Written for the Snarry-a-thon (2009 edition) on InsaneJournal

Summary: "It was possible that Harry Potter had done too good a job of rehabilitating the reputation of Severus Snape."

Dear Diary...
by Beth H.
(c) April 2009


It was possible that Harry Potter had done too good a job of rehabilitating the reputation of Severus Snape.

He didn't begrudge Snape his long-overdue Order of Merlin (First Class) or the stipend that went with it. He was glad Kingsley Shacklebolt had helped him convince the Wizengamot that it would be seen as an act of good faith to renovate the Snape family home at Spinner's End at Ministry expense. He was pleased that the wizarding populace, in general, had been eager to shower Snape with the acclamation and public recognition the man had sought back when Harry was in school, even if Snape had - to use the Muggle metaphor - fallen off the radar a bit in recent years (such things being measured in the wizarding world, Harry suspected, by how often one appeared on the cover of Witch Weekly).

However, when it came to Harry's children, well...that was another matter entirely.

James wasn't the problem. He'd been introduced to Snape once in Diagon Alley shortly after he'd been sorted into Gryffindor, but no matter how heroic Snape's actions might have been during the Voldemort years, as soon as James learned that Snape had no particular interest in Quidditch, he dismissed him as not worthy of his notice. Now a grown man and in his first year with Puddlemere United, James still had little or no interest in anybody who didn't live and breathe the game.

And Al...no, Al wasn't causing Harry to go prematurely grey, at least not due to anything related to Snape. In fact, Albus Severus - despite having had fifteen years to get used to the name - was, quite frankly, embarrassed by his middle name. Of course, he was also embarrassed by his first name, self-conscious about being The Son of the Boy Who Lived, and mortified by all the 'candid' honeymoon pictures of his mum and Viktor Krum that had appeared on the cover of The Daily Prophet over the past two months. In fact, just about the only thing relating to his parents, their friends, and their acquaintances that didn't embarrass Al, strangely enough, was the recently-acquired knowledge that his dad was bisexual (and Harry suspected the reason Al hadn't reacted badly to that post-divorce revelation had more than a little to do with his rarely-mentioned friendship with fellow Ravenclaw Scorpius Malfoy)

No, it was his youngest - his sweet Hufflepuff daughter, barely more than a baby, for God's sake - who was the problem. She had clearly taken to heart every foolish word Harry had ever said about what a tragic life Severus Snape had lived and how courageous he was and how many times he'd saved Harry's life and how brilliant he was, and the result was that she was, apparently, completely besotted with the man.

Oh, she hadn't said anything of the kind, at least not to Harry, but this was the sort of thing a parent just knows if they pay enough attention to their child, and Harry couldn't believe that he hadn't seen it sooner.

The first sign should have been Lily's very first letter home that September, but somehow Harry hadn't noticed how very enthusiastic his daughter seemed to be about one of her Third Year classes or how excited she was, in particular, by "the new Potions Master." It wasn't that Harry wasn't interested in her news. He'd paid attention to Lily's reports about the new girl in the Hufflepuff dorms and how Hagrid had allowed Lily to pet a baby unicorn in Care of Magical Creatures; it wasn't Harry's fault that his eyes still tended to glaze over whenever he saw the word "Potions."

Why hadn't Lily mentioned the name of her new teacher? James would have done, if he'd still been in school, if only because it would have amused him to see Harry's reaction to the news that his old teacher was back at Hogwarts. Even Al would probably have got around to saying something if he hadn't decided to drop Potions that year to make room in his schedule for a N.E.W.T.s section of Ancient Runes. Once Al didn't have to think about Potions anymore, it ceased to exist as a subject; he probably hadn't even noticed that Horace Slughorn had finally retired for good or that he'd been replaced by Severus Snape.

But Lily...no, she never mentioned his name at all, not even when the perfect opportunity arose. Harry could remember the day clearly: it was the last Saturday in September, and he'd met Lily and Rose at the Hogwarts gates to escort them to Madam Puddifoot's. The two girls and Hermione all had September birthdays and the three of them sharing a special birthday tea had been a tradition ever since Lily was a toddler.

Ordinarily, Harry wouldn't have attended the tea party, but since he was going to have to bring the girls back to school as soon as their celebrations were over, he decided that just this once he might as well stay. Harry was halfway through the first chapter of one of the new birthday books Hermione had given to Rose when he heard Lily whisper a little too loudly for him not to notice "...but what about Gilderoy Lockhart. Uncle Ron said you liked him when you weren't any older than me."

Keeping his head down as if he were still reading, Harry turned his attention to the conversation and was rewarded by Hermione grumbling about Uncle Ron's big mouth.

"In the first place, you'll never catch me making such a shameful admission," Hermione said, while the girls grinned. "However, even if such a thing were true - and I'm not saying it is, mind you - Gilderoy Lockhart was a teacher, and that's not the same thing at all."

"Well, of course not," Lily said quickly (perhaps too quickly, in retrospect). "But my point is that he was still a boy."

"I suppose he was, at that."

"So what did you do?"

"Apart from talking about him endlessly?" Hermione asked.

"That sounds familiar, doesn't it?" Rose giggled.

"Shush!" Lily said, laughing in turn. "I'm talking to your mum. What else did you do? Did you give him gifts or sneak out to meet him or...come on, Aunt Hermione, this is research."

Out of the corner of his eye, Harry could see Hermione smile at the mention of "research." That had always been her Achilles' heel.

"If I'd been such a ninny at your age, I suppose I might have done all those things."

"See," said Rose gleefully. "I told you so!"

"All right," Hermione said, shaking her head at her daughter. "I think it's time to let this subject drop and focus on more interesting things, like the lovely sponge cake that just appeared on the table. Harry, would you do the honors and cut a slice for everybody?"

Harry looked up and grinned. "I'll certainly give it a go, but I can't guarantee my slicing technique is quite as advanced as Severus Snape's used to be."

Rose and Lily's renewed giggling when Harry mentioned Snape's name should have been the second sign that there was a mystery which needed to be solved, but the girls always seemed to be giggling these days, so Harry just shrugged and sliced the cake.

There might have been more hints in the following weeks, but Harry had to admit he'd been too distracted to notice.

First of all, an American Quidditch team made an offer to James and even though James was signed to Puddlemere for the next three years, he couldn't help but be excited that the Tampa Tornadoes wanted to sign him to a full contract, not just a place on the reserve squad.

Ordinarily Ginny would have been more involved in Quidditch-related conversations with the kids, but she and Viktor had just moved to Bulgaria to take their places on the Board of the Eastern European Quidditch Alliance and as the Bulgarian Floo Network was erratic at the best of times, most of the discussions with James fell on Harry's shoulders.

And if sorting out James hadn't been enough of a saga, the Auror's Department was going through another one of its periodic seismic shifts, this one set off by the discovery that the head of the Files and Records Division was actually one Theodore Nott, one of the few Death Eaters who'd disappeared in the aftermath of the final battle. His cover - that of a young Nigerian wizard named Amadi - was finally blown when the house elves assigned to his department inadvertently locked him in the records room and when he was freed in the morning the polyjuice that he'd been using without a hitch for twenty-five years straight had worn off.

The Ministry, in its usual fashion, sent Nott immediately to Azkaban, despite having no evidence that he'd done anything wrong in all those years apart from occasionally placing a form or two in the wrong file by accident. Not unsurprisingly, Nott had few defenders, even with his utterly clean record. The long deception and the Dark Mark on his arm was enough to damn him in the eyes of most of his former colleagues, and Harry found himself in the strange position of taking up the cause of somebody he hadn't liked in school or even in his later persona. But Harry had learned long ago that an initial dislike of somebody isn't evidence of that person's guilt, and since Snape had never allowed Harry to make amends for his childhood antipathy, no matter how often he'd tried, Harry couldn't help but feel that trying to assist Nott was almost like getting a chance to make things right with Snape.

Harry got so caught up in Nott's case that by the time it ended at the start of December (...with Nott having been freed from Azkaban with all charges dropped, then leaving the country without a word of thanks to anyone), the lights were in danger of being shut off in his Muggle flat because he'd been too distracted to remember to pay the electric bill. Strangely enough, however, while going through the post, he discovered he had apparently retained enough presence of mind to arrange for sufficient Galleon transfers from Gringotts to cover his account at Flourish & Blotts...

...even though he couldn't remember ever opening an account at Flourish & Blotts or ordering what seemed to be, on inspection, more books than Hermione went through in a month.

He and Ginny had severed their financial ties when she re-married, but all three of the children had access to his Gringotts account for emergencies, and even though he couldn't imagine how any of them could consider book buying to be an "emergency," he wrote to each of them, just to be sure. James' reply was a not-unexpected "Books?" Al wrote back to say that the Hogwarts library books were sufficient, thank you, but he could use a new set of robes, if any spare Galleons were on offer.

Lily didn't reply at all for five days, and when she finally wrote back, the entire text of the letter was:

Daddy -

I told you I had to buy a present for S!!!! Love you!!!


Which...was all very well as far as it went, except she hadn't said she wanted to buy a present for any 'S.' In fact, Harry couldn't think of a single person Lily knew with the initial 'S' apart from Draco Malfoy's son, and the only thing Harry had ever heard Lily say about Scorpius Malfoy was "He wears too much eyeliner."

Harry contacted Flourish & Blotts, who were extremely helpful, but the seventeen books that Lily had special ordered - most of which were about arcane subjects and written in languages that weren't taught at Hogwarts - had all been delivered directly to Hufflepuff House, care of Lily.

Two days later, Harry discovered she hadn't just been ordering books. After surprisingly little investigating, Harry discovered receipts for purchases from glassmakers and herbologists and a haberdasher's shop and a Swiss confectioners, all of which had been gift wrapped by the various merchants, then labeled "To S-" and signed "From your secret admirer."

Oh no. No, no, no, and also no! Lily was far too young to be anybody's damned "secret admirer." What was she thinking of, sending books and over-priced glass bottles and plants with unpronounceable names and..."sundry haberdashery" (what the hell was haberdashery, anyway?) to people named 'S?' Swiss chocolate...well, that was all right, but...no, not even the damned Swiss chocolate, not if it was going to someone named 'S' from a 'secret admirer."

He was not being an over-protective parent, no matter what Fleur might say - and what did Fleur know anyway? She was probably somebody's secret admirer when she was eleven! Even Ginny, after he Floo'ed her in the middle of the night, was only pretending to take him seriously. Harry knew her well enough to read the "if I humor him, he'll calm down faster" expression on her face. She said she'd talk to Lily as soon as possible, but Harry suspected all she wanted to talk about to their daughter was how wonderful it was that they could finally talk about boys together.

Assuming the mysterious 'S' was a boy. It could be a girl, for all Harry knew. Hell, for all he knew it could be the Squid. The word 'Squid' began with an 'S' and didn't Harry's mother once tell her husband-to-be that she'd rather date the Squid than date him? Harry knew he'd heard her say that in one of Snape's memories, and if Lily shared a name and green eyes with her grandmother, who knew what else she shared?

Harry took a deep breath.

All right, maybe he was losing it, just a bit.

He took another breath.

Harry needed to talk to his daughter...and fast.


Five days later the term came to an end, and Lily came home for the holidays.

This should have been the perfect opportunity for Harry to talk to his youngest child, especially with Ginny staying with Viktor's family through New Year's Day, and Al having begged - and been granted permission - to take an international Portkey with his brother and visit the training grounds of the Tampa Tornadoes. So yes, the opportunity was there to talk to Lily, but no matter how hard Harry tried, he couldn't get her to say a word about who she'd been buying so many presents for. All she kept saying was "You wouldn't understand," which was usually punctuated by wistful sighs and sad little hitches in her voice that seemed to owe quite a lot to Fleur's overly-dramatic example.

In parental desperation, Harry even resorted to a little sneaky Legilimency after almost a week of no replies, but having never had any particular talent for Legilimency, all he got for his troubles was the sense that the mysterious 'S' was older than Lily - plus one of the worst migraines of his life.

"She's right, you know," Harry said to Ron during a late night Floo call two nights before Christmas. "I don't understand. Why doesn't she just talk to me? She always used to."

"No idea, mate." Ron said. "Why do girls do anything? In my experience, they're just...oh hell!"

"Ron?" Harry asked, but there was no answer - just the rustle of wings, then the sound of a flock of canaries. "Ron, are you there?"

"Sorry, Harry," said Hermione through the Floo. "Ron was called away suddenly to consider what sort of things are appropriate to say when one has a daughter. If you want my advice though, I'd suggest two things. The first is that you should take away your children's access to your Gringotts vault. The second, though, is that you should give Lily time to understand what she's feeling. Puppy love, no matter how strange the object of one's affection - - "

"You mean like Gilderoy Lockhart strange?"

"You know, Harry...charmed canaries can be directed to travel through Floos."

"Understood. Shutting up now."

"Thank you. In any case, I was just going to say that crushes can be a valuable part of the coming of age experience, especially for young women. Just give her some space, Harry."

"Some space?"

"Trust me."


As it turned out, Harry didn't have to give Lily any space whatsoever, because apparently she was perfectly capable of taking her own space, wrapping it, tying it up with a bow, and taking it with her when she disappeared from the damned flat the following day without saying a word about where she was going.

Five hours later, she hadn't returned, and she'd left no clue behind as to where she'd gone. Harry tried Flooing through to her school friends, but none of them seemed to have the faintest idea where Lily might be.

At sunset, however, Hermione came through the Floo with a red-eyed Rose in tow.

"Go on, Rose," Hermione said. "Tell Harry what you told me."

Harry frowned. "Do you know where she's gone, Rose? If you do, you have to tell me. I know how close the two of you are and that you don't want to betray your cousin, but she's two years younger than you, and I'm worried she might be doing something dangerous."

"I know, Uncle Harry!" Rose said through her sniffles. "And if I knew where she was, I'd tell you. I just...I think she's run away with him!"

"Him? Do you mean the boy she's been buying gifts for?"

Rose nodded. "But he's not a boy. Or at least, I don't think he's still a boy. She hasn't said much about him except that he's brilliant and he's very brave and that he's a hero."

"What does he look like?"

"She's never said, which...maybe that means he's not very handsome?"

"Rose, think carefully. Has Lily said anything to you that might give me a hint about where she's gone?"

"No, Uncle Harry," Rose said, shaking her head and sighing in a very familiar fashion. "But you know she writes everything down in that diary."

"What diary?"

"Don't you remember? The one you bought for her when she turned eleven. The one she keeps under her pillow."

There had been a diary. He and Ginny had bought it for their daughter in the hopes that she'd never be tempted to use a diary from an unknown source, as Ginny had done when she was just a little girl. He'd never seen Lily write in it though...he'd assumed she just wasn't a diary kind of girl.

"Don't you think you should look and see, Uncle Harry?"


"The diary," said Rose patiently. "You know, shouldn't you see if she left it in her room or something?"

Almost before he had time to register the slight frown on Hermione's face, Harry dashed down the hallway and into his daughter's bedroom. He reached under her pillow and there, just as Rose had said, was the diary she'd been given as a birthday present two years earlier.

It was a matter of seconds to disable the simple locking charm.

He skimmed through what looked to be three months of entries, all written in Lily's rounded hand using her favorite rainbow-inked quill.

"...and he is brilliant, just like we were always told."
"...knows so much about poisons! No wonder he was able to survive."
"...wouldn't even have been born if it wasn't for him."
"Al says Scorpius says he doesn't think S likes girls in that way, but what does that stupid Malfoy know?"
"...saw him wearing the scarf I sent him!"
"...gave me detention, and when I showed up in his office, the Albanian book was right there on his desk. It had to be a message."
"...walked past the head table and he was eating Italian food again! Also, I think he looked at me!"
"Am definitely sending him the dinner invitation. L'inganno felice!!!!"
"Tonight's the night! Will find a way to make it work. What does age matter anyway, when it's somebody like Severus?"

Severus? Severus Snape?

"Rose!" Harry yelled. "Get in here!"

His niece rushed in, eyes wide. "Uncle Harry?"

"All right...who's teaching potions this year? Tell me it's still Horace Slughorn."

"Sorry, Uncle Harry. Professor Slughorn retired last term. Professor Snape is our Potions Master."

Harry Apparated out of his flat and into Diagon Alley before his niece had finished speaking.


Coatless and shivering a bit in the frosty December night air, Harry walked down Vicolo dell'Amante, looking for L'inganno felice, the restaurant that had caused such a sensation when it opened earlier in the year.

L'inganno felice. Harry shook his head. How had his sweet little Hufflepuff daughter even heard of such a place? When had her tastes matured past bangers and mash?

The restaurant, when he found it, looked rather unassuming from the outside, nothing like the den of licentiousness that the rumor mill had led him to believe it would be - although after almost twenty years of marriage and one pathetic post-marriage lunch date with a colleague that ended with nothing more spicy than a peck on the cheek, Harry wasn't really certain he'd recognize a den of licentiousness if he tripped over it.

He reached out for the doorknob, and the door - as doors occasionally did in the magical world - opened by itself. As he stepped into the entryway, a mustachioed wizard wearing what looked like very expensive tailored robes approached him.

"All right," Harry said angrily. "Tell me where my - - "

"Oh, no need to ask," the host said, his voice deep and rich. "Your table is ready, and your...guest has already arrived."

"My...what guest?" Harry asked, as he was led to a private dining room. "I'm looking for my - - "

The host opened the door to the private room, and there, seated at the table was the man Harry had somehow not really expected to find when he left his flat in pursuit of his daughter.

"- - my God."

"As you say, sir," the host said, smiling thinly. "I shall leave you to get on with your...worship."

And with that, he left, closing the door behind him and leaving Harry alone with Severus Snape for the first time in almost two decades.

The years had been surprisingly kind to Snape. His hair, which was now clean and healthy, was cut in a flattering style, and the small goatee he wore looked oddly attractive. But it was the smile that graced the man's face which drew Harry's attention. Brilliant, courageous, and now attractive and welcoming! It was a heady combination, and for the briefest of moments, Harry couldn't help but feel that - -

What the hell was wrong with him? This was the evil bastard who was leading his innocent baby girl down the garden path.

"I've got to tell you," said Harry, shaking his head. "I'm pretty fucking shocked to find you here."

"I know what you mean," Snape said quietly. "I almost didn't come."

Harry frowned. "Then why did you? You had to know you wouldn't be able to keep this a secret."

Snape shrugged. "Did it ever occur to you that after all these years I'd grown tired of keeping secrets?"

"You've done this before?

"Not often, and not for a very long time. But...when I received the invitation to dinner, Minerva was with me, and the old busy-body wouldn't rest until she'd read every word." Snape smiled. "It was Minerva who made me say yes in the end."

"She what?"

"I know. It's hard to think of one's old teachers as free-thinkers, isn't it? However, the truth is that Minerva recognized my...proclivities before I knew them myself."

"And she actually encouraged you to...no, I don't fucking believe it. This is wrong!"

Snape frowned, then crossed his arms over his chest. "It's just a date, Harry. It doesn't have to go any further."

"Just? There's no just about it. This is my daughter we're talking about."

"Your...daughter? What does Lily have to do with this discussion?"

Harry shook his head. "You must think I'm a bloody fool. She's only thirteen years old, did you know that? What kind of bastard goes on a date with a thirteen year old girl?"

Snape leaned forward, hands on the table and eyes blazing as Harry hadn't seen them do for twenty years. "Are you mad? Are you out of your fucking mind? I should have known your dinner invitation was part of some kind of elaborate prank. You're a Potter, after all."

"My invitation?"

Snape sneered. "You're not a fool. No, I'm the bloody fool in this room. Four months of a formal wizarding courtship. I told myself that nobody could possibly keep a prank going for such a long time, that you must have been in earnest. After all, you'd spent so much money on gifts, and everything you'd written seemed so sincere, yet all along - - "

"What gifts from me?" Harry asked. "Are you going to sit there and pretend you didn't know that Lily was the one who was sending you all those presents?"

"The cards were all signed Harry!"

"They were what?"

"They were signed Harry," Snape spat. "As were the notes you sent me every week and the invitation you sent for tonight, and if you try to...."

"Oh, for God's sake, Snape. Don't you get it? She did this. Lily did this." Harry groaned and sat heavily in the empty chair across the table from Snape. "She set us up - both of us - along with that giggling accomplice of a cousin. I have no idea why she did this and I have no idea where she's gone, but when I find her...she's going to wish I hadn't."

"When I find her," Snape said though gritted teeth, "I'm going to see to it that she's put into detention every single day for the next four and a half years. What in the name of God was your demonic spawn thinking?

It was an indication of just how upset Harry was that he didn't object to Snape calling little Lily 'demonic spawn.'"

"I am so sorry about what happened this evening, Snape. I suppose we should just call it a night, and when Lily turns up, I'll contact you so we can decide on a suitable punishment."

Snape snorted. "Maybe you are a fool, after all."


"Surely you know that neither of us can leave."

"What are you talking about?"

"Did you read nothing about this establishment when it first opened?"

Harry thought back to...August, was it? It had to have been August, because that's when Ginny re-married and, once again, his name was all over the papers, but even with that, Harry had still been aware that there had been some kind of trouble associated with the restaurant, some sort of organized protests maybe, some concerned citizens group petitioning to Ministry to shut L'inganno felice down for the "sake of the children."

"They were calling it...the 'Sure Thing Trattoria,' weren't they?"

"Well done, Potter. And do you happen to recall why they called it by that name?" Harry frowned, then shook his head. "No, I didn't think you did. They called it that because the restaurant was constructed with incredibly powerful locking charms woven into the architecture which made it impossible for any of-age couple to share one of the private rooms and then leave for the night without having first...what's the current term? Ah, that's right...I think the word is "fucked."

"But...we're sharing a private room."

"Yes," Snape said. "We are."


Later. Much, much later.

"There's still something I don't understand." Severus murmured, his long fingers lazily stroking the bare skin of Harry's chest.

"What's that?" Harry asked quietly, rolling over on his side to face Severus.

"Why would your daughter put you into such a potentially embarrassing position? I was given to understand, by Minerva as it happens, that you and she have what is commonly considered to be a good relationship."

Harry nodded. "We do, but my Lily has developed some very peculiar notions regarding her role in the family now that Ginny and I are no longer married."

"In other words, your child has been allowed to believe she's in charge."

"Well," Harry said, chuckling softly. "She thinks she's in charge of my love life, apparently."

Severus's fingers stilled on Harry's chest and he looked away.

"Hey," said Harry. "If it's any consolation, I'm pretty sure she brewed up this whole elaborate ruse because she thought it would be a good thing if we were together. She was...matchmaking, ridiculous as that probably seems to you, not pranking."

Snape shook his head. "You'll forgive me if I find it difficult to believe that your daughter would have imagined her father would have wanted to be involved with a man like me who...well, a man, at any rate. I accept you no longer bear any animosity regarding my Death Eater past - I heard what you did on behalf of Theodore Nott and I...appreciate it, but I'm sure the idea of two men - -"

"For what it's worth, I don't suppose the same sex question ever entered Lily's head. Times have changed, Severus."


Harry smiled, then sat up cross-legged on the floor and took Severus's hands in his own. "As for 'a man like you' - you know, I had a lot of time to think about this during the night when you were busy snoring."

"I don't snore, Potter."

"You go on believing that, Severus. In any case, looking back, it struck me how much I must have talked about you over the years. I told you about Lily's diary entries, yes?"

"Mmm. They sounded very much like the sorts of things I'd read in your...her letters."

"And that's because the letters and diary entries were all based on everything I'd said about you to my children over the years."

"Does this mean I should prepare for similar actions from your sons?"

Harry laughed. "Not a chance, unless you suddenly transform into a Snitch."

"I shall endeavor not to let that happen."

"Good. The point is that Lily is the romantic one of the group."

Severus snorted. "Romance between the two of us is patently absurd. Your daughter is delusional."

"Severus, you saved all the letters you thought I was sending you. You accepted gifts that you thought were part of a formal courtship ritual. You agreed to come here knowing that our date would have to culminate with the two of us making love. And you say my daughter is delusional for being a romantic."

Severus didn't reply, but Harry could see a flush begin at his collar-bone and suffuse his normally sallow cheeks.

"Just so you know, I'm interpreting your silence as really meaning 'Why yes, Harry...you're absolutely correct that I'm a closet romantic and I apologize for implying otherwise.'"


"Yes, Severus?"

"Shut up."


Even later

"Honestly, Dad," Lily said, rolling her eyes. "You call yourself an Auror! I was dropping Grawp-sized hints. All those letters talking about potions when I don't even like potions."

"You don't?"

"Of course not!" she said, as if it should have been the most obvious thing in the world. "Nobody likes potions except nerds." She glanced over at her potions professor and bit her bottom lip nervously. "Um, that's what I've heard. No offense intended?"

"Of course not. No offense taken," Snape said. His voice was dripping with sarcasm, but he didn't seem particularly angry, nothing like the ire with which a similar insult would have filled him back when Harry had been a student.

"And then I had to practice forging your signature for weeks. Do you know how hard it is to fool one of the Goblins at Gringotts? And I had to do all that boring shopping, which I hate, incidentally, and Rose had to teach me how to sigh in that pathetic way that comes naturally to Fleur, but to nobody else."

Harry was trying his hardest to keep from laughing out loud, but it was damned hard in the face of his daughter's utterly contrition-free confession.

"And then I wrote, like, ninety stupid diary entries, all in one day, except it looked as if you still weren't going to get it, so I had to enlist Rose into service, and thank goodness you took off as quickly as you did, because Rose told me that Aunt Hermione had her sussed almost before she got around to mentioning the diary."

"Now that doesn't surprise me at all," Severus said to Harry.

"Doesn't surprise me either," Harry replied. "Hermione always was more clever than I was."

Lily giggled, and Harry looked over the rim of his glasses at his daughter. "You know, Lily, that you're not going to get away without a punishment for this."

"I know," Lily said, sighing dramatically. "Even though there was a happy ending, and so you should really be thanking me instead."

Harry shook his head. "You know - daughter of mine - sometimes I cannot fathom how you were ever sorted into Hufflepuff."

"Well...actually, Dad - -"

"Oh, don't tell me that the Hat wanted to put you into Slytherin, too?"

"Too? Lily squealed. "You mean you were supposed to be a snake!"

"Yep," Harry said. "But I asked the Hat not to sort me into Slytherin."

"Thank heaven for small favors," Snape muttered.

"See?" Lily said happily, taking the hands of her father and a very surprised Severus Snape. "We're obviously all meant for each other...just like I knew we'd be!"

The End

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