Hermione woke at an indeterminate time and snuggled deeper under the covers. Now she understood why Anastasia liked to have the windows enchanted to darken and lighten according to normal standards in round the clock daylight. It was disorienting.
It didn’t take Hermione long to realize she was in Severus’ quarters. She was also alone.
‘Well, it wasn’t a dream then,’ Hermione thought groggily to herself. She was wondering if he was going to return. Perhaps he was going about his day as if nothing had happened.
The door to his chambers opened and Severus tip-toed in with a small blue bottle in his hands.
“What’s that?” Hermione asked. Severus jumped.
“A healing potion,” said Severus. “I thought I’d be back before you stirred.”
“I just woke up,” said Hermione. “You almost made it. What’s the potion for?”
“I assumed you might desire it,” said Severus, looking a bit embarrassed. Hermione shifted her weight as she sat up and winced.
“I think you may be right,” said Hermione, blushing.
Severus slipped in bed with her wearing his under things. Hermione tightened the sheets around her possessively. He looked taken aback and handed her the bottle.
Hermione took it from him and felt a little guilty of sending him the wrong meaning. She just wasn’t used to being disrobed in front of anyone. She downed the contents of the bottle and reached for his hand under the covers.
Her hand brushed his thigh in her search and she felt him get more comfortable under the sheets. She lay down beside him and she felt his hand encircle her bare waist.
Merlin’s Beard, she did look beautiful when she blushed.
Hermione woke for the second time that day and noticed two trays of breakfast on the low table near the couch.
She also noticed Crookshanks purring at the foot of the bed.
“How did you get in here?” Hermione asked. Crookshanks raised his head and yawned widely.
She turned to look at Severus sleeping on his side of the bed and reached out tentatively for her under things. She prayed he wouldn’t wake while she was walking around getting decent.
Thankfully, he didn’t wake until she was reaching for one of the trays. He groaned loudly and sunk under the covers deeper.
Severus suddenly wished he had thought to make himself a healing potion. She certainly was bewitching, but to think he could perform like a 20 year old again with no consequences was insane. He hadn’t been this sore in years.
“What’s wrong?” Hermione asked as she approached the bed with a tray for him.
“I think I may have over done it,” said Severus, groaning.
“Would you like a potion?” said Hermione.
“I only made one,” said Severus.
“I did take healing classes my seventh year,” said Hermione annoyed. “I can brew a simple healing potion.”
“Third basement down. Take a right at the wine cellar,” said Severus.
“Excuse me?” asked Hermione.
“My laboratory,” said Severus.
“Why is it all the way down there?” Hermione asked.
“I was a sullen teenager,” said Severus. “I liked to be left alone.”
“Who would have ever thought?” said Hermione dryly.
Hermione wolfed her breakfast down and looked down at herself.
“I should go get on normal clothing,” said Hermione.
“I’m sure the elves wouldn’t comment, if you happen to see one,” said Severus.
“It will be cold,” said Hermione.
“There is a fireplace,” said Severus.
“You just don’t want me to put clothing on!” accused Hermione, her cheeks flushing. She would have to do something about that. She imagined she looked like a tomato at regular intervals.
“Your under things do cover quite a lot,” remarked Severus. “But I would like you to walk around half-naked, yes.” He tried to cover his smirk by sipping his tea, but Hermione saw it and scowled at him.
“I was talking about Charlie,” said Hermione exasperatedly.
“Good point,” said Severus. “Handle it as you see fit.”
“What does that mean?” said Hermione.
“If you want Mr. Weasley to know, then let him know,” said Severus hesitantly.
“Know what?” Hermione swallowed.
Last night would have never happened if they hadn’t had so much wine and she didn’t know what his feelings about it would be today. Perhaps he though they should handle it professionally. Sometimes people say things they don’t mean in the heat of the moment. She was going to be logical about this.
Severus set his tea cup down and placed the tray of unfinished breakfast on his night stand.
“Hermione,” Severus began taking one of her hands in his. “Our marriage has been consummated.”
Hermione stared at the back of his hand. Small black hairs dotted the back of his knuckles. She stroked them absentmindedly. She was tremendously relieved. She had felt a little guilty and embarrassed at her behavior the previous night and now that she realized it was really meaningful to him she felt much better.
“If you want to tell him our marriage has been consummated, you may,” said Severus. He was afraid she was going to ask for a divorce immediately.
“I don’t know,” said Hermione. She scooted next to him and kissed him on the neck. “If it suits me.”
“I think you’d better get that potion,” said Severus, feeling his body respond once again.
“I’ll be back,” said Hermione, kissing his cheek and hopping off the bed.
Hermione returned about an hour later and handed Severus a glass tumbler with a gold liquid at the bottom. He downed it and smiled.
“Very good,” he said. “What are you wearing?”
Hermione looked down at herself. She was wearing muggle jeans, a blue cardigan and a black t-shirt. Her sneakers were poking out of the bottoms of her jeans.
“I didn’t know I was required to look like a cover girl,” Hermione said. “This was sensible for potions brewing.”
“Indeed,” said Severus swinging his feet out of bed and stretching. He had retrieved his under things while she was elsewhere. He got to his feet and leaned over to kiss her forehead. “Well, it’s lovely.”
While certain pure blooded wizards would sneer at her clothing as being unfeminine, Severus couldn’t help but appreciate the view from behind. Especially when she bent over to scratch Crookshanks behind his ears.
“Your supplies need to be restocked,” said Hermione. Severus shook his head as he pressed on a panel on his wall. It swung open and Hermione saw a bathroom. It seemed comfortable, but plain.
“Figures,” said Severus standing in front of the toilet. Her eyes widened in shock. Apparently this married thing came with some unexpected surprises as well.
When Severus was done he started the shower tucked into one corner. “Mother has a habit of using up everything and never replacing anything. It was the only was she could get me to go out as a teenager.”
“I’ll go to the library and wait for you,” said Hermione.
“And what are we doing today?” Severus asked, a frown creasing his brow.
“Restocking your supplies,” said Hermione, leaving the room with a wave.
Severus shook his head and smiled. At least he got saddled with a sensible girl.
Mageeya Topeek was crowded and bustling with Russian speaking wizards.
“Maybe we should have brought someone who speaks English,” remarked Hermione as she brushed the ashes from her jacket that she had picked up using the Russian Floo Network. They had appeared in what looked like a pub.
“Severus!” a jolly voice called out. “Vodka?”
Hermione spied a large round wizard behind the bar cleaning mugs with a clean red cloth.
“On you?” asked Severus, a corner of his mouth quirking.
“Of course,” said the barkeep, slamming a shot glass on the counter and pouring clear liquid into it. “Is this your new bride?”
“Yes,” said Severus, pulling Hermione closer. “This is my cousin, Yuri.” He had dark blue eyes and light brown curly hair.
“I’m beginning to think you’re related to everyone,” said Hermione.
“Sometimes it seems like that to us as well,” said Yuri, pouring Hermione a little vodka in a glass and covering it with cranberry juice. Hermione drank it and thanked Yuri when he handed her a piroshki.
“Replenishing supplies?” Yuri asked.
“However did you guess,” said Severus dryly.
“It’s the only time you come into town,” said Yuri, smiling. “Svetlana would like to see you while you’re in the area.”
“We’ll have to stop by, then,” said Severus, his smile looking slightly pained.
“Well,” said Yuri. “I have drinks to serve and you have things to get. Send me an owl later.”
“I’ll do that,” said Severus, seemingly relieved the conversation was over.
Hermione and Severus waved good-bye and walked out into the market place.
“What was that about?” Hermione asked.
“Svetlana’s mother was killed by the Dark Lord,” said Severus. “She got in the way when he first appeared in the area.”
“So, Yuri’s a widower?” asked Hermione abruptly stopping before she banged into Severus in front of a store with an incomprehensible sign. Severus nodded. He opened the door for her as she finished her piroshki and she hastily shoved the greasy napkin in her pocket.
“Yuri’s mother has never quite forgiven me for becoming involved in the Dark Lords plan,” Severus said. “She thinks the killing of Svetlana’s mother is Gods punishment for evil in the bloodline. I think she wanted me burned the last time I came to visit.”
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione, truly meaning it.
“Master Snape,” a high reedy voice called out. To Hermiones surprise it had a Irish lilt mixed in with the Russian. Very odd sounding. “How good to see you’ve decided to visit us instead of going to France this year.”
Severus chuckled. Hermione was surprised. Although she was getting used to the likable Severus behind closed doors, she was surprised to see it in a public arena.
“I take it you saw my mother,” said Severus shaking the hand of a tiny little man who had to hop off a wooden box to walk around the side of the counter.
His amber hair stood out in all directions, although he had tried to force a green cap on top of it to keep in out of his face. He wore a tan shirt, blue vest, and brown pants in a fashion that reminded Hermione of the Renaissance. However, he was also wearing Muggle basketball shoes in obviously a childs size, and a belt with silver studs on it.
Severus laughed out loud.
“You don’t like them?” the small man asked, flashing his shoes at Hermione and smiling. “They’re very comfortable.”
“I bet they are,” said Hermione, happy to see logic applied anywhere in the world of magic.
“Where did you get those?” Severus asked.
“Traded for a silver 30 cm cauldron,” said the tiny man. He couldn’t be more than four feet tall. The shoes looked awfully big on his feet. Hermione wondered is he was part magical-creature.
“You let a cauldron go for a pair of shoes?” Severus asked, aghast. When Hermione told him how much money those shoes would go for in the Muggle world, he looked shocked. “For a pair of shoes!”
“They’re very comfortable,” smiled the little man. “I’m Brian,” he said holding out his hand to Hermione.
“Hello,” said Hermione.
“Now, what are you looking for today?” the little man asked, rubbing his hands together.
Hermione and Severus arrived back home with mounds of packages heaped in their arms. Severus convinced Hermione to leave them in the ballroom for the elves to put them away.
“They’re really bored,” Severus insisted. “It will give them something to do.”
Hermione reluctantly agreed and they went to say good-bye to Charlie. He would be returning to England to make a report to the Order.
Not to mention Molly was expecting him for dinner.
“But Madam,” Sloozhanka said. “Most elves are happy here. They do not want to be paid.”
“But wouldn’t you like a bit of money for your own?” Hermione insisted as the small elf braided her hair by hand into small ropes she could easily pull back and keep the bushiness down.
“We have no need for money,” said Sloozhanka. “Our masters provide for us and whatever we don’t have we can conjure.”
“But not all masters are as kind,” said Hermione.
“I agree,” said Sloozhanka. “Cherv has a cousin that had a terrible family.”
“I know his cousin,” said Hermione. “And I agree, the Malfoys are horrible.”
“Since Cherv’s cousin has been freed and works for a wage does that mean he can take time off as well?” asked Sloozhanka.
“I suppose,” said Hermione. “The summer holidays are in full swing. I can’t imagine he has a lot to do.”
“Perhaps he could come for a holiday,” said Sloozhanka.
“That’s kind of you, for never having met him,” said Hermione suspiciously. Sloozhanka tried to look nonchalant, but blushed slightly. “Spill.”
“What has spilled?” Sloozhanka looking on the ground.
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione. “It’s a term for telling me what is on your mind.” She had to get used to the idea that not everyone knew words that she found common place.
“I hear Dobby comes from very good breeding stock,” said Sloozhanka, trying to look innocent.
“Ah,” said Hermione. She began to wonder what house elf courtships comprised of. “He is a very good person. I know nothing of his parentage.” She wasn’t sure she agreed with the joining of anyone for purposes of creating more efficient slaves, although if both parents were freed the child would be born free, wouldn’t he?
Suddenly, there was a scratching at Hermiones bedroom window. She looked up to see a small white beast waiting for her on her windowsill.
“What on earth is that?” Hermione exclaimed as Sloozhanka hopped off her stool to open the window.
“Snow dragon,” said Sloozhanka. “Very rare. Someone interesting wants to communicate with you.”
The elf struggled with the latch on the window for a minute before she pointed her wand at it and it opened easily.
“Could Dobby have a wand if he came to visit?” Hermione asked, suddenly getting an idea.
“Of course he could,” said Sloozhanka as the little dragon leapt into the room and padded across the floor to Hermione on four feet.
He was the size of a bread box, and to Hermiones shock, covered in white downy feathers. His feet looked similar to dog paws and he walked like a canine although his face looked serpentine.
“You are a strange looking little guy,” she said reaching for the tube bound around his neck.
“Looked in the mirror lately?” said the dragon in a high reedy voice. His large amber eyes blinked at her.
Hermione froze in shock. Not only did she encounter a creature she had never seen before, it was intelligent and she had perhaps offended it.
The dragon made a strange clicking sound and by the way Hermione assessed his movements she suspected he was laughing at her.
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione. “I need to learn manners, it appears,” she flushed a deep red.
“I suspect you have never seen one of my kind,” said the dragon. “Your apology is accepted if you manage to fix my ear tuft.” He swiped at his head with one of his legs, much like a cat cleaning one of its ears.
“What happened?” Hermione asked, sliding to the floor and sitting near the small creature.
“It started itching somewhere near Stockholm,” said the dragon.
Sloozhanka frowned at the dragon and marched across the floor to it. She pointed her wand at it and said something in a mixture of Latin and Russian that Hermione didn’t understand.
Hermione scooted back suddenly as a long, slender, electric blue worm was magically pulled from the dragon’s ear tuft.
“What is that?” she squeaked, horrified.
“Parasite,” said Sloozhanka. “Perhaps the master can make use of it.”
The small elf left the room and Hermione was left with the dragon that was shaking his head as if to rid itself of the feeling the parasite had given him.
“What a first impression,” the dragon said. Hermione thought he sounded embarrassed.
“We’re even now,” said Hermione, reaching out to scratch the head of the dragon. She gently unbuckled the tube bound around his neck.
She wasn’t surprised to see a sparkling blue envelope fall out.
Your home has been added to our transport network, so you can just use your fireplace as you would normally to report to us.
We realize it is short notice, but we would like you to join us this afternoon around 3 your time.
“Only slightly short notice,” said Hermione sighing. “That’s only a few hours away.”
Severus walked into Hermiones bedroom and looked slightly taken aback at the dragon.
“Hello, fellow,” said Severus. The dragon sniffed the air in the direction of Severus and padded over to him.
Severus sank to his knees and scratched the dragons head.
“Which tuft did it come from?” said Severus.
“The right one,” said the dragon. Severus parted the feathers and looked at the small puncture wound left by the parasite and frowned.
“Do you need to return immediately?” Severus asked.
“Why?” asked the dragon.
“It looks as if it has laid a small cache of eggs,” said Severus sounding sorry for him. “They need to be removed carefully. If you need to return immediately I suggest you go by floo.”
“I don’t think I will be reprimanded if I do not return immediately, as long as the sisters know where I am,” said the dragon.
“What was that thing?” Hermione asked.
“Parasites that leech magic,” Severus said. “Very dangerous for a little guy. I can remove them, but it will take some time.”
“Well, I think that’s a very good reason to stay put,” said Hermione, a little repulsed. “Sounds frightening.”
“Not so bad if you catch them early,” said Severus. “I’ll write a letter to the Amazons telling them where he is, unless you just want to tell them,” he said looking at the opened envelope.
“I’m sure that would be fine,” said Hermione watching as Sloozhanka returned and led the little dragon out of the room, patting him supportively on his back. “I’m supposed to see them this afternoon.”
“Excellent,” said Severus. “I’m going to meet with the Mystics and we can catch up at dinner.”
“Perfect,” said Hermione, relieved last minute plans were going smoothly.
Sophia looked at Hermione concernedly.
“I wonder where he picked it up?” said Alexandra nervously.
“He said somewhere near Stockholm,” said Hermione.
Alexandra and Sophia exchanged quick glances as a soft knock sounded at the door.
They were once again sitting in Sophia’s office, although it was much cleaner than the last time she had visited. A younger witch brought in their tea. Her face looked similar to Alexandra’s, although her hair was thick and golden blonde, cascading almost to the backs of her knees. She smiled shyly at Hermione as she served them.
“This is my youngest, Kari,” said Sophia. “Her training will be completed at the end of the summer.” Sophia beamed proudly.
“Congratulations,” said Hermione. She began to wonder exactly how long training was. Kari seemed to be a bit older than Hermione.
“She’s half a decade early,” explained Alexandra. “Our little prodigy.”
“How long is training?” asked Hermione, surprised.
“Usually two decades,” Sophia said. “Incredible, considering her parentage.”
Hermione looked at the witches, not knowing what to say.
“We’re not sure who my father is,” said Kari. “Mother was assaulted.”
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione to Sophia and Kari.
“It was years ago, a few moments of time, and I daresay we all recovered,” said Sophia, patting Kari on the arm as she poured Sophia’s tea. “And I got a beautiful brilliant daughter out of it.”
“How are Amazons usually born?” Hermione blurted out before she could stop herself.
“Well, a witch and wizard get together and do a kind of special hugging-,” began Alexandra, her eyes twinkling as she reached for her tea. Kari burst out laughing.
“Naughty girls,” Sophia admonished, half-heartedly. “You know precisely what she means.”
“I kind of set myself up for that one,” said Hermione reaching for her tea and a biscuit.
“Usually we get a volunteer from the Mystics that is willing to create a child,” said Sophia. “We keep the girls and they keep the boys.”
“Wow,” said Hermione, a little shocked. She couldn’t imagine being raised in an enclave of only one sex and brought up to see men as only sperm donors. She glanced at Alexandra.
“That’s not how Lexi was born,” said Kari. “Mother was in love with her father.”
“That was a long time ago,” said Sophia gently. “And I made my choice to stay here.”
Hermione could see that this seemed commonplace for the girls, but saw the flash of pain across Sophia’s face when Alexandra’s father was mentioned.
“You would have been miserable in England,” said Alexandra. Sophia shrugged and sipped at her tea.
“Do you know your father?” asked Hermione.
“I’ve heard of him,” said Alexandra. “He’s a great wizard and I’m proud to be part of his bloodline.”
“Maybe I know your father,” said Hermione, thinking of all the Ministry Wizards she knew.
“I know you do,” said Alexandra before her mother stopped her. “He’s Albus Dumbledore.”
Hermione left her tea cup pressed to her lips, but she stopped drinking, frozen in shock. No wonder she had instantly trusted Alexandra. No wonder the twinkle in her eye looked familiar. Alexandra continued chattering about Dumbledore’s accomplishments and how proud she was to be his daughter.
There was one thing Hermione knew for certain: Dumbledore had no idea. Hermione nodded politely while the wheels turned in her head. She would have to talk to Severus. He was older, her partner in the Order, and he knew Dumbledore better than she did. He would know what to do. She glanced at Sophia, but she seemed to be totally absorbed in her biscuit.
“How did your meeting go?” asked Severus as they sat at the small table in the kitchen in the Snape mansion.
“It was very informative,” said Hermione, reaching for the steak and kidney pie. She was relieved the elves had prepared a British meal. All this foreign food was good, but not nearly as satisfying as food she was familiar with.
“That was the idea,” said Severus annoyed. “Feel like sharing any of it with me.”
Hermione hesitated and reached for her glass of water.
Severus looked at her and she felt his beetle black eyes piercing her skin and looking directly into her brain.
“Do you ever use Occlumancy on me?” asked Hermione.
“Not unless you think I need to,” said Severus, frowning. “You’re making me nervous, what do you know?”
“Does Dumbledore know he has a daughter?” Hermione blurted out.
“I beg your pardon?” said Severus completely taken aback.
“I think you heard me,” Hermione snapped. She didn’t mean to and felt instantly ashamed but she felt jittery at this information. “I’m sorry,” she said. “I didn’t mean for it to come out like that.”
Severus felt the corner of his mouth quirk unwillingly. It was slightly amusing to see his temper wrapped up in such a cute package. No wonder his mother thought he was adorable.
“No wonder you’ve been acting strange,” said Severus, dryly. “You’ve dropped your fork twice and I’ll be amazed if your glass of water makes it through the meal. Tell me what happened.”
Hermione relayed the events during tea.
“So this girl claims to be Dumbledore’s daughter,” said Severus folding his arms across his chest and leaning back in his chair. “It can be proven with testing, of course, but it might be a trap to lure him here.”
“Why would the Amazons want to lure him here?” asked Hermione. “And it seemed like Sophia never had the intention of telling him.”
“Good question,” said Severus frowning. “How old does the girl look?”
“In wizarding years?” Hermione said, pushing her now empty plate away. “I have no idea. In muggle years I’d say her 30’s.”
“We need to tell Dumbledore,” said Severus after a long pause. “I know how messy this might make things, but it’s very important.”
“Why?” asked Hermione. Severus frowned.
“I thought you would see it as your moral duty to tell Dumbledore,” said Severus.
“Initially, yes,” said Hermione. “But he has a lot on his plate and I don’t see this as a help to his state of mind. Sophia has already raised Alexandra and although she has kept up with her fathers exploits, she didn’t seem all that motivated to seek him out.”
“It’s a bit more complicated than that,” said Severus. “Hermione, if I give you access to my library will you promise me you won’t become a power-hungry dark wizard?”
“What?” Hermione exclaimed.
“I have some books that are better off lost forever,” Severus muttered.
“I solemnly swear,” said Hermione holding her hand up.
“That you are up to no good?” Severus said smirking. “I already knew that.”
“No, I won’t turn you into a toad in your sleep,” said Hermione. “Get to the point.”
“If a powerful dark wizard got a hold of this girl he could use her blood to magically track and harm Dumbledore,” said Severus.
“What!” Hermione gasped. “How?”
“Hermione,” Severus said patiently. “Why do you think bloodlines are so important to wizards?”
“I assumed it was left
over from long ago,” said Hermione weakly. “Like some of the noble families
still see it in
“It’s not just societal,” said Severus. “There is a science to everything we do, although it does seem backwards at times. I’m sorry Hermione, we’re going to have to tell him.”
Hermione sighed deeply.
“Well, they didn’t tell me to keep it a secret,” she said uncomfortably.
Severus rose from his chair and kissed Hermione on the forehead.
“I’ll take care of it,” said Severus. “Have Cherv show you where my special books are.”
“Will do,” said Hermione.
It was only after he left to write his letter Hermione realized they hadn’t talked about their important meetings at all.