AN/ oops, didn't mean to leave you hanging. Thanks for the prodding lol. I hope this ending isn't too fluffy, forget that, the ending is totally fluffy. However before we get to the end I must add a WARNING: Implication of child molestation.
"Severus. How nice of you to grace me with your presence," Rowena said sarcastically, when Severus entered the house in Hogsmeade that Friday evening. She was sitting at the small kitchen table with books and papers strewn across it.
Curious, Severus walked over to the table, looking at the parchment she was working on. "What is this?"
She flushed slightly as she started to gather the papers together. "Nothing really. I was bored and borrowed some Arithmancy books from the school. I will put this away."
Severus frowned as he picked up one of the charts. Though it had been quite awhile since he had done any Arithmancy, he recognized the complexity of what she was doing. "Rowena, why do you feel the need to hide your intelligence?"
Rowena studied him a moment before she gave a short laugh. "Men are threatened by intelligent women. They only want a woman who is intelligent in the bedroom."
He looked at her skeptically, knowing who had fed her such rot. "Rowena, please continue with what you are doing. I did not come here to disturb you."
"And why are you here?" she asked suspiciously.
"It is so odd that a husband spend the evening with his wife?"
"For us, yes," she said, smiling. "So what is it Severus?"
"We will be going to visit your parents tomorrow. I have owled them and they are expecting us."
Rowena narrowed her eyes. "And why in Merlin's name are we going there? If you think you will be able to enlist their help in getting me to agree to an annulment you are highly mistaken."
"I have business to discuss with your father. Do not ask. You will find out what is all about soon enough. If you do not wish to go, fine. I will be leaving around nine."
"Of course I will be going. I do not trust you Severus."
I do not blame you. Severus thought. I do not trust what I might do tomorrow either.
Daniel Treymaine played nervously with the drink as he felt his son-in-law's penetrating eyes on him. He had been pleasantly surprised when Severus' post had arrived earlier that week. The short note had only stated that Severus had a proposition that Daniel could not resist.
Daniel had been highly irritated that Rowena had not been able to get Severus to put her name on his Gringotts account. He had debts that needed to be paid, and threats that one did not ignore from some of his less than scrupulous business partners.
"So Severus, what is the business you wish to discuss with me?"
Severus pulled out the thick envelope that Edwin had given him, fingering it as he spoke. "Monday morning Rowena will accompany me to the Ministry where we will file for an annulment," Daniel started to speak, but Severus continued, "you, however, will be going there tonight, to turn yourself into the authorities."
The man seemed not to hear the last part as he spoke, "On what grounds will you be filing for an annulment?"
"Rowena is barren. She did not inform me of this before we were wed."
"What? Has she been tested?"
"There is no need to test a woman who no longer has a womb," Severus said acidly.
Daniel stared at him in disbelief. "Are you telling me that Rowena was born without a womb? I think we would have known this before now. What are you playing at Snape?"
Severus felt the rage well up, as he pulled out part of the contents of the envelope. "It was not a product of nature, but one of a potion that went terribly wrong, the Mortifo Expellous to be precise." Severus felt the chill run down his spine once more. The Mortifo Expellous was a very advanced potion and many masters had trouble creating successfully. When he had learned about a child trying to create it and then taking it, and the reason she had gone to such desperate measures, a murderous rage had nearly consumed him.
Daniel blanched. "I do not believe you.'
"It is all here. Statements from St Mungo's and from Helga Smith."
Severus unfolded the paper and read.
"Rowena Treymaine, thirteen, was admitted to the hospital at one am bleeding extensively from the vagina. The patient is unconscious and information was obtained from Helga Smith, cousin to patient. Helga states that the patient informed her that she ingested the Mortifo Expellous potion 24 hours prior. When asked where she got the potion, Ms. Smith stated that patient had tried to make it herself. Emergency surgery was performed to remove the uterus and fetal tissue from patient as the potion had destroyed the walls of the uterus but had not expelled the fetus. A hysterectomy was preformed without parental consent. It was deemed necessary to save patient from bleeding to death.
"Now, why would a thirteen year old girl try to get rid of a baby without telling her parents?" Severus eyes glittered dangerously as he watched the man blanch.
"How would I know? The little whore…"
Severus slammed his fist down on the table. "Do not play the innocent here! She was carrying your child and you damn well know it!"
"How dare you accuse me of doing something like that?"
Severus rounded the table and grabbed the man's shirt lifting him from his seat. "You disgusting piece of dung. Molesting your own daughter, then selling her off to men, to support your imbecilic schemes. I have witnessed many horrendous things during my time as a Death Eater but I have never been so sick as I am right now looking at the piece of slime before me."
"Severus! Put my father down." Rowena said angrily as she entered the room.
"Your father," he sneered releasing the man. "How can you even address this piece of filth as that?"
"What are you going on about?"
He turned to look at the woman. The whole situation sickened him, and he felt a surge of pity for her. What might she have been if this man had not used her? He had thought her devotion to do whatever her father asked was unhealthy, but he never had imagined this. "I think your 'father' has something he would like to tell you Rowena."
Daniel Treymaine paled as he sat down, looking at his daughter. "Daddy? What is going on?"
"Tell her," Severus growled. "If you do not, I swear I will hex you into oblivion."
Swallowing hard, Daniel told Rowena everything that he had done.
Rowena stood there trembling, before she turned on Severus in a rage. "What is this Severus? How much did you pay him to say such things? Is this your way of trying to get me to agree to an annulment? I knew you were cruel, but this…" she couldn't finish as she became sick.
"Rowena," Severus said softly, touching her shoulder as she finishing heaving into a wastebasket.
"Get your filthy hands off me! You are insane!"
"No he isn't."
Rowena stared in horror as her mother, Rosa, came into the room, her eyes bright as she came over to her daughter. "Dear Merlin," she moaned as she looked at her daughter. She too had heard the raised voices and had followed Rowena. She had stood outside the door listening to her husband confess what he had done so many years ago. "Forgive me for being such a coward. I turned a blind eye to what your father was doing to you and when Helga confronted me about it after you had almost died, I fired her."
Rosa turned to look at Severus. "I am as guilty as Daniel in all this. I should have stopped him, turned him into the authorities or left with Rowena. I thought when she started school that it was over, but I knew every time she was at home it hadn't stop. Those mornings she would come to breakfast with that blank look caused from Daniel Oblivating her after each time he…he…"
"Each time he fucked me, mother," Rowena sneered. She was sitting there pale and trembling, finally realizing what was happening as she gazed at her parents. Severus walked over to her and placed a hand on her shoulder. She flinched, but not pull away.
"Helga tried to tell me what had happened to me when I lay bleeding to death that day before she flooed me to the hospital. I thought she was mental, for I knew she always hated father. When she left a few days later, I thought no more about it." Rowena turned icy eyes on her father. "I guess I was the one who was mental for not listening."
Rowena laughed. "Now I understand why I gave into you so easily father, when you suggested I prostitute myself for you. I always felt so guilty, that I had done something so terrible that I would not be 'daddy's little girl' if you ever found out that I had gotten pregnant. I would have done anything to please you, to make you proud of me. The strange thing was, I could never remember ever having sex and yet I found myself pregnant. And the irony of it all was that you knew all along because you were the bastard who got me that way."
Green around the mouth, Daniel sat there not looking at his wife or daughter, but into Severus' cold dark eyes that promised retribution if he did not adhere to what Severus wanted.
Swallowing hard, his voice squeaked as he spoke. "I will be turning myself into the Ministry tonight Rowena. I offer you my apologies for what I have done, though I realize how little that is."
Rowena began to laugh again, a hysterical sound as she shook her head. Severus gripped her shoulder as he looked scornfully at her mother who was crying softly.
Rowena was still laughing when they Apparated into the living room of the house in Hogsmeade, though it was now tinged with catching sobs. Severus led her into the bedroom and sat her down on the bed. "Drink this," he instructed handing her a vial he pulled from his robes. He had thought to bring the Dreamless Sleep Potion with him just in case he needed it tonight. She took it without complaint as Severus helped her to lie down.
Severus stayed with her until she fell asleep before going into the other room. He poured a drink, sitting in the dark once more, as he contemplated the events of the day. Even during his foulest of moods that had been directed towards Rowena, he had never wanted to see her hurt. He had had second thoughts about confronting her father about the molestation, however he knew he would never be satisfied if he had not. Somewhere along the line he felt he owed her that much.
Mulling over the decisions he had made in the last few days, he found he desperately wanted to find Hermione, to hug her tightly and reassure himself that she truly did love him.
Severus woke, still sitting in the armchair. Rowena stood before him wearing her cloak, her bags at her feet.
"I am leaving now Severus."
Rubbing the sleep from his eyes, Severus stood and tested the words in his mind before he spoke.
"You do not have to go."
She gave a dry laugh as she studied him. "I do not want your pity or sympathy Severus. You shall have your annulment."
"I did not mean for you to get hurt by all this."
"You did not hurt me, my father is responsible for that. I suppose I should thank you. In a way, it is the first time I am free to do what I want." She smiled wryly. "The trouble is I have no idea what that is."
"You are an intelligent woman, Rowena, I am sure it will not take you long to figure it out."
"I will meet you at the Ministry in the morning."
He nodded as he pulled out a piece of paper from his pocket. "For you. The offer still stands. It will help you until you figure out what you want to do."
Rowena took the rumpled paper from him. Laughing she shook her head in amazement. "Truly Severus, you are an enigma. A snarky bastard with a good heart, though I doubt you even realize it. Thank you. This will indeed help." She smiled as she pocketed the note.
"You are welcome. Goodbye Rowena."
Picking up her bag, she walked over to him and kissed his cheek. "Do yourself a favor Sev. Make sure the girl knows how much you love her."
Severus met with Albus the following afternoon and handed him the papers. Albus read them carefully before he spoke.
"I am sorry that things did not work out for you and Rowena, Severus." Dumbledore eyed the younger wizard, weighing his words before he continued. "Severus, I must ask you not to tell anyone about this until term is over, especially Miss Granger."
Severus frowned. "Because of the inane rumors that certain members of the staff have fueled?"
"Exactly," Albus smiled kindly at him, "and if you plan to pursue a future with Miss Granger, it would not do for her reputation to be sullied. This is a small castle when it comes to things like that, and I wouldn't want to lose my potions professor because he could not tolerate the staff talking unkindly about the woman he loves." His smile widened at the look of shock on Severus' face. "Really Severus, I often wondered why you married Rowena when you were so enamored with Hermione.
"It is only five more weeks. Trust me, it will be better in the end if you wait until the young lady is no longer a student here to let her know that you are free."
Severus reluctantly agreed.
The following weeks found Severus biting his tongue, while wondering what was wrong with Hermione. Though the part of her project with him was over, he had expected she would continue to come by the classroom from time to time. He was mistaken.
He saw in the hall at meal times and noticed that she seemed tired, her demeanor somber. Unable to talk to her he started sending posts by way of school owl.
I noticed that you seem to be preoccupied and look a little tired. Is everything all right?
A short answered returned that afternoon.
Thank you for your concern, I am just fine.
A reply was sent before night fell.
I assume from the formality of your last post, that I may have caused you some undue stress. If you would be so kind to tell me what I have done, I will try to amend my ways.
Severus had to wait for a reply until breakfast the next morning. A small brown owl landed in his plate, hooting proudly.
Again, thank you for your concern. Perhaps I am a bit stressed, however do not expect me to tell you something you should already know.
Severus glanced at the Gryffindor table but Hermione never looked towards him.
After another week of being unsuccessful in getting Hermione to talk to him via owl, he finally had to swallow his pride and asked Remus to inquire if something was wrong with her.
Remus had noticed Hermione's aloofness towards Severus, and he did not think it all had to do with the him. The girl looked ill. He agreed.
The next day before Severus had a chance to talk to Lupin he received another owl.
Severus, (at least she dropped the professor, he thought wryly)
I do not appreciate you sending Remus to interrogate me.
Sighing in frustration, Severus decided he would bide his time. Only two more weeks.
After Dumbledore had awarded the House Cup at the Leaving Feast, he made an announcement.
"I am pleased to inform you that one of your colleagues has been given high accolades for a project she has worked on this year. Due to the success of her efforts, she has been offered an apprenticeship to study under one the most brilliant medi-wizards of our time. I would like you to join me in congratulating Miss Hermione Granger."
The hall erupted in applause for Hermione. Severus sat there stunned. He had not heard of the results of her projects that had been sent to St Mungo's and was jealous that she had not shared this news with him. He watched her as she smiled at the Gryffindors who were hugging her and shaking her hand. Even from this distance, he could see that the smile did not reach her eyes.
"After the feast, if Miss Granger would be so kind to stop by the staff table, I do believe those who worked with her on the project would like to congratulate her." Albus said as the applause died down.
Severus picked at his food, waiting for the feast to be over. He had made up his mind if Hermione refused to meet with him later to talk, that he would just have to carry her to his chambers by force. One way or another he meant to tell her about the annulment tonight.
Hermione approached the staff table where she was greeted by Dumbledore, who kissed her on the cheek. "You did us proud young lady."
"Thank you professor."
She was congratulated in turn by the professors she had worked with, finally coming to stand before Severus.
Severus glanced over at Dumbledore and he saw Albus give him a quick nod. He leaned over and kissed her cheek. "Please meet me in my rooms when you are able," he whispered. "Congratulations Miss Granger," he said as he straightened up.
Hermione didn't look at him, but gave a slight nod. "Thank you Professor Snape."
Severus smiled triumphantly when Hermione entered his chambers later that evening. He was trying to refrain from grabbing her and kissing her silly, when he noted the worried look on her face.
She sat down on the sofa, her hands in her lap, looking very forlorn. Severus squatted before her, raising her chin to look into her eyes.
"Hermione, what is the matter? This should be one of the happiest days in your life. The excitement of being chosen to apprentice at St Mungo's…"
"I cannot accept the apprenticeship."
Frowning, he studied her. "If its finances, I can help you with that until you get settled. I know you wanted this. Though I would be lying if I did not want you to stay closer, distance is not a problem…"
"It isn't that. I just cannot go." She looked down at her hands. "I am going to have a baby."
Severus reeled back on his heels. "Are you sure?" Stupid thing to ask he thought.
Hermione sniffed. "Quite. I saw Madame Pomfrey last week and she confirmed it. Three months along.
He didn't know whether to shout for joy or curse as he studied her. "Hermione," he said softly, "if you do not wish to have the child, there is a potion…."
"No," she said angrily, her eyes flashing at him. "You may not want me or this baby, but I do not care. I will not even consider that."
"Not want you? Why would you even think that?"
She sniffed, blinking back tears. "I heard about your annulment and I thought that you would have told me if you wanted me. Keeping quiet about it led me to believe that you wanted me to think you were still married, still unavailable."
Severus cursed inwardly. No wonder she had been so withdrawn from him. "Who told you?
"Ron. His father saw you and Rowena at the Ministry that day. Harry and I threaten him to keep it quiet, for my sake."
Sighing with frustration, Severus explained about Dumbledore's request. "If I had known…Hermione, it has been one muddled mess hasn't it? I am so sorry that you had to believe that I was still married and that I did not want you. My gods Hermione, I have going crazy wanting to tell you."
"Then you aren't upset with me?" She looked at him almost pleadingly. " I mean it is my fault. I feel I have let everyone down. I should have thought about contraceptives that weekend, if I hadn't been so…"
He leaned over and kissed her firmly. "Upset with you?" A big grin crossed his face. "I love you Hermione, and though I would have wished to wait before asking you to marry me and perhaps have a child, so that you could explore your life and options, I am thrilled. Truly." He chuckled at the irony of the situation.
"What is so funny?"
Smiling, he kissed her again, this time with all the passion and love he felt for the woman, before picking her up and carrying her into his bedroom. He would tell her later that she was going to be a very, very wealthy woman once they were they were married.