Author's Notes: Please make sure to go back and scan over previous chapters. They have been changed a lot and a good amount of inconsistencies have been fixed thanks to beta InnocentGuilt.
Chapter Six: Sooner or Later, the Truth Comes to Light
Tap. Tap. Tap. Hermione woke up to the sound of noise against the window. Turning over, she saw a tawny brown owl perching on the sill. He looked to be growing rather impatient with the witch as she lazily got out of bed. Opening the window, Hermione gave the bird a pat on the head – having no treats for it and took the letter.
While I think it would be in the best interest of the children that we not meet again, I do believe your son has my cloak. It is regretful that the children are sick and I do hope they regain their health. However, since you can't seem to give a specific date, I will be waiting at the Leaky Cauldron for you next Wednesday at precisely four in the evening. Do not be late for this will be the last time you contact me.
Professor Severus Snape"
Hermione let out an unladylike snot as she reread his letter. So she had three days to deny the Weasleys and Harry the identity of Severus Snape. One part of her just didn't want to think about that – the other just wanted to come out and tell them all. She just wasn't sure how they would all take it. Hermione folded the letter back up and put it in the trunk she was using for her clothes and toiletries. Taking out a pair of jeans and a warm shirt with a sweater, Hermione went to take a quick shower before she got Liam and Evie up.
After she cleansed herself and got dressed, Hermione went to the room her children slept in only to find it empty. Each child's pajamas were neatly folded – well, as neatly as two four-year-olds can do – and their beds were made just like she taught them to do at home. She moved down the stairs to see Liam and Evie on the ground playing. They both looked paler than normal and Liam looked as if he still was about to be sick, but other than that, no one would be the wiser that Liam was up a good part of the night vomiting.
Evie was the first to look up. "Momma!" She cried. Getting up, she met her mother halfway and gave her a hug. "Liam and me were hungry, but Nanna Molly said we had to wait till you woke up." Hermione gave Evie a warm smile before going to pick up Liam. She gave him a kiss on the cheek before asking if he felt better. He gave Hermione a nod. "Can we go eat, Momma?"
Hermione nodded as she walked into the kitchen with Liam in tow. As she entered, she saw Molly placing a bowl of hot porridge in front of the children. After letting it cool, they both began to eat. "Good Morning, Hermione." She turned to Arthur and gave her own greeting as she sat down.
Hermione and Arthur talked about everything that had been happening since she came back to London. Hermione told him about the day she had with the twins in Hogsmeade, telling Arthur how they went into Honeydukes where Evie and Liam got to experience different sweets than they were used to back home. She then slowly began to tell Arthur that she planned on showing the twins around Diagon Alley.
"Did you meet up with the twins' father as well?"
Hermione brought her attention to Molly instantly. The older witch was placing plates of food in front of Arthur and Hermione before placing her own down as she sat. Her eyes went to the twins who looked antsy, as if they wanted to tell Molly and Arthur about him. She brought her gaze back to Molly and slowly nodded. "I did and I might be taking them again. Just one more time." Out of her peripheral vision, Hermione didn't miss the look each child had. Liam was grinning, yet Evie had a grimace that crossed her features.
"I don't want to see Daddy again, Mommy."
"But I do! He was nice; he gave me his big blanket." Hermione looked at Liam and smiled.
Finishing up her breakfast, she waited till the twins finished eating before placing her plate along with the kids' dishes in the sink. She quickly washed off all trace of food and then ushered the children back upstairs. "But Mommy, I feel fine!" Evie exclaimed, but quickly quieted down when she saw the look given by Hermione. "Sorry Mommy…" she said quietly before being ushered into the bedroom. Hermione moved to open the shades to the room so that there was light. She then went to grab a few toys for each child before grabbing a book and sitting on Liam's bed.
"Are you going to read us a story, Mom?" Hermione gently nodded before opening the book.
"Once upon a time there were three little pigs who went out into the big world…" Hermione started, hearing the gleeful sound her daughter made, "to build their homes and seek their fortunes. The first little pig…" on she continued with the story, singing in silly voices when the pigs sang and laughing when the pig let out a hearty laugh. She knew the story frontward to back, but kept the book with her so that she could show the kids the pictures. "So he huffed…and he puffed and he puffed and he huffed…" each word got more stress on it as she breathed loudly, huffing and puffing herself. She loved it when the twins giggled and joined in. It was possible they knew the story just as well as she did. "And so," she said as she began to end the story, "the three little pigs never saw the big bad wolf again and lived in the brick house, merrily singing and dancing."
"I like that story, Mommy." Evie said as Hermione closed the book.
"I know you do, Eve, it's why I read it for you." Hermione turned to Liam who had fallen asleep once again, his poor body still recuperating from the ailment. "Are you feeling sick at all, Evie?" The little girl furrowed her brows together before shaking her head. "Still, I want you to take it easy for the day." Hermione whispered.
With a nod from the child, Evangeline began to throw her covers back. "Can I go sit with Nanna Molly and Papa Arthur?" After a few minutes of thought, Hermione decided that would be perfectly fine. Both mother and daughter tiptoed out of the room so they wouldn't wake the sleeping boy.
They walked down the stairs together where Molly and Arthur were talking quietly. Hermione stopped Evie when she heard her name. "This isn't right, Arthur. Those kids need a father and a stable environment. I only let Hermione stay here because she's like a daughter to me."
"Molly, please. She'll tell us when she's ready. And hopefully their father will step up."
"Who do you think they look like, Arthur?"
"Honestly, Molly, I don't care all that much. And neither should you. The problem lies between Hermione and those kids' father. They have to work something out."
"I'm just saying… soon she's going to have to find a flat to stay because I don't know how much more I can take. All this sneaking around to hide his identity almost as if she were ashamed of their lineage."
"Molly that is enough." Exclaimed Arthur. "She will tell us when she's ready and hopefully he'll man up to the task of being Evie and Liam's father. Now please, enough of this nonsense." Molly looked at Arthur in a displeased manner, but it was quickly forgotten when she heard a creak from the stairs as Evie and Hermione came down.
"How are you, love? And how's Liam?"
"He's asleep, Molly. He still doesn't feel good." Hermione said with a bit of a cold edge to her voice. "I told Evie she can play down here while he is asleep." The mentioned child went over to the crate of toys her mother brought with them and began to play. The warm smile Molly gave Hermione did nothing after what she had heard. Grabbing a book she had been reading, Hermione went to sit on the couch and began to read.
The rest of the day went pretty quickly. Liam slept through lunch and woke up just before dinner. Hermione avoided Mrs. Weasley at all costs, only talking to when spoken to. After dinner, Liam went to go take a bath with the watchful eye of Molly while Hermione and Evie cleaned up the living area from all her toys. Once finished, Evie went into the room she shared with Liam and got out her pajamas for her own bath. Molly stepped out of the bathroom while Hermione slipped in to find Liam just starting to get out. "Need some help, sweetheart?" Liam nodded as he stepped out of the tub and wrapped a towel around his body as she began drying him up. "Do feel better after your long nap?" He nodded again and held up his arms while Hermione put on his shirt and then helped him into his pants. "It's time for bed, son." Hermione place a kiss on his cheek and patted his bottom as he walked to the room he was using.
"Momma, can I take a bath tomorrow and not tonight?"
"You're going to be one stinky little girl if you don't." Evie's eyes widened and she quickly undressed before hopping into the tub. Hermione magically filled the tub with clean water before putting her wand onto the vanity counter. "Call me if you need help, I'm going to get Liam in bed." Hermione gave Evie a washcloth before she exited the bathroom to help Liam into bed. "Goodnight my love." She placed another kiss on his forehead and tucked him in and grabbed the duck he slept with. With one more hug, she said another goodnight and then left back for the bathroom. "Almost done?"
"Yes, Momma… can you help me with my hair." Hermione agreed and began washing the long dark locks. Hermione worked the shampoo into a thick lather and then rinsed Evie's hair with water and conditioned it. Hermione helped Evie out of the bath, dried her and then helped her with her nightgown and panties before ushering her off to bed as well.
With another set of goodnight hugs and kisses, Hermione positioned each animal around Evie before leaving for bed herself. She was about to go into her room until Molly stopped her. "Good night, Hermione." She said her good nights and then entered her room where she got into her own pajamas and went to sleep.
It didn't take long for Monday and Tuesday to pass, each how the day before went. Liam still slept, less than he had Sunday, but still enough. They had lunch and dinner before their nightly rituals and Hermione would usher them to sleep. Both nights she had ended up reading The Ugly Duckling and The Adventures of Mr. Toad.
As Wednesday came, Hermione and the twins spent the morning like they had the previous mornings; breakfast and then into the family area where Hermione read and the twins played. Ginny had come home from work for lunch with her parents and Hermione. She had dropped Lily off early that morning. Before Ginny left, she spent some time with the twins as they showed her how to play with the racetrack while Hermione went to get a hot cup of tea. "We're going to see Daddy today." Liam told her happily. "He let me borrow his big blanket when I got sick."
"Is that so? And who is your Daddy?"
Liam wrinkled his nose as he tried to remember the name. It wasn't one someone could remember in passing. "I think Mommy said Mr. Snap."
"No, she said Snoop." Evie corrected. Both names sounded slightly recognizable, but couldn't really make it out. "I think Daddy's name was Samuel Snoop."
Just then Hermione walked into the family room and heard their conversation. Ginny's piercing gaze landed on her and Hermione felt as if she were being interrogated. "Samuel Snoop? Mr. Snap? Hermione, what are you hiding?" Hermione bit her bottom lip as she went to go sit on the couch. Leaving the twins to their games, Ginny sat next to Hermione. "Do they mean Professor Snape?" Hermione's look – and groan – was all the answer that Ginny needed. "When? Where? How?"
"Gin… just, please. Don't tell Harry or Ron yet. I was going to tell you all in small doses." Hermione's eyes pleaded with the redhead. Ginny gave her friend a reassuring hug and promised not to leak it to anyone until Hermione was ready. "Thank you, Ginny." With one last hug, a hug to each twin and a kiss to Lily, Ginny went off to work.
The wait for four o'clock seemed to go on endlessly. Hermione had gathered the cloak and set it to the side so that she wouldn't forget it. As it hit three forty-five, Hermione just couldn't wait any longer and told Molly that she was leaving with the twins before they went off. She placed a coat on each child and then used Snape's cloak for her own coat at the time being. With each child close to her, Hermione popped just outside of the Leaky Cauldron. She found a bench for the children to sit on while they waited. Goodness, it has been too long since I've been here. Hermione thought. Right on the dot, Snape showed up. Taking off his cloak, Hermione handed it to him. He took it before the "family" of four went inside to get something small as an early dinner.
"Well at least I didn't have to wait and go find you this time."
"Could you at least try to be civil for the children's sakes?" With a nod, a waitress came over to start them out with drinks. When she came back, they ordered what they wanted before beginning to talk. Things slowly started to fall into place. Snape was being kind to the twins, asking them what they liked and how they liked the wizarding world so far. Each twin had a different response.
"I think it's awesome!" Liam exclaimed. "I've always wanted to fly on a broom. Momma, can I? Can I please?"
"Absolutely not. You are too young." Hermione told him with a snicker from Snape.
However, Evie took this time to give her own description of what she liked and disliked. "I do not think it's awesome. But I do like it. But I do not want to fly on a broom." Their food arrived and Evie picked up her fork as she swirled around the pasta. "But I do want to make potions. That looked cool." This caught Snape's attention.
"Yeah… I like cooking with Mommy and when I watched The Worst Witch with Mommy and Liam, I liked that part a lot. It was almost like they were cooking." She took a bite of her pasta before she continued. "Do you like potions, Daddy?" It was the first time she had called him 'Daddy', not really speaking much the last time she met him.
The name also seemed to have had an effect on Severus as well as he remained speechless for a few moments before recovering. "Uh, I do. I teach the class."
"I would love to see you make some. That is… if Mommy lets me." Hermione watched the entire exchange as she ate her food. He had written her that this would be the last time the twins saw him, but Evie's declaration seemed to have changed… something. "Can I Mommy?"
"We'll see, love. We still have a lot to do." Evie almost whimpered and Hermione quickly added to her statement. "If we have time and if… Daddy doesn't mind, then I guess we could go watch." She looked at Snape. He had an unreadable expression as he watched Evie.
"Hermione?" As her name was called, Hermione looked around to see Harry. "What are you do—" He stopped immediately as he saw Snape.
"What's the matter Potter?"
Harry glared for a moment before he responded. "What are you doing here?"
"Can't I spend dinner getting to know my own children? I have not seen them in almost five years now." The smirk that fell onto Snape's features almost challenged Harry.
Hermione bit her inner cheek as Harry looked at her. She seemed small. This wasn't how she wanted him to find out, just like she didn't want Ginny to find out. "What the bloody hell are you doing with him, Hermione? And what does he mean child…" Harry stopped and looked at Liam, then Snape, then Evie and then back to Snape. "They're… they're his."
"Well nothing seems to get passed you, now does it, Potter?" Dabbing his mouth with his napkin, Snape grabbed a couple galleons and sickles and placed them on the table before standing. "It was nice while it lasted Miss Granger. They certainly are enjoyable to be around. Especially the girl." He looked to Evie. "Whenever you want to come see me with a Potions class just let your mother know. She'll owl me to let me know." He looked to Liam and bid him a goodbye.
Harry just stood there the entire time, looking rather dumbfounded. "Harry, let me explain…" Hermione tried, unsure of how he was going to take it. "It wasn't a romantic love interest, I promise… I just… Voldemort didn't think he was worthy…" She bit her bottom lip as Harry just stood there saying nothing. Without finishing her dish, Hermione stood, grabbed a galleon and a few sickles and placed them on the table. "Come on kids." They began to complain that they hadn't finished their dinner, but with a quick promise that she would get them ice cream; they got up and followed their mother, followed by Harry.
"Hermione… what was going on? You… you were getting along. With Snape."
"I am well aware of who was with us. And I asked him to be civil for the twins."
"But he's their bloody father?"
"And… and!" Harry stood there, his eyes wide wondering why she wasn't as concerned as he was. "Hermione. Severus Snape is Evie and Liam's father? The greasy git was out of his dungeons… to meet his twins?"
"Yes…?" Hermione shuffled to the side as each child stood behind their mother. This was a different side to the Harry they had met and didn't like it one bit. "Harry, please. You're causing a much unneeded scene." As Harry stopped yelling, he looked around to see that many bystanders had stopped to watch the dispute. "We can talk about this at Molly and Arthur's later tonight. I'll explain everything. I promise." When it looked as if Harry wasn't going to scream much more, Hermione grabbed a hand of each child and walked towards the ice cream shoppe.
Harry stood there for a mere minute before he ran in the direction Hermione brought Evie and Liam. "Hermione, wait." The brunette witch stopped and turned around as Harry came to a stop right in front of her. "Hermione, please… you need to explain this to me."
Hermione continued walking to the Ice Cream Shoppe. After waiting in line for a couple of minutes, she ordered one chocolate and one vanilla ice cream. Hermione ushered the kids to a seat where they could eat their ice cream while she spoke with Harry. "I will explain. Just not now. Not in front of them." Her eyes traveled to the twins before bringing them back to Harry. "I promise I'll explain tonight. The entire story." That seemed to appease him for the time being. With a farewell to the twins and Hermione, Harry left.
When Hermione and the twins got back to the Burrow, she found the house busy and full with Weasleys galore. Everyone was in the dining area chatting about what everyone had been up to for that week. Looking around the area, Hermione saw Bill and Fleur sitting with a young girl squished in between them. Next to Fleur were Luna and Ron. On the other side of the table were Harry, Ginny, and Charlie. Next to Harry sat Mrs. Weasley at one head of the table. Next to Charlie, George sat next to his brother with Angelina next to him, the bouncing toddler she had seen before sitting on his mother's lap. At the other head of the table sat Arthur.
Mrs. Weasley was the first to notice the brunette and children. "Oh, Hermione. Are you hungry, dear?"
"Oh, no Molly. The twins and I already ate." Hermione smiled at the group. "I'm going to put the twins to bed and I'll be down." Walking out of the room, Hermione ushered Evie and Liam upstairs and gave each a quick bath and put them to bed. With a story of The Lonely Little Colt to get them off to bed, Hermione gave each a kiss good night and closed the door. Walking down the stairs, she came to face the entire living Weasley family. George and Angelina sat on the couch with Bill and Fleur; both children were gone. Ron sat on a plush chair with Luna on his lap. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sat on another couch with Harry and Ginny, Lily in her arms. And finally, Charlie stood near the fireplace. All eyes were on her.
"H-hey everyone…" Hermione looked to see one chair was purposefully left empty for her to sit in. Sitting, her eyes went straight to Harry and Ginny who both gave reassuring smiles. "I guess you are all wondering why I left." With a forced laugh, Hermione closed her eyes.
"Just tell us slowly. Take your time, Hermione." She lifted her head to Ginny's voice and gave a weak smile.
"W-well…" She took in a breath, willing her heart to stop racing. "I left because I found out I was pregnant. Obviously." She stopped for a second before she started her story. "A few months before the end of my last year, I was sitting by the lake when I had a pair of arms wrap around me. Before I knew it, I was surrounded by Death Eaters." Hermione's mind launched back in time to when her ordeal occurred:
The figure stopped walking once they were far enough for anyone to see them from the castle and threw her on the ground. She dared to raise her glance and look around; thirty Death Eaters encircled her. She felt the presence of evil behind her and slowly turned to see Voldemort staring at the Death Eater who dragged her from the group. "Wonderful job, Lucius. Have you received word from Severus yet?"
Hermione whipped her head back to see the man Voldemort spoke to, platinum blonde hair framed his cold grey eyes and they had no emotion, save for hatred for the girl in front of him. She watched him nod; his glaring at her remained unbroken. "Yes my Lord. He will be here shortly."
Voldemort nodded and looked back at Hermione. "Come come, my dear girl. We just have a message to relay for Potter." The voice was close to her ear. She could feel the warm breath of Voldemort on her neck. Hermione was positive that she didn't want to know their message; Death Eaters didn't usually let their intentions known by owl post. She closed her eyes as she heard another set of footfalls join the group and heard Voldemort's voice, full of power. "Ah, Severus. Welcome to our party."
The voice held a faint hint of amusement and Hermione had to open her eyes. She saw her potions professor standing before the Dark Lord. His expression was nonplussed as he looked from Hermione to Voldemort. She could see in his eyes that he wasn't the happiest in being there.
"I have a job for you. I have been given a sort of… rumour that you haven't been entirely loyal to me." Voldemort sounded as if he had to search for a word and used one that just didn't seem to fit perfectly. Still, he went on. "Lucius has graciously brought me Miss Granger to help give a message to Potter." Snape looked as if he were going to open his mouth to say something when the evil male behind her began to speak again. "I entrust that Miss Granger will give my message to the boy, but who is to say I cannot make her fear for her life in the process."
Her attention strayed away from Voldemort's conversation with his loyal subjects. Hermione let her mind flutter. Must find an exit… got to get to Harry and Ron… Her mind raced as she looked around her. They were in a forest, so surely there was a means of escape. There were no exits. All around her were Death Eaters, surrounding them in a circle. She tugged on her arms and winced when she felt Voldemort's grip tightened. She visibly gulped down the bile that was slowly rising in her throat. Her eyes began to water with tears at the realization that she was their captive and planned on letting her go when they were finished.
Hermione's eyes widened as she listened to the man behind her. She looked for a twinkle of hope in Snape's dull, black eyes that he wouldn't harm her. She was at a loss when nothing was found. Shutting her eyes, she feared for the worst and tried to keep her cries down. "What is it that you suggest I do to the girl?" Snape drawled at the Dark Lord. He seemed to have come to the same conclusion as Hermione had for what Voldemort wanted him to do to her.
"Show me that you are still my loyal follower, Severus." She heard Snape's footsteps walk past her – at first hesitant – as she heard the Dark Lord whisper something to Snape. She only realized that it was truly happening when she felt herself grabbed by two of the Death Eaters. It was then that she opened her eyes to see Snape unzip his trousers and felt Lucius pull away her knickers.
She struggled against the men who held her there. She began kicking her legs and watched as both Malfoy and Snape backed away from her before two more men grabbed onto her legs. "Stop!" She screamed. Hermione felt the two presences come closer again. Malfoy tried to take her lips in a kiss and she bit down as hard as she could. She heard him swear which left her feeling slightly proud. It wasn't until she felt the searing pain and let out a deafening scream as her Professor pushed into her roughly. Her head thrashed from side to side trying her hardest to kick and move her arms about. Tears fell feely as she felt the rough thrusts grow more erratic. "Please Professor… stop. Please." She begged him. Her eyes met his and only found the dusky eyes held nothing but darkness. The pain had dimmed but it left her feeling cold. When Snape finished, he stood up, removing himself from Hermione before he righted his clothing once again.
Snape looked down at Hermione as she lay there bruised and battered. She slowly slipped in and out of consciousness. Between her legs the product of his release as well as blood was smeared on her legs and the forest ground beneath her. "Good Severus. Make sure she gets back to the castle and gives my message to Potter." Snape just nodded as he gathered Hermione in his arms and brought her to the castle. It was one of the last things Hermione remembered before she woke up in her bedroom.
"That bastard." Ron exclaimed. Hermione had tears running down her cheeks. Today had been the first time she remembered Snape bringing her back to the castle. "I'll kill him."
"Ron, you will do no such thing." Hermione whispered. The shock on most of the faces in the room turned to Hermione. Why wouldn't she want Ron to hurt him? "I-I'm handling this on my own. He… he's taken to the twins. Well, since this afternoon when Evie said she wanted to know more about potions."
"Hermione, dear, how can you just be that accepting?" Molly spoke up. "Severus may have helped us with the war, but that doesn't excuse his actions towards you."
"If he didn't do what Voldemort asked of him, both him and I would have been killed." Hermione spoke, remembering his response to her when she had asked him about it. "He did what he had to, to keep me safe and alive."
"Hermione, what happened after? Did you tell McGonagall?"
"No, Ginny. I didn't. I was scared and nervous. Even more so when Madame Pomfrey told me I was pregnant."
"What made you decide to leave?" Harry asked her.
Hermione bit the inside of her cheek before she spoke. "I was afraid of the questions. Questions I wouldn't have had answers to at the time." She turned in her seat, feeling uncomfortable answering these questions. "I also didn't want to face Snape about it."
"But we could have helped you, dear."
"You may have been able to help me, Molly, but when the twins were born, you would have had questions about the father. Just look at the last two weeks I was here. None of you let me get a word in edgewise. I had to dodge questions because I wasn't ready. I'm not even sure I'm ready now." Once Hermione was done talking, Ron stood up and stormed out of the room. Harry quickly got up and raced after him, unsure as to what the redhead was planning.
Ginny stood up, gave Lily to her mother and walked over to Hermione and engulfed the brunette in a hug. After a moment of shock, Hermione returned the hug. "What happened afterwards?" Ginny whispered lightly. "Did you just leave once you were done and packed?" Hermione sighed. The silence told Ginny she didn't want to respond.
"Yes." She answered softly. "Yes Ginny, I did. The moment I got to my parents' house, I grabbed everything I would need before finding a place I knew no one would be able to find me." Hermione rested her head against Ginny's shoulder. "I left for Florida and found a cute little townhouse that was for Rent. The woman who lived there passed away when Evie and Liam were a couple years old and she left the house to her own kids who gave it to me." Hermione stopped before she picked her head up to look at Ginny – slipping from the hug. "If Draco hadn't found me on accident, I would still be enjoying my life back there with my friends and co-workers.
Ginny took a step back from her. "With your friends?"
"That's not what I meant, Gin. My new friends that I made in Florida. Did you think I'd become a recluse after they were born? I still had bills to pay, food to buy to keep Liam and Evie fed."
"What about your friends here? We worried about you, searched for you. Ron left for months trying to find you." Ginny was growing angry. "Harry searched for you. Ron went to Malfoy. Malfoy, Hermione… Ron was that desperate." Hermione took a step back. The Weasley fury was not something to tamper with.
Looking around, Hermione found that everyone had left the living area save for Ginny and herself. "I-I'm sorry, Ginny." It was all she could really say at the moment. "I didn't mean enjoying my life there. I had wanted to come back so many times. I wanted to tell my parents about the twins; tell you, Ron, and Harry." Hermione bit her bottom lip for a second, trying to phrase it so that Ginny would understand. "I was afraid of having to see him." She said. "I was afraid of what he'd say to me. And Draco…" Hermione cut off to chance a look at Ginny. She had calmed down a lot as she plopped into the couch.
"We just thought something bad happened to you. That Death Eaters got to you." Ginny replied, defeated. "We were horrified that they had taken you as prisoner. Harry didn't want anything to do with the War. Ron just laid in his bed in his room. It wasn't until after the war did they realize that you were truly gone. That your disappearance had nothing to do with the war."
"I do wish I could redo what happened." Hermione said softly. "I wanted to help the boys with the war. They weren't ready for it."
"None of us were. But we fought. We found a lot of people were on our side. Malfoy for one. A lot of parents took their kids out of school because everyone thought V-Voldemort was going to attack there first."
"I really am sorry, Gin. Just know that I did want to be there."
"I know, Hermione."
The conversation between the two friends ended abruptly when George and Charlie came in, telling them that Ron and Harry had taken off. "Where did they go?" asked Hermione.
"Don't know…" said George. "One minute, he was ranting and raving like a lunatic and then Harry said that Ron needed to relax."
It wasn't until early the next morning did Ron and Harry come back. Molly was the first to be shoved off to bed, Bill telling his mother that he would inform her when they got back. Ginny, Lily, and Luna were the next to leave, both women going home to the Potter household. Angelina and George were the next to leave, mostly due to the fact that they had to get back to the house to relieve the babysitter they had gotten. Hermione sat up with Bill, Charlie, Fleur, and Arthur. No one said a thing. Everyone just stared at each other before Hermione sighed. "This is my fault."
"Of course it isn't, Hermione." Fleur responded to the younger woman. "You did what you thought was best."
"Yes, but if I had stayed, then this wouldn't have happened."
"You would have had to explain the children's father sooner or later." Arthur said.
"I… I meant back in Florida. I should have stayed there. I shouldn't have let Draco talk me into coming back." This kept everyone quiet. Hermione still regretted coming back. "The kids and I were fine there."
"But what about Ron?" Bill asked. "All Fleur and I ever heard was how much Ron was going nuts over not being able to find you. He was beginning to think you were dead."
"I know… I do know that. That's all I ever heard about Ron. He missed me and looked for me and went to Malfoy in a desperate attempt to find me." Hermione growled. Fleur got up from the table fretfully, saying something about Gabrielle watching Victoire and needed to get home. With a kiss to Bill's cheek, Fleur left into the living room where a slight green light could be seen as she used the Floo Network to get home. Hermione rubbed her eyes. "I'm sorry." She murmured quietly.
Arthur placed a hand on her shoulder and squeezed it for a moment. "It's okay, Hermione. Ron just needs some time to blow steam off." Hermione just nodded. The silence returned with the tense air. Before she knew it, Hermione was the only one left in the kitchen nursing a chilled cup of tea. She remembered Arthur saying it was late and retired for the evening; even remembered Charlie slipping out of the room to leave. She didn't remember when Bill left. Pushing the cup of tea away from her head, she rested on the table, closing her eyes.
Not a minute later, the door to the Burrow burst opened to reveal Ron and Harry. Startled, Hermione opened her eyes to look around. Ron looked weary and ready to just hit the floor. Harry was almost exactly the opposite. He looked alert and noticed Hermione in the kitchen. "Sorry, followed him to a pub where I could keep an eye on him." Hermione gave him a weak smile. "Couldn't have him beat up the only thing the twins have learned as a father."
The smile faded and she shook her head. "I don't think I'm going to go see him again."
"Why not? Evie seemed to enjoy him." Harry seemed to think for a moment. "At least, what I had noticed."
Hermione nodded. "Still, I doubt he wants to see them again. And now that everyone knows who their father is, I don't know if I want everyone asking whether I'm seeing him or not. I'm tired of eluding answers." She watched Harry for a minute. "Why did you bring him back here? I think Luna is waiting at your house with Ginny."
"Do you really think Luna wants to see this?" Harry pointed at Ron who looked to be about to hit the floor. A slight drool was drying at the corner of his mouth. "I thought I'd spare her the traumatizing sight." The woman just nodded, seemingly agreeing with Harry. "Everyone leave?"
"Yeah, pretty much. They figured you had a handle on the situation. Still, I think Bill was the last to leave; only I can't remember when he left."
"Ronald? You're home." Molly came rushing into the kitchen when she caught sight of her son's bright red hair. "Goodness, Ronald, you're drunk." Exclaimed the older woman.
"Heya, Mum." Ron said, his steps rather ungraceful as he walked towards his mother. "Y'know… I fig'red somethin' out… I know who the tw…tw… kids look like." Ron looked at Hermione. "I know whose they are. They're… they're… Profess'r Sev'us Snape." He started stumbling over to Hermione. "You slept with him, didn't you. Ye wanted it too, didn't ya?"
"Ronald, stop all this nonsense." Molly scolded. "We know who the father is." Molly turned to Harry. "Bring him upstairs to his old bedroom, please." Molly turned around and rummaged for an old cauldron. "I should start working on that headache potion." She muttered to herself. Hermione watched as Harry brought the drunken fool out of the kitchen and started up the stairs. Hermione turned to watch the old woman for a few moments before she decided to go upstairs to where the twins were still asleep.
Walking into the bedroom, she watched how peaceful the twins looked asleep. She was trying to keep them out of this mess as much as possible. Hermione went to sit on Liam's bed, stroking his hair back. He had finally regained his strength back. Hermione looked over at Evie's form. She had somehow defeated the cold before it even started. From the other room, Hermione heard talking. "She ruined ev'rything 'Arry…" Ron's voice rang out, the drunken slur still present. "I loved 'er and she didn't love me back. 'Stead, she went for Snape."
"Ron? Did you even listen to a work Hermione said? It wasn't her choice." Standing up, Hermione forgot all about waking the twins and stepped out into the hallway where she could hear the conversation better.
"Doesn't matter. She still didn't love me."
"Is that what this is really about?" Harry asked. "If it is, go ask her if she loved you." Hearing footfalls come closer, Hermione quickly darted back into the room where the children were sleeping. This time, she really woke them up.
"Morning Liam." Hermione said softly. The little boy stretched in the bed before turning over. "Time to get up, sweetheart." Hermione roused the child again, trying to get him up. She then went to the bed her daughter was sleeping on and woke her as well.
"Good morning, Momma." Evie yawned.
"Morning, love. Sleep well?" Evangeline nodded, scratching her nose before waking up.
"'Ermione! Did you ever love me?"
"Ron? What?" Hermione tried to look as confused as possible.
"Did you ever love me?" Ron repeated himself.
Hermione had to think on her feet to dodge the question. She wasn't really sure of that answer. "Ron, I need to get the twins up. We're heading to my parents' house for the day." Walking past him, she got out a pair of jeans for each kid as well as a shirt and jumper. Pushing Ron out of the room, she continued to ignore him while going to the bedroom she was using for the time being. Tossing on a new pair of slacks as well as a cleaned shirt, Hermione came out of her room to see both twins set. "Ready for breakfast?" They nodded in unison.
"I asked you a question, 'Ermione." Ron continued as they went down the stairs. "Do you love me?"
Letting the kids go ahead, Hermione turned on her heel to look at Ron. "Are you asking if I still love you now, Ron? Or still if I ever loved you?" Hermione shook her head. "Once upon a time, probably. But now? No. I love you as a brother." With that, she turned back around and finished her way down the stairs into the kitchen. "Good morning, Molly."
Turning around, Mrs. Weasley looked at Hermione. "Morning, dear. Did you get any sleep at all last night?"
"Sadly, no. I stayed up pretty much till they came in this morning. I was worried about Ron."
"Maybe you shouldn't have just blatantly come out with your story last night."
"Come out with my story? You all were the ones constantly asking who the twins' father was. You and everyone else constantly badgered me about telling my story." Hermione's anger levels grew. "Don't stand there, telling me that I shouldn't have told everyone what happened to me when it was you all asking me what happened and why I disappeared." Hermione stopped for a second before adding on; "and no, I was never ashamed of my children's lineage. I was protecting them. Liam, Evangeline, we're going to Grandmum and Granddad's for breakfast." Grabbing their coats, Hermione grabbed each child's hand and ushered them outside before making her way to the side of the road to pick up a pebble to transform into a portkey.
"Momma? Why was Nanna Molly so upset?
"Hush, Evie. I don't want to talk about it." Once the pebble was spelled, she told each child to touch the rock. "Stay close to Mummy." She told them. The familiar feeling in the pit of her stomach launched as it took her to a darkened street where no one was living before looking to see that both kids were alright. Evie had just about lost her balance, wobbling back and forth, while Liam had completely fallen to the ground on his bum. "Sorry, son." She told him, picking him back up on his feet. Taking each hand, she walked the children to her parents' house.
A knock came to the door and Hermione smiled when she saw the face of her father. "Welcome, Hermione. We didn't know you were coming today."
"Sorry I didn't call. I've been having a rough couple days and was hoping the twins and I could come for breakfast." As if on cue, her mother came out of the kitchen, a smile on her face to see her daughter.
"Good morning, sweetheart." Jane said to her daughter. "Come in, come in, of course you and the children can have breakfast." The small family of three walked into the house and removed their jackets. "I'm making scrambled eggs with bacon." Jane said before going back into the kitchen.
"I've missed your breakfasts, Mum." Hermione said, bringing the twins into the kitchen to help set plates on the dinner table. "What do your days consist of today?" Hermione asked.
"Well, I have a meeting today around two, but your mother will be home today. Unless she is called in." Mr. Granger said, placing out forks and glasses for milk.
"The chances of that are slim though." Jane stated. Scooping the eggs into a bowl, she brought them over to the table. "Time to eat." Hermione helped seat the twins and got each of them a cup of milk before giving each a helping of eggs with bacon. When everyone was settled in, a calm conversation opened up. "So, Hermione, any reason why you dropped by?"
"Do I really need a reason, Mum?"
"Well," Jane started, "I guess not. I just thought that maybe you had something you wanted to explain." Her gaze went over to the twins eating.
"Well, yes. I did want to explain that. I think I'm ready. I'm just worried how you'll react. It's not a pretty story." Hermione told her parents. She took a few bites, using it as an excuse to think on her own for a minute. She had to somehow get the kids to play in a different room while she told her parents the awful thing that happened to her. She also needed to make sure she could keep a watchful eye over them as well.
"Just take your time, Hermione. We have the whole morning for you to explain." Mr. Granger chimed in. Hermione just nodded and finished her breakfast in peace and quiet. She took up the dishes when they were all finished and cleaned them with her mum while her father took the twins to play.
"Is it really as bad as you say, love?" Her mother asked while they washed and dried.
"Yes, Mum. I don't want the twins in the same room with us while I tell you as well."
"Then why bring them here?" questioned Jane.
"Because things were getting too hectic at the Burrow." When she noticed her mother's brows furrow, Hermione quickly helped her mother understand. "Where the Weasleys live." Hermione let out a sigh. "I told them last night about it and Ron went crazy. Just leaving with Harry in tow only to come back early this morning flat out smashed."
"I see, I see." Hermione knew her mother didn't truly understand, but she was trying.
"Not to mention that Molly blamed it on me this morning. The reason Ron left." She was holding back tears. The things Molly said to her that morning really did hurt. She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked up at her mother. Letting the dishes fall to the counter lightly, Hermione wrapped her arms around her mother in a tight hug. Jane just returned the hug, holding her only child close. Letting go of her mother, Hermione resumed drying the dishes they had used from breakfast.
Once the dishes were done, Hermione and Jane joined Mr. Granger and the twins in the family area of the house. The twins were sitting on the floor as they coloured on the coffee table. Taking up residence on a plush chair, Hermione watched her mother join her father on the loveseat sofa. "That was a wonderful breakfast, darling." Mr. Granger placed a kiss on his wife's forehead before looking back at the twins colouring. "So, you were going to tell your mother and me about those two children, weren't you?" Her father asked her. With a nod, Hermione just looked at the twins.
"Take your time, pet." Jane told her daughter.
Again, Hermione nodded. "During my last year, things got bad. Very bad." She started. "The threats were getting worse and the war was so close." She knew it wasn't what they wanted to hear. It wasn't what they planned for their only child. "One day… one day I was grabbed by death…" she stopped again. How was she going to explain this so that her parents understood? "By men who were working for the evil Lord." That was just going to have to do. Every so often, she looked to the twins whom both just kept colouring. She didn't want them listening, but how was she going to ask her children to leave the room?
"Did they hurt you?" It sounded almost angry, coming from her father. "Did they do something to you and now you're trying to tell us that these kids are the product what they did to you?"
"Dad, stop. Just let me explain." Hermione saw out of the corner of her eyes that they twins began listening in. "Dad, please."
"Hermione, those men hurt you. Why are you acting so calm?"
"Dad, just… I know who their father is. I've been in contact with him. The twins know their dad." Hermione tried to reason.
"Who? Who did this?" He continued to question his daughter. Hermione looked like a deer caught in headlights. She looked to her mother, praying for her to say something, to calm her father down.
"David, please, quit this and let Hermione tell her story." Jane chimed in. Hermione thanked her mother with a look. She was grateful for her mother telling her father off.
"Grandmum… I need to go to the bathroom." Evie piped in. Hermione's attention went to her daughter as she walked up to her grandmother. Hermione wanted to take the little girl herself, get out of the stuffy room, but Jane took her granddaughter's hand and brought her to where the loo was located.
"Dad, I need you to stop getting angry. I know you're upset about what happened, everyone else was too. They all wanted to go bang on the castle doors and drag him out to beat him within an inch of his life."
"Castle? Was it someone at school? Was it one of those friends of yours?" David asked.
"What? Dad, no. It was—" Shit. It was the only thing that came to mind. She had really screwed up now and was going to catch hell for it. Why did she have to say the castle? Why couldn't she have just said doors?
"Do you mean Daddy? He's a teacher at the school. He teaches potions and is going to show me and Evie how to make them." William said, speaking for the first time. Hermione tried hushing him, but he had just continued on, telling Grandpa all about meeting his Daddy.
"Your teacher raped you?" That was it, the boiling point. Mr. Granger had enough of it all. "That bloody bastard. I want to meet this potions teacher of yours." It was about at this time Mrs. Granger and Evie came back. "Jane, her teacher is their father. He got her pregnant." David stood up. "I'm going to murder him." Liam clung to his mother's leg when David blew up. He just couldn't understand why everyone was yelling now and getting upset at his mother. Hermione placed a reassuring hand on the boy's back and glanced to see her daughter mimicking her brother.
"David, stop it. You're scaring the children." Mrs. Granger scolded. Jane picked up her granddaughter and held out her hand for Liam. With some convincing from Hermione Liam grabbed her hand and they walked off. The room stayed quiet until Jane returned. "Well then, the children are in Hermione's old room watching some cartoons." She told the father and daughter duo. "Now, why don't we all be adults and talk this through. David, Hermione, sit." Both sat down, neither of them looking at Jane. Hermione was the first to be scrutinized by her mother's wrath. "Hermione, first you leave us with a note that doesn't say much. Your father and I began to think the worst had happened. That you had gotten into something bad enough that it killed you. We thought that we had lost our only daughter… our only child." Jane then whirled towards her husband; it was his turn. "And David, sitting there putting pressure on your daughter isn't going to help her tell us anymore than she is. I'm aware as to what we went through; I was present for that as well, but if we sit there, demanding answers from her, she's less likely to answer them." Jane sat on the sofa on the other side of the room, her eyes going back and forth between her daughter and her husband. "Besides, if Hermione is working everything out with their father, then maybe we should butt out for the time being." With that said and done, Jane turned back to her daughter, finishing up with what she needed to tell her. "Five years later you come waltzing back into our readjusted lives with two children. And when we ask of their existence, you deny us that answer."
"But Mum, I…"
"No. None of your excuses. You leave us and come back expecting our love and acceptance for those two vulnerable babies." Jane took a breath. "I love those little ones… as if they were my own. And I want them to have a stable and loving life."
"Mum, they do…"
"With both parents."
"Jane… you want that monster watching those kids? Do you know what he did to your own daughter? What if he turns onto them? And that little girl."
"Dad, he won't. I know he won't. I-I think he's beginning to like them. Really like them. Especially Eve. Mum, Daddy, you don't understand the situation he was put into."
"Then explain it to us. Tell us how your teacher raped you." David said.
"He used to be part of the dark circle. Until he came to teach at the school. He became a spy for the good side. The Dark Lord thought he wasn't a worthy and was becoming a traitor. Like an idiot, I got myself caught by these men and my professor was called to show them that he was still on their side. Daddy… if he didn't rape me, I could have died. They could have killed me. In a sense, he was protecting me." For a moment, Hermione watched her father sneer before letting his features become soft in defeat.
"Is he trustworthy?"
Hermione turned to her mother to answer her question. "To me, he is. For so long I was in the dark as to why he raped me. But when Dra—when a friend brought me to see my professor, we talked it over. Well, more argued it over, but he told me everything. He also carried me back to the castle. And brought me to my room where I woke up."
"I want to meet him." Hermione was unsure of this. "I promise not to beat him." With that promised, Hermione nodded. She doubted that they would ever meet Severus Snape , but at least giving them some type of hope might get them off her back for a while. With his identity out of the way, Hermione round up the twins to bring them back to the Burrow.
Coming Soon: Next up... Confrontations and anger-induced body-binds.
Author's Notes: I know it has been a while since I've updated and a lot of that has to do with writer's block. Four fifths of this story was written back when the fifth chapter was put up back in the summer and I just had a hard time trying to figure out where I should have taken it from there. But now that I have my third (and praying my last) beta, she has helped me a lot with this chapter and as well as my others finding little plot holes that needed to be filled in. To me, the end of this chapter seemed a bit forced, but after revising it, I think I made it look okay. Let's hope you all think so as well. Now with this new beta, hopefully she can keep on my tail about my chapters and help me finish this story completely. Anyways, I hope you enjoyed our sixth installment and hopefully the seventh will be out rather soon.
Disclaimer: The Harry Potter franchise does not belong to me, it belongs to J.K. Rowling and Warner Bros. Also, The Worst Witch belongs to Jill Murphy who wrote the book and Prism Entertainment who released it onto VHS.
Title Courtesy of a Dutch Proverb