Disclaimer: Not my characters…I make no money off their situation…I'm only in it for the fun. ;)
Matchmaker, Matchmaker… or… Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when we force man to conceive…
Minerva McGonagall set her teacup down with a clatter as Severus Snape burst through her sitting room door to slam it loudly in his wake.
"My goodness, you're back awfully early. Didn't you have one of those Ministry arranged dates tonight?" she exclaimed as she mopped at a puddle of spilled tea with her napkin.
"Children!" raged the agitated Snape. "They're pushing children on me!"
Raising her cup for another sip, she looked at him over the rim and smiled. "That is the idea, I believe."
Snape shot her a nasty glare. "They aren't pushing me to have the children yet. First they want me to marry them!"
Minerva sighed and set her cup down with a clink. "Well, there's no way around it, Severus. The war was devastating to the community. So much of the population was killed or grievously wounded. It falls to the remaining healthy men and women to re-populate the wizarding world or possibly face the thought of extinction as a people. Surely, you don't want that?"
"Why not?" he grumbled as he threw himself down onto the sofa next to her and stared gloomily into the fire. "Any society that allows itself to be led by the nose to the edge of extinction can't have that much going for it to begin with."
Minerva shrugged noncommittally and turned to gaze at him with a measure of sympathy. "So who was it this time?"
"Some little Hufflepuff, if you can believe the stupidity of the matchmaking. That Johnson girl…just graduated in the spring. She's barely seventeen for Merlin's sake!"
"What happened?" she asked.
He shoved his hands deeply into his pockets and scowled into the fire. "She screamed and fainted dead away when she opened the door and saw who her "prospective bridegroom" was." His voice was edged with sarcasm and not a little bitterness as well.
"I'm sorry. That must have been difficult," murmured Minerva gently.
Snape snorted and jumped to his feet once more. "Don't be. It's the only reason that I was able to get out of there so easily. The Ministry matchmaker, who has to oversee all initial meetings, has assured me that they'll do better next time. By which, they probably mean that they'll find someone even younger and more stupid." With an aggravated sigh, he rubbed the bridge of his nose and leaned wearily against the mantelpiece. "How many of these farces have I been subjected to so far anyway? I've lost count."
Leaning comfortably back against the cushions of her couch, Minerva considered. "Five, I think. No…six. I was forgetting Lavender Brown."
"Oh, god, I'd certainly like to forget her. What a debacle that one was. Why wasn't that girl a Hufflepuff? How can any rational person spend a solid six hours discussing nothing but clothing and make-up? I almost slit my wrists after that single interminable evening." He turned and stared down at her thoughtfully, before asking sharply, " Do you notice a trend here, Minerva?"
She shook her head and gazed up at him. "What sort of trend?"
"According to your count, I've been subjected to half a dozen of these pathetic attempts at matchmaking so far, and not one of the "women", and I use the term loosely, has been a Slytherin. I've certainly seen a fair number of Gryffindor/Gryffindor match-ups consummated, along with far too many Hufflepuff/Hufflepuff matches to give me any hope for the future, and many with matching Ravenclaws as well. Now why do you think that is?"
"I don't…" she began.
He cut her off before she could finish expressing her puzzlement. "I think that the powers that be are flexing their muscles a bit. I think that the Ministry blames the war on Slytherins because so many of them were followers of The Dark Lord, and now that the populace has so foolishly given these politicians this outrageous power over everyone, they've decided to indulge in a bit of selective breeding."
He waited for her to tell him that he was wrong, and was mildly surprised when she simply nodded thoughtfully. As she considered the idea, she poured him a cup of tea and handed it to him as he once more sat down beside her.
"You could be right about that, I suppose." Then she added, "Then again, there could simply be fewer Slytherins of marriageable age left to work with. Many died in the war, after all. You're also forgetting that when this all started, it was still fairly voluntary. Matches were simply encouraged, with a hefty monetary incentive. Many people married and began having children quite willingly. Perhaps most of the eligible Slytherins paired up then. They are only now getting around to the…difficult cases."
Snape scowled at being considered a difficult case, but he couldn't really dispute the truth of it. Damn it, he was difficult. He intended to be. He simply did not want to get married, and he certainly didn't want to have children…ever. It was bad enough that his life was taken up with caring for other people's benighted offspring. The idea of taking care of his own…from infancy…scared him more than facing the Dark Lord ever had. To banish that horrid picture, he brought the teacup to his mouth and swallowed some of the soothing, hot liquid.
"Maybe you need to come up with your own selection, Severus. At this point, I'm sure they'd be willing to grant you a license to marry just about anyone who fit their criteria." A mischievous expression crossed Minerva's lips as she added, "You know, if you're finding them a bit too young, Sibyll is still of child-bearing age…"
Snape expelled a mouthful of tea and then jumped up and mopped at himself with a napkin he snatched off the tea table. Once he'd wiped up the worst of it, he turned and glared down at McGonagall darkly.
"So how long have you harbored this secret hatred for me, Minerva? Surely you're over having lost the Quidditch Cup to me for twelve years running. I'd have thought having Potter the Golden Boy snatch it back would have eased the sting of that at least a bit."
Minerva buried her smile in a sip of tea. "Don't be silly," she murmured.
"I suppose I could pretend to be gay," he mused as he sat down again.
She shook her head. "That won't get you off the hook. They'll just tell you to get your wife pregnant and then take a lover on the side. Then you'll be stuck with both a wife and a gay lover you don't want."
Snape sighed and slouched dejectedly down into the cushions. "There has to be a way out of this. There has to be."
"Well, Albus didn't seem to have a problem with any of this. He and Hermione are expecting twins, you know."
Snape groaned. "Don't remind me. He's been strutting around like the rooster in the henhouse for weeks. Was I correct to hear that he's applied for a second wife?" he asked incredulously.
Minerva nodded. "Yes, Miss Weasley has agreed to a multiple joining. I think it'll be a good match. I know that Hermione longs to get back to her work after the birth, and having Ginny as part of the family group will be so helpful. And she and Albus really get along very well."
Snape snorted shortly. "Talk about selective breeding. If the Ministry really wanted to improve the populace, they'd never have approved of a match between Albus Dumbledore and Ginny Weasley. There's far too much inbreeding amongst you Gryffindors."
Ignoring the slight to her house, Minerva mused, "Well, the Weasleys are a very prolific family, so as the only girl, Ginny had a lot of offers. I was a little surprised that she accepted Albus, myself, but I imagine it's the allure he projects, not to mention that many women find that long snowy beard of his to be very sexy. I just hope that he doesn't completely wear himself out."
"No chance of that. At least, not as long as I keep providing him with the extra strength potency potions he's been paying me for on the side. I've thrown in an energy-replenishing tonic as well. It should keep him going for a while longer at least. You know, if I wasn't required to participate in this fiasco myself, I'd really view it as quite a positive venture."
"Really? Why?" she asked curiously.
"I've made quite a bit on the side providing these randy old geezers with potions that will allow them to keep up with their child brides." He gave a small avaricious chuckle.
Minerva smiled. "Yes, I imagine that you have, but unfortunately, you do have to participate, so we really should get back to finding a solution for your situation."
Snape sighed, his momentary good spirits plummeting once more. "I could marry you," he stated softly.
Now it was Minerva's turn to spew tea. "Nonsense, Severus!" she exclaimed as she dabbed at her bodice with her already soggy napkin. "I'm well past child-bearing age, thank heavens. It wouldn't be allowed."
"Yes! You are," he exclaimed in satisfaction. "You see, I view that as a plus myself."
"You really have no desire to carry on the family name? To re-populate the wizarding world with little Snapes?"
"Hardly. I know we've been through all this before." He rolled his eyes. "All of my family survived; cowardly lot that they are. My shrew of a sister has six puling brats. Then I have at least eight cousins, all with varying numbers of Snape offspring between them. Believe me, the Snape family is well set with progeny. They are hardly depending on my meager and unwilling contribution to last into the next millennium."
"I see," she murmured thoughtfully.
Suddenly, Snape sat up and exclaimed, "Of course! Why the hell didn't I think of this before!"
"What?" she asked curiously.
He turned to her with a smile. "Self-sterilization! If I can't produce the bloody brats in the first place, no one will care whether I get married or not!"
Minerva gasped. "Isn't that a bit drastic?"
"Not at all! It's the perfect answer. I'm an idiot for taking this long to figure it out. I have the proper potion downstairs. One sip and there'll be no more worries about procreation. I'll be free of all this nonsense for good." He was positively giddy at the prospect.
Minerva leaned closer and grasped his arm tightly with a look of concern on her face. "It won't hinder…um…other functions…will it?"
Snape rubbed a knuckle lightly along her cheek and chin and smirked. "Do you take me for a fool? Oh, no. All this will do is render me sterile; I assure you that "other functions", as you so delicately put it, will not be harmed. More convenient anyway."
"Are you sure that you really want to do that? Wouldn't you enjoy having a young wife in your bed? It's certainly put the spring back in Albus' steps."
"Ha! It's my potion that's put the spring back in his steps. Without that, he'd probably be six feet under by now from trying to keep up with the energetic Miss Granger. No, I have no desire to have a child in my bed. I prefer a woman who not only can find my erogenous zones, but knows what to do with them when she gets there."
With that firm assertion, he slid his arms around her and pulled her into an embrace, kissing her passionately. Once she pulled back from his lips with a satisfied sigh, she snuggled against him, laying her face against his shoulder while he pressed his lips to her hair and whispered huskily, "In fact, I can't think of anything I'd rather do at this moment than have you undertake an exploratory mission. Just give me a half an hour to find and take that bloody potion, and then the rest of the night will be ours."
She pulled back and sat up to face him, running a gentle finger down his cheek and ever so slowly across his bottom lip. "All right. I'll be down in a half hour. That will give me a chance to change anyway."
His eyes lit up. "Wear the blue gown…"
She smiled. "The very one I was thinking of."
Then with one more quick kiss, he got up and left, heaving a huge sigh of relief at having finally solved his marriage problem. Once he'd taken this potion and slipped the Ministry the results of a sperm count that should take care of all that nonsense once and for all. He knew he'd come up with a way out of this trap eventually. Slytherin brains always win out in the end.
As the door shut behind her lover, Minerva sat back on her couch with a satisfied smile on her lips. Well, that had certainly taken longer than she'd intended. Feeling the way he did about children, she'd been certain that he'd have thought of that potion long before this. In fact, she was beginning to think that she'd have to find a way to suggest it herself.
Ah, well, it all worked out properly in the end. At least, her hefty bribes to Fudge had had the proper results in the selection of potential brides. Severus didn't know how lucky he was. The next one up on the list was Luna Lovegood.
Minerva toasted herself with the last of her tea, rose from the couch and headed off into her bedroom to put on her blue gown. She had a wonderful evening ahead of her, and she intended to make the most of it.