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a/n: chapter graphic by jackie (padfootandprongs91) Thanks hun. ~~juls













Draco rubbed the back of his neck tiredly as he headed for the breakfast nook. Severus and Hermione had made up after their first lover's quarrel, and he was rather pleased that the older wizard had took his words to heart. He had also noticed Hermione's small twinge of jealousy, and had been amazed at how well she had tucked it back.

“Master be needing anything else?” Twinky asked, appearing by his side, busily cleaning up the untouched plates and glasses. “Snarky and Missy left something behind,” The small elf said, pointing to the ring on the table.

Draco picked it up, turning it in his hand to read the inscription. Yup, Dad's been snared. He laughed at the thought. “More like tagged and bagged.” He said out loud, the sight of a tressed-up Severus Snape laying on the ground with a smiling Hermione Granger standing over him with a smoking wand posing for a picture came to mind.

“Master?”

“Sorry, Twinky. I'll be visiting Hogwarts in the morning, I think.” His mind went to thoughts of Ginger as he headed back to the sitting room. He didn't understand how such a wonderful witch could accept the fact that marriage to him meant no children. He had greedily watched how she was with his little sister, and knew she'd make a great mum.

“Mum?” He said as he sat down in the chair before the painting. The small fire underneath crackled softly, breaking the silence of the night.

“Yes, son.” Narcissa appeared back into her portrait, settling into the same chair in the painting that Draco now sat on.

“Why didn't you and Father have more children?” Draco asked the nagging question from his childhood. The beginnings of his young life had been happy, and his father had not been the same wizard he had been. His desire to grow up to be like him had turned into a nightmare as he grew up. Voldemort had ruined their lives, and he was pleased he had had a part in the dark wizard's downfall.

“We tried for a few years, but the Gods didn't bless with anymore. Then Lucius became more immersed in the Death Eaters and Voldemort's plans, so I feared to have more.” Narcissa's eyes grew sad, and Draco could almost see a tear in them.

“Would you have if you and Severus had had a chance after the War?”

“That was one of the plans. But I see the love he has for your young friend, and I'm happy for him. It was hard watching him grow older and more bitter while I was with Lucius, and then when I joined the Order Dumbledore gave us a few precious moments. I used to laugh when he commented on that 'damn Harry Potter and his know-it-all friend.' Little did he know she'd grow up to his be his match.” Narcissa's laughter filled the room, and Draco smiled.

“I miss you loads, mum.” Draco said, his laughter trailing off.

“I'm always here son, always.” Narcissa's smile widened as the sitting room's door opened and her soon-to-be daughter-in-law entered the room. Draco had heard Ginger enter, he was deeply lost in thoughts of the past.

Ginger tip-toed behind Draco, a finger lying across her lips in 'sh' for Narcissa to see. Draco's head was bowed and missed his mum's wink and wave as she left her portrait.

“Mum?” Draco looked up, sighing at the empty painting. He felt arms slowly wrap around him as lips gently caressed his neck.

“How's my Dray tonight?” Ginger whispered in his ear as an arm swung back to pull her giggling into his lap.

“Your Dray has been missing you!” He said as he enveloped her in his arms and kissed her senseless.



~*~




Hermione's arms wrapped around Severus's neck as her pushed open his bedroom door and then dropped her on his green and silver duvet. He landed next to her and smirked as he drew his fingers lightly down her arm, tickling her.

“We need to find time next week to go to the Ministry to apply for a last name change on Cissa's birth certificate. I want my name added also.” His eyes grew dark, thinking about his past mistakes. “My nobleness caused more damage then I realized.”

“It's all in the past, Sev. I've let it all go years ago.” Hermione sighed as he fingers reached the buttons at the top of her shirt.

“Really?” His eyebrow arched high with his question. “Then why are you still hiding out in Hogwarts? Your status as a War hero and best friend to the sainted Harry Potter should have been enough to protect you from the prats that fill this small-minded world.”

“Not now please. It's over, and I'm now taking advantage of your offer-- err-- offers.” Hermione sighed resignedly as he sat up, not letting it go by the looks of it. “They didn't appreciate the fact that I wouldn't say who the father was. The rumors went round and round from Harry, Ron, Draco -- even Remus. Then it was decided I had no clue and that's what left me open to all the unwanted advances.”

“You should have just told them.” Severus said bitterly, standing up.

“I wasn't sure you would ever claim her if you ever found out.” she admitted, seeing his wince.

“If I had known--”

“So many ifs... why I asked you to just let it go.” She got up off the bed, and stood behind him. “I need to get back to the infirmary as I am the school's medi-witch. I need time to think, and you do also.” She traced a hand down his back, following the scars unseen but always there. She kissed his shoulder and walked out.

Severus felt alone, a feeling he was accustomed to but now hated. He wondered how much floo powder it would take to get to Outer Mongolia.



~*~




Severus took his seat by Tonks and Remus and met their questioning stares. He sneered back and dug into a bowl of porridge. “I just want a name.” He hissed out.

“Still not forgiven?” Tonks asked.

“Forgiven and unforgiven, witches are so hard to understand.” He dropped his spoon back into the bowl. “Remus you have gained saint status in my eyes.”

“Oh Severus, leave me out of this!” Remus laughed in sympathy. He felt Tonks's shoe kick him. “I mean it'll all work out, I'm sure.”

Hermione entered the hall with those words and met Severus's eyes and smiled. He watched as she stopped at their daughter's table for a moment before continuing her way to her seat. She sat down and unfolded her napkin with deliberation before placing it on her lap.

“Porridge not to your liking today?” Hermione asked, filling a plate with some eggs bacon and fruit.

“Forgot the sugar and milk. No good without it.” He mumbled, watching her fork lift to her mouth. Damn witch even makes love to her food. He thought as her eyes rolled back in bliss.

“Oh, I'm sorry. Bite of mine?” She asked mischievously, holding a strawberry in her hand. Without thought, he leaned closer and took it; letting his tongue slide up her finger slowly before biting into the fruit.

“That was delicious. Thank you.” He tried to ignore the laughter surrounding them. Prats! He thought.

“Cissa still wants her promised picnic, so I was thinking we could all go to that clearing in the center of Forbidden Forest.” Hermione's words brought a groan from Severus's lips. “We could gather some potions ingredients while we are there.” She hinted, and watched as his mouth smirked.

“Tempting,” Severus murmured, then nodded.

“Good,” she smiled back at him, pushing her plate away. “I'll get--” They all looked up as a commotion began when the Great Hall doors opened and let in a certain former student and his fiancee.

“Oh, Merlin.” Severus said, watching the Slytherin table as the girls suddenly surrounded his daughter and began acting like the best mates they were not. “Little show offs.” Severus started to stand up but felt Hermione's hand on his arm.

“Let Cissa and Draco handle this.” she said with a smirk.

“Fine, but if they-” He said, sitting back down.

“Cissa knows who her friends are.” She interrupted him with a parental look. “We need to play staff here, not parents. Reacting every time something happens with our child will only make her an outsider.”


Draco and Ginger walked in the now loud hall and made their way between the tables, stopping once they reached Cissa's table.

“May I?” He asked a girl, and without waiting he pushed between her and Cissa and sat down. The girl got moved even farther down when he pulled Ginger down next to him.



“Smooth Slytherin moves.” Remus commented.

“Hasn't changed much.” Hermione laughed, watching her daughter's face look up happily at the wizard she called brother.


“I've missed this table,” Draco said. “I used to sit over there, and your Mum, Harry and Ron there.” He pointed to seats not to far from where they were now. “See Dad's in the same spot, glaring as usual. So Cis, who are your friends here?” He looked at the fawning girls with disdain. “Have you ladies met my fiancee yet?”

Mumbles of hello came from the girls crowding around.

“My friends are over there,” Cissa pointed to Jamie, Davy and a few others.

“Well I think I need to go see them then, coming?” Draco stood up, a Malfoy sneer plastered on his face as he looked at the girls who had termed his Ginger a 'cow with a loose broom' and walked off with Cissa and Ginger in tow. “That was fun.” He whispered in Cissa's ear and the reached the boys. The Slytherin girls stood in shock as the famous House prince turned away from them in laughter.

“Mum said that we are going on a picnic in the Forbidden Forest if Dad agrees.” Cissa said as the settled into the Gryffindor table near Jamie. “Say you'll come.” She looked at them with a smile.

“Ginger and I have a free afternoon, and it will be nice to spend time with all three of my favorite ladies.” He nodded his agreement. “I need to return something to Dad, be right back.” He stood back up, kissing Ginger on the cheek. He headed for the staff table without looking at the Slytherin table again as he passed by.

Draco fingered the ring in his pocket as he stepped onto the dais, pulling it out as he reached Severus and Hermione. “Think you both forgot something in your haste to leave last night.” He held his hand out, the ring looking at them reproachfully.

“Thank you, Draco. Don't know what I was thinking of.” Severus took the ring and looked at Hermione's hand.

“Thanks Dray, I can be so careless.” She held her hand out and watched Severus slip it back on. “I guess not taking it off is safer.”

“That is an understatement, Hermione.” Snape said, his hand clasping hers.

“Cissa has invited us to the picnic, if that is all right with you two.” Draco said.

“Of course! But do you think that snubbing those girls is going to help Cissa?” Hermione asked.

“They are Slytherins, Hermione. They have now learned that Cissa is not to be walked on, and they'll make friends for real.” Draco said, his eyes turning back to his former table, the girls staring at him still. “How you feeling, Tonks? You look radiant this morning.”

“I'm feeling loads better, cousin. Severus's potions have worked wonders. Maybe he could--” Tonks started to say.

“The Healers at St Mungo's said nothing would change my problem. I'm glad you're better, and soon I'll have another to spoil.” Draco smiled, a sadness in his eyes. Severus decided that he would find out exactly what those healers said later.

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