- This is it...the final Chapter of Part I ( I was going to do two final chapters but there wasn't much point in over streching it.)
- I'd like to thank you all, from the bottom of my heart, for all your lovely reviews and for sticking with this story.
- Part II will be up on thursday and I hope you all carry on reading it as some unaswered questions in Part One will be answered in part two.
- Thanks again... :)
Chapter Forty Four: Instruo pro Posterus (Preparing for the future)
Not long after the rather heated dispute at the Headmaster's quarters, Hermione left feeling downtrodden, yet appreciative that Minerva had put forward the thoughts that she herself was too frightening to say. Of course, she didn't agree with Minerva's onslaught about Severus and his choices, because her words were far too harsh to be deemed necessary, however, the deputy headmistress spoke truthfully when it came to Severus' decision to rejoin the Death Eaters; it was far too dangerous.
Hermione arrived home after a heated dispute with herself, regarding whether Severus should indeed resume his double spy role, to find their bedroom door ajar and partially muted whispers emanating from the small opening. She peered inside quietly, to find Severus lying in bed with Septima tucked up asleep under his arm and Sebastian, still awake and gurgling, within his other arm.
"One day little man, you'll see that why Daddy is the way he is…just like Mummy did." He paused, giving Sebastian the chance to speak, but the baby just gurgled up at his Father; Severus smiled.
"And I always want you to know that I am doing this to protect you all. Daddy loves you both very much and your Mummy equally so. But if I don't do this, you'll all get hurt and Daddy would prefer it if he gets hurt rather than you. I don't want to do this, I don't want to put up the impenetrable façade that I had to all those years ago, and hurt so many people in the process…but I have to. I promised to protect your Mummy and also you two, and if that means potentially giving my life to protect yours then that is what I shall do." Hermione watched from the doorway as a stray tear fell from the end of his nose and splashed upon Sebastian's head, who giggled at the feeling of water on his face.
"I'm glad someone finds it funny," said Severus his voice breaking slightly. "Right now, you're both too young to understand and when you are old enough to I will ensure that my past remains there. I never want you to be embarrassed of me and so you will never know who I truly am."
"Severus," whispered Hermione, causing Severus to jot up right and reach for his wand. He lowered in when he saw who it was and wiped his eyes swiftly. "They will be proud of you and what you have given to protect them."
"No Death Eater child is proud of their Father Hermione," he replied solemnly, as he watched her slip into bed completing his family.
"But you are no Death Eater Severus."
"I think Minerva, well and truly cleared that point up before didn't she," he answered bitterly.
"Well in that case, Minerva was wrong."
"No Hermione, she was right. When I first joined, I joined for power, for prosperity-"
"Yes…" she interrupted, "you were blinded by what Voldemort had to offer, as many other boys of your age would have and were. But you soon realised the truth behind his actions and his real aims, and you sought refuge with the order, you returned to the side of the good."
"Indeed I did, but only for Lily."
Hermione felt a pang of jealously course through her body at the mention of his former love's name, but instantly pushed it aside. "You did it for love and that's what makes you a man not a monster."
"I was selfish and if it wasn't for Lily then I wouldn't be here now."
'If it wasn't for Lily…' the words echoed menacingly around her mind and Hermione quickly and unintentionally rebuked: "What about me?"
"And you, I wouldn't be here without you either, but I wouldn't have even started things with you if I was a true Death Eater. I would have been forced to marry a pureblood."
Hermione's heart sank, and by Severus' reaction her internal feelings were evident also in her facial expressions.
"Oh Hermione, you know that I love you more than I ever loved Lily; this is real."
"Your love for Lily was so real you risked your life for her, Severus," she accused with slight accusation.
"And isn't that what I'm doing for you now; for our family?"
"But I don't want to lose you!"
"And you won't."
"How can you say that so casually? You are rejoining Voldemort for Merlin's sake."
"Yes for you and for our family," he replied with a little impatience.
"You did it last time for Lily and look where it got her. Dead, Severus, dead."
"You don't need to remind me!" he bellowed back, causing Septima to sit beside him.
"If she wouldn't have died Severus, Harry would have been your son, you wouldn't be with me."
"No you're right, I probably wouldn't but that doesn't mean I don't love you."
"I know you love me, I just don't want to lose you again, and it hurts."
"Severus, I have always, if not loved you, cared for you. When I was younger I used to watch you, I could see through your façade, I could tell when you had been at a revel the night before, I could tell when you had received information for Dumbledore and I could tell when you were happy."
"I seriously doubt-"
"Doubt all you want Severus, but I could read you like a book. I don't know how, because nobody else seemed to be able to but I could. And when I knew you had been hurt the night before, it tore me apart. I don't want to feel that way again or for our children to feel that way again."
"And you won't, not for years. Hermione, I do not wish to dwell on something which hasn't yet occurred and that won't occur for many a year yet. We have years of which are there to be enjoyed and to watch our children grow into young adults, I want to enjoy that and not be plagued with worry."
"No buts Hermione. When the time comes strains will be placed upon our relationship and those strains should not be brought unnecessarily forward. I love you all and want you to be happy."
"But what about Voldemort, won't you have to start character building, as it were, before he reinstates you."
"Yes," Severus replied simply and softly, with a heightened forlornness.
"In what way?" she asked.
"Of late, when I thought he was gone for good, I was less bias towards my Slytherins; I was on the whole a much nicer person. And I showed feelings other than hatred."
"So you're going to have to be the miserable, sarcastic, emotionally detached man you were?"
"Outside of these four walls yes," he answered gently, "but as far as you three are concerned I won't change at all. I just need to be feared to the scale I was prior to our re-acquaintance."
"Re-acquaintance is that what you call it?"
"With regard to The Dark Lord, yes that is what we have, a re-acquaintance."
"How can you live such I lie Severus?" she asked.
"Because I have to in order to protect you all."
Hermione smiled at his bravery. "I love you Severus," she whispered as she snuggled into Severus, Sebastian and Septima.
"I love you too Hermione, I will always love you."
Severus lay awake as he listened to the soft and steady breathing of his sleeping family with a huge smile on his face. It occurred to him that he was the luckiest man alive to have such a beautiful family all laying beside him. His baby son, lay sleeping on his chest, with a mop of dark hair falling slightly across his chest. His beautiful daughter lay between he and his wife, with her head lying gently in the crook of his arm. But Severus' smile widened even more so as he looked over at the final sleeping person in his bed: Hermione. It baffled him, just how he had fallen in love with the annoying Gryffindor know-it-all and more so that she had fallen for him too.
Severus Snape had neither desired a family nor ever deemed it a possibility that he could ever have one, yet the intense love that he felt when he looked over them, inspired him to never go on presumption and rash ideas again, and rather to explore the unknown; the unknown of his own love.
"We'll be alright," whispered Severus to his family as he decided to let his eyes close, "I'll protect you all."
A.N: So thats it for this sector of the trilogy, but by thursday at the latest, I'll have the first two chapters of Part II up, so please look out for it.
And if you have time, please review the story as a whole, and give me pointers as to where to take Part II...I have a story outline but there are gaps to be filled...