Cauldrons and Lilies

Chapter 69

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Chapter 69

Lily and him cooked dinner that night. His dad and Dudley left an hour ago. Harry and Ms. Granger were upstairs each in their bedroom.

"I am surprised Ron has not flooed yet." He commented as Lily peeled potatoes.

Lily smiled gently, "Molly must have told him that Hermione would need time to grieve."

"What are we going to do Lils?" Severus asked as he stirred in the stew.

"Give her time. We had to take her in. She would have gone to group home or with defenseless muggles. I saw the house Sev, they targeted her." Lily replied.

Severus sighed, "Albus believes that it could not be helped. The Diggorys and Grangers were a message. Voldemort feels stronger than last time."

Lily tensed. "Will Dumbledore cooperate with the ministry?"

Severus turned to her and caressed her cheek, "Scrimgeour is more capable than Fudge but Albus and him disagree at root. The new minister courted me when I was in the infirmary."

His wife smiled and kissed his hand, "you are Dumbledore's man."

Severus smirked a little, "I would not say that. I would say I am a Lily's man. Dumbledore happens to make more sense if I want to protect you and our son. We are going to war my love and this time it will be harder than when Harry was little."

"Harry comes first." Lily said fiercely.

"Always." Severus replied just as convinced.

They finished cooking and called Harry down to eat. "Harry, ask Ms. Granger if she wants some dinner too."

"Hermione. You have to call her Hermione now that she lives with us. We have to make her feel welcome." Harry said firmly.

"Of course." Severus realized his son was correct.

Hermione came downstairs. She wore the same dress she wore for the funeral. "Thank you," she said as they began to eat.

"Hermione, I thought we could do some clothes shopping tomorrow. My sister and I would like to take you and buy some clothes for you dear." Lily began.

"Thank you Mrs. Snape. I have some money in London, in my Gringotts vault." Hermione said shyly.

Severus looked at the girl and felt her pain, fear and deep sadness. "Hermione, if I may call you that?"

"Yes, of course professor Snape." She said quickly.

"Lily and I are very sad for your loss. You may not know but Lily lost her parents and I my mother when we were a bit older than you. We understand what you must feel. We want you to feel safe here." Severus said openly.

The girl nodded and had tears on her eyes. "Thank you professor."

Lily smiled tightly, "none of that. We are Lily and Severus, at least during summer."

"We will shop tomorrow." She said as she helped Hermione to some potatoes.

"I don't have my Gringotts key." Hermione said worriedly.

Severus shook his head, "the headmaster has your key alongside with your muggle assets. You will have access to them when you become of age in both worlds."

Hermione frowned, "but I have to pay my way."

Severus arched an eyebrow, "you do not. You are our responsibility as is Harry. Lily and I are more than capable to support you Hermione. There will be no need for you to worry about that."

"But sir, no, it is not fair." Hermione continued. "I don't want to impose. It is enough that I am here."

Lily interrupted her, "no such thing. You are very dear to Harry and therefore to us sweetheart. No more of this nonsense. Let us have dinner."

Hermione smiled and thanked them again. They ate quietly but amiably. Harry told Hermione that Dudley had been home when she was asleep.

"I wanted to thank him in person for the records." Hermione said.

"Don't worry, Dudley will be back or we'll go to his house." Harry chuckled.

Severus watched as Hermione became more comfortable around them. "We could watch a film. It's too early to go to bed and you slept most afternoon." Harry argued to her friend.

"Fine." She said.

"I need to change first." Hermione went up to her room. Lily transfigured the girl's school uniform into pajamas for her.

Severus watched as Harry and Hermione decided on a movie. Severus could not remember the title of it and was asleep twenty minutes in.

He woke up to Lily shaking his arm gently. "Let's go to bed. It's late."

The potion's master opened his eyes. "What time is it?"

"Past 1:00 AM. The kids watched two films before going to bed. I don't think Harry was ready to let Hermione by herself tonight." Lily said as they made their way upstairs.

"Should we ward Harry's room?" He asked her.

Lily chuckled, "she's his best friend."

"You were my best friend too." Severus said and looked pointedly at her.

"That was different. We were in love with each other. Harry sees and treats Hermione like Percy treats Ginny." Lily explained quickly.

Severus nodded, "Good to know that you pick up on these things."

"You are oblivious." She said and kissed the corner of his mouth.

Severus kissed her lightly. "We should ward our room." He said as he kissed her some more. The man teased his wife who kissed him back.

"Only an hour." She said while pulling him inside their room. Severus smiled and made love to his wife.

Severus Snape woke up early the following day. He kissed Lily's forehead and made to go check on Harry. He was sound asleep.

The man made his way to the living room for some coffee. He found Hermione nursing a cup of tea. "I couldn't sleep."

Severus nodded. "There is tea in the pot." The girl said quietly.

"Coffee." He replied and made to make himself a pot.

There was a silence before Hermione broke it, "Lily is taking me clothes shopping today."

"I recall yes." Severus replied instantly.

"Professor, could you please do me a favor?" the girl asked shyly.

"If it is reasonable." Severus offered.

Hermione looked up and asked, "could you ask professor Dumbledore about a time turner? I read about them last year when I wanted to take all the classes. Professor McGonagall wanted to give me one but it could not be done."

Severus felt empathy for the girl. "Hermione, what you want cannot happen. It cannot be changed."

The girl had tears on her eyes, "but they were muggles. They did not know."

"Do not blame yourself." Severus said firmly.

The girl wiped her tears quickly, "how can I not? It's my fault. I had to be magical didn't I. I wished I didn't have any magic. I wish I was normal and they were here." The girl said quickly and rushed upstairs.

Severus did not know what to do. Lily appeared on her robes soon enough. "Go. I will talk to her." She said.

He nodded and left. Severus walked to the usual apparation point. He made his way to the headmaster's office.

Severus was not surprised to see Minerva and Hagrid there. "Good, you are here." Albus motioned for him to take a seat.

"Hagrid and Olympe have agreed to go in search of the giant communities." The older man said with a half-smile. Always the optimist, Severus thought.

"How is Hermione?" Hagrid asked him before he left.

"Understandably sad. She is slowly coming to terms to her new reality." Severus replied honestly.

"Poor lass." Minerva said sadly.

"She needs all of us to be strong for her." Albus replied.

Hagrid looked at him, "I wrote this for her." The groundskeeper gave him a letter.

"I will make sure she gets it." Severus told him.

Minerva distributed the schedules for the following term and the names of the incoming muggleborn children who needed visits.

Severus listened carefully. Filius and Pomona arrived an hour later and caught up to Minerva's swift organization. It was a blessing that Minerva organized the classes. Severus did not have the mind for such things.

The head of houses then nominated the new prefects. Pomona proposed Ernie Mcmillan and Hannah Abbott. Filius went with Padma Patil and Anthony Goldstein while Minerva chose Hermione and Harry.

"Harry should not be a prefect." Severus said carefully.

"Why ever not? He's got the highest marks among his peers and he is responsible." Minerva said.

"I think Mr. Weasley would be a better fit." Severus continued. He was proud of his son but being a prefect was not in the cards for him.

"Mr. Weasley is a perfectly good student but your son is more ideal." Minerva argued.

Severus frowned, "he is my son which is exactly why he does not need that much attention."

Albus ended matters quickly, "I agree with Severus. Mr. Weasley will be Gryffindor's prefect."

Minerva sighed, "very well."

Severus opted for Draco and Pansy Parkinson as she had better marks than Astoria Greengrass.

"Very well. Now for our Headboy and Head girl." Albus began but Severus did not pay much attention.

The morning carried on with deadlines, tests, visits and the yearly matter of the DADA instructor. "The ministry proposed Madam Dolores Umbridge." Albus began.

Pomona frowned. "Please tell me you found someone else." The herbology professor said. The Ministry could postulate a candidate in the event that the Headmaster could not find one. Moody refused to come back. Albus did not push the matter as Alastor rejoined the auror office as part of the Ministry initiative.

"I did not." Albus ended the staff meeting.

The professors left, Severus however remained. "You could have asked Black."

Albus shook his head, "Rufus insisted on a ministry official."

"He's afraid you have too much power." Severus pointed out.

"I proposed we worked as equals and yet he insists on useless power tactics." Albus was disappointed.

"What will be our next move?" Severus asked.

"Meetings every month. We have to lay low and appear as if we are one with the ministry." Albus said carefully.

"Which is why you are fine with Umbridge." Severus finished.

Albus nodded, "I need you to have an uneventful summer with your family. Increase your security if you must but do not interrupt any of your usual activities."

Severus agreed and left for Cokeworth. He apparated near home and walked there. He heard the TV. Harry, Draco, Ron and Dudley were around it. Ron and Draco ate chips. "Hey dad. Mum and Hermione are not back yet." Harry yelled his eyes never left the TV game thing.

Ron followed him up the stairs. "Uncle Severus, is it true that Mione will live with you?" He asked immediately.

"Yes it is." Severus replied.

Ron frowned a little, "she was to stay part of the summer at the Burrow."

"She will go if she wants to Ron." The man replied and went to his room.

"She will. Thanks uncle Sev." The redhead ran back downstairs.

Severus decided to read up on his research and rest for a bit. He made headway when Black and Remus arrived.

"Snape." Black yelled from downstairs.

Severus came downstairs. Remus had Oriana on his arms. "The teenagers have taken over your living room. Let's go to your backyard." Black said and led the way.

"What's the news?" Remus asked immediately.

"Hagrid's gone to see the giants. Umbridge is the new DADA instructor." Severus reported absentmindedly.

"That hag." Sirius made a face.

"No one else wanted the post." Severus shrugged.

Remus jostled Oriana, "when is our next meeting?"

"We are back to once a month until told otherwise. We'll rotate locations, Albus will schedule the days." Severus watched as Oriana rested her head on her father's shoulder.

"How was the Diggorys' funeral?" Severus asked Sirius, who went to the event.

"Far too familiar." Black said absentmindedly. "Albus gave a touching speech. Amelia was there. She came around to talk to me."

"What did she say?" Remus asked him.

"She wants to be part of the Order once more. She was close to Gabrielle; Cedric was like a nephew for her." Sirius stated clearly. "We talked about Edgar for a bit. She's got a niece and would like for her to grow up without going to so many funerals."

Severus nodded, "Albus will hold a summer meeting late July. It will be in Moody's house. He is to go back to the Ministry and recruit young blood."

"I saw Andromeda's daughter. She is an auror now, Moody introduced us. Did you know that she's a metamomorphomagus?" Sirius asked them.

"Of course I did. I taught her potions. She is a menace." Severus continued.

Remus smiled, "I remember her from a very awkward family dinner. Cissa invited Andromeda over when she pregnant with Lyra. She transformed into one of the portraits."

"She is funny. I like her." Sirius said. "I always like Andromeda too. She was nice."

Severus frowned at him, "she is a child and your cousin."

"Do not be disgusting. She is my own blood." Sirius frowned.

"Didn't stop your parents." Severus muttered under his breath.

"Nor your grandparents." He retorted. Severus glared at him.

Remus sighed, "now children. Behave."

"Let's get back inside and take control of your household once more." Remus said as he walked back with a fussy Oriana.

"Where are Callista and Lyra?" Severus asked him as he handed him Oriana who pulled at his hair.

"With Narcissa, Lily called her to go shopping." Remus said. "Do you have cereal?"

"Top cabinet." Severus replied as Oriana babbled to him.

"Thank you." Remus went to the kitchen and prepared a bowl of cereal without milk. Oriana let a silly string of words and squealed into his ear.

Severus let the little girl down. She grabbed the bowl from Remus and ran off to the living room.

Remus followed her. Severus and Sirius in turn followed Remus. As suspected the teenagers were engrossed on a video game it seemed. Harry and Draco had the controllers. Dudley and Ron egged each of them on.

Severus glanced at the screen and saw figures and blood. He sat on a corner chair and watched as Oriana toddled to eat right in front of the telly.

"She's far too close to the telly." Sirius remarked and then transformed into Snuffles. Oriana squealed once more and hugged the dog. Sirius led Oriana away and played with her.

"How awful is this year going to be?" Remus asked him quietly.

"Albus will try to contain her as much as he can but Umbridge is known to be an unpleasant sort of woman." Severus replied. They were interrupted by the door. Lily, Narcissa, Petunia and the girls came in.

Lyra and Callista ran to Remus. Lily smiled at him and pecked him on the lips. The boys stopped their game and looked at Hermione.

"Hey Hermione." Dudley was the first to approach her and hug her.

Severus watched as the boys made room for Hermione and tried to distract her. His son was quiet and ended the video game. He offered to watch a new movie. Dudley, more risqué offered to go out to town, to some music store. Draco said that maybe they could review some schoolwork if she wanted but Ron was the only one who managed to get a smile out of her. It was simple and sweet. The redhead brought her a book, "You don't have to stay with us Hermione. I thought you may like this. I got it yesterday from Bill."

Hermione smiled, "Thank you Ron." She said hugged the book to her.

"I'll read it tonight." She said and then went to her room with her things.

Ron nodded and then glared at Dudley who wiggled his eyebrows. "Don't you start." He said and grabbed a controller.

"Sweetheart." Narcissa called. "Say goodbye. Oriana needs a nap and a bath." Draco frowned, "I thought I could stay with Harry and Hermione."

"You cannot. We are leaving early tomorrow." Narcissa said.

"You are going to America after all then." Severus asked her. Remus had no intentions of going to New York but it seemed that Narcissa made up her mind.

Narcissa nodded, "we are going, three weeks. We could all use a little holiday."

"I don't want to go." Draco said quickly.

Remus came in with Lyra and Callista, one in each arm. Sirius carried a crying Oriana who wanted her mother. "I foresee an epic meltdown. We have to go."

"Did you know we are going to America?" Draco asked his father.

"I did. We are travelling the muggle way as well." Remus replied calmly.

"I don't believe you two. We cannot just go now. I refuse to go." Draco said and crossed his arms.

Remus frowned, "we will speak of this once we are home. Say your goodbyes."

Draco had a defiant look in his eyes but followed his mother and father to the Floo.

"Say goodbye to Hermione for me." Draco said and entered the Floo.

"We have to go home too." Petunia said and waved at them.

"Stay for dinner." Lily called from the kitchen, "I can make something quick."

"No need, Tobias should be getting home soon."

"Floo there." Severus said when Petunia made for the door.

His sister in law nodded, "of course. I sometimes still forget." She said and left.

Severus saw as Harry and Ron went upstairs. "Are you going anywhere this summer?" Ron asked Harry.

"Two weeks to Ireland but I dunno if mum would still want to go." Harry replied honestly.

"Hermione could stay at the Burrow should you decide to go." Ron offered.

Harry shook his head, "I am pretty sure that we would take Hermione."

Ron nodded, "yeah sounds likely."

Severus went to the kitchen and saw Lily try to make a stew.

"Let's have pizza or Chinese." Severus said quickly.

Lily turned, "I'm not really hungry."

"Harry and Ron will be." Severus pointed out. "Is he staying the night?"

Lily shrugged, "I don't have the heart to ask him to go home. You saw him and Hermione. She needs him now."

Severus nodded, "how did it go today?"

Lily smiled, "she's not much into clothes shopping but we managed to distract her for a few hours. She was quiet throughout the day but opened up to me a little. "She's been friends with our son for four years and not once have we asked her to stay with us. We never even met her parents properly."

"There was never an opportunity." Severus reminded her.

"It is not our fault that it happened Lily." He finished. "We are doing the best that we can with the little we have."

His wife nodded, "Go ask the kids what they want to eat."

Severus went upstairs and was about to open the door when he heard a conversation between Hermione and Ron. Harry must have been in the restroom then.

"Thank you for the book." Hermione said softly.

"You're welcome Mione. I mean Hermione." Ron replied quickly.

Hermione must have begun to cry because Ron immediately tried to console her, "please don't cry. I will not call you Mione again. I promise. Please don't be cross."

The girl laughed, "You can keep calling Mione. I am not cross. I miss them and the Snapes are so nice but I just want things to go back to normal."

"I could fight with you." Ron said and then he heard the girl laugh once more.

"Thank you." She said and there was silence.

"I have to tell you something before Harry comes back." Ron said and then invited her to the Burrow. "I spoke to uncle Severus and he said you could come if you wanted to. They will go to Ireland either way and I thought that it would be nice if you stayed with me for a change. My mum is far a better cook that aunt Lily."

Severus did not get to hear the reply because Harry came from the restroom. "Hey dad. What are you doing there?"

Harry entered his bedroom and Severus followed. "Lily and I are ordering some food, what would you like to have?"

"I could go for Chinese or Indian." Harry said. Hermione shook her head, "I'm not hungry honestly."

Ron wanted Chinese so they settled for that. They had a lovely dinner and Ron ended staying over. The teenagers opted for a late movie as well. Severus and Lily retired early. He was tired and needed to let Lily know about the meeting with Dumbledore.

"I hope Harry does not feel left out." Lily said as they settled to sleep.

"He will not. He is more like you than you think." Severus said and closed his eyes.