Chapter 1 Two Wizards and a Wedding
Twenty-one-year-old Hermione Granger adjusted the garland of blue flowers on her head, smoothed the silk of her light blue wedding gown, picked up the blue and white arrangement of her wedding bouquet and looked at herself in the full-length mirror, her eyes falling to the slightly rounded belly her dress couldn't quite hide.
Mrs. Weasley offered to cast a slimming spell to hide her "delicate state" but Hermione declined. She wasn't that big after all. Molly, Ginny and Luna had all left the room after they fussed over the pregnant witch and helped her dress, Luna mostly staring at her with her bubblish blue eyes. Hermione had asked for a moment alone to collect herself in quiet.
She was marrying Ron today.
It was the right thing to do. A child needed a father, didn't it? Besides, the Weasley clan would provide loving support. Babysitters abounded. Ron promised that she could finish attending university and become a "career" witch if she agreed to become his wife. His mother and family would catch up the slack. Privately, Molly Weasley didn't agree with this.
"Motherhood is the most important career in the world, Ronald," she had chided her son, "Hermione should stay at home and nurture her child. Certainly, we can show the baby love, but there's nothing like a mother's love. I can't believe Hermione would be this selfish and put her own needs before that of your child."
"Mum, I had to agree to let her finish school and keep a job, otherwise she wouldn't have agreed to marry me," he said sullenly, "I would have lost her."
"Doesn't sound like it's going to be much of a marriage anyway. She's supposed to take care of you too, Ronald. Supper should be on the table when you get home, not piles of books and parchments. Really," the witch said.
Ron didn't say anything as Molly voiced her dismal opinion of his and Hermione's approaching nuptials. He didn't care as long as she didn't say anything to Hermione that would make her break it off.
But Hermione knew Molly didn't approve of her. She wasn't domestic enough. She was never meant to be domestic, never groomed to be. Oh she could cook basic things, like spaghetti and sauce, eggs, toast, sausage and make sandwiches…but she could never produce the feasts Molly did and certainly not with even a tenth of the joy and satisfaction the mother of the Weasley clan found in creating such fabulous meals.
Ron claimed it didn't matter. He was marrying her, not his mother and he knew how to fix the things he liked to eat.
Hermione now stood alone in her bedroom in her private room located in the dungeon area. She worked part-time at Hogwarts as the Custodian of Historical Records. There were a daunting amount of detailed records, journals and documents in the bowels of the castle, and it was Hermione's job to catalogue and record them all. Several centuries worth of unrecorded parchments rested in the lower levels, enough to keep her busy for a lifetime and she loved her work. It was her hope that it would become permanent and full-time position once she gained her Liberal Magical Arts Degree, which focused on gaining a working knowledge in all the major magical fields of Charms, Transfiguration, Potions and Defense against the Dark Arts. She'd be able to find work in almost any sector if she chose though she preferred research and history.
Hermione placed her hand on her belly.
But she'd have a child. There would have to be limitations.
Suddenly, she was aware she wasn't alone. She felt his presence before she saw him.
She could always feel him.
"Severus," she breathed turning around.
Severus Snape was the Potions Master at Hogwarts and Hermione's former teacher. He was tall, lean, pale with lank black hair, a large hooked nose, black eyes and a silken voice that could melt the polar icecaps. He was also considered a cold, heartless, sarcastic and unsavory wizard of questionable reputation to most. And a reluctant hero.
The Potions Master was Hermione's Potions teacher for many years before he apparently killed Albus Dumbledore and was forced into hiding. It was all part of an elaborate plan to strengthen Voldemort's faith in him and make it possible for the wizard to help Harry destroy the despot once and for all. Albus was restored after Voldemort's death through his Horcrux and Snape was cleared of all wrongdoing.
The wizard studied Hermione, his dark eyes dropping to her belly and resting there for a moment before returning to meet her gaze. His expression was cold and disapproving.
"You foolish witch. You're going through with this travesty," he said to her quietly. But his anger seemed to scream at her anyway.
"It's for the best," she said shortly.
"You don't love him," the Potions Master said.
"I care about him and I do love him in my way," Hermione replied, turning away from the wizard.
Snape approached, standing close behind her and towering over the witch.
"Not the way you love me," he stated silkily.
Hermione blinked back tears and drew in a deep breath and turned back to face him.
"No, but at least Ron loves me and he will love this child. Can you say the same?" she asked him.
Snape blinked at her.
"No. No I cannot, Hermione, on either count," he replied honestly, "but that is no reason to marry Ronald Weasley."
"Yes it is. My child will have a name and a father and family that loves him or her," she claimed even as coldness moved through her belly.
"Yes…and will most likely have black hair and a pale complexion to go with all that 'love,'" he said derisively, "How are you going to explain that to that clan of redheads?"
"Ron's family is fair-skinned. That's close enough to 'pale' and I can attribute the black hair to a distant relative or something," Hermione replied.
"Starting out your marriage based on lies," Snape said, "A very crumbly cornerstone to say the least, Hermione. The truth is going to come out. The truth that we were lovers and on more than one occasion. The truth that Ronald Weasley was only…an acceptable cover for you, witch. How will you handle it when it does?"
"I don't know, but I will," the witch said stubbornly.
Snape narrowed his eyes at her.
"I warned you that becoming involved with me would have a price, Hermione. You should have ceased your pursuit of me," he said, his eyes gathering heat now.
"You should have resisted me, Severus…you are much older than I am," she spat back at him.
The wizard scowled.
"Now it makes a difference does it? I tried that argument several times before, Hermione. It didn't work. I told you I was not the kind of wizard you needed…it was you who said you didn't care about that. I was the wizard you wanted and you didn't give me a moment's peace until I succumbed," Snape said, an odd look on his face for a moment.
His moments with the young witch had been very pleasurable. And now…
Snape's brows drew together darkly.
"If Ronald Weasley challenges me to a duel, you will be a widow," Snape said in a matter-of-fact voice, "I will not hold back because he is your husband, Hermione. If you marry him…it could mean the wizard's life in the end…"
That was all Hermione could stand. She was under enough stress.
"Get out! Get out of here! You're ruining what is supposed to be the happiest day of my life! Now go!" she yelled at him.
Snape's face contorted.
"You're making a mistake, Hermione…you are going against what you know is proper to do, saddling a man with a child that isn't his…" he began.
"Get out!" Hermione screamed, throwing down her bouquet and running over to her dresser to retrieve her wand just as the door opened and Molly, Ginny and Luna ran in.
"All you all right, Hermione?" Ginny asked her.
Hermione spun in horror, trying to find the words to explain Severus' presence.
But the Potions Master was gone. He had the ability to apparate inside the walls of Hogwarts, a gift left over from his service as a spy for the Order. He had utilized it with a silencing spell.
All three witches stared at the bouquet on the floor and the wand held tightly in the witch's grasp.
"Last minute jitters," Luna said, picking up the bouquet, "Getting married will do that to a witch."
"Yes…yes it will," Hermione replied, taking the bouquet from Luna, her eyes glistening as Molly looked at her suspiciously.
Something wasn't right here.
A/N: This is not a NEW FIC. Just one I overlooked posting here, which I am rectifying right now. Can you imagine all the potential trouble ahead with this scenario? Yeesh. Well, I got it out anyway. Thanks ya'll.