Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
Lucius couldn't do anything at the Ministry for Severus, but he identified someone who could. Yaxley was out of the question, Rookwood was too craven, and Runcorn worked in the wrong department. Pius came through. As Severus explained it to Septima, the paperwork would be properly filed but then lost until the right moment.
The fact that Septima was farther along in her pregnancy than expected was good news. The child would be born before the old man was looking for it, and there was an opportunity in that change of schedule. Severus wasn't entirely sure how he would exploit it yet, but he knew it would be quite useful.
The plan was coming together, slowly but surely. Another element was overcome when Severus took Septima to his childhood home. He was apprehensive about it, but at this point he had to follow through. Lily had always wrinkled her nose when she visited, following Petunia's lead. How would Septima respond to the place that had shaped so much of his character?
“It's not the fanciest neighborhood, is it?” asked Septima. He looked sharply at her. She wasn't mocking. Her eyes were full of eager interest.
“We don't have to come here,” he said in a sudden fit of pique. “We could go to either of our flats near the university.”
“I want to see the place where you grew up,” she said with a shrug. “It is what it is, of course, but I always wondered...”
They stopped at the door and he tapped the knob with his wand. “Well, we're here,” he said.
She leaned up to kiss his cheek reassuringly and put her hand trustingly in his. “Show me.”
He slid his arm around her and they walked together into his house. Just off the small hallway was the library. “Oh, this is magnificent!” she said.
He looked critically at the room as she slowly turned and drank it in. He saw the shabby chairs and the table with the wood veneer chipping off. Based upon the way her face was tilted, she was admiring the bookshelves that had been worked into every vertical surface of the room.
“You don't mind, then?” he asked.
She shook her head absently, now walking toward one particular wall. She traced the leather of some covers and shivered sensuously. “Have you read them all?”
He was slightly miffed that she was more interested in his library than himself, but the way she looked at him now was adorable. “There are a few that were my mother's that I never read, and I think some of hers were actually my grandparents'.”
She turned to him and threw her arms around his neck. “I think I could live in this room.”
He smiled indulgently. “You'd have to eat.”
“I'd bring it in here.”
“You need your rest.”
“I'm sure with a little Transfiguration the couch could be quite restful.”
He pulled her tight and kissed her deeply. “What about the rest of it?”
She started unfastening her robe. “I'm sure that could be quite enjoyable here, too.”
He kissed her again, running his hands along her body as he did so. “We can't get carried away. She'll be here any minute.”
It was like cold water. Septima stepped away and sat primly on the couch. “I still don't know why you didn't tell me about your mother years ago. You just sprang her on me today.”
“I was wasn't ready for it.”
She looked up in fear. “You're ashamed, aren't you? Is she going to hate me so much? If she's a midwife, wouldn't she have wanted to care for her own grandchild? Maybe if I'd been coming to see her all those years ago...”
He shook his head. “I was never ashamed of you.”
“I saw the way your dodgy friends looked at me back at the university, Severus, and how they sniggered at me after talking to you.”
“Don't be ridiculous. You're pureblood.” It left his lips before he had a chance to think. Had she really spent all this time thinking that he was somehow ashamed of her? “I told them whatever would keep them away from you.”
He saw understanding work through her face, but then cloud over again. “But you were ashamed of me when it came to your mother, or you would have introduced us years ago...”
A new voice spoke. “No, he was ashamed of me. He didn't like to bring his friends here because he didn't want them to see a pureblood witch brought low.”
Septima stood up, fear in her face as she looked between the door and him. There was an accusation in the voice that came from the doorway. Severus winced and turned.
“Mother, I've never been ashamed of you.” He took Septima's hand and tugged her to the door.
“Mother, this is Septima. Septima, Mother.”
Eileen Prince leaned toward Septima and took her other hand. “I've waited a long time to meet you. Let's see about my grandson while Severus tells us what he is ashamed of.”
A/N: Thank you for reading and reviewing! Thank you for beta reading from Kyria of Delphi and Owlbait!