Part 16 of the Severus Snape Saga
A/N: My muse, Maggie, is simple girl. All she likes are plot bunnies and reviews. So be kind to Maggie and feed her review cookies please.
Big thanks to my beta Lbandoly for her hard work. She has spent countless hours editing and providing plot help for my stories. She makes my writing possible.
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The three youngest occupants of Grimmauld Place notice a difference in the air between Severus and Remus as the follow week drew by; there was something almost tangible between the two older men that no one had ever felt before. A full week after Draco proposed to Hermione, Harry suggested they go see her parents and tell them in person. When Hermione asked if he wanted to tag along he jumped for the chance.
“Sev would it be okay if Hermione, Harry, and I went to visit her parents later. She’s aching to tell them we’re engaged,” Draco asked later that same morning.
Severus nodded his head. “I see no reason why not. Though I do wonder why Harry is going along on this little outing.”
Draco shrugged. “Mione invited him along.”
Severus nodded in understanding. Where one went, the other two followed. Over the course of the previous nine months or so, the Golden Trio had all but reformed. As much time as the youngest two Weasley children spent time at Grimmauld they still were not there nearly enough to maintain the dynamic of the original Golden Trio. Draco had firmly ensconced himself in Hermione and Harry’s lives. Ron was still a close friend, the closest in fact, but not as close as a brother and a fiancé. “Very well then. What time should we expect you back?”
“No later than midnight I would imagine. I think Hermione wanted to have dinner with her parents at that place they always go to on Friday nights. I think she’s got her heart set on visiting the book shop afterwards.”
“A muggle shop I assume; it wouldn’t do well for you and Harry both to be seen in Diagon Alley unguarded.”
Draco shrugged. “I don’t know where she was planning. Probably a muggle shop though. There is one a few blocks away from that restaurant that her parents frequent if I remember correctly. I could go ask her. If it’s Florish and Blotts, we could ask Remus to meet us.”
Severus shook his head. “The wolf has plans to meet Miss Tonks this evening if I’m not mistaken,” he said with just the tinge of bitter resentment in his voice.
Draco gave his pseudo-father a curious glance. It didn’t take a charms master to hear the tinge of jealously that laced the comment. “Anything you care to share?” Draco asked inquiringly.
“No,” Severus bit back. Severus shook his head. “Enjoy your trip out. Be safe,” he said with a softer tone before rising from his seat and leaving the room as Harry entered.
Harry turned and looked at his retreating father then back at Draco. “What was that about?” he asked. “I’ve not seen him look that cross in weeks.”
Draco laughed. “Personal opinion?”
“He’s jealous of Tonks.”
Harry quirked a high eyebrow in response. “What?”
“Remus has a date with Tonks,” Draco replied with a knowing smirk.
“Yeah, they do that,” Harry replied not quite catching the innuendo that Draco was laying with veiled words.
Draco rolled his eyes at Harry. “Severus is jealous that Remus is spending his time with Tonks instead of him,” Draco said slowly and clearly as if speaking to a small child.
“Why,” Harry asked with a confused look coloring his face.
Draco huffed. “Surely you haven’t missed the tension between the two of them lately. It’s thick enough to cut with a butter knife.”
“Between who?” Hermione asked as she entered the room.
“Da and Remus,” Draco replied, his smirk once again firmly in place.
She nodded her head. “It’s gotten really bad since the night we got engaged.” She dropped on the couch next to Draco. She pulled her feet up beneath her and leaned her head against Draco’s shoulder. “I almost wonder what happened between them after we all went to bed for the night. It’s like we were all the same as ever then the next morning something about the two of them was just odd.”
Draco nodded in understanding while Harry continued to stand off near the door looking at them as if they were speaking another language. “You both have gone round the twist completely haven’t you?” he asked.
Draco laughed. “No the twist is still well off in the distance I assure you. You on the other hand are blind as a bat in full daylight.”
“I am not,” Harry countered.
“Oh Harry, you’re either terribly blind or more naive than I ever gave you credit for. Your father at the very least has developed feelings for Remus. It’s not a terrible shock. They’ve spent months cooped up in this house together with very few breaks from one another. A good deal of that time it was just them. It’s not hard to believe that they would develop some sort of relationship with one another truthfully. I suspect Remus has feelings of some sort for your father but his existing relationship, if you even want to call it that, with Tonks is his excuse for not acting on them.”
“Or the wolf,” Draco said. “He does seem to blame most of his failings on that,” Draco said it in such a way that he almost sounded wise.
“He does not,” Harry said while doing his best to defend his godfather. “It’s ridiculous to think they fancy each other,” Harry said with a blush across his cheeks.
Hermione laughed. “No it’s not; you just don’t want to see it anymore than they do.”
Harry huffed. “Okay Miss I know everything you don’t. Why don’t I want to see ‘it’?”
“I’m not really sure, but you don’t. It’s not like Severus or Remus fall under the category of bent as a nine pound note or anything so I don’t think it’s the gay issue that bothers you,” she said matter-of-factly.
Draco started laughing not quite understanding the muggle slang. “What?”
“She means neither of them are obviously queer,” Harry said giving Hermione a glare that would make even the hardest of Death Eaters freeze in their tracks.
Hermione had the decency to look ashamed of her choice of words. “Harry I didn’t mean it that way. I just meant that considering their attraction to one another neither of them have previously been overtly gay in personality, not openly at least. Not that it would bother me if they were. They could be waving rainbow flags wearing pink wigs and fairy wings while skipping from Marylebone to Westminster in June for all I care,” she said with conviction. “They are family no matter what they decide to do with their private time or whom they do it with.”
Draco nodded even though he was still more than a bit confused over the greater part of her illustration. He looked at Harry. “That isn’t it is it? Being gay doesn’t bother you does it?”
Harry cut both of them a withering look. “If it did Seamus and Dean would have been cast out of Gryffindor house ages ago now wouldn’t they?”
“Hum, I always wondered if that rumor was true,” Draco said absently.
“Having lived in the same dorm with them for the better part of six years let me tell you, yes it’s very true. Why they ever bothered putting up the front of dating girls, usually the same ones,” he said bitterly thinking of Ginny, “confused most of us.”
“Because it’s about as highly favored in wizarding culture as it is in muggle culture Harry,” Hermione said softly. “Actually come to think of it, I’m sure it’s more widely accepted by muggles than it ever will be for wizards. Think about it, all that talk of carrying on the family name and keeping the family lines pure. Sure, you can keep the family lines pure if you’re gay but you can’t carry on the family line without adopting which automatically mucks up the line doesn’t it. Being gay just doesn’t fit the pureblood ideology does it? Really how many gay wizards can you think of?”
Harry thought quietly for a moment, “Unless you count Lockhart who had to have been a ponce, none now that you mention it. I had never thought of it to be honest.”
“My point exactly Harry,” Hermione said quietly.
“There are exceptions to the rules of course,” Draco said.
“Such as,” Hermione asked.
“Most pureblood marriages are arranged. You would have to be a saint to think most of the old pureblood couples aren’t having round on their spouses. They have their heirs so they don’t let the family down, then have off to whatever bed they feel like warming from then on. I’m fairly certain my mother was never touched again after I was conceived and I’m certain she was happy about it. Don’t get me wrong my mum loved my father in her way but she never seemed to care if he ever touched her and he didn’t unless there were guests to pontificate for.”
“That sounds just dreadful,” Hermione said.
“I’m sure they thought it was, but it was the price they agreed to pay for their dogma,” he said more than a bit bitterly. “Either way there are more than a few gay witches and wizards, they just happen to be supposedly happily married to everyone but those who are closest to them. It’s fairly common in those circumstances actually. My father will sleep with anything that has two legs. Pureblood dogma my arse, he doesn’t care who he sullies around with so long as they will turn their arse up for him,” Draco said with a vicious sneer. He took a deep breath and pushed the thought away. “Anyway, Sev didn’t have a problem with us being out so long as we weren’t in the wizarding world,” he said swiftly changing the subject.
Hermione and Harry allowed Draco to change the subject without another word said. Both knew after months of living together that the subject of either of his parents could be a bitter pill for him. He cared for them still, despite their evil designs, but he felt terribly hurt and disappointed by both of his parents. It left a bitter taste in his mouth on the best of days and a viral hate deep in his soul on the worst.
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Severus stared into the flickering flames that burned brightly in the library hearth. It was still cool out, enough to warrant a fire even taking into consideration his heavy woolen robes. So many years living in the dungeons had left him more than tad cold natured. Even the slightest chill seemed to make him shiver. At times he wondered if it wasn’t a side effect of the dark magic that invaded his veins via the dark mark that left him cold and bereft of warmth. He, of course, had no proof but it was the most logical thought he had been able to postulate over the years shy of having Poppy check him over to make sure their wasn’t a medical reason for the lack of warmth.
The house was far too quiet for his taste. It hadn’t been this quiet since the children, as he referred to them in his mind, had been hunting down the Dark Lord’s horcruxes. At the very least Remus was usually in house if one or the other of the younger ones weren’t. Now the younger set was across London sharing the good news while Remus was out with her.
He wasn’t sure when it had happened but he had caught himself more than once during the evening thinking that he wished the young auror would be called away to a case while they were out or better yet that she would suffer from her own foolish clumsiness. Truth told, he had never been overly fond of Nymphadora, but had tolerated her because she was a member of the Order, and because she was keen enough to keep her rather unusual self out of his business. Now, though, he couldn’t help but dislike her even more and yet he didn’t want to face why.
Last time he had felt such unveiled feelings of dislike towards anyone other than the Dark Lord, he had been young and jealous. He growled at the thought of James Potter, the usurping son of a bitch… He laughed almost bitterly to himself as realization dawned on him. Surely he wasn’t jealous of a sprite nearly half his age, whose most or least attractive quality, depending on your outlook, was her ability to morph to look like other people. Handy for her line of work but otherwise the gift was utterly wasted on a woman who would morph into just about anything for the sake of a laugh instead of regarding the gift with some sanctimony that such a rare gift surely called for.
For the life of him, he couldn’t understand what Remus saw in the woman. She wasn’t all that striking in appearance naturally. She didn’t adopt the features of more fashionable woman very often and even when she did, she rarely carried herself in a way that fit the vision her face supplied. She wasn’t particularly smart or strong. Enough so to have passed the auror training program at least, but she was certainly nothing to write home about.
He sipped at the cup of earl gray tea that had grown a bit too cool in his cup. Maybe he was jealous of her but he would be damned if he let that fact be known. Remus was happy with the cow. He refused to act like James Potter, even if the man hadn’t a clue what he had been doing at the time by destroying what someone he cared for had no matter how much he wished it for himself. He took another sip of the cool tea and sighed. To be fair to everyone involved, James hadn’t known about his relationship with Lily. Nor would any of that have happened if he hadn’t believed the foul word of a jealous bent in the first place. Still he couldn’t help be jealous of James for getting the girl and having the infinite joy of being Harry’s father for the first year of the child’s life.
No, he wouldn’t inflict that on the pink haired twit even if his darkest side fancied it could be more than a bit entertaining. He could and would keep his feelings to himself in regards to Remus. The worst part would be putting up the walls that had slowly come down between them over the previous months, otherwise he wasn’t sure he could keep the feelings from progressing. He would do what must be done however. This was no different from any of the other reasons he had guarded himself over the years. Sometimes you just have to be prepared to do the hard things in life for those you love even if they hadn’t a clue what all you were doing. It was something he was more than familiar with, one more time would not kill him no matter how bad it hurt.
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Life settled back into the normal bustle and flow as spring rained over Britain. Seemingly endless gusting winds roared as March rolled out and April moved in. Inside Grimmauld Place, the days passed with hours of studying and training. With every passing day, the sounds of quills scratching across parchment would fill the morning hours and the sounds of shouted spells and counter-spells filled the afternoons as the group’s magical training expanded. Defense against the dark arts lessons morphed from basic lessons in learning new spells day in and day out into mock battles that used the whole of the house as a battleground. Vases would get caught in the crossfire and would fall to the ground where they would lay shattered until late in the evening when someone would make a sweep to repair broken bits of glass and scorch marks that often were found on every available floor, wall, and ceiling.
In the evenings the small family would eat together, then spread out to do their own things. Hermione and Draco would wander off to the sitting room to cuddle on the sofa in front of the fire and discuss the ideas each of them had for their coming wedding even though they hadn’t gotten as far as setting a date for the nuptials. There were no plans set in stone save for one they would marry privately as soon as they could set a date with only Hermione’s parents, Harry, Severus, Remus, Ron, and Ginny in attendance. Any truly showy ceremony could and would wait until after Voldemort was dispatched. Hermione flat refused to have a repeat of Bill and Fleur’s wedding happen to her and Draco; not a chance in hell in fact. She had gone so far as to make Draco swear that outside of the group knowing that the smaller real wedding was going to happen she wouldn’t allow them to know when. The couple would just be springing it on everyone at the very last minute. She didn’t care if they were wearing sweaty training clothes or no clothes at all so long as everyone was safe and she would be damned for eternity if she wasn’t going to go to drastic measures to see to just that.
Harry would often floo over to the Weasleys for chess with Ron in the evenings. Once or twice he had even helped Ron work a bit more on his charms work since everyone agreed it was the area he needed the most attention in.
Most evenings Remus and Severus were in the library planning the coming day’s lessons and reviewing pensieve memories of the mock-battlements. They would spend hours poring over each of their own memories and sometimes Harry’s to help decide what direction to take the group’s lessons next. After all, it wasn’t just their NEWT’s they were teaching them for but rather how to survive a war. Truthfully it wasn’t just their after dinner time that they seemed to spend together. If one truly watched, and without a doubt Harry, Hermione, and Draco did, you would see that virtually from dawn’s first light until the last ember of fire died away the two were never too far apart. More times than not, Remus and Severus would be in the kitchen eating quietly before any of the teens had made it down to the table. Lessons were spent around the large table in the library with the added addition of Ron who flooed in religiously at 8:30 AM every morning without fail. They all had lunch together that Dobby would have prepared at noon sharp. During their mock fights the two were either thick as thieves ganged up against the teens or were flanking Harry giving him tips on his casting only breaking the routine if Hermione or Draco needed their assistance. They would all part ways to clean up, then back together they would meet around the dinner table for supper. Sometimes one or the other of the teens would cook, sometimes Dobby would, but lately it was Severus and Remus’s combined efforts that fed the rather ravenous mouths of their odd family.
More and more it became clear to the younger occupants of Grimmauld Place that Remus was distancing himself from Tonks even if he didn’t realize it. Owls with requests to meet for dinner and lunch often got put aside until later, only to realize later had come and gone. Floo conversations dwindled down to almost nonexistent. Even the amount of time the two spent talking and cuddling after Order meetings dissipated into little to none. Remus always seems to have something else he needed to be doing instead of spending time with the pink-haired sprite.
April passed into May and the weather turned off just perfect in Hermione’s opinion. The temperatures were in the high teens; warm enough that you could get by with a t-shirt and a light jacket if you were going to be outside in the evenings. Lightweight pants were all that was really needed to be comfortable. In the sun, you could probably tolerate shorts if you were particularly warm natured if the wind wasn’t blowing or it wasn’t raining, which it was a fair bit of the time. The halls of Grimmauld had grown far too dusty in everyone’s opinions and Hermione had announced in no uncertain terms that the only way to fix that was to toss open the windows and let the place air out for a change. It wasn’t as if anyone would be able to hear them past the privacy charms anyway. Severus and Draco in particular were use to rather cool drafty temperatures, or so they claimed, and didn’t find it the slightest bit off putting when she had gone around opening every window in the dark home in an effort to get some much-needed fresh air circulating through the home. Harry had laughed when Ron showed up the next morning in a Weasley jumper after she had frozen him the first day. Gryffindor tower had always been nice and toasty warm after all. The only way you were going to get a drafty chill in there was if somebody did what Hermione had done and opened a window. Remus was much like Ron but for far different reasons, once upon a time he had been rather warm natured but years of monthly shifts in and out of wolf form had left him with aching joints when the weather was chilled. During the duration of cooler days, he would opt for his wool winter pants and full robes in an effort to stave off the cooler climate.
Mid May Harry discovered that for at least a few days anyway, when Severus and Remus and shut themselves up in the library to collaborate, Severus had once again begun lighting fires in the fireplace in the evenings. It didn’t take him long to figure out that it was for Remus’s benefit mostly since he had already made it clear the cool breezes were just fine by him. After mentioning the phenomenon to Hermione, he had come to realize she and Draco had been right all along, his father did have feelings, romantic feelings, for his pseudo-godfather. More startling was that he didn’t mind as much he might have thought he did. After all, they had been playing ‘my two dads’ to him for months.
Not two days later, Harry came downstairs to the sounds of quiet talking at the breakfast table that didn’t sound like Remus and his dad. It wasn’t. Instead, Harry saw Remus sitting at the table with a box of items next to him on the floor with a crying Tonks across the table from him. He hadn’t needed to hear more than the beginning of the sentence “I didn’t and still don’t think we should continue going on this way,” to know that Remus was giving Tonks the axe so to speak. He had backed away from the cracked kitchen door only to walk right into the solid form of his father. Quietly Harry motioned for Severus to follow him back upstairs, away from the dramatics that was sure to be taking place in the kitchen after that sentence. Severus has raised an eyebrow at his son, but followed nonetheless.
Harry led him to the library and shut the door behind them. “You really shouldn’t go down their right now,” he said.
Severus gave his son a perplexed look. “Why ever not?” he questioned.
“Because Remmie is doing something that he needs some time to himself for.”
“And that would be?” Severus pressed.
“Nothing. Okay something, but nothing that should be coming from me. Remus will tell everyone if he wants us to know I’m sure. He doesn’t even know I know. I heard, okay saw, them through the crack in the door before I left.”
A dark look crossed Severus’ face. “Them? Oh.” He said instantly knowing that if he was referring to someone with Remus there was little to no doubt who that someone was, Tonks. “I suppose they are rekindling their waning relationship then. How quaint,” he said more to himself than to Harry.
Harry shook his head. “I know, well next to nothing about dating and relationships, but I wouldn’t say that’s what they were doing at all.”
Severus gave Harry one last quizzical look before abandoning the topic that his son so clearly wasn’t prepared to give straightforward answers about. Still he didn’t make a move to leave the library until the sounds of booted footfalls sounded down the main hall. The sound of the main door opening and closing were quickly followed by the sound of Remus yelling up the stairwell that they were free to come in now.
Harry and Severus made their way silently back down to the kitchen to find breakfast sitting out waiting.
“Sorry it’s all under a reheating charm, Tonks dropped by rather unannounced,” Remus said to neither one in particular.
Harry laughed, “It normally is by the time I make it down in the mornings anyway so I don’t mind.” He sat down in his usual seat next to his dad and loaded his plate with morning fare before piling in with his normal gusto. It never seemed to matter how well he knew he was allowed to eat to his heart’s content subconsciously he always ate as if he would be denied his next meal.
Taking a seat next to Remus, Severus watched his son with the same concerned eye he always did before filling his own plate. Remus rose from his seat and placed his now empty plate in the sink for the charmed brush to wash. Severus couldn’t help but note that Remus wasn’t acting as if he had just lost someone he cared for. Harry must have misunderstood. But maybe, just maybe…
Severus took a sip of his tea and cleared his throat. “So Miss Tonks graced the house this morning…whatever caused her to get out of her warm bed before lunch I wonder,” he asked more than a bit acidic.
Remus turned to look at Severus before quickly turning back to tidying the kitchen back into order. “She was returning some items of mine that I had left at her flat.”
“Indeed,” Severus remarked. “That couldn’t have waited until the next evening you were together?”
“No, because that implies that there will be more evenings spent together, which there will not,” Remus replied without any hint of remorse or vitriol.
Harry’s head snapped up as if the news was foreign to him. “She dumped you?” Harry asked sounding a bit too shocked for his interest to be genuine.
Remus laughed. “Not hardly, rather I decided that it was time to end things. It was a passing fancy. The things that drew us together weren’t the sort of things that truly fuel a long-term relationship. It just wasn’t meant to be more than a spot of fun,” he said with a slight shrug.
Severus fought to maintain a straight face. “I’m sure she was quite putout about your lack of lasting intentions,” he said rather blandly.
“‘Quite putout?’ Severus Snape I’ve never once known you to understate something quite so much. She was livid. Then again I do suppose that my decision to owl her instead of just telling her to her face might have had a bit to do with that,” he said with a grin that clearly spoke of why he was once a marauder.
Harry, who had just taken a sip of his pumpkin juice, burst out laughing sending the offending juice across the whole of the table. “You didn’t!” he exclaimed.
Just then the door swung open to reveal a curious Draco and Hermione entering the kitchen. “Who didn’t do what?” Draco asked.
Severus cracked the barest hint of a smile as he replied. “Seems Remus here acted rather like a third year and broke up with Tonks via owl post.” No longer able to contain his joy and mirth he began to laugh softly.
Harry once again began laughing when Draco broke into his own boisterous laughter while Hermione frowned at the three. “You three act as if you’ve never done anything silly over a girl.”
Severus’s laughter dried up quickly while Harry and Draco gave her incredulous looks.
“I don’t recall ever doing anything silly in regards to a female,” Draco replied arrogantly. “I’ve never had to. I was always able to get others to do it for me,” he said with a sly grin.
Harry rolled his eyes. “So the rumor that you ran stark naked down the dungeon halls in order to get Pansy’s attentions last year didn’t have a grain of truth to it?”
Draco paled beyond reason before blushing. “That had nothing to do with Pansy what so ever.” Draco thought for a moment then turned to look at Harry, “Just how did you hear about that anyway?”
Harry laughed. “Myrtle told me one day while I was hiding from Ginny, something about making himself seen for a dark haired witch. Pansy seemed like the obvious choice unless Millicent is more your speed.”
“Millie. Oh Potter you need to stop now before you cause me to be ill.” Draco grimaced. “She’s the filling in Crab and Goyle’s sandwich since apparently one of them isn’t enough for her.” Various gagging noises arose from the group. “And yes I did run starkers through the halls but that was because Blaise bet me fifty galleons that I didn’t have the balls to do it. My manhood was on the line. It wasn’t even a choice really, I had to do it.”
Hermione frowned in disapproval while Harry nodded in agreement. No boy would have walked away from that one unless they wanted to suffer the endless teasing of being a poof. Universally men would do whatever was necessary to protect their manhood.
“Okay, on that note I think it’s time for lessons,” Remus said as he removed the last of the empty dishes from the table to the sink. The teens cleared the room leaving Severus sitting at the table while Remus headed for the door. “You coming?” Remus asked as he walked away.
Severus nodded even though Remus’ back was to him and grunted a yes. He couldn’t bring himself to move. Six weeks before he had sworn, he would do nothing to come between them. He felt sure that he had stuck to that oath. Yet still Remus had found reason to end the relationship that he had been pursuing with Tonks nonetheless. He could only assume the break had nothing to do with him since he had made no move to make his feelings known. He couldn’t help but be a bit thankful that he had made that decision. Now the only question was did he want to see what could come of the feelings he still harbored for the wolf.
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