I'm thrilled that this story was Runner-Up!
More info and a complete list of winning fics in all sorts of ships and genres here:
My many thanks go to my betas – Leigh-Anne and Nerium Oleander—and my Britpicker, mylifeasanamazon. In some cases I exercised my audacious ego and ignored their remarks, so rest assured, any errors or flaws are mine alone.
Also, I must acknowledge my source of inspiration for the style I chose to tell the story. Even though by the time this is posted the fic will no longer be posted, I offer a tip of the witch's hat to poemomm and her wonderful story, MYOPIA, formerly on The Petulant Poetess.
"Under no circumstances will I allow that stupid girl to be a member of my staff!"
"She is not a stupid girl; she is an accomplished witch, a war hero, and an esteemed former pupil of this school!"
"And one of your precious Gryffindors, yes, yes, yes. That doesn't stop her from being shallow and a bad mother, either of which I believe should disqualify her from consideration for this position."
"Don't fling your brogue at me, Minerva; I'm not impressed."
"How could you call her shallow, of all things –"
"She gives interviews to Witch Weekly," he interrupted silkily.
"Well." That stopped the old witch cold in her tracks. "That was rather … odd."
"I'm sure there was a reason."
"Yes, there are always reasons to represent oneself in public as shallow and stupid."
"She's not a bad mother."
"Of course she is. She's abandoning her two young brats to be raised by her idiot husband –"
"—the sex god, to pursue a Career. That makes her, by definition, a bad mother."
"I'm sure she has her reasons."
"Of course, Minerva. There are always reasons. And in this case, they are reasons to disqualify Hermione Granger from teaching at this school."
"Yet another point against her judgment."
"Severus, I will fight you on this."
The door slammed shut.
Of course you will, and I'll let you win.
Not a bad day's work.
In her own words, "He not only has the body of a sex god, his scars are in all the sexy places!"
Sexy places? For scars? He knew of said scars, and said scars were on said "sex god's" bloody arse, for Merlin's sake.
This of course should be no surprise to the female fans of the Chudley Cannons Keeper, whose posters were the first bare-chested in Quidditch merchandising history, and still the most popular, and don many a witch's bedroom walls. "We all had crushes on his older brother, Bill, but then Ron grew up and, well, his poster sales speak for themselves," Hermione says with a tinkling laugh.
That guffaw? Tinkling? Ha!
"He's such a romantic bloke. He hardly walks through the door without flowers in one hand and Honeyduke's chocs in the other!"
Then she must be the size of a hippogriff by now, not to mention the fact that she doesn't seem able to speak without exclamation marks. Was she waving her arm in the air and begging, "Ask me, ask me," between questions, as well?
"No witch could ask for a better husband or father for her children…."
Which is an excellent reason to dump said husband and leave him with said children, one surmises.
"Rose and Hugo adore him. He's just another one of the kids!"
One must wonder if he's even toilet-trained.
"But when they go to bed…." The stunningly beautiful young witch (who left a trail of broken hearts behind her--including her first Quidditch star boyfriend, Viktor Krum, and Saviour of the Wizarding World, Harry Potter--before bestowing her heart on her childhood best friend) lets her voice drift away slyly, leaving us to use our own imaginations as to what might transpire between the Order of Merlin First Class Golden Couple when the kids go to bed.
Not only does she grant interviews to Witch Weekly, but to Rita fucking Skeeter?
Her prodigious brain must have shrunk to the size of a raisin-beetle's testicles.
The picture on the cover still winked and grinned and teased from under that bushy mop of hair (that even a magical hairstylist hadn't been able to completely control for the photo shoot, it would seem) even though the magazine had been in his desk drawer for four, almost five months.
Just as he'd said. Shallow and a bad mother.
Luckily, he didn't believe the former for a minute, and the latter bothered him not a tiddly bit.
He wondered if her breasts had grown.
"Miss Granger, then, it's an honor to—"
"Ms. And stop smirking. The wind might change and then where would you be?"
"In the same place that I am now. Headmaster of Hogwarts, with your future in my hands."
"Despite your weak CV—"
"All study, no practical work experience."
"Raising a family, yes, I know. Despite that, and your tendency to exploit your somewhat dubious status as a war hero—"
"If you hadn't been part of the 'Golden Trio', you'd be lucky to have an Order of Merlin, Second Class and most likely would be languishing in Third Class with Miss Lovegood and Miss Weasley. Don't sputter. It's not good professional practice. As I was saying, your tendencies to exploit—"
"I do not exploit—"
"Pray tell, Ms Granger, why you discuss your ex-husband's war wounds in graphic detail in shallow interviews with—"
"They are not graphic and, they are not shallow—"
"Sex god, scars, sexy places? Does any of this sound familiar?"
"That is fact, Professor."
"His scars are on his arse."
"And Ron Weasley has a very sexy arse."
Clears throat. "Despite the fact that—"
"Skip the bloody facts and make your point."
"You are a bad mother."
"Take that back before I—you bastard! How did you do that? Give me back my wand!"
"Before you what? And my parents were married. With wandless magic. And surely you jest. You're lucky I don't turn you over to the Aurors."
"Half of whom are personal friends of mine. Yes, lucky indeed. In fact, so bleeding lucky—go ahead and call them. Please do. And be sure you tell them that I'm a bad mother."
"No need. It's in all the newspapers and magazines."
"None of them have called me a bad mother!"
"Yet. They will, when word gets out that you're abandoning your children to the somewhat dubious care of their imbecilic father so that you can pursue personal glory and a Career--"
"This interview is over. Give me back my wand."
"Unless you have good reason – caught him in another witch's knickers?"
"Not since we've been married!"
"In your knickers?"
"Now, that wasn't entirely his fault. Fred and George—"
"Spare me the image. What—?!? Give that back!"
"You're not the only one with wandless magic, Professor."
"Erm. Well then. Perhaps we could negotiate a trade, my wand for yours."
"Professor, this is only a test, but just in case? Perhaps you should duck."
"Granger! My window!"
"Well, how about that, Professor? Your wand likes me!"
"Oh, now isn't that too bad. My wand doesn't seem to respond to your touch even a tiny bit."
"Holding a wizard's own wand to his own neck is highly unethical, and I happen to believe you have a strong sense of ethics."
"You know, when I said you were a bad mother, I meant it only in a good way."
"This is insubordination, Minerva, and I will not tolerate it."
"When the two of you learn to play nicely, I'll give you back your wands!"
The door slammed.
"Well. At least she did repair your window, Professor."
"Isn't that splendid?"
"I apologize for threatening your manhood."
"Your wand—I mean, my wand—came nowhere near my manhood!"
"I mean by snatching your wand and using it against you. I'm sure that was emasculating."
"She did not confiscate my ability to do wandless magic, Ms Granger, so you'd best mind your tongue."
"Nor did she confiscate my ability to do wandless magic, Professor, so you just keep your dirty mind away from my tongue!"
"I do believe we are at an impasse."
"Why did you even invite me for an interview, if you had no intention of employing me?"
"Good god, Granger. Are you crying?"
"You are. I see a tear."
"To smug bastards."
"As I have been trying to say, and would have said if you hadn't kept interrupting me—in spite of your many shortcomings, I would like to offer you a position here at Hogwarts for the coming school term."
"What kind of position? Position has a lot of different meanings! Context is everything, you know."
"Despite your demonstrable lack—"
"Stop using the word 'despite.' It is growing annoying."
"—of charm in this interview, I would like to offer you a position teaching Charms."
"Of course, if you are interested in other kinds of positions, those can be discussed in more comfortable circumstances."
"What? Wait! What do you mean--?"
"Minerva, you may return our wands. Ms Granger has agreed to join our faculty."
The door slammed open.
"If you'll excuse me, my presence is required in the Potions classroom with the new Potions master."
"What do you mean, more comfortable circumstances--?"
The door slammed shut again.
"Miss Granger! Language!"
From the other side of the door:
Another fine day's work.
"Hermione, I'm so delighted to have you join us at Hogwarts."
"Oh, this is a very nice single malt." Wheeze. "Very nice."
"It's older than you are, dear. It should be nice. Now, whatever did you do to Severus? How did you convince him to hire you? He was dead against it, as I'm sure you must know."
"I wept a single tear."
"You always were a brilliant girl."
"You'll make me blush. Erm, may I have another?"
"One finger or two?"
"Three, if you please. I believe it's going to be a long, hard—" Wheeze, cough, swallow. "--year."
"Professor, whatever are you doing—"
"It should be obvious what I'm doing. I'm looking for my Charms professor to assist me with the setting of wards."
"It's – it's almost midnight! Can't this wait?"
"These wards have to be set at the stroke of midnight, Ms Granger. Now, are you coming or not?"
"Wait. I need my robes."
"Oh dear. These must be your children."
"What – I didn't invite you in! Go back out to the corridor and wait for me there while I get my – what do you mean, oh dear?"
"Ms Granger, you have ugly children."
" I'm nothing if not honest."
"You are many things, you insolent greasy bat, but amongst those things is not even a touch of honesty!"
"Time flies, Ms Granger. I don't have time for your dilly-dallying."
"I'm not – wait, I haven't got my shoes – Professor! Stop that – unhand me – I'm not a child to be dragged around by the – bugger! Those stones are cold, and you didn't allow me time to get my shoes!"
"Are you sure you're mature enough to teach children, Ms Granger? You whinge like a five-year-old!"
"Why on earth are we on the top of the Astronomy Tower?"
"I told you, Ms Granger. We must set the midnight wards."
"There are no such thing as time-sensitive charms. They either are, or they aren't, and I've never heard of anything so nonsensical as wards that must be set at midnight!"
"And Minerva thought you were adequate enough to teach Charms. If only she knew. Never fear, I won't reveal your inadequacies to her. Now if you please –"
"Inadequacies! Snape, you're making this up as you go along."
"Will you stop hopping around? How can you Charm if you can't stand still?"
"My feet are fucking freezing."
"You swear like a sailor and still, I employed you anyway. The things I do for love. You are in my debt, Ms Granger. And surely, you are a witch. You might cast a warming spell…?"
"You know very well that for it to be effective, a warming spell must be cast before one gets dragged out onto a castle parapet in the middle of the fucking night—"
"—by an insane man who is bent on giving me pneumonia whilst calling my Charms inadequate and my children ugly!"
"Well? What is this charm you need assistance with, and make it snappy before I start losing toes!"
"What are you staring at?"
"Your nipples. They always did get quite pointy when you were in a snit – wait, where are you going? We haven't finished. We haven't even begun, Ms Granger. I must insist that you—"
The door slammed.
That had gone rather well.
"Holy fucking hell! What did he say?"
"Ms Granger, go away. It's three in the morning and you look like hell – you'll scare the children."
"Don't you dare close this door in my face. I demand an explanation!"
"I warn you, if you insist upon thrusting yourself upon my person in the middle of the night dressed as you are, I will interpret it as an attempt at seduction!"
"Oh shut your mouth and stop sounding so sodding hopeful."
"Don't say I didn't warn you."
"What did you mean, 'the things I do for love?'"
"Well, first I'd have to know, what things DO you do for love?"
"Not me, you bat! The things YOU do for love?"
"You had better not be trying to kiss me—Professor Snape – are you smelling my breath!?!"
"I detect Minerva's whisky. I can see we're going to have some real problems at this school with two teachers who can't stay away from the bottle."
"I am not drunk! And you are not going to avoid this subject this easily. I want to know exactly what you meant when you said, and I quote, 'The things I do for love!'"
"Ms Granger, it is now well after three, and I am losing my patience. Now it is this simple. Either you have the patience and desire for wooing and seduction leading up to hot, smutty sex, or you do not. Tell me now. Do you?"
"What is my other choice?"
"We skip the wooing and seduction."
"Let me guess. Telling me I'm shallow, a bad mother with ugly children who exploits her dubious history as a war hero and – all the etceteras – is your idea of seduction?"
"Are you really that stupid?"
"Evidently not. You haven't been in the school twelve hours, and I already have you in my bedchamber in a see-through nighty. With pointy nipples, I might add."
"You're telling me that you gave me a job you don't think I deserve in order to get me here and insult me under the insane notion that such behaviour would land me in your bed?"
"There's no reason to get snitty about it, just because it's working. I'm known to be quite the strategist. And I wish you wouldn't fold your arms across your breasts. It spoils the view."
"I'm leaving. I'm leaving this room right now and Hogwarts tomorrow. I will leave the British sodding Isles if I have to, but I will not stand here and be insulted by a—a—!"
"Ms Granger, I'd hoped not to do this, but you are forcing my hand…."
"Get your hand off my breast!"
"If you'd just been patient – if you'd waited the three months, two weeks and six more days before divorcing the sex god—if you'd waited until tomorrow morning to notice that I'd used the word 'love' in regards to, well, you—if you'd done any or all of these very sensible things, this wooing could go on at a decent and responsible pace, but as it is you've left me no choice."
"Stop smelling my—oh! Mmmm…"
"And you, stop squirming. Wait. You can squirm. In fact, yes … Merlin, yes…squirming is good…."
"I am very, very confused… oh! Oh my. Oh my, my. I had no idea that spot was so—oh, my god your tongue…"
"You're a very clever witch."
"What—what did I do?"
"You decided to skip the wooing and seduction and go straight for the hot smutty sex."
"I—I did no such—oh my god-my god-my god!"
"Did you just change your mind? Because if you changed your mind, we can go back to—"
"You do and I'll hex you to next Wednesday!"
"I – I – oh. Oh! Wait, what are you—OH. MY. GOD."
"Please, call me Severus…. Um, would you mind, terribly—let me put your hand right—oh yes, you are a smart girl…."
"You can call me—ohmyohmyohgodohmygod—Hermione!"
"Hermione, do you often call out your own name during sex?"
"Tut-tut. As I was saying--Merlin, Hermione, where did you learn to do that?"
Smug silence. "I told you he was a sex god."
"Severus," Choked gasp. "I think it's time to remove my knickers."
"I'm having to reassess my opinion of you, Hermione."
"Oh for fuck's sake, what now?"
"I never knew you'd be a loose woman."
"You fell into my bed so quickly and willingly—"
"I was dragged. Dragged. I told you, do it here, now, on the floor, but by god you wanted to protect your ancient knees—"
"Even so. I never expected this to happen so fast. I'm quite caught off balance by it all."
"It certainly blows my plan all to hell and back."
"Plan? You had a plan?"
"I should have known the word 'plan' would turn you on."
"It does not--"
"It might surprise you to know this, Hermione Granger, but I have been in love with you for…" Quick calculation. " Nine years, seven months, twelve days, and a few odd hours, minutes, seconds—"
"That's preposterous. That would mean you fell in love in a single instant and checked your watch to be sure."
"Severus Snape, even you aren't that big a swot."
"You wound me."
"All right then, what precise moment was that? Wait—nine years, seven months—I was a child!"
"You were never a child, but that's a different discussion all together. And to indicate that I would have had feelings for a child would be unprofessional and an insult to all concerned. I am wounded."
"Nine years, seven months…. Graduation? Hogwarts graduation?"
"It was the most astounding thing. Would you shift a little, your fingers—there, oh yes, that's better."
"I'm not sure I can handle post-coital Severus Snape. Now, you were saying."
"It was uncanny. A bolt from the blue. A stroke of the gods. There I was minding my own business, grinding my teeth, waiting for yet another interminable school term to come to a fucking end—"
"—and Professor Dumbledore called your name, along with all that post-war honours nonsense, and you were walking across the Great Hall to pick up your certificate, and I was doing my best to stay awake, when suddenly, that scroll of parchment hit the palm of your hand—"
Elbow to ribs.
"Choirs of angels."
"Choirs of angels sang. The aforementioned bolt from the blue. I fell in love."
"Ms Granger, you're crying again."
"No. I'm allergic."
"What are you allergic to this time?"
"I don't know. When I work it out I'll tell you!"
"Well, as I was saying—choirs of angels, the works."
"As beautiful as that is? Only a dunderhead would fall for that bollocks, Severus Snape."
"You wound me!"
"You did not fall in love with me in that moment! You'd been lusting after me for months, maybe even longer! And don't you deny it, I knew. I felt it!"
"I'm sorry to have taken up your time, Ms Granger. I believe you should return to your quarters and pretend this never—"
"You bastard! You shoved me out of bed!"
"It was beyond my control. A reflex. A reflexive action to having my integrity and my honour impugned!"
"Bugger, my arse hurts!"
"You are not the angel I imagined in my bed. This is all a terrible mistake, but I'm sure we can put it behind us—so to speak—and proceed in a professional and adult manner as if this regrettable lapse in judgment never occurred."
"You did too lust after me! Where's the Veritaserum? I dare you to take it and tell me you didn't lust after me."
"I have never been anything but professional when it comes to my position in this school—"
"—and to have had any awareness of you other than as a child entrusted into my care would be a breach of the most reprehensible nature! To indicate that I even once noticed your pointy nipples when the Weasley prat was getting up your nose would be an insult of the highest order! To claim that I ever once wanted to tidy your hair into pretty little braids and tie them all off with fairy-silk ribbons and—"
"Which is why I never did Such A Thing. It would be totally unprofessional and an insult to all-- Why are you still sitting on the floor?"
"You're right. I'm going to leave now. I'm going to leave this room and this school and accept one of the seventeen other job offers I received, the ones I would have taken if I truly were interested in a Career, and consider this failed exercise a reprieve from a future straight out of the bowels of hell!"
"Only seventeen? Ms Granger, I receive seventeen job offers on a bad day."
"Here, let me rub that for you—"
"Don't you dare!"
"Please. Step away from the wand."
"Perhaps next time you look for a teacher, you will know better than to overlook the fact that she is a Bad Mother and Shallow and a Loose Woman and has a Dubious War Record and Ugly Children. Perhaps next time you'll find whatever paragon of virtue you're seeking and leave those of us who are all too human alone in our frailties!"
"But that wasn't part of the plan, damn it, and neither was this! "
"What fucking plan?"
"Well, it started as a ten year plan. I, being a wholly reasonable, responsible and rational man—"
"—realized that to act on my sudden lovestruck status—for I was lovestruck, I don't deny it—would be foolish, and what's worse, would make me look foolish. So I designed a ten-year plan, at the end of which if my feelings hadn't changed, I would woo and seduce you away from the sex god and into my life. It was an excellent plan, excellent—until you blew it to hell!"
"I blew it to hell? What did I do?"
"You ditched the sex god approximately six months too early, forcing me to rush my assault. Nothing has gone well since, as this situation we are in can attest."
"Well…. something went well. Stop preening!"
"Yes, well, I always knew that would go well. I do take pride in my work. It's everything else that is on a fast-track to hell, and all because you couldn't wait."
"Damn you, Severus Snape, everything is not about you and your plans! It's my life, and if I know I can't live with Ron Weasley for another six months without my brain shriveling smaller than a raisin-beetle's testicles, I reserve the right to take action! You aren't the only one with plans!"
"And pray tell, what kind of plans could you have that land you at this godforsaken outpost of civilisation teaching dunderheads!"
"My ten year plan that started the night I graduated from Hogwarts and promised myself that I would seize the life ahead of me--correction, the life that it was oh-so-obvious to everyone but me was ahead of me--the life that made sense, where I married Ronald Weasley and finished my education and bore our children and lived happily ever after! The ten year plan that was a promise to myself that if, at the end of ten years, I hadn't managed to get over my stupid schoolgirl crush on my Potions master, I would either kill myself or cast all reason to the wind and go after him! That fucking plan!"
"Well. This shows things in a different light, doesn't it?"
"Had I known that the young woman I fell instantly in love with the moment her certificate hit the palm of her hand was subject to childish schoolgirl crushes, I might have saved myself ten years of planning because such a shallow creature is totally undeserving of my respect, much less my affection."
"You'd be a lot more convincing if your fingers weren't creeping up my thigh, Severus Snape!"
"I didn't tell you to stop, did I?"
"You are a most vexing witch. Difficult to please—"
Purr. "Not that difficult…"
"—and impossible to forget."
"Hermione, we have Things to Discuss."
"There will be none."
"Surely you don't want any? You hate children."
"And they hate you."
"That is an absolute lie! I have a way with children. Children adore me."
"Severus! What are you saying?" Choked sob. "Oh my god. You're ill, aren't you? You've lost control of your senses. You—oh Merlin, don't tell me you're dying!"
"You are soaking my nightshirt! Stop that this instant. I won't put up with your ridiculous tears and I'm not dying!"
"Then, why are you speaking insanities?"
"Mizz Granger, I regret to inform you that anything that has passed between us in the past twenty-four hours is a regrettable mistake, and I hope you can put it out of your mind and continue your happy life by accepting one of your other three job offers."
"You want children?"
"No, I don't want children. I want children with you. There is a difference."
"With me? You want children with me? But you said I have ugly children."
"It's not their fault that you used abysmal judgment when selecting your first mate. Genetics do matter."
"I can't let you near the children I have for fear you'll be cruel to them. How can I even contemplate—"
"Me? Cruel? Did I abandon them to their dolt of a father just because I had the itch for my old Potions teacher? Did I deprive them of a mother's love at their vulnerable ages?" Pause. "How old are they, anyway? Never mind, it matters not. What matters is that I have never been and would never be cruel to any child of yours, Hermione, and the fact that you question that does not bode well for our marriage."
"Surely you didn't think the discussion of the children we won't be having didn't involve a marriage we won't be making? I am not that kind of man."
"You… want my children? My ugly children? And to marry me?"
"They would not be ugly."
"Severus, they would be bushy-haired, buck-toothed, big-nosed, arrogant know-it-alls with no social graces and a tendency to walk around with their noses in books, hexing anything that has the misfortune to get in their way!"
"Exactly. They can't help but be beautiful."
"Severus, I do believe that you are a romantic."
"Our children shall turn the world upside down and leave it a better place."
"And a dreamer."
"And our Weasley children—"
"You don't think I'd deprive them of the benefit of my guidance and affection, do you? I have never been one to base my affection on mere looks. As I was saying, our Weasley children—"
"Please don't use that term around Ron."
"Forgive me, I thought he was one of them."
"Oh, well. When you put it that way."
"You must promise me you won't abandon us the way you did your first family, however. A wand oath, perhaps even an Unbreakable. Yes, certainly an Unbreakable is in order."
"I didn't abandon them!"
"Funny. What do you call it?"
"I call it giving them their choice and having them choose to stay with their father."
"Well. That's disturbing."
"No, it's practical." Sniff. "And logical."
"Here. Have a hanky. And remind me to brew you an allergy potion."
"Thank you." Sniff. Blow. Sniff. "You see, Rose is very practical."
"Takes after Molly?" Snort.
"She informed me that Ron needed them more than I do, and it's only two years until she's living at Hogwarts, anyway. The next three years are very likely the last chance Ron will have to have them. And she has a soft heart and can't bear to think of him being lonely…."
"And you? What did she think about you being lonely?"
"Speak up, girl."
"Hogwarts has a renowned library. She assumed I could cope."
"I'm sure we'll find ways. So, you did not abandon your children, and you certainly didn't leave them to establish a Career, or you would have accepted one of your other two options—"
"--instead of a job teaching. I suppose I'll have to revise my opinion of you, Ms Granger. Again. After you explain to me those interviews in Witch Weekly."
"Oh those. Fred and George handle those. All I do is remove exclamation marks and collect my share of the Weasley Wizarding Wheeze's 'Chudley Cannon' merchandising division. It was part of the divorce settlement."
"So the sex god is a work of fiction. I knew it!"
"I'm afraid you are mistaken, Severus. I seem to have a gift for finding sex gods in the most unexpected places."
"However, I've had to revise my assessment of Ronald Weasley. As divine as he is in bed, I now realize he's perhaps a mere sex godlet."
"And when will we see that correction in Witch Weekly?"
"Severus. Shut up and kiss me."
And he did.
The Epilogue that Never Was
Because the mere existence of an Epilogue implies a lack in an author's ability to end a story, compounded by said author's lack of faith that the reader has the intelligence to accept and imagine a future that isn't spelled out in tedious detail, this story will have no Epilogue.
If it did have an Epilogue, it certainly would not exist merely to tell the reader how many children the happy couple eventually had (seven – all girls) or what they were named (after the Pleiads) or that they ultimately would turn the Wizarding world upside down and leave it a better place. This Epilogue, should it exist, would not stoop so low as to reveal that (to paraphrase a certain Muggle novel) while none of the Snape witches were beautiful, wizards seldom realized that fact while caught up in their charms, and it would not reveal (since such should go without saying) that the charms they had in abundance came straight from their Weasley siblings who cherished them beyond measure, because after all, if they had to rely on their parents for charm, it would have been slim pickings, indeed.
Ultimately, if said Epilogue did exist, it would exist only for this purpose.
To reveal the unexpected truth that Severus Snape did have a way with children.
And that they adored him.
But to have such an Epilogue would be both unprofessional and an insult to all involved.