Another Man's Wife
disclaimer: No, I don't own Harry Potter, though I really really wish I did.
nb: This story is very, very close to something going on in my heart right now. I crave reviews, but right now… I'm writing for my own healing. Please read and review… 'cause I'm feeling the fool.
nb 2: This is slightly canon-based, slightly not. Dumbledore is still dead (for the time being, dun know if that'll stay) and Snape is not.
Chapter 1: Folly
Folly is defined as foolishness, humanity, the things we do for no reason but for the fact that we are human and we FEEL. We fight, we love, we marry, we die… all for love of folly. It is folly that makes the gods interested in us; we were the outcome of their folly, thus our folly brings it full circle. Occasionally, though, we fool ourselves to the point that the gods themselves intervene, instead of watching from afar. And, even rarer, they intervene in remorse for previous interventions…
The goddess Rhiannon was lounging in her chambers in Tir naNog, her chin resting in her hands when her sister, Medb strode in, chuckling madly. Rhiannon's eyebrows knitted in annoyance and she flicked green eyes at the lusty war goddess. Medb grabbed a chair and turned it backwards, flicking the tail of her leather coat back and straddling it, facing her sister.
"Aye, Rhiannon, you're such a bloody, damned fool, some matches, you are," Medb cackled. She laughed for a moment more before her eyes hardened. She was a goddess of war, but unlike Morrígan, she had a heart, hard as it was to see under her... earthy…nature. "You let them follow a foolish, childish fantasy. You fell to the whim of your own heart. You subverted the true nature of a human because you thought you knew best."
"And what would you have done? Turned up their lust, let them rut like pigs, then leave them cold and wondering why they'd ever looked upon one another naked?" Rhiannon returned angrily. She sat up on her couch, her face in her sister's. "You care nothing for love, only lust and sex!"
"And war, please don't forget war, dear sister," Medb replied, her eyes narrow. She leaned back, then stood up, her riding leathers creaking. "Fear not. I've decided to intervene. You fucked up. Time for big sis to fix it."
Rhiannon sputtered and opened her mouth to reply, but Medb disappeared, leaving behind a patch of bloody grass. Rhiannon sagged back on her couch, her head in her hands.
"Folly. Sheer folly."
Married for ten years, Hermione Granger Weasley had plenty to show for her efforts. She had a nine year old daughter (about to turn ten, Rose had been born prematurely… at seven pounds, but Molly and Arthur were more than happy to overlook the fact for their beloved grandchild), a five year old son full of his uncles' mischief and more, a husband who loved his job as a national quidditch league keeper, and a job. Granted, she was a secretary to an undersecretary at the Ministry of Magic, but at least she was working.
Hermione hated her life.
Rose was bright, but also highly talented. She was getting into more and more trouble at her muggle school for things 'just happening around the blessed child', and Hermione was called in constantly. That is, when her cellular phone actually worked at the Ministry offices. Hugo, much like his sister, was highly talented, and unfort
unately for Hermione, his grandmothers were highly divided on that front. Jane Granger, who still worked at the dental practice with her husband, decreed Hugo could do absolutely no magic while she watched him, as she would often have to take him to the practice with her. Molly Weasley, who was anxious for even more Granger-Weasley grandchildren, not only allowed but encouraged magic over more mundane (muggle) ways of doing things. She also kept trying to keep the children overnight, so Hermione and Ron 'might get a bit of sleep'… which would have been much more comforting had she not winked quite so much every blasted time she tried it.
Ron simply loved playing quidditch. He was always on about how it was like not even having 'a job', but getting played for his hobby. He loved that he made so much Hermione didn't have to work. He was constantly talking about not knowing why Hermione felt the need to work, because he could always support her and all the children they could have. And oh, did he want those children. Even if he wasn't looking for more children, he certainly liked practicing for them. Most every night of the week, Ron was still at Hermione for a 'bit o' that'… he couldn't even use words to ask for what he wanted. Even when Hermione was riding the moon, he wanted her. Some nights she wondered if her sensuality had been ridden out of her; she hadn't felt the full force release in years, though Ron met his goal every time she gave in.
All in all, Hermione didn't just hate her life, she loathed it. She had worked hard for her degrees and certificates, mastering runes, transfiguration, charms, defense… and potions. She was most proud of her potions certificates, though she'd be loathe to admit the fact. But Ron needed to be near the wizarding side of London, Rose needed to be in a muggle school till she was of Hogwart's age, and if Hermione was going to work, she needed family to help watch Hugo. So instead of teaching at Hogwart's or a private wizarding academy, she had to look to the Ministry for work. And women, especially muggle-born women, worked their way up at the Ministry. Every time Hermione saw another woman get a promotion, though, she realized how much 'work' was done in the dark, on a horizontal surface. Occasionally, feeling a bit catty, Hermione would mutter about not even waiting to be horizontal… perhaps there was more than one reason she hadn't been promoted.
So, at thirty years old, spending yet another lonely lunch hour at her desk, Hermione was mulling all these things over in her head. Her boss, Lionel Tuttledecht (whom Hermione had heard more than one ambitious witch refer to as 'Lovely as a Turtledick'), had called in a witch for her performance review nearly 3 hours ago; approximately 2 hours, 50 minutes ago, Hermione had felt him cast a silencing charm on his office.
"Guess Matilda Baggleykets is getting her promotion," Hermione said in a mock-thoughtful voice, chewing her peanut butter and jelly sandwich. She grimaced as she felt a vibration in the wall behind her. Silencing charms only worked on voices, unfortunately. She was feeling particularly catty, and she was actually glad her boss was … subscribed, for the moment. Her work was done, and she had a stack of journals with her. So long as he stayed engaged, she could do her research, keeping up in her fields. Perhaps she could even go home early.
"Scratch that," she murmured under her breath, remembering Ron was in a game and Rose had a sleep-over with one cousin or another. There really were too many Weasleys to keep track of them all. Some days, it seemed Hermione and Ron were the only ones who could shag without ending up with another mouth to feed. Jane and Nathaniel Granger had already offered to keep Hugo. Hermione loved her children dearly, but she also knew that she needed a night every once in a while with neither husband nor child to pull at her. She'd go home and enjoy some time to herself, perhaps stop and grab some dinner instead of cooking. "Mmmm… perfect."
Hermione smiled a bit, chucking the rubbish from her lunch and setting to annotating her journals. She had a few issues she'd been meaning to get back to waiting for her at the house. It would be a great night, full of knowledge and completely, blissfully, free of interruptions. A bit of a weight lifted from her shoulders and Hermione sighed softly, noticing but not registering the gentle smell of cut grass that wafted into her nostrils. She looked up, still planning her evening.
"Perhaps even a nightcap," she said absently, to herself. She shook her head and looked back to her notes.
Silent in the corner, Medb nodded solemnly. One down, one to go.
Severus Snape was finally in the position of his dreams. He'd been Headmaster of Hogwart's, but he managed to foist THAT off on Minerva McGonagall. He'd taught potions till he was blue in the face, and shockingly enough, he'd started to get the next generation of Weasleys, starting with one Victoire (daughter of Bill and that much too sensual half-Veela, Fleur), who spent nearly every waking moment flirting and throwing herself at the orphaned Teddy, please just call me Ted or Theo, Lupin.
It was happening all over again. The wizarding world was settling down, picking up where it had left off to fight Voldemort. And Severus Snape was well and truly alone, not even Dumbledore there to pester him.
He had used to love this kind of thing.
More recently, Severus had found himself lacking any sort of intelligent company. He ate his meals in near silence, whether he ate in his quarters or in the great hall. Even Trelawney had stopped trying to chat him up, his disposition was so dour. Already the rumours were raging; had he been more than a friend to Albus Dumbledore?
"Not bloody likely," he growled under his breath at Rita Skeeter's latest column on his supposed illicit affair with his mentor. His breakfast was sour in his mouth at the thought. "I'm no fucking fudgepacker. Damned witch."
Professors Sinistra and Vector raised eyebrows at his outburst and shared a look. He hissed at them and turned back to his plate, his face down and his lips pursed. He had to find himself some companion, some female companion, who could think, talk, and provide some sort of proof that he was male, and only interested in females.
"Blasted Skeeter. I need a woman, now," Severus breathed. His nostrils flared and he contemplated his options in his colleagues. Sinistra was too uptight; Vector was too literal, and besides, she couldn't brew her own contraceptive potions if her career depended on it (Severus wasn't sure if he wanted an heir, but he definitely didn't want one immediately… or with her); Minerva McGonagall was… right out; and Trelawney was. Hmph. Trelawney was Trelawney. He'd sooner come out of the closet than spend any more time than necessary with that one.
He dug into his now-cold breakfast and grimaced, just barely noting the scent of fresh-cut grass wafting over the table. He shrugged and assumed Hagrid was outside readying the grounds for the summer break.
In the shadowy corner behind the staff table, Medb smirked and turned on her heel, carefully brushing her hand over Trelawney's shoulder before disappearing, leaving behind a few blades of grass.
The mystic's eye flashed open with a strange lucidity and Severus scowled more. He could barely stand it when Sybil made up her predictions; he absolutely loathed it when she was actually giving prophecy.
"Beware the dogged ones. What one seeks another can provide. Care not for barriers, for not all is at it seems. May the rhythms guide thee in thy search for if thou dost not heed, thou shalt see none but emptiness for all eternity," she intoned, standing straight up from her seat.
Severus rolled his eyes. This was why he preferred the science of potions to the muddied waters of any and all forseeing. Trelawney sat with a heavy thud, barely caught by Flitwick before she slumped forward, just missing her pudding. Students were shocked into silence for a moment before a nervous twitter ran through them. An arched eyebrow from Minerva kept the twitter from turning to laughter, and she dismissed them with barely more than a jerk of her head.
"Severus," Minerva began, and he shook his head. She knew services he'd perform for Albus, and she expected little less. Wordlessly, he stood and strode to his offices for the correct potions and an enchanted glass orb.
It was time to log yet another useless damned prophecy.