DISCLAIMER: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author Note: This is a response to the April Fool's Day Challenge at WIKTT. Part 2 will be posted tomorrow night. I've tried to think of something original and I hope I've succeeded! This isn't betaed, so any creative grammatical errors are all mine and I hope they don't detract from the story too much. All reviews, constructive criticisms, etc are welcome.
The cascade of magazines hit the edge of the desk and then tumbled in small lots to the floor.
"Of all the stupid, imbecilic, juvenile rubbish you could possible call reading material; this…this matter is close to mass produced, not yet pulped kitty litter. What on earth possessed you to read it and perhaps more frighteningly, do you believe the propaganda?"
"Father, calm down. It's just a bit of light rea…"
"Light reading. This isn't light reading, it's the worst sort of hate filled garbage Voldemort spewed at the height of his power."
Severus stopped at the broken pile, looked down and refrained from kicking the magazines into the fire, but only just. Swooping down he clutched some of the offending magazines up, lent up against his desk and perused the titles. Eyebrow arched he looked casually at his eldest son, sighed and resumed his critique of the reading matter.
How to Defend yourself - Hexes for the Wary, Are YOU sure they aren't using Polyjuice? Fear is a sign that something is seriously wrong, How to spot a Muggleborn – The In-Depth guide.
The free gifts were a little disturbing as well. Severus toyed with the sachet of Veritum potion. It was odourless, tasteless and just this side of being considered Dark Magic. More disturbing were the concise instructions for adding it by sleight of hand into a drink. Another issue included a sachet of Instant Polyjuice Potion complete with a checklist for obtaining the necessary hairs to effect the change.
Severus shuddered mentally at the implications of bulk copies of Wizarding Watch doing to rounds of the Common Rooms. Voldemort may have been defeated fifteen years before, but there were still those who opposed any integration of pure and Muggle blood. Severus had seen and been subjected to the nauseating propaganda for longer than he cared to remember. He had been privy to a more subtle, lurid and speculative questioning since his marriage fourteen years earlier, all of which coupled with the xenophobic, bigoted material in front of him saw him feel bile at the back of his throat.
Looking up carefully at his son, Severus turned economically and dropped the magazines back on top of the pile at his feet. Rubbing his fingers with his thumbs he turned back to Justin, lent back against the desk and folded his arms. He silently surveyed his son. There was no outward animosity or sneer accompanying the stalemate. Justin knew better than to appear bored with the appraisal. He schooled his features, hands clasped behind his back and waited for his father to break the deadlock.
During this time, Severus searched his son's face for some unidentifiable marker that would help his decipher the motives behind his "light reading". At a loss as to how to broach the situation, Severus sighed audibly, placed both hands over his face and dragged them slowly through his hair.
"I still cannot fathom how or why you consider this publication 'light reading material'. It is neither light nor something worth wasting time over."
Justin made a subtle move to speak, but the hand held up by Severus silenced the argument before it began.
"Please, no false remorse. It is quite clear that any remorse you feel is because you were caught. Do not seek to insult my intelligence by protesting otherwise. To be perfectly honest, I don't know how to deal with this. On one hand I'm grateful your mother did not discover your 'hobby', yet on the other hand, howlers for weeks to come at breakfast might actually have caused more than just embarrassment."
Justin blanched at the thought of his mother reading some of the articles.
"Well, that is a surprise. Has it only just occurred to you that not only is your mother Muggleborn, but that our whole family structure is at odds with the vitriolic, bigoted arguments that this publication seeks to espouse as wrong, sinful and against the natural wizarding order? Did I leave anything out?"
"No, father. I didn't think…well that is to say…I don't think of Mum as Muggleborn, I think of her as a witch."
"And how then can you read these spurious arguments when you have just defeated their case in one stuttered sentence?"
"You can't can you, Justin?"
Severus raised his hand quickly to forestall another stuttered excuse.
"It was a rhetorical question, Justin, one that requires you to think, not wander mindlessly until you talk your way through an argument you can never win."
Justin broke in, "you're not going to tell Mum are you?"
"You're not going to tell Mum what?" came the precise, measured tones of a tired Hermione, who sought to drop the levitated rubbish in front of her into the fire, greet her husband warmly and thence retire to bed with him at the first available opportunity.
Severus peeled himself away from his perch on the edge of the desk and went to give Hermione a concise rundown on the events of the afternoon. He stopped short when he spied the large pile of Wizarding Watch magazines being levitated at waist height in front of her. Severus knew better than to deflect her query as soon as he saw her face; some things in life were not worth the hassle.
Hermione's stance and demeanour, coupled with the waves of fury rolling beneath a barely controlled surface put paid to the idea of censored revelations.
"You're not going to tell Mum, what, Justin?" Hermione repeated in a measured and somewhat suspicious tone.
"I…um, err, well the thing is, and I um err…"
Hermione directed her next question to Severus. "Has he been this incoherent all afternoon or is this a special treat for me?"
"Yes…yes he has. Justin has a few issues that we were resolving when you arrived. I can see given the garbage in front of you that you've had a few issues of your own."
"Garbage is a somewhat mild term. Purulent, mindless, xenophobic mutterings of wizards too lazy to get off their arses and join the rest of the world might be closer to the mark. I confiscated these from my fourth year students. I have two students in the hospital wing with broken jaws, one with a broken hand and Minerva ensuring they are all sent down once they are healed. Other than that, my day has been just…perfect," Hermione, drawled.
Her tirade ended, Hermione used her wand to flick the offending magazines into the fire, then with a disgusted look spied the discarded magazines at Severus' feet and looked up for an explanation. Before the next wave of anger could take root, Severus effectively stopped Hermione in her tracks by grasping her waist, pulling her forward and kissing her rather thoroughly.
Hermione put both her hands on Severus' shoulders and tried to draw back. She knew he'd use every trick in the book and a few she was sure were Snape originals to try and deflate her anger…and it was working too. She wanted to stay angry, wanted to know why more copies of that magazine were on their study floor and just why Justin couldn't answer a simple question. Just as the pieces started falling into place, Severus finally stopped the kiss and as he tried to suck on her earlobe, Hermione pulled free of his grasp.
"You can't possible be serious, Justin. This these…they're yours aren't they?"
"I can explain, Mum."
"Oh no you can't. There is no explanation why anyone would want to read this vile pureblood propaganda."
"They're not that bad. Some of the articles are interesting and it can't all be wrong, can it?"
Severus gave Justin the 'you're on your own' smirk and resumed his position leaning against the desk as Hermione paced back and forth, building up steam for the next round. At each swoop past her son, she looked daggers at him, unsure of how to proceed, but determined to set the record straight about the 'accuracy' of the articles he sought to defend. As she turned to Severus, the fire and the haphazard pile of magazines, the top one screamed its contents at her. Reaching over, she plucked the copy up, ignored the concerned look from Severus and walked over stiffly to Justin.
Severus winced as Hermione smacked the copy into Justin's chest.
"Well, you've got a Muggleborn in front of you. How do you tell the difference?"
Justin looked past his mother to see his father slowly shaking his head. Well, they'd be no help from that quarter.
Arms folded, Hermione looked directly at her son and said, "I'm waiting for an answer young man. What does the article say? If it's so accurate and noteworthy that you'd waste your money on it, it must have some interesting tidbits of information that help you work out if a girl is worth talking to and if her heritage is pure."
End of Part 1