Author: Ms-Figg PM
Severus Snape is not ready to be a father, and when a onenight stand with 20 year old Hermione Granger results in pregnancy, he refuses to take care of or acknowledge the child. Eleven years later Mathias Granger enters Slytherin house. The fun starts.Rated: Fiction M - English - Adventure/Romance - Hermione G. & Severus S. - Chapters: 11 - Words: 310,224 - Reviews: 284 - Favs: 604 - Follows: 96 - Updated: 07-16-07 - Published: 07-15-07 - Status: Complete - id: 3658562
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Author's Note: This is a very long and convoluted story that is not only about HG SS but their child, his associates and the problems concerning a very updated Voldemort. Not only are JKR's characters here, but their children who are followed until they reach adulthood. I'm sure one or two of these characters are really going to piss you off. lol. Become the kid you love to hate. It's a story about growth, taking responsibility, forgiveness, reparation and above all Love, and what love can lead one to do. It's also a story about bigotry and hatred and how it can alter a society. Lots of drama, adventure, angst, romance and many laughs ahead. Some pretty hot scenes too. I hope you'll give this story a chance. It's one of my personal favorites.
"You're what?" the Potions Master asked the witch in front of him.
"Pregnant. I'm pregnant Severus," Hermione said.
The Potions Master looked at the witch. Damn, he'd only shagged her once, and that's because she practically threw herself at him. Well, that wasn't completely true. She had quite a bit of help, thanks to a few strawberry daiquiris.
"I can give you a potion to end it," he said to her.
Hermione looked at him as if he were crazy.
"I won't kill our child," she declared firmly.
The Potions Master looked at her.
"You won't kill your child. I want nothing to do with this," he said. "I am not about to marry you because you didn't use a contraceptive. And I'm not going to pay out my hard earned galleons to care for a child that shouldn't be born. You keep this baby, Hermione, you'll take care of it yourself."
Hermione couldn't believe this.
"But it's your child too," she exclaimed at the wizard.
"No. I was just a sperm donor. I don't want children, and will not allow you to force one on me. You were a one-night stand. A pick-up at the Three Broomsticks. You were so forward, I believe you would have at least had protection."
Actually, Severus had run across Hermione at the Three Broomsticks, gotten her drunk, seduced her, booked an overnight room and took her virginity. He wasn't about to pay for the rest of his life for a bit of trim.
"How would I have protection when I had no idea I'd be having sex?" she asked him.
Hermione remembered waking up next to the Professor, horrified. She jumped out of the bed and got a glimpse of the bloody sheets, and groaned. The wizard had awakened and smirked at her evilly, then scourgified himself, dressed and left without a word.
She didn't know what had happened for her to end up in bed with him. The wizard had joined her at her table and started buying her drinks. She didn't remember much else after that. But he had sex with her, she was certain. This was no immaculate conception.
Hermione was in her second year of university. She graduated Hogwarts with honors and was working towards a degree for Spells Mistress. The witch was so focused on her education that she had no time for wizards. Obviously she had made time this particular night.
When her period was late, Hermione prayed it was just stress. But it never came. She apparated to London and purchased several testing kits. Every one came up positive. She didn't know what to do. Now she was three months pregnant and had decided to tell the Potions Master he was about to be a father. Hopefully he would do the right thing and at least help take care of the child.
But he was telling her no. He wasn't going to fulfill his responsibility. He wanted her to kill it. Well, she wouldn't do it.
Severus looked at her.
"If you want this child, that's your choice. As I said, I want nothing to do with it…and if you try to force me, I will drag your name through the mud so deep it will leave a furrow that will encompass the entire wizarding world. No one will want to employ you when you finish university after I'm done with you. So think hard about this witch," the wizard said scowling at her.
The stupid chit. She should know to get rid of it. A baby would only hamper her education. She could have other children later when she was ready.
Hermione stood up.
"Fine," she said, "I will raise this baby myself then. Why I thought you'd do the honorable thing is beyond me."
"It's beyond me too," Severus replied, "Now get out of my office. I don't want to hear another word about this child, ever."
"You fucking bastard," Hermione spat at him.
"You are exactly right. Good-bye, Miss Granger," the Potions Master said dismissively.
Hermione rose and stormed toward the door.
"One day you're going to regret this," she said.
"I highly doubt that. Now get out of my sight. I am not above hexing a pregnant witch," he said, pulling out his wand.
Hermione cursed him and left his office.
"Stupid chit," Severus breathed to himself as the door slammed shut. "She's on Stripe if she thinks I'm taking care of her bastard. The Dark Lord would flay me alive if he knew I impregnated a muggle-born and actually took responsibility."
He pulled several parchments toward him and began marking them, pushing Hermione and her child out of his mind.
He did this quite well for the next eleven years.
The close-knit, and rather frightened crowd of young students milled about as someone struggled through the midst of them. A pale, dark-haired boy pushed through the children, turning to scowl fiercely at them for blocking his way before mounting the dais, and sitting on the stool, his face expressionless.
Severus Snape stared at the boy. His facial features were the spitting image of his mother, but he had black eyes, hair and rather pale skin. His demeanor was rather sober.
Minerva placed the Sorting Hat on Mathias head. The hat began to speak.
"Ah, interesting. A sharp mind, very sharp. You have quite a bit of intelligence and would do well in Ravenclaw…yet you are brave…almost to a fault. That is a Gryffindor trait…"
The Hat fell silent for a moment.
"But there is anger. And great ambition. There is selfishness, and darkness too," the Hat said in a disapproving voice. "There is only one place for you, boy. Slytherin!"
Cheers went up from the Slytherin table as Mathias rose from the stool, his dark eyes washing over the cheering students. He scowled and walked down to the table. He was greeted enthusiastically, but he didn't crack a single smile as he shook hands with his housemates. The young wizard sat down and folded his hands, watching the rest of the ceremony with a rather bored expression.
"He'd rather be someplace else," Severus thought as he looked at the boy. "I'd rather he was too."
Albus Dumbledore looked at the Professor, then at the dark-haired boy. He shook his head slightly. So Mathias Granger was sorted into Slytherin house and was under the protection of his estranged father.
Sparks were bound to fly sooner or later.
"You're in the dungeons," Wanford Cuttleson informed the first years as they struggled to keep up. "Slytherin house itself is located under the lake."
The brown-eyed, brown-haired seventh-year wizard led the first years to the end of the corridor, which was a blank stone wall.
"Serpentsasia," he said, and the wall slid back, revealing a corridor. He looked back at the stunned faces. "Remember that word. It is our current password and will let you into Slytherin house. You will be informed of any changes."
He walked through the wall, followed closely by the first years. The corridor was ill-lit, and damp. They walked a short distance and came to a set of iron doors emblazoned with serpents. The handles themselves were entwined snakes. Wanford pulled the doors open and entered the Slytherin common room, which was low ceilinged and furnished with greenish lamps and green comfortable chairs. Assorted tables were scattered about for students to work or play games at. A large fireplace covered almost one full side of the room.
"It looks like a dungeon," one witch whispered, looking about the room wide-eyed. She had whitish-blonde hair, ice-blue eyes and a rather pointed chin.
"This is the common room. You will do your class work and spend your free time here when not otherwise engaged," Wanford said as the students looked about.
Mathias focused on the wizarding chess tables and wondered if there was anyone here worth playing. Uncle Ron claimed he was the best young player of wizard's chess that he had ever seen. When the red-haired wizard asked Mathias how he learned to play so well, the boy gave him a simple answer.
"It's mostly logic, Uncle Ron. Logic and courage," Mathias responded, his calm black eyes resting on the wizard. "Everyone on the board has their job to do. You just have to let them do it."
Mathias knew that Ronald Weasley really wasn't his uncle by blood, but he had known him since he was a child. Ron was the one who taught him chess and the rules of Quidditch, though it was Uncle Harry who taught him how to fly on a broom by the time he was seven years old.
His mother had been appalled. She didn't like flying and Mathias assumed she thought he wouldn't either. She claimed he was too young to fly, but he took to the sky like a hippogriff. He showed such skill and control that Hermione had to concede he was able to hold his own in the air, and said no more about it, much to both Mathias' and Ron's delight.
Hermione hadn't been much better as far as his education went in relation to his age. He was home-schooled by the witch, and she piled the knowledge on. Mathias' knowledge of spells and potions was phenomenal for a youth of eleven years of age. Unlike his mother when she was younger, the wizard felt no need to spout everything he knew just because someone asked. Mathias didn't like the idea of it. It was like showing off. He disliked show-offs.
Which was why he didn't get along with Harry's son, James…who he thought was an idiot, always mouthing off about how his father was going to be the savior of the Wizarding World when he killed the Dark Lord. The annoying, auburn-haired, green-eyed wizard had been sorted into Gryffindor house, and Mathias was glad. He didn't think he could take being in the same house with the arrogant git. Plus, James teased him because he didn't have a father. Harry talked to his son about this once or twice, but James still tormented Mathias whenever he got pissed with him.
Mathias father was dead. His mother didn't get the chance to marry him before he died. She never told the boy how he died. In fact, she would always change the subject whenever he brought it up. She wouldn't even tell him his father's name. Uncles Ron and Harry also were very tight-lipped about it, so Mathias deduced that there was some secret that he wasn't meant to know. It angered him that his mother was keeping the truth from him. One day he would find out the truth about his father, he was certain.
Wanford led the first years into the common room and ordered them to sit down and wait quietly while he went and informed the Head of House they were situated and ready for his address.
Most of the first years huddled together in tight clusters for comfort, wary of the unfamiliar surroundings they found themselves in. Portraits of rather severe looking wizards and witches scowled down on them, occasionally telling them to sit still when a student ventured out of a chair to wander.
Mathias settled in an armchair a distance from the others. New places didn't disturb him a bit. His mother had told him about the wonder that was Hogwarts since he could first understand words. But when he arrived, he felt she had overdone it a bit. Hermione particularly talked about how wonderful Gryffindor House was and how it was the best house at Hogwarts. He wondered how she'd take him being sorted into Slytherin. He listened to his uncles talk about how shady Slytherins were, how they only looked out for themselves and how they were Gryffindor's nemesis. He figured none of them would be happy about his placement. For some reason, that knowledge made the boy smirk.
Mathias didn't think anything was wrong with looking out for himself first. If a person didn't look out for himself, who would? Logically, it made sense to put oneself first. But the boy never told his mother this as she went on and on about Gryffindor traits of selflessness, loyalty and great courage. Mathias believed you could be selfish and still have loyalty and courage. Which was probably why the Sorting Hat put him in Slytherin.
Suddenly all the murmuring in the common room stopped as a tall wizard strode into the room, his rooms billowing about him majestically. He wasn't a very good-looking wizard. His hair was black and greasy looking, falling over his shoulders, while his nose was quite long and hooked. He had very sallow skin and piercing black eyes that looked as if he could see right inside a student's head. He didn't look like someone to be trifled with.
Professor Severus Snape scowled at all the students who blanched, with the exception of Mathias, who looked at the wizard with interest. He spoke with a rich, soft, almost hypnotic voice that immediately grabbed the attention of the listener
"I am your Head of House, Professor Severus Snape. I will be responsible for you your entire tenure at this school. If you have a problem, you come to me first…before reporting to any teacher or the Headmaster, particularly if the situation puts you in a bad light. It is my job to protect you. I also serve as Hogwarts' Potions Master, and I will be teaching you the basics of potions this year," the Professor said, his black eyes sweeping over the students as if trying to divine who would deservedly pass his class, though he always gave his Slytherins passing marks. He continued.
"You have been sorted into the House of Slytherin which was founded centuries ago by Salazar Slytherin. Our crest is a silver serpent on a green field, and our house colors are silver and green. Also our representative house animal is a serpent. We have a resident ghost, the Bloody Baron. I have no doubt you will all see him at some point tonight. He enjoys visiting our new students…"
Here the Potions Master smirked. There would be quite a few screams of terror and wetted beds in the dormitories tonight. Pissing one's self in horror at the sight of the Bloody Baron was one of the rites of passage in Slytherin house. The ghost really looked forward to spooking the first years each new term. He was quite good at it.
"As Slytherins there are certain traits you either have or will develop that are tantamount to success, those are resourcefulness, determination and a certain…disregard for the rules. However, if you are caught breaking rules, you will be punished accordingly. But only if you are caught. As Slytherins we practice a philosophy of exclusiveness. We do not mix or fraternize with students of other houses unless it is to best them in some endeavor. We stay among our own, unless there is some personal benefit or gain to doing otherwise."
Severus smirked as he thought of the kind of endeavors that warranted mixing, such as shagging witches or manipulating wizards from other houses. But these students were too young for that…such conquests were for later years. More than one Slytherin witch had made a wizard of an opposing house team throw a Quidditch match against Slytherin for a chance to shag her. A chance that never materialized afterwards.
The Potions Master continued.
"We have a point system here at Hogwarts. House points are given or taken away to reward or punish students for their behavior. They are also won in Quidditch matches. These points accumulate over the course of the school year. At the end of the year a House Cup is awarded to the house with the most points. It is a great honor and one I covet. I expect you all to do your part to gain points for our house, as well as lose points for our rival houses," the Potions Master said, eyeing the students.
Mathias smiled broadly at this instruction. He would love to make James Potter lose some house points. Severus noticed the smile out of the corner of his eye, but continued.
"You will find giant hourglasses in the entrance hall that record the points of the houses. Our hourglass is filled with emeralds. Whenever a teacher or other authorized party speaks words awarding or deducting points, the hourglass is automatically updated to record the gain or loss. Normally, only staff is authorized to do this, but prefects can also take points from you, and are biased toward their own houses. Be wary of them. Slytherin house is always a target."
The Professor paused, allowing this to sink in, then continued, walking back and forth now, his eyes drifting over the first years as he did so.
"You are expected to keep your marks up. Failure in any class is not acceptable, and you will be punished for it. Pass any way you can, but try to learn something," the wizard purred at them.
The students looked at each other. Was the wizard telling them to cheat if they had to?
Severus scowled and they quickly turned their attention back to the pale wizard. He suddenly stopped pacing and gave them a dark, warning glare.
"And never, ever reveal anything that goes on in this house to anyone outside of it. What happens here, stays here. If anyone is caught in violation of this rule, it would be better if they had never come to Hogwarts. Your loyalty is to your house above all else. Remember that," Severus said severely, a dangerous glint in his eye.
The students all nodded, including Mathias, who was watching the wizard intently. There was something about him that appealed to the boy's darker nature.
"Your housemates will be your family within Hogwarts," the Potions Master continued, "You will have classes with the rest of your house, sleep in your house dormitory, and spend free time in your house common room. You can study and play games in this area. First years share sleeping quarters. As you advance in grade there will be opportunities to have private rooms. If your parents are rich enough however, there are private rooms available to let as well. Slytherin house is the only house which offers this luxury. Those of you who would like to apply for one are to leave a written request in my office, which is located off the main entrance corridor to the left. I will take care of the rest."
A couple of the students looked very interested at this information. Mathias didn't even think about it. His mother could afford it, but she'd never do it, simply because she thought he was already too introverted. The young wizard couldn't make her understand that he liked being to himself. Most children he met were idiots and dunderheads. He would much rather read and work on his spells and potions in solitude. He was much like his mother in this way, though he didn't use books as an escape as she had. He learned because he chose to, not to fill some void in his life.
Mathias' love of solitude and learning was a part of his genetic makeup. His dislike of fools came straight from his father's side, and his love of learning from both of them. Mathias thought quite logically, and most children his age didn't. He had interests that they hadn't developed yet and was more mature than most, just as Hermione had been.
Severus looked at the students.
"You've all had a long day. Your trunks have been delivered to your rooms and your items put away. You will find a questionnaire on each of your beds that will provide me with personal information about your family background, people to contact in case of emergency and so forth. You will also be required to write a small essay on why you think Slytherin house will or will not benefit you. I expect these questionnaires on my desk by this time tomorrow night. Mr. Cuttleson! Miss Faraquay!" he called.
Both prefects immediately appeared on the landing of their respective dormitories.
"Escort the first years to their rooms," the wizard said, his eyes resting on Mathias for a moment, who looked steadily back at him, not cowed at all.
Both prefects descended the stairs.
"Witches, come with me," Abigail Faraquay directed imperiously.
"Wizards with me," Wanford directed.
The first years gathered around the prefects and followed them up the stairs. Mathias was the last boy to walk over to the prefect, his dark eyes resting on the pale wizard curiously as he passed him, not saying a word. Severus glared at him to no effect. The young wizard followed the rest of the students up the stairs and disappeared around the corner with a very slight billow of robes.
Severus stood there a moment, looking after his son. There was no doubt in his mind that Mathias was his progeny. His appearance and bearing was very much like his own though he had his mother's features. Well, thank the gods for that.
Damn it. The Potions Master almost wished he had carried out his plan to make Hermione lose the child. But that was too cruel, even for him. If she wanted to raise the little bastard, then let her. Now he was face to face with his mistake.
The wizard turned and headed for his rooms, wondering how much the boy knew. Well, that questionnaire he had quickly created would let him know just what the boy knew of his parentage. There were questions about both mother and father. Once he knew what the boy knew, he could work from there.
Severus rubbed his forehead as he left Slytherin house, slowly walking up the dungeon corridor. The son he never wanted, never contacted and never loved was sorted into Slytherin. Most likely he'd have to deal with him for the next seven years.
Gods, what a fucking mess.
Hermione pushed away from the table, stood up and walked over to the window, opening it. The owl flew in and settled on the table, holding out its leg, blinking up at the witch. Hermione untied the parchment then walked to the cooler and retrieved a piece of ham for the bird, who wolfed it down gratefully, then hooted at her and exited out the window, flying back to Hogwarts.
Hermione turned the parchment over in her hands for a moment. Her amber eyes had a bit of a worried look in them. She knew this was the letter that would tell her what house her son was sorted into.
"Gods, let it be Gryffindor…or even Ravenclaw," she breathed, opening the parchment and scanning it.
The witch's eyes widened, and she groaned. Dear gods. Mathias had been sorted into Slytherin. He was with his father.
Hermione let the parchment fall to the table. This was terrible. It was the worst-case scenario she had dreaded. The witch did her best to bring out the good in her son, tried to lean him towards Gryffindor house by telling him stories to impress him and make him want to be a Gryffindor. Obviously, it hadn't been enough. Now the lies she had told him about his father were bound to come out.
Hermione took a deep breath. It had been tough raising Mathias on her own, though her parents, Harry and Ron helped her greatly. She did manage to get her Spells Mistress degree, and after eleven years working at the Ministry, she was Assistant Spells Department Head. Soon the Head of the Department would be retiring and Hermione would take that spot. She was well paid and her position was quite secure. She hadn't done badly for herself. Plus she had developed several patented spells that brought in good residuals. She was not lacking for money in any case.
Hermione dropped her face into her hands in despair, knowing the day was approaching that her son would learn the truth of his parentage. That Professor Severus Snape was his father.
Hermione should have told Mathias the truth long ago, but she couldn't bring herself to tell her child he was the result of a drunken tryst with a wizard who wanted nothing to do with him. She didn't want him to know she had been so weak and foolish. She also didn't want Mathias to know his father didn't care a whit about him, and never had. It was too terrible to reveal. So she said his father was dead, and left it at that…knowing all the while one day the truth would have to be revealed.
Both Ron and Harry tried to talk her out of the deception when she told them what she planned to do. Mathias was still an infant at the time.
"It's horrible that greasy bastard is his dad, Hermione, but the boy has a right to know," Ron had told her, scowling.
"Ron's right, Hermione. Telling Mathias his father is dead isn't the answer. The truth is going to come out sooner or later, and he may end up hating you for not telling him," Harry said to the witch, who shook her head stubbornly.
"I don't want him coming up thinking his mum is a trollop and his dad a deadbeat. What will that do to him psychologically? He'll be beaten down before he got a leg up. I won't do it. I won't tell him that Ron…Harry. I can't! Promise me, both of you, that you won't tell him either. A wizard's oath!" she exclaimed, distraught and crying.
"I don't want to do this, Hermione," Harry said, his green eyes looking at her worriedly.
"Me either," Ron added.
Hermione looked at both wizards with narrowed eyes.
"If you won't do it, then I guess we can say good-bye here and now," the witch said evenly, "because neither of you will be around me or my son. I won't have you telling him what I won't tell him myself."
Ron and Harry looked at each other disbelievingly before turning their eyes back on Hermione, who had on that stubborn face she wore when she truly meant what she said.
"You'd cut us off, Hermione?" Harry asked her quietly.
"You would cut me off," she responded, "by not respecting my wishes concerning my son. It is your choice, Harry. Ron."
The wizards each took the oath, there was no other way for it. Hermione needed them and they wanted to be there for her. Harry had just had his own son, James and even with Ginny, it could be tough sometimes. For a single mother in school it had to be a hundred times more challenging.
Still, Harry had the feeling Hermione would regret her choice later on. He remembered how he felt when Dumbledore revealed all he had kept hidden from him in his fifth year. He had practically destroyed the wizard's office, and to this day, although he respected the old wizard, he still had resentment toward him.
Harry was sure Mathias wouldn't take this well. The boy had a rather dark nature. He was very much like his father, and Snape could hold a grudge even against the dead. He still hated Harry's father and Sirius Black, though they had departed the land of the living years ago. Mathias would feel betrayed by all of them. He wouldn't know whom to trust anymore. He could end up hating Hermione as much as his father.
But Hermione made her choice. There was nothing more he could say to her about it. All Harry and Ron could do was show Mathias love and hope that bond would survive the coming firestorm.
Hermione sat at the table staring into space before summoning her owl, Fedwig. He was a descendant of Harry's owl Hedwig who had passed on years before. The snowy owl fluttered into the kitchen, landing on the witch's shoulder and preening her hair before hopping to the table and looking at her expectantly as she stood up, walked over to a cabinet draw, opened it an took out a piece of parchment and quill. She sat down at the table, scribbled out a quick note then tied it securely to Fedwig's leg.
"Take this to the Ministry, to Spell Department Head Agnes Tuttleberry," Hermione said to the bird, who bobbed its head and flew out of the open kitchen window.
Hermione watched him go, then walked back into her room to change into nicer dress robes. She hadn't seen Professor Snape in years and wanted to reflect how successful her life turned out without his help. How despite being left to raise her son alone, she managed to make it. Mathias was a fine, bright boy as well, and skilled beyond his years in spells and potions. Hermione had done the best she could with Mathias and she believed he would go far with the right tutelage.
She sighed. Her son was a Slytherin and for the next seven years would be submerged in Slytherin philosophy. Mathias already had the Slytherin traits, otherwise he would not have been sorted into that house. He would also be under the influence of Severus, who was no one to idolize. True, he did courageous work for the Order, but as a man he was sadly lacking in character as far as Hermione was concerned. She didn't want him influencing Mathias.
Maybe she could talk to Albus first…see if she could get Mathias moved out of Slytherin house…maybe into Ravenclaw if not Gryffindor. Yes, first she would talk to the Headmaster. Maybe she would not have to see Severus at all.
Standing in front of the mirror, Hermione brushed her hair out until it fell in shining, soft curls down her back. She didn't wear makeup unless she was going to a function of some sort. She really didn't need it. Hermione wasn't a beautiful witch, but she was handsome enough and could still turn heads on occasion. Her love life was all right. She had been dating the same wizard for the past five years, an Auror named Justice Forall. His name was what got him noticed by Hermione. She had cracked up uncontrollably when Harry introduced her to the tall, blonde, brown-eyed wizard.
"Justice Forall?" Hermione grinned at the wizard, whose brown eyes twinkled back at the witch.
"Yes," he replied, "My father is John Forall. He's American and has quite a warped sense of humor. He gave me the kind of name that forces me to be rather fair-minded."
Hermione discovered this was very true about the wizard. He didn't blink an eye when over dinner on their first date she informed him she had a six-year old son out of wedlock, and his father wasn't in his life.
"Sounds to me," Justice said to the witch, "that the boy's father is a fool. You and a son? What wizard in his right mind would walk away from that combination? Whoever he is, he's crazy and doesn't deserve either of you."
Justice became Hermione's lover soon after that. He was rather surprised and delighted at the witch's inexperience. She explained the conditions under which she lost her virginity. Justice growled.
"What an utter bastard," he fumed. "You sure you don't want to give me his name? He's got something coming to him for that."
Hermione shook her head.
"No, I've got you Justice. I don't want you getting in any trouble. It's over," she said softly.
Justice looked down at the witch, and kissed her gently.
"Well, I consider myself your first, Hermione. Maybe I will be your last," he said in a low voice, his brown eyes meeting her amber ones. He was already lost to the witch.
Hermione didn't answer him. She didn't want to marry, not yet…if ever. She was used to running her own life, sharing it only with her son. A man in the picture would change that. So, although Justice wanted to marry the witch, she held him off.
Mathias didn't take to Justice well. The boy didn't like the Auror because he took part of his mother's attention away. It was bad enough Hermione had to work, then in the evenings spent most of her time home-schooling him. There was little time for real mother/son connection. Mathias would seethe anytime Justice kissed Hermione. Once he even cast a tripping spell on the wizard as he exited the house, causing him to fall on his face on the hard wooden porch. Mathias ran into his bedroom and eluded detection.
But the spell backfired on the young wizard, with Hermione bringing Justice back inside to treat his busted nose. One thing led to another and the Auror didn't leave until the next morning, having spent the night in his mother's bed, something else Mathias hated. Even he didn't get to sleep with his mother anymore. She told him he was getting too big.
Well, Justice was much bigger than he was, and he got to sleep with her sometimes. Quite often in fact. This disturbed Mathias so much that he confronted Hermione about it.
Sitting at the breakfast table one morning after Justice kissed his mother and ruffled Mathias' hair (which he hated) and left, the young wizard asked his mother, "How come Mr. Forall gets to sleep in your bed, mum? You said I was too big to sleep with you anymore, and Mr. Forall is much bigger than I am, but you let him in. Why is that?"
Hermione, standing at the sink turned and looked at her son. She turned rather red. Mathias' black eyes were leveled at her. His mum only turned that shade of red when really embarrassed about something.
"Why mum?" he pressed, wanting an answer. Did she like Mr. Forall more than him?
Hermione sat down across from her son, nervously rubbing her hands over each other. He was seven now. That seemed a bit young to tell him about sex.
"Mathias, you are my son and a big boy now. Big boys have their own rooms and beds," she began.
"Well, Mr. Forall has his own room and bed where he lives, but you let him sleep in yours," the little wizard argued.
"Mr. Forall doesn't sleep with me like you do, Mathias. We are adults. Adults sleep differently than children do," Hermione said reddening again. "He…he keeps me company."
"I can keep you company as good as he can," Mathias said, scowling and looking very much like Severus in this instance.
Hermione shook her head.
"No. I'm afraid you can't Mathias," Hermione said uncomfortably. "Sons don't keep mothers company that way. It's very complicated. I will have to tell you more about it when you're older. It has to do with sex."
Mathias radar went up. Sex? She had never mentioned anything about sex to him. Not even when home-schooling him. He thought she'd covered everything.
"Why when I'm older? You are teaching me spells and brews early. Why not sex?" he asked her, looking very suspicious.
"Because sex is different. You don't need to be thinking about things like that at only seven years old. Trust my judgment, Mathias," Hermione said evenly.
Mathias looked skeptical. She was hiding things from him. He didn't like that.
"Once I tell you, then you'll understand. But Mr. Forall sleeping in my bed doesn't mean I love him more than you. I love you more than anyone in this world," the witch said, "I just care for Mr. Forall differently. That's why he stays in my bed sometimes."
"Because of sex?" the wizard asked, wanting to be certain.
"Yes," Hermione said, reddening again.
Mathias looked at her thoughtfully.
"Ok mum, I'll wait for you to tell me," he said dismissively, returning to his cereal.
Hermione let out a sigh of relief.
Of course, Mathias didn't wait. His mum had a big library, and he searched through it until he found a book of biology that explained what sex was.
"Yuck!" was his only comment when he read the mechanics of it.
He thought a penis was something convenient to pee with. This revelation that it was used in another way was a bit disorienting. Well, at least that explained why every now and then his organ got uncomfortably hard. If sex was what his mum and Mr. Forall did, then they were welcome to the bed. Yuck.
But the idea of Mr. Forall putting his penis inside his mother disturbed Mathias, though he didn't understand why. It made him dislike the wizard even more. But he never brought up the bed issue with Hermione again.
Hermione took one more look at herself in the mirror, took a deep breath and apparated to the main gates of Hogwarts. She tried to unward the gates, but couldn't. There were new wards on it. She stared at the gates for a while, then got an idea and sent up sparks into the sky. Sparks were a universal call for help in the wizarding world.
Presently a gnarled, bent form walked slowly and painfully over a rise heading for the gates.
"Oh my gods, it's Filch," Hermione thought, amazed the old caretaker was still alive, much less working at Hogwarts. He seemed ancient when she was there.
The scraggly-haired, bad-tempered squib looked at her through the gates. His rheumy eyes widened in recognition.
"I know you," he said accusingly, "You're one of Potter's troublemaking bunch. You were out of here years ago. What do you want?"
Filch was not a very pleasant gatekeeper.
"Yes, I'm Hermione Granger, Mr. Filch. I'm here to speak to the Headmaster about my son," she said to the squib evenly.
Argus clapped his hand over his face.
"A son? You've got a son here. Oh Thanatos' gelded steeds. Another generation to deal with," he groaned, opening the gate. "Go on in then. Maybe you'll withdraw him."
Hermione couldn't help but grin at the squib's mortified reaction as she walked through the gate. Some things never changed.
"Thank you," she said to Argus, who grumbled back something unintelligible. Hermione was sure it wasn't "Your welcome."
Hermione started across the grounds.
She hoped Albus could help her.
"Arrrgh!" the startled Potions Master exclaimed, dropping both soap and washcloth at the sight of the horrible ghost bobbing in front of him. He clutched his heart for a moment, catching his breath. Severus wasn't easily frightened but the apparition surprised him.
"Baron, what the hell are you doing in my shower?" he gasped at the ghost. "You almost gave me a heart attack!"
The grim, bloodstained ghost bobbed for a moment longer, then spoke in a low hollow voice, his sightless eyes fixed on the Potions Master.
"I have a complaint, Professor," the ghost said, his face contorting and making him look even more horrible.
"A complaint?" Severus repeated. In all his years at Hogwarts the ghost had never come to him with any complaints. What did a ghost have to complain about?
"Yes, a complaint. Last night I visited the first year Slytherins as I do at the start of every term. The proper bedwetting and screaming occurred, and I was making quite an impact until I entered the last room. I floated over the beds of the first three first years, moaning and making faces as I am wont to do, and they all screamed and hid under their bedding. But when I came to the last student, he looked at me, then pulled out his wand and hit me with a spell!" the ghost said angrily.
"What kind of spell?" Severus asked, wondering what first year would have the presence of mind to defend himself against a ghost, rather than hide from it.
"I don't know," the ghost replied, "But it froze me and I dropped to the bed unable to move. Then the little curmudgeon rolled me off the bed to the floor and left me there, while he covered up and went to sleep. It took several hours for the spell to dissipate," the ghost complained. "I demand something be done about this mistreatment of my person, Professor."
Severus stared at the ghost. Not only had the first year cast a spell on the Baron, but tossed him to the floor and went to sleep. Whoever he was, he had balls, that was for certain.
"All right. I will see what I can do. What room and what bed?" the Professor asked the ghost. The Baron told him.
"Fine. Later today I will find out who occupies that bed," the wizard said to the ghost, "but I must remind you Baron, that you are a former Slytherin yourself, and you know the Slytherin philosophy concerning action and reaction. You terrorize the first years at the beginning of every term. For the first time one defends himself. You were the cause and that was the effect. We all have to pay for our actions if they in some way affect others negatively. You received a just reward, Baron. Do you really believe the wizard should be punished for defending himself against you?"
The ghost stared at him mutely, then without a word drifted through the wall and disappeared.
Severus picked up his washcloth and what was left of the soap. It had melted under the spray as he talked to the ghost. The Potions Master rinsed out the washcloth, put the soap in the tray, cut off the water and exited the shower. As he dried himself, he smirked.
It seemed he had a lion among the latest Slytherin sheep. He had to find out who it was.
"What did you do to the Bloody Baron?" one rather apelike Slytherin, Boyle Goyle asked him, impressed. "I saw you drop him and roll him on the floor! I'm Boyle."
The first year stuck out his hand to Mathias, who looked at it rather coldly before sitting up in his bed, eyeing the students. He didn't shake the wizard's hand.
"I'm Mathias," he said shortly.
"Wow. I'm Charles Bulstrode. Where'd you learn a spell like that?" a heavy-jawed, black-haired wizard with a uni-brow asked him, also offering his hand.
Mathias didn't take it.
"My mother taught it to me. She's a Spells Mistress," he replied, scowling a bit at all the attention and the questions.
"Cool," said the last roommate, Gerald Parkinson, who had a hard, pug-like look to his face. "Know any other spells?"
"A few," Mathias said, sliding out of the bed. He was only dressed in his boxers, whereas the other boys had on pajamas.
"That's how you sleep?" Boyle asked, looking at Mathias boxers. He and the other boys still wore cotton briefs.
Mathias looked at him.
"Actually, I like to sleep naked," he responded, pushing past the boys and heading for the bathroom.
"Naked?" Boyle said, looking at the other boys. "He might be a fruit."
Gerald looked after the thin, pale wizard.
"No, I don't think he is, but he's weird. Not too friendly," Gerald said.
"Well, I'm glad he's in here," said Charles, "At least we're ghost-proof with him around. He dropped that ghost like a rock cake."
Boyle glowered towards the bathroom.
"I don't like fruits," he growled. "I'm going to settle this right now."
Charles and Gerald looked at the burly first year. He was much heavier than Mathias.
"You saw what he did to that ghost, Boyle. I'd leave him alone," Gerald said a bit nervously.
Boyle looked at Mathias bed. His wand was sticking out from under the pillow.
"He doesn't have his wand with him," Boyle said, punching his fist into his palm.
Mathias exited the bathroom and walked back toward his bed, only to be blocked by Boyle. The pale wizard looked at him with narrow eyes for a moment, then tried to walk around him, but the bigger student blocked his path again.
"We don't want no naked sleeping fruits in our dorm," Boyle growled at him.
Mathias blinked at him and stepped back a little.
"Get out of my way," he said evenly.
"Why don't you try and make me, fruit?" Boyle said, smiling a little at the smaller wizard. Boyle was a bully, like his father.
"I can make you," Mathias said evenly, "But I don't want to. I'm here to learn, not fight."
"I'm here to learn, not fight," Boyle mimicked him, the other wizards laughing. They could smell blood, and thought it best to be on the winning wizard's side. Mathias looked at each of the boys. They all were assholes.
"Well, you're going to fight," Boyle said, taking a swing at Mathias' head.
The young wizard slipped the blow and retaliated, catching Boyle squarely in the nose. Blood gushed out of it. Then Mathias swept Boyle's legs out from under him, sending the wizard crashing to the floor, then dropped on top of his back, twisting his arm back painfully.
"Still want to fight?" Mathias asked the wizard through clenched teeth. He'd dislocate his shoulder if he had to.
Both Ron and Harry were Aurors for the Ministry and taught Mathias holds and moves since he was very young. He took to it naturally, and on occasion could even take his uncles down if he moved quickly enough, though he couldn't beat them. Yet.
"No. I give. Sorry," Boyle cried. Mathias released him.
The other two wizards looked at him incredulously.
Boyle stood up, blood running from his nose. Mathias looked at him, picked up his wand and flicked it at him, stopping the blood flow and cleaning his face at the same time. Boyle touched his nose.
"It doesn't hurt anymore," he said to Mathias, his eyes wide.
"It shouldn't. I fixed it," the wizard replied, then looked at Boyle consideringly. "You shouldn't pick on wizards smaller than you."
Boyle blinked at Mathias as he opened his wardrobe, his back turned to the bigger wizard without concern. Normally, Boyle would have hit him with a sneak attack, but somehow, he felt this wouldn't be wise. It wouldn't have been either.
Mathias removed a set of robes, a pair of socks and a hairbrush. He put on the robes over his boxers and fastened them.
"Aren't you going to wear your uniform?" Gerald asked him.
Mathias looked at him.
"Obviously not, since I am fastening up my robes," Mathias replied.
"Moron," he thought as he looked at Gerald.
When he finished fastening his robes, he sat on the bed and pulled his socks on. All three wizards were still staring at him. Irritated, he leveled his black eyes on them.
"Aren't you three going to breakfast?" he asked them. All three nodded at him.
"Then I suggest you stop staring at me and go get dressed," Mathias said coldly.
All three boys left and did as he said. Mathias scowled.
Gods, was this what it was going to be like all year? Maybe he would owl his mum and beg her to get him a private room. He could tell her about the fight…no…he couldn't. What happened in Slytherin stayed in Slytherin. He sighed.
Mathias pulled on his shoes, stood up and left his dorm room, heading down into the Slytherin common room. Students of all ages milled around, the first years clustered together as the older students teased them about the Bloody Baron.
"The first level smells like a piss pot," teased one fifth-year witch as she eyed the new witches.
"You should have heard all the screams coming from the first year male dorms. They sounded like a slew of terrified little girls," said a sixth year wizard, grinning evilly at the huddled males.
Mathias made to walk past the sixth-year, who stopped him by grabbing him by the shoulder.
"So, when you saw the Bloody Baron did you scream, wet yourself or both, firstie?" he asked Mathias, who shrugged the wizard's hand off his shoulder. The rest of the students in the common room oohed at this rare little display of first year aggression.
"I did neither. I hexed him and went to sleep," the boy replied.
The sixth year's eyes went wide as the room went silent in disbelief.
"No you didn't," the sixth year accused. "You pissed yourself! Like everyone else."
Mathias looked at him calmly.
"I have no reason to lie, but I really don't care if you believe me or not," he said, starting to walk toward the exit.
"Where do you think you're going, you little wise-ass?" the sixth-year said, walking after Mathias. "You're going to tell the truth."
The Potions Master was walking down the corridor and sped up when he heard the challenge. He stopped just outside the entrance to the common room listening.
"I don't have to prove anything to you," Mathias said, sliding his hand into his robes pocket and grasping his wand.
"He did hex the ghost!" Gerald cried, running down the stairs, "I saw him. He hexed the ghost, rolled him off his bed to the floor and went to sleep!"
The sixth year and the rest of the students looked at the wizard, then back at Mathias.
"Yeah," Boyle said, entering the common room behind Gerald, along with Charles who nodded enthusiastically. "We all saw him do it."
"I don't believe it," the sixth year seethed. "What spell did you use?"
Mathias was tired of this. He pulled out his wand.
"This one," he said, muttering something and flicking his wand at the wizard, who stiffened, turned rather blue and fell over.
Mathias strolled out of the common room as the shouting started. He saw Severus standing in the corridor, said "Good morning, Professor" and kept going. The first-year didn't even look guilty about what he'd done or as if he expected to get in trouble for it. The wizard had been asking for it after all.
Severus let the boy go, though he knew he should have stopped him. He would deal with it later. Right now he had to calm down the common room and restore the fallen student. So, it had been Mr. Granger who hexed the Bloody Baron, and now a fellow Slytherin. The boy hadn't been here a full day yet.
Severus couldn't help smirking a little.
Mathias was a snarky little bastard.
Suddenly a roll hit him in the side of the head, followed by a burst of laughter. He turned, scowling to see James Potter and the rest of the Gryffindor house grinning at him.
"Figures you'd be sorted into Slytherin, Mathias. That house is full of bastards," James called to him.
Mathias clenched his fists and looked up at the Head Table to see how many staff members were present. Albus Dumbledore's eyes were resting on him. The Headmaster nodded to him. Mathias nodded back then headed for the Slytherin table, furious. He couldn't get James back now. But later he would.
Mathias took a seat, aware of a new round of laughter behind him. He ignored it and pulled a platter of bacon toward him, loading up his plate. He loved bacon.
"Aren't you going to leave some bacon for someone else?" a female voice said behind him.
Mathias turned and looked up into the face of Jasmine Malfoy. Her ice-blue eyes swept over him a moment, then she sat down next to him. Mathias looked at her. She had white-blonde hair and a rather pointed chin, with a small petulant mouth. She was pretty, though she looked like she had no eyebrows.
"My name's Jasmine," she said, offering Mathias a small pale hand and a smile.
This time, Mathias shook hands.
"I'm Mathias," he responded, now drawing a plate of scrambled eggs toward him.
"I know," Jasmine responded, "Everyone in Slytherin knows your name. And you haven't even been here a full day."
Mathias stopped spooning eggs on his plate and looked at her.
"You think that's a good thing?" he asked her.
"They say you're dangerous. That you beat up Boyle like he was a little baby…then you hexed that six-year," she said, impressed.
"I'm not dangerous. I just protect myself. That six-year was harassing me. Boyle attacked me. The ghost annoyed me," Mathias replied. "I need to let people know right off that I'm not a victim. If they try to treat me like one, then they'll get what they deserve."
"But first years are the low men on the totem pole. We're supposed to be picked on," Jasmine responded, filling her own plate with bacon as other Slytherins entered the Great Hall. "It's part of being new students."
"Not me. I came to Hogwarts to learn, not to be picked on. I don't care how new I am," Mathias replied, biting into a piece of bacon.
Jasmine studied the wizard calculatingly. He was cute, he could fight and already knew powerful spells. He hexed that horrible ghost too. The ability of witches of Jasmine's bloodline to quickly identify males of worth was inbred. It was what they did best next to spending galleons after all. Mathias was going to be someone special in Slytherin house, someone who it would be good to be close to in the years to come.
As the granddaughter of Lucius Malfoy, Jasmine had an eye for potentially powerful allies. Her father Draco was also a powerful man, one of the Ministry's leading Council members. She smiled at Mathias sweetly.
"So, what is your favorite subject?" Jasmine asked Mathias, trying to make small talk.
"Potions," Mathias said shortly.
"But, you're so good with spells," Jasmine said.
"My mum works with spells all the time. They're fine but not that challenging for me. I'd rather brew…creating a potion requires more skill and concentration, timing and focus. You're not always sure if it will work until the end. I enjoy the process," Mathias told her.
Jasmine was about to say something else when suddenly Boyle plummeted into the seat next to her. Gerald sat on the other side of Mathias, then all the chairs around them filled with first years, all of them staring at Mathias, who was chewing a mouthful of bacon. The chewing slowed as he realized he was the focus of so many rapt stares. He swallowed and scowled around him. Then he noticed the older Slytherins on the other side of the table whispering to each other and looking at him.
"You know, that sixth year had to be taken to the infirmary. Professor Snape couldn't lift the hex," Gerald said to the wizard.
"Of course he couldn't," Mathias said, "the spell is adapted to my signature. Only I can lift it, otherwise they have to wait for it to wear off."
Eyebrows rose and whispers went all around. How was this first year so powerful?
"His mum is a Spells Mistress," Charles informed the rest of the students, much to Mathias displeasure. The wizard didn't have to announce that to the whole school.
Severus entered the Main Hall, sat down at the teacher's table and ordered his breakfast. He looked down at his Slytherins and saw the first years clustered around Mathias, and the other students staring at him and whispering.
The boy looked quite annoyed at all the attention. The Potions Master looked at him thoughtfully. He couldn't break the hex on Mr. Hoyt and had to take him to Poppy, who couldn't break it either. He would have to approach Mr. Granger after breakfast and find out what the spell was and how to break it, if it could be broken. He studied the boy who was eating his breakfast under the watchful eyes of his housemates.
It was quite an accomplishment to cast a spell that was unbreakable by older, more experienced witches and wizards, especially at eleven years of age. But then again, he was Hermione's son. No doubt the witch over-educated the boy and he had an entire arsenal of spells at his disposal. He was probably quite smart as well. Hermione put a lot of truck in book learning, no doubt Mathias was a walking encyclopedia just like she was. Well, he'd find out in Potions class with a few questions. Hopefully the boy didn't have his mother's need to spout off everything he knew.
Mathias was getting very annoyed with everyone staring at him. Finally he exploded.
"Don't you all have something better to do than stare at me?" he asked them, "Like eating your breakfasts?"
He quickly rose from the table, and strode away, his housemates staring at him. He had his hand in his robes pocket where his wand was. The Professor watched the boy walk quickly toward the main doors. As he passed the Gryffindor table, Mathias said a short incantation and flicked his wand.
Every plate and glass on the Gryffindor table turned upside down, covering the students with food and drink. The shouting attracted the attention of the other staff members. Mathias didn't hesitate but walked quickly out the doors.
"Mathias did it! I know he did!" spluttered James Potter who got a faceful of pumpkin juice. His hair was soaked and stuck to his head as the liquid dripped off his face. "I'm going to get him."
Severus looked at the raging Gryffindor and recognized him as a Potter immediately. So, there appeared to be bad blood between him and Mathias. The Potions Master shook his head, staring at the closed double doors. He knew Mathias had hexed the Gryffindor table, but he did it in such a way no one could rightly claim he did it. The boy was a true Slytherin all right.
He'd talk to him right after breakfast.
As Mathias entered the main hall heading for Slytherin house, Hermione walked through the double doors. The wizard stopped and stared. His mum? Here? Why?
"Mum?" he said as Hermione walked into the hall.
She saw Mathias. Shit. She had wanted to be clandestine about this visit.
"Hi Mathias," she said, walking up to him and kissing him on the cheek.
Mathias looked around to see if anyone had seen her kiss him.
"Mum, don't do that. You'll make me look like a baby," he hissed at her.
"But you are a baby. You're my baby," she said, ruffling his hair.
Mathis scowled at her and used his hands to try and straighten his hair.
"Mum, stop it," he said testily, "Why are you here?"
"I heard you were sorted into Slytherin," Hermione said, her amber eyes dark as she looked at her son as if looking for signs of contamination. "I…I think there may have been a mistake."
Mathias eyes narrowed.
"A mistake? Why do you say that?" he asked her.
"Because…you're too bright, too intelligent, too good to be in Slytherin," Hermione said.
"Mum, that's your view on it. The Sorting Hat said I belong in Slytherin, and I think it's right," the young wizard replied.
Severus walked up the teacher's corridor and heard voices. One was a familiar female voice. He eased forward and looked around the corner.
Hermione Granger. He hadn't seen her in years. The witch hadn't changed much physically and was dressed quite well. But she did have a mother's demeanor as she looked at her son. He listened.
"You don't belong in Slytherin," she said evenly, "I am going to talk to the Headmaster about changing your house."
Mathias stared at her incredulously.
"Changing my house? And put me where? In Gryffindor?" he asked her, frowning terribly.
"Yes…if that's possible. You'll like Gryffindor," she said.
Severus smirked. Hermione had no idea her son just covered the whole of Gryffindor house in their breakfasts.
"Mum. I've met them. They are all idiots. And James is in Gryffindor. Trust me, mum…I don't belong there," he said. "I won't go."
He looked at his mother mirroring the same stubborn expression she wore when adamant about something.
"How about Ravenclaw then?" she suggested.
"Why not Hufflepuff?" Mathias said sarcastically.
Hermione turned bright red.
"You have too much potential to be in Hufflepuff," she said.
Mathias looked at her sharply. Something was going on here.
"Why don't you want me in Slytherin, mum? I know it was Gryffindor's arch-nemesis, but so what? It's a good house, and has a cool Head of House. Professor Snape."
Hermione's eyes widened at her son's disturbing description of his estranged father.
Severus' eyebrows rose as well. The boy thought he was "cool?" He'd been called a lot of things in his time, but never "cool." "Cool" was a good thing, right?
"It shouldn't make a difference what house I'm in as long as I do well at school," Mathias continued, "Plus I like Slytherin House. I think I'll do better there than in any other house here at Hogwarts. I don't want to leave…but I would like a private room," he said.
Hermione blinked at him.
"A private room?" she asked him.
"Yes, you can let private rooms in Slytherin. It's the only house that has that luxury," he said, coining Severus' words. "My roommates are idiots. I'm going to end up hexing the bunch of them, mum, I know it."
Hermione stared at her son. He wanted to stay in Slytherin house. If she tried to force him into another, it might affect his marks, not to mention their relationship. Gone were the days she could just tell Mathias what to do. He was growing up now. He was only eleven, but he was a mature eleven.
The witch sighed. She was going to have to talk to Severus after all. And she dreaded it.
"How much for the private room?" she asked him. Maybe if he had his own room he would be less influenced by the other students. He'd have his own space and privacy. She remembered how much she enjoyed her own room when she made Head girl.
"I don't know. You'll have to talk to Professor Snape about it," Mathias replied, excited.
Hermione looked at her son. Students began to walk out of the Great Hall.
"There is he is!" a voice cried.
Both Hermione and Mathias turned around as James Potter charged toward them, a murderous look in his eyes as he barreled down on Mathias. Then he saw Hermione and skidded to a stop, mere feet from her son.
Mathias smirked at him and the rest of the Gryffindors who had been right behind them.
"Hi Aunt Hermione," the wizard said, cutting his eyes at Mathias, who stood there with his arms folded, a slight smirk on his face.
Hermione looked at James, her brow furrowed.
"James, were you just about to attack Mathias?" she asked him, her eyes washing over the scowling Gryffindors behind him, then looking at her son.
"Ah, no…no…I was just going to…er…say hi," James lied lamely.
Hermione looked at all the Gryffindors.
"You were ALL going to say hi?" she asked James.
"I wasn't. I was going to knock his block off," an angry male voice said from inside the crowd, which grumbled in agreement.
"And you want to send me to Gryffindor, mum?" Mathias asked her.
Hermione looked at the scowling Gryffindors again. It was obvious they were out for her son's blood. He'd never fit in there.
"No, Mathias…I think you're right. Gryffindor isn't for you. Come on, let's go find Professor Snape," she said, putting a protective arm over his shoulder and walking with him towards the dungeons."
James glared after them.
"Fine Mathias. Your mum saved you this time, but she won't always be around," he seethed, heading for the main stairwell as did the rest of the Gryffindors.
Severus drew out his wand and flicked it at James Potter. The boy fell on his face, several other students falling on top of him. The Potions Master then followed Hermione and Mathias down the corridor, walking quietly as usual.
"Why were those students after you, Mathias?" she asked him.
"Probably because I'm a Slytherin, mum. They hate Slytherins. I thought you said Gryffindors were brave and fair-minded. Did you see how many there were of them? Didn't seem too fair or brave to me," Mathias said. "If you weren't here they would have ganged up on me."
Hermione looked at her son.
"If I wasn't here, Mathias, you would have hexed all of them into next week," Hermione replied.
She knew what her son was capable of. He wouldn't hesitate to protect himself, even if it meant hexing an entire house of students. Mathias could do it too.
"They would have deserved it," the boy grumbled. "Idiots."
"Mathias, what have I told you about calling people names?" Hermione said, stopping and putting her hands on her hips.
"I'm just speaking the truth, mum. They act like idiots, believe me," he said sullenly, miffed his mother was chastising him for calling it as he saw it.
Hermione had no idea James had hit him in the head with a roll and insulted his parentage while the rest of the Gryffindors laughed, but Mathias was not about to tell her. He didn't want to upset her. She liked James. He was her best friend's son. His mother didn't have that many friends and Mathias didn't want to cause trouble between her and Harry.
Hermione figured they must have done something to him. He wouldn't tell her what though. Mathias was terribly closed-mouthed. Something he got from his father's side. Hermione sighed as she realized she was going to see Severus face to face for the first time in eleven years, and once again the topic was going to be their child…well, her child. The wizard had no claim to the boy as far as she was concerned. She was going to make sure that was understood. She wanted this secret kept at all costs.
They approached the Potions Master's office.
"I don't think he's here yet, mum. He was still at breakfast," Mathias said as they faced the door.
"I'll wait then. Don't you have a class to go to?" she asked her son.
"Yes, Charms," he replied with a bored expression. "But I already know everything. I looked over the syllabus. I'm going to be bored to tears."
"You might know everything, but you still need the marks, Mathias. So you do your best in that class anyway. Be attentive. Maybe you can do some extra credit work," his mother replied, knocking on the office door.
There was no answer.
"Mathias, you go and get ready for class. I'll wait for the Professor," Hermione said to her son, kissing his cheek.
"All right, mum. I'll see you on holiday," Mathias replied, giving her a very quick kiss in return and heading for Slytherin house.
Hermione watched her son disappear down the corridor, her brow slightly furrowed. Gods, what a mess this was. What was she going to do?
She stared at the Potions office door. Damn the wizard. Too bad he wasn't really dead.
Suddenly Hermione was aware of a presence behind her and spun around. She found herself standing inches from the Potions Master. Severus looked down at the witch, his black eyes glittering.
"Looking for me, Miss Granger?" he purred.
"Yes. Yes I was looking for you, Professor. We need to talk," she said.
Severus walked around her and opened his office door, gesturing for her to enter.
"I only have ten minutes before class, Miss Granger," he said.
Hermione looked at him.
"Ten minutes? I need more time than that," she exclaimed. "I want to talk to you about Mathias. He's been sorted into your house."
Severus nodded. "Yes he has and in less than twenty-four hours he has hexed a ghost, beat up a roommate, hexed a student so badly that I can't lift it, then hexed the entire house of Gryffindor, causing them to wear their breakfasts."
"What?" Hermione said, aghast walking into the Potions Master's office and sitting down in the chair in front of his desk dazedly.
Severus swooped in behind her closing the door and slipped behind his desk. His dark eyes swept over the witch. There was something about Hermione that brought out the darker, lustier side of the wizard when she became the age of consent. Her fantasies about him.
The Potions Master had been aware of her seventh year crush on him but never got around to shagging her until two years later, when he met her at the Three Broomsticks. The witch was intelligent, mouthy and quite pretty in her way. It was her innocence too, that attracted him. She still had it, that innocence, the night he finally did take her.
Initially, it really hadn't been Severus' plan to take advantage of the witch. It was her fault as far as he could see. Once Hermione got a couple of daiquiris in her, her tongue loosened and she started talking about the crush she used to have on him, and confided she had sexual fantasies about him, even after she had left Hogwarts.
She looked at him so hotly, the wizard couldn't help but ask her if she wanted those fantasies fulfilled, and she said she did. Severus didn't have many opportunities to shag young women who weren't whores or deatheaters after all. Especially young women who were sincerely attracted to him as Hermione was. The Potions Master knew that the witch would have never consented if she hadn't been drunk, but an opportunity was an opportunity. So he booked a room and took her there. The wizard had been quite surprised she was a virgin, but he shagged her just the same. And Hermione liked it. A lot. She was very willing, very passionate.
The next morning Hermione woke up and responded with horror at what they'd done, having no memory of how good it was. So Severus left her to her horror. He wasn't about to apologize. Then three months later she came to him, telling him she was pregnant. Well, it was her choice to keep the child or get rid of it. He didn't want to be a father. He couldn't afford to be. Not while in the Dark Lord's service.
"You've done some job raising him," the Potions Master commented.
Hermione's eyes focused and she scowled at the wizard.
"I did a damn good job raising him," she declared. "If Mathias hexed someone, or fought someone you can be sure they deserved it. He's not a mean boy. If he had been in Gryffindor, none of this would have happened."
"He's a Slytherin, Hermione. He belongs in my house," Severus said, reverting to her given name, his dark eyes resting on her.
"He may belong in this house, Severus," Hermione said evenly, "but he doesn't belong to you. I don't want you to tell him who you are and I don't want you exerting your influence over him. You are a poor example of a man. I don't want him to be anything like you."
Severus thought Hermione was purposely blinding herself to how much like him the boy was already, without his influence.
"What did you tell him about his father?" the wizard asked her.
"That he was dead," she replied, her eyes shifting slightly at the admission she'd lied to her son.
"You told him his father was dead? A lie, Hermione? What happened to those Gryffindor values of truthfulness and honesty?" the Professor said with a sneer.
"I suppose it would have been better to tell Mathias his mother got drunk and slept with a pig of a wizard who wanted nothing to do with him and let him know his mother was a whore and his dad a deadbeat? I'm wasn't about to do that," Hermione said.
Severus looked at her.
"You weren't a whore, Hermione. You were a repressed little witch who had the hots for her ex-professor and wanted to fulfill a fantasy. Whores shag often and for money. I don't think you follow that practice…or do you?" he said silkily.
"Of course I don't," she snapped, "But you knew I was drunk, Severus. You didn't have to do it."
His eyes flicked over her hotly for a moment.
"Oh, but I did," he responded. "I wasn't about to pass you up, witch. I saw a couple of those little fantasies you had playing about in your head in your seventh year. They were quite alluring."
Hermione flushed horribly as she remembered how bad she had it for the Professor. He had seen her fantasies? Oh gods. No wonder he shagged her.
"All right, so you felt justified shagging me. But you took no responsibility for the product of that night. For Mathias," she said.
"If I had taken responsibility, it is more than likely all three of us would be dead today, Hermione," the wizard said. "Voldemort would have taken you at the first opportunity and probably cut the child from your womb. Then he would have castrated, tortured and killed me. Is that what you wanted?"
Hermione stared at him stupidly. Severus looked at the clock. He had two minutes to get to class.
"Listen, meet me at the Three Broomsticks tonight at seven. We can talk about this then," he said rising.
"The Three Broomsticks?" Hermione repeated as the wizard walked around the desk and took her by her arm, helped her up from the chair, and walked her to his office door. He opened it and pushed her out.
"Yes, the Three Broomsticks at seven," he said, his eyes glinting at her, "and I won't buy you daiquiris this time…unless you really want me to."
Severus smirked at the witch, then closed and warded his door.
Hermione stared at the door in disbelief. The audacity of the wizard…to imply that she'd want a repeat of the last time they were at the Three Broomsticks. She couldn't even remember what happened that night.
So she had to meet him at seven. Hermione thought a moment, then clapped her hand to her head. She was supposed to spend "quality" time with Justice tonight. They were supposed to have a romantic dinner and then…damn.
She'd have to break the date. The Auror would be disappointed. This was the third dinner date she'd broken with him. With all the excitement of Mathias going to Hogwarts, she didn't feel up to seeing the wizard. She'd talk to him when she arrived at the Ministry and tell him she had an important meeting tonight. She didn't want to tell him what the meeting was about, or with whom.
Justice didn't like the way Severus had treated her. If he knew who the wizard was, there could be trouble. She'd just have to hide the nature of the meeting from the Auror. Another lie.
Hermione began to walk up the hall. She had to get to work.
"Would your mother be the Spells Mistress, Hermione Granger?" he asked Mathias as he called the roll.
"Yes sir," Mathias replied, hating the tiny wizard had asked him this in front of the other students. He didn't want everyone to know.
"Your mother was quite a student, Mr. Granger. Hopefully you will show an equal aptitude," Professor Flitwick said with a smile before continuing the roll.
It was a Gryffindor/Slytherin class. The first year Gryffindors all looked at him with narrowed eyes. Now they were certain he had cast a spell on them this morning. James drew his finger across his throat and scowled at Mathias, who arched an eyebrow at him.
"Anytime, Potter," he mouthed at the boy, who turned red with rage.
"Ah, James Potter. You're Harry Potter's son, aren't you?" the Professor asked the wizard.
"Yes, sir!" James replied, swelling with pride as everyone looked at him.
Mathias wished he had a sharp dart to puncture the git with. Always cashing in on his father's name. What an ass.
"Your father was also quite good with spells and charms, Mr. Potter. I expect to see good things from you in this class," the little wizard said.
"Yes sir," James beamed at him.
Mathias thought he might throw up at James' sucking up.
Professor Flitwick passed around parchments and quills. He then asked the students to list all the spells they knew. Mathias groaned. He knew over seventy spells. If he told Professor Flitwick that, then most likely the wizard would use him like some kind of poster boy for spells, making him demonstrate them for his classmates, turning him into some kind of know-it-all. Mathias despised know-it-alls and wasn't about to be turned into one just because he knew more spells than most first years. Actually, he knew more spells than most wizards period.
Mathias didn't want all that attention.
So when he filled out the parchment, he listed five of the most simple, low-level spells he knew. That was it. He passed it forward.
Professor Flitwick read over the parchments, pausing over Mathias' paper. His eyes narrowed as he looked at the young wizard. Mathias looked back at him steadily.
Professor Flitwick knew Hermione quite well. He also knew Mathias was home-schooled because the teachers were given a copy of the student's educational background before accepting them in class. There was no way Hermione Granger, a Spells Mistress and over-achiever would neglect the boy's education when it came to spells. The boy was purposely hiding what he knew. He had to be.
Well, it wasn't Flitwick's job to find out what Mathias knew, just teach him the basics of charms and spells his first year. More than likely it would be like pre-school for the wizard.
Flitwick sighed. A shame really. He could have used the young wizard to demonstrate spells in class. The diminutive Professor thought it was better when another student showed his classmates how a spell was cast. He had no idea that other students found it annoying or that it caused jealousy. Like most adults, he didn't have a clue.
Mathias knew that Professor Flitwick suspected he knew more than he was admitting. But he was under no obligation to share all of his knowledge. He was just a first year after all, and that offered him some protection. Mathias was fast learning how to manipulate the system to protect himself. He had no intention on becoming teacher's pet like his mum. Harry and Ron had told him all about it.
His mum had been a real terror. How did anyone stand her? Mathias had a feeling that he and his mother would not have gotten along if they had been contemporaries. He probably would have hexed her a few times for being an irritating know-it-all.
Soon Charms class was over and the students headed for their next class.
Mathias couldn't wait.
His next class was Potions.
For the past twelve years, Voldemort's activities had slowly become less aggressive, as far as the wizarding world was concerned. The Dark Lord was still out there, and on occasion there was a targeted deatheater attack on an individual here and there, but there were few mass attacks. Muggles still came up missing however, but the dark wizard was decidedly quieter on the home front.
The Ministry now had a policy that muggles were not their concern and did not make a great effort to find out if they were magically abducted. This had a lot to do with changes Draco had championed and pushed through the Ministry. The wizard cited that trying to track down errant muggles was a large and unnecessary expenditure of funds. Muggles had their own police and detective forces. Why waste the taxpayers' galleon on a group that contributed next to nothing to the wizarding world as a whole?
The policy was quickly passed. One thing council members knew voters liked were policies that saved galleons. And happy voters were more likely to keep them in their comfortable positions.
Draco had also managed to repeal the decades old law that wearing a Dark Mark was a crime. He claimed it was unfair to condemn an individual for their beliefs. Simply because a wizard or witch believed that Purebloods should hold all the power was not proof they were involved in illegal activities. He made the Dark Mark a symbol of a different philosophy rather than a sign of loyalty to Voldemort. He equated the arresting of those wearing the Dark Mark to arresting cross-wearing muggle Christians because of the deeds of the Spanish Inquisition centuries ago. Just because a wizard wore the Mark, it didn't prove he had broken any law.
It took Draco several years to get this "Dark Mark" law repealed, but he finally managed to do so, causing the release of hundreds of deatheaters from Azkaban. It was quite a victory for the Dark Lord. His ranks swelled because of this, and the despot held Draco in very high esteem. Voldemort's rise to power had taken a decided turn. It wasn't that the wizard became mellower in the ensuing years, but had developed another plan of attack. Infiltration, Politics and Legal Recruitment.
Through the popular vote, the Dark Lord had loyal deatheaters situated on the board almost every magical decision-making body in existence, all of whom worked tirelessly toward making the wizarding world more tolerant of the his core beliefs of Pureblood superiority. Voldemort himself remained in the background. He was only seen by those who took the Mark, and was highly glamoured to be more physically appealing. He was still in hiding, though he had a growing number of supporters. He was still vicious as well.
A newspaper called "The Voice of V" had been in existence for the past decade. Under the guise of "Protecting the Pearls of the Wizarding World," this periodical wrote inflammatory articles and columns promoting and supporting Voldemort's views.
The circulation of this newspaper had increased over the years, and it was quite a popular periodical. It was full of conspiracy theories, and supported the view that Voldemort was the voice of the future and his 'exile' and his record of violence were all the result of the Ministry working to keep him out of power. It also condemned miscegenation and the mixing of true wizards and witches with muggles and muggle-borns, calling those who did mix, "Enemies of the Wizarding World."
A number of ridiculous claims made by the paper were given serious consideration by a surprising amount of people, such as most of the deatheater attacks, including the one on Harry Potter's family years ago were actually the work of Dumbledore's Order of the Phoenix, whose members dressed up as deatheaters and committed atrocities to turn the public against the Dark Lord.
What was worse, since wearing the Dark Mark was no longer a crime, a legal organization for deatheaters and those who supported them was formed, known as the DKV or the Dark Knights of Valor. They were give a charter and allowed to assemble and recruit publicly and privately. Order Members called them the "Dark Knights of Voldemort"
Witches and wizards were openly invited to join the ranks of the DKV through newspaper advertisements, billboards, open houses and other forms of advertising. Deatheaters even stood on corners handing out pamphlets inviting Purebloods and even Halfbloods (who met certain requirements) tired of being relegated into a position of second-class citizenship to attend meetings.
This recruitment had become so acceptable that from time to time even the Prophet ran full-page ads inviting purebloods to attend meetings. Ads such as the following:
JOIN THE DKV AND MAKE A DIFFERENCE!
"Protect the Pearls of the Wizarding World!"
There comes a time in the life of every man and woman when he or she has to choose between the right and wrong side of life. Today many alien forces are entering the Wizarding World bent upon its destruction and our current administration is turning a blind eye. Our traditions and our way of life are being compromised. A brotherhood among Purebloods must be revived in the Wizarding World in order to save it from the threat pouring over our borders, filling our schools, taking our jobs, overrunning our establishments and destroying our traditions.
JOIN the DKV Today!
The Dark Knights of Valor is composed of Pureblood/Halfblood citizens who are of sound of mind and good moral character.
The Dark Knights of Valor is a legal organization and no one can be prosecuted for being a member and professing their beliefs.
The Dark Knights of Valor is a fraternal and benevolent organization.
The Dark Knights of Valor is a politically independent organization, and is not pledged to any political party.
The Dark Knights of Valor is a Pro-Pureblood organization that opposes any thing, person or organization that is Anti-Pureblood.
The goals of the DKV are as follows:
The total segregation of the magical and non-magical races.
Restoration of power to those intended to wield it.
The total destruction of magical miscegenation in all its forms.
To secure Pureblood Rights and complete Wizarding Sovereignty.
The DKV needs you today to help fight the Wizarding World's battles. The next meeting will be held at…
Halfblood wizards and witches must meet certain requirements before considered for membership
Dumbledore and the Order were hard put to fight against this type of attack. Since Voldemort's ranks now took on the appearance of hard-working honest purebloods out to secure a better world for themselves and their children, it was difficult to keep the public aware of the danger the Dark Lord posed. Dumbledore was certain that the despot would make a move soon to overthrow the Ministry as soon as he had enough followers in place. It was estimated that forty-five percent of government officials were members of the DKV. Although that figure was a little less than half, all of the members were actively working toward Voldemort eventually coming into power, and weren't lax like the other fifty-five percent of stuffed shirts that occupied seats.
Harry Potter's perceived role of being the potential destroyer of Voldemort had lost its fire in the eyes of many. Voldemort was now seen as someone who was targeted by the Administration, someone persecuted, and someone who deserved a chance to show the wizarding world a better way through fair elections. Plus, Harry lived a rather normal life, seeming to now be off of Voldemort's radar, though Severus warned the Headmaster this was not the case.
Albus watched the going-ons with a heavy heart. It was like the rising of the Third Reich. Even his students had clashes over this, his Slytherins and even some Ravenclaws wearing Dark Mark tattoos in support of the Dark Lord. No Gryffindor would ever don a Dark Mark tattoo, and Hufflepuffs just weren't that interested in politics.
Hermione had a point about the Potions Master's lack of financial support, but she didn't understand how Voldemort worked. When a wizard or witch took the Mark, they were required to pay a monthly tribute to the Dark Lord, based on their income. Voldemort had a slew of accountants among his ranks that kept close watch on the finances of his deatheaters as well as their spending patterns, and they basically had to make an account of every unusual expenditure.
The Dark Lord also had allies that worked in Gringotts who watched his follower's assets and reported every new or secret account opened. The Dark Lord needed money like everyone else, and took it from his loyal servants. The accountants were quite thorough, since their continued existence depended on their accuracy. Severus paying child support would have been discovered and all would have been revealed when they hauled Hermione in as the recipient of those funds.
When Severus initially turned Hermione away, he made no mention of the Dark Lord as a reason for it. He made no attempt to make the witch understand the danger having a child would involve, and he did this purposely. Severus didn't want her to believe he was denying the child to be noble or to protect her. That would still be a connection. He wanted no connections and was quite serious when he told her to get rid of the child.
The Potions Master was harsh and cold so she would not ever come to him under any circumstances concerning the child. Even if he could have sent support, it would have still sent the witch the message she could come to him when in need. She couldn't.
Actually, Severus knew it was his fault Hermione got pregnant. He was so anxious to get at her that he didn't cast a contraceptive spell upon discovering she was a virgin. The Potions Master was too caught up and delighted at being the first wizard to touch her and dove right into the witch. Of course he turned it around when Hermione confronted him, blaming her for the pregnancy and making her even more unlikely to contact him.
Severus witnessed the slaughter of those who practiced magical miscegenation in Voldemort's throne room. Children, mothers and fathers were killed in horrible ways, the parents forced to watch their children torn apart first, then the pureblood/halfblood forced to watch the murder of their partner, then being horribly tortured and killed themselves. These killings were considered the high points of the Revels now, and it sickened Severus. Despite outward appearances, Voldemort was as evil and despicable as he always was. Only the deatheaters of his inner circle, those brought in knowing what the Dark Lord's true nature was years ago, were allowed at these occasions.
Another horrible improvement in Voldemort's plan was the nature of the newer Dark Marks. He had acquired the fealty of a rather gifted Spells Master, who added something extra to the Mark which could be invoked en mass when Voldemort was ready. A spell similar to the Imperious curse. At any given time, Voldemort could invoke this spell and turned the thousands of political deatheaters he acquired into mindless killing machines.
Severus informed the Order of this at once, and Dumbledore did what he could, bringing in newly recruited deatheaters and examining the Mark, but he could find no proof of it. Yet Severus saw it used on a deatheater who had fathered a bastard child with a muggle woman. The wizard killed both woman and child with a sword, hacking them to pieces when Voldemort invoked his Mark. The wizard was crying as he did so, fully aware he was killing the people he loved. To his credit, the deatheater died charging the Dark Lord, intent on impaling the red-eyed fucker on his bloody sword.
Unfortunately, there was no way to prove the terrible spell existed. Hermione herself worked on it, to no avail. She could find no signature, no magical thread…nothing. Whoever had designed the spell had done an amazing job of it, fully intending that it be undetectable by other Spells Masters or Mistresses. No one would ever find out his name, however. Voldemort killed the wizard as soon as the spell was perfected.
Yes, the mechanization of Voldemort's evil plans had become more complicated, more insidious.
The wizarding world was now in more danger than it had ever been before. Albus was beginning to move away from the Prophecy. He was fighting a new kind of battle now, one that Voldemort appeared to be winning.
But as long as there was life, there was hope.
"You will be silent. You will face forward. You will hang on to my every word as if hanging on a precipice for dear life!" he said, striding up to the front of the classroom and stopping in front of his desk, his robes billowing.
Every student in the class stared at the pale wizard in shock and awe as he did his yearly speech.
"My name is Professor Severus Snape, and this is first year Potions. There will be no foolish wand-waving or silly incantations in this class. As such, I don't expect many of you to appreciate the subtle science and exact art that is potion-making. However, for those select few who possess, the predisposition... I can teach you how to bewitch the mind and ensnare the senses. I can tell you how to bottle fame, brew glory, and even put a stopper in death.
Mathias stared in rapt attention at his head of house, completely gassed. Although he had a very through knowledge of Potions ingredients and recipes for quite a few potions, he'd had little opportunity to actually brew them. Professor Snape was going to open a whole new world of learning for him. Out of all the classes at Hogwarts, this was the one the young wizard truly wanted to be in.
The Professor walked around his desk, lifted a piece of parchment and looked at the class imperiously.
"As I call out your name, please answer loudly and clearly with the word 'Here," he said to the class. He began to call out names, and the first years responded accordingly.
"Boyle Goyle?" the Professor thought, shaking his head slightly as he looked at the latest ape-like incarnation of the Goyle line. "Only his idiot father would come up with a name like that."
As he went down the list, he called out Mathias' name.
"Mathias Granger?" he said.
"Here," Mathias answered, looking at the wizard soberly.
Severus studied him. The young wizard was seated in the third row on the aisle seat. No front-row-and- center eagerness in this Granger. Thank the gods.
"Mr. Granger, is your mother one Hermione Granger?" he asked the boy.
Mathias frowned at bit. His mother had talked to the Professor this morning he was sure. The wizard already knew Hermione was his mother. What was he playing at?
"Yes sir," Mathias said in a low voice.
Severus looked at him, his eyes glittering unpleasantly.
"Your mother, Mr. Granger, was an intelligent, yet annoying pupil who felt the need to regal the class with the great depth and scope of her knowledge. She was well read and in her early years the overflow of facts, figures pouring from her brain had the unfortunate consequence of causing her to talk more and listen less in my class. And in order to learn effectively and correctly, one must listen. Book knowledge isn't everything. Application has to be taught."
"I am hoping, Mr. Granger that in your case, this aggravating inclination of your mother to spout facts as if from a broken spigot has skipped a generation and your ears are bigger than your mouth," the Professor said, staring the boy down and waiting for a reaction.
Mathias stared back at the wizard evenly, a slight glitter in his own black eyes at being singled out and his mother's shortcomings made known to the entire class. But he kept his face carefully neutral and simply said "Yes, sir," as a few Gryffindors snickered.
Severus looked at him a moment more, then continued on with the roll.
"Jasmine Malfoy?" he called, his eyes falling directly on the little blond witch, who waved at him with a bright smile.
"Hello Professor Snape. We so enjoyed your company at our little get-together at the Manor last month," she said sweetly.
Severus sighed inwardly. Another Malfoy. In one sentence the witch had managed to let the entire class know that she was familiar with him on a personal level, associated with him and was quite rich. He had to be careful with the granddaughter of Lucius Malfoy. She would cry to her grandfather if so much as a hair were mussed out of place.
"Thank you, Miss Malfoy," he replied as the girl looked around the classroom smugly.
Suddenly Severus' eyes widened and he quickly scanned the class until his eyes fell on a round-eyed, rather chubby young Gryffindor witch who looked like she wanted to flee the class.
"Edwina Longbottom?" he called out. Sure enough the witch responded in a quaking voice.
"Here," she piped, raising her hand slightly, then lowering it quickly.
With a bit of dread in his heart, Severus asked, "Are you the daughter of Neville Longbottom?"
"No sir. Neville's my uncle, sir," the girl replied. "My father is Jeffrey Longbottom."
Severus looked at the girl.
"I remember no Jeffrey Longbottom at Hogwarts," he said.
"No sir, you wouldn't. He was raised in America, sir," the witch responded nervously. "With an aunt."
Severus studied the witch for a moment.
"I see. Well, let us hope Miss Longbottom, that your uncle's gift for causing destruction when brewing even the simplest potion has not passed on to the rest of the family," he said.
"Yes sir," the witch replied, reddening, clearly embarrassed as the Slytherins chuckled at her. Except Mathias. He knew how she felt.
The Potions Master continued calling roll, making comments here and there as he did so. Finally he came to a name he loathed.
"James Potter," he said with an edge to his voice as the green-eyed auburn-haired wizard answered him.
"Here, sir," the boy said boldly.
James knew about Professor Snape and how he hated all things Potter. He looked at the wizard a bit insolently. Professor Snape's eyes swept over the boy, dislike apparent in them. He reminded him of the James Potter of his day in the way he carried himself.
"I hope, Mr. Potter that you are not like your father or grandfather, both of whom were swollen-headed, rule-breaking show-offs who would do anything for attention. A sad pair, the both of them. I doubt however if that particular mold has been broken," Severus said to the wizard with a sneer. "Suffice it to say, Mr. Potter…I will have my eye on you."
Both of Mathias' eyebrows went up.
The Professor didn't like James because of his dad and granddad. He bet that took some wind out of James' sails. The boy was used to everyone admiring him because of his parentage, but here was a wizard that loathed him for it. Mathias eyed Severus with a look of appreciation, the teacher's previous snafu, forgiven. Anyone who hated James Potter was a definite ally in Mathias' tome.
James looked mutinous, his face set in a stubborn little scowl.
Severus cocked his head at him.
"Are you…scowling at me, Mr. Potter? Ten points from Gryffindor," the Potions Master said silkily, "I suggest you fix your face to a more acceptable set or you will lose another ten points for your house. Am I making myself clear, Mr. Potter? I expect an answer this time."
James set his face to neutral though his eyes blazed angrily.
"Yes sir," he replied, his voice a little raw.
Mathias was going to hang a picture of the Professor in his room as soon as he could get hold of one.
Severus finished taking the roll, checked off all the names and put the attendance parchment in his drawer. Then he stood up and walked from behind his desk. He clasped his hands behind his back and stared at the students until most were quite uncomfortable. Finally he addressed them.
"In this class you can count on assignments every night, including weekends and over the holidays," he said, smirking a little as the customary groans went up.
"You may think this excessive, but brewing potions is a dangerous art. You must learn among other things, what ingredients and bases can and cannot be mixed, what materials cannot be over or under heated, what is deadly and what is not. This requires study. If you are lax in your studies you can greatly injure yourselves and others. So doing your work is important," he said.
"In addition, I am a wizard who believes in pop quizzes and written tests. You will have no multiple-choice exams in this class. I am not willing to take the chance that you have passed because of the luck of the draw and then set you in front of a heated cauldron. All questions on my tests require complete answers written in legible, correctly punctuated sentences. I give no partial credit. Either an answer is right or it is wrong.'
"There will be no horseplay at all in this class. I am swift to deduct points and assign very unpleasant detentions. In addition, any intercepted notes will be read to the class, so I suggest you share your little messages before and after my class. If you get a detention from me, you can be quite sure it will not consist of you sitting at a desk writing lines. More than likely you will be out on the grounds shoveling dragon dung with our caretaker, Argus Filch. I assure you that you will be doing most of the work as Argus is up in years and utilizes student labor to the fullest.'
Severus began to pace.
"All right. We have come to the most disappointing part of the first day, where I have to see just how many of you have the slightest idea about anything remotely connected with Potions," he said.
His eyes fell directly on Mathias, and the young wizard knew he was being targeted.
"Mr. Granger," Severus purred, "what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?
Mathias' eyes shifted a moment, then he shrugged and said, "I don't know, sir."
Severus knew the boy was lying. His mother's eyes shifted the same way when she was telling an untruth. He scowled at the wizard.
"Mr. Granger, I know I said your mother was an annoying student. I don't want you to interpret that statement as my saying knowledge is bad, because it isn't. It is to be pursued and absorbed. There is a difference between spouting off like a know-it-all and answering a simple question. You are not to hide your knowledge if you know a correct answer to a direct question. Never, ever dumb yourself down, Mr. Granger. You do yourself and others a grave injustice when you do so. Now, once again… what is the difference between monkshood and wolfsbane?" the Professor asked him again.
Mathias looked at him. Okay, he wanted knowledge, he would give him knowledge.
"There is no difference, sir. Wolfsbane and Monkshood are the same poisonous plant. It is also called Aconite. The reason that the plant is called Monkshood is because the flower resembles a monk's cowl," the boy said, his black eyes hard.
Severus looked at him. Gods, the boy was just like his mother.
"That was a bit more information than I asked for, Mr. Granger, but acceptable. Next time a simpler answer will suffice," he said. "Never offer more than you are asked for. In anything."
"Yes, sir," the young wizard replied, sighing inwardly.
Severus continued to question the class until the end of the lesson period. As usual, their overall knowledge was deplorable. The Potions Master was starting from scratch. He walked up to the blackboard and wrote the night's reading assignment, to be followed by a summation.
"When you enter class tomorrow, you will place your parchments on my desk and take your same seats. If you are late that is an instant five point deduction. If you are late more than twice in the same week, it is an instant detention with Filch. You must arrive before the bell. During the bell counts as lateness. Now you are dismissed," Severus said, watching as the first years hastily gathered up their tomes and backpacks, hustling from the room.
Mathias slowly and meticulously put his books away before rising. Severus' eyes fell on him.
"Not you, Mr. Granger," he said to the boy who turned to him.
"It's about the sixth-year, isn't it sir?" Mathias asked the Potions Master.
Severus nodded at him.
"Only I can remove the spell sir. Otherwise it takes six to eight hours to wear off," Mathias informed him.
Severus noticed the boy made no attempt at making either excuses or apologies for hexing the boy. Apparently, he had none.
"Only you can remove it? How is that, Mr. Granger?" Severus asked him.
Mathias decided to tell the truth.
"I've adapted all my spells to my signature only on purpose, so they'll stick better when I use them," he said.
Severus stared at him.
"That's illegal. You have to be a certified Spells Master to do that kind of spell work," the wizard said with an eyebrow arched. It took great skill to place a signature on a spell. How bright was this boy?
"I know," Mathias replied. "But I haven't been caught, sir. Unless you are going to tell."
Severus could tell Mathias was making a thinly veiled reference to his rule breaking not being yet being discovered. According to Slytherin philosophy, he would only be punished if he were caught. Was his own head of house going to turn him in?
"How did you learn to do this?" the Potions Master asked Mathias.
"Watching my mother do spell work at home. After a while I caught on. She doesn't know. I never use my signature when I cast spells around her. She'd have heart failure," the boy said.
Severus fought back a laugh. He could only imagine Hermione's reaction to her son purposely breaking the law. He cocked his head at the boy.
"Well, I'm not going to report you Mathias. What happened, happened in Slytherin house. We settle our own issues in-house as much as possible. But I do need you to come to the infirmary and release Mr. Hoyt from the hex," Severus said.
"Yes, sir," Mathias replied, hoisting his backpack on one shoulder, just as his mother used to do.
Severus strode from the classroom, followed by Mathias. He warded the door and both walked up the dungeon corridor side by side. Severus could have used the floo, but he wanted to talk to the boy as they walked.
"Professor?" Mathis said, looking up at the tall, pale wizard.
"Yes, Mr. Granger," Severus said looking down at him.
"What will my punishment be? For hexing the sixth-year?" he asked, his brows furrowed.
Severus considered this.
"What do you think it should be, Mr. Granger, and why?" he responded.
Mathias didn't hesitate.
"I don't think I should be punished. The sixth-year called me a liar and was harassing me, demanding information he had no right to. He was about to get physical as well. He needed to be hexed. Just because I am a first year is no reason to harass me. He got what he deserved," the young wizard said, looking up at the Professor soberly.
Severus turned his head, his lip quirking a bit. The boy certainly had no problem justifying his actions. He was not apologetic at all. Mathias did what he felt he had to do. Just like Severus would have done in the same situation.
"I believe you are right, Mr. Granger," Severus said. "You will not be punished. We must do what we must to protect ourselves at all times. Yet we must be careful about it. Outside of Slytherin I suggest if you use a spell you do not put your signature on it. It will draw attention to you."
"Yes sir," Mathias said, beaming at the dour wizard. He had just been given carte blanche to hex others…but carefully.
Professor Snape was very, very cool.
Together, the two wizards entered the main hall and walked up the main stairwell toward the infirmary.
Severus had to make an effort not to look at the young wizard walking beside him too much.
He certainly was a fascinating boy.
"And who is this fine young wizard?" she asked Severus, smiling down at the boy.
"This is Mathias Granger. He is the young man who hexed Mr. Hoyt," Severus responded, looking at Mathias with an arched eyebrow. "Mathias, this is Madame Pomfrey, the school medi-witch."
"A pleasure to meet you, Madame Pomfrey," Mathias said politely with a little bow.
Hmmm. Apparently Hermione taught him manners as well.
Poppy looked at the young wizard rather sternly, but it was plain to see his politeness had a positive effect on her.
The medi-witch noted that the boy had the Granger last name. If he was Hermione's son, then he must not have a father, since he had his mother's surname. She was curious about that.
"I'm not sure how much of a pleasure it is, Mr. Granger, considering the reason you are here. Hexing another student? That's not good, young man…especially considering you've only been here one day," she scolded Mathias.
Mathias took the scolding. He didn't try to justify his actions to the medi-witch. She couldn't do anything to him after all. Well, she could if she reported it, but Poppy and Severus had a working relationship when it came to Slytherin house. She reported to him and left it up to the Potions Master whether or not to take the situation to the Headmaster or not. Normally, he didn't.
When the wizard didn't answer, Poppy sighed and said, "Well, follow me."
Severus and Mathias were led to a privacy curtain. Poppy pulled it back to reveal Daniel Hoyt, stiff and blue on a hospital cot.
"What kind of spell did you use on him? Neither Professor Snape nor I could remove it," Poppy asked Mathias.
"It's a modified stasis spell," Mathias replied, not addressing why they couldn't remove the hex as he walked up to the sixth-year and remove his wand from his pocket.
Mathias made several intricate passes over the sixth-year and murmured something in a low voice that neither Poppy nor Severus could hear. Severus nodded slightly in approval at this. The boy didn't reveal his spells.
Daniel's color returned to normal. He opened his eyes and looked about confused.
"Where am I?" he asked, trying to sit up. He was still rather stiff. His eyes fell on Mathias who looked at him steadily.
"You! Why you little…" Daniel seethed, jerking toward the boy, who didn't move but held his wand in readiness to hex the sixth-year again.
"I suggest, Mr. Hoyt," Severus said, stepping forward and fixing his dark eyes on his charge, "that you control yourself. You are in the infirmary, and Mr. Granger here just removed a hex from you that no one else could. I believe it was the hex he used on the Bloody Baron, the hex you demanded he reveal to you. Evidently, he did as you requested."
Daniel's eyes washed over the sober first year.
"Well, he's going to pay for it, isn't he?" Daniel said in an angry voice.
Severus frowned at the sixth-year.
"You demanded to know the spell, Mr. Hoyt, in a rather threatening manner which I happened to witness. I know it is tradition that first years are set upon for the first week, but as I told the Bloody Baron when he complained of Mr. Granger's self-defense…every action has a reaction. You threatened the young man, Mr. Hoyt, and he protected himself, getting the better of you. You know the philosophy, Mr. Hoyt. Should I punish the boy for reacting as a Slytherin should react? Or because you caught the short end of your actions this time?" Severus asked him.
Daniel looked from the Potions Master to Mathias. He hung his head.
"I suppose not, Professor," he conceded. Then he looked at Mathias.
"You're fast with a wand, firstie," he said to the boy, who smirked at him but didn't reply.
Poppy approached Daniel and began to check him over, the tip of her wand glowing blue as she passed it over his body. She straightened.
"He'll be fine. No permanent damage," she said, looking down at Mathias with a stern look. "I don't want to see any more casualties of your 'fast wand' in my infirmary, Mr. Granger."
Mathias gave her a very slight nod. It wasn't very convincing.
He had a feeling there would be quite a few casualties from Mr. Granger's wand in the ensuing years, at least until students learned to give the little wizard a wide berth when looking for trouble. They would find it with his son.
A son he had no claim to. A son he couldn't publicly or privately recognize. And such a talented boy too.
Mathias turned to him.
"Professor, I have transfiguration next, and I'm late," the boy said to him.
"I'll give you a note," Poppy said to the young wizard, hustling him off toward his office.
"Good-bye Professor," Mathias called back at him.
"Good-bye Mr. Granger. Don't forget your questionnaire this evening. It had to be on my desk by curfew," Severus reminded him.
"I know sir. It will be there, sir," the wizard called back as Poppy took him into her office.
In a moment Mathias left the infirmary, a piece of parchment folded in his hand.
Severus walked toward the office.
"You can go to class, Mr. Hoyt. I have a note for you in the office. And no more harassing first years, young man. It seems this years crop packs quite a punch," Poppy called to the sixth-year.
"Yes, Madame Pomfrey," Daniel said, hopping off the cot, walking past the Potions Master and Poppy, entering the office to retrieve his note, then exiting the infirmary. He was going to have to take a lot of ribbing for getting hexed by a first year, but hell, the little bugger caught him dead to rights.
He had a lot of heart, that Mathias Granger. As far as Daniel Hoyt was concerned, this was the end of it. Of course, he'd look for other opportunities to get the wizard back, but he'd do it like a Slytherin would, clean and leaving himself blameless. He had another two years after all. It wasn't a matter of bad blood. It was just the way things were done.
Poppy looked at Severus.
"Mr. Granger is obviously Hermione Granger's son," she observed, fishing for answers.
Severus nodded, "Yes, he is."
"I never imagined she was the type of young witch who would produce a child out of wedlock. She seemed so focused on her education. Didn't once come in here for contraceptives. I always thought she'd do the right thing," the medi-witch said, shaking her head.
Severus looked at the medi-witch for a moment, his nostrils flaring slightly.
"Maybe she did do the right thing, Poppy. When she found herself with child and no father, she decided to raise it on her own, rather than kill it," he said rather testily.
"Oh, I've no argument about that Professor," Poppy replied, "But it would have been better if the witch had kept her legs closed and her books open. I know she's done well for herself, but unfortunately, her son is still illegitimate, Professor. He has no proper bloodline…and you know how things are now. Bloodline is important these days. Miss Granger is a muggle-born, Professor. She doesn't really hold any place in true wizarding society."
Severus looked at the medi-witch, surprised to hear the DKV line coming from the medi-witch's mouth.
"True wizarding society, Poppy?" he asked.
"Yes, Severus. Proper witches and wizards," she said. Then the medi-witch pulled up her sleeve and showed Severus her Dark Mark.
"I'm a card-carrying member of the DKV. I've been considering joining them for more than a year now. I finally decided they are trying to preserve our way of life and joined them last month. Such a feeling of belonging," she said, smiling at the wizard.
Severus felt nauseous. He couldn't say anything against the DKV.
Poppy's eyes narrowed.
"I wonder who the boy's father is. He can't be anyone of substance to abandon the mother and the child. But then again, Miss Granger is muggle-born. She wouldn't get the respect due to a proper witch in any case," the medi-witch continued. "It was probably a one-night stand."
Severus looked at the medi-witch again.
"I must go, Poppy," he said evenly, striding away from the startled witch.
"Good-bye Professor," she called after him as he strode out the infirmary doors, letting them slam behind him.
Severus walked away from the infirmary. The DKV had managed to recruit Poppy. She had been one of the most fair-minded witches he knew. Gods, Voldemort's plan for conquest was on the verge of being very successful. With that spell attached to the Mark, the Dark Lord had a ready-made army at his scaly fingertips. Things were looking very bad for those who were not of 'proper' wizarding background.
Severus himself was a halfblood, but he had renounced both his muggle-loving mother and muggle father, who were, mercifully dead anyway and so was accepted in the new Dark Order. It would have broken his mother's heart if she knew what he had done. Still, he did what he had to do and went through the painful ritual of renunciation before the Dark Lord and was re-established as a deatheater in good standing. He was thankful he already had the Mark. At least Voldemort would not be able to control him when the time for overthrow came.
But something had to be done. The Order was losing this battle witch by wizard. Plus, he had heard some rumors that Draco was working on a way to actually draw muggle-borns into the DKV. Just how the wizard planned to do that, Severus had no idea. But Draco was shrewd. He would probably put something very enticing on the table. Severus would have to just wait and see.
The wizard took the stairwell down to the main floor. Lunch would be starting in about forty-five minutes. Today's first years first classes were all an hour in length give or take a few minutes depending on the teacher. This was for orientation. The new students would begin actual full-length classes tomorrow.
Severus headed for his office. He had something he wanted to prepare to give to Hermione when he met her at the Three Broomsticks. The Potions Master told himself the witch needed closure as to what actually occurred that night. Subconsciously, however it was something more. He wanted her to know how good it had been.
Severus let himself into his study from the Potions office, walked to his bookcase and opened a false front to reveal a number of pensieves. He picked through them until he found one that was still wrapped, having never been used. He looked at it, reading the label.
The "Sensate Pensieve." Guaranteed to Enhance your Memories or your Galleons Back. A Weasley Wizarding Wheezes Product.
Severus looked at the wrapped pensieve and carried it over to his armchair in front of the fire and set it down on the table. He withdrew his wand and laid it on the table as well. Then he picked up the pensieve and unwrapped it. He blinked his eyes at the loud yellow, pink and purple color.
"Only Fred and George," he said to himself, picking up the piece of folded parchment resting inside the bowl that gave the instructions how to use this newfangled item. Severus purchased it on a whim, being forced to pay the pair a visit to the pair by Albus. Fred and George were doing work for the Order as well, developing surveillance items to keep tabs on the DKV. He thought it sounded interesting.
Severus read the instructions, his eyebrows rising when he read the claim of what this pensieve could do.
"Hm, level one: normal immersion, level two: sensate immersion, and level three: complete immersion," he mused.
The pensieve could be set to go to any level automatically, or it could be voice activated to switch between levels with a simple incantation, no wand necessary. To exit the pensieve, one only had to say the word "Withdraw." He noted some fine print on the bottom of the instructions.
"Warning: Individuals who are reviewing their own memories at level two or above will be drawn into the same mental, emotional and physical state as when the memory actually occurred. It is suggested that level one be maintained in these cases. Weasley Wizarding Wheezing accepts no responsibility for the consequences of ignoring this directive."
Intrigued, Severus picked up his wand and deposited the desired memories into the pensieve as normal. Then he thought about how he wanted it viewed, and decided on the voice activation, and set the spell to set it in motion. A blue flash burst suddenly from the bowl, which became very warm. It cooled quickly. Supposedly, the spell had taken.
Now to view it.
Severus stuck his finger in the bowl and said, "Level one."
He was drawn into the normal view of the pensieve. His eyes grew quite hot as he reviewed the memory.
"Level two," he said.
Immediately the Potions Master began to gasp with pleasure. His eyes started to roll up into his head.
"Shit! Withdraw!" he panted, returning to his normal state.
The Potions Master wiped his face with a pale hand and stared down at the small bowl. Damn. Fred and George were absolute geniuses. That had been some viewing. He'd have to get a few more of these.
Severus wondered at what level Hermione would view this, if she viewed it at all. If she went level two…
Severus felt a throb in his boxers and sighed.
After eleven years of abandonment and the rejection of her son, there was no way the witch would let him under her robes again. She wasn't the same innocent she was eleven years ago, with secret fantasies about him running through her mind. More than likely, Hermione Granger hated him. He couldn't blame her.
But gods, that pensieve.
Severus' eyes narrowed a bit. Maybe the little bowl of memories might reawaken some of those fantasies. Or at least make the witch formulate new ones if she went level two. He had no idea what would happen at level three.
The Potions Master knew one thing however. If Hermione Granger decided she wanted him to engage her again, he'd do it.
"Headmaster?" he called through the floo.
"Yes, Severus?" Albus called back. He was working on some start of term paperwork.
"Are you alone, sir?" Severus inquired.
Albus stopped writing. Whenever the Potions Master asked that question, it meant he had some important information.
"Yes. Yes I am, Severus. What is it?" the Headmaster responded. There was no twinkle in his eyes.
"I'm afraid Poppy has joined the DKV," the Potions Master said.
There was a long moment of silence.
"Very well, Severus. Thank you. I will take care of it," the Headmaster said soberly.
"Yes sir," Severus replied.
The flames turned back red.
Albus removed his glasses and rubbed his eyes. So it had come to this. Well, there was nothing else for it then. Behind him, Fawkes trilled sadly. Albus put his glasses back on, then turned to look at the scarlet and gold Phoenix.
"I know, Fawkes. I know," the old wizard said soothingly as he rose from his chair and walked around his desk "But I have to do what I have to do to protect Severus and the Order. Poppy will be fine, I assure you."
Fawkes trilled again and watched with sad, beautiful eyes as Dumbledore left his office, heading for the infirmary.
"Why hello Albus," she said smiling and walking up to the wizard.
"Hello my dear," Albus replied. His eyes looked a bit sad behind his half-moon glasses.
Poppy noticed immediately.
"Are you all right?" she asked him, concern in her voice.
"I am fine, Poppy. Do you have any patients in the infirmary at the moment?" he asked.
"No, I don't Albus, why?" she asked him
"I just needed to know, Poppy," the wizard said, waving his hand at the witch and catching her before she hit the floor. Albus scooped the unconscious witch up in his arms and with his other hand locked and warded the infirmary doors. Then he walked with her through a privacy curtain and gently laid her on a cot. He looked down at the medi-witch.
"I'm so, so sorry Poppy, but they've gotten to you, my dear. You know too much about Severus' activities. Eventually you would be milked for all you know. We must take precautions," he said, drawing up a chair and sitting next to the witch.
"Legilimens," he said softly, entering the witch's mind.
Carefully, he began to obliviate almost thirty years of memories.