Title: Snape, Granger, and the Muggleborn Slytherin
Author: pristineungift
Rating: T
Wordcount: 6,065
Warnings: Minor Coarse Language; Told from Outsider POV; Slight Ridiculosity; Possible Cliché.

Summary: The firsthand account of how a fifth year Slytherin made Professors Granger and Snape realize they were perfect for each other, with a little help from Teddy Lupin and Winky the house elf. SSHG. EWE.

Notes: This story just popped into my head, and I couldn't do anything else until I'd written it down. No beta or britpicker, so please be kind and feel free to politely alert me to any mistakes.


Snape, Granger, and the Muggleborn Slytherin

Aliana Schmidt was an average looking girl with thick black hair, olive skin, and dull hazel eyes. She also had the distinct privilege of being the first Muggleborn to be sorted into Slytherin in living memory.

Now, many might consider this to be anything but a privilege, but Aliana's father was rather important among Muggles as a member of MI6 (which meant her surname was more than likely completely made up, but what you going to do, eh?), and she had inherited his way of looking at things sideways, as he referred to it. Yes, she'd had a bit of a rough time of it in her first two years, what with the Purebloods in her house not knowing how to treat her, and all the members of the other houses not liking her because she was a Slytherin (apparently there'd recently been a war and Slytherin house had been on the wrong side of it, for the most part), but that was only two years, and Aliana was looking at the big picture.

The fact was, as the First Muggleborn Slytherin, she was already well known throughout the wizarding world, and that made her interesting. Being interesting was the first step to being influential, and at age fifteen, Aliana was already determined she was going to be at least as important to the wizarding world as her father was to the Muggle one.

And being the First Muggleborn meant that she got special attention not only from Severus Snape, Head of Slytherin House, Defense Against the Dark Arts Professor, and Hero of the big war that Aliana had just missed, but also the most famous and equally heroic Hermione Granger, Head of Gryffindor House, Potions Mistress, and Muggleborn Witch. It seemed the pair had converged on her almost the instant the Sorting Hat had shouted out "Slytherin!" and the Great Hall fallen silent, and she'd been the protégé of both ever since.

When her own housemates sneered and hid her things, Professor Snape began teaching Aliana advanced defense techniques, as well as charms work. When Aliana got her monthly visitor for the first time, and showed up tightlipped and pale at Professor Granger's door, having no mother to turn to, Professor Granger made her tea and gave her the appropriate potions. When she went out for the Slytherin Quidditch team and failed quite miserably, Professor Snape sneered and said he'd no idea why she wanted to spend her time flying around chasing inflated animal bladders when she had much better things to turn her mind to (which Aliana took as a roundabout way of him saying he thought her clever). And when she won the tournament that determined who would lead Hogwarts' Junior Dueling Team as its captain, Professor Granger took her out for a butterbeer to celebrate.

So much time did she spend with them, that in moments of idle daydreaming she often fancied that they were her wizarding parents. Oh, she still loved her Muggle father of course, and always would, but by nature of his work and her going away to school, much of their lives were hidden from each other. And Professor Snape even looked quite like Daddy, though Daddy's enormous scar was on his leg rather than his throat.

She'd never known her mother, so there was no one to compare Professor Granger to.

But all of that wasn't the point. The point was, Aliana spent a great deal of time with both professors, and liked to think that she knew them rather well after five years, and she was sure of two things: first, that they were actually madly in love and quite well suited; and second, that they were utterly hopeless and would never manage to sort themselves out without Aliana's intervention.

-l-

The first thing Aliana did was make a list. All of her parental figures, Muggle and wizarding, were very big on organized lists. Of course, she wrote this particular list inside her head, as all her parental figures were equally big on not leaving paper trails.

Operation Professor Trap

Objective: Make Professors Granger and Snape realize their feelings and act upon them

Step One: Identify Obstacles

Step Two: Eliminate Obstacles (Non-lethally if at all possible)

Step Three: Introduce Catalyst

Step Four: Demand to be bridesmaid at wedding, and namesake of one of their children

Obstacles… well those were easy enough. The most obvious went by the name of Auror Weasley, Professor Granger's on again – off again boyfriend. He came up on weekends to watch Quidditch and take Professor Granger to Hogsmeade. The second potential obstacle was a dead woman called Lily Potter (Aliana was resourceful and quick, and had read all of the unauthorized biographies on Professor Snape), but Aliana figured she'd be easier to deal with, what with being dead and all.

The third obstacle was sheer pigheadedness.

That would take some thought.

-l-

After some time spent reading Daily Prophet clippings and studying family trees, Aliana went about forming an alliance with Teddy Lupin. He was a second year Hufflepuff, which meant he was loyal. In addition, he was a Metamorphagus, the son of two war heroes, godson of Harry Potter (who was some sort of real life Jesus as near as Aliana could figure it), and part of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black.

All were fine qualities to have in a friend.

Aliana cornered him one afternoon when he was on his way down to Hagrid's hut, ostensibly because she thought he had potential to be a right nasty addition to the Dueling Team with his abilities. He was wary at first, his eyes on her green and silver school tie, but once she started talking about dueling, he relaxed.

"You're Aliana Schmidt, right? Fifth year Slytherin?"

"And the First Muggleborn, yes. You might as well say it. It's not as if it's a secret."

Teddy Lupin's hair went bright pink. "Aunt Hermione talks about you."

Aliana was immediately viciously jealous that Teddy, who didn't even seem to like Professor Granger half as much as she did, was allowed to address the Potions Mistress so familiarly. Really, there was no justice in the world.

But then, she'd known that for ages.

So Aliana shoved her resentment down, and made herself smile a charming smile. "I'm very fond of Professor Granger. She's been like a mother to me."

Teddy nodded, his hair returning to a less blinding color.

They passed the rest of the walk with amiable chatter, and when they got to Hagrid's hut, the half-giant seemed surprised to see her, but invited her in.

Aliana thought it was a good start. Teddy would need to be carefully groomed. She'd keep her own counsel until she was certain she could trust him not to give the game away.

-l-

Her next alliances were cultivated among the house elves. After reading of the role elves such as Dobby and Kreacher had played in the war, Aliana thought the creatures would make the most wonderful spies, once trained up properly. She planned to have at least two herself one day, though she'd of course pay them if they wanted to be paid.

She'd like to set one to looking after her father, just in case he ever got into a spot he couldn't get himself out of, but that was neither here or there.

She befriended the three elves assigned to cleaning the Slytherin girls' dormitories, as well as a young elf in the kitchens called Dumby, and an older kitchen elf by the name of Winky. Winky was especially fond of Aliana. Winky was supposed to be free, but it made her desperately unhappy and had led her to drink quite a bit, off and on. Aliana promised that when she graduated, Winky could quit her job at Hogwarts, and swear herself to Aliana's service as a proper house elf. Accepting that promise, Winky had already begun to treat Aliana as her mistress.

Aliana was very determined that Professor Granger would not be finding out about Winky, ever.

After getting the elves to aid her in stealing a few potions from Professor Granger's private store, all that was left to be done was make her plans and wait.

-l-

Her opportunity came at Christmas. There was to be a ball at Malfoy Manor, and a party for the Order of the Phoenix at Harry Potter's house. Aliana wrangled invitations to both through Teddy. He'd turned out to actually be quite good at dueling, and might be just the one she'd been looking for to take over the team when she graduated. As they grew closer as friends, she'd divulged the objective of her plans to Teddy, if not all of her plans in their entirety. He thought it was all great fun and delighted in helping her. So they'd agreed that he would make his family think that he had a bit of a crush on Aliana, and wanted to invite her for Christmas so that she wouldn't have to stay all by herself at Hogwarts. (Daddy was in the United States until February for reasons he couldn't divulge.)

Professor Granger usually escorted Teddy home, since she was all but a relative, and this year Aliana went with them. They were taking the Hogwarts Express to London, and from there they would be picked up by none other than Harry Potter and taken to Number 12 Grimmauld Place, which was where Teddy and his grandmother spent the holidays.

Professor Snape saw them off at the platform in Hogsmeade.

"Do you have all your things?" he said to Aliana.

"Yes, professor."

"I expect you will continue to practice your Occlumency over the holiday. If your defenses are weakened when you return, I will be most disappointed. And remember the correction exercises we've begun on your dueling stance. You are still telegraphing when you lead with your left side."

"I'll remember," Aliana said with a smile. Some thought Professor Snape to be prickly, if not just plain mean, but Aliana rather thought his fussing and high standards meant he believed in her. Meant that he cared. But then, she'd been raised by a Muggle secret agent, and then thrown into the pit of vipers that was Slytherin, so what did she know.

"Honestly, Severus." Professor Granger sounded exasperated. "Let her have a holiday. You're pushing too hard."

Professor Snape raised an eyebrow, and Professor Granger colored, their eyes meeting in something intense that wasn't quite a glare, but wasn't quite not one either.

Aliana wished they would just shag already. And keep all the details to themselves, because Professor Snape looked like Daddy and Professor Granger was basically her mother and just ew.

"I assure you, Hermione, Miss Schmidt is perfectly capable of telling me when I am pushing her too hard. Perhaps you aren't as concerned with her future as I – "

"Don't you dare finish that sentence! Just because our parent-uh-eaching, our teaching styles differ, does not mean I don't have Aliana's best interests at heart."

"I'm starting to see what you mean," Teddy whispered out of the corner of his mouth. "They don't even remember we're here."

"Told you," Aliana whispered back, watching as her two favorite professors continued to bicker. They went at it for another twenty minutes, snarking back and forth, only stopping when the whistle blew that signaled the train was about to leave.

Never very demonstrative, Professor Snape gave them a deep nod. Professor Granger responded by putting her hand on his arm and squeezing. And with that, they boarded the train, and Professor Snape turned sharply on his heel and strode off, robes billowing behind him.

"I think he's lonely, and a bit sad," Aliana said once they'd settled in their compartment. This part was easy, because it was true, and because Professor Granger was something of a soft touch. "We always spend Christmas together, you see. Ever since I came to Hogwarts. I feel guilty, knowing that I'm leaving him at the castle all by himself."

Just as planned, Professor Granger drooped, then bit her lip and got that sort of crazy Gryffindor look in her eye. "Is that why he never comes to the Order party?"

"Or Cousin Draco's ball," Teddy added helpfully.

"Well, don't you worry, Aliana. We're going to make sure he gets out and about this year, and that he comes to visit you at Grimmauld Place, if I have to drag him there myself. How's that sound?"

Aliana smiled, clasping her hands together. "That would be just the best Christmas, professor. I'm very fond of him, you know."

"I know," Professor Granger responded, with a sweet softness playing around her mouth.

-l-

Aliana spent a few days mingling with the likes of Harry Potter and various Weasleys (George had promised her a summer job at WWW, and Aliana patted herself on the back again for her decision to befriend Teddy), and then it was time for the ball at Malfoy Manor.

Aliana woke Teddy up before breakfast that morning to tell him the plan. It was always best to give him as little notice as possible. For a Metamorphagus, Teddy was pants at lying. Subterfuge of any kind, really. But he promised to help and said he'd do his best, and as he was also rather impossibly endearing, Aliana decided that was good enough.

So she went down into the kitchen and made them up a breakfast tray, giving the excuse that she and Teddy were going over strategy for the Dueling Team and wanted to sit somewhere quiet while they ate, and Teddy forged two letters.

Teddy was quite good at mimicking handwriting. Aliana wasn't sure if it was part of being a Metamorphagus or not, but then, she didn't really care so long as it got the job done. One letter – written in a facsimile of Professor Granger's handwriting – was sent to Professor Snape, and the other, written with Professor Snape's spiky, slanted scrawl was addressed to Aliana, as she thought it more plausible that he'd be writing to her.

They sent both off with an owl, and then went down into the sitting room so that Aliana's owl could be seen arriving.

"Oh, Professor Granger," Aliana said, once she'd made a show of reading the letter.

"I've told you, you can call me Hermione while we're here," Professor Granger interrupted. "Anything else just seems silly."

"Hermione," Aliana said with a little private thrill to be given first name privileges, "I was wondering if you could help me with something?" She brandished the letter. "Professor Snape says he might not go to the ball at Malfoy Manor, because Mr. Malfoy is always trying to set him up with," Aliana traced her finger along a sentence, "'grasping old biddies who want to marry a hero no matter who he is.' But I so want him to go, because I've never danced before, and having my first dance with Professor Snape would be almost as good as if it were my father, better in some ways, but I don't – "

Professor Granger pulled Aliana into an embrace and rubbed her back soothingly. Aliana ceased screwing up her face to make herself look close to tears, and let her breathing return to normal.

"I know it's important to you that he's there," Professor Granger said. "And I will make sure he is."

Aliana sniffled, and wondered if that was laying it on a bit thick really, but Professor Granger handed her a handkerchief (which, Aliana noticed, was monogrammed with the initials 'S.S.'), so she supposed not. "Oh, well I think the solution's easy, don't you?"

"What's that?"

"You should go as Professor Snape's date. That way, he won't have to worry about being set up with anyone."

Professor Granger was blushing now, and looked like she might be about to refuse the suggestion out of hand, so Aliana put on her most pitiable look and said, "Please? For me?"

-l-

Later that day, Teddy metamorphosed into Professor Granger, and intercepted the Hogwarts owl that had brought a letter for her. Flush with triumph, he returned to his own standard appearance, and brought the letter to Aliana to open.

Hermione,

If it is that important to Aliana that you attend the ball at Malfoy Manor, I will of course accompany you. I understand what it is to have to face places and memories we would rather forget.

I will apparate to Number 12 at 7 o'clock, precisely. Do not keep me waiting.

S.S.

Aliana folded the parchment back up and carefully put it in her trunk, knowing that it would become one of her treasures. Though she felt slightly bad for so ruthlessly manipulating Professor Snape's sense of honor and duty, in the letter he had called her 'Aliana' – an occurrence so rare that she held each instance to her heart, saving the memories up for a rainy day. (Or Dementor attack. Whichever came first.)

Then she tripped down the stairs to tell Professor Granger – Hermione – that Professor Snape would be escorting her for the evening and would be here to pick them up at seven.

-l-

When Professor Snape showed up at Grimmauld Place, Aliana had to very purposefully not look at Teddy. She knew if she looked him in the face they would both burst into giggles.

Professor Snape looked so distinguished and debonair in his dress robes, like something out of a Jane Austen movie. He was all buttons and tall shiny boots and swooshy black velvet cape, and he'd found a bit of ribbon somewhere to tie his hair back, revealing hints of silver at his temples. It didn't hurt that the high collar and lacy cravat hid most of his throat scar.

Professor Granger looked just as good. She'd done something to her hair (and used the same potion on Aliana's, and put it up for her, chattering all the while about her first ball), and her robes were a deep powder blue made of flowing silk, and when she stood next to Professor Snape, Aliana thought they looked absolutely perfect.

"You look nice, Professor!" Aliana didn't hesitate to say.

He did that thing where he smiled with his eyes, and then he presented Aliana with a white rose. Utterly charmed (in a completely non-gross, father-daughter kind of way, ta very much), Aliana took it and spelled it into her hair.

"As do you, Miss Schmidt," Professor Snape said. Then his eyes caught on Professor Granger, and maybe it was wishful thinking, but Aliana thought he forgot to breathe for a second there.

"You do look very dashing, Severus," Professor Granger told him, her cheeks pink.

Professor Snape gave her a rose too, but for whatever reason, the one he gave to Professor Granger was red.

-l-

They apparated to the ball, Aliana and Teddy going Side-Along. Teddy was to be Aliana's escort for the night, to keep up their pretense of his fancying her. (Which he assured her that he didn't, really.)

All in all, Aliana considered the night to be an unparalleled success. Professor Snape didn't leave Professor Granger's side, except to dance Aliana's first waltz with her. Aliana managed to ingratiate herself to Astoria and Narcissa Malfoy, both of whom hinted that she might be considered as a suitable wife for the Malfoy Heir, once he was of age. (Scorpius Malfoy was currently four. Nevertheless, Aliana let him stand on her feet and led him through a dance, and gave him a sweet while they posed for a picture, so that he'd remember her face and be predisposed to liking her.)

And, her crowning glory, the Slytherin elves at Hogwarts had talked to the Malfoy elves, just like Aliana had asked them to, and at midnight the elves made mistletoe appear over every couple standing together.

Spelled mistletoe that one couldn't walk away from without a kiss being exchanged.

Aliana wound up kissing Draco Malfoy on the cheek, to his bemusement, but she didn't really care what he thought, because she could see over his shoulder that Professor Snape had bowed and given Professor Granger a courtly kiss on the hand like he was a bloody knight out of a fairytale. No, not a knight.

A Prince.

By Merlin, she should write these down.

-l-

Aliana's next triumph came the night of the Order party. Everyone was opening presents and eating Mrs. Weasley's wonderful cooking, and Teddy and Aliana were in charge of corralling a herd of Weasley children. (Aliana didn't care if some of them were technically Potters. They were all Weasleys, and that was that.)

Kreacher hated Aliana on account of her being Muggleborn (he seemed thoroughly confused that she was a Slytherin, and occasionally muttered to himself about her being a dirty liar), so she'd had to get Teddy to convince the house elf to help. Since Teddy was of the Ancient and Most Noble House of Black, Kreacher was much nicer to him.

Aliana (via Teddy) gave Kreacher a vial of veritaserum she'd stolen from Professor Granger's stores, and told him (again, via Teddy) that he was to put two drops in Ron Weasley's drink just as he began talking to Professor Granger.

The resulting confrontation was even more spectacular than Aliana had hoped for. She didn't want Professor Granger to be hurt, of course, but it was as plain as the nose on her face that Auror Weasley wasn't suited to be with Professor Granger, not when Professor Snape was right bloody there and so perfect.

Auror Weasley started the conversation by saying that he wanted children and he was tired of waiting for Professor Granger to be ready to take a break from her career and marry him. Looking vaguely horrified, he continued to say that he was starting worry that she was getting a bit on in years, and if they didn't have kids soon she might not be able to pop out more than two or three, and he'd rather hoped to have four or five, himself.

When Ginny Potter stepped on his foot and told him to be quiet, he told her that she needn't step on his toes while she was as big as a house. This naturally brassed both her and Harry Potter off, as Ginny was pregnant with the next Potter. (Weasley. They're all Weasleys.)

Professor Granger asked Auror Weasley what had gotten into him, and he winced his eyes shut, even as a stream of talk came out of his lips, saying how maybe he was just feeling like their whole relationship was going nowhere, and he was ready to move on with his life, and lately it seemed like she liked spending time with that utter git, Snape, more than she liked spending time with him.

Aliana had felt a little bad for getting Auror Weasley into trouble up until that point, but no more.

"I mean I respect him loads. How could I not? He's saved all our lives more than once," Ron said as everyone stared at him in the heavy silence. "But you can't deny that he's still a complete and utter prat. Don't know how you stand him."

Professor Granger looked so just, feral just then, that Aliana was willing to bet she'd turn into a bleeding lioness if she was an animagus. "You shut up, Ronald Weasley! He is a caring, intelligent man, and at least he can carry on a conversation about more than Quidditch, which is more than I can say for you! And if I do like spending time with him, maybe it's because he listens to what I have to say, rather than nodding along to humor me! As for getting along with your life: Go ahead. Get on with it. I can't think of one person trying to stop you, least of all me."

And then it was like the gods or Merlin or Santa Claus or whoever believed in Aliana's plan, because right at that moment Professor Snape arrived, carrying a small stack of precisely wrapped gifts.

He raised one brow at the tension filled atmosphere in the room, and then he handed one of the gifts to Professor Granger. "Apologies for my tardiness," he said into the silence.

He crossed the room to hand another gift to Aliana, and the last to Ginny Potter, murmuring, "To my hostess," in that deep voice of his.

Still furious, Professor Granger tore the paper off of her gift, only to gasp in surprise and pleasure when she looked down at the rare looking tome the wrappings revealed. "Severus! Where did you find this? I've been trying to lay my hands on a copy for years. Not even Hogwarts has one."

Professor Snape tilted his head like it didn't matter (that was his version of a shrug, Aliana was pretty sure). "It is from my private collection. I thought it would be useful in your research."

"Yes, yes, it most certainly will." Professor Granger ran her fingers over the book's leather cover, and then she glared at Auror Weasley. "Would you like to have a firewhiskey with me in the library, Severus? I'd love to discuss the book in more detail, and run some potions theory by you, if you don't mind."

Professor Snape's eyes darted between Auror Weasley and Professor Granger, but he nodded, saying, "Of course. As soon as Miss Schmidt has opened her gift."

Finding all the attention suddenly on her, Aliana looked down at the box in her hands. With great dignity, she tore at the seams of the wrapping paper and slid it away to reveal a flat velvet box. When she opened it, she found a locket inside, emblazoned with what Aliana recognized as the Prince crest.

Her eyes snapped to Professor Snape's, and for a second it was like she was a Legilimens, or maybe he was just somehow putting the memories in her head, because Aliana knew that this locket had belonged to Professor Snape's mother, and that he was supposed to pass it on to his daughter, only he never figured on having one, so he was giving it to Aliana.

She didn't cry, or anything, because Slytherins don't, but she did hug Professor Snape and let him help her put the locket on.

Later, when Teddy and Aliana were listening at the library door with Teddy's new Extendable Ears, they heard the following:

"That was so sweet of you, Severus, giving her that locket. It meant so much to her. You know she loves you."

"She is an exceptionally bright student, and incredibly devious, no matter what you think. She's the closest to having my own child as I will ever come."

"… Are you so sure of that, Severus? You're still in your prime, and the war really is over. You're free now."

"Perhaps. But as the charming Mr. Weasley put it while I was standing in the hall, I am a complete, utter prat, and unlikely to change. I highly doubt any woman would be interested."

"Then you also heard me say that you're caring and intelligent and a good listener! Lots of women would be interested. Are interested."

"Such as?"

But Aliana never got to hear Professor Granger's answer, because Harry Potter caught Teddy and Aliana eavesdropping because he's a right sneaky bastard who's light on his feet. He told them off for it, too, but as he had that mad Gryffindor gleam in his eye, Aliana didn't think he really meant it.

-l-

Once they'd returned to Hogwarts, Aliana decided that Teddy had proven himself, and they reviewed her mental checklist together.

Operation Professor Trap

Objective: Make Professors Granger and Snape realize their feelings and act upon them

Step One: Identify Obstacles – Ronald Weasley (Neutralized); Lily Potter (Most likely no longer an issue based upon Professor Snape's behavior); Pigheadedness (Work in Progress)

Step Two: Eliminate Obstacles (Non-lethally if at all possible) – see above

Step Three: Introduce Catalyst

Step Four: Demand to be bridesmaid at wedding, and namesake of one of their children

"What do you mean by introduce a catalyst?" Teddy asked.

"We need to give them a common enemy. Someone to unite against, or a cause to fight for or something like that to bring them together. They're both very big on causes."

"Quidditch!" Teddy chirped at once, only to wither under the Look that Aliana gave him. "Erm, right. Professor Snape pulls for Slytherin, and Professor Granger doesn't care."

"And they say Hufflepuffs are slow," Aliana teased.

"Well Slytherins are supposed to be whinging twats, so there you have it," Teddy teased right back. He was awful proud of being Hufflepuff, on account of his mum.

"I've got it!" Aliana crowed, inspired by thoughts of Teddy's mum. Or just mums in general.

The one thing that Professors Granger and Snape always united on, always had in common, was Aliana Schmidt, the Muggleborn Slytherin.

So she and Teddy sat down together, and concocted some vicious rumors.

-l-

A few weeks later, Aliana found Teddy in the Great Hall. "Winky's just brought me a report. Want to come see?"

They went to an empty classroom on the third floor, and Aliana pulled out a roll of parchment. She's taken to arming Winky with a Quick Quotes Quill and sending her to spy on Granger and Snape's conversations. They were so used to being surrounded by invisible house elves that not even Professor Snape noticed he was being watched – something Aliana had counted on.

Aliana put the parchment down on a desk, and together they read:

Professor Snape broods alone, his very posture crying out for attention and love. The attention and love that only one woman can give him.

"Severus, can I have a word?" Professor Granger interrupts his deep melancholy. "It's about Aliana."

"What about Miss Schmidt?" Professor Snape asks, all at once projecting a fatherly concern that makes him almost impossibly attractive to any woman within five feet.

"The portrait of Merlin that hangs in the Slytherin Common Room came to tell me that the students have been talking… Severus, they're saying that she's the love child of Voldemort and Bellatrix Lestrange, hidden in the Muggle world in case Voldemort lost. It's utter rubbish, of course, but I'm worried. It could upset her, and it's dangerous if the wrong sort of person comes to believe it."

Professor Granger wrings her hands, and it is clear to this reporter that she feels very motherly toward this girl, very motherly indeed. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that Professor Granger often dreams of having a black haired daughter she shares with Professor Snape, if you get my drift, dear reader.

"You believe that someone may be trying to frame an uprising around her? Ah, and this would mean that she wasn't really Muggleborn, which – "

"Sets back social progress when it comes to Blood Status, yes. And I don't know if it's as serious as an uprising, but it could make her the target of any rogue Death Eaters still out there – or any fanatics who take the rumor as truth and try to harm her to prevent her becoming the next Voldemort or what have you."

"I'll take care of it," Professor Snape says, his eyes glimmering with the ghost of his past. He rubs his forearm, as if the Dark Mark still plagues him to this day.

"How?" Professor Granger asks, with all the ferocity of a mother lion protecting her cub.

Professor Snape stares intently for what seems to be a thousand winter nights, and then he says, "Her father is my cousin on the Muggle side. Any Mediwitch will be able to confirm that we are blood relations with a simple diagnostic spell."

Professor Granger gasps like a theatre goer when the murderer is revealed. "She's your second cousin? Does she know?"

"No." Professor Snape's face is like a thundercloud filled with thunder. "I thought to spare her the ignominy of being related to Dumbledore's murderer. And I hadn't seen her father since we were boys, until he turned up to ask me to watch over his daughter."

"Oh, Severus," Professor Granger sighs, and then she is laying her hand on Professor Snape's shoulder and drawing him into a passionate embrace. They do not kiss, but they hold each other so tightly that they could grace the cover of a romance novel. "We'll talk to her together."

"Thank you," Professor Snape says into Professor Granger's neck, so soft that this reporter could barely hear it.

They stopped reading and Teddy gave Aliana a queer look.

"Well bloody buggering hell," was all she could think of to say.

-l-

Aliana lost focus for a day or so there, but by the time the weekend rolled around and she was invited to Professor Snape's rooms for tea, she had a plan.

She suffered through Cousin Severus telling her that they're related, and giving his reasons for keeping it a secret as Professor Granger – Hermione – alternated patting each of their hands in support. Then Aliana told them that she'd already figured it out absolutely ages ago and had been waiting for them to come clean because she is the cleverest Slytherin in the whole bloody house (which is why the portrait of Merlin likes her so much), and no she will not tell them how she figured it out. She then proceeded to use the Schmidt charm (which is apparently actually the Snape charm) to antagonize the both of them to a point that the vein in Cousin Severus' forehead was jumping, and Hermione was putting her hands on her hips and calling Aliana 'young lady.'

That's when Aliana pulled out the kicker. "Ugh! You might as well be my parents, the way you act. You two should get married, and then we can all change our names to Snape and be a right cute little family of swots!"

She said it snottily, in her best nightmare teenager voice, to make it sound like the lamest thing, but really it was the dearest wish of her heart.

To complete the act, she turned on her heel in a very SchmidtSnape-like way, and stomped from the room.

Once she slammed the door behind her, she immediately dug in her pocket for an Extendable Ear, and pressed it to the wall.

" –is ours, Severus, she's right about that."

"Preposterous."

"Not so preposterous. In fact… it could be very nice, given a chance."

"Hermione…"

"Severus?"

They didn't say anything for a while, and Aliana frowned at her Extendable Ear, pointing her wand at it to strengthen the charm.

Once she put it back against the wall all she could hear was sort of smacking, sucking sounds, like someone clapping or –

"Ew," she gasped, backing away. "Ew, ew, ew."

-l-

Two years later, Aliana Snape was a seventh year, Dueling Team Captain and Head Girl, ta very much, and at Christmas she was going to be Cousin Severus' Best Woman at his wedding to Hermione. They're holding it at Malfoy Manor, because that was where their romance really began, and Aliana was so smug that she nearly told them it was all her doing.

But in the end, she decided to let them have the illusion. For two people who pride themselves on their genius, it would be very unsettling for them to find out that they're actually both dunderheads, if only when it comes to romance.

But that is perfectly alright. Aliana had got them this far, and she didn't plan on abandoning them now. Especially as she was still determined to have a little cousin named after her.

"Oi, Snape," Teddy called from the Hufflepuff table. "You coming to dueling practice?"

"I'm going to wipe the floor with your arse, Lupin," Aliana told him as she got up.