The owl on the perch swooped down and transformed into a tall, stocky wizard with black hair.
“You would have thought you would have at least invited me to the wedding,” the older man sniffed. “See what lengths I have to go to, just to give my daughter-in-law her wedding present.”
Hermione studied the similarities between the men. They had the same nose, but where Severus had a finely boned face his father had a wide expanse of brow and cheeks. His father had longer hair and it was striped with white at irregular intervals. Both were wearing black, but his father wore plainer robes.
“How did you know?” Hermione asked in a disbelieving tone as she reached out for a volume.
“I followed you around the bookstore,” said Severus’ father. “You didn’t want to put those down.”
“Do you have any sense of decency?” asked Severus. “Stalking a poor girl around a book store.”
“My daughter-in-law, I might add,” said Severus’ father, pulling himself up to his full height, about an inch above Severus. “Whom I have never gotten to meet, although we share the same name.”
“Aren’t you being a little dramatic?” asked Severus, annoyed.
A small elf appeared in the doorway, balancing a plate of breakfast in one hand.
“Oh!” squeaked Dobby, surprised. “I will get breakfast for company. Pardons sirs and miss.” He scrambled backwards out of the room.
“No, I don’t think so,” said Severus’ father, just as annoyed with his son.
“Thank you so much,” said Hermione softly, interrupting them. “This is an incredible gift.” She was stroking the heavy leather cover of Merlin’s Biography.
“Well, at least one of you has manners,” said Severus’ father stubbornly.
Breakfast plates began appearing on the table and Hermione quickly scrambled for the books. She piled them on the bed as food appeared.
“I am Jacob Snape, head of the Snape family, and father to this pain in the arse,” said Jacob Snape, spreading marmalade on a piece of toast. Hermione tried not to stifle a giggle. “And you are Hermione Snape, formerly Granger. A top student at this school with promise to go far. An incident with a Time Turner made you above the age of consent before graduation, which allowed my son to marry you legally, if not ethically.” He narrowed his eyes at his son. “My son petitioned for your custody as soon as you were available and out of three candidates you chose him, although I’m bewildered as to why.”
“He was the best choice,” said Hermione, before a sound could leave Severus’ open mouth. She shoved a small muffin in his hand and guided it up to his mouth. He gave her a look, but said nothing.
Jacob stared at the pair for a moment before he started snickering. “Obviously,” he said, amused. Severus lowered his eyebrows at him, but there was nothing he could do with a mouthful of food.
“It isn’t that you finally got married,” said Jacob, sighing. “Obviously she was the intelligent choice, and it’s obvious you fancy each other,” Severus choked on his muffin. “But did you have to petition for her? Your mother’s having fits! Couldn’t you have eloped like a normal person?”
Hermione reached out for a teapot and poured herself a cup. “It seemed to be our best choice to do things the proper way.”
“You must come visit us in our French estate during the summer,” said Jacob aside to Hermione.
“I was planning on the Russian estate,” said Severus. “She’s never been to Russia.”
“Well,” said Jacob, his smile frozen on his face. “We’ll have to visit you, then.”
“I’ll be looking forward to it,” said Hermione, before Severus could say anything.
“Now about you dear,” Jacob said turning to Hermione. “I tried to look you up in the Wizarding registrars, but you didn’t seem to be there. Where is your family from?”
Hermione’s cheeks flamed red and she looked at Severus.
“She’s muggle-borne,” said Severus flatly.
“Oh,” said Jacob sitting back in his chair. “I see. Well. You’re still top in your class?”
Hermione nodded silently, thinking it best to keep silent.
“Well, can’t blame a person for their parentage,” said Jacob, looking at Severus, slightly disgusted. “Your Great Uncle Johann was a Mudblood, and his line turned out just fine.” He smiled at Hermione.
Hermione tried to look cordial as she took a bite of muffin. Severus looked at her quickly.
“Well, at the very least,” Jacob said, rising to his feet. “Owl your mother. She’s driving me mad.”
“I will,” Severus said glumly.
Jacobs form seemed to bunch up and he transformed back into a large eagle owl. He hooted as he flapped out the window and into the clear blue sky.
Jacob Snape soared in the window of his Oxford estate and landed on a polished brass perch by the window. Feminine silk robes in flaming red lay on a polished mahogany chair near the window.
Jacob shook his head at them and pulled a silver rope hanging near the window. A bell sounded in the distance.
He slipped his shoes off and walked across the red and cream patterned Oriental rug. He saw his reflection in the polished ebony of his desk and smiled. The newest generation of trained house elves was excellent this year. As he sat, he heard the black leather of his chair crinkle as it adjusted to his weight. He pulled a scroll out of one of the drawers of his desk and began reading.
Soon, a raven swooped in the open window and Jacob watched as the raven transformed into a slim witch with long black hair and creamy pale skin. Jacob’s gaze swept her nude form as she reached for her robes.
“Well?” she asked impatiently.
“You look as beautiful as the day I married you, Anastasia.” Jacob smiled as he went back to his scroll.
“That’s not what I meant and you know it!” She stormed over to the desk and snatched the scroll out of his hands. “And no work on the weekends.”
Jacob sighed resignedly and folded his hands on the desk.
“They seem to be happy,” Jacob said cocking an eyebrow at her. “They have separate bedrooms. I think he is keeping it as professional as possible until she graduates.”
“How chivalrous,” Anastasia said as she parted her hair down the center and began braiding it. “He always was a little gentleman.”
“I think you have a selective memory, my dear,” said Jacob looking down his nose at her.
“Yes, yes,” she said dismissively. She began winding the braids, coiling them around her head until it was elegantly tucked away. “What is the girl like?” She pinned her hair in place with ruby ended pins.
“Polite,” said Jacob. “Acted like I bestowed jewels on her.”
“Jewels of knowledge are more precious than jewels from the earth,” Anastasia said simply reaching for a silver belt, slung over the back of a chair.
“Indeed,” Jacob said smiling slightly at her. “She can head him off before his mouth goes into light speed.”
“Intelligent,” said Anastasia. “And quick, I can imagine. When do I get to meet the girl? What of her family?”
Jacob rubbed his head and waved his wand at a tea service across the room.
“Should I sit down for this?” Anastasia asked, reaching for the chair her clothing had been draped on.
“I don’t think it’s that serious,” said Jacob. “She’s a Mudblood.”
“That’s not polite talk nowadays, my dear,” Anastasia said reaching for a pair of sandals on the floor, although she had paled slightly. “And her parents?”
“I forgot to ask,” Jacob said pouring tea into a small porcelain cup and handing it to his wife. “I was a bit shocked.”
“I can imagine,” said Anastasia putting sugar and milk in her tea. “Considering his past.”
“Well, they seem to have raised a clever, intelligent daughter,” said Jacob sighing. “It’s not like we can change it now. Perhaps they’ll be tolerable.”
“My grandmother always said she enjoyed spending time with Johann’s mother,” said Anastasia shrugging and making a face.
“Perhaps it won’t be that bad,” said Jacob nodding firmly.
“I apologize for my father,” Severus said reaching for a plate of sausage. “He forgets his manners sometimes.”
“It- should have been expected,” said Hermione slowly as she tossed a piece of bacon to Crookshanks.
“It was still rude,” said Severus stiffly.
“I can’t believe your father did this,” Hermione said, wiping her fingers and reaching out for a book. She opened Percivals Examination of Titanium and a bookmark fell out. It clinked lightly as it hit the stone floor.
It shimmered like a rainbow in the morning light. The tassel seemed to be woven from miniscule strands of silver. Sapphire chips set in the titanium shaped a decorative ‘H.’
“Good lord,” Hermione exclaimed and clamped her hand to her mouth.
“He tends to overdo things,” Severus said biting into a piece of toast.
“I’ll owl your mother later and thank her,” said Hermione. “The card did say it was from the estate.”
“Good move,” said Severus impressed. “She tends to like to be coddled a bit.”
“I imagine most mothers-in-law do,” mused Hermione as she picked up the bookmark and examined it.
Severus suddenly thought he should send flowers to Hermione’s mother. Perhaps some wizarding bath things as well. Witches tended to like things of that nature; he imagined muggle women were not so different.
Hermione tucked the light piece of metal back into the book and turned back to the table. She piled sausage and eggs on her plate and began eating. Her eyes kept straying towards the books.
“Do you really want to read them that badly?” Severus chuckled.
“I’m sorry,” said Hermione, blushing. “Normally I’d be opening them, but I’m afraid of getting anything on them.”
Severus shook his head at her and gave her an admonishing stare. He pulled his wand out of his pajama sleeve and waved it at the pile of books. One of them rose in the air and came to a gentle stop in front of him. With a flick of his wrist the book opened to page one and floated through the air to rest in front of Hermione.
“Why didn’t I think of that?” Hermione murmured to herself as she began reading.
Severus sighed. At least he wouldn’t have to worry about keeping her out of trouble.