DISCLAIMER: The Harry Potter Universe belongs to J.K. Rowling. We merely play in it and cause chaos.

Other characters are the creation of Atana and Lady Tesser.

PG-13. No slash, no sex; mild language, adult themes.

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Adult SnS Fanfic:

"Rectifying the Past"

background to 'The Prisoner of Azkaban'

Text by Lady Tesser

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CHAPTER ONE: "The End of Summer"

Britomartis Vox - Worlds Religions Professor of Hogwarts - sat straight up, looking around the unfamiliar room. It was a dirty shack with broken furniture and mirrors and torn bedding, the whole thing in general disrepair and untouched for many decades.

She got up, rubbing her shoulders in the chill air ... and realized she was not alone.

Around her were dark figures, figures in black, figures in pale death-masks, their left arms exposed ... displaying the Dark Mark of a skull devouring a snake.

She felt for her wand in her gown and found it was not there.

Britomartis opened her mouth as they reached for her, ready to blast them with a Minoan spell.

A cold hand clamped over her mouth and another drew around her waist, pulling her close to a cold, stiff body. She struggled, trying to break out of its grip, but it held her against its body with a vice-like hold.

Deathly-cold breath whispered hoarsely into her ear, "Traitors will be punished, Snake-Bitch."

The Death Eaters enclosed around her as she suffocated under the cold hands ...

The scream shocked Severus Snape awake, turning over to see Britomartis struggling in her sleep and sobbing.

"Martis!" he called, shaking her.

"OFF!" she shrieked. "Off of me! Snips! They're here! The Death Eaters!"

"MARTIS!" Fear manifested as a cold spike in his stomach. He had wanted to keep that part of his life - and the figures themselves - as far away from her as possible. "MARTIS! Wake up!"

Her eyes snapped open, taking in the dimness of the room. "Severus!" she gasped as she sat up and embraced him. "Oh, Great Mother, are you - "

He held her, stroking her hair. "I'm here, Martis, I'm here. What happened? A nightmare?"

She nodded into his chest. "Surrounded by Death Eaters. They called me a traitor. They-they - "

Severus held her tightly, squeezing her, trying to make her feel safe despite how close that Darkness was and how much it had skewered their lives. They had been pulled apart for nearly twenty years, created new lives, and the Darkness tore those lives apart.

And yet that Darkness drew them together once again.

Severus was an old hand at nightmares. They plagued his sleeping moments his entire life. He was used to it, unlike his Martis whom was too pure and good to be subjected to their torment. When Britomartis had nightmares, he worried.

Yet this was the first he had ever heard of this particular nightmare, and he had been privy to her sleeping state the entire summer.

"Martis?" he whispered in the early morning darkness.

"Hm?" she murmured.

"I won't let them near you."

She raised her face and kissed his mouth. After a moment, she replied, "I know, my love."

----------

The summer holiday had been incredibly quiet. With the rest of the staff on vacation, Britomartis and Severus had the dungeons to themselves, never seeing another soul the entire time. Which suited them fine, as they were catching up with years of maturation and exploration that they should have had over the past twenty years. The conclusion was silently reached that - if the Dark Lord had not sent Britomartis away - they would have ended up exactly as they were now, only much earlier.

It became plainly obvious over the summer, between talking and loving, that perhaps the old battlecry of 'Snips and Spirals Forever' really did mean 'forever', if not 'completely entwined'.

Britomartis accepted it as such. Everyone back in school had teased them about dating each other and being in love, and both denied it quite extensively, but really, she believed she would have fallen in love with her best friend if she had stayed at Hogwarts. It was something quite natural, after all. And ... complete honesty ... she had indeed those last few months they had together; especially after Severus had called upon all the Angels of Vengeance after what that jackass Karkaroff had tried to do.

And thinking upon it - given another month after that Yule Ball - they probably would have consummated the whole thing and really gave their teachers something to worry about. She had always wanted Severus' children.

Damn, Narcissa Black-Malfoy had been right all along. If things had pulled along without any problem, there would be a young lady Vox-Snape in line for Draco Malfoy. The thought made Britomartis shudder in both anger and relief.

Severus knew he loved her deep in his gut. Like everything else that he deemed good in his life, he stuffed it down inside and tried to forget it, not believing that anyone would love him in return. He could now admit to himself that he had been desperately in love with her that last year together and he was terrified beyond human comprehension that she would have dropped him if she ever found out.

But she returned it. Great Gods, she actually loved him in return, completely, fully, without reservation. It still made him break into tears. Her acceptance of his heart - naked, raw, damaged, bitter - had been one of the greatest gifts she could ever give him since she had declared him her friend back when they were kids.

For the duration of the summer, she had moved into his rooms and both attained a Zen-like sense of domestication by coming as close to living like normal people as possible. They found out things about each other that no one would have ever known ...

The most amazing discovery was that Severus was a brilliant cook.

'Of course,' he had explained. 'Potion-making isn't much different from cooking; it's merely changing the ingredients around.'

The second amazing discovery was that Britomartis was still flexible after all these years.

Commentary on that subject will be censored.

Severus caressed his hand over the ash blonde hair before his face, inhaling the scent of female. His hand moved down over the olive-toned shoulder and down the back, over the sheet-covered hip, then back up to her throat. Moving the hair aside, he kissed the back of her neck softly.

"Mm," she moaned. "Morning, Snips."

"Good morning, Spirals," he returned, kissing her ear. "Feeling better?"

Britomartis turned over and licked his lips before kissing him, her arms drawn around his neck. "Yes. I didn't dream the rest of the night, so nothing else." She inhaled, looking up into his eyes. "I like waking up to your face. We should have done this twenty years ago."

"We were both too scared and you knew it."

"Then last year."

"And have me mooning over you during my classes? The students would lose all respect for me."

"Actually, their respect for you would increase, my love." She kissed the end of his nose. "Do recall my pack of Stormtroopers who attempted to 'help' you along with the Kissing Powder."

"I remember your nieces and nephews also tried to 'help' me with a bottle of Ambrosia."

She giggled and poked his chest. "Bother."

He laughed, poking her in return. "Bother."

"Bother."

"Bother."

"Bother."

"Bother."

She squealed disgracefully due to where he poked her.

He grinned and added, "I win." He sat up and brushed his hair from his face. "I really need to get to work on study plans, Martis."

"As do I." She pulled him back down. "Later."

"If you insist."

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Students shopping for school supplies in Diagon Alley really did not expect to see the Slytherin House Master and Mother wandering the street among them. Of course, it was odd seeing the Potions Master in sunlight at all. They suspected he would have melted or burned up or SOMETHING horrible when exposed to sunlight.

Instead of escorting the Worlds Religions Professor and looking for all the world like he was in love.

It was WEIRD!

Britomartis linked her arm into Severus', inhaling the air around them. "Our one time we met here, running around on our own."

"Getting our books and robes," Severus remembered.

"Gazing in adoration at the Nimbus 1001."

"Sharing ice cream."

"Making fun of Lucy in the robe shop."

"Being caught in Knockturn Alley ... "

Britomartis stopped walking and moved around to face him, holding his face in her hands. "It was a long time ago, my love. He's dead and gone. It's just us again. Only us."

She brushed hair from his beautiful dark eyes, watching the pain melt as he allowed his soul to release the memory of his father.

"Mummy, look! It's my professors!" the overly-hyper voice of Colin Creevey cried out.

Severus pulled away from Britomartis, his Scary Potions Master mask slipping on his face. "Oh, good god ... "

Britomartis smiled, pushing her sunglasses back up on her face. "Suck it up, darling. It's only one Creevey."

They turned and saw Colin running up to them, followed by a much smaller clone that was obviously his brother. Behind them, a blonde woman in a pink and sky-blue gown and robe walked at a slower pace ... until she stared at the two professors.

Colin threw himself at Britomartis, landing in her arms and hugging her tightly around the waist. He pulled away to look up at her face. "Professor Vox! It's me, Colin Creevey - this is my brother Dennis, he's only ten, but I bet he'll be coming to school with me next year! Say hello to the Worlds Religions professor, Dennis - Dennis! That's Snookie-Poo - she doesn't hurt anybody! Stop being a worm!"

"Here, boys," Britomartis said as slipped the snake off her shoulder. "You can pet her. She likes it."

Severus was staring back at the mother of Colin Creevey. The face was not as heart-shaped nor were her long fingers and neck and torso as slender as they were, and her cupid's bow mouth had faded to a pale pink. The blue eyes were weary, but they still burned with intelligence. And her hair was still a lusterous blonde, even though it was quite short due to the inflatable sheep having eaten it back at school.

"Sonia Stellamaris," he intoned.

Britomartis looked up from allowing the Creevey brothers to pet Snookie-Poo. "Teasey?"

"Spirals," Mrs. Creevey stated. "Severus."

"Oh, cool!" Colin cried. "You know each other, mummy??"

"We had a history, love," Sonia answered. "Why don't you and Denny go to the Quidditch shop?"

Colin handed Snookie-Poo back to his teacher and dragged his brother off down the street. Sonia turned back to Britomartis and Severus.

"Motherhood really suits you, Stellamaris," Britomartis said.

Sonia gave a small smile. "I grew up a little. Married for love - a Muggle milkman of all things, but he's a brilliant writer. Family disowned me as a result, so there was no point in being a witch. Then Colin got his letter and ... " She sighed and grunted. "Damn, you look even better after all these years!"

"Thanks." Britomartis linked her arm back into Severus' while Snookie-Poo raised her head and tasted the scent of the stranger. "Are Colin and Dennis the only children?"

"Yes." She bit her lip. "So, you two ... have children?"

"No," Britomartis replied.

"Married?"

"No," Severus answered.

Sonia laughed bitterly. "I don't see why not, Severus. Bloody figures you'd grow out of being a gawky, awkward teenager into a tall, dark, brooding, elegant image of an anti-hero."

Britomartis smirked. "Yes, he does cut a fine figure as a full-blown man, doesn't he?"

"Martis - " Severus began.

"Hush, darling, this is Girl Talk; we're in competition." Britomartis set her mouth in a thin line. "Too bad all you wanted to do was take advantage of his mind - he's quite the lover, you know. His constant demands for sex have left me exhausted."

Severus turned around and pretended to study a stationary supply store window.

Sonia narrowed her eyes. "Yes, the stories about him and Asenath Paroo during our final year were quite wild."

Severus cleared his throat.

Britomartis remained uncowed. "She obviously didn't have much to keep his attention."

Sonia gritted her teeth. "Is it bad enough you have a better figure than me after all these years, you also have to rub my face in the fact you got the hotter looking man??"

Britomartis frowned. "I had been separated from him for twenty years due to Voldemort - "

"You-Know-Who, you mean!"

"During that time I had married for love and borne four children, then lost my husband and children in a single night when Voldemort's Death Eaters killed them. The youngest was only a year old." Her voice dropped. "Your complaints seem petty again, don't they?"

Sonia sniffed, trying to retain dignity. "Indeed."

Britomartis' expression softened. "Never take that husband of yours for granted. And cherish those two boys for they're your flesh and blood. Nothing can ever replace them in your life."

Sonia nodded. "I am sorry I did all that garbage - to both of you."

"I'm sorry my sisters were harsh on you back then."

Sonia managed another small smile. "I needed it. It was sort of a relief when I found out the world did not revolve around 'family' and 'reputation'."

"Mummy!" Dennis yelled, running up to her. "Look what Colin and I found - a rare Arctic furred tomato! It's very affectionate and it tastes great on pizza!"

"Excuse me," Sonia said. She smiled broader and added, "I hope things do work out this time." She turned to her children and stated, "You'll have to sell that back to the vendor, Denny ... "

Severus turned back around and gazed after the former Beauty of Ravenclaw. "Amazing. She's actually much happier now."

"Families have a way of doing that," Britomartis answered as they continued their walk. "I should have seen it back then, but I was too busy being insanely jealous."

"You were jealous?"

"Yes. Didn't realize that then, either. I was indeed terribly, horribly jealous." She pouted cutely. "Somebody had stolen my Snips away - and I hadn't even given him a tumble yet."

Severus looked up at her, seeing the pout, and rolled his eyes. "We were stupid children."

"We were teenagers, and were actually acting quite normal." She poked his shoulder. "She and I did look really similar back then."

"Yes," he acknowledged. "Both skinny and blonde. Terribly, terribly annoying."

"You didn't think so back then," she giggled as they reached the junk shop.

"I was a hormonal teenage boy, I had an excuse for the time being." He opened the door to the shop and pressed her inward. "Unlike you."

"I had PMS."

"Don't remind me." Severus spotted one of his least favorite students, pulled on the Scary Potions Master face again, and approached the short, dark-haired boy. "Mr. Potter ... "

Harry Potter spun around and saw his professors. "Vox! Snape! I mean - Professor - "

"Forget trying to come up with a half-witted, unintelligible opening line, Potter," Snape the Potions Master stated. "Have you finished your summer essay for me yet?"

"School doesn't start for another few days, sir."

"Your ill-preparedness will be the death of you, Potter." He leaned a little forward, as to imply that it would be soon.

"It wasn't my fault! My uncle locks all of my schoolbooks up during the summer because he hates magic! He won't even allow anyone to say the 'M-Word' in the house!"

Britomartis interrupted, "Considering the Weasleys had to break you out of a barred window last year, I'm not surprised. Have you been able to do any work at all?"

Harry visibly relaxed. "Oh, I finished the Crete paper a month ago, Professor Vox, that was the easy one. Although I had to type it up on a broken typewriter because my uncle took my parchments and quills away. Hope you don't mind."

"As long as it's done I don't mind if you sing it." She stroked his hair around his face and smiled maternally. "I'll expect to see you in Third-Year Worlds Religions on September third, Mr. Potter, along with your research paper."

"Absolutely, ma'am." He smiled up at her.

Severus sneered. "And I do hope you put more effort into your Potions' essay than you have in trying to avoid looking me in the eye."

Harry stared directly up into his face. "It'll be done, Professor." He turned back to Britomartis. "See you in a few days, ma'am." And he left the shop.

Britomartis smirked at Severus' sour expression. "Frankly, I like this model better than the last generation's."

"He's still got his father's cheek."

"But he does have Lily's eyes. Always was jealous that hers were a prettier green than mine."

Severus slipped her sunglasses down her face. "I've stared into both often enough in my youth - hers were full of pity, but yours were always filled with acceptance."

They gazed into each other's eyes for a long moment ... at least until the shopkeeper's chuckles made them look up and see him grinning.

"What?" Severus asked curtly.

"I was wondering if I'd ever see you two again. Last time you came here, you bought a silver trinket box and she clipped a bit of her hair to put in it. Just good to see it worked out. Carry on."

They looked around in another part of the shop. Severus attempted a more dour expression. "Do we really look like ... ?"

Britomartis dug around in a box labeled 'Trilobite Junk'. "Of course we do. Love changes a person's aura considerably. In your case you're actually smiling more, which is considered a sign of the End Times by most of our students."

"Indeed. Mustn't let them think I've gone soft." He practiced a more intense scowl. "'Mister Longbottom! Recite the seven uses of St. John's Wort in secondary condensation exercises! You don't know? To the rack with you'!" He smiled at her. "How was that?"

"It's turning me on."

"That's not the reaction I had in mind."

"I hope not. I would hate to have to chase Mr. Longbottom away from the door every night."

Severus hit Britomartis in the head with a stuffed toy Fwooper. "Bad witch! Bad! Bad!"

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And hello again! Welcome back to the SnS universe where our protagonists are now adults and professors at Hogwarts. (Hope you didn't fall off the Knight Bus with this sudden switch now.)

I must make it clear early that some scenes, conversations, and incidents in this PoA will be slightly different due to Martis' presence (just like in 'Lady of Slytherin', which desperately needs a rewrite). I only do this warning because later on in this story there will be the confrontation at the Shrieking Shack between Snip and Spirals and the remaining Marauders, and it will definitely be from the adults' point-of-view - including some things said that will be scandalous to a trio of thirteen-year-olds.

I will also be including more information related to the history I had written out over the past year, which did not appear in 'Lady of Slytherin'. Some things are going to appear 'off' in relation to LoS 'canon', so don't freak, it's just what I've finally been able to work out.

I promise to remain faithful to the book and not use the movie version, except for the Whomping Willow scene ... and that's only because Lady Rowling had endorsed the 'Snape protecting the kids' scene as a key to his character.

So now - let the games begin!

Tess