Surprisingly Pure- my pseudonym
Epilogue- Slices of Life
The Malfoy-Snape wedding, through some unexplainable but fabulous turn of events, never hit the newspapers. They didn't take out a section in the wedding announcement column, but there is always a possibility of a larger article when war heroes from two well-known families marry. By the time school started in the fall, the Snape's were happily adjusting to married life, and not many would even have suspected that Hogwarts' grumpy Potions Master was married. He rather liked it that way. By virtue of his not being able to see Brenna much during the year, none of the Hogwarts students had been aware of their professor's romance, much less his post-war wedding.
Brenna planted seedlings in her greenhouses in the fall. She wouldn't plant anything in the outdoor beds until early spring. For now, the store would remain closed. At present, tending the plants in the garden and tending her house and husband was enough for Brenna. She'd never done so much regular housework in her life. Sure she'd helped out at the Granger's house, and she'd done numerous large projects with the Weasley's, especially when the Order first set up in Grimmauld Place. At Malfoy Manor she'd never had to lift a finger for a chore, unless she'd wanted to for some reason. She had quickly learned though that any chore above putting her own things away caused the family elves great offense.
At the cottage she had the use of one house elf, a wedding gift from her mother. Azana was a younger elf, but she was quite capable. She did most of the cooking and just a bit of housework during the day. Brenna did most of the house cleaning. It astounded her just how much work was involved, even though she and Severus were both tidy people.
When Severus went back to Hogwarts for the school year, Brenna started reaching out to the community of Hogsmeade to stop her loneliness. She found her neighbors to be very warm and welcoming. Mrs. Snape bought a Muggle bicycle to help her move around town more speedily. She ran most of her errands on her bike. Brenna struck up a good friendship with Rosemerta especially. She started taking lunch at the Three Broomsticks a few times a week to give Azana a break and to visit with her local friends. Severus would come and visit usually two or three evenings a week, staying the night at home. Sometimes he would get a weekend off and come home, but that was a very rare event.
On one Saturday in mid-September, just a few weeks into the year, Brenna rode her bike down to Rosemerta's for her lunch. She'd been working in the greenhouse all morning, so she was wearing a green gardening smock with khaki pants and a white tank. It was not unusual apparel for her to appear in public in anymore. Mother would be horrified.
She took her usual seat at the bar, and Rosemerta came over a minute later, bringing the butterbeer she knew Brenna would want.
"Hello, Brenna. How are the plants today?" she asked cheerily.
"They are growing quite well in the green houses. Thank you for asking." Brenna replied.
"Did you come into town today to meet your husband?" she asked, clearly ready for gossip.
"Not that I know of. He did ask me if I would be in town today, but I had no plans to meet him."
"It's the first weekend for the kids to come into town, you know." the barmaid said. Now that she'd mentioned it, Brenna did recognize that the streets were a bit more crowded than usual, and there were a lot of teenagers about. She'd caught a few staring at her as she walked in.
"Is it?" Brenna responded.
"Oh yes. The boys seem to like you too. It's not normal for them to see any pretty young women in Hogsmeade though. They're just giddy with excitement. You wouldn't notice it, but things have changed since you walked in a moment ago." Brenna casually glanced around the room. There were indeed several tables of teenagers watching her while they chatted.
"I don't understand what the big deal is. They don't know of my marriage, and I'm certainly nothing special to look at right now." she said quietly.
"My dear, even in your gardening clothes you're still the most beautiful person who will walk into my pub today. You can't help but be beautiful."
"Rosie, you'd better watch out. Flattery like that only causes problems." Brenna warned jokingly.
"M-Madam Rosemerta? We'd like six Butterbeers please." someone asked. Brenna turned to see a pack of boys, all looking to be sixth or seventh year students standing near her, all having come nearer just to look at her. Two or three of them would have been quite capable of carrying everyone's drinks back to a table.
"And you'll have them just as soon as I get this lady's order." Rosemerta said, not skipping a beat, "Now, Brenna, will it be your usual then?" she asked.
"Yes please." she replied. Rosemerta bustled away to fetch the stack of butterbeers.
"Oh, great, the Professor is here." one of the boy's grumbled. He was a Slytherin, but even they didn't take to every professor. She turned to see who they were talking about and saw Severus walking closer to the bar. She smiled brightly.
"Surprise." he said.
"It certainly is. I didn't know you were coming into town today, but I guess this explains why you asked if I was going to be here." Brenna said.
"I thought I'd surprise you." he replied.
"Well I'm thrilled to see you," she said, giving him a hug as he came up to her. They broke apart and he took a seat on the adjacent stool. Brenna could feel the boys' confusion behind her, but she focused on her husband. He too was ignoring the pack of boys. Rosemerta came back with the butterbeers.
"Professor! Come to have lunch with your wife today?" she asked, setting the bottles of butterbeer on the counter.
"Yes, Rosie, that was my goal." he replied. Brenna swore she could hear the boys gasp.
"Well then, what can I get for you?" Rosmerta asked as she watched the pack of boys stumble away from the bar.
"I'll have a French dip and crisps, if you please." Severus said.
"Rosemerta, I think you enjoyed that far too much. Now you know the whole school is going to know that the great 'dungeon bat' is married." Brenna chuckled.
"Oh they would have found out sooner or later anyway. When you're an old woman like me you'll find you have to get your kicks somewhere. Just seeing their jaws hit the floor when Severus walked up made my week." the older witch laughed.
That winter Brenna was faced with the exciting possibility of not one but two balls. Mother was continuing the tradition of the Malfoy Christmas Eve ball. In addition, she could accompany Severus to the Hogwarts Yule Ball. Severus had made it clear that the Hogwarts ball was more just a party. He would still be working in some capacity as a chaperone, and she would have to abide him keeping up his reputation for the evening. She still wanted to go, knowing that it would be fun to get out of Hogsmeade for a while and see her former professors and Severus' coworkers. She thought the idea of helping him keep up his greasy git persona seemed rather fun.
She commissioned Mrs. Sturgeon to tailor a new dress for the Malfoy ball, but she would wear one of her old ones to Hogwarts. She pulled out a black gown she'd worn before to formal dinners. She never wore it to dance, but a few experimental twirls in her bedroom verified that it would work. It wasn't too risqué for Hogwarts, and it was solid black. She packed her bag for the holiday. She would go to Hogwarts in the late morning of the 22nd. The Yule Ball was that night. On the 23rd after the students were safely on the train, she and Severus would travel to Malfoy Manor. They'd stay there until the day after Christmas. Azana had been sent of to visit her sister at the Manor. There was no point in the elf being alone in the cottage for nearly a week when she could be at the Manor spending time with her own family. Azana felt very honored by the whole situation.
It was a cold and snowy Christmas season. Brenna would have to walk to Hogwarts. She took great care in choosing her clothing for vacation, knowing that she needed to dress well inside both Hogwarts and her mother's home. She shrunk everything down until it fit in her cloak pocket. For the walk she was wearing black pants, a crisp white shirt and black witches robes. She wrapped a green scarf around her neck, pulled on her dragon-hide boots and gloves and her hooded grey woolen cloak. It took some coaxing to get Dolce into the cat carrier, but she managed to do it. She'd put a towel she'd charmed to stay warm in there so the poor cat wouldn't get too cold.
She arrived at Hogwarts while Severus was still teaching, so he was unable to meet her at the door. That wasn't necessary though, since she knew her way around the castle quite well. She wound her way, undisturbed, into the dungeons. She wasn't really recognized, by any of the students she passed, but they didn't bother her. She was rather hard to recognize anyway with her hood pulled up over her head. She couldn't open the door to Severus' quarters. He'd probably changed the password since that summer and not thought to tell her. It was very unusual for her to be at Hogwarts anyway. Brenna decided to take her things and wait in his office until he finished classes for the day. It was only about a half hour more.
She set Dolce's case down in the office and was about to let the cat out when she heard a shuffling noise from Severus' private ingredient closet. With a silent step she'd learned from her dear husband, Brenna crept around the corner to find a student raiding her husband's ingredient stores. She knew that this was where he kept some of the volatile or expensive ingredients necessary for potions he made for use by Hogwarts, primarily in the infirmary. The student inside couldn't have been more than thirteen. She crept up behind the girl and jabbed her wand in the girl's back while simultaneously grabbing her arm.
"Put it back." Brenna warned. Shaking slightly the girl replaced a neatly labeled jar. "What else did you take?"
"Nothing. Please, don't hurt me." the girl cried.
"Oh it's not my place to do anything to you. I'll leave that to your professor." she said. She took the girl's arm and led her out of the office and down the corridor to the Potions room.
"Enter." Severus barked when Brenna knocked briskly on the door. She pushed the girl ahead of her into the room.
"Please don't let her hurt me professor!" the girl cried.
"Miss Smith what are you doing here?" he asked.
"I caught her rummaging through your more dangerous potions ingredients. I brought her straight to you." Brenna said.
"Thank you, Brenna. Please put your wand away though, she's only a child." Severus said. She hadn't even noticed, but she was still holding her wand quite tightly.
"I'm sorry, Professor. You can put me in detention for as long as you want." the girl cried.
"Miss Smith we shall talk in my office. Class, finish brewing your potions. Mrs. Snape is in charge until I return." he barked. He led the small girl back out of the room, leaving Brenna standing in the middle of a room with thirty teenagers staring at her.
"What are you looking at? Get back to work!" Brenna barked, mimicking her husband's trademark attitude. She sashayed up and down the aisles surveying their work. It looked as though they were learning calming draughts, which meant this was a sixth year class.
The students were clearly terrified of her, perhaps even more so than her husband. She only imagined what they must think of her, but if their anxieties helped them to pay careful attention to their potions it was a good thing.
Severus returned about fifteen minutes later, carrying Dolce who was promptly handed off to Brenna. He instructed the students to bottle what they had made, label it neatly, and place their potions on his desk. They were dismissed three minutes early, which was unheard of in Potions. Brenna stood near the back of the room observing her husband while he wrapped up the lesson.
When the last student had scurried from the room, Severus offered his arm to his wife and led her down the corridor to his quarters. Brenna was shocked to learn that the new password to his rooms was her middle name. When they were safely inside his quarters, Severus wheeled around and kissed her soundly.
"I don't think anyone else could have come in and actually made me look like a nice guy." he laughed.
"I'm sorry, but you know I'm a bit cranky when I'm cold. Besides, she was stealing directly from your private stores." Brenna smiled.
"I seem to recall someone else doing exactly that her second year." he quipped.
"Yes, and all it did was put Harry and Ron into a dangerous situation and land me in the Hospital Wing for a week with whiskers and a tail!" she grumbled. Severus laughed.
"Oh well, I'm sure they thought anyone who would marry me would have to have a crazy streak." he said.
The ball was fabulous. She danced with Severus mostly, but some of the other professors as well. She got a chance to catch up with some of the Order members she'd grown close to. The students generally gave her a wide berth, especially when she was with Severus. The whole evening just made her even more excited for the Malfoy ball on Christmas Eve.
That summer when Brenna harvested her garden, Severus was there to help. All the newly clipped plants were put into the apothecary. They sold ingredients in their natural state, or one of them would prepare the ingredients as requested for a slight fee. Severus helped her get a stock of basic health and cleaning potions prepared. Before long business was booming. They had named the establishment The Greenhouse Apothecary and Pharmacy. Many who bought ingredients or potions there reported very favorably the effectiveness and quality of their purchases. This led to increased business.
In August they got a lot of orders for Hogwarts supplies. Parents all decided there could be no better ingredients for their children's potions kits than those sold by the Potions Master himself. Fortunately there were enough plants to keep up with all the orders, but Brenna was constantly planting seeds harvested from her own plants to keep up their supply.
At the end of the summer Brenna and Severus sat down to do the books and find out how much money the apothecary had made in its initial year. The number was not amazing in general, but it was rather astounding for a first year of operation. Without all the startup costs, their next year could be very profitable.
"Well my dear, it looks as though you've made a tidy sum this year." Severus said, kissing the side of his wife's head as they sat beside each other at the kitchen table, surrounded by the various account books.
"That's good, as we'll need to buy quite a bit of new stuff next year." Brenna said.
"What do you need? I thought we had most of what was needed to run the garden and store." Severus responded, confused.
"Well, I'll need some larger clothing first, then there will be a crib, lots of clothes, nappies, a lot of stuff really." Brenna said, smiling.
"Brenna! Are you…?" Severus asked, flabbergasted.
"Yes. I saw the doctor last week. Severus Snape, you're going to be someone's father," she told him. She looked at him nervously until he broke into a huge smile and hugged her tightly.
"You're going to be a fabulous mother, Bren." he said, kissing her.
"And I'm sure you'll be a wonderful father." she replied, chuckling a little.
The following March Brenna was so big from pregnancy that she was starting to have trouble moving. Severus was still at school, though he was making trips back much more frequently. She was tired and grumpy a lot more, and the baby hadn't even arrived yet. This made her even more stressed which just made the hormonal witch cry. Azana was a great help around the house at this time. Narcissa had also sent another house elf to help out for as long as they needed him. This one was named Solemar. He took over the house cleaning, leaving Azana to wait on her mistress. Severus started staying at home every weekend just to help, but her mood was stressing him out as well. Some days she refused to even get out of bed. She was too obstinate to see how he was worrying over her and her condition.
One day Brenna was upstairs in bed reading Witch Weekly. She could hear Severus downstairs talking to someone that sounded rather like her mother.
"She won't get out of bed. I'm so worried about her and the baby. The doctor says there's nothing wrong, but maybe they are mistaken." he said.
"Severus you've got to calm down. I will talk to her, and see if I can figure out what's going on."
A minute or so later and Narcissa Malfoy was standing in her doorway.
"Well I came up here and rather expected to see you dying, my dear." Narcissa said, surveying her daughter who was lying on top of the bed dressed in a bathrobe and holding a magazine.
"I'm sure I don't understand, Mother." Brenna replied, looking at her crossly.
"Do you really think that the discomfort you are feeling now is anything? Brenna dearest, this is the good part. The healers say there's nothing wrong with you medically, and yet you lie up here worrying your husband to death and making others care for your household."
"I'm so tired, Mother. I just don't feel like I have the energy to go about my daily work anymore. Severus can do this, just until the baby comes. It's only another six weeks."
"Brenna Honoria! You are not the first witch to be pregnant, and you certainly won't be the last. You cannot allow yourself to shut down. It will only get more difficult to manage everything when the baby comes. Right now, you only have to care for yourself, and your body naturally meets the baby's needs. Once that child is born it will run on its own schedule. You'll have to find ways to fit everything else in. You'll be very tired, especially for the first few months."
"What are you saying, Mother?" Brenna asked.
"I'm saying that you need to get your lazy behind off of that bed, get dressed, and meet me downstairs in ten minutes. We're going to get back to living today whether you like it or not. Meanwhile, I'm going to see if I can get your husband to sit down and rest for a moment. Ten minutes, Brenna, or I will come back. I'll not so nice the second time." she said.
"Yes, Mother." Brenna said. She waited until the older witch had left the room before she set her feet on the hardwood floor.
Brenna was still pregnant in April when it was nearing time for the major harvest. Her due date was only two weeks away, but Poppy kept telling her it was normal for first babies to come a little late. Still, it would be nearly impossible to harvest from the garden at her current size. She'd recently developed a productive waddle that Severus never failed to tease her about. Severus told her he'd come up with a way to harvest from the plants on time, but he wouldn't tell her how. He only told her to be in the garden at one o'clock Thursday afternoon.
It was five minutes till, and Brenna was walking in her garden, waiting for her husband. Dolce was near her side at all times now, though he had learned not to walk in front of her after a few near squashings. Brenna tried not to step on him, but she hadn't been able to see her own feet for a while now. She heard a bustle of voices on the road and waddled over to the gate to look out.
Pomona Sprout and Severus were leading a pack of about twenty teenagers up the road. Pomona smiled and waved at her cheerily. She hurried ahead to chat at the gate.
"How are you, Brenna?" she asked kindly.
"Enormous. And yourself?" Brenna replied.
"I'm well. Your husband talked me into a little field study. He said you needed help harvesting plants from the garden. We've brought our NEWT level classes. We thought you might give a little talk on professional gardening, then put them to work." Pomona explained.
"I suppose I could do that." Brenna said, smiling broadly. The seventh years had started to gather near the gate, awaiting instruction. Brenna didn't allow anyone in her garden without proper information and supervision, so she stepped outside the gate.
"Attention please, classes. This is Mrs. Snape. She runs the garden and apothecary here in Hogsmeade. She's going to talk to you about professional gardening, and then we're all going to get some experience by helping to harvest some of her ingredient plants." Pomona said as the 7th years quieted down. Severus stood quietly in the back.
"Hello everyone." Brenna started. "One of the most important parts of professional gardening is organization. I have to plan how to lay out my garden each year and how much of each type of plant to grow. I also have to be an expert in each plant, knowing exactly how to care for it and how to harvest at the perfect time. I learned to garden from my mother and from a few books. The plants you'll be working with today are all basic ingredient plants. That is the majority of what I grow in the garden due to supply and demand." she paused to look for understanding. The students all looked interested and excited.
"I have a few rules in my garden. These rules exist to protect the plants. First of all, I expect you to complete your tasks exactly as you are told. Harvesting is serious business, and I don't want to lose any plants due to carelessness. If you don't understand something, ask. Secondly, when you move within the garden you will walk only on the stone paths. This is the only way to know that you are not accidentally treading on any of the smaller plants or seedlings. Am I understood?" The students all nodded.
"Good, now you may come in, and I'll give you all a tour of the garden before we get to work. Be mindful to stay on the stone paths. I ask that the last person through the gate makes sure that the gate is shut and locked." Brenna said. She turned slowly and opened the gate again, squatting briefly to collect Dolce into her arms.
She walked the obedient students through the garden quizzing them on the plants and their uses. She told them about how each ingredient was grown, what special needs it had, etc. Finally, she divided them into small groups and set them to various tasks in the garden. She, Severus, and Pomona walked around supervising each group and helping when necessary. It was nice to see her garden neatly harvested despite the fact that she couldn't bend like that, much less get herself off the ground right now. Within an hour they were finished harvesting. Brenna had bags of fresh ingredients to prepare, and the students were trekking back to Hogwarts.
In early May Severus Snape did something he had never done before. He let a class out early without even giving them homework. It was late on a Wednesday afternoon at the time. He was brewing a potion with one of his fifth year classes to prepare them for taking the OWL examinations in a few weeks. The lesson was almost over- he was about to instruct the students to bottle their potions and clean up the mess, then he would interrogate them on their potions until it was time to dismiss.
The plan changed, however, when Azana popped into his classroom. Brenna's due date was last week, so he was expecting the house elf at any time. She merely nodded meaningfully at him before popping back out.
"Leave your neatly labeled vials on my desk and clean up your stations before you leave. Class dismissed." Severus said while walking quickly out the door. He hurried into his office and Flooed home.
He arrived in the living room and climbed the stairs two at a time to the bedroom where Brenna was in labor with their child. The midwife had just finished examining her. She was in labor, but delivery would not happen for a while yet. She decided to leave Brenna with her husband for a few minutes while she checked on arrangements for delivery.
"You made it." Brenna sighed happily. Severus took a towel and gently wiped the beads of sweat from her brow before kissing her lightly.
"Yes, I let a class out early and came right away." he replied quietly.
"I was so worried you weren't going to make it. I've been in labor for hours, but the midwife said it wasn't necessary to send for you just yet. She made Azana promise to follow only her orders until the baby was born." Brenna said.
"Brenna, I know it's not the best time, but I've been giving something a lot of thought. I think I need to retire from teaching at the end of this school year." Severus said seriously.
"But you love teaching. Not that I wouldn't love to have you around more, mind you." Brenna smiled.
"Exactly, you've been neglected the entire time we've been together because of the nature of my job. We're about to have a child. I don't want to leave you and our child alone for months out of the year, only seeing you on holidays and some weekends. I don't want to be that kind of husband anymore, and I don't want to be that kind of father." Severus said, resolutely.
"I'll be glad to have you home more, but what will you do? I know you won't be happy at home all the time."
"I had planned on helping you run the apothecary. Admittedly I'm not a lot of help in the garden, but I can brew potions, prepare ingredients and help run the store." Severus said.
"That would be wonderful." Brenna said, before gripping his hand tightly and scrunching her eyes as another contraction hit.
Albus Dumbledore was sitting in his office that evening, just having returned from dinner. He knew quite well that his Potions Master had disappeared a few hours before, and he had brought in a substitute for a few days and assigned another faculty member to keep watch over the Slytherins.
After dinner was generally the time when Albus finished with the post and enjoyed a little light reading before retiring. Tonight though he found himself perusing the Hogwarts registration book. This weighty book held the names of all known wizard children who would be receiving Hogwarts letters in the coming years. Muggle-borns were added to the book as their abilities were discovered. Tonight Albus found his attention focused on the last page of the book, where names were actively added to the register. There were a few new names added to this page since the last time he'd checked. The aged Headmaster busied himself reading these names while he waited.
Finally, Albus saw a new name beginning to appear at the bottom of the list. Albus watched the register neatly enscribe the new entry, the one he'd been waiting to see. When it finished, Albus smiled, closed the book, and replaced it on the shelf.
AN: There you have it! The epilogue. I had a lot of half ideas that I really didn't need to draw out into full chapters, so I put them all back here. Hope you have enjoyed reading Surprisingly Pure.