Disclaimer: I'm not making any money off of this and neither is Verity Brown, the author of the fanfic, A Merciless Affection. If she is making any money, I'm not getting any of it. But last I checked, her account balance was just as low as mine. Oh well, we still have each other.

A/N: This came about one ICQ evening after too little sleep and too much coffee—on my part anyway. I've been after Verity to write to write this "lost chapter" for ages. She jokingly told me to run with the plot bunny. The original was written "on the fly" in about fifteen minutes. In the end, we both decided it was too good to delete. Anyway, a huge thanks to Verity Brown for allowing me to borrow her fic and beta-ing . – Lady Whitehart

A/N: A huge thanks to Lady Whitehart for doing me the honor of wanting to write a fic about my fic. I'm immensely flattered. – Verity Brown

One last thought, this story contains major spoilers for A Merciless Affection. If you haven't read Verity's fic yet, I recommend that you read it first. Just, please, don't forget to come back and read and review this little one-shot wonder.

A Single Strand

Stupid, utterly stupid, he thought furiously, slamming the office door in his wake. It was just meant to be a distraction—a meaningless yet pleasant distraction. A way to get back at Malfoy and the rest of the pureblooded snots. He, a lowly halfblooded bastard from Knockturn Alley, bedding a daughter of one of the oldest and purest families—the high and mighty Sarah Darkglass. A young, pretty face in his bed.

Severus Snape stormed about his dungeon, more agitated than usual. His affair with N.E.W.T. level Potions student, Sarah Darkglass, had been going on for well over a month. At least three or four nights a week, she had been coming to his rooms. It wasn't until nearly five weeks into the affair, while he was finishing up a potion that required an entire month to brew, that he realized something was 'amiss.' Now, unless the conniving little chit was completely barren, he was faced with the possibility of a very serious dilemma.

As a man who normally paid to have a woman in his bed, he had never bothered to concern himself with the consequences. After all, prostitutes were well aware of the risks they undertook in their line of work and knew enough to take certain precautions. Not that he liked the thought that there might be a child of his out there, but one of those women would also be apt to end a pregnancy. However, Sarah was not some whore, she was a student—one of his students. The fact that she had neglected to take precautions—whether through ignorance, thoughtlessness or secret motivation—was a moot point. Ultimately he would be held responsible for the outcome.

Furiously he flipped through the pages of a book on medical potions. He was sure that Madam Pomfrey had Pregnancy Determining Solution in the infirmary, but asking her would probably only arouse the nurse's suspicions. The last thing he needed was any questions. Depending on the outcome, there would probably be plenty of those. It all depended on what he could learn from a single strand of Sarah's hair.

He carefully measured and added the ingredients one by one to the cauldron. Frog roe, black cohosh extract, five lacewing eggs, three rabbit hairs, chasteberry... He snorted at the ingredient's name. Stirring and waiting. Waiting and stirring. At last, the final simmer was complete. Carefully he measured out a portion of the slightly viscous yellow liquid. He held the long strand of brown hair between his fingers as if it were a scorpion ready to sting.

The potion steamed slightly as the hair came in contact with the surface. He stared at it, his jaw clenching in anger. Steam rose, twisting in ever tightening circles around the long strand of hair before the steam surrounding it turned blue. Positive and a male no less! Damn her! He threw the beaker to the floor where it smashed, shards of glass mixing with the potion as it seeped into the cracks between the stone. His worst fears were confirmed. She was pregnant with his child.

He dropped into the chair next to the work table. She was a student—his student for God's sake! What the bloody hell had he been thinking? So many times he had woken up to the smell of her still clinging to the sheets, knowing full well that he should break it off. Each time she walked into the dungeon, he thought about sending her back to Gryffindor Tower where she belonged. But no, he was stupid enough to give into his baser needs. For once not have to worry about whether or not he had enough to pay for a woman.

She had been willing. Had this been her intention after all? To conceive and later seek revenge on him long after it was too late for him to stop it? When he was in so deeply that there was no way to escape the fact that he had fathered a child with one of his students. What did she want from him? A better mark? No, her marks were adequate, and after she took her N.E.W.T.s, they would be unimportant anyway. A recommendation for an apprenticeship? He had already said he would mention her name to Dreggs and Pennyworth. Was it the layered effect of the charms her mother had placed on her that caused her to be hopelessly attracted to the first person who noticed her? Was this selfish desire to have a hold on him why she neglected to even attempt to avoid conceiving? What the bloody hell could she possibly want from him?

With a surge of rage at his situation, he dashed into his quarters, wrenching open the wardrobe. Firewhisky. He hated it: the burn, the smell, the feeling that he was no longer in control. He poured the amber liquid into the glass and tossed it back, feeling it burn a path from his tongue to his stomach. He closed his eyes, thinking hard about what his next move should be. How was he going to slither out of this? Dumbledore had forgiven him for many things, but this...

Severus stopped the thought in its tracks. There was a chance to make it look like he was only doing the honorable thing: Severus would offer to marry her. Then he would have it all: Darkglass Hall, the daughter of one of the Dark Lord's martyrs, and a son, an heir of noble birth.

He would tell Dumbledore everything. The old man would understand his loneliness; how the temptation was finally too much to bear. He would admit to having been attracted to her. Oh yes, he had found her attractive, and not simply because she had come to his bed with no visible ulterior motives. He had felt himself inexplicably drawn to her. At first he had thought it was of her own doing; he had even accused her of using a Dark Glass on him. She had of course denied the ownership—let alone the use—of such an object. It wasn't until later, when he had learned about the layers of protective spells her mother had placed on her as a child, that he had begun to wonder if there was something more to the attraction.

The fleeting thought crossed his mind. What if this was unintentional on her part? After all, she had come to him a virgin—a burden he had happily relieved her of. Screwing a high and mighty pureblooded virgin, and a Darkglass no less. The memory of that first night flooded his mind. The feel of her slender body crushed against his. The fresh smell of her hair. The tightness of her as he had ripped her maidenhead. The slickness of her blood on him. The taste of pain and fear in the solitary tear that she had shed. He had hurt her; he had wanted her to feel pain when he took her. She had deserved it, if for no other reason than she represented everything he had never been entitled to.

He had given her every opportunity to leave. He had wanted to make absolutely certain that she was not some desperate, lovelorn little girl infatuated with her teacher. Infatuated with her teacher? The very idea sounded foolish. He was not the type of teacher that young girls were apt to become attracted to. Every year a small handful of Slytherin chits and occasionally a Ravenclaw or two would try and tempt him in hopes of incurring some sort of favor or a better mark in class. It was so insulting that they would think that he was desperate enough to succumb to them. Sarah had been different from all of them--she had asked for nothing.

The truth was that it had been a relief not to have to pay for a woman's company. It was humiliating to know that no woman had willingly come to him, unless there was gold or silver involved, since he had been an apprentice. Not until the night Sarah had graced him with her presence.

And what had he gotten out of their encounters? A child that he didn't want. No, that wasn't entirely accurate. He had known that there was always the possibility that something could spring up from his seed to bite him like a viper. Severus ground the heels of his hands into his temples. Did he subconsciously want a child? That little bit of immortality. That assurance that when he was dead and gone, that wouldn't be the end of him. Was he actually trying to trap her?

No, the last thing he wanted or needed was the entanglement of a family. That would just be another weapon that the Dark Lord could use on him. He would give Sarah one last chance to escape him. He would offer her a way to end the pregnancy. If she took it, he would end the affair and go back to the whores of Knockturn Alley. If she refused, then he would have no choice but to marry her. He would claim his son and give him the one thing he never had—a father's name.

Severus poured and tossed back another shot of the amber liquid, whispering hoarsely, "Miss Darkglass, your plans are about to explode in your face like one of Longbottom's Potion projects."

A/N: I hope you enjoyed a peek into the mind of Severus Snape. Again, many thanks to Verity for letting me do this.

For those fellow geeky souls who wonder how I come up with this stuff, here is the list of ingredients for the Pregnancy Determining Solution and why I chose them:

frog roe—sample egg for comparison

black cohosh extract—purported to increase fertility, and therefore could be used to detect

pregnancy

five lacewing eggs—again, sample eggs for comparison

three rabbit hairs—the old "the rabbit died" cliché

chasteberry—another herb used to increase fertility. That, and I thought the name was pretty ironic.

I am not a trained apothecary or medical doctor, just a humble fic writer. This is a fictitious medicinal potion. If you suspect that you might be pregnant, you should contact your health care provider.