Characters: Ginny, Severus, Harry (implied Harry/Ginny)
Word Count: 1530
Summary: That the apple doesn't fall far from the tree is a beautiful thing under the right circumstances.
Disclaimer: This piece 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 fic.
Author's Note: Thank you, Shog, for beta'ing. accioslash prompted me with Harry/Ginny: Amortentia and kalopsia. Harry is much better at making potions than anyone knew.
"Can you tell me what this is?" she asked, placing a phial on the desk before him.
Severus picked it up and uncorked it; the spiral rising from within was characteristic of a potion that every Sixth Year should recognise, and the scents of fresh linen, strong tea, and ocean spray tickled his nose. "Where did you find this?" he asked her, recorking the phial and setting it back down on the desk.
She didn't touch it.
"You'll have heard about the accident?"
"When he was still with the Healers, a mediwitch brought me his clothing. I found this in his robes. It's . . . it's Amortentia, isn't it?"
"Yes," Severus replied, "but you didn't require me to tell you that, did you, Mrs Potter?"
Her eyes flashed before filling with tears, but she didn't cry. Instead, she reached into her robes and withdrew a silly little cup that said "Number One Flyer." She released it, and the cup sprouted wings and flew to the desk under its own power. With a flick of her wand, she Summoned the teapot from its tray and took hold of its handle.
"Look into the bottom of the cup," she said, tilting the pot over it and making as if to pour.
The wings melted back into the cup as Severus did so. A pool of pearlescent liquid began welling up from the cup's bottom as a stream of tea cascaded from the pot's spout. Ginevra Potter stopped pouring as soon as the first splash of tea began mixing with the cup's contents.
"Please, could you tell me what's in it? What's mixed with the tea?"
Severus withdrew his wand and tapped the cup. Iridescent motes of magical dust flew into the air. "You tested it with a bay leaf, didn't you?"
"It dissolved," she said, before visibly swallowing and looking down at her hands, "as did the bittersweet leaf."
"Do you drink from this cup daily?"
"Y—yes. Harry gave it to me just before I broke up with Dean Thomas in my fifth year." She looked up again, her features set, her eyes, brimming. "Harry gave this to me."
It felt as though cold fingers were squeezing his heart; Severus said nothing as he fought not to remember his old pain.
"Forgive me for this, Headmaster Snape, but it can't come as a surprise to you that I know about . . . the memories. Your memories. All of them. And while I . . . I understand, I believe, why Lily Evans might have felt compelled to end her friendship with you, nothing that Harry has ever told me about his parents has explained why his mother would have suddenly taken up with his father. She hated James Potter."
"With very good reason," Severus whispered, a sick feeling spreading through his stomach as he watched tears spill from Ginevra Potter's eyes.
"I've been through Harry's school trunk," she continued, her composure relatively sound as she clutched her hands in her lap. "He keeps letters there. Some are from his godfather, and . . . many of them concern Harry's parents. We've always shared everything, Harry and I, but there was one letter I'd never seen before, one in which Sirius tells Harry that a love potion can only urge someone along 'a little faster than charm might allow'. After finding the phial and my cup . . . ."
"You understand Black's meaning."
"Yes. Yes, I believe that I do."
"Why are you here, Mrs—"
"Don't call me that. Ginny will do."
"Of course, Ginny."
"Long-standing dosing with Amortentia—can that cause problems?"
"Do you still love him?"
Ginny gave a half-sob, half-laugh before pressing a hand to her mouth. When she was calm again, she allowed her hand to fall. "He's the father of my children. He's been . . . good to me, but . . . . Yes, I still love him, but . . . but I don't want to do." Rising abruptly, her hands clenched at her sides, she asked, "Will it wear off?"
Severus rose, as well, and walked over to his drinks cabinet. "I believe," he said, as he poured two glasses of Firewhiskey, "that its affect upon you has already greatly diminished . . . now that you know the truth."
Ginny accepted the glass he offered and drank it down. "Are my feelings real? Has any part of my life been real? And how . . . how could you not have killed James Potter for what he did to her?"
"Mrs—Ginny, I understand why you came here, but that does not mean I'm prepared to discuss—"
Severus stopped speaking when she burst into tears.
Fuck, he thought, dropping his glass and moving to embrace her in its shattered wake.
She didn't protest but clung to him and sobbed. "Make it stop, make it stop," she begged. "I need to know if any of it's real. Please, make it stop!"
Severus held her. Potter's the Head of the DMLE and everyone's favourite. There is nothing to be done. No one would accept the truth even if she'd agree to present it to the Ministry or the Wizengamot.
"There is a potion," Severus said slowly, pulling back to brush Ginny's fringe from her face, "one that will reveal a person's worst traits to the drinker. Would you like to take it?"
"I fancied him for years. We shared, we both knew what it was like, being possessed by Voldemort."
Severus shivered at Ginny's use of that name.
"He didn't need to do this!"
"Perhaps not." As he spoke, Severus realised that he was shaking—with fury. Repressing the emotion, he asked curtly, "The potion?"
"Have you seen my wife this morning?" Potter was asking, as Severus entered his room at St Mungo's.
"I have," Severus replied, before the mediwitch could.
"Oh, sir! You gave me such a fright!" Turning to Potter, she nodded before taking herself off and closing the door.
"Have you?" Potter asked, struggling to sit up.
He looked like hell, but then, he had lately been beset by a horror of harpies. Severus supposed it was all to the good that Potter had managed to save the child they'd seized.
"Snape, why are you here? Where's my wife?"
Without speaking, Severus withdrew a parcel and placed it on Potter's bed. Potter frowned but began to open it. While he was thus engaged, Severus surreptitiously Summoned Potter's wand.
"Ginny asked you to give me this? Why? Where is she? Why didn't she—"
Presumably, it was the sight of the broken bits of porcelain and the phial that stopped Potter's mouth. Severus permitted himself a satisfied smirk as Potter paled.
"Professor Weasley, as she's asked me to call her, has requested that I return those to you. She tells me that she won't be needing them any longer."
"What did you do?" Potter demanded, reaching for his wand.
Severus held it up and waved it at him.
"I wouldn't trouble yourself to move if I were you. It would be undignified were you to be found writhing on the floor like a criminal."
"And in answer to your question, I've done nothing beyond offering Ginevra a drink and the Flying position. Hooch was thrilled by her replacement. An actual Quidditch star? Such good fortune, don't you agree?"
"You can't do this. Ginny's mine."
"Just as Lily was James', yes?"
Potter's eyes widened. "You've done something to her! Ginny wouldn't leave me! I want to hear it from her!"
The door opened then.
"Ginny! Ginny, I can—"
"Explain?" she asked, closing the door and setting an Imperturbable on it. "No need."
In spite of the Calming Draught that he knew she'd imbibed, Severus was impressed by her composure.
"I know everything, Harry, and I'm the only one who has to know."
"He knows! You told hi—"
"He's here because I need someone to assist us with the Unbreakable Vow."
"What do you mean?"
"I love our children too much to want them to know what you've done. They love you, and they'll continue to because you're going to Vow never to tell them how you fed me Amortentia. You're going to Vow to accept my terms of divorcement without a fight. You're going to Vow never to set foot in Hogwarts again. You're going to Vow these things, or I'll take more than your family from you."
Ginevra's wand was in her hand. Her eyes were clear. Her rage, beautiful.
Potter issued a cry of strangled hopelessness. "Never. I won't—"
"Do you think that Ron would let you live if he knew?"
Even more beautiful than Ginevra's rage was the look of abject horror that crossed Potter's face at her words.
"Oh, yes, I'd tell him. I'd tell everyone. I'd tell our children. You're the child of a lie. Do you truly want our children to know that they are, as well?"
Potter closed his eyes and extended an arm, and Severus, though conscious of the ugliness of the moment that was the death of a marriage, revelled in his own kalopsia as he unsheathed his wand.
It wasn't his revenge, Sealing the Potters' Unbreakable Vow, but it was close enough: Harry Potter's expression of absolute despair was the most beautiful thing he'd witnessed since James Potter had fallen dead before the Dark Lord.