Title: The Serpent's Witch
Author: sarhea
Fandom(s): Harry Potter
Rated: NC17
Word Count: ~8300
Status: Complete

Categories: AU, gen, het, romance, drama
Characters/Pairing: Hermione Granger/Salazar Slytherin, Ginny Weasley, Harry Potter
Summary: Hermione Granger is an Unspeakable-in-training when she meets a most intriguing wizard in the Department of Mysteries. They have compatible magic and he is cursed, not that she knows. This turns all her neat and tidy plans into confetti.
Warnings: quasi-bestiality, BDSM themes, rough sex, creature/unusual pregnancy
Spoilers: Everything is different after B7, EWE.

Beta: BelleDean and batgirl8968 from Project Team Beta. I know commas were completely kicking my ass but I'm getting better at it! Thank you so much.
Edited: Sep 27, 2013
Disclaimer: I do not own Hermione Granger or Harry Potter and co, JK Rowling does. I'm simply playing with the characters for purely entertainment purposes. Not profit.

For: LJ Community hermione-smut Round 7 #39
Prompt: Hermione lays an egg.
Harry Potter Pairing(s): Salazar Slytherin, Draco Malfoy, Tom Riddle/Voldemort, Lucius Malfoy, Blaise Zabini
Suggested Kink(s): angry!sex, dirty talk, tying up
Additional Comments: I think it'd be fun to have Hermione in a relationship of some sort with a Slytherin man, and they have awesome sex, and then one day she inexplicably lays an egg, and then the ensuing aftermath. Does she make a nest for it? Does she tote it around in her purse with a warming charm? Does the man get insanely possessive over it? Then, when it hatches - what's inside? A baby? A snake? A Lamia? Do they ever find out why she laid an egg? Does she lay more? Is there something hidden to Hermione that makes her lay eggs instead of give live birth? Anything goes~!


~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~

~ooO The Serpent's Witch Ooo~


Unspeakables were not particularly sociable but it was accepted practice to either grab meals, or eat home-made ones, in the department lunchroom. The house elves maintained records of all Unspeakables taking breaks to eat; it was too easy for witches and wizards to forget to eat when over-engrossed in an intriguing project. After twenty-four hours with no break an Unspeakable could find themselves kicked out of their workrooms for an hour. The only ones exempt were senior Unspeakables – they had their own private spaces to eat and nap. Hermione had found out early on it was easier to comply with the rule. She did have to eat, the break helped clear her mind, and it was the perfect way to catch-up; on the latest Ministry goings-on, her co-workers projects, the friends she was making, and to update her mentor on her most recent activities.

Unspeakables were rarely found outside their personal workspaces, the archives, or the meeting rooms. Hermione could not just walk into a senior colleague's workspace, enter the more restricted archives just to say hi, or introduce herself at agenda-driven departmental meetings, but she could in the lunchroom. Right now she was curious about a particular wizard who she had never seen before, but something kept her from approaching him.

"Who is he?"

As custom, Hermione did not point fingers or look directly at the person she was referring to. Jareth, her mentor-slash-guide, understood without need for more detail. There was only one Unspeakable in the room who Hermione had not been either introduced to or informed about.

"He is called Ashwinder."

She wrinkled her nose. "Ashwinder? Like the snake?"

"Yes. No one knows any personal details about him."

"Someone must know something."

"The Head of the Department of Mysteries would," Jareth admitted. "But he's tight-lipped; all Unspeakables are, but Direcawl's even more so in regards to Ashwinder."

"Surely there has been some speculation! Hasn't anyone tried to talk to him?"

"Ashwinder doesn't share personal details, not even his favourite colour. Almost everyone is certain he's a Slytherin."

"Then someone must remember him from their school days. Or the yearbooks."

Jareth's expression was very serious. "No one does."

"What?"

"He acts like the quintessential Slytherin, but no one knows him. Trust me, many have tried to find out. The only other alternative is home schooling or studying abroad, but neither of those fit him. He knows too much about many different fields. He must have apprenticed with twenty Masters."

"Witches and wizards do age slowly," Hermione offered. "And he might have started early if he was a prodigy."

"Mastery requires at least two years of study under another Master and another year of self-study—more like five years in all for a full polish. Even if he accelerated his studies, used timeturners, it's impossible."

Hermione perked up. Timeturner. It was possible he had used an advanced form of temporal magic to study and research. She had taken full advantage of the timeturner to study in her Third Year. "Has he mentored anyone?"

"Only three in six decades."

Hermione's eyes widened. "Six decades? He doesn't even look forty! He can't be almost eighty!" She stared directly at Ashwinder who was deep in conversation with Direcawl. "Unless … Does he have a Philosopher's Stone?" she speculated.

Jareth snorted. "Definitely not. Nicholas Flamel held onto the method for making one quite tightly. Perhaps wisely given the number of traitors that infiltrated the DOM in the last few wars." He sighed. "I wish I have even a quarter of his potential when I'm eighty. He has more energy and brilliance than three wizards put together."

"But I haven't read anything by him. Or about him."

"Hermione, what happens in the DOM stays in the DOM."


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


Four weeks later Hermione was well and settled in her new role as a trainee-Unspeakable. She had the opportunity to read books she had only dreamt about, and to participate in research studies and projects that challenged the limits of accepted magic. Her professional life was moving along swimmingly. It was her personal life that was in shambles.

"Ginny, I don't want another blind date!" Hermione determinedly took a sip of her cooling latte and looked away, pretending to be engrossed in the chalkboards listing the prices of various hot and cold beverages, and other treats. The drinks were overpriced, exotically flavoured, and highly caffeinated – exactly what she needed.

"Come on, Hermione," Ginny coaxed. "I know you aren't pining over my prat-of-a-brother so why aren't you interested in having a little fun? I'm not asking you to marry them."

Hermione sighed and debated her options. Perhaps if she explained Ginny would understand why she was so reluctant.

"Ginny, I didn't like any of the guys you set me up with. I'm sure they're decent blokes but honestly I felt a little repulsed. Almost queasy. And it wasn't the dinner. It was their presence," Hermione admitted.

Ginny frowned faintly and leaned forward. "Have you felt this before?" she asked.

"Yes, with Cormac MacLaggen and Draco Malfoy." Hermione blushed. "And with Ron when he tried to kiss me after the Battle of Hogwarts."

"What about Bill or George? Or Percy? Harry?"

Hermione shook her head. "No, none of them make me want to throw up. Neither did Ron until he tried to kiss me." She looked anxiously at her redheaded friend. "Is something wrong with me?"

"No! Nothing is wrong with you. I think your problem is magical incompatibility."

"Magical incompatibility?"

"It's like mixing two liquids that keep trying to separate."

"Like oil and vinegar?"

"Yes! Your magic is repulsed and wants to get away." Ginny looked pensive. "It isn't something you can control or ignore. The only thing you can do is try to find someone with whom you have high compatibility." She smiled slightly. "You should be proud of yourself, Hermione. Magical incompatibility is only a problem for truly powerful witches and wizards. They need a good complement that will stabilize not antagonize them." She wrinkled her nose. "Perhaps that's why you had so many issues with Ron."

"I've never heard about magical incompatibility," Hermione confessed.

"You wouldn't. It's usually talked about behind closed doors. Or in teen witch magazines and romance novels. It's basically the magical equivalent of soul mate."

Hermione's expression fell. "I'm going to be an old maid," she wailed. "I'm never going to find someone who won't make me and my magic crazy."

"So you'll agree to more blind dates? The more wizards you meet the better your chances of finding your match."

Hermione's response was to glare at her friend. "No!" Then she calmed and made a face. "I'll probably take you up on it in a few months but not yet. I want to finish my six-month probationary period first."


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


As per her conversation with Ginny, Hermione focused on her new position as a trainee-Unspeakable. As time progressed, she was assigned more experienced mentors in different fields to observe and participate in different projects. When Hermione was informed she was going to work with Ashwinder, she was overjoyed. He was one of the most senior and experienced Unspeakables. She didn't have access to his full file and all the projects he'd worked on but the few she did know about were revolutionary. She was certain it was the best thing to ever happen to her.

~ooOoo~

Three weeks later she was just about ready to throw a Reducto and Castration hex at Ashwinder. He was a sexist, bigoted prick who treated her like a leper and refused to acknowledge her. He would ignore her in public and meetings though he had no issues using her ideas; he would just never acknowledge it.

Hermione was just about ready to blow.

She charged into his office and leaned over his desk to scream in his face. "Why are you doing this?! Why are you treating me like I'm diseased?" He simply stared at her with pale gray almost colourless eyes. His black hair was braided back along his hairline and secured at the nape of his neck in a thick braid that reached his waist. Ashwinder had a habit of pacing when he was thinking, his hair swinging like a pendulum behind him.

He coughed. "You are imag—"

"Do not insult my intelligence!" Hermione screamed. "You never acknowledge me in public. You never acknowledge me period! But you have no problems using my suggestions."

Ashwinder frowned. "Trainee Granger, you have no idea what you are invoking—"

"At this point I don't care! I want answers!"

He laced his fingers together, rested his hands on top of his desk, and studied her intently. "Are you sure you want answers? You may find them quite… unpalatable."

"I'd rather know the truth than flounder around in ignorance."

"We have compatible magic. I am trying to limit our contact to prevent complications."

Hermione went still. "You're lying."

"I am not. I have no interest in being bound to a young chit with more brains than sense."

That was enough to offend Hermione who was used to being the sane one, the voice of caution and reason. "I am not a chit! And I can be professional and not make a fool of myself like some sappy romantic!"

"Oh? Then prove it." He reached out and placed his hand on the table palm up between hers that were pressed palms down against the surface, supporting her weight as she leaned across the desk.

She stared at the appendage warily. It was just a touch. Besides she was sure he was lying. Confidently she reached out and placed her hand on his, palm to palm. And then she gasped. It felt like a fire had ignited in her belly, spreading outwards down her legs and up into her torso. She could feel the ache now, the yearning to be close to him, to do anything for him. And it wasn't the Imperius curse.

She jerked her hand back, cradling it against her breasts as she stared at her magical soulmate. No! She refused to believe it.

Hermione Granger turned and fled.

~ooOoo~

She avoided Ashwinder for days, secluding herself in the deepest corners of the archives, doing boring repetitive work, staying close to the other trainees and the more junior Unspeakables. She denied the events that had shaken the foundations of her world. She denied the aching need for his presence and touch. She denied the desires of her body and magic. She repressed the flames until it became too much to ignore. Unfortunately her usual methods quickly began failing to take the edge off. And she suspected even a one-night stand would not do a thing to soothe the burn.

Hermione Granger did not like her options but deep down she was a Gryffindor and more than willing to face her fears. It wasn't hard to corner Ashwinder in his office and set up a set of basic locking and alarm charms. It was almost like he had been waiting for her.

"It's driving me crazy. I can't even use a BOB to get off and relax. I ache and need within ten minutes. I haven't slept a full four hours without waking up."

He raised a single eyebrow. "Oh? And what do you want me to do?"

She wanted to slap the smirk off his face. Instead she gritted her teeth and answered. "I want you to fuck me."

He stared at her for a moment, and she wondered if he was going to refuse her. He rose from his chair and leaned across his desk. His torso and legs were long enough for him to grab her shoulders and pull her up and across the desk like a rag doll.

"As you wish."

She felt helpless, like a child, as he settled her across his lap face down. His broad strong hand was stroking her arse through her robes. His other hand was planted firmly in the middle of her back, pinning her down.

"But only after you've been punished."

It was a shock when his hand landed with a sharp smack against her bottom. It did not hurt through all the layers of cloth but it was humiliating. She struggled and froze when she felt her robes disintegrate and fall away in feathers and scales that vanished before even hitting the floor. She wished she had worn something more substantial than leggings and a Muggle style embroidered shirt-tunic.

She bit her lip when he pushed her tunic high enough to bare her back and to unhook her bra. He pulled her tights and panties down, enough to just bare her arse. Hermione wriggled and tried to push herself off his lap but failed. His hand landed on her bottom and it hurt.

"You have caused me plenty of aggravation, Miss Granger. I think ten more would be a suitable punishment."

She dearly wanted to protest and scream that he was an abusive misogynist, but a small voice from deep inside whispered it would be better to hold her tongue and take her punishment. She had been acting like a child, pretending nothing had happened when he had clearly warned her it would be better for her not to know. So she whispered, "Yes, sir."

"Count," he ordered and hit her arse.

"One."

Another hit slightly lower. "Two."

Against the same spot. "Three."

By the time he was done, her bottom was tingling and she was aching in an entirely different place, and wriggling for an entirely different reason. She had to get away before he noticed!

But Ashwinder refused to let her get away.

"You are a rude, bitchy little girl, aren't you?" he purred in her ear as he caressed her warm bottom and along the bottom crease where her legs joined her bum. "Naughty little know-it-all," he murmured and the sparks in her belly ignited.

"Oh yes!"

"Naughty girls must be punished."

"Yes, sir," she agreed without even thinking. Her entire focus was on the warmth of his hand stroking her stinging bottom. Then she froze realizing just what she had said. From the way his hand stopped moving he had not missed it.

"Tell me, Miss Granger, what will you do for this to not go on your record? You screamed at your senior department head and, from my perspective, have propositioned him."

She bit her lower lip hard enough to draw blood. "Anything, sir."

"Anything?" he asked as his fingers slid between her thighs and swiped across her lower curls, curls covering her slick-clenching opening.

"Will you allow me to fuck you hard because you are clearly in need of a good hard shag?"

Carefully he lifted her off his lap and settled her on his desk before dragging her tights and panties further down her legs, towards her ankles.

"Yes, sir."

He wandlessly cast a spell to cut through the crotch of her tights and panties and forced her knees apart.

"And if I order you to wear no underwear, only silk knee-length dresses so I can flip your skirt up to fuck you whenever I feel like it, will you let me?"

His robes were open revealing a thin linen shirt and suede pants beneath. They were secured by old-fashioned thongs that came apart at a touch, without word or wand.

"Yes, sir."

His cock was semi-erect and growing. She couldn't lift her eyes off it as he pushed her knees apart and up making more space for him.

"And if I want you to suck me in my office knowing there are other Unspeakables waiting to talk to me, will you?"

The mushroom-head was pressed against her. She could feel him stroking her slit, seeking out her leaking hole.

"Yes!"

She hissed minutely as he breached her. It had been a long time since she'd had sex, just one awkward drunken night with a Muggle from her old neighbourhood.

"In a grove? In Hogwart's Great Hall?"

He was oh so long, so thick, so deliciously present she couldn't help but sigh as he slid high into her reaching places and stroking spots Andy never even touched. Sparks burst in her belly as she arched and spread her legs wider for him.

"Oh yes." She could definitely see herself spreading her legs if he could make her feel this good when he had barely even started.

"In front of your friends, your old teachers, your old boyfriends?"

She could almost see it. Ron watching red-faced and furious as this wizard pounded himself into Hermione, forcing her body to respond in ways Ron never could, making her submit when she had turned away any and all wizards closer to their age; wizards who wanted to brag about shagging one of the Golden Trio. But not this one. Ashwinder wanted Hermione because she was intelligent, not because she was Harry Potter's friend. The heat in her belly burst as she clenched around him.

"Yes!" she screamed as she raked her nails down his sides, his hips.

He snarled and began moving between her legs, pushing her higher and higher, driving her closer to the edge. The muscles in her thighs were spasming again and her belly ached. She needed to come.

"Ash!" She didn't know what made her shorten his name. Diminutives were intimate, making presumptions on someone. She didn't know what she was to him.

"Call me Zar," he murmured in her ear. And she did as she came long and hard.

She could feel him release inside her, the pulses as he filled her with cum, hips pressing against her. Then he was leaning over her, resting most of his weight on the heels of his hands planted flat on his desk.

It took a few minutes to recall exactly what had happened. They were still mostly dressed from the waist up. They had not even kissed, not really. She did not know a thing about him but she knew she was sore and sated and relaxed for the first time in days.

She hissed as her abraded swollen flesh stretched around him as he moved back and slipped free. Hermione was very aware of his release within her, and so glad she was on the Potion as required by all Unspeakables. She shifted slightly and winced. He was much bigger than Andy and her BOB.

It was uncomfortable lying on his desk, her bare legs sprawled open, leaking his fluids, but she didn't have the energy or the will to move. But he did. When he returned to her he was holding something dark and round, a navy blue orb the size of an egg. She gasped as he pressed the orb against her opening and pushed it in. She winced as the cool glassy material moved higher inside, stretching her from within.

"If you remove it, it will be the end of whatever could be between us," he informed her.

Gingerly she shifted first onto her side then up until she was sitting on the edge of his desk. She could feel the fullness inside and high. It was not a cock but she could not stop the reflex to clench her lower muscles, to hold it and keep it within. She was no longer leaking fluids. It was acting like a stopper to keep his cum within her.

"What is it?"

"A chastity orb," he told her, his eyes never leaving hers. "It needs to stay within you for ten minutes and then it will be absorbed by your body."

Hermione frowned. "You don't trust me?" she asked faintly hurt.

He snorted. "I don't trust anyone. Be grateful I am willing to consider a relationship. If I wasn't intrigued by your mind you would have been sent away the moment I first suspected we had compatible magic."

Hermione inhaled deeply. "I am offended that you feel you have to enchant me to be faithful and not take other lovers." Then she continued with a bitter tone to her voice, "Am I expected to stand by and watch when you take other witches?"

He shook his head. "This particular enchantment is binding two-ways. Fidelity reciprocated."

"How long will you leave it active?"

"As long as it takes for you to trust me."

Brown eyes widened at that turn around. "What?!"

"You don't trust me and I don't expect you to do so at this moment. But I expect that to change. When it does, the enchantment will be broken."


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


He was right. Hermione had not trusted him; she never expected the relationship to last as long as it did. Months later they were still together by choice, and the chastity enchantment had faded weeks ago. Their relationship was one based on good sex and shared intellectual/work interests. There was no talk of starting a life together outside of work, to be a couple outside the Department of Mysteries. In fact, most of their colleagues were unaware of their intimate bond.

~o~

"As Unspeakables, we are expected to be hidden. What happens here cannot be revealed."

"Even our relationship?"

"Especially our relationship."

"Why?"

"Because I do not exist outside these levels."

~o~

It hurt her that he was not willing to risk it, to try and create a life outside in the real world. As much as Hermione loved learning and research, she was not willing to sacrifice the rest of her life to her work. So she focused on her work, finding projects and solo work that would allow her to build something that did not involve her lover. She ended up spending a great deal of time in self-study to be an Animagus.

It was a shock to find out her animagus form was a python. She remembered plenty about wizarding society's reaction to Harry being a parselmouth, and he was not even a true parselmouth; Harry was one because of his link with Voldemort and after Voldemort was vanquished Harry could not speak to understand snakes. Serpentine animagi were rare; even Voldemort was not a true snake animagus; he transfigured his body to have snake traits, like slit-pupil eyes, an elongated body, and scaly skin. Hermione on the other hand could effortlessly shift her body into a massive three-meter long muscular body that was as thick as her thigh around the middle.

She did not dare to register her animagus form with the Ministry, or even share the results of her self-study with her co-workers. And she wasn't over-eager to tell her Hogwarts or Order friends about her reptilian animagus form. Maybe Luna, but Luna wasn't in the country, and this wasn't information she was comfortable putting in a letter. Maybe next time Luna was in the country…

But it wasn't to say she never used her animagus form. Truthfully Hermione found it easier to meditate or relax as a snake. It was beneficial enough that she made a point of spending several hours in her private home in snake form. She avoided hunting as a snake though. She really did not want to stay in snake form long enough to pass out the remains of a rat swallowed whole.

All in all Hermione was quite content with her life. Sure she'd love it if Zar showed signs of wanting to become serious but she was young enough to be willing to wait and let him make a choice without pressuring him.

Well, that was until last night when she went to bed feeling oddly full and woke up feeling like she had been visited by Auntie Flo. Only this time she did not expel blood and uterine lining tissue but something completely unexpected.

~ooOoo~

Hermione rushed through the corridors of the Department of Mysteries, giving scant nods of acknowledgment to those calling out her name in greeting. Usually she was more polite, pausing to catch up on personal or professional details, but not now. It was quieter near the offices claimed by the senior Unspeakables. They were more interested in their own work than her. She was present often enough in Zar's office to be passed-off as part of the scenery. Of course none of them knew how intimate her relationship with him truly was.

There was no one in his office. Hermione made her way to a bookcase illuminated by two sconces on either side. Such a cliché, a muggle plot device; pull the sconce down and the bookcase moves to reveal a set of stairs leading to a secret suite/lair. Of course one had to be keyed into the ward scheme to be able to even move the sconce; only she and Zar could do that. Most of her fellow trainees joked the senior Unspeakables lived in the Department of Mysteries. In Zar's case it was fact.

~o~

Zar looked up as his lover burst into his private suite. For a moment he was tempted to reprimand her for breaching his privacy without warning. Then he saw her expression and stopped. This was serious. Carefully he took in her appearance. Underneath her robe she was wearing Muggle style baggy sweat pants and a tee-shirt depicting her support of Manchester U. And she was carrying a large tote over one shoulder, not the small discreet cross-strap one she preferred. She did not need a large tote when simple expansion charms allowed her to carry everything she could need in a small elegant one.

"Hermione?"

She shook her head and moved to stand before him and meet his eyes. "Look," she told him.

"What?"

"I don't want to say it. Look!"

Taking it as permission he looked into velvety brown eyes before he wordlessly and wandlessly cast the Legilimens spell. Her memories were vivid and rich with emotion and minute details, the memory of a talented Occlumens.

~o~

She was going to sleep wearing a short camisole and no undies. She liked the naughty feeling of sleeping knowing there was a chance she'd wake up masturbating.

~o~

He would dearly have loved to see that. Perhaps he should not be in such a rush to send her away after their couplings. He wondered how she would look waking up from a deep sleep. Would she awaken slowly and groggily, or sharply? Both ways had possibilities.

~o~

She was cramped and feeling full lower down and it concerned her. Cramps were usually signs of her period starting but this didn't feel the same. It felt too full, like something larger and heavier was settling low and descending. Her first thought was she was pregnant and miscarrying. But shouldn't there be blood? She couldn't feel any wetness. A quick swipe verified she was leaking some fluid but it was clear and viscous, not red.

~o~

That was impossible. He was sterile. But he knew he was her only lover since the first time. She was loyal and would not cheat. If anything … non-consensual had occurred she would have told him.

~o~

Her first thought was to go to St Mungo's but something told her to do otherwise, that it wasn't safe for her/them. She needed a safe place, a warm dark place. Instinct drove her down to the basement where she tore open boxes of winter bedding and camping gear. Quilts and sleeping bags were piled high under the stairs and she settled into the 'nest'.

It was quiet and warm and she was safe. The cramps/contractions were coming harder now. The fluids leaking from her had stained her grandmother's handmade quilt and she hoped she could remove it when this was all over.

It was too hard to lie down on her back. She rolled onto her hands and knees. It took a few seconds to determine it felt more comfortable to spread her knees and sit back on her heels, almost in the Cat-pose for yoga. Whenever she shifted minutely she could feel her groin brush against the quilt folds.

It was too hard to stay still. She needed to move, to rock, to squeeze down below. It hurt but she couldn't stop huffing and squeezing her Kegal muscles.

Then she felt it. There was something coming out. Her common sense screamed at her to go to St Mungo's. Her instinct insisted she stay put and push. Instinct won over and she gritted her teeth and pushed.

It took what felt like forever but finally the heavy weight was expelled in a wet gush. It was an egg, a more elongated soft-shelled structure with a leather-like skin-shell. It vaguely reminded her of a snake egg.

Hermione was horrified and afraid. What in Merlin's name just happened? How could she lay a snake egg? She had only had sex as a human being! Sure she spent a lot of time as an animagus but only in her own room without any male snakes around!

~o~

Her animagus form was a snake. How intriguing. He could not remember the name of another witch or wizard with a serpent form much less a python.

~o~

She did not want to go to St Mungo's, to risk anyone finding out. There were too many negative connotations associated with anything related to serpents. But she needed help, answers on what just happened, advice on what to do.

Zar could help.

~o~

She was right. More right than she could have ever imagined.

~o~

It was hard. She was afraid and so very protective of the egg. She did not want to risk it being damaged or exposed to any magic that could harm it. So she wrapped it in a cashmere scarf and found an old beach tote. She padded the insides with the damp quilt, tucked the egg bundle in, and covered it with more scarves before hurrying upstairs to shower and go to the Department of Mysteries. She could explain her presence away. Everyone knew she stayed late and came in unscheduled when she had ideas that she wanted to work on.

~o~

She had been doing it more often in recent months. Only she was coming in to spend time with him.

~o~

He broke the connection and looked distant, thoughtful, but not horrified or accusing. It was enough to allow her to put some of the pieces together.

"You're not surprised by this."

"No."

"Did you expect this to happen?"

He looked surprised. "Of course not. It has never happened before. Not to me," he added.

"What? Your previous lovers never laid an egg?" she asked sharply.

He met her eyes squarely. "No. No they didn't."

He was too calm. There was a pleased gleam in his eyes. "You wanted it to happen. You were hoping it would happen." He inclined his head shallowly. He sometimes ignored her questions but he never lied when he could instead divert her focus. "What are you?"

"A cursed wizard."

She sat down heavily on the closest padded bench. "Tell me."

He sat down beside her and proceeded to do just that. He did not provide the full details, just the vaguest outlines that painted a not-so-pretty picture. He was a pureblood, a strongly conservative Traditionalist who supported views that excluded Muggleborns from wizarding society. Then one day he met a witch, an Unspeakable who cursed his lineage, his descendants to madness and destruction. He could do nothing but stand and watch as all he worked for was damaged and destroyed by his own blood. There was a very short list of wizards who fit the criteria, including one who vanished.

"Salazar Slytherin."

He stared at her through hooded grey eyes, inclined his head once and watched. Probably waiting for her to run screaming, but Hermione was made of sterner stuff.

"So what's the catch? There has to be some kind of escape, a loophole."

He smiled faintly and nodded. "Yes. Only one born with no ties to the enclaves could free me. Only if she accepted the snake and bore my heir."

Hermione went very still. "What?"

"Animagus forms are shaped by your personal magic and nature. It is not easy to have the mindset of a reptile, cold pure logic, swift to retaliate and then forgive or ignore. Snake animagi are rare because most fear and fight it."

Hermione nodded slowly. "I checked the Animagus Register. There are no known snake animagi in Britain."

"None that are registered, like yourself," Salazar corrected.

She inclined her head, acknowledging the hit. "Are you one?" she wanted to know.

"Yes."

"Can you leave the Department of Mysteries?"

"I tried many times in the beginning. There is a specific distance limitation from the primary wardstone. I can reach the surface and travel for a mile before it hurts and I have to return."

Hermione made a faint sound. "Why do I get the feeling you spent several centuries sleeping with every Muggleborn witch that crossed your path?"

"Because you're right. When it was clear I was literally chained to the wardstone and the curse was too strong I tried to fulfil the escape clause."

"A child born from a Muggleborn witch."

"No child was ever even conceived. I honestly thought I was sterile, a last laugh. I gave up trying three centuries ago and focused on my research."

Hermione reached into her tote and carefully pulled out the shawl-swathed egg and placed it on her lap. "This is not a baby."

"Not yet. But it will be."

She bit her lower lip. "It may be a creature," she warned. "More naga than human."

He simply stared at her. "After all these centuries, all I've seen and done, I can't find it in myself to care. My bloodline legacy is gone and I am cursed. This will be my only chance to be a father, to start a new line. I will understand if you have concerns and would prefer to disassociate from all Slytherins. I am willing to be the sole parent—"

"No!" Her interruption was unhesitating and abrupt. "This is my baby!" she said as she lifted the egg from her lap and cradled it against her breast. She hummed softly as she cuddled the orb close, shooting occasional glaring looks at the wizard. "This is my baby," she said more softly. "I'm not giving up anything."

"Joint custody then?" he asked carefully.

Hermione scowled ferociously. "Are you giving up on us before we even started?" she asked trying to hide her hurt.

He was clearly taken aback by her words. "You mean… you mean you do not wish to end our relationship?"

She blushed but forced her eyes to meet his. "No. Not without trying. I mean you're not the Salazar Slytherin of the history books. And I understand why you wanted to keep our relationship private, to not tell anyone, and I'm reluctantly agreeing with that. For now. At some point, I expect you to acknowledge me and our child publicly, formally," she insisted.

He nodded. "I have already opened a vault for you." He pressed a finger against her lips to silence her. "Wealth is not an issue for me. Accumulating gold, knowledge, resources, it's easy when you are essentially immortal. I will also be opening a trust vault for our child when he or she is born." He frowned faintly. "I'm not sure if this means the curse is broken."

"If it is not, it will probably break when the egg hatches," Hermione theorized.

"Once it's broken I will have to visit Gringotts to update my will."

"And you will leave the Department of Mysteries," Hermione insisted. "You will move out and buy a house. You aren't going to continue to hide down here."

"A house for us?"

Hermione thought for a moment and nodded. "Yes. For all three of us."

"I will be putting in my resignation as soon as possible."


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


It was hard waiting for the egg to harden and mature. Hermione could not bear to be parted from it. She carried it in an enchanted pouch lined with cashmere wool and silk embroidered with runes for warmth and protection. The pouch was knotted to her belt, looped around her neck, or tied to her shoulder purse. It could not be stolen, opened, burnt, or damaged in anyway. After eight weeks of gently trying to get her to take a break, Salazar lost patience and bluntly told her to leave the egg and go out and relax; she turned on him with uncharacteristic viciousness.

"I'm not abandoning my child!" she hissed.

Salazar lost his temper. "I'm not asking you to do that! Just to take a break!"

Her full lips pressed tightly together and he knew she was biting back her words. Then she inhaled deeply and turned away, clearly prepared to walk away. Suddenly he felt furious. She did not care enough to argue with him, to fight and make him change his mind about something important to her.

His magic reacted without conscious thought or shaping.

Hermione cried out as glowing silver ribbons wrapped around her legs and tightened, binding her legs together. She wobbled and lost her balance, falling forward. She managed to save her face by pressing her hands out in front. Her torso was pressed flat against the cool tile floor and her breasts ached from being squashed uncomfortably compact.

Before she could try to 'cut' the ribbons she froze. There were two feet clad in dragon hide boots on either side of her extended arms. She drew her knees up and tried to scoot away from the looming wizard. Another silver ribbon wrapped around her forearms binding them together and jerking forward, sending her sprawling. She tried to shift into her animagus form and was stunned when it failed. How?

"You are mine!" Salazar snarled as he crouched above her. "Mine!"

His hands gripped her shoulder and turned her onto her back. Reflexively she brought her arms down and then up, hoping to strike at a vulnerable spot. He caught her bound limbs in one hand and pushed them back. It was an uncomfortable strain in her triceps, her hands being pinned above her head. With her forearms being bound together she could not even relax and move her elbows apart.

He was on his knees now. His eyes were sparking and she was both scared and furious. Scared of what he would do to her. Furious that he was trying to control her. Hermione did not like being controlled; it made her feel weak, vulnerable. She wasn't used to that.

His free hand stroked her lips and chin. "You are mine," he told her more softly. "I will take you when I want, where I want, how I want, and you will be more than well-pleasured."

"I'm not some brainless bimbo who'll shut up and agree to anything after being shagged!"

"True. You are not a brainless bimbo. You are mine. My mate. The mother of my child." He smiled mockingly and stroked her breast through the layers of tunic and bra. "But right now you are a tad overdressed."

One moment she was dressed, the next she was naked and cool from the breeze hitting bare skin. Her nipples hardened in reaction to the cooler temperature.

"Salazar!"

And then he blurred above her and vanished. Hermione couldn't see him but she could feel heavy smooth coils shifting over her torso and limbs. He was a snake animagus! A python like herself. For a moment she was afraid he would strike, bite her. Then she remembered the snake was Salazar, and he would not hurt her—dominate her, yes; bruise her, perhaps; fuck her hard enough to forget her own name, most definitely. She struggled to sit up. The ribbons binding her legs actually cooperated by coming apart. Without thinking she spread her legs and folded them underneath to sit up.

He was moving around her waist, between her legs, against her damp sex. For a moment she was so stunned she did nothing as the tip of his tail slid along her slit and then inside. He was thick, too thick, much bigger around than anything she had ever taken. It was almost painful to be penetrated without preparation.

"Hurts! Stop it!"

His reaction was to glide around her torso trapping her arms against her side and to tighten his coils. She could feel his head gliding up her torso between her breasts. He was heavy and cool and very distracting, the sensations of his scales over her nipples and sensitive skin. It was like being massaged by a raspy surface. Her skin quivered with goose-bumps and her nipples tightened into hard points. Down below she could feel and hear her wetness ooze, the squishing sounds as he worked into her. She hissed as the length of him inside penetrated and pushed even deeper before hitting the end and stopped moving. She still felt overstuffed and almost ready to burst, but she was not scared. It was a relief being dominated, being forced to completely focus on something other than her not-yet-baby.

As though in response to her thoughts, he began moving again. The heavy thick flesh gliding along her slit, over her clit, caused the most intriguing sensations. It wasn't long before she started rocking up into air, trying to increase the pressure against the areas that set her into overdrive. He was more than willing to cooperate, to tense the coils binding her to the right side of pain before relaxing. Hermione knew she was going to be bruised in ways that could never be explained to a Healer but found she couldn't care less. Salazar would take care of her. He always would.

She came apart and saw coloured lights behind her eyelids just as she blacked out.

~o~

Salazar Slytherin was concerned he had pushed his lover too hard, too far. Most were not comfortable with snakes, much less being handled the way she had just been sexually and physically dominated. He shifted back and carefully lifted her naked body, very conscious of the wetness in her lower curls and the sticky fluids smeared on her inner thighs. He carried her to his bedroom and settled her on the bed. He used a damp towel to clean her thighs and groin before lying down beside her, turning on his side to see her more easily.

He waited anxiously for her to regain consciousness. Would this have driven the final spike? Would she be terrified and insist on cutting ties? Would she allow him to see his offspring and be a father? Would she tell everyone that she had been raped by Salazar Slytherin, that he was still alive and an Unspeakable?

All those fears and concerns faded the moment she opened her eyes and smiled at him.

"Thank you," she murmured as she reached out and stroked his cheek.

"For what?" he asked feeling a ton of self-loathing. "For assaulting you?"

"For distracting me. For reminding me that our baby is not the only important thing. You are important. Our relationship is important."

He shook his head. "I did it in the worst of ways."

"Maybe. But you are human and not used to modern Muggleborn witches," Hermione murmured. "Harry says nothing can stop me when I'm on a roll. And if I don't take stop I get tunnel vision."

Salazar pulled her against his side. She wriggled under his arm and rested her head on his bicep. Thank Merlin she had remained unconscious long enough for him to move her.

"Tell me, why are you driving yourself so hard?" he asked softly.

Hermione burst into tears and cried hard. When she finally managed to regain enough control she explained between sobs. "I feel like I'm a horrible mother. There must be something wrong with me for laying an egg which is so tiny and vulnerable. How can I protect our baby when he's outside and exposed? That's why I can't tolerate being separated."

"Hermione, this is not your fault. In fact it's more likely some unknown clause of my Curse."

"A proper mother will protect her child!"

"And you will. When the egg hatches."

Hermione shuddered and relaxed minutely. Salazar thought she had fallen asleep but was proven wrong when she spoke, her voice muffled.

"How long now?"

"A few days." Then, because it had to be asked, he voiced the question worrying him. "What will you do if the baby is a snake? Or a hybrid?"

Hermione sighed. "I'll manage. He or she will still be our child."


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


Something made Hermione wake and roll out of bed. Half dazed and not fully awake, she stumbled towards the basket set on the dresser. She set it on the floor and sat down herself. In the dim light she could see the shadows on the leathery egg surface shifting as the skin rippled slightly from internal pressures.

"Lumos."

An orb of light formed above her head, illuminating the precious contents. She was vaguely aware of Salazar kneeling on the ground beside her. The full focus of her attention was on the leathery skin-shell shifting as something within strained the constraints of the shell.

Her baby was hatching.

Instinctively she reached in to help, to tear the eggshell but Salazar restrained her.

"No," he said sharply. "The first break must be made by our offspring, to prove he is ready to live in this world."

So she waited and watched as first one small hole was poked out, as it grew bigger ripping, then a small fist thrust through it. She cried out and reached to stroke the small hand then to assist in ripping the leathery shell carefully. Heedful of Salazar's words she did not do all the work but watched as the baby wriggled free from the ripped shell-skin and fell onto the warmed silk lining. It was a girl, so tiny that if Hermione had actually birthed her she would have been premature and on life-support. But this little one, her baby girl no longer than Salazar's hand from wrist to fingertip, was active and thriving, wriggling as she tried to reach out and touch her parents.

Hermione could not stop her tears from falling. For so many weeks she had struggled to ignore her fears and vivid imaginations. Even if her baby was more naga-like in appearance Hermione would have loved her, but this made it easier. Her only fears now were about her diminutive size. She was so tiny! What if she never reached a normal child's size and growth patterns? As if he read her mind, her mate spoke.

"She will. Snakes grow fast after the initial hatching."

~ooOoo~

Salazar turned out to be right. Tamysyn Ivy Slytherin grew rapidly and put on enough weight in the weeks that followed to pass as a regular newborn. There was still the question of how to explain her birth and Hermione's 'pregnancy' so the couple moved to Italy to fudge the dates and lay a false trail. As far as anyone would know, they moved to the Continent before Hermione started 'showing' and had the baby there. Hermione agreed without hesitation, knowing it was for the best. They didn't know how rapidly their daughter would mature and if she would display any other snake traits, like an animagus form or parseltongue. She was not mature enough to control and understand that she had to hide those talents. She only hoped that one day they would be able to return to England.


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~


Harry frowned as he re-read the latest message from his best female friend, Hermione Granger. It had been two years since he had seen her in person; most of their communication had been through a Protean linked journal which had been delivered by owl post. It behaved similar to the charmed galleons Hermione created for DA but the journal form allowed them to communicate longer more detailed messages, faster and more securely than any owl-delivered letter.

He had not been very happy when she had left England so secretively. None of their friends, even Ginny, had even known she was seeing someone in the Department of Mysteries. Ginny had been setting her up on blind dates after Hermione broke up with Ron! But then again she had been happy and relaxed whenever they met a few months before she resigned from her position and moved to Italy without telling anyone. At least now Harry understood why she had been so secretive and fast.

~o~

I'm sorry I didn't tell you before, Harry, but I was pregnant. I know it's not a terrible thing in Muggle society but you know magicals are so conservative and would look askance at me. Because I'm supposed to be a 'good example to future generations'. Ha! They just want someone on a pedestal they can point to and blame or take credit for!

The situation with the baby's father… it was difficult. I can only tell you he is a Slytherin and very despised by most of our friends. And I liked him. I had not planned on getting pregnant and it changed everything. I couldn't pretend anymore and hide a baby. And I knew staying in England was not an option. The public would crucify me and no one would understand how I could love someone they see as a monster. But he's not! He's simply had so much bad press. You should understand that, Harry. I know you would have supported me if I had approached you, but I didn't want to cause any strain on your relationships so I took myself out of the equation.

It hasn't been perfect. We've had to be careful, adjust to living as a couple, but I'm so happy! I've had a wonderful life. I don't think I would have become as happy and content as I am right now if I had stayed in England so please be happy for me. I have a little girl and she makes everything worth it. I recently found out I'm going to have another baby. If all goes well we may visit, but I make no promises.

Be happy for me.

Your old friend,

Hermione.


~ooOoo~ooOoo~ooOoo~

The End


~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~oooo~

AN: And that is it. No prequel/sequel.