BEFORE I'm accused of plagiarism, I will state that I begged and pleaded with the original author of this fic –Molvanian Queen-In-Exile- to let me adopt, take over and finish it when it looked like she wasn't going to. I have been given permission to edit and change the story as I see fit, and she will eventually remove it from her own profile (whenever she feels it appropriate). I truly hope that I can take her fantastic idea and do it justice, and I hope that all of her fans enjoy this revamp.
Chapter 1 note – I haven't changed much, nothing noticeable, just a few phrases and things.
A twist on the usual Severitus fic. Hermione is Severus' child, not Harry. Still grieving over the deaths of the people she knew as her parents, she finds herself having to take up residence with her real father – Snape. How will she survive Seventh year, let alone the holidays? More importantly, though, how will he?
Not HBP-onwards compliant (or cannon compliant at all, really). Post-Voldemort, though that will become clearer later on. OOCness, Mpreg, Slash, Lemons, Language…Fluff. SS/RL, HG/DM and others (eg: GG/HP, RW/LB).
If you dislike any of these DO NOT READ IT!
I will not tolerate whinging from people who haven't read the warning!
As stated, this idea and the majority of the writing for the first 13 chapters were Molvanian Queen-In-Exile's, but I am revamping and planning to finish it for her with her permission. The title and subsequent chapter titles come from Frank Sinatra's 'Close To You', or, rather, the cd titled 'Close To You And More'. JK Rowling owns anything you recognise, Molvanian QIE and I are behind anything you don't.
Chapter 01 – Close To You
"There must be some mistake, Professor." Hermione stared at the Headmaster of Hogwarts with large, pleading eyes. "My parents would have told me if I'd been…" she crinkled her nose, "adopted."
Albus sighed wearily. "I am sorry, my child. I realise that you have already been through so much this year. But, the fact remains you were not the Grangers' biological daughter."
"But," Hermione fought back angry tears, "they would have told me! Why would they lie to me? Why would they keep this from me?"
If they were still alive she would have cheerfully murdered them herself.
"Perhaps, dear girl, they were waiting for an opportune moment-"
Dull, coffee coloured eyes narrowed. "Opportune moment? Please, Professor Dumbledore, don't talk down to me. Not now."
Albus Dumbledore frowned. This was not how he'd envisioned this discussion at all. "Miss Granger, I apologise. This is not an easy task, and I forget just how mature you really are."
At the genuine sorrow in his tone, the Gryffindor deflated. "I'm sorry, sir. This is just a lot to take in at once." After all, it wasn't all that long ago that she had found herself in the very same office, sipping tea from the very same cup, being notified of her parents' untimely deaths. "I just don't understand why they hid it from me."
"There are often contractual differences with magical adoption procedures. In addition, sometimes people do silly things to ensure their children's happiness."
And there was the understatement of the century! Despite herself, Hermione snorted into her teacup. "I suppose," she said after a moment of contemplation, "that this means I am no longer a ward of the Ministry."
Dumbledore beamed. This was much more like the resilient girl he knew! "If you should choose to seek out your biological parents, and they accept you in return, the Ministry cannot claim you, no."
The young woman nodded, fighting the feeling of hopelessness that bubbled in her chest. She reminded herself that she was the brightest young witch of the age, and that reacting like the seventeen year old she was was not an option she could afford to take. She would legally be considered an adult in the Muggle world within a few short months, and the Wizarding world would acknowledge her as an adult upon graduation from Hogwarts, which meant that she would only have to accept the situation for a year at most. And, as long as neither of her biological parents were devoted Death Eaters, it couldn't be too difficult, could it? Especially not with her staying at Hogwarts for the majority of the year.
Resigning herself to her fate, Hermione glanced up at the Headmaster. "Sir?" She asked, hoping that she sounded confident, "Who are my biological parents?"
The Headmaster of Hogwarts took a fortifying breath and prepared himself for any number of possible reactions. "Your birth parents, dear child, were…are Remus Lupin and," he hesitated, seeing the shock on the poor girl's features, "Severus Snape."
The Gryffindor promptly fainted.
Meanwhile, in the lower levels of Hogwarts, Severus Snape was positively livid.
"You are telling me that you conceived, carried and birthed my child, then gave her away to MUGGLES?!"
"The very best sort of Muggles…" Remus attempted to placate the other man, the comment serving only to earn him another flying jar of Potions ingredients which he studiously deflected towards the nearest wall. Perhaps, he mused as he watched bits of glass and slime dribble down to the ground, we should have taken this discussion elsewhere.
"What in Merlin's name were you thinking?" Severus seethed, "And why would you choose to inform me now, seventeen years too late?"
The werewolf sighed and ran a hand through his rapidly greying hair. "I've wanted to tell you for the last few months, Severus. From the moment the memory charm lapsed. But Albus insisted-"
"Albus?" The Potions Master's tone was near lethal. "What has Albus got to do with any of this?"
"He's been keeping an eye on her for me. Surely you didn't think I could go through all of that alone? I needed to tell someone, and he was there to help…" Remus hadn't yet informed his ex-lover of their daughter's identity. It was getting harder and harder by the minute to keep it to himself. "In fact, it has only been recently that he advised me that we need to claim her. If not for, er, recent events he would have preferred it if we all remained oblivious…" If you remained oblivious.
Though the last phrase was not spoken, Severus heard it loud and clear. "He had no right to keep it from me. You had no right to keep it from me."
"I kept it from myself as well, Severus." Remus reminded him gently. "They were dark days. You were spying, James and Lily were in hiding. There was no way I could have raised a baby, should something have happened to you…" He sighed, feeling the old emotions bubble to the surface. "I went to Albus and asked him to modify my memory once she was born. The spell was set to lapse if, and only if, something happened to her new family. Albus and I agreed that she was safer that way."
The Slytherin cast his mind back to that year; the year his lover had suddenly avoided him like the plague. The knowledge that he had been concealing a pregnancy under the Headmaster's orders opened old wounds within him. "You didn't see it fit to notify me at all?"
"It was my choice! My body! I couldn't risk either of you getting hurt because I forgot to take the bloody potion!" Reigning in his temper the Gryffindor deflated. "I thought we'd be safer this way. And Albus agreed. Particularly because H…our daughter is…" he hesitated, trying to find the right word to describe her, "special."
The other man reared back, stung. Special? What on earth did that mean? Was she…impaired, somehow? Was that why they had hidden her from him? Were they afraid that he would have reacted negatively to the knowledge that he had fathered a disabled child? Worse than he was reacting now? But Albus knew him better than that. As did Remus, once upon a time.
"Special?" He eventually queried when he realised that his one-time lover was not planning on elaborating further. "How so?"
"Severus," The werewolf coaxed gently, knowing that the revelation of their child's identity would more than likely elicit some radical reaction, "you'd best sit down…"
If the Potions Master had been worried before, he was certainly petrified now. Not even bothering to snap at Lupin for his presumptions, he shakily lowered himself into the nearest armchair. "What is it? Is she…a squib? A…" he swallowed, "vegetable?"
"Severus," Remus tried to be as calm as possible, not wanting to provoke the other's ire any more than necessary, "Severus, she's…"
"Spit it out, Man!" The waiting was killing him.
"She's…well, she's been branded the brightest witch of her age, actually."
Obsidian eyes widened almost comically in realisation. "Merlin, no…"
"Our daughter is Hermione Granger."
There was a brief span of silence, in which Remus was pleasantly surprised at how well his ex-lover was taking the news, then:
"I need a drink."
After waking up to a pair of twinkling blue eyes and a proffered cup of tea (which she suspected was laced with a calming draught), Hermione bid the Headmaster goodnight and proceeded to roam the castle, musing over the most recent development in the soap-opera currently known as her life. The people she had believed to be her birth parents had adopted her from Wizards.
It was no wonder, then, that they hadn't been surprised when her Hogwarts letter arrived. They'd known beforehand that she would, more than likely, be a Witch…and that also explained why her hair was gradually becoming easier to manage, and why she was beginning to resemble them less and less. The Headmaster had explained it briefly; upon their deaths, the glamour charms placed on her at adoption were no longer being maintained, and, by her next birthday, she would appear the way she was born to.
It was a depressing thought, actually. When they had died, she had consoled herself with the knowledge that she still looked like them, and thus carried them with her every day. But now that would be only fleeting, and she would, instead resemble people who were essentially complete strangers to her.
It had been almost eight months since their passing, and she had grieved piteously for them, but now felt as though she had lost them all over again. Though, she mused, I suppose they never really were mine to begin with, were they?
Stopping at a window, she stared out into the darkened grounds. No, she decided, they were still my parents, even if it wasn't by blood. Thousands of children out there are adopted and loved by their families…blood means nothing in comparison to a lifetime of love and care. She smiled, fondling her locket which contained a Muggle photograph of the three of them, taken before she was to leave for Hogwarts for the first time. They raised me; they'll always be my parents.
"Quite right, Hermione." Remus Lupin agreed quietly as he emerged from the shadows.
She jumped, startled. "Sorry, I hadn't realised I'd said that out loud." She informed him, blushing slightly. It was awkward now, knowing that the Professor beside her was also her biological father. Or, rather, one of them. "I…er…I was considering coming to find you, actually…"
He smiled gently, noticing, not for the first time, that she had his eyes. "There's no rush to talk about it. I'd imagine the news will take quite a while to get used to." He turned to peer out onto the grounds, "It came as a surprise to me, as well, once the memory charm lapsed…"
"Charm, sir?" She tilted her head to the side, curious as to when he had discovered the link between them, and why there had been a Memory Modifying Charm in the first place.
He nodded and turned back to face her. "After you were born and the adoption finalised, Albus and I agreed that it would be safer for all of us –especially you- if the knowledge of your true…er, sorry…birth parents was eliminated. It was designed to lapse only in the case of you being left without either of your new parents to care for you, if you were still legally a minor…"
"But that was at the beginning of the year!"
Remus winced. "Albus thought it would be prudent to let you grieve in peace…"
Though she knew the Headmaster meant well, Hermione was furious with him. That was a good seven –almost eight- months in which she could have gotten to know her fathers…one of whom might have welcomed the company and may have alleviated the pain of losing the people who had raised and loved her. But, no – Albus Dumbledore had spoken and, for once, she resented the fact that he was so revered that his word was taken as gospel.
"Well, this time he was wrong!" She stared out into the darkened hallway. "I would have liked to know the only family I have left." Despite her resolve to stay strong, she felt her throat constrict and her voice crack. Then another devastating thought hit her: What if Remus didn't want the burden of a child, even now! After all, he had given her away, and it had been on Dumbledore's orders, in the last week of school no less, that she was to learn the truth.
Her eyes burned with unshed tears. "Unless you and Professor Snape don't want…"
"Don't be absurd, you silly girl." The other man hissed, sneaking up on them in the deserted hallway. "Some of us-" he shot a scathing glare in Lupin's direction, "-were never given a choice in the matter to begin with."
Shaking off her initial shock at his presence, she stared up at her other newfound parent. He still cut an intimidating figure, despite the fact that his ire was, for once, directed at someone other than herself and her friends.
"And this is a ridiculous place to be having this conversation," he informed them, his eyes never leaving the other man, "The walls do talk, you know." His attention shifted to her, "And, if I am not mistaken, it is after curfew."
She nodded. "I'm sorry, Professor. I was a little preoccupied and didn't really feel up to facing the others…" She averted her gaze, hating the fact that, even after six years, he could still make her feel like a stupid little first year.
"Severus, please, it's not Hermione's fault. There's no need to deduct points-"
"Silence!" Severus hissed, "Your opinion was not requested, nor required, Wolf." He turned back to his – Merlin help him – daughter. "You will report to my office at precisely nine o'clock tomorrow morning, once you have seen your friends off. We will discuss your living arrangements for the summer break then."
To his right, Hermione watched as her Defence Professor (as he had been reinstated earlier during the term when the latest one had been driven mad by a first year's misfired hex) tensed up. "Pardon me, Severus, but shouldn't I have some say-"
"No. In the eyes of the law you gave up your rights to your child when you signed those damned parchments. As I was conveniently left out of the loop, I have contacted my solicitor and, not surprisingly, the fact that you are still a werewolf also sways the matter slightly more in my favour. Therefore, this decision will be mine and Hermione's to make, just as you made yours eighteen years ago." He twisted his lips into a cruel sneer, prepared to impart the final blow. "Albus agrees that this is, in fact, the best option."
Hermione observed the interaction in awe. Severus Snape, the Greasy Git, was not entirely emotionless after all. It was clear that he was just as hurt and confused as she, and, while she did not approve of the way he was venting his pain, it warmed her inside to know that he did, in fact, want to know her as someone other than the 'insufferable know-it-all' of Gryffindor's Golden Trio. He had proven that already by referring to her by name and acknowledging the fact that she would have a choice in how they proceeded from here; two things she'd never believed possible from him, until now.
"Hermione, wouldn't you prefer it if we were both there with you tomorrow?" Remus asked, jolting her from her thoughts.
She stared at him for a moment, as though his words hadn't quite penetrated. "I'm sorry?"
Frowning slightly, he repeated his request that she consent to his presence. She worried her bottom lip, considering her response. On the one hand, she didn't want to hurt his feelings, but, on the other, she realised that inviting him along would be effectively undermining Professor Snape's decision, which she definitely did not want to do. He was volatile enough as it was, after all, and she wanted to get to know this new side of him before she tested the waters in a typical teenage fashion.
Gods, they're already using me as a weapon against each other…
She had to put a stop to that and fast!
"I'm sorry Professor Lu-"
She sighed. "Remus." It felt strange to say his name, having called him 'Professor' for so long. "I'm sorry, Remus, but Professor Snape has only invited me and I refuse to turn this into a power play between the two of you." At his crestfallen expression she hastened to add, "However, I'd be more than happy to meet you for lunch and discuss my decisions…"
The older Gryffindor brightened marginally at the compromise. "I would like that." He informed her softly, and, despite herself, she smiled in return. "Shall I meet you at noon? My office?"
Receiving a reluctant nod of approval from the suspiciously silent Slytherin, she nodded in return. "That sounds nice." To be honest, however, it sounded as though she had somehow landed in the middle of something complicated and uncomfortable. She smothered a dejected sigh; what had she done to deserve this?
Soon after, Remus bid her goodnight, sparing Severus one last –pitiful- glance, then made his way down the corridor and out of sight, leaving Hermione and Snape staring after him, each lost in their own thoughts.
Having watched the most amiable of her –Dear Gods!- fathers leave, Hermione turned to her remaining companion and stammered an excuse to leave, all the while berating herself for allowing him to intimidate her so easily.
"Come along, then." Snape replied, turning in the direction of the dungeons and Slytherin territory.
She cocked her head to the side, "Sir?"
Stopping, he spun gracefully to face her again, eyebrow raised. "Did you not state earlier that you were 'not feeling up to' dealing with those Neanderthals you associate with?"
A slow smile crept across her lips, realising that he was inviting her to join him in his rooms as a retreat from the inevitable barrage of questions from Harry and Ron. "Thank you, Professor." She said gratefully, hurrying to catch him up. "I really appreciate it."
"You will return to your common room via floo within the hour." He grunted in return, clearly not comfortable with, or used to, gratitude from a student.
"Yes, Sir." She nodded; an hour would at least allow her to settle her nerves somewhat.
Snape's quarters were surprisingly lovely. The colour-scheme was composed of earthy tones, and the furniture, worn and homely, though mismatched, complimented the rooms nicely. Hermione's eyes lit up when she discovered the bookshelves and she almost jumped out of her skin in surprise when her Professor-come-father suggested she choose a tome to take her mind off of the recent revelations, if only for a moment.
"May I…" she worried her bottom lip as she gathered the courage to ask her question, "Might I…explore a bit more?"
He glanced up from his desk, situated in the far corner of the main living room. "If you keep your hands to yourself, you may peruse my quarters, yes."
She beamed at him. "Of course, Professor." She understood his request; she, too, was a private person, and didn't take well to having complete strangers pawing through her neatly organised belongings. She'd always assumed she had inherited the trait from her Dad…but now it seemed that perhaps she had inherited it from Snape instead. It was an eerie thought, actually.
She paused briefly at the door to what was clearly Snape's bedchamber. Like the rest of his quarters, the room was homely and decorated in earthy tones. The bed sheets, though plain, were a warm chocolate colour, complimenting the cream carpeting and beige walls. She smiled softly to herself, having been guilty of imagining the stereotypical green satin and silver gilded monstrosities her peers had decided had to furnish his chambers.
The next room she peered into was the bathroom. Decorated in simple cream and tan hues, it held a reasonably large bath, a separate (though equally large) shower, toilet and basin. The towels on the rack, chocolate coloured like Snape's bedding, were large, fluffy and inviting. Hermione almost wished she could take a shower, if only to wrap herself in one of them.
With a sigh, she removed herself from the doorway and continued onwards. The main lounge/study branched off into a small kitchenette, and Hermione was surprised to find evidence of Snape's use of the room, as a small pile of dishes sat in the sink, waiting to be manually washed and put away.
Turning on her heel, she made her way towards the last door, which was closed, unlike the others.
"That leads towards my private lab." Snape's voice caused her to jump, and she spun to face him, hoping her expression didn't give away her surprise. He rolled his eyes. "And it is the one room I ask you to stay out of."
She tried to cover her disappointment, as she knew that he had been extremely generous so far (for Snape, at any rate) and that there was no need to try and push him just yet. "Yes, Sir."
He glanced at the clock on the mantel. "If you are finished sticking your nose where it doesn't belong, I believe you should return to your dormitory. I still expect you to return – by foot – at ten o'clock sharp tomorrow morning. We will have much to discuss."
She nodded. "I won't be late."
He stared at her, searching for any sign of insincerity. Seemingly satisfied, he gestured towards the fireplace and accompanying floo powder. "Good. See that you are not."
"Yes, Professor." She stepped into the grate. "Goodnight," she added, before clearly stating "Gryffindor Common Room" and disappearing in a flare of green flames.
Severus stared into the fire, lost in thought.
He was a father.
He had a daughter.
Hermione – know-it-all – Granger was said daughter.
Merlin help him, he'd survived Voldemort, but he didn't know how he was going to survive this.