The most recent version of this story may be found at the complete_gsm; for this reason, I suggest you read it there.
Title: Getting Severus Married (1/?)
Pairings: Snarry, Blaise/Hermione, others
Rating: NC-17 overall
Warnings (highlight to view): For character death, non-con, and violence.
Word Count: 2295 (? total)
Summary: Amidst a period of political turmoil, Blaise asks Harry to help get Severus married. More than the traditional complications arise, however, as several people attempt to secure future happiness for themselves—and some, the future of the wizarding world.
Disclaimer: This piece is based on characters and situations created and owned by J.K. Rowling; various publishers, including, but not limited to: Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books; and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author's Notes: This story was begun in May 2005 and was last updated (before my back-up snafu) in February 2006; as such, much of it must be considered AU, including the depiction of Blaise Zabini. Many people have beta'd this story over the course of its development, and they have my thanks. Most recently, viverra_libro and unbroken_halo were good enough to beta my current draft, and I'm grateful to them, as well. GSM is not yet finished; however, I've decided to begin re-posting it as I work toward its completion, which I hope will be by the end of the year. Thank you, everyone, for being patient with me. I hope you enjoy the edited GSM. ♥ You may find all parts of this story by clicking the Getting Severus Married tag. GSM is publicly posted on my ij.
Chapter One: The Eligible
"Bill chucked you?" Blaise asked, scandalised.
"So it would seem," Harry replied, lounging in his chair with an air of apparent nonchalance, despite the headline of the Daily Prophet that laid on the table between the two wizards announcing the engagement of his ex-lover to Fleur Delacour.
"But three days ago, he asked you to marry him."
"No. Three days ago, he told me that I was to quit the DMLE, marry him, and bear our children."
"Ah, he told you that you had to marry him."
"No. He told me I had to quit the DMLE," Harry replied, through clenched teeth. "Four years, three demands—two of them completely unreasonable—all because of one attack by Lethifolds."
Only two? Interesting, Blaise thought, asking, "Was Bill planning to quit being a curse-breaker?"
Harry smiled humourlessly.
Blaise whistled. "That's rich, isn't it? You're supposed to play it safe, but he's—"
"Going to play visiting husband and father in between missions. I know. Unfair. Unkind. Unacceptable."
"You're taking the news of his engagement fairly well, all things considered. Does Weasley even like witches?"
"Bill likes anything warm."
Perhaps you're not taking it well. Blaise patted Harry on the back. "I'm sorry, truly. I always liked him. Who knew he was a complete arse?"
"In all seriousness? Ron. He told me a long time ago that Bill was far more traditional than he let on, and that I should steer clear of him. But . . . ."
Blaise smiled lasciviously. "'But' he does have a nice one."
"I hope Fleur enjoys it," Harry said, toasting Blaise with a bottle of butterbeer before sucking it down.
Blaise looked at the seven other, empty bottles on the table. I'm glad it's just butterbeer. "Have you eaten recently? If not, would you like to come back to the Novitiate with me? Granger's cooking tonight, so it should be decent."
Harry grimaced. "I don't think so. I'm trying to avoid Hermione just now—don't want the sympathy, or the lecture—and why aren't you calling her Hermione?"
"Auror Granger has never invited me to call her by her first name."
Harry laughed. "You might tell her you fancy her, you know."
"Shut it. We work together. That would be completely inappropriate."
"Suit yourself, and no thanks. I think I'll just get well and truly pissed and find someone accommodating to shag before I have to leave for Anegada. We're still not certain we got them all."
"How did you kill them, anyway?"
"I've your former Head of House to thank for that, as it happens. He sent me information on Lethifold repellent and a sample of the stuff. It's actually a compound that works on them the way salt affects slugs, well, sort of. One of the local witches was able to transmute it into a spell, and it worked better than I'd hoped for."
"I'd say so. Did you ask Severus to send you that information?"
"Since when is Snape 'Severus' to you?"
"Since I could speak. We're related. Didn't you know?"
"You are? In all the time I've known you, how didn't that ever come up?"
"Well, I was forbidden to discuss our familial connection at Hogwarts, training and the war kept us all pretty busy after that, Death Eater and Dark plot mop up took some time, and then you went and got yourself assigned—"
"And then somewhere else warm, and then—"
"Right, I see your point. So, how are you related?"
"Our mothers are cousins. Mum was a Snape."
"No wonder he never took any points from you."
"I think that may have had something more to do with my excellent scholastic performance."
Harry smirked. "Of course it did—and, to answer your question, yes, I did ask your second cousin to send me information on the Lethifolds. Things were looking that bad when I got to the island. The village suffering the infestation had lost four people."
"I'm glad you were able to get rid of the damned things."
"Me, too. At least, I hope we have. If you're interested in working somewhere warm, you might ask to be reassigned, as well. I could use the help. It's just me, most of the time."
"I would, except that I've got a Family matter to attend to. I'm Severus' Advocate now."
"His Advocate in the Courtship Ritual."
"It sounds like you're speaking in capital letters."
"I am. The Courtship Ritual is a very old tradition that's gone out of favour with all but the Registered Families, for the most part. What do you know about wizarding marriage, anyway?"
"Not much, and it looks as though I may never," Harry said, gesturing at the barkeep to send him another butterbeer and grasping it tightly as it levitated near him.
"I'm sorry, Harry, truly, but were things so serious between you?"
"It's all right. And no, I suppose they weren't. We never agreed to be exclusive, but . . . well, I can't seem to date more than one person at a time. I do love him, but . . . I'm not in love with him. I'm just surprised by how much my attack scared him. I thought it meant . . . . Never mind. Go on, please."
Blaise knew better than to press Harry, so he continued, "The Head of a Registered Family used to control all decisions made by the other members to varying degrees, including whom they married, supported politically, and associated with. They also controlled—as some still do, such as the Snapes—the magic of the other members."
"Let's just say that if Lucius Malfoy's father had been opposed to his son becoming a Death Eater, as the Head of Family Malfoy, he could have repelled the Dark Mark."
Now Harry whistled. "That is control."
"Yes. It's too bad that Tobias Snape, Severus' father, was so enamoured of Voldemort."
Harry frowned. "I suppose, but what does any of that have to do with the Courtship Ritual?"
"Well, Severus is about to turn forty-seven next year, and Heads of Families have to marry before turning forty-eight to avoid being challenged by their male relatives for control."
Harry's frown deepened. "What's so bad about turning forty-eight?"
"Nothing. It's just not forty-seven, which Merlin once said was the age by which all 'good wizards' ought to have settled down."
"You mean there's wizarding law based on some . . . offhand comment Merlin once made?"
Blaise grimaced. "Pretty much, and, because of it, Severus has asked me to be his Advocate, which means that it's my responsibility to present suitable marriageable candidates to him."
"Oh, no—I've a great many more responsibilities, but the presentation of the Scroll of Eligibles is my first official task."
"Wow, I can't imagine—I mean . . . ."
Blaise chuckled. "Don't worry about it. I have trouble envisioning Severus courting anyone, as well."
"Have you started the list?"
"Yes, but I'm not happy with it."
"Do the Snapes have money?"
"I expect there are plenty of witches you'll have to disqualify on the basis of . . . greed, won't there be?"
"Are you implying that the only people who might marry Severus are ones interested in his money?" Blaise asked, in a mock-offended tone.
"Only if they know him," Harry replied, smirking.
"At least you saw fit to think I should exclude those people. In all seriousness, this is much more difficult than I thought it would be. Severus isn't exactly . . . ."
"Oh, I don't know. He's tall, dark, and distinguished—plenty of witches like that sort of look—and he's also intelligent, brave, creative—"
"Sure. You have to be creative to brew potions the way he does. And he's very dedicated. I imagine that he'd be quite faithful to anyone he chose. That's something."
"I agree, but getting someone to choose him when he's not the most agreeable sort will be difficult."
"You're going to have to make him bathe."
"We've had that conversation. Just thinking about how it went makes me need to drink. Give me that," Blaise demanded, taking away Harry's eighth, half-drunk bottle of butterbeer.
"No. Look, Harry, it's also dangerous, throwing Severus into the path of strangers. We didn't get all of Voldemort's sympathisers, and you know there are bound to be some on this list because I've got to work with Registered, pure-blood Families—or at least old, powerful families. Do you think you could help me do some checking up on my candidates? I've got nine witches and seven wizards on the Scroll so far, and—"
"Wizards?" Harry interrupted sharply.
Ah, so you didn't know that about Severus, after all. "Yes, wizards. Is that such a surprise?"
"Honestly? I've never considered him to be sexual at all. He lives like a monk."
"I know. That's another problem. The Courtship Ritual requires social participation. I've got to draw up a list of functions for him to attend at which he'll mingle with the Eligibles—and I've got to see to it that Snape Manor is made habitable so that Severus can host functions there. It's something of a nightmare."
"You can handle it. You've managed worse."
"Right," Blaise said quietly, watching Harry's expression become concerned—as if he thought he'd just stuck his foot in it. "I'm not that delicate, Harry, and you're right. We've both been through worse things. It's just that I can't muck this up. Too much is at stake."
"Aside from Snape's status, what's at stake?"
"Well, if he does lose his position as Head of Family Snape, his nephew—"
"Snape has a nephew?"
"Yes, Severus was born late in his parents' marriage. They had a daughter seventeen years before he was born, and she married at twenty and had her son not long after. Severus' nephew is Michael Parkinson."
"Pansy Parkinson's father? One of the Death Eaters we never caught?"
"Yes," Blaise replied, relieved to note Harry's interest. "Pansy's Severus' great-niece, and her father was not only never caught, but he was also never charged with anything before he slipped away to Italy. If he were made Head of Family Snape, he'd return, and that could mean trouble."
"Great. More pure-blood nonsense in Parliament."
"If we were lucky."
"Our world really is too small—and inbred—isn't it?"
"The Potters have never intermarried with the Snapes, you know," Blaise said slyly.
Damn. "You wouldn't even consider it?"
"Am I on that list?"
"Yes," Blaise replied, taking a surreptitious breath and letting it out slowly before saying, "your name's at the top of the wizard column."
"Well, take me off before he finds out and hexes me!"
"Come on, you're the one who was extolling his virtues only moments ago."
"I was trying to be helpful, not get myself killed! Snape can't stand me."
"If that were true, why did he send you Lethifold repellent?"
"Because I asked him to is why. He would've sent me something innocuous if he'd known you were going to add me to your list!"
Blaise smiled slightly and said nothing about whom Severus had requested be included on the Scroll. "Look, there's a reason I put you on the Scroll, one that has nothing to do with secretly wanting you dead as payback for sliding into my seat next to Weasley four years ago."
"You're not still mad about that, are you? If I hadn't, you'd be the chucked one because I don't see you giving up your freedom to have Bill's babies."
"True enough. My heirs are going to be begot without the aid of magic—whenever I get around to needing them."
"Yes, really. I have no desire to be pregnant." It's fascinating to me that you may not have the same qualms.
"And not all witches require their husbands to be faithful, Harry."
"Snape will want that—and so will Hermione, I might add."
"True. He does—and I have no chance with Auror Granger, so your implicit threat is unnecessary—but here's the thing: you know that Severus is difficult. I thought that if he were seen in public with someone well-liked and even-tempered, it would make him appear a better catch."
"So you put me on the list without asking?"
"What? It's a favour I'm asking. You owe me."
"I may owe you for Bill, I may even owe you a life debt, but waltzing about on Snape's arm—you didn't even ask!"
"I was going to, but then, of course, I learnt about Bill's treatment of you, and I was working up to it. Now finish your sentence."
"Is a good way to get myself killed!"
"No, it isn't. I've already discussed with Severus the need to . . . show him off, and your reputation is sterling, so—"
"He won't like it. He won't do it! He's always berated me for wanting to be famous. There's no way he'd trade on it!"
"He has to. He needs your help."
"Have you told him you were thinking of pairing him with me for the purposes of showing him off?"
Blaise hesitated, but only just. "Not exactly, but—"
"Right. I understand your problem, and I agree that you need help, but I won't do this without his explicit approval—and I want it in writing."
"That's very good of you, Harry, and thank you. I'll discuss the issue of 'approval' with Severus at once. I'm certain that he'll agree to your condition."
"If you say so. I have my doubts. Do you still want me to look over those other names?"
"Yes. I'm not allowed to do it. It would be considered rude to investigate the Eligibles beyond the usual societal methods."
"Give it to me."
"Are you sober enough? You won't lose it, will you?"
"Of course I won't lose it, and I'm feeling entirely sober just now."
I'm sure you are, Blaise thought in amusement, as he watched Harry leave. Well, that's my true first task as Advocate completed.