Disclaimer: Not mine.
The next few months passed quickly. Tobby was soon to be a second year and was awaiting his class assignments. Ellen was six, and attending the day school in Hogsmeade. Severus had started on his plan for Classic Studies of Pure Blood Customs. Unable to find a full time instructor he had added it to the History of Magic curriculum. He wanted to start with the first years, hoping that by the time they reached seventh they would know their history, and know that with their heritage came responsibility.
"You will be better off to waiting until you can offer them the proper class rather than to adding it to this rubbish," Beth scoffed at the History of Magic text.
"It is not rubbish. Perhaps if more of our students learned the history of our own people, instead of only the goblins and elves, we can recognize the signs and keep the next Dark Lord from starting," he lectured.
"These attitudes and customs have nothing to do with our history," she said stubbornly. "You know they are archaic and should be tossed out. Teaching about them only leads to carelessness, and too many that think they can use them to their advantage."
"No Beth, most customs are a direct result of a necessary development, a direct line can be drawn. If you read the material, you should know this," he sighed. "I don't understand your reluctance on this. I really do not. Give me one example, just one pureblood tradition that cannot be traced back as necessary in our history, name one,"
"A brand Severus, what is the purpose of a brand? Why would a Wizard need to brand a witch?"
"Because," he sighed, "it made sure the bloodline and inheritances remained intact and that the family was always cared for, not blasted off a tapestry."
"Pure, the word is Pure, so some oversexed Wizard …," she started.
He took two strides and had reached her, pulled her to him, and let her lose the rest of her words into his mouth. He felt her soften, felt her fall into him with a soft moan.
Pushing her back, he raised an eyebrow up and questioned. "Are you done?"
"Yes my dear," she smirked jokingly.
She turned and sat down, resigned to sit and listen. They had changed the safe word, slightly, he would no longer say it, he would do it. They both agreed it worked better that way.
"As I was saying," he continued. "So the line was assured to continue, that the line was known. So, a Wizard could know for sure that the child the witch carried was his," he looked at her with a hard stare, "and don't tell me that is not important, Pureblood or not."
He tossed back a shot of fire whiskey and continued. "The brand was used prior to the current marriage bonding, would you do away with that as well?" he asked as she shook her head. "I thought not. As I was saying, the original wife was bonded, hence the bonding in marriage, the next were branded."
"The next?" she asked her ire climbing.
"Yes," he stared down at her, "Beth, how much of this have you even read or remembered from the adoption procedures?" He saw her become suddenly interested in her sleeve. "I will continue. Remember the rules on adoption? Yes? The wife of a dead brother would be branded. Thus, they sealed not only her fidelity to her new husband, but his inheritance to her children."
"I don't get it," she said, frowning.
Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he sighed. "He gave her children equal rights as his own. Beth, branding was a good thing once. It protected her, gave her property, made sure that her children were taken care of. The world was different then, and a witch left with no property, no family, could easily starve to death. Nevertheless, over the years it has turned into a way to enslave, it has been turned dark. The spell has been bastardized to allow branding without knowledge, without clear need. That is wrong. Any of our students, male and female, needs to know that."
"So," she said thoughtfully, "you think if they know the reason behind it, they will not use it?"
"I should hope that realising that true brandings are permanent, that the consent of the witch is needed, and that the loss of some of his own children's inheritance is assured, they would think to not use it wrongly," he sighed. "Add to that, that it is a life long commitment to support and care for the person, not to enslave them but to ensure the family bond is never broken. Our own divorce laws stem from this. That is why it is nearly impossible to break a marriage in this world."
"Permanent," she whispered looking stricken.
"Not your type, it was not a true branding. He did not have your consent nor was it done at a formal ceremony," he stated flatly.
She picked up the books on history and shooting him a look he did not quite appreciate, opened it at the beginning and began to read.
Although she had no say in his management of the school, he and Minerva encouraged her to get involved and to sit in on classes to see what went on there. To Beth it began as a lesson in what she had missed. Some nights she was so upset over how far behind the students she was, she would fly into a rage at the slightest indiscretion. The children could read her moods and would stay in their rooms, or seek solace elsewhere. Often they would hide in their father's chambers not needing to say why, or to make up excuses.
She had become increasingly angry. Severus had at one time banned her from the Great Hall after he had heard her berating an elf for undercooked eggs and her tea being too weak, or too strong. He would storm off in much the same rage as she was in, leaving Poppy and Minerva shaking their heads and the children looking at the head table in embarrassment.
The night before the Halloween Ball, Draco had come to visit with Severus and the children. Severus and Draco were sitting in front of the fireplace, as the children joined them sitting on the floor with Severus' highly prized chess set, Tobby attempting to teach Ellen the basic moves. Beth let herself into his chambers, as was the norm, and stopped upon seeing Draco. He smiled at her, rose to his feet, and gave a slight bow.
She scowled at him and then angrily sneered at Severus as she sat heavily on the sofa. Arms folded and a frown on her face.
"Go on," she said coldly, "I did not mean to disturb you."
"My dear, how could one as beautiful as you be considered a disturbance?" Draco chided her good humourly.
"So, you only want me here to look at Draco?" she snipped.
"That is not what I meant, and you know it," Draco hastily replied, looking to Severus for help.
"You're on your own boy," his godfather muttered.
"So, Draco, Severus, what were you two talking about, before I came in?" she tossed out.
"Oh, nothing important," Draco said innocently. "Just talking in general."
"About me?" she quipped. "I was just wondering since it got so quiet when I came in."
Draco looked to Severus who was busy putting the chessboard away and shooing the children to bed.
"Well, don't answer me," she pouted.
"I hear you are not with Gringotts any longer Draco. I hear you are trying your hand at something else," Beth said, as she examined her fingernails.
"Well, it is true that Gringotts and I have parted ways, difference of opinion really." He tried to laugh, but it came off sounding hollow and false. Something was going horribly wrong, but he did not know what it was.
"Oh really? Just a difference of opinion? And just would that opinion be?" she questioned sweetly.
Severus rubbed the bridge of his nose. He knew that tone.
"This ends now," he muttered and stalked across the room to Beth, grabbed her wrist and pulled her into the hall.
Students came out of their common rooms to watch the commotion falling in behind Draco to watch, staff members ran into the hallway to hush the students, and find out what the commotion was about. Severus strode, his hand tightly holding hers as he would hold a viper, hard enough to hold onto and control, but far enough away to avoid. By the time Severus made it to the Hospital Wing Poppy was waiting for them. Severus turned, released Beth long enough to flick his right hand at her uttering a binding spell, catching her before she fell. He picked her up only to dump her onto one of the beds.
"Fix her Poppy, and this time Fix. Her. Right." He turned to a sea of faces looking at him and sniggering at the show they had just seen played out in the halls.
"100 points from each house for… just because I can!" he yelled. Striding back to his office and slamming the door, he did not hear Draco's laughter, but he knew it was there.
Mrs. Cummings assured Severus that anger and lashing out was one sure sign that Beth was on the road to recovery.
"Recovery my arse," he sneered. "Her children run from her. The staff no longer talks to her for fear she will turn on them. The students either hide from her, or watch around corners to laugh at her next break down. The elves, hell the damn elves will not come near her. "
"Severus, she has been through so much. You have no idea how she feels," Mrs. Cummings said kindly.
"Then she needs to tell me," he said flatly.
"She is afraid you will push her away." She watched his expression closely.
"What? I have never given her reason that this would … there are other things we disagree on but not this."
"Headmaster Snape, you must realize something. Over 85% of the time, when a witch is attacked like this, her husband leaves her. There are no statistics on those living in this kind of arrangement, however I would guess that percent to be higher."
"How. Dare. You." he seethed. "If you had even the smallest idea of what that witch has put me through you would not be standing there. I, I have put up with the Dark Lord, and Albus Dumbledore, but I cannot understand this. This… this witch."
"Headmaster, I dare nothing. I have not mentioned this to Beth. However, one thing she needs to be able to mend, is to know that she is blameless. That she is completely innocent, and that no one will think less of her. How am I to do that, considering that a raped witch in this backward society is always looked down upon? "
"I do not think less of her." He crossed his arms and looked down his nose at her. "Bloody hell witch, she saved her son's life."
"Headmaster," she said patiently. "This society will not accept an unmarried witch with children. Now, let us add the fact that she is living with you. I know it is wrong, but to her, your living arrangement, and what she went through with Lucius, all plays into what she thinks of herself. She was raised to believe that she is not worth anything more than to be used."
"Get out," he thundered at her.
"I see. One more example of how thoughtful you are being to her." She stood firmly in front of him. "Have you ever thought that if Lucius were alive today she could not press charges? Do you realize that her prior relationships, her relationship with you, would be held against her? Do you think she doesn't know this? Do you think for a minute she does run to hide whenever a parent comes to the school, or worry herself sick before each public event you drag her to? Tell me, does she anger when she is treated as a helpless but good looking…"
"House elf," he yelled, summoning a random elf.
"Go to the Ministry now, get me Kingsley. Now," he ordered the elf and then turned to glare at Mrs. Cummings. "Sit, this ends now."
Going to the floo, he called Minerva and ordered her to take the children to the hospital wing. He then flooed Draco, and ordered him there as well.
"Umm, Uncle I don't think that is such a good idea," Draco hesitated. "My presence seems to put her on edge."
"Did I stutter or did you not understand?" When he was finished with Draco, he stood and glared at Mrs. Cummings. "Do you want to see how easy all this is to solve? I have rules. Rule one, gather all concerned to one place and work out a solution. You are a concerned party. I suggest that you get your arse to the infirmary before I change my mind and take it there myself."
Grabbing a small box from his nightstand, he stormed to the infirmary to find everyone already assembled, looking at one another nervously. Kingsley gave him a glare, quite impressive for the new Minister of Magic, as he stood next to the elf that had brought him. Striding up to Beth's bedside, Severus yanked her up, dragging her to stand in front of Shacklebolt.
"Kingsley we are getting married. Now," he thundered.
Kingsley smiled widely and then looked around the room as if threatening anyone to talk or intercede. "I have to ask this. Are you sure? Now, be careful how you answer."
"What are you doing you damned idiot?" Beth started to fight him, pulling her arm and attempting to twist free.
"I am getting married witch, do you plan on coming with me willingly or making me look the fool?" he asked between clenched teeth.
She stood still, unsure what to say then turned to Kingsley and nodded.
He looked down to see Ellen tugging on his robes. "Can I get married too Daddy?"
"Get in line," he snapped at her.
Kingsley waved his arm to bring everyone forward to form a circle around the couple. He then performed a simple bonding ceremony, tying the binding ribbons to their hands, he intoned a spell he had recently discovered but had yet to test. Severus frowned and tried to follow his words, not familiar with the accent he soon lost the meaning and was further confused when Kingsley asked them to kneel. Then with a wave of his hand to the children, he indicated that they should do the same.
Congratulating each one of the newly formed family, he then turned to Ellen. "Young Miss Snape, do you agree to all that has occurred?"
"Yes sir," she nodded happily. "He's my Mum's daddy now?"
"Young Master Snape, do you agree to all that has occurred?" Kingsley smirked as he nodded to Ellen.
Tobby looked between Severus and his mother. Then he locked his eyes with Severus'.
"Can I ask him a question first?" Tobby asked.
Kingsley raised his eyebrow and looked to Severus, who then nodded consent.
"Sir, do you love my mother?" he asked.
"You are here boy, are you not?" Severus growled.
Tobby's smile could not get bigger. "Yes, most assuredly," he said in his best Snape voice.
Kingsley then turned to Severus, who had guessed where he was going with this.
"Do you Severus, offer full inheritance to these children, born before these vows," Kingsley intoned.
"Yes, most assuredly," he answered cocking an eyebrow at his son.
Kingsley looked into Beth's eyes, taking both of her hands in his. "Do you agree to this bonding, knowing that it is forever? Do you agree knowing that your children will be protected from the poverties of this world? Knowing this, do you agree to the bonding?" he intoned.
Beth stared at Kingsley, as he leaned forward and whispered, "He is a hard son of a bitch you know, but a good man."
"I so agree" she stated smiling. Suddenly she gasped and laying her hand over her right breast, fell forward.
"Severus," Kingsley continued, waving away Poppy. "Your wife's branding is voided. Place your ring on her finger."
Severus removed his grandmother's wedding ring from his pocket, sliding it onto Beth's left hand. They watched as it glowed and fitted to size, then rose to their feet as those watching applauded. Draco stepped up, placed a firm loud kiss on Beth's mouth, then turned and shook hands warmly as Severus glared at him.
When Severus and Beth returned to his chambers, he pushed her onto the sofa and started pacing in front of the fireplace, stopping to stare at her and then once again began wearing a path in the carpet.
"Severus?" Beth asked grinning. "Whatever is the matter?"
"That… that woman, how dare she question me?" he seethed. "How dare she question my motives when it comes to how I treat you and my children? She has no business here."
"Who?" Beth asked.
"That Cummings witch, that bitch from St. Mungo's. She had the nerve to question my loyalty to you. She stood right there," he pointed to a place on the floor she had stood in only a short time earlier, "and said you could not, would not be healed of this, this thing, this damn Lucius thing, because I, I mind you, because I would not commit to you," he stammered to an end.
"So," she said going to him, standing in front of him and looking up, "You married me to show her she was wrong?"
"Yes!" He looked at her and then suddenly frowned.
"Severus," she purred up at him "how is it working so far?"
He looked at her. Took up her left hand to look at the ring he had placed there, tipped his head to the side, and looked at her face.
"So far, as I am still standing here, instead of taking you to bed, not well. Ask me in the morning, I hope to improve on the situation."
He pressed his lips to hers, as she clung to him with her arms around his neck. He pulled her up as she wrapped her legs around his waist, and walked to bed with her clinging to him.
"Severus?" she asked as he laid her down. "What about, you know … a spell?"
"For what?" He was trying to undo his buttons.
"No!" He realized he had spoken too loud. Looking down at his buttons, he raised his right hand and divested himself of his clothing, then looked at Beth and did the same, leaving her naked. Climbing in bed with her, he laid over her, his legs between her thighs, his weight on his arms.
"No I said, and no I mean. I want to see you big with my child. I want to see that waddle, the way witches do when they are so damn big they cannot get out of a chair. I want you to have my baby, with me, here. First, I want to make it." He smirked, lowering his head and tasted her mouth, kissing down her neck, and found her breasts, marveling at how perfect they were.
"I owe Kingsley," he muttered burying his head between her breasts again and kissing the space in between them. His right hand caressed her face, her arm, and her side. Sliding his hand down lower, he felt her wetness, and looked up, watching her face.
"Beth, if you want me to stop, tell me."
"I want you, Tobias, I have always wanted you," she whispered back to him.
He kissed her stomach and decided he had waited long enough when he heard her gasp when he slid a finger inside her. He slid up her body positioning himself, wrapping her legs around his thighs. He lowered down to her mouth as he pushed into her, hearing her groan into his mouth. He stroked again, and again, and then felt himself ready to explode. He tried to hold back, knowing it was too soon. Mercifully, he only had to hold his position a few seconds more as he heard her call his name and was able to explode with her. Letting her legs drop, still in her, he could not leave her mouth and continued to hungrily kiss her.
"Making that a habit?" he laughed referring to the first time they had tumbled in bed.
"What? I waited this time didn't I?"
"Any sooner and I would not have been in you witch. Good thing I used a spell to get out of my clothes or I would still be standing next to the bed." He smirked down at her.
"Severus?" She turned serious, "Do you mind?"
"No, Beth. As long as it is my name you call, my bed you lay in, and my children you bear, I do not give a damn if I am still in the hallway." He was just as serious, but as she looked at him, she saw his lip twitch. "You do know that most Wizards would believe this a fantasy."
"What kind of fantasy?"
"That they could make a witch come as often, as hard and as quick as you." He continued to kiss her face between his words, intent on looking at the seven freckles he had found on her nose, and planning to inspect the two he knew were under her left breast.
"Why did it take you so long?" she asked.
"Long? Damn woman, I had not found my rhythm yet." If he was not lying with his penis inside the witch he would have been shocked.
"No, not this you oaf, I meant marrying me."
"Beth, I had planned on marrying you, I was just waiting for the right time."
"Right time?" she smiled, "and when pray Merlin, would the right time have come. We already have two children."
"When I could fuck you my dear, when I could fuck you," he said into her mouth kissing her again, hardening as he did.
"But Severus," she quizzed, "you didn't know Kingsley had found the spell."
"Then my dear," he groaned into her neck. "I would have been well and truly fucked."
She had a girl nine months later, named Patience. They both thought it fitting. Severus had so enjoyed seeing her round and full with child that they had another, a boy, 15 months after that. They named him Galen.
Severus stayed on as Headmaster, for five more years, until he was sure of what they both wanted to do. They would sit up late, him with his Beth, and she with her Tobias. They made plans, wrote budgets, and gathered information, and when they finally left Hogwarts, it was with 65 children. Four Snape children and 61 of the summer children left that fall, all of which called the new school, on the far side of Hogsmeade home.
Occasionally the rivalry between Quiddich teams became heated, occasionally the taunts between the free school and the private school got impassioned, but as Severus would say, "Rivalry builds character, and competition, strong adults. Just make sure you win or there will be detentions."
He was a stern Headmaster at his new school. He brooked no quarter where discipline was involved. His punishments were swift and often severe, but he was always perceived as fair. He no longer believed in houses, but believed all should live together. The students held him in awe, and as he grew older, they would seek him out, just to talk.
He perfected Ellen Speak, until he was as good at it as she was. He still would jump up from time to time in a conversation to kiss his Beth, the youngest children would laugh, the older two only nodded knowingly.
He brought only what he needed from Hogwarts to the new school, which he named Dumbledore Academy for Children. He brought Minerva and Poppy, who both he and Beth agreed they could not live without. They both came because they agreed with Molly's assessment that Severus and Beth would kill each other without adult supervision.
Molly agreed to take over Muggle studies for only a year, until the right person could be found for the position. She stayed for only 22 years. She was the grandmother that the children ran to with scraped knees and bloody noses. A special carriage carried Albus' Portrait and was hung on the Headmaster's wall. Severus would spend long hours chatting to him, seeking advice that he could then smugly ignore.
"You once asked if it was any easier to lose someone you have spent so many years with my boy," Albus said one mid-winter night as the snow pelted the window.
"No Albus, it would not be. I pray I never fully know." He thought of his Beth, curled up in bed asleep. "But it would be a sweeter pain, than never to have had her."
"And," Albus asked, "Would it be easier to lose one child among so many?"
"I cannot imagine the loss of even one." He sighed as he took a swallow of his whiskey.
"And if you had friends, or old students that sought you out just because, would it be easier my boy, to grieve for the loss?" Albus smiled at him.
"No old man, now stop this maudlin before I find the paint remover." Severus sneered.