Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
Septima looked at Severus worriedly just before he left to take the girl back to the school. “Must it be done?” she had asked.
“It's for her own protection,” he answered. “She can't be allowed to discuss it with people who would use it against her and perhaps us.”
“I trust you to do what's best,” she answered, “but I don't feel right about a memory charm. Look what it's done to us.”
He kissed her forehead as though they would be parted for weeks instead of an hour or two. “I'll try to make it easy on her, love.”
In the end, he realized there was another solution.
Monday morning dawned brightly. Professor Snape walked into the Great Hall and barely glanced at the Gryffindor table. However, he knew that his daughter was sitting there. He also knew that she wouldn't say a word about her new-found family, even after the events of the next few minutes. She would be unable to utter a single word that would identify Severus or Septima as her parents, but they would be able to meet and spend time together as a family. It was a simple variation of a Fidelius Charm after all.
This particular morning had a different task, and Severus had prepared by carrying a stack of Daily Prophets and a special box. He opened the box as he arrived at the end of the table.
“Congratulate me,” he said to the various professors as he handed out cigars.
“Whatever has happened, Severus?” asked Minerva, who nevertheless slipped the cigar into her pocket.
“Page six,” he replied.
The professors opened their papers, and those who did not have the paper were supplied it by Severus.
“Congratulations, Man!” shouted Hagrid, who for some reason was more nimble than the others.
“Thank you,” he replied just as Dumbledore sat down.
“What is it?” asked the Headmaster. He noticed the cigars Severus was handing out. “Has the witch delivered the child? Was the blood sample obtained?”
“Yes, and no,” answered Severus, setting a cigar in his employer's hand. “Why don't we read the announcement?” He opened a paper and cleared his throat. “Professor Severus Snape and his wife, Professor Septima Vector Snape, welcome their son, Nicolas, who was born on Saturday... I'll leave you to read the details. I can confirm that he's an impressive lad, even if all he wants to do is eat and sleep right now.”
“Severus,” hissed Dumbledore, “you will meet me in my office in half an hour.”
“Certainly, if that is your wish, Headmaster,” said Severus with a slight bow.
It was interesting, how hospitable or inhospitable the office could feel, depending upon the Headmaster's mood.
“How is this possible? I was assured that the witch became pregnant in Lupin's rooms before I found them together.”
“I don't believe anyone assured you of anything, Headmaster. You found them in Lupin's rooms minutes after she left mine. Your assumptions were based on that, and none of the the three of us chose to illuminate you. Your other miscalculation was in never asking how far along she was. We spent a few hours together a month before, and the deed was done then.”
“You did what?”
“You missed a week when you were dosing me with that brandy, and I became aware of it. Septima and I spent an evening together. It was a simple thing to make it look as though I was taking your potion afterward.”
“You said you would never, after Lupin—”
“Ah, but Lupin never had the chance. The witch is utterly loyal to me and even on the day you dosed her inhibitions away, she came to me with one last request. When I realized that your plan might very well kill her, I couldn't let her go through with it. Now I'm glad of the instinct that kept her in my room that night. Lupin might have torn both her and our child apart.”
“Are you absolutely sure he's not Lupin's child?”
“Look at the picture in the paper.”
Dumbledore picked it up and looked. The child was clearly a Snape. He reread the announcement. “You married her? When I expressly forbid it? I'll have it voided.”
“It was done over the summer. It's far too late to file suit for any reason of breach of contract. And we've clearly consummated it.” Severus couldn't help smirking at that.
Dumbledore leaned back in his chair and put a hand over his eyes. “All these years... I've been waiting for you to realize that there were others besides Lily. Why did it have to be a witch, Severus?”
“It was always going to be a witch, Albus.” Severus thought for a moment. “In fact, I think it was always going to be that witch.”
“I had the distinct impression, back when you were a student, that you might look at other options. I've been waiting...”
“I never considered anyone but Lily. There was no one else in the world.”
“I'll never know exactly how it was that I even noticed Septima, but today I'm glad I did.”
There was silence for a while, and then Dumbledore broke it. “The child is set to be adopted.”
“No, the child will be raised right here at Hogwarts by his mother and myself.”
“Now, Severus, you have a great many things to worry about, and—”
“It's not open for discussion. It's been done before at this school, and it's worked perfectly well in the past.”
“But not when Voldemort was getting ready to return!”
The two looked at each other over the Headmaster's desk. Severus hadn't noticed when it happened, but they were both standing now.
Severus took a step backwards and turned slightly. “Septima and our son will both be here at Hogwarts, or we will all leave.”
“You can't! All our plans are coming to the point!”
“No, they're your plans. My plans might work better if I'm seen to have been cast off by you. I won't have either Septima or our son sent away from me. If you force a choice, Headmaster, I will leave with them.”
“Their danger is on your head then.” Dumbledore waved at the door and turned to look out a window. The conversation was over.
A/N: Much thanks to Kyria of Delphi and Owlbait for beta reading!