A/N: Hello, everyone. Unquestionable Love has returned yet again! :)
I've decided to put together an ongoing collection of stories about the Snape family rather than continue with individual one-shots, unless they would involve a plot that could potentially become novel-length. I hope those of you who've read the series to this point will find these new tales exciting, because I would love your input for this collection!
In the past, I've received a few suggestions for stories readers wanted to read. I've tried to retain those I could in the back of my mind, and I'd like to honor them here. Because this will be an ongoing collection, I welcome your suggestions for any prompts and/or stories you'd like to read about, whether they involve Severus and Hermione alone or one of them and the girls, etc. I will, of course, be including my own ideas as well, but this collection has the potential to be more interactive, which is my hope, so I'm happy to take requests! And I hope this collection will be enticing enough to you to check in from time to time. :)
Important Notes Before Reading: Expect these stories to be out of order and to take place at different time frames, either between the Prequel and the original or after the original. Some will be set when the girls are younger and others when they're older. Also, though the rating for this collection is T, expect an occasional M-rated story to crop up from time to time. (I will put up a warning for these stories.) Lastly, updates may be sporadic, depending upon the number of prompts received and work that continues on my other WIPs.
Please don't forget to review as you read! Feedback encourages my Muse, and I do love hearing what you guys think. Without your thoughts, it isn't worth sharing.
Disclaimer: Harry Potter is copyrighted to and belongs to JK Rowling. I'm just playing in her sandbox and own none of her associated characters. New characters belong to me.
Unquestionable Love: The Untold Stories
Of Diapers and Duties
Hermione returns home to a sight that makes more than one family member giggle.
Hermione Flooed to the familiar, warming comforts of her sitting room, breathing a sigh of relief as she passed through the hearth. The green light that trailed after her soon returned to a crackling fire that had apparently been smoldering for some time. Hermione felt a calming sensation wash over her as she set about removing her gray winter coat and casting it into a closet with her wand.
Bugger all, what a day.
Hermione paused to rub out the stiff kink in her neck, undoubtedly from all her craning over the endless amounts of paperwork that had flooded her desk. Overturning the old pureblood regulations were proving a nightmare since Hermione took the job six months ago, shortly following the birth of her second daughter. While she was thrilled to have moved onto Magical Law Enforcement, she could do without the stacks upon stacks of paperwork that never seemed to vanish from her desk.
'Join the club,' her husband snarled at her whenever she saw fit to complain, which brought a small smile to Hermione's face. He was certainly correct on that score.
Hermione moaned as the knot in her neck started to loosen, though she knew of a certain dark wizard who could easily set her physical pains to right. Her clever smile spread across her cheeks, until she was quickly distracted by the eerie silence that suddenly became apparent. A quiet house—at least, when it came to hers—was most definitely cause for concern, and usually not a good sign.
Hermione made a hurried sweep of the downstairs, moving from the cramped kitchen to the much larger reading room, where most of their free time was spent nowadays, and even the Potions laboratory in the basement, though she didn't have to go but half way down the steps before noticing that no candles were lit. Lastly, she checked the first floor bedroom, also known to her and her husband as their 'sanctuary' away from the rest of the chaos that lived with them, only it was void of occupancy and immersed in darkness.
That could only mean one thing. Grinning to herself, Hermione climbed the stairs, tip toeing soundlessly all the way so as not to disturb the rest of her family. She was unable to detect any noises coming from the second level, but, at the end of a long hallway, a faint light flickered from a cracked bedroom door to the left. Hermione paused before reaching that door, however, and instead quietly entered the first door, which revealed a pale yellow child's room and, at present, an occupied crib.
Hermione stepped closer, squinting in the darkness to make out the peacefully slumbering face of her oldest daughter, Lily, who lay on her back with several thick, chestnut curls brushing against her closed eyelids. She slept with a stuffed bunny loosely clutched to her chest and was out cold, unaware of her mother's thoughtful study of her person.
Hermione reached her hand into the crib and gently brushed the strands of hair away. Lily tossed her head in sleep but otherwise continued to dream, her eyelashes fluttering at whatever happy images danced in her head. Hermione's soft smile extended at the heartwarming picture of her sleeping daughter wrapped in blankets and hugging her favorite stuffed animal. She allowed herself another moment of such sweet indulgence before quietly exiting the room.
As she closed the door, the echo of a deep, rich-sounding voice reached Hermione's ears. She turned her head towards the cracked door frame further down the hall and slowly made her way over, peeking into the bedroom of her second daughter, Surina, that was colored a sea green with white trimming.
Half-expecting to find her unconventionally handsome wizard rocking the resembling little Slytherin lookalike in her rocking chair, or, perhaps, wandering about the room and gently swaying their daughter to lull her to sleep, the sight before her took Hermione entirely by surprise. She held back from making her presence known, choosing to watch the scene with humorous fascination.
Severus Snape, notorious former Headmaster of Hogwarts and Potions Master extraordinaire, dressed in his infamous frock coat and flow of buttons, loomed over an equally dark-haired baby. She cooed softly whilst laying atop a diaper-changing area that was situated next to her crib. Her pale complexion matched Severus's, but the intensity of his scrutiny was a trademark all the wizard's own—one that, Hermione mused, could send grown wizards flying nervously in the opposite direction. The scowl he wore was acute, as was the concentration that knitted his brow.
Their daughter didn't seem to mind the obvious tension in her father's face, however. Her eyes, as black as his, peered up at him brightly—or as illuminated as colorless irises could be—with her chubby arms outstretched to him in love. She wore nothing save for a diaper, and the stench that suddenly assaulted Hermione's nostrils caused her to, at first, cringe and then grin almost giddily with anticipation. She knew now what was about to ensue and was prepared to watch with unapologetic amusement.
"Your mother needs to get home now," the wizard muttered to the helpless little being before him, his voice calm, yet firm.
After staring down at Surina for another internally agonizing minute or two, Severus claimed defeat with a burdensome sigh, and his head fell forward. Hermione had to do her best not to snicker and thereby give her position away. She watched the poor man visibly struggle with what he was about to do. A few long hairs swept across his protruding nose, but Hermione could make out that pained grimace clear as day. This particular duty of parenthood was evidently as harrowing for the wizard now as it had been the very first time.
Severus grumbled under his breath as he extracted a bag of baby wipes from inside a drawer and set them beside Surina on the table. The little girl was too preoccupied sucking on her toes to take heed of her father's discomfort, however. Severus arched an eyebrow, mindfully watching the child's endearing antics, though his expression wasn't reminiscent of its usual woo at things their daughters did to make his disposition thaw.
Can't hold out forever, Severus, Hermione thought, doing her best not to giggle.
"I'm glad you find this amusing," Severus growled softly. His words sent Hermione into a fright, thinking she'd been discovered, until she realized that the wizard was speaking to Surina and not her.
Working his long fingers over her diaper with care, Severus slowly began to unwrap the messy monstrosity—as if it were a Horcrux itself! Hermione chuckled aloud—when he let out a series of unpleasant gasping and gagging sounds that sent Hermione into a fretful spiral of suppressed laughter. Echos of "Merlin and Circe," and "What the bloody hell is your Mum feeding you?" soon followed, which only made Hermione laugh harder. It was growing far too difficult to forestall discovery, especially with Surina's giggling and cooing growing ever more excited by her father's rare, highly animated expressions.
"Oh, so you think this is funny, do you?" Severus shrilled, turning his head to hack into the crook of his arm. He swiftly tossed the diaper into a disposable bag, his hands dangling Surina's legs up by her ankles. "You would, you smelly, little fiend!"
It took everything Hermione had not to reveal her hiding spot behind the door. She could see Severus perceivably struggling not to reach for his wand. It was one of the everyday things he had prided himself on doing without since day one with Lily, and now with Surina. He would never resort to magic to change a diaper, as he so adamantly put forth to his wife shortly after Lily's birth. He simply wouldn't give in like so many wizards had done before him.
Working as quickly as possible, Severus snatched up a handful of wipes—far more than Hermione knew were necessary to get the job done—and promptly began cleaning Surina's messy backside in haste, frowning as he did so, though the grimace he wore didn't stretch to his eyes. No matter how displeased he may appear, Hermione could decipher that flicker of well concealed emotion within. One of the ways it always managed to surface was when either of their daughters laughed. Their high-spirited tittering could bring out the stern wizard's tender side as Hermione had never imagined.
Even now, as Severus provided his daughter with a fresh diaper, bickering under his breath all the while, the man's warm sentiments were clear. He didn't really mind changing his daughter at all, so long as it provided the gift he'd receive for his efforts: the wonderful sound of music that came in the form of Surina's incessant giggling.
"Still amused, are we?" Hermione heard Severus purr, his frown lifting before her eyes. Her own laughter subsided, allowing an affectionate simper to take its place.
Severus had finally changed Surina into a new diaper and vanished the messy contents of the other with his wand. Surina still had her arms outstretched to her father, pining for Severus's undivided attention, which he granted with ease. He bent over and brought his much larger nose to hers, an unguarded expression of love taking form that only his family could bring out of him. His smile brought out his daughter's as well, who began making heartwarming coos that left the once surly wizard positively smitten.
Severus showered Surina with several loud-smacking kisses to one of her cheeks, nuzzling his nose in the nape of her neck, causing Surina to squeal loudly. Thus, Severus repeated the motions, drawing back to take in Surina's hearty reaction of encouragement.
Her husband's beautifully soft expression—that melting acceptance that befell him when he was surrounded by those he loved—was more than enticing to will Hermione from her hiding place. She stepped inside, smiling broadly for the pair of them.
"Having fun, you two?"
Hermione made her way to their sides, just as Severus was picking Surina up and bundling her against his chest, taking another moment to kiss one of her plump cheeks before offering his wife a similar form of greeting. Hermione weaved an arm around his back and greeted Surina with a kiss of her own.
"Good of you to show up," Severus hissed reprovingly to Hermione, who eyed him over with confusion.
"I got home as soon as I could, Sev—"
"No, I meant for this."
Severus patted Surina's diaper, and it was then that Hermione realized he wasn't cross, though another awareness came to her at the same time. "You knew I was watching, didn't you?" she asked, and Severus's half-cocked smirk informed her of his answer.
"I'm afraid your laugh is unmistakable."
"No, it isn't!"
"Are we pouting because we couldn't outwit me again, lioness?"
"I was being perfectly quiet!" Hermione huffed, though Severus's alluring smile left her too breathless to be put out.
"Hmm, yes, your timing is perfect as well."
"Why do you think I waited and waited before finally giving in?"
Hermione paused, detecting the triumph lurking behind her husband's eyes, and narrowed her gaze. "Sneaky Slytherin," she spat softly.
"Not this time, I wasn't!" Hermione shot him a wry smile and lovingly pinched Surina's cheek. "Daddy did well on his own, didn't he, Surina?"
Severus was about to come back at his wife with a goading retort when Surina's squeaking stopped them both. "Dada!" she exclaimed, happily clapping her hands as she focused on the hooked-nosed wizard holding her. "Dada! Dada!"
Hermione chuckled along with her daughter. "Would you like Dada to change you again next time, sweetie?"
It was Severus's turn to give his teasing wife the glare. "I think I should get a pass on the next round, actually."
His suggestion made Hermione laugh louder and slap his chest. She drew closer, snuggling against his chest along with their daughter. "Oh, very well, if you must." She peered up at him fondly, finding his return regard as intensely affectionate as her own, even if he wanted to be cross. "But you did do very well, love."
"Dada! Dada!" Surina began chiming all over again, reaching out to capture Severus's nose. Her tiny fingers trailed down to his mouth, her being shrieking with delight when Severus pretended to devour her little hands. "Dada! Dada!"
"I don't think you'll be able to weasel your way out of it next time," Hermione found herself snickering, catching the glimmer of apprehension that passed by Severus's face. "I think you've been officially elected to diaper duty."
"I fear you're right, my dear."
Yet, there was nothing at all fearful in the manner with which he gently regarded their child. Hermione didn't need to survey Severus's softened expression to know the truth, for those deeply held sentiments had been discovered long ago.
Sharing a quiet, knowing smile with him, the two strolled out of Surina's bedroom, Severus holding their daughter in one arm whilst his other hand held tightly to Hermione's.
A/N #2: I've had this one-shot in my head for ages, so it was fun to finally flesh this out. I hope you enjoyed it!
Please let me know your thoughts and if you'd be interested in more. Also, feel free to throw prompts into the review box. I'll consider all requests. :)