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Chapter 77

Hermione stopped Lily from fidgeting with her jumper. "You look good. Now, we have to go to the Great Hall." Hermione grabbed the other girl's hands.

"What if she hates it? What if she hates me?" Lily looked very anxious that late morning. It was the day of the parents' visit. They would leave Hogwarts the following Monday.

"This was all your idea. It will be fine. I will be with you. Petunia likes me remember." Hermione said reassuringly and dragged her out of the dormitory.

Remus and James were dressed already. Peter and Sirius were probably still in bed. They had no intention of mingling. Their parents were wizards and would not attend the gathering.

James would of course go and meet his in laws for the first time and let them know that he was going to marry Lily. Remus went for moral support. His parents were in America. His mother could not come due to a bad bout of illness. Remus was to leave for New York that Tuesday.

They walked to the Great Hall. Severus wore a black jumper and blue jeans. He ate with Narcissa who wore a nice dress. It was surprising to see the girl in muggle clothing. Remus waved at her. Narcissa winked at him.

Severus finished his meal and joined them to leave for the entrance. Lizzie came by, "Hi Hermione. Are your parents coming too?"

"Hi Lizzie. No, my parents passed away." Hermione said in answer.

"Oh, I'm sorry." Lizzie looked embarrassed. "Don't worry too much Lizzie. Go along with your friends." Severus said and grabbed Hermione's hand. Lily smiled. "I see them." She said. Hermione saw the Evans and Petunia looking at the castle with wide surprised eyes.

"Mum, dad." Lily waved. They smiled at their daughter. Petunia looked around and looked at the ceiling.

Tom smiled at her, "It is enchanted young lady." Petunia smiled at him.

"I leave you with your sons and daughters." Tom said. "The headmaster will be with you shortly.

The Evans joined the Gryffindor table, Lizzie caught her parents and sat with them in the Hufflepuff table. Emmeline who was with Hugh Mulciber led her parents to the Ravenclaw table. Hermione noticed Regulus sitting with Narcissa, Severus and Rosier. There were no muggles seated in the Slytherin table. Hermione was not incredibly surprised. Tom sat with Severus.

Hermione talked to Petunia, "How are you?" She asked politely.

"Very well. I've started my second year at University." Petunia replied and told her about reading maths and administration.

"I secured an internship with the Ministry." Hermione told her.

"How exciting. Your minister seems pretty normal." Petunia said carefully.

Hermione smiled, "he is."

"Tuney. You'll love this." Lily said and soon enough Dumbledore entered the Great Hall.

"Good afternoon. Ladies and Gentlemen, the Ministry and I are very happy to see you here. Please let us know immediately if you feel the need to go to work. Have forgotten where you are or see ruins. Now, we have made you travel all the way here. Let us have some lunch and explore. Without farther ado dig in."

The plates filled in front of them. The muggles were all surprised. Petunia's eyes rounded. She trembled a little. "It could all be so very overwhelming." Hermione whispered. "But we are good people." Petunia nodded and eased a bit.

They ate and then the different groups moved around. Severus and Hermione chose to spend time with Tom. James and Lily went off with the Evans and Petunia. Remus and Narcissa went away with Regulus. There was something going on. Regulus and Narcissa whispered furiously on their way out of the Great Hall. Remus trailing after them. Minerva joined them in Slytherin table, "I have a few minutes. I am to have strong words with Peeves. He tried to pour ice buckets into some of our guests. His idea of good fun."

Tom kissed her lips, "Minnie, it will be fine. Albus, Severus and I made sure. We lifted the enchantments for only a few hours." He patted the seat next to him.

Severus nodded, "you may be happy to know that Albus and I secured the protection spells. They are in effect. There will be no apparition. You have to agree that we only have a few wizards. They are all your Gryffindors. I think I saw Bones and a Goldstein."

Minerva frowned, "I reject your insinuations."

Hermione rolled her eyes. Severus thought Minerva was still prejudiced against Slytherin wizards. Minerva held to the fact that she married a Slytherin. Severus tartly replied that just because she slept with a snake didn't stop her from being a lion. Hermione heard it all. Tom and her were quite tired of them.

"Enough. Now, Sev and I are going to move to Notting Hill." Hermione said.

"Fine." Minerva said, "you have to come for Sunday dinners." She said and smiled when Severus frowned at her.

Tom nodded, "it is only fair." He said and kissed Minerva's hand.

"Minnie and I are going away in August. I secured two weeks' vacation. You are more than welcome to come with us." Tom offered.

Severus spoke before she had the opportunity, "no, thank you. I believe Hermione and I will have to attend a wedding."

"Are you two getting married again?" Tom asked quickly.

Hermione chuckled, "I think not. Severus continues to live in sin with me."

Severus rolled his eyes, "you said you did not want to steal Lily's thunder."

Minerva smiled, "Evans and Potter, how wonderful." She said.

"Come off of it. You knew." Severus smirked and Minerva winked at him. "I have to go. Behave." She said to Severus. Minerva always told him to behave. Hermione guessed she would too after all the times Severus served detention.

Tom frowned, "you two are not married."

Hermione blinked, "we may as well be." Severus nodded, "the papers are an excellent forgery. You would never be considered a bastard child. You were legally adopted."

"Water under the bridge I suppose." He said and they walked to the Great Lake.

"Severus, have you decided on your future plans?" Tom asked him once again. He was positively fixated on Sev's future. She knew he felt accomplished to have "sorted her out."

"Not really. I plan to make potions of course. Slughorn offered an apprenticeship. I of course declined. My NEWTS scores already afford me with my Potions Master's level. I'll live off of your money." He shrugged. Hermione smiled to herself. She knew that his lack of urgency would soon melt away. Severus was not happy unless he was working on something. He researched potions, muggle history, taught maths or worked with enchantments. He needed to be busy. Only time would tell what he wanted to do.

Tom tried to not frown and continued to walk and look at the Giant Squid. They talked about the Notting Hill house, "you must take Winky." Tom said.

"Of course we will. Your mother and I are rubbish with household charms." Severus said.

He saw as the parents slowly trickled to the lawn. He saw Narcissa and Remus kissing and Regulus frowning.

"Why is he so upset all of the sudden?" Hermione wondered if the young Black was in love with his cousin. It was not secret that the Blacks were inbred.

Severus shook his head, "he is upset because Narcissa plans to leave to America with Remus. She is also planning to shack up with him."

Hermione blinked, "I thought you said they were just having fun."

Severus smirked, "well, Narcissa is independently wealthy thanks to Lucius. She owes nothing to the Blacks. They plan to disinherit her. She could not care less. She is shacking up with the werewolf. I warned her against him but Narcissa is very stubborn. She likes Lupin. She'll fall out of "love" soon enough."

"How cynical." Tom chuckled.

"Well, you are not planning to pay him much. Narcissa likes her galleons. She will probably marry Hugh or Evan soon enough. She likes to be taken care of." Severus replied.

"Does she not plan to work?" Hermione asked.

Tom smiled, "she does not have to. Lucius left Narcissa in a very good position. You may be mistaken Severus. I have it on good authority that Narcissa already secured a way to protect her estate and increase revenue."

"Whatever do you mean?" Severus asked.

"Ms. Black wrote to her sister for advice. Mrs. Tonks, little that she actually knows about muggle life, wrote to her good friend Mrs. Weasley. She connected them. Narcissa and Molly correspond and she has recommended her squib cousin. He manages the Weasleys' finances. A man by the name of Marius Prewett. Ms. Black is now investing some of her money on muggle stock and business is booming." Tom said with a smug smile.

Hermione blinked at Tom. "Molly never mentioned it." She was a bit confused. She wrote to Molly too. Hermione sent some toys for the kids after Fred and George were born. Molly never mentioned any of these developments.

"Why would she? She doesn't know you two know each other." Severus replied.

Hermione punched him in the arm, "I've told you to stop that." She punctuated every word with a punch.

Severus yelped, "hey, you know I can't always help it. You should occlude better."

Tom laughed. Hermione huffed, she noticed that Lily and her family joined the rest of the muggle borns. The Evans looked confused while Petunia kept looking at the ring.

"She's jealous but not unhappy. She's also very happy that Lily picked her as maid of honor. I'd say that's the best Lils could hope for." Severus said.

Lily frowned when she saw Tom. "I don't understand it. She used to be very nice to me. It is as if I've personally hurt her."

"Don't pay her any mind." Hermione replied.

"Mum, dad, you know Hermione. This is Severus." She said and introduced him.

"Nice to meet you. Severus Snape." He extended his hand to both Rose and Harry Evans.

They shook his hand and were very polite to him. "I would like to meet your parents. Lily says you are her best friend. She's told us so much about you." Rose said with a smile. Potter frowned.

"You know me, Tom Snape. I am his uncle, well cousin but he is too young to call me anything other than uncle." Tom offered his hand.

"How could we ever forget you? You and your wife were so helpful when Lily was in St. Mungos." Harry shook Tom's hand. "and now you are Minister of Magic. No better choice I say." Lily eased a bit after that.

Hermione knew it was true. Tom and Minerva helped the Evans understand. James knew about her time in St. Mungos. He smiled at Tom too. James quite liked Tom. The adults talked while they younger crowd drifted to the side.

Tuney waved at Remus and Narcissa who joined them. "Hello Petunia." Remus said and kissed her cheek. Narcissa smiled at her.

"You are Evans' sister. I remember you. How do you do?" The girl asked politely. Hermione had to give it to Narcissa, her nose was not even a bit wrinkled.

"I am very well." Petunia replied.

Regulus appeared soon enough. He looked at Petunia and smiled, "How are you Ms. Evans?"

He offered her a small smile. Petunia smiled back. "I don't think we have met."

Regulus chuckled, "we have. Led Zeppelin."

Petunia's eyes sparkled, "I forgot to thank you." She said happily. Hermione frowned. Petunia looked at her, "Mr. Black helped me after I spilled my drink. He used his brother's wand to dry it."

Severus smirked. He was about to quip something when they heard Lizzie's voice.

"You have to meet him again." She said and dragged both her parents to where they were.

"Mum, dad, this is Severus." Lizzie said.

Mrs. Snape smiled at them. "Nice to meet you. Young man, but the resemblance is rather uncanny. Tobias, you have to agree." She said and shook Severus' hand.

Hermione feared for Severus' reaction. She was about to faint or think of something to avoid the two men interacting when Tobias offered his hand. Severus shook it. "Severus Snape."

Lizzie grinned, "tell them Sev, tell daddy how good I am at potions now. I will miss you so much Sev." She said.

Tobias kept looking at Severus. Hermione thought that she saw a glimmer of recognition in his eyes but it could not be. Tobias could not remember him. He never made him.

"Tobias, how are you my man?" Tom came and shook Tobias' hand.

"Minister, how good to see you again." Tobias said with a smile. Hermione thanked Tom mentally

"Come along Lizzie, Mrs. Snape, you have to see the Giant Squid." Hermione said and took them away.

Severus stayed with Lily and James. The new Mrs. Snape was a kind woman. Lizzie was well taken care of. Tobias joined them soon enough.

They watched the Giant Squid's tentacles appear through the surface of the Black Lake. Hermione observed Tobias. He appeared to be a decent man. The resemblance was truly uncanny. It was like looking at Severus would look exactly the same in about twenty to twenty-five years. Hermione was sure.

"You'll have to forgive the look. I have no doubt he will look like me in a few years." Tobias said. Lizzie showed her mother some of her other friends.

"Pardon me?" Hermione tried to stamp the fear she felt.

"It is as if in a dream. I remember his mother. I remember Eileen. It is a haze. I remember meeting her. She had beautiful black hair. He has her eyes, everything else is mine. I started drinking after she wouldn't come to me. She always came to me in dreams and then it was over. She never came back." Tobias said sadly.

Hermione frowned, "I am confused."

"I don't think you are. I do not buy this rubbish that we are not related. He is my son. I must have made him. I don't know how but I know he came from me. Isn't that strange?" Tobias continued.

"Dear girl, please don't look too upset. I have no intentions of pursuing any parentage to the boy. It is clear that he does not have any fond memories of me. I see so much anger in those beautiful brown eyes." Tobias said. "I just want him to know that I know that he came from me somehow and that I am sorry for whatever pain I caused him." Hermione looked away. She would give herself away. She was very anxious to leave.

Lizzie and her mother joined them shortly. They continued watching the squid. Hermione tried to breathe deeply and calm herself down. Lily and Petunia talked to her for a bit. They spent the rest of the hour talking about summer things. Severus was nowhere to be found. The muggleborns said their goodbyes. Tobias kept trying to make eye contact.

"Where is Severus?" Lizzie asked and then spotted him with Narcissa and Regulus.

"Sev, come and say goodbye." The little girl yelled. Severus shook his head and walked toward them.

"Lizzie is a handful." Mrs. Snape said with a small smile. They accompanied them to Hogsmeade. They boarded the train.

"Severus, may I please have a word? Tobias asked softly. Hermione was sure Sev would say no but he surprised her.

The platform was almost deserted. It was only her, Tom and Mrs. Snape at this point.

"Susan, please find us a compartment." Tobias said. Susan smiled and boarded the train.

"Thank you so much young man for helping Lizzie." Tobias said and surprisingly hugged him. Severus was petrified.