Severus Snape stood in front of the door to Hagrid's small hut at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. He shot one more glance toward the castle. Assured the Headmaster had not yet found him, he rapped on the door with two sharp knocks. "Hagrid!"
"On meh way!" the half-giant's voice floated back, and Severus stole a last glance toward Hogwarts before the door opened. "Prof'sor?" the big man asked in obvious confusion. "Some'at I ken help yeh with?"
Severus stepped inside without being invited. Every moment he stood out under the light of tonight's full moon was another that his whereabouts could be discovered and revealed to Albus. "No, Hagrid. I just thought I would ask if there were any potions you needed for your classes this year?" It was two weeks into the new semester, and it was his job to provide neccessary potions to the other Hogwart's staff. That this excuse (and excuse it was, he normally would never have voluntarily come out here; professors were supposed to come to him with their needs) happened to bring him out where Albus would never think to look for him was added bonus.
"I doan thi- wait. I was gonna have meh sixth years raise up a baby dugbog come spring, but meh mama dugbog can't hold a pregnancy more'n a few weeks without miscarryin'. Wonder if there's some'at yeh could do fer her?"
It was consistant with Severus's luck that Hagrid would find him such an unpleasant creature to work with. However, Severus pitied Draco Malfoy more, as that unfortunate was actually in the aforementioned sixth year class. "Spout will have your hide if your dugbogs get into her Mandrakes," was all he said aloud.
Hagrid nodded, "I'm keepin' special watch on 'em. They willna get t' the greenhouses."
Sending a silent apology to Draco, Severus relented, "I might as well look at her."
He followed the gamekeeper out of the hut's backdoor (the Headmaster still wouldn't be able to see him, thank Merlin, not with the hut between him and the castle). They stopped in front of a magically enclosed sphere which looked as though it went as far underground as it stood aboveground. Hagrid pointed to a pile of dead logs in the middle of it. "There she is," he said with a sickeningly fond note to his voice.
Severus frowned and narrowed his eyes at the logs. With some difficulty he noted that two of them had four paws each. Hagrid tapped the sphere with his umbrella, which he had grabbed before stepping out of the hut. The sphere shimmered and disappeared. Severus followed reluctantly as Hagrid approached them. The half-giant picked up one of the pawed logs, and cradled it as if it were a small child. "Inn't Mossy lovely?" Mossy turned her head towards Snape and bared small but very sharp teeth at him.
"Lovely," Severus drawled, "Almost as adorable as Voldemort."
Hagrid looked hurt, but Severus ignored it, raising his wand and casting several spells on the creature held for his inspection. His study of anatomy was not as complete as Madam Pomfrey's, but he was required to know something of medical conditions and the bodily functions of not only humans but other creatures as well. One could not create potions to have effects on things one did not understand.
"She has an underdeveloped womb," he eventually diagnosed. "There are several fertility and womb-growth potions that would fix the problem." Why he would want to allow another dugbog into the world was beyond him, but it wasn't his job to review the neccessity of the potions, just make them.
"If you have a clean cauldron available, I believe I can collect all the ingredients from the forest in short order. Everything is best used fresh for this one." He intentially chose one potion where he could get the ingredients from the forest and brew it tonight, without needing to return to the dungeons. It was, perhaps, not the most appropriate one, but it would have the desired effect on the dugbog.
"Yeh doan have ta do it tonight, Prof'sor!" the giant protested.
He let irritation show in his voice and expression, "Are you requiring of me another trip out here? I think it best to be done with it now." He turned and stalked into the forest, his robes billowing, and his wand ready to be drawn at a moment's notice should something unpleasant find him. He heard a werewolf howling in the distance. He glanced to the full moon glowing overheard with mild trepidation. Since the Shrieking Shack incident during his school days, this time of month always put him slightly on edge. However, nothing more fiercesome than a mosquito attacked him. (Which, though it drew a few drops of his blood, Severus considered himself the victor as it did receive a painful death for its trouble. Squashing was never a pleasant way to die.)
When he returned to the Gamekeeper's hut, Albus Dumbledore was waiting there. Severus sighed and dropped his satchel of leaves, bugs, and roots on a chair. "Headmaster."
Albus's eyes twinkled in amusement. "I have been looking for you."
Severus raised his brows as if surprised, "Really? Whatever for, and why would you imagine that I might have been here?"
"It seems someone has changed the password on both my office and my quarters, and I wondered if, perhaps, you might know how that would have happened?"
Severus's innocent gaze met the Headmaster's twinkling blue eyes. "Someone changed your passwords? Is that even possible? Are you certain you haven't just forgotten them again?"
Albus looked hurt, though his eyes continued to twinkle. He was enjoying this far more than he was supposed to. "I have never forgotten my password," he announced with injured dignity.
"Have you tried 'Albus is a dunderhead' for your office or 'Albus is a meanie' for your private chambers?" Severus asked with a straight face.
The old wizard broke down into helpless laughter, while Hagrid gave the potions master a strange look. "Yeh changed the passwords on the Headmaster's rooms?"
"I admitted no such thing."
"Severus," Albus wheezed, "You must tell me how you did that."
The potions master raised his brows, "What, and allow you to do the same to my passwords? It is bad enough that you can break my wards and turn my underclothes bright green."
The twinkle in the green eyes danced merrily. "You seemed depressed. And I never admitted to that."
"You are the only one who would or could do such a thing."
"I could say the same of you."
Severus smirked, and for just a moment, he let his eyes show his amusement. He had been told, the one time he did this in Minerva's presence, that his eyes could twinkle as awfully as the Headmaster's. After that, he decided not to frighten the poor woman by doing so again. After all, there were very few things more frightening than a twinkling Albus Dumbledore. He imagined a twinkling Severus Snape was one of those things. "Really, Albus. Simply because I would is not proof that I did."
To his surprise, the Headmaster turned relatively serious. "I certainly hope it was you. Else the school has had a security breach."
Severus sighed. The man had an unfair advantage over him in getting admissions of guilt. "Of course it was me, Albus. I would have been in my dungeons had I not. Which returns us to the question, how did you know to look for me here?"
"When you were in none of your usual haunts, the library, the Great Hall, or the staff room, I became worried and thought you had perhaps gone to a meeting without telling me. So I asked Hagrid if he had seen you heading out toward the forest. He had, but not for the reason I feared. Congradulations, Severus, I would not have thought to look for you visiting Hagrid for Hagrid's sake."
"Truth to tell, the first place I thought of was Trelawny's tower, but I supposed I would have had to kill her if I spent any considerable length of time there."
Albus chuckled. "I would not have looked there, either."
"I suppose it is too much to hope for that you may have been annoyed?" Severus asked forlornly.
Albus twinkled. "Some concern until I discovered it was your revenge, but mostly amusement, dear child."
He had suspected as much the moment he saw the old wizard. "You are aware you have an overdeveloped sense of humour, are you not, Headmaster?"
"Quite," Albus chirped, "Well, I'll leave you to your potion making now. Good night!"
"Good night, Albus." The old wizard and Hagrid exchanged salutations, then Albus left, humming an off-key tune. Severus found the caudron Hagrid had brought out for his use and he began filling it with water. "That man is altogether too cheerful," Severus grumbled more to himself than to Hagrid.
"Did yeh really change his passwords on 'im, Prof'sor?" the gameskeeper asked with a touch of disapproval.
"It is a ritual, Hagrid," Severus told him, not really knowing why he was discussing this except it was something to talk about while he did the tedious bits of potion preparation. "He decides, randomly as far as I can tell, every so often, that I am in need of 'cheering,'" Severus did not attempt in the least to contain the sneer in his voice at the last word. "He pulls what would seem to be a childish prank, except it reveals weaknesses in my wards, which are some of the strongest on the grounds. He leaves a note detailing how he got through, then gives me a present, generally in the form of transfiguring all my furniture or changing the colors of my clothes or some other such irritation."
Cauldron three quarters full, he placed it over the fireplace, and began sorting through his gathered ingredients as it warmed. The first step could not begin until the water was at a full boil. "This was not the part meant to cheer me, of course. But Albus knows me well enough that he recognizes that do such a thing requires me to perform an act of petty revenge. Planning and executing that is what he believes puts me in a good mood."
He comandeered Hagrid's coffee table, a kitchen knife, a round bottom mug, and a wooden spoon to cut and powder his ingredients. The tools were less than high quality, and he had no scales available, but he was a potions master, and any potion was as much art as it was science. Conversation died at this point, as he concentrated on the preparation of the different herbs, roots, insects, and other things he had collected.
When the water began to boil, his fifteen plus years of teaching habits kicked in, and he began to explain what the potion was supposed to do as he added the first ingredient. "This is a combination womb-growth and pregnancy protection potion. It was originally designed for breeding programs where the creatures being crossed were unable to reproduce naturally because they themselves were the offspring of very different creatures. Using it for your dugbog is a bit overkill, but it will guarantee nothing will interfere with the pregnancy. Once this potion is applied, the dugbog should get impregnated within five days before the potion looses its effectiveness. If she does, nothing short of death on the mother's part will abort the pregnancy prior to the birth of living offspring."
Hagrid nodded his understanding of the effects and they fell into silence again. When only two ingredients remained he took the cauldron off the fire and put it on the coffee table, muttering a cooling charm under his breath as he did so. As he stirred in the second to last ingedient, he picked up his lecture as if almost an hour hadn't passed since he last spoke. "As soon as this is stirred in, and sets for about two minutes the potion is effectively done. The last ingredient just prevents the potion from killing the would-be mother if she fails to become pregnant in five days."
Severus sat back, and started counting to 120, trusting his own timing over that of any clock or watch. He stood again when he reached 100, and gathered the last ingredient. At 120, he held the powder over the cauldron and began to turn his hand over to dump it in. Also at 120, something howled in the Forest, causing Fang to dash across the room to hide under a chair. As the boarhound passed Severus's work area, he knocked into the table, and the cauldron tipped over. The potion master's mind quickly calculated where the dangerous potion would splash to, and reached the conclusion that while Hagrid and Fang were well clear, he would not be able to escape getting doused. The potion was applied through skin contact, not injestion, since some of the breeded creatures didn't really have mouths.
He was going to need to get pregnant within five days or die. The powder to prevent that side effect was still held in his hand.
He closed his eyes. No sense in blinding himself from the faery grass, as well. Then he felt something big pushing him aside a moment before the potion hit him. He landed on his side, and inspected the damage. Both himself and Hagrid were on the ground, dripping with the potion. Fang, the wretched mutt, was safely on the other side of the room already. Severus stood and turned on Hagrid, "What did you think you were doing?! You were clear of the splash zone!"
He couldn't decide if he was more exasperated or surprised. He decided on irritated. "I couldn't have gotten out of the way. All you've gone and done was get yourself hit!" He tuned out whatever response Hagrid had to that, closing his eyes again and running through the available options.
Fact: He needed to get pregnant. Fact: Hagrid needed to get pregnant. Fact: The mess he was standing in had to get cleaned up before anyone else needed to get pregnant. Fact: He wanted nobody to know about his condition, certainly not Hagrid who could not keep a secret to save his life. Conclusion: Clean up the mess, then he and Hagrid would . . . Severus mentally shuddered, but there was really little choice in the matter. Then obliviate Hagrid. Whatever he did with himself before he discovered his condition couldn't harm the infant. The potion would see to that.
The first step was easy enough. He even collected enough of the potion from the bottom of the cauldron to give to the cursed dugbog. If he was going to suffer the indignity of dying if he wasn't pregnant, he saw little reason for the blasted monster to fair any better. Because Hagrid wouldn't remember much of tonight, he wrote out in his spidery script the instructions for application and a warning that she best get herself mated within five days.
When the rest of the spill was lifted, neutralized, and disposed of, Severus turned to Hagrid. Burying his trepidation, he asked, "You are aware that we have been affected, correct?"
The half-giant frowned. "By the potion?"
It was with great difficulty that Severus bit back a cutting remark. "Yes. By the potion. Is there anyone - who is male, and can arrive here within the next few days - in particular you wish to have a child with?"
Severus wasn't sure he had ever seen the half-giant blush before. Hagrid stuttered out a few false starts, then answered, "No."
"Nor do I," Severus told him, hesitated only a moment, then added, "So if you have no objection, we could each relieve the other of our barrenness."
Hagrid blinked, looking dumbfounded. "Yer suggestin' that we have sex."
Mentally counting to ten to keep his patience well in hand, Severus inclined his head and confirmed tersely, "Yes."
"Because if we don't get pregnant, we die. I promised Albus I would try to avoid dying," Severus snapped, then fought to regain control on his calm.
The gameskeeper flushed again. "Right, but, why me?"
"Because Albus is like my father thereby making him a nonsexual being as far as I am concerned, and I really can not see myself with Flitwick or Filch, so that leaves you." All of the other males in the school were either students, or not on speaking terms with him. Beyond even that, though, he couldn't see himself propositioning anyone who didn't understand the situation, and he certainly wasn't about to explain it to anybody.
"All righ', then," Hagrid seemed a little put out by the less than stellar endorsement he had received, but Severus doubted Hagrid's opinion of Severus himself was much better. "The bed is back here."
Severus followed, his stomach twisting in fear and apprehension, though none of it showed on his blank face. As soon as he saw the rumpled blankets, the twisting intensified. Ignoring it, he began undressing with steady hands and unruffled outer calm.
He heard Hagrid swallow. Then the gameskeeper drew all the shades on his windows, and began blowing out candles. Delaying tactics, Severus recognized but did not call him on them. Only two candles remained lit when Hagrid turned back to him. He was down to his last button on his great black robes, and he shrugged out of it, revealing black trousers and a black buttoned shirt underneath. After neatly folding the robe and placing it on a convenient chair, he next untied his shoes, and placed them precisely in front of the same chair. He began on the set of buttons on his shirt, starting at the top. Each opened button revealed more of his pale, hairless torso. He felt Hagrid's eyes on him, but did not allow himself to falter.
When he reached the end of the shirt's buttons, he slid out of that as well, and folded it atop his robes. Shirtless, in another man's home, with said fully clothed man's eyes upon him, he unfasted his belt, undid the button of his trousers, and stepped out of them. They, too, were neatly folded and placed with his other clothes. Only his underwear and socks remained. The socks came off first, turned right side out, and placed atop his trousers. He recognized he was delaying as well, but Hagrid was still just standing there, watching, completely dressed.
He hooked his thumbs under the underwear's fabric. Drawing in all the courage he had, he lowered that final article of clothing, stepping out of it, and placing it with the rest. Uncomfortable with sitting on anyone else's bed even when invited and clothed, he instead turned to meet Hagrid's eyes for the first time since he began undressing. "Well?" he asked, impatiently.
Hagrid had already been blushing, but now it deepened. "Righ'." He pulled off his moleskin jacket, and tossed it onto a nearby chair (not the one where his own clothing resided). His buttonless shirt came up over his head, revealing a darkly haired and fully muscled chest. He kicked off his boots, and yanked off his socks next, tucking the socks into his boots when they had come free. As his pants slid down over his thighs, Severus's eyes tracked the well developed strength of the man's lower appendages. As big as he was, Hagrid had very little in the way of fat other than his gut.
The pants, too, were just thrown aside. As the gameskeeper took hold of his underwear, and slid it off, Severus fought not to widen his eyes. There was nothing he could do about his quickened heart rate. Despite himself, he felt the first stirring in his groin from the sight before him. That log was going to go inside him? The thought was terrifying enough to be arousing.
Severus backed up to the bed, and lowered himself onto it. "Who first?" he asked briefly, fearing his voice would crack if he spoke too much.
"Doan know," Hagrid answered, blushing furiously as he cautiously laid down beside him.
Severus's eyes drifted to the other man's prick again. "I'll take you first," he decided, only a little hoarsely. He was fairly sure he wouldn't be able to move once he was taken. The affair was straight sex - well, unadorned sex, actually, this most certainly wasn't straight. On the contrary, it was downright queer. He cast a lubrication charm, knowing that men could not self lubricate, then poked around with his fingers before deciding that Hagrid was wide enough to take him. He slid in with no difficulty. It was neither passionate lovemaking, nor violent rape. Simply emotionless rutting. Hagrid had his head turned to the side in either shame or embarrassment, Severus couldn't tell. He eventually came, then pulled out and laid on his back, his feet firmly planted on the mattress and his nether region lifted, as ready as he was going to be for Hagrid to take his turn.
As the half-giant took his position between his legs, Severus wondered if the man would ever stop blushing tonight. He was very hesitant and uncertain, and Severus had the distinct impression he was exactly copying everything he had done. This was not such a good thing, because Hagrid hadn't needed much in the way of loosening and stretching. Severus was about to try to point this out, when the other pulled out his two fingers, and positioned his cock for entrance. Panic flew through the potion's master, but nothing came out of his mouth before Hagrid started to push in. In fact, his body had to poor sense to stiffen and tense.
Agony. Over twenty years experience with the crutacious kept him silent and blank expressioned. Only the white knuckled grip he had on the sheets gave him away. Hagrid's gasp covered his own as the huge man slid deeper. "So tight," the big man whispered, the blush receeding as wonder and pleasure filling his face.
Severus dared not respond, afraid that any movement on his part would either make him explode or scream. Though the thought No shit, did reverberate rather loudly within his own head. He held unnaturally still, his expression blank, and his fists clenched painfully, though he could only barely feel that, what with the seering invasion elsewhere.
Hagrid began to move within him, each thrust bringing him deeper. Severus closed his eyes, certain they couldn't hide his pain anymore. Fortunately, he hadn't cried since he was thirteen, so no wet tracks gave evidence against him. What felt like ages later, but couldn't have been more than a few minutes, Hagrid came, and Severus couldn't hold back a soft outcry as his insides exploded. Hagrid, fortunately shouted at the same time, and didn't hear. The half-giant pulled out, and Severus collapsed. He felt Hagrid lie down beside him. "Did I hurt you?" he asked worriedly.
Severus shook his head, covering his weakness automatically. "No, it was fantastic," he lied with a fake tired smile.
Hagrid veritably beamed in his relief. "It was." In a few short moments, the satiated half-giant was sound asleep.
Severus had guessed right. He could barely move. Every small shift in position he made sent waves of pain through him. But he had walked from the Apperation barrier up to Dumbledore's office in worse states than this. He climbed out of the bed, noting the trickles of blood and semen along the inside of his thighs. A cleaning charm dispelled the fluids from himself, Hagrid, and the bed. Another cleared the air of all scents of sex.
He dressed, being careful to do up every last button, then turned his wand toward the sleeping gameskeeper. "Obliviate," he said softly. Hagrid stirred slightly in his sleep but did not awaken. Severus quietly left the hut. The gameskeeper was in for a nasty surprise in a few weeks. Barely able to walk back to his rooms, Severus could not find it within himself to feel sorry for the other man.
Poppy Pomfrey raised her brows in surprise as she saw Hagrid nervously shifting from foot to foot in her waiting room. She smiled at him, "Hello, Rubeus, is there something I can help you with?"
"I 'aven't been feelin' too well," he admitted, as if this was some shameful secret.
"Well, let's just go see what's wrong with you." Mentally relegating the Care of Magical Creature's teacher from friend to patient, she bustled him into the back room and set him into one of the beds. She immediately initiated several life function recording spells for her later study, then began to ask questions, "When did you first start feeling ill?"
"A few days back. I'm fine most o' the time, but I toss meh stomach every day right after I wake up. Ain't even been t' the pub lately."
Poppy frowned thoughtfully. Her life function spells weren't picking up any diseases or other serious problems, else they would be writing in red rather than green. She wondered if it was coincidence that a "Care for Pregnant Wizards" book had arrived for her by school owl a few days ago and now Hagrid was giving her symptoms that sounded awfully like morning sickness. Or perhaps that diagnosis was just based on the fact that she had been skimming the book a few hours ago. Just in case, though, she cast the spell that would tell whether or not a witch was pregnagnt. Hagrid, recognizing the spell, opened his mouth to protest, but snapped it shut with an audible click when a blue haze hovered over his stomach. His mouth opened and closed several more times, then gave up, looking at Poppy in confusion.
"Congratulations, it's a boy," she told him, feeling somewhat stunned herself.
"But how?" he asked.
"I expect you would know better than I would."
He blushed deeply. "'Aven't been with anyone. Not ever."
Poppy frowned. "Were you caught in the way of hex or potion that you couldn't figure the effect of?" She cast another spell, and added, "Approximately five weeks ago?" She mentally counted back, "Around the second week of term."
He shook his head, then stopped apruptly. "Tha' was about the time I gave meh dugbog a potion fer gettin' and keepin' herself pregnant, but I'm sure I didna get it on me. She still had t' . . . yeh know, with 'er mate, anyway."
"Around that time you never got drunk enough to black out or woke up the next morning with an ache in a place you couldn't explain?" she asked, not really expecting a positive on either of these. Hagrid was overfond of the pub, but he never drank enough to do something stupid. Besides which, wizards couldn't get pregnant without special potions or spells. And Hagrid and another drunk would not have access to those.
Hagrid started to shake his head, then stopped. "Meybe. Weren't drunk though. Jest kent remember Prof'sor Snape finishin' the potion and leavin' that night. Next day, I was a mite bit sore, nothin' much though, he was gone, an' the potion waited on the table. Figured I'd'a fallen asleep while 'e worked."
Worried, Poppy cast another spell, and her worry increased as she found four hours of missing memory in Hagrid's mind. She recognized the signature of a powerful obliviation spell. "You were with Professor Snape?" she asked a bit sharper than she meant to.
"You may go or stay, there's nothing more I can do for you right now. I need to talk to Dumbledore. Oh," she went into her office grabbed the strange book that had so ominiously appeared just as she needed it. Returning to Hagrid's side, she placed it in his hands. "You may want to look through this. Bring it back when you come for your appointment in two weeks." She had glanced through it briefly, as a curiousity, not as something she would need to deal with, and a closer look was required. However, Hagrid had a right to know what he was getting into.
"I'll stay 'ere a bit and look through yer book," Hagrid told her. "Migh' need help unnerstandin' some o' it."
She nodded her permission. "I'll be back in a little bit," she promised, then flooed right to the Headmaster's office. "Albus!"
The headmaster was, for once, doing some actual paperwork, and she felt bad interrupting him, but this was important. "I think Hagrid's been raped."
"He's pregnant and doesn't remember how it happened. Someone cast an obliviate on him."
"Have you any idea who?"
Poppy nodded, and gave her accusation was absolute certainty, "Professor Snape."
The headmaster closed his eyes as if pained. "What makes you so sure?"
"He made the fertility potion for Hagrid's creature, he was in the hut at Hagrid's last memory, and when the baby's born, we can test paternity."
Dumbledore sighed and nodded, "Thank you, Poppy, I will speak with him." Recognizing a dismissal when she heard one, Poppy flooed back to answer whatever questions Hagrid might have for her.
"You asked to see me, Headmaster?" Severus asked as he was invited into the older wizard's office. He took his usual seat, and noted the solemn, twinkleless expression. "Something is wrong."
"A very serious accusation has been placed against you, Severus."
Severus frowned and cocked his head to the side, somehow sensing that Albus did not mean anything like being a Death Eater. "What sort of accusation?"
Severus blinked and paled, as much as his skin could, which wasn't much.
Whatever reaction the Headmaster was expecting, it wasn't that. "Are you saying you're guilty, Severus?"
Severus glowered at him. "I'm guilty of many things, Albus. Rape is not among them. Obliviating him is. And now he can't clear me. I should have known what it would look like."
"You did have sex, then."
Severus nodded. "Yes, the paternity test will bring that out beyond any shred of doubt."
"He'd have died if someone didn't. I happened to be there. Between dying and having my child, he opted for the later. The potion was spilt before I could add the last ingredient to the Breeder's Reproduction potion. Hagrid pushed me out of the way, but it got him." There, most of the main points, without the fact that he had been affected, too.
"Why the oblivate?"
Good question. "Neither Hagrid nor I are gay, Headmaster. I did not want him to accidently spread false rumours about my sexual preference. Nor about the identity of his child's father for that matter. If it got back to Voldemort that I was a father, he'd either want to recruit the kid or kill me for my choice of mother. And we both know how well Hagrid can keep a secret."
The headmaster sighed. "Very well, Severus. I will cover for you with both Poppy and Hagrid. This will stay between us."
Severus closed his eyes in relief. "Thank you, Headmaster."
"But you will be publicly responsible for the potion that asexually impregnated him, and as such, I can force you to act like a father, even though there is no blood relation between you."
The potion's master blinked. "Headmaster, I can't be a father!"
"You should have thought of that before spilling your potion on him," the headmaster remarked lightly, the twinkle starting to return to his blue eyes.
"His bloody dog knocked it over!" Severus protested, "It was no fault of mine!"
"Never the less, your child has a right to a father. Hagrid has the right to have someone help him through this difficult time."
What about my other child, the one inside me? Hasn't he the right to a father? Haven't I the same rights Hagrid does? But Severus did not speak these thoughts aloud. "Isn't Hagrid a valid father? Let him choose his own mate. I reliquish all claim to that child. It is not mine."
He had not seen Dumbledore look more disappointed in him since he admitted to being a Death Eater.
"I mean it, Albus, I am not parent material." It was bad enough he was already starting to consider inflicting himself on his own unborn child instead of putting the poor boy up for adoption as he initially intended. But every time he mentally called the fetus his child, or his baby, or his boy, or, worst of all, his son, the ability to give it up lessened, and he was only five weeks into term.
Albus sighed, and Severus saw that he had lost much ground he had fought hard for in the old man's favour. "Very well, Professor, you will not be held responsible for it in any way."
Severus closed his eyes and nodded, accepting the reprieve on Hagrid's child and the loss of trust. "Thank you, Headmaster."
"You are dismissed, Professor."
Severus Snape looked at himself in the mirror, debating whether or not it was time to start using concealment charms. He turned to get a good view of his profile. He frowned in indecision, wishing such trivial thoughts like do I look fat? had not suddenly taken such high priority in his mind. He turned again, to look at his other profile.
There was now a definite bulge visible. At least, compared to his normal concave thinness. Minerva had remarked yesterday that he was finally starting to look healthy.
He had scoured his copy of "Care for Pregnant Wizards" backwards and forwards until he knew it as well as he did any of his potion texts. He would drop by the kitchen in the dead of night to get recommended foods he normally did not have in his diet, that might rouse suspicion should his habits change. Him, drinking milk, for example, would not be easily lived down. Pickle sandwiches with ketchup, also, might be a bit difficult to explain, but they were all of a sudden one of his favorite foods.
He had taken to avoiding Poppy Pomfrey as though it were the prime tenet of his new religion. All injuries he suffered, whether due to potion class mishaps or Voldemort, he tended himself. He could not afford her checking him over. When Albus questioned this new self-treatment policy, he just explained that Poppy still looked at him as though he had done something to Hagrid. This never failed to quickly end the discussion.
He did not intentionally set out to avoid Hagrid, but their schedules and routines were different enough that it didn't take any effort to not see him for days on end. Neither were in the habit of attending every meal in the Great Hall, and they had a knack for deciding on different times to eat there.
He frowned at the mirror again, mildly annoyed with himself for letting his mind wander into distraction. Deciding on impulse that now was as good a time as any to start concealing his condition, he cast the charm. His appearance in the mirror did not alter. This would be how he looked for the remainder of his pregancy, and beyond, if neccessary.
He stalked from his private chambers, and out to the potions classroom where his first class of the day was already waiting. The first two periods passed without incident. It was during his third, right after lunch, that the problems started to occur. Sixth year Gryffindor-Slytherins, of course. Why wouldn't trouble occur during the class that contained Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger, and Draco Malfoy? The first was simply annoying. The second caused the problem, and the last two had the best chance of making his life miserable by figuring out what was going on.
He hovered over his students as he always did. Longbottom got nervous as he always did. The boy would learn to grow a back bone if it was the last thing Severus taught him. Then a snapped comment at Potter, who was sharing a desk with Longbottom, startled the nervous Gryffindor and he dumped far too much lacewing into his cauldron. An acrid smoke boiled out of the potion. It was fairly harmless, it's only hateful attribute was its smell, but the stink atop everything else going on in his body made him feel light headed. He wobbled.
Malfoy was at his side in an instant, steadying him, eyeing the smoke, "Professor? Are you alright? Is that dangerous?" The rest of the class watched, either frozen in fear, or moving rapidly out of the way of Neville's potion.
Severus recovered enough to cast a ventillation charm. "The smoke is harmless, everyone back to your seats," he ordered bruskly. There was no chair behind the teacher's desk in his room. He had neverw cared to sit down while teaching. He preferred stalking up and down the aisles even during quizzes. This was the first time he regretted its absense. As Malfoy returned to his seat, Severus drew all his strength and concentration together to sweep up to front of the room and lean on his desk as if he weren't about to collapse.
Only two people appeared less than convinced. Malfoy, who had surely felt him shaking, and Granger, who was just too smart for her own good, and had been trying for the last year and a half to prove to herself and her two friends Potter and Weasley, that the potions master was human like everybody else. So far, she'd had more success on her elf's rights campaign. Minerva found it rather amusing, and kept him up to date on the girl's progress. According to the Gryffindor Head of House, Granger's most salient point so far was that he did, at least once a day, actually injest food in the Great Hall.
Apparently, her belief that he breathed air was shot down as unproven.
His distraction on this topic was abruptly shattered when Harry Potter's cauldron exploded. Mentally castrating himself for his lack of focus during a class with Harry Potter in it, he stalked toward the disruption, glad to see nobody was dead or in need of an immediate trip to the Hospital Wing. Then, the next thing he knew, he was flat on his back, with his head on Malfoy's lap.
"Professor!" the boy exclaimed in relief when he saw Severus's eyes open. "Madam Pomfrey's on the way."
"No! I'm fine, I tripped," he denied, struggling to his feet. Malfoy helped him up, knowing better than to try to stop him or correct the lie. "Class is dismissed. Ten inches on why Potter's potion exploded or Longbottom's smoked, due next class." Then just for the hell of it, "Twenty points from Gryffindor."
He did not wait for them to clear out before fleeing the room himself. He did not know how long he had been out, and therefore, did not know how long until Pomfrey was due to arrive. He sensed more than heard or saw Malfoy following him, but he did not turn around to tell him to leave off. If he collapsed again, he probably shouldn't be alone. The back of his head hurt and he wondered how hard he had hit it when he landed.
When he reached his own quarters, he turned back to meet Malfoy's grey gaze. "I am safely to my rooms now, Mr. Malfoy." Malfoy only held up his hand, which was stained red. The gesture, with his worried expression, said as clearly as words, You're bleeding, sir.
Severus opened his room's wards, and invited the teenager inside with a wave. Malfoy accepted with a pleased grin. Severus took the first chair he came to with less than perfect grace. "I have washcloths in the bathroom," he pointed at a half-open door, "and ice in the backmost storeroom," his finger moved to indicate a short hallway.
"I'll get them, sir," Malfoy volunteered immediately. As soon as he was out of sight, Severus levitated "Care for Pregnant Wizards" into the bedroom where Malfoy wouldn't stumble upon it. The boy returned shortly with both the washcloths and the ice. Severus accepted them, and held them against the back of his head. "What happened, sir?"
"I was Called last night. Our Lord was not pleased that I had not finished developing the new poison he asked for. The fumes of Longbottom's potion reacted with the healing potions in my bloodstream and I nearly fainted. I managed to delay it, but not long enough. I should not have left the support of my desk. Now Poppy will want to examine me, and she'll find that I suffered the Cructacious last night. She'll tell Dumbledore, and he'll want to know what I was doing away from the school." It was not even all lies. Lucius Malfoy could back up parts of it, should Draco ask.
Malfoy winced in sympathy. "It's not easy, is it, Professor?"
"No," he confirmed, then, very carefully, he added, "Being a Death Eater is not all it's cracked up to be."
Malfoy's expression flickered for a moment. "That's heresy, sir," he said quietly, equally carefully. But he did not sound surprised or outraged. That was promising.
Severus nodded his head. "I find, as your teacher, I should at least warn you of what to expect. I am not encouraging you to avoid the future your father has dreamed for you, but neither will I discourage it. It should be your choice, not his. Should you decide to join, rather than being pressured into it, you will be stronger for it. Should you decide not to join, you will be happier for it. The dark lord's way is not the only way, and it may not be yours. It is not my place or Lucius's to decide that it is or isn't."
Malfoy looked away, and the back of his head did not tell him whether this was a positive sign or a dangerous one.
"Were you allowed to choose, sir?"
A bit later than most, but, "Yes, Mr. Malfoy."
A silence fell between them, neither companionable nor tense. "You should go to your next class, but think about it, Mr. Malfoy. It is your future, after all."
The blond nodded, then stood. He had almost reached the door when he turned back. "What sort of future would I have if I said no?"
Severus's mouth twitched into a cynical smile. "First, you'd have to fight against the dark lord, to have that right, then you could do whatever you chose. The most irritating part of this option, is, of course, that the side against the dark lord is full of Gryffindors."
Malfoy smirked, "Well, that's why they're losing, then, isn't it?"
Severus actually laughed. "Very likely, Mr. Malfoy."
Malfoy started to turn back toward the door, then stopped, and frowned thoughtfully at him. "Who's side did you choose, sir?"
Severus stilled, then he gave a small smirk. "My own, Mr. Malfoy."
The boy smiled back, and Severus hoped this conversation would not make its way to Lucius's ear. "You're neatly placed for playing your own side, too, sir." Then he was gone. Severus prayed to whomever was listening that Draco Malfoy was not going to end up in Voldemort's camp, because the young man was far too close to the truth about Severus's loyalties. And killing a student just wouldn't sit well with the Headmaster.
He was in enough trouble on that front as it was.
His left hand drifted to his barely distended waistline, while his right put the washcloth held ice pack aside, cast a minor healing spell on the back of his skull, then joined its companion, resting over his child. He leaned his head back against the chair, and soon fell asleep.
The banging on his door woke him about an hour later. "Who is it?" he asked testily, not opening the entrance.
"Albus and Poppy," the Headmaster announced.
"Go away, I'm fine!"
"That's not what I heard!" Poppy's voice countered.
"A potion exploded, I slipped on the wet floor, end of story!"
"You missed your fourth class," Albus pointed out.
"So dock me two hours pay! Now, leave!"
"Do you have a headache?" Poppy asked, apparently content to do her examination through a closed and warded door.
"Yes! You're giving it to me! Go away!"
There was a muffled conversation between them, then Albus spoke again, "Severus, I'd like to speak with you in my office." That was either ominous, or a trick to get him where Poppy could look over him.
"Wizard's vow that Poppy won't be there?"
There was stunned silence on the other side of his door. Then, "Wizard's vow, Severus."
"Then, I'll floo up now, Headmaster." He beat the old wizard to his office by a goodly amount of time. When the headmaster arrived, Poppy was no longer with him.
"You are avoiding Poppy," Albus opened without preface.
Severus gave him his toned-down sneer. "I can't imagine how you figured that out."
"A wizard's vow, Severus? Over not tricking you into seeing her? Why?" He sounded concerned, "This isn't about Hagrid still, is it?"
Severus shook his head. "It's not Poppy, exactly. Just doctors or mediwitches in general." Best to cut off the suggestion he see someone else before he made it.
"Why, Severus?" He wasn't sure if the extensive use of his first name was because the Headmaster was worried, trying to get Severus to trust him, or because Severus had finally been forgiven for not taking Hagrid's child as his own.
"I don't trust them," Severus answered the question.
The headmaster blinked. "You didn't mind Poppy a few months ago," he pointed out. Severus noticed with an internal smirk that he said nothing about other doctors and mediwitches.
"Well, I do now. I can take care of myself, Albus. I am a Potions Master, which is the next closest thing to a mediwitch."
Albus frowned, not really convinced. "You've already fainted once, Severus."
"I fell and knocked myself out, I did not faint," Severus 'corrected'.
Sighing, the headmaster gave up. "Very well, Severus. But if you faint again, I am putting you in the Hospital Wing, or St. Mungo's if you insist on avoiding Poppy."
"I won't faint again," Severus promised irritably, noticing belatedly that he had admitted to fainting once. He flooed back to his chambers in a huff, read the fainting chapter in the pregnancy book again, decided his classroom needed a teacher's chair, then he went to sleep, forgetting to eat dinner.
Harry Potter, Hermione Granger, and Ron Weasley stood in front of the door to Hagrid's small hut at the edge of the Forbidden Forest. Hermione knocked politely, while Harry called out, "Hey, Hagrid!"
The gameskeeper, and one of Harry's favorite people, opened the door with a wide smile, "'Ello, c'mon in." They did and took they usual seats around his coffee table. Hagrid hurried into the kitchen area, then came back with a plateful of rockcakes, which he placed in the center of the table between them. "Eat up," he invited. Reluctantly, each of the three Gryffindors took one. "I'm glad you came out. There's some'at I wanted to tell yeh all."
"What is it, Hagrid?" Hermionine asked, lowering her rock cake to her lap without tasting it. At her worried tone, Harry and Ron lowered theirs as well. Not that they needed a lot of excuse.
"I migh' have t' have a sub in my class fer a few months or weeks a' the end o' next term."
"Why?" Hermione asked while the other two nodded their agreement that Hagrid should answer this question.
Solemnity fought with embarrassment which fought with joy. Joy eventually won out and he beamed at them, "I'm gonna be a daddy."
Three joyful shouts congradulated him, wished him luck, told him to contact Mrs. Weasley if he had any questions, and otherwise told him this was great news. Then Hermione asked entirely the wrong question, "Who's the mother, Hagrid?"
The wide smile disappeared as if it had never been. "Well, tha's the trouble, see, I am."
The three students exchanged looks of confusion. Hesitantly, Hermione asked, "Who's the father?"
"I doan know, there migh' not be one, or i' migh' be Prof'sor Snape."
"Ugh," Ron couldn't stifle the sould of disgust. "Snape's?"
"You don't know?" Hermione asked, seeking data before making her opinion on the subject.
"'E made the potion Fang knocked ont' me, 'cording t' Prof'sor Dumbledore."
"Fang?" Harry repeated in alarm.
"Pomfrey says it's not par' dog," Hagrid quickly assured him. "Fully human-giant mix."
"And if it's Snape's?"
"Prof'sor Dumbledore says 'e wants nothin' t' do with 'im - It's gonna be a boy," he added, some of his happiness returning.
Another round of congradulations, then Ron commented, "It's just as well that greasy bat doesn't want him. Can you see him with a kid?"
"He is a teacher," Hermione pointed out.
"Who hates all his students," Ron countered.
"Except Malfoy," Harry added. "And who'd want their kid to turn out like him?"
Even Hermione joined Ron in agreement with Harry. Hagrid cleared his throat, and the three students blushed faintly. "Sorry, Hagrid, we just think you're better off without him," Harry apologized. The other two nodded, though Hermione was a bit reluctant at it.
"Thanks," Hagrid accepted their support. "I jus' doan know if I ken do this by meself."
"My mum would be glad to help," Ron assured him, without consulting his mother.
"And we can be like uncles or step brothers, or whatever," Harry added, sounding almost as excited about this prospect as he was about Hagrid being a parent.
Hagrid's smile widened at this offer of family for his son.
"Do you know what you're going to call him yet?" Hermione asked before he could comment on it.
"'Aven't decided yet."
The rumour spread through Hogwarts like wildfire. Hagrid was having a baby boy, other parent unknown or non-existant. Harry, Hermione, and Ron weren't quite sure who had overheard them talking about possible names the Care of Magical Creature professor might choose, but there was no stopping it. They refused to answer questions, which didn't stop half the school from asking anyway.
Hagrid happily informed his classes that he was going to be a daddy, admitted he was pregnant, and told them a potion was the father.
Snape grudingly answered Slytherins' questions. The potion was brewed to impregnate the dugbog. Hagrid's idiot dog Fang spilt it on the gamekeeper. No, the child was not going to be either a dog or a dugbog, though even if it was, Hagrid had an unhealthy fondness for rare and dangerous beasts. After this remark, Ron leaned over to Harry and mentioned that a Snape was a dangerous beast, so Hagrid would probably be happy with a half-Snape for a son after all.
Both Harry and Ron got a detention and lost five points each for laughing in class.
End of fall term came, and Hagrid didn't look any bigger but it was only four months since conception, and he was fairly large to begin with. Alone, Snape stood in front of his mirror, and frowned at the obvious expansion of his waist. There was no doubt he was pregnant. We conceived at the same time, why isn't Hagrid this big? he questioned himself, but he had no answer.
Christmas Eve, and another Death Eater Meeting, Snape falls under yet another crutacious, but this time, as he writhes on the ground, refusing to scream, he hears an agonized cry in his head. He knows that if he had conceived with any other potion than the one he had, his son would be beyond dead right now, but the child's mental scream into his mother's head continues.
Christmas Morning, Hagrid greets Harry, Ron, and Hermione, who had stayed at Hogwarts over break. They laugh and joke, and break their teeth on red and green rock cakes.
Christmas Morning, Snape sits alone in his bed, hugging his stomach as if it were an already born child. Two tears track slowly down his cheeks as he speaks softly to the still alive, but very afraid fetus within him. The mind link created during extreme stress and pain has not completely disappeared, and he uses it to pass soothing, it's-safe-now feelings toward his child. Another tear follows the wet track along his face as he begins to apologize, but cannot promise it will never happen again. Both he and his child still shake with the after-effects of the curse. He calls the child by name, Severin. Severin Sheldon Snape. Adoption is no longer an option.
Spring term begins, and students and staff begin to comment that they can almost see the bulge begin to show under Hagrid's moleskin jacket. Severus studies his profile again in the privacy in his room, and worries that he looks far bigger than the pictures in his book say he should. A concealment charm slims him down to his size at two months.
February. A second year Hufflepuff runs down the hall, and crashes into Professor Snape, but as the tall, skinny professor chews her out for running indoors, and deducts house points, she can't help wondering why, when she had crashed into him, his stomach had felt so round. Not wanting a trip to St. Mungo's, she decides to keep this observation to herself and soon forgets the whole incident. Professor Snape finds a quiet alcove, and calms the startled fetus.
March. Hagrid is definitely showing now, and he waddles about his outdoor classroom as he explains the care of week old dugbogs. Snape rarely leaves the teacher's chair while in his classroom. He eats mostly in his rooms. He does not stalk the halls at night. He sleeps more and more, and has fallen far behind in grading. Albus watches him worriedly, but he does not faint again. Hagrid decides, with the three Gryffindor's approval, that his son's name will be Charles Rubeus Hagrid. Charlie Weasley, the boy's namesake, accepted the position of Godfather. Poppy Pomphrey was delighted to agree to be Godmother.
Early April. Snape stands in front of his mirror, his ankles already killing him and he's barely stood there for one minute. He studies he profile and knows that his son is not going to be able to get out without surgery. But surgery requires someone else to know, and he dares not tell until the birth is imminent. Snape has realized the problem. The boy's father was a half-giant. The kid must have gotten every last giant gene Hagrid had.
Severus Snape approached Minerva's office, stopping frequently to rest, using a wall for discreet support. The occassional student would give him an odd look, but a glare would always send them running along their way. When he finally reached his destination, the door was open invitingly and she sat at her desk grading papers. He entered, and dropped as gracefully as he could into the chair across from her. It wasn't remarkably graceful. "Minerva."
She smiled. "Hello, Severus. I haven't seen you in a while."
Ignoring her implicit question, he went right to the point. "It's April, Hagrid's due soon, isn't he?"
"A little more than a month," she agreed, surprised as his choice of topic. Until now he had avoided it religiously.
"Do you know much about birthing babies?"
She blinked. What an odd question. "Shouldn't you be asking Poppy this?"
His head shook violently. "No mediwitch." Minerva remembered belatedly that Albus told her Severus had developed an inexplicable phobia of doctors and mediwitches.
"All right," she said, trying to project calm toward the suddenly distraught wizard. She had never seen Severus like this. It scared her. "No mediwitches," she agreed in her Consoling Head of House Voice.
He calmed immediately. "Good. Do you know about birthing babies?"
"I was present when my sister had her two children. Why?"
Shrugging negligently, he said off-handedly, "I just wondered what Hagrid would be going through. Never having been present when anyone but myself was born. I feel . . . moderately responsible for his condition." He looked up at her in quick alarm, "It was entirely Fang's fault, I'm not claiming fatherhood, it's just, I was the one who made the bloody potion."
Minerva did her best to hide her surprise. He was showing human emotion; indifference (subtly different from the blankness he usually wore), alarm, hesitation. Not only was he showing emotion, but he was switching between emotions with unusually quick speed. If that was how he normally was, he might have developed that blank mask to keep people from getting too confused. And that wasn't even mentioning that he was bringing up how he felt about something in an actual conversation.
"It will be difficult, long, and painful," she answered the question from what she had seen with her sister. "I'm not sure how it will differ with him being a wizard and all. I can't imagine it will be any easier."
"If something happened to Poppy, and he started to have his baby, who in this school would probably be the best to go to? Would you be able to help birth it?"
She looked at him strangely. She had the odd sense that his question was not idle speculation. "I don't know. Maybe. Sprout has a daughter, she might be better."
Severus shook his head. "I asked her already. She said all she remembers about it is pain, pushing, and holding the baby afterwards. If there were complications, and you had to take the baby out directly, would you be able to do that?"
The sudden shift in topic was disorienting, but she followed it. Shaking her head no, she said, "I'm a transfiguration teacher, Severus, not a mediwitch or a midwife."
For a second, his eyes became haunted and scared, then they blanked again and he turned his steady gaze on her. "Would Albus be able to, do you think? Flitwick?"
"Severus, do you know something is going to happen to Poppy?" she asked, worried. She knew he was genuinely afraid of something, and if Severus Snape was afraid, the rest of the world was supposed to be terrified. For all Gryffindor was supposed to be the home of the brave, she had never seen anyone except maybe Harry Potter match the current Head of Slytherin House in that attribute.
He shook his head quickly. "No, Poppy should be fine. Neither myself nor Voldemort are plotting her death."
Minerva chuckled faintly, hoping that including himself in that had been a joke. "Then what's the matter?"
"Tell me you can do a Ceasarean section, and I'll tell you." He sounded desperate and urgent, two things she would not have expected to hear from him in regards to, well, anything, but more surprisingly, Hagrid's child.
"Right now, I can't. I'll ask Poppy for a crash course, though. Why do you need someone who can perform that?"
His eyes held, very briefly, a look of desperate hope. "Yes, do that. When you can, come to my quarters, and I'll tell you." He paused for a moment, then asked, "May I use your floo to get back to my rooms?" She waved a hand toward the fireplace invitingly. He stood, rising with some small difficulty, then left.
What an odd conversation.
On April 18th, Minerva knocked on the door to Severus's rooms about two weeks after their strange conversation. She'd been briefed in the basics of the operation Severus requested, but she had very little confidence she could successfully perform one. Poppy had wondered about her interest, but, in light of Severus's strange paranoia, she opted not to tell. She had not seen her collegue since that day. In fact, except for that one conversation, she had not seen much of Severus Snape in almost two months.
"Who is it?" his voice demanded irritiably.
There was a noticable pause. "Do you have the skill that I asked you about?"
"As good as I'm going to get."
The door opened, and she stepped inside, absently closing the door behind her. Severus was sitting in the chair closest to the door, looking like he had been napping there. "Severus?" she asked worriedly. Albus's concerns about the potions master's health hadn't included the bone weariness she saw in his face now. "Severus, what's wrong?"
"I can't do it anymore," he whispered, "take him out of me, Minerva." She didn't know where he drew his wand from, but it was suddenly in his hand, and casting a finite incantium.
Minerva screamed, she couldn't help it. Severus broke a smirk for her reaction, but she barely noticed. Her eyes were stuck on his stomach which completely took over the entirety of his lap. Hagrid wasn't even close to that big.
"So you didn't know?" he asked, sounding very smug with himself. "I figured you or Albus would probably work it out, you two are his godparents, by the way. Take Severin out of me, Minerva. He's not going to come out by himself. I can barely stand anymore. And walking? I can barely manage a waddle, but I need to stride or people will know. Take him out."
Connections connected in her brain, and she reached the solution, "He's Hagrid's."
"No, he's mine. Hagrid's got his own."
"But they're brothers, twins even."
Severus gave her a look halfway between a glare and a what-in-the-devils-name-are-you-talking-about-woman sort of look.
"They were conceived on the same day, by the same parents, weren't they? That makes them twins."
"Fine. Twins. Seperated before birth when Severin's mother left his father or Baby Hagrid's father left its mother, depending on your point of view. Now take Severin out."
"You're a month premature."
He turned his death glare on her and said through clenched teeth, "The kid is a quarter giant, Minerva. I'm male and full human, except about one two-hundred-and-fifty-sixths which is vampire, and no larger than a human, so get the boy out."
Minerva decided to save the rest of her questions for later, knowing that, as a mother holds her child for the first time, she barely notices what come out her mouth. She transfigured the chair he was sitting in into a bed. "This'll hurt like hell if you're awake for it," she warned.
"Both myself and Severin have suffered crutacious, Minerva. I took Hagrid into me. This will be nothing." Minerva's gut twisted at the first statement, and she wondered about the second. Had the experience of conceiving the child really been comparible to the second Unforgivable curse?
But she said nothing, unbuttoned his magically enlarged robes, and revealed his distended belly. It was then she realized that she was about to perform a very dangerous operation on one of her closest friends, in his living room, with no formal training. "Severus, get Poppy to do this. I'll kill you."
"Then, if I die, take care of Severin for me. Severin Sheldon Snape. He gets everything. He will be born alive, the potion guarantees that. Now, get him out of me, Minerva," he finished his final requests impatiently.
Severus barely flinched as she slid her wand across his stomach splitting it open. It was gruesome, but she eventually got the child out and handed the gooey mess of infant over to his father/mother's waiting arms. For all the smile on his face, one would never believe Severus Snape's stomach was cut wide open, and he was being given a squalling child. Then she patched up the cut, using a Fast Regneration Charm with a Stitching Charm. She turned her attention back up higher where Severus had already cast a cleaning charm on the baby, and was gingerly, and awkwardly holding his son as he laid flat on his back. She slowly transfigured the bed into a partially reclined chair.
When she finished this task, the child had begun suckling on one of Severus's breasts. Minerva flushed faintly as she realized that they had rounded out a bit. Severus was looking at his son in wonder. "By all laws of pregnancy, he shouldn't be alive," he said quietly. "He shouldn't be healthy. He shouldn't be happy. But he is, and I'll see that he stays that way."
"Of course he's happy," Minerva said quietly. "His mother loves him."
She was surprised yet again. Severus didn't even try to glare at her. He just smiled at the baby, and said, "Yes, he does." Soon the child had drunk his fill, and fell asleep in Severus's arms. Despite her intention to use this time to interrogate him, she just stared in wonder at the scene. "Minerva?"
"Would you bring him into the nursery? Door across from my bedroom. Not sure if I trust myself to walk with him yet."
Minerva smiled. "Certainly." She took the tiny - well, compared to an eleven year old - child from his parent, and brought him into a room painted blue, with a colorful potion bottle theme. She smirked at Severus's obvious hand in the decorating. The elegantly carved dark-stained wooden crib stood against one wall, and she wondered how he had smuggled it into Hogwarts and how long it had waited there. She laid the baby into his crib and pulled the blanket over him, brushing at his soft black hair. The poor child was cursed with the Snape nose, but the rest of his face was a bit wider and larger, making it not stand out quite so much.
She cast one spell on him, for curiousity's sake, and was surprised by the numbers that formed over the sleeping infant. Eleven pounds eight ounces, and still a month premature. No wonder Severus wanted the boy out.
When she returned to the living room, she was surprised (yet again) to find Severus sitting in his de-transfigured chair, with the concealling charm on him again. "I assume you have questions?" he asked, waving her toward one of the chairs. She nodded and accepted the invitation.
Severus shifted every so slightly, and as she looked toward him, her eyes widened as she saw his wand drawn. "Obliviate."
Minerva couldn't remember going from the door of Severus's rooms to the chair, but she apparently had. He was looking at her expectantly. Irritated, she snapped, "Well, are you going to tell me what I learned that operation for or not?"
"I heard a rumour Poppy might not be around Hogwarts at the time Hagrid's due, and I wanted to make sure there was back up, that's all."
"That's all?" she repeated.
"I've been having nightmares, I was probably half-delusional. Soon, I might even think about letting Poppy see if she can figure out what's wrong with me."
Minerva nodded, anything that would get the man to see Poppy was a good thing. He was seriously worrying Albus, and now herself with his strange behaviour.
"Thank you, Minerva."
She sighed. "Good bye, Severus." That had been a wasted afternoon. When she reached her office again, she was astonished to find how long she had been down in Severus's rooms.
On May 26th, Charles Rubeus Hagrid was born, 10 pounds 4 ounces. The birth was simpler than Poppy had feared. Minerva was relieved that no one, especially herself, was called upon to do a Ceasarian section. About six hours after the first labour pains, Hagrid held his son in his arms, and the baby's godfather, uncles, and aunt were allowed in to visit. Charlie Weasley, Ron, Harry, Hermione, and even Bill who was expecting his own daughter soon, came in to congradulate the new parent, and coo over their new 'relative'.
As Hermione took the newborn into her arms, she smiled at it affectionately, and ran a finger along one soft straight lock of black hair. She wondered if that was a trait of a newborn, or if the baby would never have his parent's course, wild, slightly curly hair. "He does look a little like Professor Snape," she observed, letting her finger continue to skim over the soft skin of his cheek. "Not his nose, thankfully, but the shape of his face. It's narrower than yours, Hagrid."
"How big were you, when you were born?" Charlie asked, curiously. "The baby's smaller than I'd've expected from you."
"I was a wee tyke fer meh Mother, she bein' a giantess an' all. I was only 'bout twenty pounds or there'bouts."
"Only," Bill snorted. "Next time Megan complains about her seven pound estimated baby, I'll bring that up."
Poppy shooed the four out after about an hour, insisting the mother and the child both needed to rest. The infant was already asleep in his father's arms, but she took him over to a waiting hospital crib that she had borrowed from St. Mungo's. Minerva, for some reason, had insisted that Poppy stay at the castle and volunteered to pick it up for her. If it hadn't been impossible, Poppy might have wondered if the woman was the child's father the way she got paranoid everytime Poppy tried to leave the school for a few minutes or hours. And Poppy still couldn't explain the Gryffindor's insistance that she be taught about Ceasarian sections.
Putting the thought aside as pointless, the mediwitch pulled the baby blanket up over the newborn's shoulders. Too small for Hagrid's alone, she thought and touched her wand to the baby's head. "Paternis." Over the slumbering figure coalesed two transparent images, one of a beaming Hagrid, one of a scowling Severus Snape. She glanced about the room quickly and finding no students present and Hagrid already asleep, she cast on impulse, "Conceivus."
The two transparent images were no longer clothed. Hagrid lay on his back, his face turned away in shame, and blushing. He did not fight, perhaps prevented from doing so by some spell. Snape thrust into him, his emotionless mask still in place, even for this. Then Hagrid spasmed, and Snape pulled away. The scene disipated, leaving only the beaming or scowling clothed figures.
"Finite incantium," she whispered, feeling ill. Incontravertable proof. Snape had raped her godson's mother/father. When Albus came by not long after, she repeated the spells, and looked at him almost accusingly, "You said it was a potions accident."
Albus sighed. "And so it was. Neither Severus nor Hagrid wished to share a bed with another man. But the potion was incomplete when it was spilt onto Hagrid. Had someone not impregnated him, he would have died five days after the accident. I begin to believe Severus may have performed the obliviate for more than the selfish and logical reasons he listed to me. He may have wished to spare Hagrid this memory," he said, with a small wave to the empty air where, twice now, the scene had played. "It would live up to his luck that the one time he performs an act of mercy Severus gets accused of rape."
Poppy was unconvinced, but nothing he had been shown terribly surprised him, so perhaps, maybe, Snape wasn't as guilty as he appeared. "So he is the father, then, in all senses of the word."
"No," Albus said wearily and sadly, "not the affectionate sense. He refuses to acknowledge the boy, insisting it was Fang's fault not his own."
"Hagrid had no more choice in the matter," she snapped angrily.
The headmaster blinked, "I hadn't thought of that argument." Then his face fell, "I do not think it would change things. Severus is being very stubborn on the matter. He will protect the boy, provide finacial assistance if requested, and treat him civilly, but he will not love him or claim him."
The Headmaster left not long after that, and Poppy fell into a light doze - it was getting to be quite late at night - but she wouldn't leave the wardroom with only Hagrid and his child in it. Something stirred her from sleep sometime later, and she nearly screamed when she saw the dark shape standing over the baby until she recognized Snape. She decided to continue feignining sleep to see what he did.
Her resolve was almost immediately broken as he bent to lift the child, but he did so with such practiced ease that she was stunned back into stillness. He walked in circles around the crib, rocking the child gently. She wondered if she was dreaming. She could hear snatches of whispered words drift back to her, "Lucky with your nose . . . tiny one . . . figures Hagrid would get . . . am sorry . . . you have a . . . Severin . . . when Voldemmort dies . . . can't let anyone know . . . tell anyone, all right? . . . your mum's . . . don't mind me . . . can't have you . . . Good night, Charlie." He laid the baby back in its crib, and left the nursery. Poppy barely dared to breathe, fearing she would wake from this most supernatural dream. Because she knew now she was dreaming. She had seen Severus Snape smile.
She didn't wake up, but she did fall back asleep a few minutes later.
When she awoke, she remembered the dream with a clarity she normally didn't have from dreams, but she passed that off as just another element of its oddity. She found, to her surprise, that the next time she saw Severus Snape that she couldn't draw up the feelings of disgust and anger that she had felt for him since she reached her conclusion about what had happened when Charlie Hagrid was conceived. She didn't think it coincidence that only a few weeks after that, Severus started coming to her again with his injuries. There was something off about his health, but she couldn't really put her finger on it. The after-effects of crutacious well disguised whatever else might be wrong with him. She put it down to almost a year's avoidance of her when he needed medical attention almost biweekly.
One year after conception. Severus hurries back to his room, leaving the Head Girl, Hermione Granger, in charge of his classroom while the baby's wail in his head calls him home. He knows Albus will question him soon about his frequent absenses. Meanwhile, Charlie Weasley continues substituting for the Care of Magical Creatures class while Hagrid stays in his hut tending to his child's needs.
A few days after that. Severus paces in the Headmaster's office, unable to provide an excuse for his behaviour. Eventually, he simply promises it will not happen again. Later that night, he begs a Snape Family House Elf away from his Mother, for the space of two years, without offering a reason why.
At a staff meeting in February of next term, Charlie Hagrid sits in a swing in the corner of the room. Charlie Weasley has returned to Romania, and Hagrid sits in his normal seat. Severus, also, sits in his normal spot, but he is distracted by the mental crying in his head. In the dungeons, a house elf changes a diaper.
Severin's second birthday. The house elf is gone. The small - compared to eleven year olds - boy sits in his playpen, alone in the apartment, waiting for his father to come home from classes. He utilizes skills practiced and refined since before he was even born to watch his father's class through his father's eyes. Severus is aware of what the child is doing, and makes an effort to explain today's lesson so even his young son can grasp most of it. There are no mistakes in that class.
Charlie's second birthday. The Care of Magical Creature's class is cancelled. All faculty and staff, as well as a fair number of students, are invited to the birthday party. Most of the Weasleys, Harry Potter, and Hermione Granger also attend. Severus drops off a present and leaves, with barely a glance at his other son.
Halloween of their fifth year of life. The final battle with Voldemort defeats and destroys the dark lord. Severus is severely injured. After less than a day in the hospital wing, he sneaks out and returns to his rooms. Severin is scared by his father's hurts, but follows all his instructions for making them go away, as he had done several times before. His father promises he won't be hurt like this any more. Severus does not open his door for either Poppy or Albus. Not even the Headmaster can break through the wards on the potion master's room. Wards set with Severin's help.
Severin's seventh birthday. Charlie Hagrid plays with the younger students who don't mind a tag-a-long. He laughs happily as they run and play outside in the warm spring weather. Severin sits in his father's rooms, dividing his attention equally between the novel in front of him and the mental link with his father. He occassionally tries to dig into his father's mind to find out what presents he'll be opening later, but his father always catches him, chiding him gently about patience.
Charlie's ninth birthday. He invites his best friends from among the students, mostly first, second, and third years, to his kid's party. All faculty, staff, Weasleys (including Hermione), and Potters come for the family party. Snape, as usual, drops off his present. Severin watches through the mental link, and, as usual, tells his father to come home now. He feels cheated that his brother can have so many friends, but even more, he feels jealous of his father's affection. Even if he does know, by the proof of their link, that the mild favour his father bestows upon Charlie Hargid is nothing in comparison to the protective, possessive, and unrestricted love and pride his father holds for him. He knows, beyond any doubt, that he is the center of his father's world.
Severin Snape watched, impatiently and excitedly as his father's hand spellotaped the notice of 'Class Cancelled' on the door to the potions room. He had been told that, for this very special birthday, his father was going to take the day off and bring him somewhere. Bring him somewhere! Severin had never even left these rooms, except by watching through his father's eyes. Though he'd never been beyond the heavily warded door, he already knew his way around the school as if he had explored it personally. Though he'd never met anyone but his father, he could recognize all the teachers, most of the students (especially the ones who got in trouble a lot during potions), and his brother.
He had mixed feelings about his brother. There was curiousity in spades. If he could see through any else's eyes but his father's he'd want to watch the other boy almost constantly. But his father was just that. His father. Not Charlie Hagrid's. Charlie didn't even have the right last name. But Severin would probably be jealous if he did, so it was just as well. Charlie looked kind of like his father. His nose was all wrong and his color was too dark, but he was the right shape. Severin himself was mostly the right shape. His head was too round, but otherwise, he was all right. All skinny and long legged and long armed and pale everywhere, just like Father. He was already up to his parent's shoulder, too.
His father soon returned to the room, and led him down a corridor that Severin knew led to the tunnel which led to the woods. As his father closed the trapdoor leading into the tunnel behind him, he said, "I don't want you using this tunnel when you start going to school here, understand? The forest is dangerous and forbidden."
Severin nodded his head. "Okay. I won't unless you're with me," he promised, the thought of disobeying never occurred to him. If his father said it was dangerous, it was dangerous. Severin knew about dangerous. He still had nightmares about the days he had nursed his father back to health all by himself. Sometimes he even woke up in the night, screaming from a phantom pain that came from everywhere. His father would wake him up those nights, and tell him he was remembering something from before he was born. He was remembering dark magic used against them both.
Sometimes Father had nightmares about the same thing. And Severin would wake him up, and tell him he was remembering bad things from before the Potter boy (that's all Father ever called him, the Potter boy) killed the bad guy. Then Father would smile and everything would be better.
They came out inside the forest, but they didn't stay long. Father took Severin's hand, and they were suddenly not there anymore. Severin felt the flush of magic as his father channeled the spell through them both, and then they were standing in the middle of a crowded street. "Diagon Alley," his father announced as if he had invented it himself.
Severin took in the buildings and people with wide eyes, breathing in the air with so many new smells. "Whoa," he breathed in awe. "Why don't you come here more often, Dad?"
His father chuckled. "I can get everything I need in Hogsmeade. Besides, if I'd come before, this wouldn't be as spectacular. I fear I've already ruined the Great Hall for you. Come, we need to get spending money from Gringotts."
"Okay," Severin agreed cheerfully, tagging along behind his father, pointing out occassional objects or pictures and asking what it was. When he asked about a balloon, his father looked down at him with a wry look. "Severin, if you don't know what a balloon looks like, your father is desperately remiss in your education."
"I'd seen them before," Severin protested, "At Charlie's birthday parties, but you never told me what they were called."
"Hopeless, child, you are hopeless," his father lamented aloud, while his mental voice apologized his failure. Severin understood he was apologizing for more than just not telling him what a balloon was, but what more Severin wasn't sure. Gringotts opened before them, and all thoughts of balloons left him as he stared at the creatures lining the desks.
"Mommy?" Severin asked, slipping into his youngest name for his father in his fright. The amusement from his father's mental link did more to dispell his fear than anything else could have.
"They're Goblins, Severin. They run the bank. As long as you don't try to rob them, they won't hurt you." They approached one of the goblins, and his father handed over a key to the long fingered creature. "Snape vault, number 21."
"Very well," the goblin ground out in a gravelly voice. Then it hopped down from its seat and bid them follow. The creature was tiny, and Severin felt foolish for being afraid of it.
Do not ever underestimate a goblin, Severin, his father's mental voice warned, they are small, but a more vicious creature does not walk on this Earth. Then the voice's tone lightened as he added, Except maybe me.
Severin burst into laughter. The goblin gave him a Look, but Severin expected the unhappy creature just didn't like laughter, rather than because he was put off by its apparent lack of cause. They climbed into what looked like a coal mine cart (he'd seen pictures in some books), and Father warned that he should hold on in a voice that brooked no argument. So Severin held on, and was very glad he had when the cart shot forward. He screamed in exhileration and terror mixed equally.
When the cart came to a stop, he breathlessly gasped, "Can we do that again?"
His father muttered something that sounded suspiciously like "Insane child." His question was forgotten as the goblin opened the vault door, and Severin stared inside. He'd seen drawn pictures of piles of coins. He'd even seen a handful of coins once. But spending most of his time in the dungeons, and with his father's shopping experiences usually ending with a remark along the lines of 'put it on my tab' or 'put it on the school's tab', Severin really had no concept of money. But he knew what he saw before him was a lot. A lot a lot.
His father stepped inside and took two handfuls of the gold coins, and one handful of the silver ones. As he stepped away, he gestured toward the vaultful of coins. "Go ahead. Take as much as you'd like for your allowance until the next time we come here."
Uncertainly, he took a handful of the gold ones. He looked at his father to see if he thought this was too much or too little, but the man just nodded and told the goblin that they were done. The return trip was almost as terrifying as the trip down, and his father's instructions to hold tight to his money because the bank didn't refund dropped withdrawls prompted his wondering if there was an ulterior motive for the fast, bumpy ride.
Despite that thought, his immediate reaction to the end of the trip back to the bank lobby was, "Again?"
"Next year," his father promised, "Now get out." Once back in Diagon Alley, Father led the way into an unassuming store that Severin probably wouldn't have noticed, but when he saw shelves upon shelves of long narrow boxes, his eyes lit up with excitement. "A wand! I get my own wand!"
The shout brought an old man out from between two shelves of wand boxes. A smile lit the ancient face as it took in his visitors. "Ah! Professor Snape, and young Mr. Hagrid."
Severin straightened in offense, while his father succeeded at not showing the surprise Severin felt throught their link. The elder Snape silently instructed, Play along with it.
Why? he respected his father in all things, but the wand maker called him by his brother's name. That was not to be tolerated.
I hadn't thought we could fool Ollivander, so I wasn't going to try, but he really doesn't know who you are. The longer we keep your existance secret, the longer I won't have to explain where you came from. I guarentee that if we reveal who you are to Ollivander now, by tonight all of Hogwarts will know about you.
Severin thought about it, and decided that drawing the Hogwarts gossip mill into focus on himself and his father right now wasn't what he wanted for his birthday. The plan had been to put off informing the teachers until summer, and shocking the students come September first. Fine, he agreed, somewhat sullenly.
"Yes," agreed his father to the wand maker. Only moments had passed since the old man had made his greeting. "Charlie will be starting at Hogwarts in September, and he has need of a wand."
"Of course, though most new students do wait until the acceptance letters arrive." A raised note at the end spoke of curiousity, but his father only frowned impatiently. Severin stepped toward one of the shelves and peered at the wandboxes stored there. A spark of excitement burned through his annoyance at needing to borrow his brother's identity. He was going to get a wand!
"Well, I suppose you would know that young Hagrid will be accepted already. Let us see," and the wand maker began running his fingers along the shelves of narrow boxes. "Your parent was a holly with unicorn hair."
He means Hagrid, his father noted silently, I have an ebony with a pheonix feather.
Severin accepted the wand from Ollivander, but it was snatched away again almost immediately. "No, no, no, that will never do. Let us try, hmm, perhaps? Yes," his fingers teased out another box, "here, ebony, like your other father," a short, quick glance was sent toward Severin's 'escort', "with the unicorn hair."
His father only arched an eyebrow at him, but his thoughts commented, It is remarks like those that made me think we couldn't fool him. Nobody is supposed to know Charlie is mine, least of all Charlie. There was a short pause before he added, Fortunately, he doesn't look nearly as much like me as you do.
Severin surpressed his grin, and remained focused on the wand maker. "My other father?" Severin asked, sounding confused as he accepted the ebony wand. He almost forgot the subterfuge as he felt the warmth fill him, radiating from the wood in his grip. Instinctively, he gave it a sharp swish, and bright sparkles flew from its end. He looked hopefully at his father. "This one's mine?"
His father couldn't entirely hold back his proud smile, but he did turn it into a small smirk. "It appears so."
"The wand chooses the wizard!" Ollivander confirmed, sounding pleased that he had made a match on only the second try. As he took the wand back and boxed it up for sale, he commented solemnly, "It is a most rare combination that has chosen you, young Hagrid. The darkest of woods with the purest of cores."
There was an awkward silence as his father paid the wand maker. Severus accepted the narrow box and handed it to his son. "I am certain your father will be pleased with your wand," he assured him.
Severin smiled, feeling immensely relieved, though he couldn't say why Ollivander's words had so bothered him. "Thanks."