Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
After spending the night at his mother's house, cuddled in bed with his witch and new son, Severus returned to Hogwarts for breakfast on Sunday morning. He went back to his living area to pick up a few things Septima wanted. He found his daughter in the hallway near his door.
“How could you just abandon her? Even if you didn't love her, you must have been close! She was having your child! Just because you fancied some other witch?”
He opened his door and let her in. She sat on her seat and glowered at him. He looked longingly at his liquor cabinet and considered the earliness of the hour.
“She led me to believe she had miscarried you in May of that year.” Perhaps it was lack of sleep that caused his eyes to water as he recalled the agony he had felt at the death of his child.
“Why would she do that?”
“I'm not sure. I think whoever took you from her had already started to influence her mind. She can only remember wanting some space to think. I hadn't been very positive about the relationship between us. She offered me a chance to get out, and I took it.”
“What was going on that pretending I was dead seemed like a reasonable option to her?”
How could he explain it when he didn't understand it himself? “I don't know.”
“Did you have some sort of one-night-stand with her that resulted in her getting pregnant with me?”
He smiled. “No, we were very definitely lovers, and she was taking a potion I made for her. I hadn't read the recipe on the next page as carefully as I might, however. Some of my hair or skin must have gotten into the potion I chose for her, turning a contraceptive into a very selective fertility potion.”
“So I wasn't some sort of one-off thing?”
“And yet you were in love with someone else?”
“I was, madly, but at the same time I couldn't keep my hands off Septima. I still can't, and I've never understood it.” He looked evenly at her. “And I'm sure you know by now that I'm a man who insists upon understanding everything.”
She looked down at the floor. “Where do I stand in all this?” It came out in a whisper. When she looked up again, he saw that the brown eyes were filled with tears. He was as helpless before them as when Septima cried.
“What would you like?”
“Loving parents who love each other. Parents who love me.”
He sat next to her on the couch and chanced touching her hand. “What stands between your mother and me is complicated, but be sure that we both love you. You've seen the way your mother deals with her love for you on the day she yelled at me, and by her constant Arithmancy calculations. In fact, she was doing more equations about you last night while your brother slept.”
“She's eaten up by guilt over what happened to you. She's desperate to make sure you're happy and well. ”
She absorbed this information. “What about you?”
He handed her his notebook. “I started this the night you were sorted. It was a shock to see someone I recognized so quickly when I thought you were dead, but it was obviously you. Your hair is so similar to hers, but beyond that you have the same mannerisms. Your walk, the curiosity in your eyes as you take in the world around you is her all over again. Of course, you're the image of my mother when you're scolding someone.”
She looked through the pictures of herself, giggling in spite of herself at some and looking up nervously at others. When she arrived at her time in the hospital wing during her second year, she was awe struck. “Were—were you there?”
“Most nights. I went up when no one else was there and watched over you, making sure nothing worse happened. I finally had the chance to act like your father. That was when I realized that as much as I would have wanted to raise you, perhaps you were safer and even happier with the Grangers after all.”
She looked up at him and swallowed hard. “They're my mum and dad, you know, but now there's you, too. How does it all work?”
“We'll have to sort that out.” Sorted. There was that word, again, the very word that might have caused this mess.
She busied herself with the book again. He got up to gather the things Septima wanted and put them in a bag.
“So you could draw all of this and claim you love me, but you can't love my mother?”
“I can't explain it. I'm still bound—in a way—to the other witch.”
“Aren't you bound to us? Doesn't blood matter? And why couldn't you say something to me?”
“I couldn't even say anything to Septima. She followed me to the hospital wing one night. When I suggested to her that you were special to us, she got very nervous and upset.”
She reached a page where he had attached the ultrasound picture. She traced the shadowy outline and asked, “That's me?”
She turned the page and found pictures of Septima in labor and holding her baby. “Is this my brother? Will I get to meet him?”
She shook her head. “But you said you weren't there.”
“Using magic, I was able to find some memories, hidden where you mother can't access them. I've seen your birth and the first two weeks of your life, all from her eyes.”
“She looks like she loves me.”
“But she never looks at me like that.”
“Are you so sure?” He handed her a cloak. “Here, put this on and pull the hood well over your face.” He looked at her appraisingly. “You're still a little short to look exactly like her, but I think you'll pass.”
“What are we doing?”
“We're going on a little trip, and you're not to let anyone see under that hood. With luck everyone will think Professors Snape and Vector are going for a stroll.”
She glared at him from under the hood and under her eyebrows. “I'm not sure I want to go anywhere with you.”
“You said you'd like to meet your brother.” He tugged the hood so that her face was completely shadowed and walked toward the door. “Come along, Miss Vector-Snape.”
A/N: Thank you, as always, to Owlbait and Kyria of Delphi for beta reading!