Chapter 74 : Wormtail, Whimpers, and Worries
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Wormtail, Whimpers, and Worries
Lily woke feeling refreshed and eager to start the day. It was around seven o’clock in the morning, and her husband still snoozed beside her. Not wishing to wake him just yet, she wriggled out of his embrace, thank goodness he was not one of those husbands who clutched their wife in a death grip while sleeping, and headed into the bathroom. The first thing on her agenda was a shower, some breakfast, and seeing Dumbledore.
As she ran the water, she thought perhaps she could wait on breakfast. No, she shook her head, she wanted breakfast first before bearding the old lion in his lair. She wanted to share a meal with Severus and Arthur, like a family, she was tired of eating alone so much. She wondered if it might be possible to see her sister this week. Or even her mother and father. Severus was away so much, busy with his students, not that she begrudged him it, but she missed her family.
She stepped into the steamy shower and began to wash her hair, using Severus’ tangle free, no tear shampoo, which smelled like rain water. She loved that smell, it reminded her of Severus. She wished he could join her in the shower, but she knew he would never do so while at school. At home, where they could be assured of never being disturbed while they were playing sex games, was different.
Smiling wistfully, she completed her shower, drying herself and her hair off with a flick of her hand. She had long before mastered wandless silent charms. She dressed in a semi-conservative skirt and blouse combination of navy blue and silver gray. Her Glamoured form suited those colors perfectly, though she wished she could appear for once with her real hair and face. Another reason for visiting her family. There she could be just Lily, and not Zoey. She rubbed her belly, the baby within was still asleep. She knew because otherwise the little one would be jumping up and down on her ribs or bladder. Perhaps the baby found a hot shower soothing.
Her hair arranged in a chignon atop her head, Lily exited the bathroom. She found Art awake on the sofa, his brown hair hanging in his eyes. “Zoey? What are you doing here? Did Sev tell you what happened?”
Lily nodded. “He did. You poor thing!” She went and hugged him.
Arthur made a face. “I’d like to do that hex right back to Pemberly and see how he likes it!”
“Are you feeling better today?”
“Yes. I’m not even sore anymore.”
“That’s good to hear, Arthur,” Severus interjected, coming into the room.
Lily and Arthur jumped, they’d not heard him come in, he moved so quietly.
“Sev! I didn’t hear you get up,” Lily cried.
“I don’t see any reason to announce myself,” he smirked. “Arthur, I think one last application of my salve will do the trick. Come into my room and let me put it on and then you can get dressed. I believe Professor McGonagall wishes to speak to you about the brawl.”
“Aww, Sev! Is she gonna give me detention?” Art groaned.
“I do not know. She merely told me to tell you she wishes to speak with you,” Severus shrugged. Then he beckoned his ward to follow.
With a sigh, the boy rose and accompanied Snape into his bedroom. After applying the salve, Severus Summoned Arthur’s uniform and made a few adjustments to it before giving it to him to wear. “I’ve made the cut slightly looser than before, so it’ll allow your skin to breathe and not rub against the newly healed skin. I’ve also made the fabric a little softer, so it’s more comfortable.”
“Wow! This really feels good!” Arthur exclaimed. “Thanks, Sev. At least I won’t be sweating when I face the old Scottish battleaxe.”
Severus frowned. “She may be an old battleaxe, but you be respectful, Mr. Stephens, or I’ll know the reason why.”
“Yes, sir. Now can we eat? I’m starving.” Arthur said.
They all had breakfast in Severus’ rooms, and while eating her eggs Benedict, Lily broached the subject of visiting Petunia, Polly, and Henry. “I haven’t seen my mum and dad in a dog’s age, or Petunia either. I’ll bet with Annie away, she’s lonely for some sisterly companionship.”
“She probably is. Why don’t you owl her and find out?” Severus suggested. “And if you’d like to visit your parents, you could do so this afternoon. I think it would do you good to see them. That way you can complain about me while I’m not around.”
“Sev! I have nothing to complain about!” Lily said.
“Not even the way I steal all your covers at night? Or how I’m never home during the week?”
“Well . . . maybe I do have a few things,” Lily conceded. “But by and large, our marriage is going along fine.”
“Perhaps I ought to visit my mother and Jess as well,” Severus mused. “It’s been over a month since I last saw them and I’m surprised my sister hasn’t taken another unauthorized trip through the Floo to see what’s been keeping me.”
“I doubt she’d dare with how your mum punished her last time,” Lily chuckled. She drank the last of her coffee then rose. “Well, I’d better get going. I don’t want to keep Dumbledore waiting.” She headed out the door, the pouch with the two objects hidden in a pocket of her skirt.
Soon afterwards, Arthur went up to McGonagall’s office for his talk with her, leaving Severus alone. He Floo-called Eileen, making sure she would be home that afternoon in case he wished to drop by and visit.
“Sev, I’ve really missed you! And so has Jess. Everyday she asks when she can come and see you.” Eileen said.
“Tell her I’ll try and see her today. I’m sorry, but I’ve been so busy with my classes, I’ve hardly had time to see Lily.” He apologized.
“I know, dear. Your father says you’ve been working yourself half to death. I think you need to take a break and come have lunch with us.”
“That sounds wonderful, Mum. I have a detention to take care of first and then I’ll be by around one. Is that all right for you?”
“Yes, that’s fine. Jess will be delighted. See you soon!”
Severus drew his head from the fireplace. His mother was right, he did need a break from his grading and paperwork and students. Since today was a Saturday, he only had the detention with Wyverly to see to, and then he was free to visit Spinner’s End. He wondered if Art would like to come along. It might do the boy good to get out of the castle.
He hoped that Lily and Dumbledore were making some headway with the forbidden objects Riddle had created. They needed to be destroyed for good, though Severus feared even that would not stop the obsessed wizard from trying other experiments to become immortal.
Before he could get even more depressed thinking about it, a knock sounded at his door. He opened it and found Misty Fielding and Nate Grimsby on the other side.
“Hello, Professor Snape,” Misty greeted him, giving him a shy smile. “Nate and I were wondering how Art was and if we could visit him for a bit?”
“Good morning, Miss Fielding, Mr. Grimsby. Arthur isn’t here right at the moment. He’s upstairs speaking with Professor McGonagall in her office about the incident.”
“He’s not in trouble, is he?” asked Nate. “We didn’t start it!”
“Yes, we are well aware of that. I believe Professor McGonagall wished to make sure she had all the facts.” Severus said.
“Oh!” Nate looked relieved. “Is he well enough to come flying?”
“Yes, he has fully recovered.”
“Good. I was really scared when I saw him lying there,” said Nate feelingly.
“Me too. I thought he’d need a trip to St. Mungos,” Misty added.
“He very nearly did. Those barbs are no joke, and he was lucky I could remove them all myself.” Severus said.
“Well, I’m going to go up to the pitch and knock around a Quaffle with some of the boys,” Nate said. “Will you tell him to meet me there, please?”
“Yes, if he returns here before I leave for my detention,” Severus agreed.
“Thank you, sir,” Nate said, then he turned and called over his shoulder, “Misty, you coming?”
“Uh . . . I think I’ll just . . . Professor would you mind if I stayed here and waited for Art? I don’t really feel like sitting outside right now watching the boys fly.” She bit her lip. Her stomach had not been feeling right since breakfast, she was having odd cramping feelings in it.
“You may, he shouldn’t be very long,” Severus said, stepping back and allowing Misty to come in. “Have a seat on the sofa, Fielding. Are you hungry? Would you like some tea? Toast?”
“No, thank you, sir. I’m not . . . that is I . . .I’m not feeling all that great today.” Misty admitted.
“Are you sick?” asked Severus, noticing her faint grimace. He gently placed a hand on her forehead. “No fever.”
“I . . . It’s my stomach, sir. It’s upset.”
“Upset as in nauseous? If so, I can dispense a Stomach Soother,” Severus said swiftly, not wishing a repeat of that day in class when Misty had thrown up all over his boots.
“No, it’s not like that.” Misty shook her head. “I’m just having pain there. Like . . . umm . . . cramps . . .”
Severus eyed her thoughtfully. “What did you eat recently? Anything like an omelet with onions or peppers or tomatoes? Sometimes those food can give you excess gas and bloating. When did this pain start?”
“I woke up with it,” Misty admitted. “I thought I was just hungry, but then when I went to eat breakfast, I was afraid to eat much, just in case I made myself worse.”
“I see. So what did you eat?”
“Not much. Just . . . a little bit of toast and a half a pear, and I drank some tea.”
“Hmm . . . perhaps you should eat some more. A second piece of toast with butter perhaps? Or some water crackers?” suggested the Potions Master.
“I guess so,” the girl agreed. She didn’t want to tell the professor, even though he seemed genuinely concerned, that her cramps were not really in her stomach, but below that. And they were increasing. “How do you know so much about food and how it affects your stomach, sir?”
“I learned much of that because my wife Zoey is pregnant,” Severus told her, summoning a house elf to bring a cup of tea with sugar and milk and a piece of buttered toast to his quarters. “When your wife is pregnant, you learn very quickly what she can and can’t eat, and how food affects her. Zoey spent the first three months sick to her stomach every morning. Some days she could only keep crackers and tea down. And there are certain foods, like spicy ones, or ones that cause a lot of gas, that she couldn’t eat at all during that time.”
“Really? I never knew that. I’m an only child, so I don’t have any brothers and sisters. Mum never wanted any more after me.” Misty admitted. “I guess that’s ‘cause she’s away a lot, traveling with my dad. They run a shipping business. They’re away a lot, sometimes I don’t see them for months.” The girl rolled her eyes at her stupid chatter. As if her professor really cared what her parents did! She probably sounded like the world’s most boring person. She tried to think of something else to talk about, while sipping the tea and nibbling the toast Severus had ordered for her.
She wished that she had opted to stay in bed this morning. Her stomach was feeling worse by the minute and she couldn’t figure out why. She had barely eaten anything, hadn’t eaten much last night either, but had no symptoms of a stomach flu or been constipated. Maybe she should have gone to see Madam Pomfrey. She wrapped her arms about her middle and prayed the terrible cramping would just go away.
Severus had moved over to fireplace and began gently stoking the fire to burn all day, because it was chilly down in the dungeons, and he didn’t want to waste a spell to heat a room he’d be absent from most of the day. Fielding didn’t know it, but Severus thought she sounded rather neglected, being that her parents traveled and seemed to not be there for her most of the time. He checked his watch and saw that it had been a half-an-hour since both Lily and Arthur had departed. Lily he expected to be gone a long time, but he thought Arthur would have been back sooner. He hoped Minerva wasn’t giving the boy the third degree, Arthur had already been scolded enough by him, as well as endured that terrible curse, to Severus that was enough and more than enough of a lesson for Arthur to learn.
Misty let out a soft moan, then she abruptly stood up. “Sir, please, I need the loo!”
Severus turned to see her clutching her stomach, reminding him oddly of Lily when she’d had false contractions last week. “Over there, Fielding.” He pointed to his half bath.
The girl raced over to it, whimpering. The door shut and Severus stood, waiting to hear retching or something. Instead he heard Misty sobbing hysterically. “Oh, Merlin! I’m dying! It’s . . .all over me!”
Severus wondered what in hell was wrong. Had she had an accident? Sometimes a stomach virus caused diarrhea. “Miss Fielding? Can you tell me what’s the matter?” he called.
“I . . . don’t know! Sir, I think . . . I have some . . kind of . . . disease!” the girl gasped.
“Disease? What do you mean?”
“Like . . . like . . . cancer, sir!” she wailed.
“Cancer?” Severus had never been good dealing with hysterics and it sounded like Misty was having a bout of them. “Lord, Lily, where are you when I need you?” he muttered, before asking, “What makes you think that? Some stomach pains don’t necessarily mean that.”
“No . . . it’s not just that . . . it’s . . . I’m bleeding, all over, like when you . . . you hemorrhage internally . . .” she dissolved into sobs again.
Severus’ eyebrows shot to his head. Only a Ravenclaw would be able to spout off medical terminology when she thought she was dying. And then it hit him. It was so obvious he could kick himself. He glanced at his sofa where she had been sitting. Upon it were some small drops of blood.
Could the child truly be that ignorant about something so natural? Had no one taught her about a woman’s time of the month? In this day and age? Feeling himself blush slightly, he cleared his throat and said, “Miss Fielding . . . Misty . . . I want you to calm down and listen to me . . . You are not dying.”
“I am! I am! It’s not stopping!” she shrieked.
Merlin, but I need a Calming Draught and so does she! “It will, after a few moments,” Severus assured her through the door. “Just calm down.” I should just send her to Pomfrey. If I could get her out of my bathroom. Or maybe I should call my mother. She would know how to handle her. But then he remembered Eileen had said she would be doing some shopping, probably getting special things for lunch, before he arrived. And he could hardly bust in on Albus and fetch Lily back because his student was in his bathroom having hysterics over her first menstrual period! He groaned inwardly. What lousy timing! Well, he would just have to bite the bullet and deal with this on his own.
“Ahem! Misty, did your mother ever tell you about . . . a woman’s time of the month?”
“Did she what?” Misty repeated, sounding utterly confused.
“Did anyone ever talk to you about where babies come from? Or . . . more precisely, how they are made?”
“Umm . . . my mother said my dad and her slept together and that’s it.”
Great! Just great! What kind of idiot woman doesn’t tell her daughter about getting her period? Severus thought furiously. One that doesn’t have time for her, obviously. “Err . . . did she ever tell you that when you . . . reached eleven or twelve that certain changes would start happening to you?”
“N-no. She . . . she said that someday I’d grow on top and get something called a curse, but I never knew what she meant. Is . . . is that what’s wrong with me? Is it a curse on me?”
Severus hit himself in the forehead. He wished he had Mrs. Fielding before him so he could throttle her. Who in hell left their child totally ignorant about the facts of life and just sent them off to school without even a . . . manual explaining puberty! For an instant he considered waiting for Lily to return, but he couldn’t leave Fielding frightened and hysterical, bleeding all over his bathroom. And what if Arthur returned first? How would he explain what was going on?
“No, it’s not a curse, Misty. It’s a natural process all women go through.”
“Are you sure I’m not dying?” came the muffled response.
“Quite sure. My wife goes through this every month,” Severus told her.
“Every month!” she squeaked.
“Except now, when she’s having a child,” Severus corrected. He quietly explained about a woman’s monthly, assuring the girl that it had nothing to do with internal bleeding or cancer. “What it means is that your body is growing up, Misty, and that when you’re old enough, you can have a baby. I have a book you can read about it, once you clean yourself up.” Books were a safe topic for a Ravenclaw. A book would also explain things more logically.
He went and fetched some of Lily’s clothing, and then shrank it to fit the twelve-year-old. He also found some of Lily’s feminine products, she kept a box of pads and tampons in her drawer in the large bathroom, and gave both of them to Misty through the door. “Just . . . follow the directions on the package,” he told her. He just hoped there was a diagram included on the package, because any Ravenclaw could relate to a diagram. He could feel the tips of his ears turning red.
Some ten minutes later, Misty emerged from the bathroom. She was so embarrassed, but somehow she managed to whisper, “Sir . . . I’m so sorry . . .what about my . . . clothes?”
“I’ll have a house elf clean them for you, don’t worry.” He quickly cleaned the sofa with magic before she could see what had occurred. “Sit down and I’ll get that book.” Among his texts on potions was a medical text on female reproductive systems. He soon found it and handed it to Misty. “This will explain things further than I can.” He coughed. “And perhaps you could speak to Zoey when she gets back from her appointment. The one remedy I know for those cramps is a hot water bottle on your stomach. Would you like to try it?”
“Please, sir,” the girl said, dropping her eyes. “I’m sorry I acted like such a nitwit.”
Severus tilted her chin up. “You have nothing to be ashamed of, Misty. What just happened to you can be frightening, especially if it’s your first time and you’re unprepared. Your mother should have told you what to expect.” Idiotic woman! If she’d been doing her job right, I wouldn’t have to.
“She’s barely home long enough to say hello,” Misty said.
“Humph!” her professor grunted his disapproval, then went to fetch the hot water bottle. After filling it, he charmed it so the warmth wouldn’t run out. He had the child lie on the couch with the water bottle on her tummy and gave her a Pain Reliever as well. It was all he could think of to do.
Misty started to read the book he’d given her, but about four pages into it she paused and asked, “Professor Snape, how did you learn about it?”
“Believe it or not, most Muggle children are taught about puberty when they’re in primary school. Just in case they have parents like yours who don’t discuss things with their children. I was raised mostly Muggle, so I attended school like everyone else.”
“Oh! I never went to school, Mum and Dad traveled too much and they hired tutors,” Misty explained. Who had never discussed such intimate things with her. She blushed again.
Severus settled down in his recliner and read over some of his notes for his Monday class. When he looked up again, Misty was sound asleep. Not long afterwards, Lily returned. When Severus explained what had happened, she started laughing.
“It wasn’t funny!” he bristled. “I wasn’t prepared for anything like that. I was going to try and call you or Mum but . . . it didn’t work out. I cannot believe her mother didn’t tell her what to expect! Except that it was a curse. A curse! What are we living in, the bloody Dark Ages? Did she expect the girl to just figure it out herself? The poor girl was petrified, Lily! And embarrassed as hell. And so was I. I’m her professor, not even a relative, and I had to have that talk with her.”
“Oh, Sev! Poor you! But I think you did a good job,” she soothed. “You know, you’ll probably have that talk again someday.”
“If we have a girl, I’m leaving that to you.” Severus stated, flushing. “I’ll talk with the boys, if we have any.”
“No, I mean, there will probably be other students who need that advice, love. In your own House,” Lily told him.
“Merciful Merlin!” he groaned. He feared she was right. If a girl didn’t have a sister or aunt or cousin to tell her things . . . he wondered if he ought to speak to Minerva and Pomona, surely they could form a group and teach the girls from all the Houses about hormones, ect. . .?
“I’ll help you,” Lily said, still grinning. “You’re going to make a wonderful father, Sev.”
Severus looked doubtful. “What did Dumbledore say?”
Lily lowered her voice and pulled him into the bedroom and shut the door. “The objects were what we feared.”
“Horcruxes?” he hissed.
“Yes. The only thing to do is to destroy them.”
“With a more powerful magical object or spell.”
“Are they destroyed?”
“Yes. One he destroyed with the sword of Godric Gryffindor.”
“And the other?”
“He took into the Forbidden Forest, to a high plateau of rock and called down Fiendfyre on it.”
“Fiendfyre! But that spell could have burnt down the whole forest if not properly contained!” Severus gasped.
“Relax, Sev. Dumbledore knew what he was doing. He made a firebreak just in case. And the ring was on bare rock. It’s over.” Lily came and hugged him. “Now all we need to worry about is the Dark Lord trying to experiment with something else before our baby’s born.”
Severus grimaced and gently rubbed her belly. “Let’s hope he gets distracted somehow. Are you feeling all right? I was thinking about visiting my mother and Jess this afternoon.”
“You should, Sev. And I’ll visit mine and Tuney. God knows we need a break. Before we break into little pieces.”
“True. All I have to do is supervise this detention with Wyverly and I’m done for the afternoon. Would you mind speaking with Misty when she wakes up?”
“Not at all. You covered the basics, right?”
“As best I could. I . . . uh . . . let her borrow some products.”
“That’s all right. I’ll take her into a pharmacy, and get her some of her own.” Lily reassured him. “That’s definitely something a woman needs to do.” She sniggered as she recalled one time when Tuney had asked her dad to pick her up a box of Playtex. Her father, a pharmacist for over ten years, had turned bright red and muttered, “You couldn’t ask your mum?”
They returned to the den just as Arthur came in. “Hi!” He caught sight of Misty on the couch and gaped. “How come Misty’s asleep on the couch?”
“Uh . . . she wasn’t feeling too well so I told her she could have a lie down,” Severus hedged. “Grimsby was here, he wished you to know he was out by the pitch flying if you wanted to join him.”
“How was your talk with Professor McGonagall?” asked Lily curiously.
Arthur shrugged. “It was all right. She yelled a bit about my walking away and not fighting so much. But then she taught me a few really neat Transfiguration charms, like sticking a person’s feet to the floor, and making the floor grow up around them. She taught me one where vines would wrap about a person’s legs, and even one to put someone to sleep. But she made me promise not to use them unless I was in danger of my life and couldn’t find an adult to help me.”
“Those are good charms to know if you are ever attacked,” Severus said approvingly. “But don’t ever let me catch you pranking anyone with those spells, young man!”
“I wouldn’t! I know better. Besides, I’m not a bully,” Arthur said stoutly. “Bye, see you later!” he knew he had to hurry down to the pitch, Nate sometimes got impatient.
“He’s a good kid, Sev,” Lily said. “Don’t be too hard on him.”
“I’m not. But he needs to learn to think before he acts,” Severus said. “Well, I’m off to make Wyverly regret ever raising a wand. See you tonight at supper.”
She kissed him leisurely yet thoroughly, she wanted to that kiss to sustain her through the day until she could have him alone at night. When she finally released him, he gasped and said, “If you had gone on any longer, I would have had to say forget the damn detention and take you back in the bedroom, Mrs. Snape.”
“I wouldn’t have minded in the slightest,” she smirked seductively.
“Minx!” he gave her a playful smack on the behind. “Now I really do have to be going. I don’t want to be late for my own detention.”
He turned and strode out the door, his black robes billowing behind him. Lily sighed in longing, then settled in the recliner, drinking the cup of tea her husband had forgotten to while waiting for the sleeping Ravenclaw to awaken.
Misty was surprised at how kind and understanding Zoey Snape was. Her own mother, when she was around, was always in a hurry, and never had time to explain things to her more than a single time, and was very annoyed when Misty asked for more detailed explanations of things. “I’ve already told you, and that should be enough!” was a phrase the girl heard often from her mother’s prettily painted lips.
But Zoey happily explained to her about the way a woman’s reproductive system functioned, and how to ease the cramps and soreness that often accompanied her monthly. Zoey gave her a recipe for tea, and suggested hot showers and compresses or potions for headaches and backaches. She also told her to always be prepared and carry one or two feminine products on her at all times.
“My older sister used to carry them stuffed in her socks, but I think an inner pocket of your robe will do just fine. That way if you happen to . . . find yourself somewhere in public, you’ll never be embarrassed. In fact, why don’t we go and visit a pharmacy, so you can choose a few things.”
Misty blinked. “Choose? But I thought . . . there’s more than one kind?”
“Oh, yes! There are many different kinds of brands. Some women prefer one over another.” Zoey said. “Come on, I’ll show you.”
Misty looked awkward. “But I . . . don’t have any money, not the Muggle kind.”
“That’s all right. I do. Now come, this will be a fun trip for us girls. They sell a lot of things at the pharmacy, like make-up and hair products and even some perfume and jewelry.”
Misty brightened at that, even though she wasn’t usually into that kind of thing, mostly because she never had anyone to show her how to put on makeup or fix her hair. Looking at Zoey’s burgeoning belly, she asked, “Are you hoping for a girl?”
Zoey smiled. “I certainly wouldn’t mind one, and I know that’s what Sev wants too.”
“He does? I always thought men wanted sons.”
Zoey chuckled. “Sev would love a boy too, but I know he’s been longing for a baby girl, ever since his little sister was born. Because then he can be all soft at home and all overprotective in public and nobody will fault him.”
Misty imagined her tall rather intimidating professor cuddling a baby and giggled. “He’d be a real sweet dad.”
“I agree.” Zoey laughed, then she helped Misty through the Floo to Hogsmeade. Once there, they could take the train into King’s Cross.
At eleven thirty, Zoey and Misty returned to school, Misty was now supplied with knowledge and items to get through her first time, and also a new barrette and some lip gloss which made her feel more grown-up. The girl thanked Zoey and raced up to her dorm to put away her new things and try on the lip gloss. She wondered if the boys would notice, then shrugged and figured they wouldn’t, they never seemed to notice anything that didn’t have to do with Quidditch, food, or dueling.
Lily watched Misty run up the stairs and smiled fondly. The child reminded her of herself at that age. Then she turned and was about to head out of the castle when an owl came and gave her a letter.
Recognizing the handwriting as her sister’s, Lily eagerly tore open the envelope. She read about Petunia’s being at loose ends and her pregnancy, which was progressing slowly but annoyingly. Lily could sympathize totally. When she reached the end of the letter, Lily decided to Floo over to Potter Manor first and surprise her sister.
But when she arrived, Bilbo informed her that Lady Petunia was not at home, she had gone with Master James to St. Mungos.
“Is she in labor then?” Lily exclaimed.
“No, Lady, Mistress is not yet ready. She went to help at the hospital.” Bilbo corrected, bowing.
“Oh! Thank goodness! For a minute there I thought . . .” Lily heaved a sigh of relief. Then she bit her lip, for she had been looking forward to seeing her sister again. “Well, when she comes back, please tell her that I was here. I’m going to see our parents this afternoon, so if she wants to stop by . . .”
Bilbo nodded. “Bilbo shall tell Mistress. Good day, Lady Snape.”
“Thank you.” Lily said. She then cast down some more Floo powder and said, “Evans residence, Spinner’s End!” They had connected her parents’ house to the Floo Network recently, just in case Lily or Petunia were there and started to go into labor.
She found her mother in the kitchen, baking some cherry tarts. “Hello, Mum! Those smell so good!”
Polly spun about, an oven mitt on her hand. “Lily! Oh, what a wonderful surprise!” She shut the door to the oven and flew to hug her daughter. “I was just saying to your dad the other day how much I missed you and wished you’d stop over.”
“Here I am,” Lily said, hugging her mother back. The familiar smells of flour, sugar, and cinnamon that always clung to her mum wafted about her. “I feel like a house about to explode.”
Polly smiled knowingly. “I know. But you look good, Lily. Any problems with your back or feet? My feet were like balloons around this time.”
“Some, but Severus gives the best massages.” Lily said, going to sit down at the table.
“Oh? Then he’s been treating you right?” Polly asked.
“He treats me like a queen, Mum.” Lily admitted. “Even with his classes, he manages to spend at least three nights a week with me. Don’t worry on that score.”
Polly chuckled. “It wasn’t me that was worrying so much as your dad. Even though he ought to know better, he still thinks of you as his baby girl.”
Lily rolled her eyes in fond exasperation. “His baby’s having a baby soon, Mum. Hasn’t he realized that yet?”
“He has and he’s so proud, but you know your father. He worries when you don’t visit.” Polly bustled about, getting tea on. “Would you like some sugar biscuits? I baked them this morning.”
“Mmm, yes. What’s the occasion?”
“No reason. I just felt like it.” She took a plate and began placing a few sugar biscuits on it from the biscuit tin on the counter. “Here you go, luv.”
As Lily ate a biscuit, she told her mother about the fire in Hogsmeade, but an edited version, and how Severus had come to help put it out. She also told her about staying up at the castle with him.
“Thank God neither of you were hurt! Vandalism is growing worse and worse, I tell you. There were riots in Manchester the other week, stores broken into, windows smashed by some group in masks or something. I don’t know what the world’s coming to. I’m glad you’re staying with Severus up there. You shouldn’t be alone this close to your due date.”
“I know, Mum.” Lily said. She then went on to tell her about poor Arthur’s run in with bullies and how Severus helped him and also the incident with Misty.
Polly nearly spit her tea all over when she heard that. “Oh! Oh, poor Sev!” Then she burst out into giggles. “And that poor child! Imagine, getting your first time in front of a man, and your teacher, no less. I really feel for her. And Severus must have been red as a strawberry having to . . . to . . . explain everything!”
“When he told me, Mum, I couldn’t help laughing and he got all annoyed, but . . .it really was funny! And it reminded me of that time Tuney was fourteen and told dad to pick her up some Playtex!” Lily recalled, snickering.
“I’d almost forgotten about that! Lord, but I thought he was going to die. Your father never wants to admit his girls are growing up, and all of a sudden, instead of getting asked for candy, he’s getting asked to bring home tampons!”
“Poor Dad! And Sev too, if I have a girl.” Lily said. “It’s what he wants, but I don’t think he has any idea what he’s getting into. Remember the time Tuney and I tried to help you do the laundry and we turned all of Dad’s work shirts pink? Or the time Tuney tried to cut her hair to look like that TV actress, Barbara something, and she ended up looking like a scarecrow?”
“That time I nearly died!” Polly admitted. “I also recall you and Severus hiding Tuney’s favorite record and driving her crazy.”
“I remember that now! We did it ‘cause she was being such a brat and calling Sev a charity case.”
“The three of you were imps!” Polly shook her head. “Sometimes I wanted to smack all of you for bickering constantly.”
“It was usually Tuney who started it, Mum,” Lily defended.
“Ah, but you and even Severus continued it. You two put peanut butter on her hairbrush one time.” Polly reminded her.
“Served her right. She always teased Sev about his hair and called him nasty names, like grease ball or something. It was payback.”
“And whose idea was the peanut butter?”
“Sev’s. I wanted to put cow manure on it,” Lily admitted slyly.
“Manure would have been a sight easier to get out of her hair, Lily,” Polly snorted.
They continued reminiscing until the timer dinged and Polly went to take the tarts from the oven.
Severus stepped from the Floo into the living room just as his little sister ran by and tried to hide behind the couch. She was swiftly followed by Eileen, holding a spoon and a vial of red potion.
“Jess, you come out of there this instant and take your medicine!” Eileen ordered, her eyes stormy.
“Problems, Mum?” her son asked wryly.
“Severus! I didn’t even hear you come in,” Eileen said, smiling at her son. “I have everything laid out in the kitchen, go and sit down. I just need to get your sister to take her allergy medicine.”
“Jess has allergies?”
“Yes, to pollen and she needs to take a spoonful of this every three days until the pollen season’s over. Today she’s being very naughty and not listening.” Eileen frowned.
“Maybe I can help,” Severus said. He walked over to where Jess was crouched behind the sofa, a mulish expression on her face. “Jess, don’t I get a hug hello?”
“Sevvy!” his baby sister cried, her eyes lighting up. “You’s come home!” She ran to him and threw her arms about his legs. “I missed you, Sevvy! Did your baby come?”
Severus scooped her up and hugged her. “Not yet. But soon. I missed you too, imp.” He kissed her on the cheek. Then his expression turned serious. “What’s this I hear about you being bad for Mum and not taking your medicine?”
Jess squirmed in his grasp. “Medicine tastes yucky! I don’t want it, Sevvy!” she hollered, trying to get down.
Severus held her firmly. “Don’t you kick me, Jessamyn Marsh!” he warned. “Or else instead of a present you’ll be getting a smack and time out.”
“No! No!” the little girl wailed. “Don’t be mean, Sevvy!” She threw her arms about his neck and sobbed.
Utterly flummoxed, he patted her back and sat down on the couch with her, cuddling her until she stopped crying. “There now, I’m not being mean.”
Jess started to sneeze and cough, and Severus pulled out a handkerchief and made her blow her nose. “See, you’re all stuffed up, Jess. That’s why Mum wants to give you the potion. So you can get better.”
Jess shook her head. “No! Tastes yucky!”
“It doesn’t really,” Eileen interjected. “It tastes like cherries.”
Severus raised an eyebrow. “Jess, you’re making a fuss over a potion that tastes like cherries? When I was little like you, I had to take potions that tasted like sour grapes.”
“Eeew!” his sister made a face. “For real?”
Severus nodded. “For real. How about I make a deal with you? I brought you a surprise, but you can’t have it until you take your medicine. No, don’t pout, listen to me,” he held up a finger. “I’m going to prove that your medicine doesn’t taste bad by taking some myself.”
Jess’ eyes widened. “You’re gonna take my medicine, Sevvy?”
“I am. And if I don’t spit it out, then you have to take some also. Are you brave enough to do that? Or are you still a little baby?”
“I’m not a baby, Sevvy! I’m four!” She held out four fingers imperiously. “I wear underpants!”
Severus bit back a chuckle. “Ah, but can you take medicine like a big girl?” he challenged. He looked at Eileen, his eyes glittering with suppressed mirth.
Playing along, his mother poured a small amount on the spoon and said, “Open wide, Sevvy.”
Severus opened his mouth and Eileen popped the spoon in. He swallowed and said, “That tasted like a cherry cough drop. Your turn, Jess.”
Jess looked from one to the other. She didn’t really like taking her medicine. But she also wanted to prove to her big brother that she wasn’t a baby. She was a big girl and brave like her brother! And she wanted that surprise! “My turn, Mummy!” Leaning her head back against her brother’s shoulder, she opened her mouth.
Eileen quickly gave her a spoonful.
Jess sputtered, but Severus tipped her head back and she swallowed.
“Good job!” Eileen praised.
“I’m braver than you, Sevvy! ‘Cause I took more of it,” the child stated.
“You certainly are,” her brother agreed, then he whispered to Eileen, “I can’t believe she noticed that.”
“Severus, the child notices everything. Just like her daddy.” Eileen banished the vial and spoon back to her lab.
Jess turned to look at her brother. “Now can I have my surprise? Please?”
Severus dug into his pocket and pulled out a necklace with a silver kitten pendant on it. “Look, Jess. This is a locket. When you open it, there’s pictures inside.” He carefully pressed the clasp and the locket opened. Inside was a miniature picture of himself and Lily smiling. The other side was blank. “See, here’s me and Lily. And on the other side you can put a picture of the baby when it’s born.”
Jess clapped her hands. “It’s bee-yoo-ti-ful! Thank you, Sevvy!” She put her head down so he could put it on her.
“Severus, you spoil her,” his mother remarked.
“It’s just a locket, Mum.” Severus said. He bounced his sister on his knee. “What do you say we go and eat lunch, brave girl?”
“Yes! Yes!” Jess agreed, all smiles. “Mummy and I made a lot of sandwiches. An cakes an’ tarts, Sevvy!”
“I can’t wait to eat them,” he told her. “I haven’t eaten since this morning.” He rose and carried her into the kitchen.
“How come?” she asked curiously.
“Because I had to give one of my students detention.”
“Was he bad?”
“Very bad. He hexed your cousin Arthur and hurt him badly.”
Her mouth opened in an O. “Did you spank him, Sevvy? An’ put him in the corner?”
“Ah . . . no, I don’t spank students.” Severus said wryly. “Though he did deserve one. I made him gut firecrabs and scrub my classroom though.”
“Good! From what your father told me, he certainly deserved it,” Eileen added. “Is Art all right now?”
“Yes, he’s fully recovered.” Severus said. He placed Jess on her chair and sat down next to her.
There were sandwiches arranged on platters. Tuna salad on toast, chicken cutlet with butter on wheat, ham, lettuce, and mayo on white, and bacon, lettuce, and tomato. There was also chips and potato salad. “Mum, were you expecting someone else?” her son inquired upon seeing all the food.
“Uh . . . I may have overdid it just a bit,” Eileen admitted. “But we can have them for lunch tomorrow with your dad.”
Severus nodded. Then he took a tuna sandwich and a chicken one.
Eileen had a ham and a tuna, and Jess a BLT and they all ate some potato salad. The adults had cola and Jess had milk.
As they ate, Eileen asked about his students and also the Hogsmeade fire. Severus told her how it had started and how his Slytherin, Rhys Morgan, had warned them about it. They discussed potions and different ways to brew them. Severus discussed his Slytherins and disciplinary policy for his House, asking Eileen for advice on how to deal with bratty teenagers.
“You ought to know that, Sev. How did I deal with you?” she asked.
“Uh . . . you made me clean the garage once. And weed the entire garden. You washed my mouth out a few times too.”
“Well, I’m sure having some of those brats scrub the courtyard or eat soap will straighten them out too,” she told him.
Her son’s eyes gleamed. “Thank you.” He bit into his sandwich. “I’ll have to remember that for my own son or daughter. Because I don’t ever want to be like him.”
Eileen laid a comforting hand on his arm. “Sev, you could never be like him. Not in a million years. You’re twice the man he is. And you have twice the patience. Look at how you handled Jess. He would have smacked her and shoved the spoon down her throat.”
Severus grimaced. “I know.” Tobias had done that to him once. “It’s just sometimes I worry about it. I’ve got his temper, Mum. I wish I didn’t, but I do.”
“But you also know how to control it, Severus. He never did. You have nothing to fear, son. I have no doubt you will make an excellent father, because you know what not to do. And you also have a great capacity to love and be loved. And that you get from me, Severus Snape.”
“I love you, Sevvy!” Jess declared, hugging him. Bits of bacon got all over his sleeve, but he didn’t even notice.
Severus smiled down at his baby sister. Perhaps his mother was right, and there was naught to fear. If he could deal with Jess in a temper, he could deal with his own. And Lily would be there to help him.
“Whatcha gonna name the baby, Sevvy?”
“We’re working on that,” Severus said, then he reached for a blueberry scone his mother had set out. Lily and he had picked out several names for boys and girls and as yet hadn’t picked a favorite. But he knew they would have to choose soon. He wasn’t going to have his baby come into the world nameless.
Ministry of Magic
“I did what you asked, Lord Malfoy,” Peter said ingratiatingly. “I listened in on the Auror meeting at their Headquarters. And it was as easy as taking candy from a baby. They never even saw me.” His eyes gleamed triumphantly. “Concealment charms could be detected, even an Invisibility Cloak, but not me when I’m in my other form. It’s practically foolproof, my lord!”
Lucius raised an eyebrow. He did not really care for this poser, but even he couldn’t deny Wormtail was useful for ferreting out information. “Nothing is foolproof, Pettigrew,” he said softly. “Which is why you must stop meeting me here soon. It could look suspicious. I shall set up a different meeting place and time soon. Be that as it may, what did you learn at the meeting?”
Wormtail told him about the patrol changes, his sly smirk growing even wider. “Does this mean that you shall recommend me to . . . him?”
“Perhaps. I wouldn’t be in too much of a hurry to get acquainted, Wormtail. He is often . . . impatient and rough with his initiates. Especially turncoats like you. No, it’s best if you continue to do a bit more work for me before I bring you before him. Establish yourself, so to speak. One time of information gathering does not a spy make.”
Peter looked disappointed. “You think I’m not good enough because once I was Potter’s mate, right? Because I’m a Gryffindor!”
“Don’t be ridiculous! What difference does your house and former friends make now? We’re not in school anymore, Pettigrew. This is real life, and I’m telling you here and now, he doesn’t stand for any whining like that. He considers most people beneath him, remember that. It doesn’t matter what House they were in or what blood status they hold. He is the best, the greatest, the highest. Don’t ever forget that, Wormtail. Or else you’ll regret it to your dying day, which won’t be long if he’s in a mood.”
Despite himself, Pettigrew shuddered. He had never been very brave, in spite of being Sorted into Gryffindor. It was why he had chosen to hang around Potter, Black, and Lupin, because if he were with them, he wouldn’t be targeted by them. It was a strategy that he considered brilliant. Always join the side with the most power and you’ll never be a victim. It had worked at school, and it would work now.
“I’m sorry, Lord Malfoy. Please forgive my impertinence.” Peter groveled.
Lucius snorted. “For God’s sake, Pettigrew, grow a spine so you can stand up straight. My house elf has more pride. Now go, see what else you can find out in the Auror Department. If you find out something interesting, send me an owl. Meet me here on Sunday morning, around 7 AM.”
Because the last two times he had met Peter was in the afternoon on a weekday, Lucius decided to vary the meeting day and time a little. Just until he could come up with another scheme.
“Yes, my lord,” Peter muttered, bowing. Then he blurred into his rat form and scurried out of the office.
A/N: How did you like how Sev handled Misty and Jess?
More trouble to come, as Wormtail's spying causes trouble for the Aurors.
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