*also loves her banner*
I'm now free to present here my contribution to the Games, of which djin7 was kind enough to say, Oh you! How did you do it? Romance and Horror as genres? WTF. Yet, here it is. Scenes set in both love and terror, and the open ending giving us a kind of want, a need to see the ultimate progression of this brief but very intriguing look into a 'what if?' scenario. I really liked it, the twist especially. Tricky. Very cool. Thank you for stepping in as an Alternate for your team, you did an excellent job! ♥
Thank you, djin7! And thank you, mods, players, and watchers for making the Games so much fun!
Title: The Birth of a New Age
Genres: Romance and Horror
Prompt: Safe Conduct
Warning (highlight to view): For mentions of mpreg and one awful pun.
Word Count: 2165
Summary: A great man learns from his mistakes.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: Written for the 2007 snarry_games. I'd like to thank alisanne, Shog, empathic_siren,
and snakeling for providing me with feedback while I wibbled over which draft to work on, and fodirteg
and klynie1 have my deepest gratitude for being the best, most patient betae ever.
He's exhausted when he reaches the tomb; fighting one's way through a werewolf pack while protecting a heavy burden will cause that, but it's All Hallows' Eve, and he must speak to the great man as soon as possible. The well-warded structure isn't easily opened, but it opens for him. That is something of a small comfort as he descends into the still and disturbing coldness to prepare a scrying bowl as he's been instructed.
Hating himself for his fear, he clutches the object resting safely against his heart and whispers, "It's all gone wrong," by way of greeting.
"Has it, dear boy?" the great man's shade replies, as if he's been expecting the words.
"You must know that it has. All your supporters—I've watched them fall into ruin."
The expression on the face of his spectral leader is grim but resolute as he replies, "Everything I've done has been for the good of our world. Believing me gone, those who feared me—fear me yet in their unspoken dreams—begin to speak ill of me. . . . That is not unexpected, and it shouldn't trouble you."
"You understand me well enough to know that I turn a deaf ear to such talk, and many of us love you still."
"You're a loyal . . . friend to say so, and I have always appreciated loyalty."
"You have mine. What can I do? The war . . . it's not going as planned."
"Voldemort is dead. The war's over," the great man responds, his tone almost teasing.
"A technicality! The Ministry's in shambles, the Order is scattered, Death Eaters follow nothing but their own urges and create chaos at every turn—no one thinks of the future! We need you now. You could talk sense into them. I could make them come to you if only you'd agree to—"
"There is no need for me to address anyone. My plan is in motion. Be patient and watch with me. Soon, though perhaps not as soon as you would desire it, change will come and order will be restored."
"Forgive me for doubting . . . the circumstances. You must know I do trust you."
"Come. Look into the scrying bowl. See the Chosen One and his hero. It's all terribly romantic."
"Nymphadora told me that he never liked being referred to in that way."
"Nymphadora has told you many things, hasn't she? But it's understandable that Harry has rejected his title—no one ever taught him the use of such things."
"You're surely not blaming yourself?"
"Of course not. Regret isn't a profitable emotion. Come. Watch with me. Our true victory depends greatly on what will soon occur between the young lovers."
As bidden, he looks more deeply into the scrying bowl at Harry Potter and Severus Snape. They're embracing—or perhaps fighting—either way, their actions look like foreplay. He doesn't like it.
"Our Severus may not have fully trusted me," the great man says, "but he always obeyed me. It wasn't difficult to introduce the potion into his system—although, to see him now, I'm not convinced that administering it was strictly necessary."
"He wanted Potter. I saw that much myself when they fought together. I knew when Severus shrank from—"
"He surely did want the boy, but it would have taken him years to accept his lust, and I needed him by Harry's side at the end."
"You're right, Severus, but I'm not . . . I'm just not sure if I can do this."
"I'd feel the same, if I were in your position, but I've done as you asked. Bellatrix is dead, and I'm free to help you through this now."
"You're just here because you think you have to be—I'm not stupid! I know that you don't really want me."
The look of pain that crosses Severus' face is genuine, the watcher decides. "Perhaps it would have done to have given Potter the same potion."
"Oh, no. Harry has been fascinated by Severus for longer than he realizes—and that is, as you thought, merely foreplay. I knew they'd fight more than fuck, but I only needed them to couple the once. Just watch. When it happens, it will occur quickly."
"From the swell of his belly, I'd say 'it' has already occurred."
The great man laughs. "Yes, but they must speak their love if my spell is to come to fruition."
"What makes you think they haven't?"
"Need you truly ask that?"
He doesn't reply for fear his doubts will be ill-received.
"—so I'll thank you to stop acting like one. You're the one who sent me away, and you know very well that the ritual wouldn't have worked if I hadn't—if my intentions hadn't been—damn it! It wouldn't have worked if I hadn't wanted you!"
"Wh—what does that mean, exactly?"
"It means that I'm prepared to accept my duty and face the consequences with you."
"Duty again! I don't want words of du—"
The watcher chuckles. "Yes, that's how you shut them up, Severus, with a kiss."
"Power comes in many forms, true."
"They do . . . love each other, don't they?"
"Ancient," replies the great man.
"Severus, you mean it. You do want me—and our child."
"He . . . means more to me than you know."
"Fool! Tell him you love him!"
"Patience, my friend. You know enough of his mind to understand why making such a declaration is difficult for him."
"But he's going to alienate—"
"You greatly underestimate Gryffindor courage. With the proof of their embrace to steady him, Harry won't be so easily dissuaded by Severus' hesitation."
"Come and sit down. You shouldn't be on your feet this close to—"
"I know this isn't a normal pregnancy, but I'm not weak."
"You've never been weak, but it's not normal, and . . . . Harry, it's been so long. I want . . . I want to hold you properly."
"Oh. Well, all right, then. . . . I'm scared, Severus. I never thought the ritual would end in this."
"I didn't . . . quite trust the ritual, myself, but I believed in Albus, and in . . . ."
"Better," the watcher says, feeling something like relief.
"Do be quiet."
"—glad you said that, 'us'. I've always wanted—"
"That would be the nonsense of hormones talking. Before Lupin told us about Albus' plan to protect us, you were prepared to murder me. You know that you were."
"Trust you to remember the negatives. Fine. You're right about that—but I have wanted you ever since I understood what you risked, what you did on your own—you destroyed the locket! Why couldn't you have just told me you were on our side?"
"You know why. The 'great man' wouldn't allow it."
"I suppose tha—oh."
"My back hurts. You were right. I shouldn't have stood for so long."
"Where does it hurt?"
"For how long?"
"Stop it, Severus. I know I'm in labor. Maybe an hour."
"Why didn't you say anything?"
"Don't look like that. This is normal."
"Your Transfigured body might make it seem as though a wizard delivering a baby is normal, but it's—"
"Hey. Hey, it's all right. Madam Pomfrey knows. I just checked in with her before you arrived. Don't worry. We can call her any time."
"No time like the present."
"Severus, please stop pacing like that. You're making me nervous. I'm really not looking forward to uh, giving birth, so until my wa—until it's time—I'm going to sit here and pretend like I just have a backache until I have to call Poppy."
"I guess so—picked you to fall in love with, didn't I?"
"If he's concerned about Potter standing, you'd think he wouldn't crush the boy like that."
"Don't concern yourself. Harry is strong enough to bear more than he knows."
"And you're counting on that."
"Is your spell one of transference or possession?"
"It works out to be both. But I do wish they'd say the words."
"Hormones. That's all this is—and fear."
"Belt up, you git."
"How romantic of you."
"Right. You want romantic? Now? While I'm in labor and sporting a cock and a cunt?"
"I don't suppose you'd keep the cunt for a while?"
"I promise you, I didn't mean that."
"Well, how am I supposed to know? We've never even sodding dated."
"You've had almost nine months to talk to me about it, but you've spent that time . . . brooding and hiding yourself from your friends—from me—pretending that all this wasn't really happening."
"Geroff me, you git."
"Come back here! If you insist on . . . pouting and parading about, I'll call Poppy right now."
"I'm not pouting."
"You are pouting, and it's making me want to fuck your mouth. How far along are those contractions of yours?"
"You . . . you perv."
"I do enjoy new things, true."
"This is all so fucking bizarre!"
"Harry, please. I'm . . . concerned. Please sit down."
"Well, since you're asking so nicely."
"If all it takes is a 'please' to get you to obey me . . . ."
"Hey, I'm all for 'new things', too, but there'll be none of that."
"What would you know of 'that'?"
"You think I was virgin when we performed the ritual?"
"Don't be ridiculous!"
"Fair ques—ow. Don't worry, just . . . ."
"Didn't that woman teach you how to breathe properly?"
"She did, but it makes me . . . feel stupid."
"Squeeze harder, then. My hand won't break!"
"Heh. Sorry. Right. Better now. Soon we should call Poppy."
"Why not now?"
"Because . . . because I want to hear you . . . I need to hear the words."
"I love you, Harry."
"Good," the great man whispers, relief plain in his tone. "Now you, Harry. Everything depends on you, boy."
"Don't get used to hearing it. I'm not . . . demonstrative."
"You feel like it to me."
"Who's the pervert, now?"
"Stop that, would you? Facing Poppy with an erection isn't—"
"I love you."
"Yes! Excellent. It will happen quickly, now. Gather the others, and be sure to send our Nymphadora to the happy couple with that gift I left you. Once the child has it in his possession, my blessing will be complete—and get rid of that sentimental token about your neck when you no longer have need of it."
"Is it weird that I'm so horny in my condition?"
"I've no idea. I expect we'll both know the next time 'round."
"The . . . the next time?"
"Harry, control your—"
"Sorry. I just like hearing—fuck."
"What? What is it?"
"It's time to call Poppy. Our son wants out."
As good as alone now, the watcher, a privileged witness to so much of the war that others haven't seen, grasps the chain upon which the now-smoking locket is dangling and pulls it from his neck, tossing it away before again seizing the sides of the scrying bowl and waiting. The nurse is called, and soon, sooner than he expects, the sound of an infant crying is echoing off and within the safety of Hogwarts' walls.
"The child is beautiful, but that isn't a surprise, is it, Nymphadora?" he asks, turning to gaze at the sack he'd drug in behind him and casting a spell to cause it to dissolve around the prone, bound form of the mongrel some have had the ill-reasoned temerity to refer to as his niece.
Her eyes are wet and wide, murderous, but he knows that the Imperius Curse will soon give them a more respectful cast.
"You'll deliver the device of our salvation yourself," Lucius Malfoy says, pulling free the enchanted rattle from his robes. "The child will become a man in a matter of months because of this gift, and, who knows? Perhaps Lord Voldemort will spare you. I would not, but the choice isn't mine. What's that? You have something to say?" he asks, waving his hand.
"Can't be happening—they were all destroyed!"
"The Horcruxes, you mean? No, I'm afraid not. I allowed Severus to believe he'd destroyed the penultimate one, the locket, but you see," Lucius continues, pointing to the half-melted golden object on the stones near Nymphadora's head, "I've been keeping the true locket safe for our lord."
"Come now. The Chosen One, your friend, has just given birth to a child he will love and protect against all odds—and with the man he loves, too. Is this any way to behave in the face of so much joy?" Lucius asks, turning once more to gaze into the scrying bowl.
Potter, cradling his tiny child in his arms, is radiant, and Severus is almost smiling. Lucius feels both jealousy and desire stir as he contemplates his ex- and future lover, and then he turns his attention to Potter's succulent mouth, which he intends to use without mercy before Severus at every possible celebratory opportunity.
He has been promised both men by their "son," whose eyes, Lucius notes, upon their first opening, flash red before transmuting into the clear blue that is normal for all newborns.
"Truly, it is the birth of a new age, Nymphadora, and you are to be its unworthy, yet privileged, handmaid."