Sharing a drink with Lucius Malloy had become a weekly habit. Severus was finding himself more and more stressed over his progeny. There was just so much work to being a father. He was on the verge of ripping his hair out while he watched the little cretins drool after his daughter. Dark magic never looked so good as it did right now. All he could think about was roasting the entire male population of the student body with fiendfyre.
"You look a little tense there, friend," Lucius said mockingly. He continued after a sip of his rum, "It's been what, a little over two weeks now?"
"Yes, and it's been the longest two weeks of my life! Do you know how infuriating it is to watch these worthless brats trot after my daughter like simpering dogs!? Only you and Hermione know this, but do you recall my habit of scanning my students' thoughts using Legilimency?"
"Well, it seems like the majority of the boys in Slytherin have nothing but salacious thoughts of my daughter on their minds! My daughter is too good to be defiled like that even in someone's imagination. It's really not something I want to see, Lucius," Severus exclaimed. Severus was gripping his chair so hard that his knuckles were turning white.
"Hmmm, I can't help you there, Sev. I'm just lucky I have a son. Remember when we were in school? The things we talked about as boys? I do not envy you, Severus," he replied with a chuckle.
Severus groaned. Taking a big sip of his whiskey, "just the other night, she was attacked by a Dementor. I was only marginally worried about that. I know she can handle herself. However, I did ask her to review her experience through her memories."
"Did you have her use a pensive? I didn't expect that old coot masquerading as a headmaster to allow you to use it for something so trivial."
"No, she is also a master Occlumens and Legilimens. She's just as good at Occlumency as I am."
Lucius raised his eyebrow in fascination.
"She's even better at Legilimency. Even with my years of experience, I doubt I'd be able to notice if she pried into my mind without a heads up first."
"Indeed. At any rate, after the attack, I had her open her mind to me and she showed me what happened. The way she handled it was beyond spectacular. What vexed me was her interaction with young Mr. Rowle." he said through grinding teeth.
"Did the dunderhead try to make a pass at Hermione?"
"No, but the idiot was clearly fantasizing about my daughter. I'm just grateful that my daughter seems oblivious to all of the male attention she's been receiving. I wouldn't be able to hold myself back if she started throwing herself around like a common trollop."
Raising his head and looking Lucius in his eyes, "that overgrown piece of shite had the audacity to call me Daddy!"
Lucius roared with laughter. He was shaking so hard that his rum was splashing onto the floor.
Severus served Lucius a menacing glare. "This is no laughing matter, Lucius! I wanted to vomit. I still want to vomit. I want to vomit in a cauldron, mix one of my self-concocted poisons, and then drown that blond git with the mixture!"
"Oh, Severus. It's been far too long since I've laughed like that. From the bottom of my heart, I thank you for the entertainment. It's been quite the show. Bravo!" he said with a mock applause.
Severus downed the rest of his whiskey and launched it at Lucius' head. Lucius had barely enough time to dodge the projectile.
"Well, that wasn't very nice of you."
"I never said I was nice!"
"Severus, relax. Take a deep breath. Have more of my whiskey. I pay enough for it to be everything you'd need. Besides Mr. Rowle's unheeded commentary, it seems like he may be interested in your daughter."
"Oh he's more than interested and that's the problem! Mr. Rowle would never be good enough for her. None of those buffoons would be up to par."
"Buffoons, you say? Have you noticed more boys, I mean young men, showing more than a passing interest in your daughter? Have you received any betrothal requests? I know she hasn't officially debuted, but word travels fast."
"Yes, I've received quite a few. I hit them with an incendio as soon as they landed in my hands. I will not entertain any requests before she debuts. I will not be the one making the choice. I will help her sort through her requests, but ultimately the decision is hers to make."
"Look at you, Severus. You're being quite the supportive father."
Head in his hands, Severus released a breath and said, "I barely feel like a father. She hasn't asked me for a single thing. I can't provide her a home because she has the Corbyn estates. I can't offer her money, because she's the sole heir to her mother's fortune. Anything she wants she can get herself. It's frustrating being on stand-by. I feel like I'm not doing enough. I don't even know if she truly sees me as a father or if she just calls me that to appease me."
"Don't be so hard on yourself, you ponce. You've only known her for 3 weeks." Slapping Severus on the back, "give it time! It sounds like you're doing well so far. She must have some trust in you if she's willing to open her mind up to you. Plus, right after the attack, the first thing she did was contact you. Not the headmaster, but you, her father."
"I don't think I'm cut out for this. I can't love her the way she needs. I'm not comfortable with hugs or any form of physical affection really. I wouldn't know what to do if she cried. I wouldn't know who to contact if she needed a friend. I don't even know what sweets she likes!"
"So find out! Talk to her. Ask her. If you can't muster up the courage to hug her then settle for whatever you can do. Escort her to dinner, hold out her coat, make sure she gets back to the dungeons on time. It's the little things, Severus. There is no right way to show affection. Do you think I cuddle with my son? If he cried I'd offer him some whiskey and tell him to buck up. If he needed a friend, I'd shove him in the floo and tell him not to come back until he resolved his issues. I may not know his favorite sweets, but I do know money talks. I'd just floo Honeydukes and have them send him one of everything. I love my son." He paused and then continued, "To the outside world, they may see our relationship as cold and distant. To the people that matter, our relationship is strong and supportive. I will always be there for him. I will stand next to him through his achievements and his failures."
Looking Severus straight in the eyes, "I love my son, but I love him in my own way. Draco knows this and his opinion is all that matters."
Breaking the tension with a chuckle, "well his and Narcissa's. If she thought I was disregarding her dragon, she'd hex my bollocks off and wear them as earrings."
"She'd probably have them diamond encrusted too," he replied with a smirk.
Lucius raised his glass, "and I wouldn't have it any other way. Look, Severus. My point is that all you need to do is try. Find out what fatherhood looks like for you. Give her everything you never had. Be everything you wanted in a father. Yes, you weren't there for the first 16 years of her life, but that's just a drop in the bucket. Wizards and witches live for a very long time. You'll have the time to make it up to her. You have the years to learn how to be a father. Just be patient" he said while finishing his drink.
Refilling his cup, "speaking about fatherhood. I heard about Draco and Hermione's little tiff."
"Mhmm and what's your opinion on it?" Severus responded while reaching for a new cup.
"You know my opinions on magical blood, Severus."
"I'm a half-blood, remember?"
"Yes, I'm aware. But you're a Prince. The heir to the Prince line."
"Not that it means much. All I have to show for it is a seat on the Wizengamot. They pissed away their fortunes long before my time. The only property I have is the hovel at Spinner's end."
"Well, you've made a name for yourself all on your own. This is besides the point. You know how I feel about muggles. You even agree with me on some points. With that being said, I can't scold Draco for believing in the same thing. I just wished he'd approach the topic in a more dignified manner. I did not approve of Draco making a scene in the hallway. I apologize on his behalf for the way he spoke to your daughter."
"It's not your place to apologize, but I do appreciate the sentiments. I'm glad you brought this up. My hand was itching to slap your son across the back of his head for the contempt."
"Well, you are his godfather. You were instrumental in his younger years. I grant the Snape's one get-away free pass. As long as it's not serious or permanent damage of course," Lucius replied half-jokingly.
"Good." Taking a sip of his drink and locking eyes with Lucius. "Very good. That's generous of you. I'll hold you to it." Severus smirked. "Hermione may have let it slip when I viewed her memories, but I think she greatly desires to punch your son in the face."
Choking on his rum, Lucius pounded on his chest to clear his throat of the fiery liquid.
Mockingly raising his glass, Severus bellowed "to fatherhood!"
Hermione had been trying her best to make friends. She tried to engage with other students. She even offered to tutor some of the younger ones. Hermione spent her Thursday afternoons tutoring Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. They were 5th-year Gryffindors who had a knack for getting into trouble. She was really testing her patience with those two. Working on Charms with them was like bathing a cat. Torturous at best. Most nights, all she wanted to do was roll up their essays and smack them with them. Give them a good walloping. On the bright side, she got to interact with the youngest Weasley, Ginevra. She was a fiery little thing that was known for her Quidditch skills. Hermione tutored her in transfiguration. Ginny was a quick learner and a pleasant student. She'd never be able to understand how Bill and Ginny were related to Ron.
After the whole Dementor debacle, she was on friendlier terms with the Viking and his Russian counterpart. Whenever they saw each other in the halls, they'd share a nod and smile.
Thorfinn even worked up the courage to ask Hermione for help in potions. He knew it was a risky move. Professor Snape would always watch them like a hawk. The hair on Thorfinn's neck was always standing on ends. At times, he shivered at the malicious intent rolling off of the severe potions master. To Thorfinn, the risk of extreme bodily harm was definitely worth it.
Being able to stand side by side with the little witch and listen to her rattle on about potions was heavenly. Her voice was so enchanting. He loved hearing her go on and on about potions, even if he wasn't fully paying attention. He adored when her little nose would scrunch up when she was particularly focused. Sometimes, he had to physically restrain himself from reaching out and running his hair through her ebony locs. They just looked too soft and sinful. There were times when the two stood so close to each other that Thorfinn could smell her sweet scent. It was a combination of strawberry, vanilla, and sugar quills. It made his mouth water. She just smelled so… edible. Another bonus was being able to see down her shirt. From his height, he could sometimes get a peek at her lacy bras. Thorfinn often thought about how perfectly her breast would fit in his massive hand. How soft they'd feel when he kneaded them. Would her nipples be a dusty rose like her perfect lips or would they be the color of milk chocolate kisses? Thorfinn didn't know but he desperately wanted to find out. One thing that made Thorfinn want to shove his fist in his mouth and bite down was the sight of her legs. When she sat down, he could see her thighs peeking out from her skirt. Her thighs were creamy and looked oh so soft. Thorfinn didn't know what he wanted to do more. Wrap her legs around his waist and thrust in or spread her delicious thighs and dive in for a taste. Well, not a taste; an entire meal. He'd absolutely devour her if he ever had the chance. He would savor her and he knew it would be delicious.
In her Care of Magical Creatures class, she was often found conversing with Luna Lovegood and Charles Weasley. She swore that at the rate Molly Weasley was going, they'd be one step from taking over Hogwarts. She was pretty sure there was at least one in every year.
Luna Lovegood was a peculiar witch. Other students offer called her Looney, but Hermione knew that Luna simply saw the world through different lenses. Hermione could sense that Luna just knew more about magic itself than the average witch or wizard. She had witnessed Luna read auras. She knew that Luna could see and feel things that others just couldn't. Though Luna could often be seen as flighty, Hermione was certain that Luna is as loyal as they come. Hermione likened Luna to a fairy princess. Delicate and dainty, jumping from one flower to the next. Gathering honey and pollen to fertilize her home.
Hermione definitely enjoyed the gentle calmness that Luna radiated. She wasn't sure if she could call Luna a friend though. Luna's presence in her life was always situational. They mainly spoke during their shared class. Occasionally, Luna would pop up when Hermione was roaming the grounds with Asmodeus. The Matagot absolutely adored Luna. The first time they met, Asmodeus jumped off Hermione's shoulder and planted himself on top of Luna's head. Luna simply blinked and kept on walking with Hermione. At the time, Hermione had been on her way to feed the Thestrals.
"You can see them too," Luna said in her dreamy voice.
"Yes." Hermione replied succinctly.
The two witches lapsed into a comfortable silence and continued to feed the Thestrals. After the buckets were empty, Luna simply turned and smiled at Hermione. Asmodeus licked Luna's forehead and jumped back onto Hermione's shoulder. With a soft bow, Luna departed without another word.
Charlie Weasley was the polar opposite of Luna. Charlie was broad. Very broad. Reminiscent of a muggle tank. He had the muscles to back that up to. He was slightly shorter than his brother, standing at 6'0. Charlie had the signature red hair, though a little messy, whether this was intentional or not was unclear, and his locs were a bit darker than his older brother's. Charlie's eyes were also blue but were a couple of shades darker than Bill's. Charlie's eyes reminded Hermione of the raging seas during a storm. Dark and captivating.
Hermione wanted to say Charlie was her friend but again, she wasn't sure. Like Luna, their relationship was situational. They only ever talked in Care of Magical Creatures. They both shared a love of magical beasts, dragons in particular.
The day Charlie heard about Hermione's Patronus was the day he decided to approach Hermione. Apparently, Marcus Flint had returned to the Quidditch field after the Slytherin skirmish to confront Thorfinn about the bludger that almost hit him in the face. Marcus was fuming and wanted to show Thorfinn a thing or two about respect. Marcus had been flying in the air hoping to spot the Viking or his Russian sidekick when he noticed 3 students entering the Forbidden Forest. Curious to see what they were up to, Marcus flew closer to get a better look. He stayed just outside of the forest. He didn't have a death wish. He saw the 3 Slytherins getting attacked by the Dementor. He saw Hermione cast the Patronus. After the Patronus was sent to Professor Snape, Marcus didn't want to seem like he was spying, even though he was, so he raced back to the locker room.
After witnessing all that, Marcus just had to tell someone. By breakfast time the next morning, every student from Slytherin to Gryffindor knew about Hermione and her dragon Patronus. She had become the talk of the school, again, much to her dismay. This was how Charlie learned about the existence of a dragon Patronus and he just had to see it for himself.
Before class, Charlie briskly walked over to Hermione, lightly grabbed her arms, looked directly into her eyes, and said, "you have to show me!"
Confused and a bit overwhelmed, she spluttered, "excuse me?!"
With a completely serious face, "your Patronus. I heard it's a dragon. I've never heard of a dragon Patronus. You have to show me. I'm serious. You really have to show me. I can't offer you my firstborn in return but I can give you Ron. He's not the sharpest bloke, but he's great at wizarding chest."
Hermione could only blink. Her brain froze for just a brief second. Her mind quickly rebooted and the word just shot out of her mouth, "No! You can keep him!"
Charlie released a boisterous laugh that garnered the attention of their fellow classmates.
Putting a hand in his face, Hermione clarified, "I didn't mean it like that. I know that sounds bad. I meant that you don't have to offer your brother's servitude just to see it. I don't mind showing you. I can cast it after class if you want." Staring at her hands, Hermione waited for his answer.
"Sweet! You sure you don't want him? It really wouldn't be much off my back." Charlie replied with a waggle of his eyebrows.
"I'm sure." She replied with a laugh of her own.
After class, she did indeed show him her Patronus. A couple of their classmates overheard her conversation and stuck around to see the Patronus. A collective gasp was heard when they all saw the gigantic Antipodean Opaleye dragon soar through the air.
"Bloody hell! She's beautiful."
"She is," Hermione responded with a serene smile.
Once the Patronus dissipated, Charlie turned back to Hermione and offered her his hand.
"I got a bit ahead of myself and didn't properly introduce myself. I'm Charles Weasley. The best looking of the Weasley clan," he said with a wink.
Hermione rolled her eyes mockingly.
"I'm a dragon enthusiast and one day I'll be working with one of those beauties in real life."
Taking his hand for a shake, "Hermione Snape. The least likely of the Snape clan to kill you. One day I'll be honored to watch you handle an Opaleye in real life."
From that day on, Charlie, Luna, and Hermione were often seen chatting about all sorts of magical creatures during class. They regularly partnered up when the class called for it. Charlie never stopped talking about dragons. Luna constantly spoke about her endeavors to locate Nargles. Hermione wasn't sure if Charlie and Luna were her friends, but she was sure that both of them would be successful in their pursuits.
Thorfinn and Antonin had just finished with their showers. They were both toweling off after their Quidditch game. It had been Slytherin vs. Gryffindor, a crowd favorite. Slytherin had won. Of course. The final score was 210 to 90. Draco had swooped in at the final second, stealing the snitch from right out of Potter's hands. Harry had only been a few inches away from winning the match.
The energy in the room was electric. All of the quidditch players were still riding the high from winning a game against their main house rivals. Draco was absolutely smug. He detested Potter and loved rubbing his achievements in Harry's face. Tonight was just kindle for the flames.
"Amazing job there, Draco!" "You really showed Potter!" "Did you see the look on the Gryffindor's face!? I swore he was about to cry!" Laughs were shared all around the room.
"Bloody hell, that was outstanding!" Exclaimed Draco. "This game will definitely make me a shoe-in for the exchange!"
"Exchange? What exchange?" Flint asked.
"You didn't hear it from me, but-"
At those few words, everyone in the locker room tuned into their conversation.
"Apparently, after the holidays, Dumbledore is sending a group of students to take part in a cultural exchange with Durmstang. From what I've heard, they're selecting the top students from the 7th and 6th years to go. They're also selecting a few quidditch players as well. Rumor has it that the Durmstrang headmaster specifically requested the players to be in attendance because he wanted to hold a small quidditch game versus Hogwarts since Viktor Krum is still a student there. I expect Dumbledore to announce the exchange within the next few days."
Everyone knew that Draco's father was on the board of education. If Draco said this was happening then it was definitely happening. He was getting all of his information from the source. He had no reason to lie about it and he absolutely loved the spotlight. Dishing out the latest gossip was one of his favorite hobbies.
"Who's leading the exchange? I figure Dumbledore can't leave Hogwarts since he's the headmaster."
"Snape is. Evidently, Snape and the head of Durmstrang have a history. He's known as one of the few people Snape can tolerate aside from my father of course."
"Durmstrang is known for teaching their students dark magic and Snape has been rumored to dabble in the Dark Arts. It doesn't surprise me that Snape is one being sent to go." Marcus added. "Hey, does that mean he'll be taking his daughter too? It is an all-boys school, but I doubt he'd be willing to leave her behind."
At the mention of Hermione, Thorfinn switched from leisurely tuning in to actively listening and dissecting. His fists clenched at the thought of all those boys lusting after his witch and she was his witch. She just didn't know it yet.
"Well, she is at the top of her class in every class. Plus, you're right, my godfather wouldn't want to leave her behind. Thinking about it, she'll definitely be going. She spent a few years in Russia and Sofia in specific so she definitely speaks Bulgarian. That witch is like an encyclopedia. I think she knows over 20 languages," Draco mused.
The boys had finished getting dressed and changed the subject to the party waiting for them in the Slytherin dorms.
Making their way out of the lockers, Draco was going on and on about snogging witches.
Antonin loathed the little prick. He loved ruffling the young Malfoy's feathers. "Stop exaggerating Malfoy, we all know the only witch that would give you the time of day is Parkinson," Antonin quipped.
Pansy Parkinson fancied herself the future Mrs. Malfoy. She followed Draco around like a love sick puppy. If he said jump, she'd say "yes Master". Unfortunately for Draco, Parkinson wasn't well known for her looks. Her attitude was even worse. Behind her back, many of the Slytherins likened her to a rabid pug. After all, her nose did resemble a pug.
Draco spluttered, "shut your mouth, Dolohov! You don't know what you're talking about. I have plenty of witches who want me and I don't see Pansy like that."
"Does Pansy know that?" he replied with a smirk. Raising his eyebrow, "where are these witches you boast about? I sure have never seen you with anyone else other than Crabbe and Goyle. Last I checked, they weren't witches. But I could be wrong, maybe they're just really ugly witches."
The entire team burst into laughter. Draco's cheeks flushed with embarrassment. His eyes narrowed and he began staring daggers at Antonin. If looks could kill, Antonin would be dead 3 times over.
Quickening his pace towards the dungeons, Draco yelled out, "I'll show you witches! I'll snog a witch at the party in front of everyone and you'll be eating your words!"
Wagging his finger, "Crabbe and Goyle don't count."
Another round of laughter erupted from the quidditch players. Draco was just out of earshot, but he definitely heard him.
That night, Pansy Parkinson had her first kiss in the middle of the Slytherin common room, all eyes were on her, and it was perfect.
Draco did indeed snog a witch just not the witch he was hoping for and he was hoping for any other witch.
Okay. I think I have a problem. I've been way too into writing. I'm really churning out these chapters. I'd post them even faster if I didn't take the time to edit them but alas. I gotta put in some effort into grammar.
P.S. There are several ways to pronounce Asmodeus. In this story, I'm pronouncing it as AS - MOE - DAIS.
You asked for Ron and Harry, I give you Ron and Harry. They won't be playing a huge part in this story. They'll mainly play a part as the Weasley cast off or A thorn in Draco's side.
I've recently gone back through each chapter to add additional spacing between dialogue sentences. I've also changed the dashes I use to separate scenes into XXXs.