger was available and her field of work was pediatrics. She took the little boy from me and we miraculously found an empty stall were she set to work on him. I have to admit that my appreciation of this particular Gryffindor raised several notches that night, as she worked with all her concentration on saving the child. Granger must have been bereft with worry and probably grief at Potter’s disappearance.
I had not had the time to ponder much on what happened to him and to the Dark Lord. But I knew Voldemort was dead, the Dark Mark was gone, completely gone. Unlike that first time when ‘the-boy-who-lived’ just evicted the evil thing from his body. From what happened I suspected the young man to be also dead, it was a loss really. During the time following Potter’s graduation we had to call a truce to our hostilities. It was getting too much to let us be effective in our work and frankly it was also tiresome. When I thought that nothing ‘Gryffindor’s-Golden-Boy’ did would ever shock me, I found myself getting fond of the insufferable brat. Of course I never let him know, but he was not what I thought he was, and he was among those few that understood my dry sense of humor. I was really going to miss him if he was indeed dead.
We lost track of the time in that improvised infirmary, and Granger looked exhausted when she pronounced that she had done everything she could to help the little boy. He had fallen into a deep coma and it would be up to him to ever wake up. I nodded my thanks and was about to leave when she noticed I was injured. I waved it as nothing serious, but she would not allow me to leave the stall without checking my condition, and I was not going to spend any more time in an infirmary.
The damn Gryffindor stunned me! How dare she? I woke up in Hogwarts infirmary two weeks later, feeling like death warmed over. Poppy as always fussed over my condition and berated me for walking around with a compressed lung, broken ribs, a leg with severely damaged nerves due to a nasty gash and a concussion, besides the numerous cuts and bruises that littered my body. I listened to her feigning indifference, but I was actually shocked. I really felt no pain, save a bit on the leg, and told her so. Poppy said something about being in shock, but I snorted, I have seen too many awful things in my life to be shocked.
My main goal at the time had been to reach the children. The Dark Lord had left instructions to kill all of them if something went wrong. I had not time to waste, even though I was aware the Death Eaters guarding the children were barely adults themselves, as yet untried. But Voldemort was not going to waste his best fighters on guard duty, he needed every able bodied follower by his side during the battle, as we did.
Despite my protests, I stayed in the infirmary for over a week. As soon as that overprotective mother hen let me out of her clutches I limped as fast as I could to my quiet dungeons. The damage to my leg had been severe, and I had compounded on it by not getting any treatment so I would need a cane to walk for at least a couple of months. That was not really too much of a problem for me, it was almost the end of May and classes were suspended until everything quieted down and life could get back to normal. So I was confident on enjoying at least those two couple of months of respite.
Of course I was wrong; there was no rest for the weary. The magical world was in worse condition that anyone had anticipated. No one wanted Fudge to remain in office; he had done one too many stupid things that only led to the chaos that we were living. Unfortunately, leaving the Ministry without at least a figurehead –imbecile that he was- would only add to the chaos. So the moron stayed until things calmed a little.
In an attempt to regain public support, he organized impromptu trails for the Death Eaters that survived. I, of course, was accused. The man hates me just as much as I do. I was both, lucky and surprised, that there were far more people who knew what I was and what role I played in both wars. All of them stood up for me, I still can not believe it, even Ronald Weasley –who everyone knew hated me with a passion- and Neville Longbottom –who was terrified of me most of the time- came forward to speak on my behalf. Fudge was livid of course, he has wanted me in Azkaban and kissed by a Dementor for years, but he could not do anything against it. The trials were public and I got a unanimous verdict of not guilty, and Ministry commitment. I could never be prosecuted for the time I was a Death Eater.
Things began to quiet down after that, and it became really a time to mourn our losses. The Order had been lucky; we did not loose too many people, mostly some of the recently added aurors. That little group had been too hot headed for their own good, and sadly five of them died. Those older or more experienced members had fared relatively well. All Weasleys had made it through, and Arthur was becoming a good prospect for becoming the new Minister of Magic. Of the staff from Hogwarts only Vector became a casualty, she had jumped in from of an ‘Avada Kedavra’ to protect a seventh year. Everyone seventeen and up had joined either band.
The major loss was Potter; there were several searches through the area, among the wounded, and even among those buried. But there was no sign of him, except for his broken wand and cloak that marked the spot where he had been standing before that magic burst. Remus Lupin and what remained of the golden trio were devastated by the loss. The same happened to that little group of fighters the young man trained, the D.A., and the Order. Dumbledore had delayed the final acknowledgement of ‘the-boy-who-lived’ death as long as he could, but it had to be done finally.
There was a rather touching memorial and a symbolic tomb in Hogsmead’s cemetery. All able bodied witches and wizards had attended. Those who knew him had offered thoughtful words or memories of the young man, who hated being notorious so much, and yet even dead he was. Only a week later Potter’s will was read, to the surprise of most people, including myself, we found out Harry Potter was actually a very wealthy young man. He was also very generous; he left a hefty sum to the Weasleys. The same amount of money –enough to let them and at least their grandchildren live without working- to the two younger Weasleys and Granger. He also left the know-it-all a property in Hogsmead. Remus Lupin would never lack for nothing; he was probably the richest werewolf in Great Britain.
Dumbledore also got a nice sum of money as well as a very interesting collection of books, odds and ends that had belonged to the Potter family. Even I received some things; there was a small cottage near the sea that we used as a rest stop after missions. It was almost as heavily warded as Hogwarts, and on one occasion I mentioned that I liked the place. It was really peaceful and had a great view of the sea. I got some money too and half of Black Manor. It included their extensive Dark Arts library. I actually did not mind sharing the other half with Lupin; we had finally overcome our years of enmity by working on the same side. He was the most mature of the marauders after all.
After laying Potter to rest we all thought that things would finally be getting back to normal, but yet again we were wrong. It had already been two months after the final battle, when Fudge once again did something in an attempt to win over the acceptance of the wizarding world. It backfired on him, and he was finally replaced by Arthur Weasley. The only problem with this last stupidity, in the form of a law, was that he managed to make it magically binding an irrevocable. Simply put there was no way around it, if we wanted to remain citizens of the magical world.
It’s almost three months since the Adoption Law was passed. It dictated that anyone between the ages of twenty and eighty should adopt a child, more if possible. Those twenty years and over that were still at University were except of adopting until they graduated. Couples with children of their own were not required to adopt, but they were encouraged to do so. His reasons for passing this arbitrary law were that there were just too many orphaned children, and the Ministry simply could not cope with it.
I had seen all those children, and yes they did need families that would care for them. But forcing people who never considered having children, or that were plainly not parent material, was not going to make things better for them. In fact, I knew from experience what it was to be an unwanted child; I really do not wish that on any innocent boy or girl. All of those I know have already adopted, even Lupin, although some people made quite a fuzz because he is a werewolf.
Vampires, veelas and werewolves were not allowed to adopt, even whey they wanted to, simply because they were ‘dark creatures’. The first full moon solved that problem. Voldemort killed indiscriminately those who opposed him regardless of race and species. Not all vampires and werewolves had joined him; actually a fair number of them opposed him. Their children were also orphaned, and normal wizards were less qualified to take care of them. In the end, Lupin was granted custody of two kids, an eight year old girl and a six year old boy, both werewolves by birth. They are actually pleasant children, and well behaved.
I’m the only one left of the Hogwarts staff that has not adopted yet. Albus, despite being over the required age, adopted three kids –that man is really crazy- two of them are students. I have been postponing the… ‘event’ in hopes that there are no more children left and I can have a valid reason for not having taken in any of the little urchins. But I received an ultimatum yesterday from Arthur Weasley, there are still children in need of a parent and I have to do my duty to society or end a muggle.