Hermione was forced to marry a former Hogwarts student, because of a marriage law Fudge put in place. However, she wants out of it desperately and to be with the one she truly loves. The only solut...
On to the story:
“Go away!” I shouted through the thick, wooden door at my husband. I heard his footsteps recede and a door slam. I hurriedly looked for the small phial I had stored away for this exact day. I finally found it buried in my desk beside the fireplace. I sat down on my bed and stared at the tiny phial as if expecting something to happen; something that would make the last two years disappear and give me back my life. Tears formed and fell down my make-up smeared face. I could feel the mascara running down and smudging as I blinked. What was I doing? How could I leave me children this way? Was I really such a terrible mother? But I couldn’t stand living with him any more...and I couldn’t just leave him. For that blasted law held me bound here. If Voldemort himself hadn’t killed Cornelius Fudge, I sure would have, if only I could have had the chance to get my hands on him.
I still do not know why the new minister kept this bloody law intact. Voldemort was dead and we were relatively free and safe. I put the phial back into the drawer. I would not kill myself, but something had to change. I could not stand it any longer!
There was a soft tapping at my door. I sat still, waiting for someone to speak. If it was that bastard of a husband again I was going to explode.
“Mummy?” I heard Isabelle’s soft voice call through the door. “Mummy, I’m hungry. When are we going to eat?”
My heart softened and I opened the door to see my little girl. She just turned two. She had her nightshirt on and her worn teddy in one arm, reaching up to me. I picked her up and she immediately snuggled into the crook of my neck. Instinctively, I rubbed her back in small circles. No, I could not leave my children and I could not leave my husband—no matter how much I wished I could.
As always, Sean followed his sister. He was suitably holding his ragged blanket close to his heart. I reached down to hold his tiny hand in mine as we made our way to the kitchen. Gently, I placed both of my precious children in their respected high-chairs and set off to make them something to eat.
“Mummy will be right back,” I said as I turned to leave. I made my way back to my bedroom and washed up. Timothy would be home soon and would expect dinner to be ready.
I went back to the kitchen and saw both Sean and Isabelle playing with their food. I studied them for a time. They both had black hair, strong noses, and round faces. But Sean had blue eyes whereas Isabelle had my eyes, only green in colour. They looked so much like their father it was painful. I shook my head, Now’s not the time to lose your head ‘Mione. Figure out a plan and then you can worry about such things.
I set about the kitchen making dinner. I put the twins down in their play pin and set the table. Tonight would be a special night. Tonight would be the night I finally found my freedom. Strategically I placed a candelabrum in the centre of the table and two plates. Dimming the lights in the dining room, I looked around and was satisfied with the setting. The wine was chilling and dinner was in the warming drawer.
I walked to the living area and picked up both my sleeping babies and securely tucked them into bed. I left the door cracked just a tad bit.
I quietly made my way back to my room and found the red dress I had recently bought and some nice pumps to go with them. I pulled out my mother’s pearl necklace and matching earrings and put them on as well. Quickly—for the front door had opened and shut, letting in a cold blast of winter air—I grabbed the phial. I was pouring the wine when Tim entered the room.
“You certainly seem to be in a better mood my dear,” he said as he sat down.
“Yes, I mulled things over and decided that it wasn’t worth fighting anymore. I’ll go get dinner,” as I said this I put the wine back into the ice bucket and went into the kitchen.
Coming back in I asked, “Will you forgive me?” It wasn’t in my nature to apologise for something I did not do, but with him I had to. I had been playing this game for years.
I sat his dinner in front of him and then sat down and proceeded to eat mine. We had light conversation and he poured more wine. I only half listened as I was pulled back into a memory...
“Severus!” I laughed. He smiled and continued to play with my hair. I had graduated two years previously and the final battle was rapidly approaching. Dumbledore found himself asking me to work with Severus on new potions and I readily accepted the challenge. It was that old fool, who, too obviously knew, that we would end up falling for each other. It was exactly a year later that I found myself here; having dinner with the man I loved.
“Why don’t you make yourself useful and help clean up,” I said irritably. All he found himself capable of doing this entire evening was staring at me and playing with me hair. He hadn’t even touched his food. “I went to all this trouble to make a romantic dinner for you and you didn’t even eat it,” I spoke with a light teasing tone.
He smiled and waved his hand. Everything vanished and he said, “I’m sure it was superb my love. Now come here and sit next to me.” I did so and we sat in companionable silence and watched the moon and stars over the lake. I didn’t even remember what lake side we were at, but it did not matter. This was the time to spend with Severus before the war fully broke out.
I looked at him and saw the weirdest expression on his face. “What?” I asked. He said nothing but continued to stare at me. “Stop looking at me like that, you’re scaring me Severus.” I couldn’t help but smile.
Then suddenly, without a sound, he had me lying on my back and pinned to the ground. “Wha...?”
“Let’s make love Hermione. You never know when it might be our last chance,” he said, interrupting my question.
“I told you where I stood on the subject Severus. Not until we’re married!” I spoke firmly; this wasn’t the first time he tried this move. I gently put my hands on his chest to put a little distance between our bodies.
“I know, but...”
“Then marry me!” he almost shouted.
“Shhhhh! You’ll get us both in trouble,” I giggled. “Yes, I’ll marry you!” I said in ecstasy. I was flying high above us right now. Nothing could have ruined this moment. Nothing.
An owl came swooping down next to us and held its leg out. Severus took the letter and the small bird flew off into the night. “I wonder who this could be,” he said teasingly, as if I had another secret love.
“Give it here,” I said, reaching for the parchment, but he pulled it away just in time.
“Ah ha! Then who is it?” he persisted.
“I don’t know, but I’m going to find out.” I waved my hand and the parchment came flying towards me. I flipped the letter over and saw in the dim light the distinctive Ministry of Magic seal.
“Curious,” I said, “It’s from the Ministry.” Hastily I opened it and read. I gasped and covered my mouth, shaking my head. I dropped the letter.
“No...No, how could they?” I could not believe the horror they were putting me through. This was just some sick joke. I was too much in a stupor to see Severus pick the letter up and read it for himself. He too looked taken aback. He hugged me close to him and I sobbed into his chest.
The Ministry of Magic had declared a new law—for the protection of all the muggleborns. Every muggleborn was to marry a pureblood within two week of receiving this letter. There was an enclosed list of all the available purebloods and another list of all the unacceptable matches because they were somehow linked to the Dark Lord in some way. One of the first few names on the latter list was Severus’. She could not marry Severus because he was suspected of still being a loyal Death Eater!
I pulled back and looked at him. He gently wiped the tears that still rolled down my cheeks.
“Severus, I’m ready. You’re right; this will be the only time to make love to you. And I swear that I will never sleep with another man as long as I can help it,” I said, every word receiving more conviction and anger towards the Ministry bastards.
“Dear?” Timothy said, standing next to me.
“Sorry, what was that?” I asked, pulling myself to the present.
“Are you finished?” he asked again looking at me strangely.
“Um...yes,” I finished lamely. I sent the dishes off with a wave of my hand and Tim pulled my seat out for me.
“Thank you. I’ll get you one more glass of wine,” I said and made my way to the kitchen. I pulled another goblet out of the cabinet and summoned the bottle we were previously using. I poured half. I returned to the dining room but he was gone. I went to the sitting room; he wasn’t there either, nor the library. So I headed back to our room.
I found him lying in only his boxers. I offered him the glass and he took a hefty swig immediately. He looked at me like he was expecting something he wasn’t getting.
“Not tonight darling,” I said affectionately. “It’s that time of month. Maybe next week?” I said hopefully. He looked disappointed but drank the rest of the wine and set the goblet on the night stand. I changed and went to bed.
The following morning I woke up and found Timothy lying awkwardly in the bed. I shook him, thinking he overslept. He did not budge.
“Tim, wake up. It’s Monday and you’ll be late for work dear.” I shook him again. Still no response. I leaned over him to see if he was breathing. He wasn’t. I ran to the floo.
“St. Mungo’s,” I shouted. I ran to the front desk and reported that my husband was dead. They quickly followed me home and ran a few tests.
I slipped into the kids’ room to check on them. They were still peacefully asleep, blissfully unaware that their father had died. I left the room quietly and shut the door so as not to disturb them with all the commotion going on elsewhere in the house.
“Mrs. Moon,” I heard my name being called. “We would like to ask you a few questions.” Two burly men, presumably Aurors, approached me with a quick notes quill.
“Did your husband and you fight last night? Your neighbours seem to remember a fair amount of yelling and slamming of doors.”
“Yes, we fought, but what married couple doesn’t?”
“Do you mind if we ask what you were fighting about?”
“Well...he wasn’t too pleased with the idea of me going back to work. He wanted me to stay home with our children.”
“I see and did your husband leave at any time during the night?”
“Yes, after we fought and I locked him out of the bedroom, he left the house. I don’t know for sure, but he usually goes down to a new pub each time. It’s hard to tell which one he went to last night.” I sat down and I could only imagine the distraught look on my face. Tears came to my eyes, but did not brim over.
“When he came back, was it late in the evening? Did something seem out of place with him? Was he drunk?”
“No, he came home in time for diner around seven o’clock. He wasn’t drunk, but he did have some wine with our super. And nothing seemed out of the ordinary.” I let my tears fall. I heard a door open and patter of little feet running. Isabelle and Sean came around the corner each carrying their precious items and climbed up on my lap.
“Mummy, where’s daddy?” Sean asked. I looked down at him and held them both close to me. I didn’t know how to tell them.
“Why don’t you two go play in your room for a bit and mummy will come and join you later. I need to talk to these two nice gentlemen for a little while longer, okay?” They both nodded their heads and ran off.
“I don’t have the heart to tell them. Truthfully, I don’t know how.” A sob escaped my lips and I sat trying to calm myself. When I regained my composer I asked, “What killed him?”
“A powerful, almost undetectable poison. We’ve yet to put a name, since there were several the Dark Lord invented and are still being discovered. We’ll let you know when we find out ma’ma.” I nodded my head, not trusting my voice.
“I think that we’ve imposed on you enough for one day. If we have any more questions we’ll be in touch, and if you find out any useful information, please don’t hesitate to owl or floo us.” They tipped their hats on their way out of the door.
I went back to the library and sat in my robe in front of the fire reminiscing...
I sat by the warm fire in Severus’ living quarters. He had a comfy love-seat and a coffee table in front of it. It was always cold in the dungeons, but today was one of Britain’s coldest winter days in a century; so naturally, it was below freezing in his rooms.
I wrapped the blanket closer around me as Severus entered the room with two mugs full of hot tea. It was too painful for my frozen fingers to hold the mug in both hands, so with one hand, I gratefully drank the warm liquid and felt it warm my insides.
Severus sat down next to me, adding his heat to my side. He wrapped his arms around me and said, “You’re like an ice sickle love! Let’s sit closer to the fire.” He conjured another blanket and laid it on top of the rug and we sat down next to each other.
I leaned into him and he naturally put his arm around me.
“Severus, I was just thinking about some of the most random things ever, but indulge me please.” I waited for him to show some sign of acquiescence before moving on. “If we ever have children, what would you like to name them or rather, what names do you like most?”
He cocked his head to the side and graced me with his famous eyebrow raise. He looked at me for a while before returning his gaze to the fire. At first I thought he was just going to ignore my question, but as I looked closely, I could see the concentration in his eyes. I waited patiently by him, curious as to his answer for no question ever took this long for Severus Snape to answer. I smiled and watched the fire dance across the logs. I felt my eyes starting to drift shut when I heard him inhale deeply.
“I believe my favourite names would have to be Sean and Isabelle. Although there are several more I like as well.” He looked down at me and I saw his passion and wanton for me. He held out for me so well. I knew it was hard for him to hold back, but he would...for me. I smiled up at him and he captured my lips with his.
And just as quickly, another memory took its place...
My two weeks were up and I refused to marry any of the choices on the ‘approved’ list. The Ministry had sent several warning letters, threatening me that they would pick someone for me if I did not choose. This seemed all like child’s play—something only Fudge would do. I would choose no one to marry but Severus and he was an ‘unacceptable’ choice.
Today I received a letter telling me to arrive at the ministry promptly at eleven o’clock and to wear something formal. I was to be wed today to some man I probably didn’t know. I would never love another man in all my life.
I pulled out one of my mother’s (grandma style) dresses, literally, and flats. I wasn’t going to get all dolled up for someone I would come to loathe. Five minutes after my scheduled appointment, I arrived at the front desk. Fixing me with a nasty glare, the lady directed me to the lift and gave me the floor number. I smiled politely and thanked her and was soon on my way. I arrived fashionably late to the ceremony. The Minister also gave me a nasty look as I walked in to the front of the room.
“Sorry,” I apologised, “I lost track of the time.” I smiled shyly acting as if that was a good excuse to miss my own wedding. I turned and saw Timothy Moon, a fellow Hogwarts student who was sorted into Ravenclaw. He was in my year. I was surprised to see him. My mouth fell open in surprise.
Time left me and robotically I said my vows. The only man I could see before me was Severus and it broke my heart when the man before me kissed me and it was not his kiss. Hot tears fell between us and I broke away, running out of the room.
I cried in the lavatory for hours before someone gave Timothy permission to enter.
“Hermione, are you okay?”
“Yes, just...I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I’m sorry,” I said as I came out of the stall. I was very emotional lately but I overlooked that as...wait, when was the last time I...Oh dear me! I...no, I’ll see Madame Pomfrey first thing in the morning.
“Let’s go back to your apartment and clear you things out and move them into our new home.” He held out his arm and I took it, more out of the politeness that was engrained in me than anything else.
This memory faded and one of the following morning came...
“Hermione, dear, you sounded so urgent through your letter. I spent most of the night worrying about you. Now, will you tell me what’s going on?” said Madame Pomfrey as she bustled around me, making sure that the cot I was about to sit on was freshly made up. I wrung my hands in nervousness. I didn’t know quite what to say.
“Yes. Well Poppy, um...I think I may be pregnant. But I also think it’s too early to tell, but I’ve sort of skipped my period for this month.”
“Well my dear,” she chuckled a little. “There’s no cause to worry because you skipped. It happens sometimes.”
“I know that, but I’ve never had sex before either. So you would have my undying gratitude if you just indulged me.”
“My my my! I never heard of such a thing! A young girl graduate Hogwarts as a virgin? May I ask who the lucky man may be?”
“I rather not say.”
“Did I read the papers right, did you just get married yesterday?”
“Then it is too early to tell my dear,” she laughed once again.
“No, you don’t understand. I had sex with someone else before I was married to him.”
“Oh, that is an entirely different matter then.”
I shook my head yes and sat down with a sigh. I had held my breath through this encounter and didn’t know it.
She left the little make-shift cubicle and closed the curtains around it, leaving me alone to change into one of the many hospital gowns. I lied down on the cot ready for her to come back in and start the examination. She returned promptly, with nothing but her wand.
She ran several tests and prodded my body with stuff I couldn’t see. After what seemed like hours she finally told me to change and she would be back. So I did as she commanded and went to wait outside the curtains. She saw me through her office window and motioned for me to join her. I walked in and closed the door behind me.
“My dear Hermione. May I be the first to congratulate you on your pregnancy? In the muggle world, as you probably know, it would be too early to determine it, but here in the wizarding world, we are much more advanced. Now...”
Her words faded as I realised the weight of it all. Timothy would never know that he was not the father of the child I am bearing. I would not let him, and Severus couldn’t know that I was carrying his child! What a mess I was in. It was better to let them think what they will until the right time came. I only thanked the gods that whatever the child looked like, it wouldn’t be so noticeable that Timothy would suspect anything. He had black hair and black eyes as well, so if the child did look like Severus, he wouldn’t know the difference.
“Hermione?” By the look on Poppy’s face, she had been calling my name for a while.
“Sorry, got lost in a thought. What did you ask?”
“I asked you to come back in a few weeks’ time for another check up unless you had another doctor lined up?”
“No I don’t have another doctor. And I would appreciate it if our earlier conversation was just between us.”
“No problem dearie. Now you go run along and don’t mention anything to your husband. It would blow everything.”
“Come here baby. Where’s your sister?”
Sean shrugged his shoulders and climbed up into the chair with me. Isabelle soon followed him.
“Okay, daddy fell asleep last night and didn’t wake up this morning.”
“Why, is he sick?” Isabelle asked.
“No, daddy died last night in his sleep. He’s not coming back.”
Neither one of them really understood what I was saying, but they did understand that their father was not coming back to them. They cried themselves asleep in my arms. I carried them back to their play pin in the living room and sat down at my desk. I pulled out a sheet of parchment and a quill.
By now you have probably heard the news. I am a widow. Timothy died last night in his sleep, but the Aurors believe someone poisoned him last night at whatever pub he ventured too.
I believe you deserve to know exactly what happened. We were fighting over whether or not I should take up my teaching position again and I was too frustrated to deal with him any longer and I locked him out of our room. He soon left the house and went for a drink like he always did after we fought. You must believe me, no matter how many times I wished him dead, I did not kill him. I couldn’t!
I love Severus and my children too much to risk such a high price. I still marvel at how this bloody law is still intact and it grieves me so. I am however wondering when would be a good time to “move on” from my grief of my husband and marry another.
However the purpose of me writing to you is to ask if you would be so kind as to allow me to come to Hogwarts this afternoon for a meeting. I would like to discuss further the teaching position and other matters that have been touched upon in this letter.
I approached the midnight black owl, Corvina, perched upon its stand in the corner and gave her the sealed letter. She flew off into the noon sun and I closed the window. I made my way to my bedroom and bathed and dressed for my meeting later. When I accomplished this, both children were awake and playing. So I went to the kitchen and prepared them something to eat. While they ate I went to their room and picked out something special for them to wear.
Corvina came back with a positive response and I readied my children and packed a few necessities in their bag. We flooed to the Headmaster’s office.
“Headmaster Dumbledore,” I said as I settled Sean and Isabelle into a chair.
“Now my dear, there is no need for such a formal title! You may call me Albus.” His twinkling eyes always knew more than one felt comfortable to admitting.
“Albus, you know that I would like this job.”
“I do my dear, and that is why it is already yours. Now, to get down to the real reason for your visit,” he sat down in his plump chair behind his desk as I took the one in front of it.
“Yes, where is Severus? I haven’t heard from him since...well since I received that twice be-damned letter. Is he still employed here? May I go and see him?”
“Severus is under the Fidelius Charm Hermione. He went into hiding because there are still Death Eaters out there killing traitors, and Severus is on the top of their priority list. And until we are sure he is safe, that is where he will remain.” His smile brightened, for he knew what I was thinking.
“Albus, what can I do to help?”
“My dear, I thought you would never ask,” his eyes radiantly shone now. “The one I am speaking of is Lucius Malfoy. He needs to be captured before Severus can be free again.”
“That is brilliant! My former husband was in debt to Draco Malfoy. They had some poker night and Timothy owed Draco profoundly, was I furious when I found out! Anyway, I can drop by give him the news, what he was owed and ask after his father. He trusts me a little more now that I married Tim. However, I have one favour to ask of you: will you look after Sean and Isabelle while I’m gone?”
“Of course my dear,” he said and dismissed me.
I flew through the castle, going down staircases and sharp turns and dark corridors as if I was just here yesterday. I thought for sure I would lose my way because it had been so long since I set foot inside of the castle, but I didn’t. I knew this school like the back of my hand. I was soon out onto the grounds and was hurrying to the gate. Once outside of the castle grounds, I apparated to the outside of the Malfoy Manor. I had absolutely no idea what I was going to do with the information I needed once I got it, but I had always been good at improvising.
Leisurely, I walked down the gravel path to the front door and raised the knockers. A house elf appeared and ushered me into one of the many sitting rooms.
“Mrses must sit down and have a drink. Master Draco will be heres with yous shortly,” he said and promptly vanished as a small brandy appeared next to the chair I was in.
I had finished my brandy before Draco arrived on the scene. The glass refilled itself. Setting it down I arose to greet Draco.
“Hermione. What an unexpected surprise. How may I assist you?” He asked, gesturing me to return to my seat.
“I didn’t know if you heard or not so I decided to come and tell you the news myself. Timothy died last night in his sleep. The Aurors believe it to be an act of murder. You as well as I know he had many enemies, especially at work. Anyway, I came here to tell you that and to square his debt with you. Exactly how much did he owe you?”
“A million quid, which he then told me he didn’t have. I was, of course, furious with him, but he said he would pay it back with interest. So the way I figure it, he owes me approximately a million and a half,” he smirked, expecting me to falter and back down.
“Surprisingly enough, he set up a separate account at a muggle bank just for this, and I believe it has more than enough to pay you back now. I will go and get your money today, but for now I would enjoy catching up. It’s been so long since I’ve seen you last.”
“Yes I must say it has been too long. How are Sean and Isabelle? Last time I saw them they were just learning to walk,” he chuckled a bit at the memory.
Laughing too I said, “They are fine. They are actually at my mother’s. Yes, they are walking everywhere, but it is easy to find them because they talk too.”
He laughed again and we sat his silence for a moment.
“How are your parents? I haven’t seen your father in a while.”
“They are doing well, thank you. Actually, they are vacationing in Paris at the moment.”
“Ah, should be nice there this time of year, except the cold.”
Draco summoned a house elf and received a brandy of his own. We sat in companionable silence for a while before I finally dismissed myself with the excuse of getting to the bank before it closed.
“I’ll send you your money later this evening. Good day Draco!”
I had to make myself walk away slowly. I apparated as soon as I was capable. I ran to the bank and withdrew the money Tim had collected. The account had over three quid. I took the remaining money to Gringotts and opened an account for the children. I then went home, gave the sealed envelope with Draco’s money in it to Corvina, and headed back to Hogwarts.
Back in the Headmaster’s office where my children sat playing with the old man’s long beard, I blurted out everything. He sat my kids down gently and flooed the ministry. And within an hour, they had successfully caught Narcissa and Lucius. I was overjoyed.
“Now Albus, will you please tell me Severus’ Secret-Keeper? I want to see him.”
He smiled and said, “Neville Longbottom my dear, Neville. Who else?” He chuckled.
I laughed too and skipped over to the fireplace with my children. “Thanks again Albus for everything!” I said as I left.
Neville was shocked to see me. But when he heard my long story he was quick to tell me where Severus was staying. It was actually within walking distance of Neville’s house so I set off with my children in hand.
We arrived just after six o’clock and I explained to Sean and Isabelle that the man they were about to meet didn’t know about them and that he was their real father. They looked at me with questioning eyes, but they trusted me wholly. I told them to stay hidden behind me until I said otherwise. They obeyed.
With a deep breath I rapped my fist on the door. A tall man in black robes answered.
“What do you want now...” he stopped when he saw me. He quickly enveloped me in a hug.
“What are you doing here Hermione? You shouldn’t know I’m here. Longbottom...I’ll kill him.”
“No no no! Listen, I asked him and he told me. You’re safe you can come out of hiding. Lucius was captured. And I need to tell you something else. May we come in?”
“Yes, I would like you to meet Isabelle and Sean.” Each poked their heads around my legs to look at the man before me. Severus stood there rooted to the spot speechless.
“Are they...no...but...” he stammered.
“Why don’t we come in and I’ll explain everything.” He nodded and moved aside to let us through.
We followed him to his sitting room and I pulled out some toys to keep Sean and Isabelle occupied.
“Now, you love, have a lot of explaining to do.”
He sat down next to me on the same love-seat that had once occupied his living quarters at Hogwarts.
I told him how I married Timothy and when I realised the possibility of being pregnant I went to Poppy. He was a little upset that I did this under his nose, but he understood why I couldn’t tell him. I then told him about the two years he missed and what happened between Timothy and me and our last argument before he died; how I didn’t know who killed him; how I went to Dumbledore looking for advice and for him; how I caught Lucius; and how I still loved him.
“I’m ready to marry you now, but it would be a bit suspicious if we went and got married conveniently after my husband just died. So we must wait at least a month.”
“My love, I have waited two years, I can wait another month,” with this said, he kissed me soundly.
“But I do wonder, what could have gone unnoticeable under such a paranoid guy such as Timothy.”
“A little drop of poison,” I smirked and handed him the phial he gave me before the war.