Not Wisely, but Well


This started with [info]chocolate_frog's writing A Delicate Way, which she offered up to fandom to write our own sequels. I wrote Devotion. You must read Delicate Way and Devotion in order to understand this sequel. Trequel?

Title: Not Wisely, But Well
Sequel to "A Delicate Way", and "Devotion"

Author: Bernice
Characters: Snape

This story was requested and beta read by [info]ausmac.

He loved the child. He had no choice.

The Dark Lord lay dead, defeated as they’d all known would happen. The Prophet had been full of celebrations and congratulations, interviews with heroes and photographs of the fallen ‘enemy’. The enemy, the losers, those that chose the wrong side. Those that chose tradition and the safety of the magical peoples against those that chose the politically correct path: the future.

And the fact that Voldemort had tried to offer safety to witches and wizards and protect them from muggles and the exposure risk of mudbloods was forgotten. Just as the giants and the werewolves would be forgotten once the Ministry had its way and killed or destroyed all of the overweening magical peoples it couldn’t enslave.

Snape wondered how long until the Ministry declared the Centaurs as dangerous, despite their recent alliance, and brought them violently to heel. He believed that the way it was going, the Ministry would destroy magic altogether within just a few generations. All the magical peoples would be ground out of existence, all the wizards and witches so dilute with dirty blood they may as well be muggles all. And he knew he’d had a large part in this, and could hold no one else accountable if he didn’t also blame himself.

Snape traced a finger over the photo of the Dark Lord in his copy of The Prophet, and the insane, furious lines face softened just for a second as the photograph recognised him. If only the Dark Lord had remained the sane visionary that Snape had fallen in love with - never too bright, but charismatic and fascinating, until he’d commenced his raving fall into madness.

Snape threw the paper into the fire and watched his love burn.

The Quibbler, on the other hand, didn’t concern itself with such uncommon place mundanities as war. It had far more interesting news to report, such as the fact that a Hogwarts Professor was pregnant. A male Hogwarts Professor. The first wizard to get pregnant in centuries. A great sign, an omen of fantastic things to come for the portentous new millennium.

A baby, to be born to one of the heroes of the war. One who spied, one who risked his life to save the wizarding world from the Dark Lord. One who betrayed his love and soul and world when it became obvious his love was destined for dust.

The Quibbler was alight with speculation over the identity of the child’s father. Other father.

They’d guessed Remus Lupin, sweet and gentle and popular and hastened to reassure the population that lycanthropy wasn’t genetic. Lupin hadn’t denied the rumours.

They’d guessed Sirius Black. They’d guessed that their animosity disguised their passion, and hastened to reassure the population that being undead wasn’t genetic. Black had threatened to sue for slander, after he’d threatened to strangle them with his bare hands.

They’d guessed Hagrid and wondered how big the baby would be, with prizes for those who correctly guessed the baby’s weight. Hagrid had blushed and chuckled and said: "I should be so lucky!"

They’d guessed Dumbledore and declared it would be the most powerful child of the generation and could only be surpassed in power if, (they also guessed) that Harry Potter (deceased) was the child’s other parent. How tragic and romantic that would be, the paper exclaimed.

Every guess reported as truth, sometimes in the same issue. None of their truths ever came close to being accurate.

But the child was much anticipated by a society casting about for its next celebrity, for something to attach to and worship, and Snape was feted and pampered by all those around him, even as he refused to satisfy their curiosity about the unborn child that clung to his womb with claws and magic refusing to be torn from him until it was ready.

Snape threw those papers into the fire, too, lip curled in disgust at the paper that had so joyfully exposed his secret to the world.

His little camp fire flared up briefly, flickering over the trees, creating goblin shapes in the dark. He took another dose of a painkilling potion, letting it sooth his contractions. He’d been taking the potion for nearly twenty four hours, disguising the contractions so he could go about his duties without anyone knowing he was due.

The birth would be easy, despite his body’s unnatural accommodation of the child, he’d made plenty of potions to ensure gestation and labour were smooth and trouble-free.

Now Snape’s waters had broken, so he’d walked down here, to the little clearing in the forest he’d found and prepared, and waited for the child to come. He looked at he sky and thought of the man he’d loved, the man who had become a monster, the man who would never see his child, and felt hot tears fog his vision before he angrily rubbed them away.

He grabbed the shovel he’d brought and started to dig. It didn’t need to be a wide hole, but it did need to be deep.

He loved the child, but he had no choice.

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