Lily did not take as long as he expected. "We should walk." She said as she took his hand.
"I had to do it." Severus explained as they walked through muggle London.
His wife sighed, "I thought you liked this job."
Severus nodded, "I love research."
Lily stopped, "I don't understand Sev. St Mungos gave in to all your requests. You were the head of the research department. Sev, everyone thought you would be director someday."
"You know I have never wanted that. They were restricting me. We are fine Lily. We have all of our investments, my inheritance and your salary. I will start Remus' research soon too." Severus appeased her.
His wife grabbed his hands and looked up to him. "You know that does not worry me. I worry about you. Severus, you have acted strange all summer. I wished you would tell me. It is so unlike you to do this."
Severus hugged her. "There is nothing wrong." Lily hugged him back. "Don't shut me out. I know there are things you are not telling me."
Severus stepped back a little and kissed her forehead, "all I do is to protect you and Harry."
Lily kissed him, "Let's go home."
The young potion's master found that he had a lot of time in his hands. That first week after his resignation dragged slowly. He read his papers on lycanthropy, reviewed all the information from the trials. He visited Molly, spent time with Ginny. Charlie had left home for Romania that week and he helped him with the spells to carry his belongings. Molly was weepy. "It is very hard. Soon Ginny will be off to Hogwarts and I will be all alone. I don't understand why Bill and Charlie had to leave the United Kingdom." Severus stayed over for tea. He also visited Cissy and the girls. Oriana was a very peaceful baby. Callista reminded him of Draco a lot. She was very affectionate toward him. Lyra played and rode Snuffles but Callista was fascinated with his hair. The mutt was civil. He lived with Remus and Cissy still. They actually appreciated the help. They were exhausted and it was nice to have a semi capable sitter in addition to two house elves.
He was idle when Lily came home one night and showed him one of Harry's letter. "I am happy he is keeping his promise."
Mum and Dad,
Hogwarts is wicked. I had transfiguration first thing this Monday. Professor McGonagall is an animagus. Could you believe that? She's a cat. I like charms too. Professor Flitwick was nice. History of Magic was very boring. I fell asleep during that class. A girl named Hermione scolded me. She's very annoying. Ron does not like her. I think she does not have many friends. She's a muggle born like mum. I have DADA and Potions with Draco. I see him in the library too and in the Great Hall. I wish he were in Gryffindor with me. Augustus is always busy. Percy and him have rounds and barely speak to Ron and me. The twins are showing us different passages. Everyone keeps asking me if you are my dad and if you are a dark wizard or how you fought You Know Who. I don't like it at all. Gus says I will get used to it and that it goes away after a while. We all had tea with Hagrid. He is a very nice man. We agreed to have tea every week. Professor Slughorn invited me, Neville and Hermione to the Slug Club. Ron was not happy but felt better when Draco was not invited either. We're going to have flying lessons tomorrow. I cannot wait. Draco showed me a picture of Oriana. He was very happy to have another sister. I will write to you next week.
"I cannot believe Slughorn still has that little club going on." Lily sounded amused and irritated at the same time.
"He sounds happy." Severus said. Lily smiled, "I miss him very much."
"Me too." Severus was glad his son was having a good time at Hogwarts. He would write to Dumbledore the next day. Severus decided that he would inquire about Quirrell on his own. Dumbledore was far too busy and his investigations had not yielded any results. It was time for a fresh look. He had plenty of time before Remus' trials began.
Lily kissed his neck. "Stop thinking so loudly." She giggled and held him. Severus kissed her back and smiled. He was happiest when his Lily held him.
Severus wrote to the headmaster the following morning and did not receive any replies. He waited for a week before writing another letter. All he needed was the information that Dumbledore had gathered. Pettigrew needed to be found. He thought waiting would be the best course of action but the old man seemed to be trying him. Lily noticed that he was like a caged man and tried to ease his boredom but she was employed and grew frustrated with his lack of communication as she put it. The potion master began to regret his resignation. He would have had the perfect alibi to shut himself in the study for hours without explanations to anyone. Not anymore, Lily knew something was off and she was worse than a hound with a scent.
He made breakfast for both of them when an owl came in a dropped a letter addressed to him. It was from Dumbledore.
"Your floo will be connected to my office in a few minutes." It read.
Severus showed the letter to Lily and rushed to put on his robes. "What does he want with you?" Lily yelled from downstairs.
"I have no idea." Severus lied easily.
Lily came up. "You look strange with robes." She said and kissed his lips. Severus opted to wear muggle clothing. He liked it better, He know wore black robes. "It shouldn't be. I have the same color scheme." That comment gave him a laugh.
She hugged him, "I will visit Narcissa today after work. I will see you later." Lily kissed him one last time before disapparating to St Mungos.
Severus stepped into the Floo once the green flames sparked. He was in the headmaster's office before long.
"My apologies Severus. I thought to write sooner but I have been very busy as of lately." The man sounded a bit overwhelmed.
"Headmaster, I wish to take up the lead on the investigation for Quirrell. I wish to look for Pettigrew as well." Severus said without preambles.
The older man invited him to sit down. "I am afraid there are no leads on Pettigrew and you would only draw attention to yourself. It would be counterproductive to let you seek him."
Severus was speechless for a few moments. "My son is on the line. You have Quirrell under the same roof. You know the Dark Lord will make an attempt to reach the philosopher's stone."
Dumbledore looked at him, "I believe the best course of action is to let the events unfold." The man spoke calculatingly.
"Let the events unfold? Are you bloody mad?" Severus hissed.
"I am watching him. The stone is not here any longer. It never was. Nicholas and I destroyed it last summer." The man said wearily.
Severus felt a bit safer, "you are stalling until you find Pettigrew and the snake."
"You may say that." Dumbledore finished. "Now I have a proposition for you. I know of that you have parted ways with St Mungos. I offer you a post as Potion's master and Head of Slytherin."
Severus arched an eyebrow, "I asked you for the post over the summer. You said that professor Slughorn was not ready for retirement."
"He happens to be ready as of last week. He wishes to live a quiet life." Dumbledore stated.
Severus frowned, "what happened?"
Dumbledore sighed, "the official story is that Horace is tired and needs to take care of his health."
Severus grew tired of the old man, "what is the truth?"
"I pushed too far, too hard and now Horace is out of my reach." The man admitted. Severus gave him a look of utter confusion.
"I believe Tom Riddle and Horace had a conversation about the horcruxes when he was a student here. I have tried to get his memory but I have been unsuccessful. Horace distrusts me and has decided to break away from Hogwarts. I am suddenly in the need of a capable potion master. The pay would be a certain downgrade from your research position but you would have a chance to mold young minds and be near your son." The old man offered.
"I accept." Severus did not have to think twice.
"I will need you to start your post immediately." Dumbledore produced rolls of parchments. "These are the schedules, your duties and the patrol hours. You will have the dungeons at your disposal, all stores as well as unlimited access to the Hogwarts library. Mrs. Snape would be housed in Hogsmeade or Hogwarts. That would be up to your discretion."
Severus interrupted, "Lily will be housed with me in my quarters."
Dumbledore nodded. "She will have to Floo out of my office to St Mungos or walk to Hogsmeade and apparate."
"I will introduce you to the teaching staff later today." Dumbledore looked at him again, "I expect you to wear teaching robes. While I am fine with whatever garment you choose to wear the Board would like all staff and students to wear robes during instruction."
His eyes twinkled, "I expect this to be the start of a long tenure." Severus shook the old man's hand and dissaparated. It infuriated the old man when he did that. Severus thought Albus needed some perspective. He endangered the lives of children all to stall and observe what remained of Lord Voldemort. It was clear that they could not comfront the monster before all the Horrcruxes were banished but having the Dark Lord in the same space as his child bothered him greatly.
Severus walked to St Mungos. Lily was in her office. "Lils" He knocked and entered the room.
She looked up from her papers and smiled, "to what do I owe this great pleasure."
"We're moving to Hogwarts. Dumbledore offered me the potion master position and I accepted." He said in one go.
His wife looked at him like he sprouted another head. "What?"
"Slughorn is retiring. Albus needs me to start tomorrow. There will be a staff meeting to introduce me later today. He said he would owl me with the details. You have two options; floo from Albu's office to work or walk to Hogsmeade. He also offered a residence in Hogsmeade. I told him that would not work for us.
Lily aimed her wand around the room. She shut the blinds and silenced the office. "You are going to tell me what is happening right now Severus Snape. First you quit your job, then out of nothing you convince Remus to take up the lycanthropy trials and now you have a teaching position at Hogwarts." She said a little hysterically and looked at him with hurt eyes.
"You are pulling back from me. This is not like you." She came close to him. "Just tell me what is happening."
Severus considered telling her that everything was fine but he was tired of keeping this from her. "I know you don't want to belive that there was another lifetime." She looked ready to argue with him once more.
"Sweetheart, I know it is hard but you have to let me explain." He said firmly. Lily nodded. "Fine, if it will make me understand what is happening."
Severus explained that Quirrell was possessed by Lord Voldemort. Lily gasped when he answered that Albus knew but wanted to keep the man close. "I need to be there. I have to make sure that nothing happens to Harry. Albus believes nothing will happen to our son but he has accepted my request for a post."
"We knew he would come back." Lily said and hugged him tight. She looked determined. "What happens next?"
"You have to trust me Lily. The less you know the better it is. Just know that all I do is to keep you and our boy safe and with me." Severus repeated once more.
Lily frowned, "it does not work that way. I will not ask you more than you can say. Know this Severus, I expect you to treat me as your partner. You have to let me protect my son too." She said and hugged him.
"I think I would like to walk to Hogsmeade." She replied and hugged him.