RATED NC-17 and R for many chapters. Please Leave This Site If You Are Under 18.
This story is Adult in nature, with explicit language and includes graphic depiction of adult sexual behavior
and some depiction of violence.
"Promise me that you won’t let Voldemort touch me Severus. I’d rather you’d kill me before I was forced to carry his child - it would be an abomination! I couldn’t stand it! I’d rather die!"
Welkin shivered at the thought, still clutching Snape’s hand desperately.
"I promise you that I will do my best to protect you always, but please do not ask this other thing of me, Welkin - I could not!" Snape told her, pulling her into his arms to comfort her and try to calm her.
"Then I’ll kill myself if you can’t do it," Welkin insisted, clinging to him.
"Stop that!" Dumbledore ordered crossly. "There will be no more talk of you killing yourself, or of Severus doing such a rash and unavailing deed."
Dumbledore rarely raised his voice to chastise and the fact that he was doing so now immediately got their attention.
"Welkin, think about what you are saying," he continued more evenly, trying to make her see a more rational viewpoint. "If you were to do away with yourself, where is the help for Severus in that? Should he have need of you," he emphasized. "Remember? The Gates of Hell? Do you not remember your pledge?"
"The Gates of Hell?" Snape asked, looking puzzled.
Welkin was brought up short by Dumbledore’s reminder. "Yes…the Gates of Hell…I remember."
She shifted in Snape’s arms to look up at him. "I told Albus that I would stand against the very Gates of Hell for you." She raised a hand to stroke his cheek. "Thank you for reminding me Albus," she said, while still gazing into Severus’s dark eyes. "I’m okay now I think. You don’t have to worry. I won’t forget again."
Snape stared back at Welkin, astounded. Just when he thought he knew everything about this woman, she surprised him with something new about herself. There always seemed to be new depths to her that he had not yet plumbed.
"You said yourself that your dreams do not always come true," Snape reminded her later. "Let us not speak of it again unless it becomes necessary. Put it out of your mind."
He poured her another cup of coffee. "Shall I sweeten it for you?" he asked.
"No. I can do it. You don’t have to baby me all the time Severus. I just panicked for a moment is all. I’m a lot stronger than I appear to be," Welkin assured him, stirring two level spoons of brown sugar into the strong brew.
"Of that I have no doubt," he replied, a smile quirking his lips.
They were seated at an empty table in the Great Hall, which sometimes served as a communal Commons Room, where students from all four houses at Hogwarts could study and socialize together if they chose.
"Albus was a little upset when you told him that you had let me in on the secret about you being a spy, wasn’t he?" Welkin said, remembering the angry look on Dumbledore’s face.
"To put it mildly," Snape agreed. "He will just have to deal with it. I will keep no more secrets from you, no matter what. I know that you would never betray what I have told you."
"So…you said you would stand against the Gates of Hell for me?" Snape arched an eyebrow at her. "This is surprising since you have constantly reminded me during the past year whenever we quarreled that you did very well without me before we were married and could do so again. This must mean that you are…rather fond of me?" he queried in a completely rhetorical way.
"Well, you have to understand that I was under some strain and duress at the time when I said that ‘Gates of Hell’ thing. We were just about to be married, after you tricked me into it, and I was seriously thinking about hot footin’ it out of Hogwarts before the big day. I only said that to try to appease Dumbledore until I could find the nearest exit," Welkin claimed, giving him a smug look. "I don’t know why I didn’t follow through. I guess I just took pity on you."
"Oh really?" Snape said, looking dubious. "Admit it Mrs. Snape - you are insanely enamored of me - not to mention being a very jealous and possessive woman."
"Insane maybe. Enamored? Not hardly," she lied. "And who are you calling jealous and possessive? Ha! Now if that isn’t the cauldron calling the kettle black I don’t know what is!"
"You are a charming liar, Mrs. Snape," he accused.
"And you are a charming asshole, Mr. Snape," she rejoined. "But on to more important things. The Yule Ball is tomorrow night and before that we should decide where we’re spending Christmas this year. I vote for Hogwarts."
"You do not wish to spend Sullivan’s first Christmas at Spinner’s End? I thought that is why we incorporated a nursery there during the summer?" He looked surprised.
"He’s so little, Severus. I don’t think Christmas is going to be very high-concept to him until next year. I’d rather not go to the trouble of making the trip with him and all of his baby stuff when he’s just going to spend Christmas drooling and peeing on himself and us, smiling at us like the little charmer he is, and guzzling at my breast endlessly like a fat little piglet. Is that alright with you? We can have a nice Christmas and New Year’s here. We can go into Hogsmeade for New Year’s maybe," she suggested. "Can’t Father Christmas just visit the dungeons this year?"
"Whatever pleases you Peaches," Snape said, employing his new pet name for her.
"Thank you Herb, you’re a Prince among Wizards."
"And you are my Druid Enchantress."
"And you are both making me want to throw up," Ron Weasley muttered, just a little too loudly as usual, as he, Harry and Hermione were passing by.
"Mr. Weasley," Snape halted him, immediately putting on his imperious Potions Master voice. "Come here if you please."
"Yes sir," Ron flinched and obediently shuffled over to the table, as Harry and Hermione stood back waiting for him.
"What was that impudent comment again Mr. Weasley?"
"He said we make him want to throw up," Welkin said helpfully, smiling sweetly at Ron.
"Is that so? Well, perhaps your delicate stomach will be improved by a day’s detention, starting first thing tomorrow morning."
"But it’s the Yule Ball tomorrow night sir! I have to have time to get ready!" Ron protested.
"Yes, and once again I doubt that you have overcome your regrettable and pathetic awkwardness and managed to invite anyone, so it certainly will be of no great loss to you. There will be no one to impress with your sartorial splendor," Snape said.
"Oh don’t do that to him," Welkin pleaded. "Can’t you just deduct house points instead? You have a date don’t you Ron?"
"Well, no…not yet…but I was just going to ask someone. That’s where I was headed…to ask…" He stopped, not able to think of a likely name.
"What about you Hermione? Who are you going with?" Welkin asked unexpectedly.
"Well, Mrs. Snape…I…haven’t really thought about it." Hermione looked flustered. Harry stood at her side looking amused.
"What are you smirking at Mr. Potter?" Snape snapped him out of his comfort zone.
"Nothing sir," Harry said a little too curtly. "Nothing at all."
"Well then - maybe Hermione and Ron should go together," Welkin suggested. "You’re friends aren’t you? You’ll probably have more fun if you go with a friend. None of that awful romantic pressure you know, that sometimes makes you do things you might regret later," Welkin said, looking pointedly at Hermione. "And my name’s Welkin remember? You don’t have to call me Mrs. Snape," she added, subtly letting Hermione know that all was forgiven.
Hermione looked relieved.
"There’s something to that," Ron agreed. "There’s no law says you can’t go with a friend." He looked at Hermione. "What say we all three of us go as chums?"
"I have a date thank you," Harry said. "But I’ll see you both there."
"Well, I guess it’s just you and me then?" Hermione asked Ron.
"Yeah?" Ron looked a little shocked. "I mean yeah - it is - you and me."
Ron turned back to Snape. "I’m escorting Hermione to the Yule Ball," he said defiantly, his pride hurt by what Snape had said about his inability to get a date. "I don’t think you should punish her for something I said."
"A valid point Mr. Weasley. No detention then."
Ron heaved a sigh of relief and turned to leave.
"However," Snape continued smoothly - "Ten points from Gryffindor for your insolence. Please learn to keep a civil tongue in your mouth Mr. Weasley. I am well acquainted with your parents and I should not like to have to inform them of your churlish behavior as I hold them both in the highest regard."
"Yes sir," Ron said and turned to leave again. "Oh, and sir - that was brilliant the way you trounced Lucius Malfoy at my mum and dad’s party. He’s had it coming for years!" He hurried away with his companions before Snape could respond.
Welkin laughed at the look on Snape’s face.
"Does everyone know about that?" He looked vaguely embarrassed.
"Of course they do Severus. We’re the hottest gossip item making the rounds at Hogwarts and in Hogsmeade right now. Everybody’s just waiting to see what crazy thing we’ll do next. But that’s okay. It’ll just serve to reinforce our little dramatic scene at the Malfoys if Voldemort gets wind of it, don’t you think? Lucius was actually fooled too. He asked me if I had left you because of the beatings."
"I suppose," Snape agreed hesitantly, "but my dignity…"
"Is still intact my big strong Tigerman, don’t you worry about that," she teased. "Make a muscle for me, you animal you. I want to see what makes you the terror of social events everywhere. Do you think we’ll ever get another invitation?"
"That is not amusing Welkin," Snape said frowning. "I have cultivated my image…"
"You actually cultivated that image?" Welkin interrupted. "I thought it was an unhappy accident of your prickly personality." She grinned to let him know she was only kidding.
Snape continued to frown at her.
"Oh, don’t be like that Sevvy," she cajoled him. " I like your prickly personality. You know I was only teasing. Have a piece of my chocolate cheesecake. It’s really delicious." She sliced off a piece with her fork but used her fingers to offer it to him.
"No. I don’t want cheesecake," he said petulantly. He avoided the tempting morsel by turning his head slightly. He looked just like a great big pouty baby trying to avoid being spoon-fed, Welkin thought fondly. It was highly amusing.
"Oh come on, eat it. You do too want it. You know you do." She thrust her fingers at him again as he tried to avoid her. "Please?"
"Oh very well! Anything to make you cease this foolishness!" Snape opened his mouth and let her thrust the delectable morsel inside. Despite himself he couldn’t help sucking on her fingers slightly as she withdrew them.
He chewed and swallowed reluctantly. She was right. It was delicious.
"I don’t know why I let you treat me in such a disrespectful way in public venues," he complained, even though he didn’t really feel that put upon.
"Because I’m your Druid Enchantress," Welkin said confidently. "I have you under my spell."
She had a point, Snape thought. What the hell. His reputation was down the loo anyway. He leaned over to give her a lingering kiss, to the consternation of a small group of third year Slytherin students seated a few tables away, who wondered what in the wide world of Merlin had come over their normally taciturn Head of Slytherin House.