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Complete header information may be found in Part One. You may find all parts of this story by clicking the Getting Severus Married tag.

Chapter Seven: The Formal Robes

Severus stood in front of his mirror staring at himself in disgust. "My hair is flowing like a Muggle fashion model's!"

"Oh, it is not," Blaise replied indolently.

"You're too drunk to know what I look like."

"Your arse looks high and tight from my position."

Severus spun on Blaise. "Don't tease me."

Blaise reached up to wipe the spittle from his face. "Outstanding lung capacity, too," he said, raising an eyebrow suggestively.

Severus spun back around at once. He hated it when Blaise was in one of his ironic moods. Smoothing down the front of his new robes, he asked, "Why are you being so careless with yourself?"

"Are you threatening me, cousin?"

No wonder Potter stared at me like that, Severus thought, looking again at his ridiculous hair. I look like a fop. "What was that?" he asked, suddenly realising that he'd been ignoring Blaise.

"Why do you plague me with questions if you're not going to listen to my answers?"

"Drunk and petulant—my evening is complete."

"She spent all evening flirting with Boot. With Boot, do you believe it?"

"And what did you say to offend Hermione?"

"Who says I offended her?"

Severus removed his new robes and hung them carefully in his closet before taking the other chair by Blaise and favouring him with an expectant look. When Blaise remained stubbornly silent, he said, "I don't like to think that one of my Eligibles is encouraging the attentions of another man."

Blaise's eyes narrowed. "You're not serious."

"About?"

"Hermione!"

"Why shouldn't I be serious about her?"

Blaise spluttered.

Choke on it, cousin. "Indeed, I never thought her particularly attractive when she was my student, but she's developed into a most impressive young woman."

"How could you? You know that I—"

"Seem to be losing your characteristic calmness," Severus said, in a caressing way that completely discomfitted Blaise. Such a shame. He believes that he can flirt with impunity, but he has no idea what he should truly be doing with himself—or Hermione. "I suggest that you return to the novitiate and sober up. No, that is out of order," he corrected himself, casting a sobering charm on Blaise. "Better. Better?"

"No," Blaise replied grimly. "You're just teasing me. . . . You are teasing me about Hermione, aren't you?"

Severus allowed the shadow of a smirk to grace his mouth.

"Damn it! You've got twenty-three others to choose from!"

"Go home, Blaise. I'm certain she's waiting up for you."

Blaise stormed out the door muttering, "She's no doubt researching the Courtship Ritual for you, you . . . ."

"Serves you right. The object of your affections is amenable to receiving them."

Severus sighed. He'd often wished that he were more attractive. As it was—and his "new" hair notwithstanding—he found himself lacking in almost every physical respect: he was lean, but not imposing; his eyes shone with a dark light, rather than a pleasing gleam; his face was remarkable, but only to scorn.

"If not for my name and fortune, no one would give me a second glance." How can I hope to attract someone like Harry?

When Severus' elder sister, Evessa Parkinson, had written to him the unwelcome intelligence that her husband, John, intended to petition the Wizengamot to have his title of Head of Family Snape stripped from him should he not marry, Severus had despaired—for how could he possibly persuade anyone to marry him?

Evessa, very much the witch their mother could have been had she not been paired with a brutal, dominating husband, had told him, "Stuff! You're a Snape. You're an accomplished wizard. You're in the prime of your life. You've vaults full of Galleons. You need only the spine to woo, and then you'll have yourself a spouse in no time at all."

"Your confidence in our fortune is—"

"Severus," Evessa had admonished, "do stop being so dramatic. Your theatrical emotional displays have never served you well."

Severus laughed to think of her words, but it soothed him to know that his sister had given him her tacit approval of his potential choice of marital partner. "Spouse." Then she won't oppose my taking a male partner.

He wondered what Evessa would think about his bestowing the Snape name on someone who wasn't a pure-blood.

"As long as there are children, I don't expect she'll care. She has no desire to see her own son controlling the Family. She knows what he is too well."

Severus didn't understand, however, how Evessa could have so easily forgiven him for becoming a Death Eater. He expected it had a great deal to do with the prestige his war honours had conferred on the Family name.

The fire spat and crackled, interrupting his thoughts. Turning, Severus saw Albus' face floating in it.

"Good evening, Severus."

"Albus."

"I was unable to tell you earlier, but Griselda Marchbanks intends to present you, Harry, and Mary Millblossom with the Distinguished Service Medal at the gala this Friday—and I think it might behoove you to invite the lady to the affair yourself, as she isn't fond of travel."

"Does she? What class?"

"First, of course. And you will invite Miss Millblossom?"

"If you think I should, then I will."

"Good. Now then, I believe the gala will be an excellent way to mark the beginning of your courtship of Harry, don't you?"

"What are you—"

"Come now, dear boy, you can't think I don't know."

"He must not know," Severus replied, alarmed.

"Not right away, of course. The shock would kill him."

"Do you disapprove?"

"Certainly not! I think the two of you will make a fine match."

"You presume too much. Potter may not—"

"Severus."

"What?"

"Don't allow your persistent self-doubt on the subject of Harry to poison your chances with him. You wouldn't want to find yourself in young Mr Zabini's shoes, would you?"

"I don't understand what you mean."

"Of course you do."

"You're forgetting about Susan, Albus—but Blaise hasn't."

A shadow of sorrow crossed Albus' face. "Ah, Auror Bones. Yes, you're quite right. Blaise loved her dearly, but it isn't his memory of Susan that prevents him from making progress with Hermione."

"It's his sense of inferiority to her. Yes, I know."

"Indeed. You don't feel as though Harry is too good for you, do you?"

Severus felt Albus' eyes searching his face and looked away, unable to answer him.

"Forgive me for pressing you, and accept my good wishes as you undertake the Courtship Ritual. I have every confidence that your marriage will be a most successful one."

"Thank you, Albus."

"You're welcome, dear boy," he replied, ending the fire-call.

Severus, annoyed to be feeling so . . . emotional after his conversation with Albus, retrieved his new robes and put them on again.

"They're entirely too tight, but perhaps they'll do after all," he said, his mind turning to Blaise and Susan.

The two of them had been an ill-matched pair, but that hadn't stopped them from falling in love. Susan, despite her retiring manner, had been determined. She'd steadfastly refused to have anything to do with Blaise from the moment he'd displayed an interest in her during their fifth year, but she'd always managed to hold that interest. Her behaviour had maddened Blaise, and he'd gone to great lengths to secure Susan's attention. But it wasn't until Giancarlo, Blaise's father, had arrived to remove him from the school in his seventh year that Susan had made her feelings known to Blaise.

Such a dramatic scene.

Zabini had stormed into the Great Hall, strode up to Blaise, and seized his shoulders, ordering, "Come with me, boy."

"Take your filthy hands off my intended!" Susan had exclaimed.

"How dare you speak to me like that? My son is nothing to you!"

Susan had leapt upon the Slytherin table and asked, "Does anyone here dispute the fact that Blaise Zabini proposed to me yesterday, last week, the month before that, and at the start of this term?"

"I believe," Albus had answered, "that you've forgotten the proposals he made to you in Greenhouse Three and the Room of Requirement, Miss Bones."

Susan had blushed and replied, "Quite right, Headmaster," before turning to glare down at Giancarlo. "Blaise is mine on my word. He declared it in full view of witnesses. As such," she'd continued, sounding very like her Aunt Amelia, who presided over the Wizengamot, "your claim over him as a father is null and void when I give my consent to marry him."

As of course it was, given that it was my permission Susan required, Severus thought.

"I give it now! I will marry Blaise Zabini, and no Death Eater will force him to bleed under the foul Mark of Voldemort!"

Aghast at being publicly accused, Giancarlo had fled from the Great Hall as his son had flung himself at Susan and embraced her. Severus had been both horrified and deeply proud.

Gryffindor-like stupidity marked her for death, and she was always too good for Blaise, he thought, grief making him angry. So badly Sorted. So incautious!

Giancarlo Zabini had taken almost as much pleasure in killing Susan as Blaise had taken in destroying his father, his mother, and the eight other Death Eaters with whom he had found his wife during the final battle over four years before, and it had been Hermione who'd curtailed Blaise's mindless bloodlust before it had got him killed, as well.

I'll never be able to thank her enough for that—but it's no wonder she's hesitant to accept Blaise's attentions. "She knows how much Susan meant to him."

Efforts had been mounted to hold Blaise accountable for the murders of his parents and the others as war crimes, but Amelia Bones had dismissed the charges out of hand. Although Severus despised favouritism, in this instance, he hadn't minded it. As well, he'd been certain, as Blaise had fallen into dissolute ways, that he'd destroy himself with drink and magiceuticals.

But Hermione and Ronald Weasley saved him again, didn't they?

They, with the help of Weasley's brothers—even while grieving Percy, Fred, and George Weasley—had conspired to lock Blaise into a bedroom at the Burrow and leave him there until his system was free of mind-altering substances and he'd been made to see sense.

Severus frowned at himself for his maudlin contemplations, thinking, Now there's an idea with merit—locking Blaise and Hermione in a room together until they see sense. Perhaps I'll discuss that with Harry at the gala.

For what else he might say to his Choice, he didn't know; he wasn't the sort of man who could stand on a table and shout his love to an audience.

And I have no right to expect a love like Susan and Blaise's, do I? Still . . . .

~*~

Albus sighed as he slipped into bed. It will take a very great deal for Severus to let go of his guilt and self-hatred and allow himself to be loved.

"What is it?" Minerva asked softly, lifting her head from their shared pillow.

"I want the children to be happy."

"Ah. You spoke to Severus?"

"I did."

"I wouldn't worry too much about him."

"No?"

"No. Let Harry realise that he might lose Severus as he's only beginning to realise that he has him, and the boy will fight for what he wants."

"My dear, you're more devious than ever I realised," Albus said, chuckling.

"I learnt it from you, dear."

"I had no idea that you were such a matchmaker."

Minerva smiled suggestively. "There's much about me you don't know."

"Then I present myself to you, your eager student," Albus told her, forgetting the guilt he felt with regard to Severus' appallingly low sense of self-worth.

He'd long ago concluded that guilt was an inappropriate impediment to the enjoyment of life and so never scrupled to indulge in it for very long.

Comments

( 27 comments — Leave a comment )
tudorpot
Nov. 3rd, 2007 03:40 am (UTC)
I'm loving this- mostly for the Blaise/Hermione- are you going to lock them in a room- panting in anticipation.
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 03:45 am (UTC)
Blaise/Hermione love, yay! :D

As for your question, you'll just have to wait and see. *is mean*
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 12:22 pm (UTC)
I'm not going to be late to work this time.

Still liking - especially the way Severus is wibbly in the one hand, and all plotting about others on the other. Blaise and Hermione don't stand a chance, and he's just using that as something to distract himself.
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 08:43 pm (UTC)
Yay! And it's true! *g* Well, for the most part; Severus does care about Blaise. :D

I'm rereading from Chapter Five, and something is bothering me. Cambridge gives the British spelling of "negociation" as "negotiation," which is how I would spell it, but how common is that spelling in your estimation? I'm trying to stick to British spelling, as you know, and I'd check the OED, but I can't find my CDR (and my program is insisting that I prove I have a right to use it again). :(
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 08:55 pm (UTC)
The BBC use negotiation. I use negotiation. Brti spelllchecker does. The latin root uses 't'

~boggles at use of c~

Do you negociate?

iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 09:06 pm (UTC)
Thank you, and, no, I don't negociate. *g* The French spelling of negotiation is "négociation," which is most likely why I've seen the cee version of the word in some British contexts.
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 09:07 pm (UTC)
C18th perhaps...
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 09:40 pm (UTC)
Could be, but I also remember that various British students of mine (who were studying here) elected to use the cee spellings; that may be what I was thinking of. What's your feeling about words like "reflexion"? Do you find "reflection" more appropriate?
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 09:53 pm (UTC)
Erm, yes.

I don't think I've seen it spelled any other way, though my dictionary says its acceptable.
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 10:14 pm (UTC)
It occurs to me that Cambridge might very well suck. *goes to find OED CDR*
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 10:31 pm (UTC)
It occurs to me that it might as well.

I went back and ran negociation through the BBC website as it's usually a reasonable indicator of prevalence of a language practice, and there were some negociations, but they tended to come from the vox pop rather than the 'official texts'.

Reflexion not at all in English.

~pauses to admire grammar of that sentence~
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 10:36 pm (UTC)
Ooo, thank you for doing that. :) *chucks Cambridge; avoids whip*
shiv5468
Nov. 3rd, 2007 10:44 pm (UTC)
You write a nice Hermione, so you can get away with so much more :D

iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC)
*dances*
gospikey
Nov. 3rd, 2007 12:57 pm (UTC)
*g* Locking them in a room together does sound good!

Er, Dumbles/Minerva? Lol.

You have heard about Dumbledore liking Gellert, right? :P

I've read some things about people not liking the second actor to play Dumbledore, but since I heard he's gay, the second one does indeed do that job better. *g*

*Goes to read next chappie.*

Spikey
iulia_linnea
Nov. 3rd, 2007 09:15 pm (UTC)
I'm a big fan of the locked room scenario. *g*

I didn't have to hear about Albus and Gellert; Book Seven was pretty "hint-y" about them, I thought—but it doesn't matter what Rowling thinks about Albus' sexuality, as only the texts, in my estimation, should be considered canon. Still, I thought it was nice of her to answer the question when put to her. *cheers Rowling* All that said, this story was begun years ago, long before anyone even suspected Albus was gay, and I've no problem shipping characters in multiple ways; I do so like Albus/Minerva, as well. :D

Gambon is a much more flamboyant Albus, I'll give him that, but, stereotypes aside, I think I could have accepted Harris' Dumbledore as being gay without issue.

I hope you'll enjoy the next chapter, and thank you for commenting.
arynwy
Feb. 13th, 2008 04:00 am (UTC)
He'd long ago concluded that guilt was an inappropriate impediment to the enjoyment of life, and so never scrupled to indulge in it for very long.

How ironic that you would use that description of introspection for Dumbledore. Fitting.
iulia_linnea
Feb. 13th, 2008 11:44 am (UTC)
Thank you. :D
sexyseverus
Feb. 28th, 2008 12:43 am (UTC)
FYI... discomfited has only one 't'. Loving the story... again. Can't wait for it to be completed. It's one of those you can't wait to see where it goes and what happens, yet you don't want it to come to an end at the same time. Keep it up.
iulia_linnea
Feb. 28th, 2008 03:43 am (UTC)
Hi, there! I see all the comment notifications from you (and I've read a few of your comments already as I've been doing other things), and I must tell you that I'm very happy to see that you're catching my egregious typos! I don't mind at all, so please don't worry that you're bothering me—far from it! I'll get on those fixes tomorrow. Thanks again, and *hugs*

Could you tell me something? I can't find "discomfited" in any of my British sources, and I'd really like to see a version of it with a single tee. I also think it's time I switched my word-processor over to UK spelling. *g*

Also? Yay! I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the fic. :D

Edited at 2008-02-28 03:44 am (UTC)
sexyseverus
Feb. 28th, 2008 07:21 am (UTC)
http://www.british-history.ac.uk/report.aspx?compid=41412

It is listed there as discomfited. Look at #14 of the footnotes. Also, when I put it in Word 2007 under UK dictionary, it also tells me discomfit. And I asked my Canadian friend who agreed. Beyond that, I can't find it used right off hand. It's not a very commonly used word.
iulia_linnea
Feb. 29th, 2008 04:28 am (UTC)
Thanks for that. :D In my British spell-checker, the word is listed as appropriate with one or two tees, so I'm going to leave it. :)
mollyssister
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:00 am (UTC)
Oh my! Evessa! Snape has a sister! Will there be more about her? Poor Blaise and Susan. I loved their story. I found myself getting a little teary eyed when I read who killed her. No wonder Blaise went off the deep end. I think Severus is on to something with his idea to lock them in a room together. Tee hee
iulia_linnea
Oct. 27th, 2008 03:16 pm (UTC)
OCs are fun! And yes, you'll see more of Evessa. :D

Also? *huggles* I'm so glad that you're enjoying all of this! Thank you for your lovely reviews.
mollyssister
Oct. 27th, 2008 04:05 pm (UTC)
The further I read in GSM the more I think each couple should have been locked in a room together. Then again that would be a 3 chapter PWP and where is the fun in that? The challenge is in the hunt!

Edited at 2008-10-27 04:05 pm (UTC)
sexyseverus
May. 4th, 2009 02:24 am (UTC)
As I re-read this, I find that I really like how Severus is 'pushing' Blaise and finds Dumbledore doing the same to him.

And the backstory of Blaise/Susan is just too sweet. I think my favorite line was:

"I believe," Albus had answered, "that you've forgotten the proposals he made to you in Greenhouse Three and the Room of Requirement, Miss Bones."

And regardless of what JKR said about Dumbledore, a MM/AD pairing works for me. I think that they are well suited for each other.
iulia_linnea
May. 4th, 2009 03:52 pm (UTC)
Fanfiction rocks, doesn't it? It's fun to explore characters (like Susan) and pairings (like Albus/Minerva) that didn't get much play in canon. I think Severus does look upon Albus, at least in this fic, as something of a father figure, so it makes sense to me that he'd learn about "pushing." :D
( 27 comments — Leave a comment )