Disclaimer: Not Jo, as she most likely won't allow Snape any true happiness, much less a family. Feh. I'm more than willing to fill that need, lol, although when it comes to fathers and sons- are any ever what the other wished for exactly? Nah, I think you take the parent/child you get and love them regardless. Maybe the title should've been 'How to Deal'…
Septimus Snape was late. Again. His mother claimed that his perpetual tardiness stemmed from an overdue birth, but Septimus knew the real reason he had trouble making it to class on time. Girls. They hounded him constantly, the silly twits, just because he took after his mother's side of the family and was "tall, dark, and bloody gorgeous" as Aunt Tonks put it. Currently, he was attempting to extricate himself from the Hufflepuff sisters who had him cornered behind the statue of Bertha the Behemoth.
"Come on, Septimus, just one little snog each?" Hilary pleaded, batting her blue eyes to ill effect. She wore so much gunk on her lashes that they kept sticking together.
"We just want you to tell us which one of us is the better kisser." Hailey tossed back hair that was almost as blonde as her sister's. The look she threw her younger sibling was spiteful.
Unwilling to be caught up in their never-ending competition, Septimus gently thrust the two aside to break free of the hold each had on one of his arms. "Sorry, girls, Slytherin standards and all that. Good luck though." He disregarded their pleas for him to return, striding quickly toward the dungeon staircase. He paused outside his father's classroom. This was his third tardy and only the second week of term. It was probably a record. He opened the door. Everyone looked up in anticipation.
"How kind of you to join us, Mr. Snape. Ten points from Slytherin. Take your seat."
Septimus pretended not to be intimidated by his father's icy stare as he joined his mate Rowan Greengrass at their table and thanked him for doing the prep work. The potion was a simple medieval remedy for stomach upsets, an early version of Nauseous No More. He's made it over summer holiday, on one of the family lab nights when it was his turn to choose which potion to brew. He went through the familiar motions, sharing what had caused him to be late. Rowan snickered appreciatively, but the girl at the table in front of them didn't.
"Some of us are trying to concentrate on our potion, Snape. Boast about your overactive love life on your own time," Athena Weasley said loftily. The sixth year looked down her freckly nose at him like always.
She made no effort to hide the fact that she disagreed with every other female at Hogwarts about his looks, wit, and brilliance. He curled his lip at her, and not just because girls said it made him look menacingly sexy. Cuttingly, Septimus retorted, "Still angling for a snog by pretending you don't go for me, Weasley?" He looked her up and down, fiercely satisfied when she paled in anger. The boy sneered, "Tame that bushy red hair and stop acting like a know-it-all just because you're taking Potions with seventh years, and maybe I'll do you a favour."
She sputtered, "You…you are the most humongous bighead that it has ever been my displeasure to…" Miss Perfect angrily tossed in the last five ingredients without pause. Breaking off the rant, she asked, "Why is my solution smoking?"
Septimus gestured to his own cauldron, which simmered as it was supposed to. He gloated, "Didn't read directions, did you? This is a medieval potion, and if you toss the last ingredients in too fast, it acts like a . . . ." The smoke from her cauldron had drifted into his face. Dimly, Septimus was aware of his father dissipating the fumes while he stood and walked toward the girl who had suddenly become the centre of the universe. How had he been so blind? She was everything he'd ever wanted. The harsh words he'd spoken…Septimus would've cut out his tongue if hadn't needed it to say, with all the passion flooding his soul, "Athena, my goddess of wisdom and beauty, I love you. Kiss me."
He happily drowned in amber eyes, uttering an inarticulate protest when she closed them for a moment before gazing at him with an expression that made his heart sing. "I shouldn't," she said. "It's not prudent, but I don't care. I love you too!"
Septimus' lips covered hers the moment she made his life complete by declaring her feelings. Overwhelmed by the need to kiss and touch and love her, the boy sank his fingers into the softest hair imaginable and exulted when her mouth claimed his just as hungrily. Her tongue glided and twirled with his in a way that made him long to be somewhere else, someplace private. Raining kisses across the beautiful face smiling at him so lovingly, he lowered his voice to dark persuasion. "Run away with me, and I'll ensnare your senses in ways you've only dreamt of."
Athena's fingers clutched his shoulders, her body trembling as she strained closer, mouth seeking his as she gasped, "Oh Merlin, yes, yes!"
Laughing triumphantly, he kissed her again, marveling that her lips moulded to his so perfectly. Septimus never heard his father command them to part, much less heard him shout,
Stalking away from the infirmary, Severus Snape's eyes burned with barely controlled rage. The school would be talking of nothing else but the scandal in his classroom for ages. Not since those long ago days when Harry-Bloody-Potter made him long to curse something into oblivion had he been so vexed. Noticing a third year Ravenclaw staring at him with wide eyes, he snapped, "You…detention tonight, after dinner." Further down the main corridor, two Gryffindor boys laughed. Like a fury, he swept over and growled to the boy still laughing, "You…detention tomorrow night." He moved on and then turned back to sneer. "I've got a barrel of frogs that need disemboweling…bring your friend."
Descending the dungeon stairway, robes billowing like bat wings, the Potions Master stormed through the underground passages until he reached his private quarters. The comfortable space made light with enchanted windows was devoid of the person he wanted to see. Yanking off his robes, the man forced himself to hang them up instead of tossing them across the lounge to land where they may. Removing his socks and shoes in similarly efficient, yet angry manner, Snape made for the drinks cabinet and poured himself a generous measure of firewhiskey, heading to the bedroom to wait.
"Severus, I came as soon as I checked on Ari." His wife noticed his scowl over her use of their son's childhood nickname. Lorelei said while removing her own teaching robes, "Was it that bad? I mean, Sybill did foretell that your fears would come true back on his first birthday."
"Oh, right," he scorned from his position on the bed, propped against pillows and irritably rolling his right foot. "Act as though her gift is reliable in any way whatsoever. She said we'd have twin girls, too. Did that happen? No. We had one."
Dark eyes sparkled in a lovely face. Sitting beside him on the bed, she let down her hair and ran a brush over the raven spirals. "What are you really upset about?"
Taking a last sip of his firewhiskey, Severus set it on the bedside table and took the brush from his spouse. Brushing her hair, he admitted, "I can't bear the thought of being related to Weasleys." Unable to think of the matter without more liquor, he set the brush aside and embraced her, closing his eyes against mental images that were likely to give him another grey hair. Soft lips brushed his.
"Remember that Sybill's gift isn't reliable, and don't think on it anymore, my love."
Kissing his wife was far preferable to imagining a future engagement dinner with Ron and Hermione Weasley. The comfort of a tender embrace brought about a longing for another kind of comfort. His fingertips trailed over her face, down her throat, and lowered further to undo the tie of her wrap dress. She sighed, "Mmmm." A voice from the lounge yelled,
Sitting up more quickly than a sixth year caught snogging, Lorelei jerked the edges of her dress together and called, "We'll be right out!"
"Don't bother, I'm here." Staring at his parents from the doorway, Septimus Aragorn Snape blinked rapidly and then said, "On second thought, I'll be in the lounge, fixing myself a drink to recover from one shock too many."
Swiftly buttoning his shirt, Severus warned his retreating teenager, "A butterbeer had better be all you drink, young man."
Slouched in a chair with a bottle dangling from his fingertips, Septimus managed to look broodingly attractive instead of sullen. Taking a drink, he said moodily, "Aunt Poppy may come looking for me. I didn't ask her permission to leave."
Smoothing her son's long hair back from his face, Lorelei felt his forehead and kissed it before sitting beside her husband on the sofa. "Why did you leave the infirmary, then?"
Concealing his irritation over his son's petulant tone, Severus said quietly, "Answer your mother."
Chugging the rest of the butterbeer, his son plunked the bottle down and rose to his feet. "Because Miss-Know-It-All wouldn't shut up!" Raking his hand through hair as straight as his father's but silken as his mother's, the boy said angrily, "Stupid cow is the one who botched the potion, but does she admit she's at fault?" Pacing back and forth in front of his parents, he said as much to himself as them, "No! It's somehow my fault, because my mother is a siren and I must have some sort of…" He waved his hands in sarcastic emphasis, "powers…that caused such an extreme reaction to the fumes!" Opening his arms wide, Septimus asked, "What was I supposed to do? Lie there while she ranted on and on? I told Weasley if she said one more word I was going to yank her off that bloody cot and…and…"
"And what?" Lorelei asked her son interestedly.
"Stuff a pillow down her throat, what do you think?"
"Oh, Septimus!" The boy's mother covered her mouth with her hands.
He looked to the heavens, "She said that too, and then starting crying, so I left."
Snape rose to his feet. "Return to the infirmary, apologise to Miss Weasley for your hasty words, Madam Pomfrey for leaving without permission, and spend the rest of the evening in your room in Slytherin House. Slinky will bring you a tray."
"But, Dad!" The boy looked like he had at a much younger age, when his sister Arwen had broken his Quidditch player action figure and he'd been disciplined for jinxing her in return. Feeling hypocritical, since his son had learnt every jinx he knew from his father's old texts, Severus had done the right thing then, and he did it now.
"You are overset and need rest. Go."
"Fine. Bye, Mum." As the portrait rose, he muttered, "Bye Dad."
"Goodnight." The moment the portrait fell after Septimus had left; the man looked at his wife and asked dryly, "Were you going to cry?"
She smiled. "No…I was going to laugh, but I didn't want to offend him. Teenaged boys take themselves so seriously."
"At least one of us finds this predicament amusing." He should have realized that the gleam in her eye meant trouble. Severus had thought her pinning him down on the sofa for another reason. Instead, she began tickling him. The situation still wasn't amusing, but he did laugh briefly before stilling her giggles with a long, deep kiss.
Two weeks had gone by since the "Incident", and Septimus was starting to wonder if the fumes hadn't damaged his brain somehow. He'd been aware of Weasley before, as the so-called 'brightest witch in school', just like her mother had been before her. The boy had known she didn't care for him since other girls had told him so, repeatedly, anytime they saw him glance her way. Since the accident, however, he'd become weirdly attuned to the Gryffindor. When she entered the Hall, he looked up at the exact time to see her. Furthermore, he could actually feel it when Athena watched him during meals. Merlin, she stared all the time. Although he never returned her gaze, it was putting him off his food. Striding through the library, he was determined to have it out with Ms. Athena Weasley.
A giggling first year informed him that his target was in the restricted section. What a surprise. In the back, on a window seat, she sat quietly reading a mouldy-looking text. The sight of her gave the boy a strange pang. That was yet another mark against her. He didn't want to feel stupid pangs for a girl with bushy hair…that was soft…and big eyes…that looked golden… She looked up and saw him.
"What do you want, Snape?" The sixth year had some nerve, taking that snotty tone with him.
Stepping forward, he glared. "That's what I was going to ask you, Weasley." Using his height to advantage, he loomed over her.
She glared. "I don't want anything from you!"
Septimus' lip curled. "Really? Doesn't seem that way when you're staring at me constantly."
"I don't stare!"
"Sure you do," he said. "Every damn meal, you're watching me." When she leaned away from him, he bent down to look in her eyes and asked silkily, "What did I have for breakfast this morning?"
"Eggs," she whispered before shaking her head and blushing. "That's not fair. So I noticed what you ate, so what?"
"So I want you to stop it."
"You stop first," Athena said defiantly.
His head jerked back like she'd struck him. "I don't know what the hell you're talking about."
Standing, she pointed a finger at him. "Whenever I walk into the Hall, you're staring. If I'm in the corridor and feel a shiver go down my spine, I know when I turn around, you'll be there. In Potions, I don't how you get yours to come right when you keep staring holes in my back all class." Face bright pink with indignation, she poked him in the chest and asked, "Do you have X-ray vision? What colour knickers am I wearing?"
He sneered. "Plain, sensible, boring, white..." She bit her lip, looking mortified. He almost apologised, but instead ran a finger down her cheek. "Is that an invitation, Weasley? Are you still angling for that snog?" Her face was flushed. He wished his wasn't, but Septimus kept his voice coolly insinuating. "Aren't Gryffindors supposed to be bold? If you want me to kiss you, all you have to do is…" Her eyes were making that cursed pang return with a vengeance. Wanting nothing more now than to make sure she never looked at him again, he said, "…beg…"
"Beg!" The redhead's temper got the best of her. She tried to deck him. He avoided the punch while she screeched, "I wouldn't beg you for anything, you…you…snake!" Swinging wildly as he retreated, she insisted, "You can kiss every girl in this school for all I care, but you'll never kiss me again. Never!"
Septimus backed away, triumph tasting like ashes. Grimly, he repeated, "For all you care." Shoving his way through the little crowd that had gathered beyond the roped off section, he felt sharp nails digging into his arm.
"What went on back there, young man?" Irma Pince, the vulture-like Librarian demanded.
Giving the woman who used to read him ancient texts when he was a toddler a sincere look that was totally false, he said, "I thought Weasley wrote in the margin of a book, but she refused to let me see for sure."
Her nostril's flaring dangerously; Pince patted him on the arm before marching back towards Athena. Torn between guilt and satisfaction, Septimus left the library and headed to Slytherin House. On the way, he saw a pretty seventh year Ravenclaw that had been smiling at him for years. He paused and ordered, "Before dinner, behind the statue of Gregory the Smarmy." She broke into a wide smile. How nice... someone was happy.
Further down the corridor, Hilary Daft said brightly, "Hi, Septimus."
He stopped and said, "After dinner, behind the statue of Inigo the Impetuous." She looked as though her Christmas stocking had been filled to overflowing. Septimus felt as though he'd traded his for coal. Striding away, he halted, half turned and said, "And bring your sister."
Four weeks after his son's ghastly mishap in Potions, Severus attempted to eat his dinner in the Great Hall. The boy was late. That in itself was not unusual, but for the last two weeks, gossip had it that Septimus was about to match a record that had stood since the time of Sirius Black: he was going to have snogged a different girl behind every statue at Hogwarts.
Looking like a daughter's dream and a father's nightmare, his son strolled into the Hall with a smile on his lips and Raina Lupin on his arm. Nodding and returning the greetings of all the girls who smiled and waved, he escorted his latest snogging partner to her seat at the Gryffindor table. The Deputy Headmaster's eyes narrowed when he watched his son kiss her hand before sauntering over to his place at the Slytherin bench. Perhaps no one else observed the glance the boy had exchanged with Athena Weasley when he'd bent over her best friend's hand, but he had. The situation was rapidly becoming intolerable.
Beside him, Headmaster McGonagall-Dumbledore said in a low voice, "I wish more than ever Albus was still with us. He'd know how to handle this sticky situation."
Severus raised a brow. "Or made it stickier by offering toffee."
A reminiscent smile played across the formidable witch's face. "He did love sweets." Looking away momentarily to compose herself, Minerva said, "If…complaints…were being made against the boy, you as his Head of House or I myself could take action, but as it is, you saw how Septimus was greeted."
"Hail the conquering snogger?"
Snorting in amusement, his colleague murmured, "Just so." Sympathetically, she placed a hand momentarily on his arm and said, "I know you try not to interfere in your son's life at school in a fatherly capacity in order to give Septimus the freedom of other children, but in this case…"
Nodding, Snape gazed at his eldest child, who was picking at his food and shrugging off his fifteen year old sister's attempt at conversation. He and Septimus were going to have a father and son chat very soon.
After dinner, Pomona Sprout called in the staff corridor, "Professors Snape, hold on, there's something I think you two should know."
Lorelei smiled ruefully. "Did you catch Septimus snogging by the newest Passionata Tree seedling?"
"Merlin, no, I'd not report that!" Laughing heartily, Pomona said, "He'd have that tree grown overnight! It's about Arwen. She was late to class and I gave her detention, but I've got…er…plans with Gimli and I wondered if you'd rather I send her to you or off to Filch."
While Snape stood uneasily feeling he'd forgotten something important, his wife answered, "Send her to my classroom. I'll have her help a third year student Flitwick's sending clean cauldrons. The last time she went to Filch, the man allowed her to go through his files and see what Uncle Remus and his friends got up to whilst at school."
That brief conversation niggled at the back of the Potions Master's mind while he completed testing sixth years' potions in his classroom. Heading to his office to review the seventh years' lesson plan for the next day, he was overcome by the urge to see his daughter. Rolling his eyes over a sensible wizard being ruled by a so-called 'sixth sense', the man strode toward dungeon five.
The door was open. From within came the sound of laughter, and a girl's voice saying persuasively, "Come on, Sirius, we don't have all night. Give it up."
Severus stopped dead in his tracks, remembering the dreams he'd had years ago. When the pair inside began laughing again, he stalked into the room to see his daughter, soaking wet and the image of her mother, rolling about with a boy who was the image of his father. Before Snape could regain his voice, Arwen pinned the third year, who smiled up at her and allowed the sea sponge to be wrested out of his hand. She shook it, crowing triumphantly until her father ordered,"Get off the floor at once!" Assisting his daughter to her feet, the man scowled as he used a drying spell to restore order. "Where is your mother? Why has she allowed you to roll around like otters?" The instant the words left his lips, Severus winced. He was making that accursed dream come true.
Arwen rolled her eyes. "She's in her storeroom and…oh my gods…otters…we were just…" Turning to Potter, she said, "Dad thinks I'm a cradle snatcher, Sirius, so watch out. In a couple of years, when you're as tall as me, I'm going to snog you behind every statue at school!"
The girl thought Potter was joking, but her father had seen that gleam in another pair of green eyes and decided to rectify the situation. "Detention is over. Go to your separate houses at once and never let me catch you like this again."
Eyeing him warily, the boy said "Yes, sir" and headed for the door. Arwen followed, teasing, "Hear that, Sirius? We'll have to sneak around so he won't catch us." Melodic laughter pealed. She turned, missing the intent way Potter watched her every move. Disposition sunny once more, she blew a kiss and said, "Sorry, Dad, I promise to behave. Goodnight!"
Once the pair had gone, Severus resisted the urge to send the cauldrons hurling toward the wall and instead used his wand to put them back into place. He saw Lorelei standing in the doorway of her storeroom and said, "Parenting should grow easier, not more difficult."
She crossed the chamber to slip her arms around his waist. He held her close. She said, "We're up to the challenge, love."
He sighed heavily. "One can only hope ."
Severus' mood brightened when Lorelei suggested, "How about we go roll around like otters in our roman bath?"
Thanking the stars, or whatever benevolence was responsible for giving him a wife who was both friend and lover, he nodded. "Let's go."
Trying to concentrate on his potion the following afternoon, Septimus' attention kept being drawn to the table in front of him. Raina Lupin looked his way and smiled. Beside him, Rowan muttered,
"You jammy bastard. How do you do it? Every girl who meets you behind a statue acts like you're her best friend afterwards. I keep waiting for one to slap the hell out of you, but it never happens. How come?"
Ms. Weasley's back was now ram-rod straight. Septimus drawled in a carrying tone, "I'm simply irresistible, mate."
"Ha!" Miss-Pretend-He-Didn't-Exist scoffed without turning around.
Determined to make her look at him, the teen concentrated on the fluffy…bushy…red hair pulled into a high ponytail. Within moments it was yanked back as if by an unseen hand.
"Ow!" Athena turned. "Leave me alone!"
He had planned to deny doing anything, but was rendered speechless by the purple shadows under her eyes and pallor of her skin. Weasley had been acting like she couldn't care less what he'd been up to. Now he hoped…no, wondered… Her own gaze seemed to be focused on the high cheekbones girls had begun saying made him look lean and hungry. Maybe if his stomach didn't tie in knots every meal he'd feel like eating more.
Athena's eyes met his. They stared at each other until the hiss of her potion bubbling over caused her cry out in dismay and whirl around to extinguish the flames under her cauldron. Watching her frantically clean the mess, his lips twitched.
She spun around and accused, "You made me ruin my potion!"
Septimus smiled mockingly. "Well, I do have…" He waved his hands. "…powers, don't I?"
Pink cheeked, she snatched her wand and grated, "I've got powers too…Flipendo!"
His cauldron overturned, sending his perfectly done solution onto the dungeon floor. The outraged boy grabbed his wand. A firm hand prevented him from jinxing. Realising that the whole class was hushed and watching avidly, Septimus listened in dread while the Potions Master said in a dire tone, "Evanesco" Giving his erring students a gimlet stare, the boy's father continued, "I expect better from advanced students, Miss Weasley. Mr. Snape. Twenty points from both your houses and tonight, after dinner, return for Detention."
While the rest of the class filled and labeled flagons for testing, Septimus tried to make Athena feel as wretched as he did by staring at her back. Her shoulder blades twitched. His smile was wiped away by the bizarre mental image of her sitting on the stool in a pink brassiere and panties that should've clashed horribly with her hair and freckles but instead… Shaking his head, unnerved, he stared down at his table until the class was dismissed.
"Stay behind, Mr. Snape. I wish to have a word with you."
Athena smirked at him before flouncing away. He called, "The pink's a vast improvement over plain white." She stared back at him with shocked eyes until Raina pulled her out of the class. His heart jolted. He'd not been serious!
Not looking forward to a father and son talk, the boy rose to his feet and moved to sit on a table across from the teacher's desk. Dad was leaning back in his chair with his fingertips forming a steeple. The onyx eyes he'd passed on to his son were fathomless. It was great when he and dad were playing mum and Arwen in cards, but in this situation…not so good. Deciding to wait and hear what his father said before speaking himself, Septimus unconsciously imitated his 'Uncle Draco' and swung his legs while his father intoned, "Whatever…issues…you have with Miss Weasley, resolve them tonight, or face detention for the next month."
"That's not fair, I'm Quidditch Captain!" His father's expression told him the wizard knew that full well, and was using it as leverage. Simultaneously resentful and admiring, Septimus agreed, "Yes, sir. May I be excused?"
His father nodded and then said quietly, "Sometimes anger is a defense against fear. If you face what you fear, then anger…and the rash actions that result from it…will control you no longer. Do you understand?"
Unable to express the jumbled emotions he felt, Septimus stood and met his father's gaze. Images came to mind. Athena looking down her nose at him, glaring angrily, gazing adoringly, and then the memories of girl after girl after girl behind statues…embarrassed, the boy looked away. His father rose and laid a hand on his shoulder. Comforted by that unspoken acceptance, Septimus said farewell and left the classroom. On impulse, he decided to visit his mother's dungeon. She wasn't there, but his sister was, tutoring a boy who stared at her face instead of learning the proper method of chopping herbs.
Striding inside, Septimus growled, "Too long have you haunted her steps!"
The kid jumped and flushed guiltily. Septimus wondered how his father would react to his little girl being pals with Potter. Arwen laughed. "Oh my stars, it's been awhile since we played Eomer and Eowyn." Turning to her friend, she explained, "Our mum adores The Lord of the Rings, so we grew up having her read the stories and enacting our favourite parts."
Uh huh. Sounded more like the Gryffindor Chaser had just hit puberty. Pointing his wand, Septimus said menacingly, "I would cut off your head, dwarf, if it stood but a little higher from the ground." Potter got the warning, but he didn't appear to want to heed it. The Slytherin looked forward to hexing the blighter one day.
"You would die before your stroke fell." Arwen's wand was pointed at him. He chuckled. She giggled.
Bowing to her, Septimus backed away, saying, "Tell Mum I stopped by. Farewell, Eowyn…Wormtongue…"
His cheerful mood lasted until he entered the Great Hall. By force of will, the Slytherin refrained from looking when he sensed Athena enter. When he felt her eyes upon him during dinner, he did something he never had before. Septimus met her gaze challengingly. She blushed and turned away, not glancing his way for the rest of the meal. The moment Weasley stood to leave, he followed. It was rather enjoyable, 'haunting her steps' through the corridors to the dungeons. Inside his father's classroom, he halted, surprised to see his mum perched on a corner of his dad's desk and the two of them engaged in a low conversation. His mother looked up and smiled.
"Ari, I was just asking your father if he could help me test my fifth years' potions while you and Miss Weasley test my third years'. He said yes, so we'll be back in an hour or so." Kissing him on the cheek, she glided from the chamber, his father following after a meaningful look at his son.
"Ari?" Weasley snickered, arranging flagons in a line across a table for testing.
One was a millimetre out of place. He pushed it into correct alignment and said, "Short for Aragorn, my middle name, and if you repeat it, I'll tell yours, Molly."
Taking a piece of parchment and a quill in hand, she asked, "How do you know my middle name?"
He stared blankly for a moment, and then smiled wickedly. "I know the colour of your knickers, why not your name?" Distracted from finding out that he'd made it his business to find out all sorts of things about her, she picked up a flagon and held it out along with a spoon. Septimus frowned, "What are we testing?"
"Verisimilitude Serum- one teaspoon will ensure one truthfully answered question if brewed correctly."
Closing his eyes to remain calm, when he wanted to kick over the table, Septimus said levelly, "All right." He took a teaspoon and shivered.
Looking uncomfortable, Athena questioned, "How do you really know my middle name?"
"I asked Raina."
Athena looked stunned as she marked the potion as successful. He jerked his head toward the remaining flagons. "Your turn."
Resolutely, she took a dose. He had planned on asking her if she was jealous, but instead he blurted, "Do you hate me?"
She didn't answer until her face turned fiery red and she gasped, "No."
He grabbed another flagon for testing. Athena looked down as she asked, "Why are you kissing all those girls behind statues?"
She gaped incredulously. "What do you mean?" He didn't answer. Huffily, she scratched on the parchment and administered the next dose to herself.
Septimus leaned forward. "Are you jealous of all those girls?"
He'd expected her to pass out before admitting it. Athena said calmly, "The solution didn't work. You try one." Sticking a teaspoon into his opened mouth, she smiled a bit at his disbelief and asked after he swallowed, "Tell the truth, have you or have you not been kissing girls behind statues?"
Eyes watering, face red, he succumbed to the Verisimilitude. "Not."
Gazing at him with wide eyes, she marked off the result and took a dose from one of the remaining flagons. Breathing heavily to recover, Septimus glared. "Happy?"
"Yes." Her lips curved wryly. "That potion wasn't any good." She asked when he'd swallowed the next teaspoon, "What are you doing with those girls if you're not snogging them?"
Athena looked confused. Septimus inwardly felt the same way. He'd meant to snog the Ravenclaw that first day when he'd been so angry, but he hadn't been raised to treat girls badly, and had ended up chatting with her instead. For some odd reason, females liked to have a bloke listen to them without offering advice or telling them how to solve their problems. The first time a girl had said, "You're really sweet" he'd felt like she'd punched him in the stomach. Him? Sweet? Yeah, right. It had worked to his advantage to listen and be supportive, so he'd done it and now, when girls told him how nice he was, it only made him shrug.
Instead of taking another dose, Athena said, "You deliberately let everybody in school believe that you're trying to match Sirius Black's record. You even got my best mate to meet you, knowing what people would think, what I'd think, why?"
He dragged his hands through his hair, looking away while he admitted bitterly, "Because you said I could kiss every girl at school for all you cared."
Silence fell and lengthened uncomfortably, until he had to see her reaction. Septimus saw it up close, since she was now standing in front of him, golden eyes shining with unshed tears as she confessed. "I cared. I still care."
Off the stool and enfolding her into his arms, the boy whispered, "I didn't want to, tried to fight it, to push you away by acting like a right bastard, but I care too, so damned much…Athena…" He looked down into her face, streaked with tears even though she was smiling and swallowed hard, throat aching, to whisper, "May I kiss you?"
Another tear rolled down her cheek while she nodded.
He gently kissed her tears away, trailing his lips across her freckles and her eyelids before softly brushing her mouth with his. Embracing the pang in his chest and the girl in his arms, Septimus felt the same sensation he had before, that their lips fit together perfectly. He smiled against her mouth and parted her lips for another kiss.
On the first Hogsmeade Weekend of the year, students crowded happily into the Three Broomsticks. The long wait for food and drink didn't faze teenagers enjoying the break from the confines of school. Groups chatted animatedly at tables and along the bar.
At the back of the pub, a man in black stood by the dartboard. The wizard's intimidating demeanor kept any student from asking if he would allow them to play. It was evident that he wouldn't and anyone foolish enough to inquire would most likely be pickling frog's brains in detention the following week.
"Dad! Ready for our rematch?"
Watching his son cross the pub hand in hand with Athena Weasley, Severus sighed deeply and resigned himself to one day sitting across the dinner table from her parents. Thinking about the unhappiness the girl's parents' were bound to feel, his lips quirked. Perhaps he could find a measure of contentment in the situation…one day. Lorelei returned from the bar with three butterbeers and a tumbler of Odgen's Finest. Handing the teens a bottle each, she winked at him before offering the firewhiskey. He murmured, "You are a pearl beyond price" and took a fortifying swallow.
"Dad, is it okay if we play 301 instead of 501? Athena and I are going to the Bludger for lunch."
Raising a brow, Snape drawled, "I suppose I am fortunate you can spare any time. Very well, 301."
After hitting closest to the Bull's Eye, Septimus asked after scoring a double to get on the board and start reducing his number to zero, "Have you and Uncle Draco partnered up against Gimli and Orlando recently?"
Hitting a double 15, Severus shook his head, "Orlando has gone 'a roving' as he calls it, and will not return for some time. Gimli has chosen a new confederate, who is a better sport about losing."
"I'll tell Remus you said that when he and Tonks arrive," his wife said laughingly.
Septimus hit a triple and grinned when Athena clapped her hands excitedly,
"Way to go, Ari!"
Severus hit a single in shock. "Ari?"
His son laughed nervously. "Heh. Yeah, I asked her not to do that in public. Erm…I guess she forgot."
Marching over to throw back a long swallow of liquid fortification, Severus felt able to continue the match. Each of their scores diminished until Snape had 40 and Septimus 35 remaining. The father watched his son heft a dart and said blandly, "Too bad you did not consider having to double off earlier. Are you planning on hitting a 5 and then a double fifteen in the unlikelihood that I am unable to hit a double twenty on my turn?"
Throwing the dart after slanting his father a sour look, the boy laughed shortly. "No, a three and a double sixteen."
Severus hit the needed double and shook his son's hand. The boy didn't seem too upset to lose with his new girlfriend consoling him with an admiring look and a kiss on the cheek. Kissing her hand, the incorrigible boy took his revenge before leaving by saying while smirking at his father. "Thanks, baby, let's go have lunch. Bye, Mum, bye…Daddy."
The wizard inclined his head with an inward smile. His son was a true Slytherin. Septimus would make him proud- and probably give him more grey hair.
Lorelei smiled her farewell and said, "Tonks and Remus just walked in the door." Looking at him mischievously, she suggested, "Why don't we go have a picnic in the Shrieking Shack? After lunch, if you're still in a nark, you and Remus can scare a few students by singing 'Werewolves of London'."
In a rare public gesture of affection, Severus bent and kissed his wife's cheek after nodding his acceptance of the plan. Smoothing back her hair, he whispered in her ear, "Ah-wooo!"
A/N: I had so much fun writing this. Anytime I can use LOTR quotes, 'Werewolves of London' and give sardonic Slytherins a happy ending I go Ah-wooo! If you enjoyed their story, please let me know in a review! (Rhyming like Fezzick and Inigo in The Princess Bride makes me smile too! Adieu!)
4/26/2016 ETA: Thanks go to sweetandsimple1 for reading Simply Irresistible and Don't Call Me Daddy. Since he said he'd get around to reading this story, too, I did a quick edit to fix the dialogue formatting errors I had no clue existed back in 2005 when I first started writing. Back then, I thought direct address commas were optional, used if you intended a pause before someone's name. Turns out they're mandatory, and writers should trust readers to know if a pause is intended or not! :)