cthulhuchan: (Cuddle Cthulhu)
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Disclaimed in Part I

As I've put my next fest fic up for the loverly [livejournal.com profile] isidore13 to beta, I figured I'd release the next bit of Bellum Umbrae which [livejournal.com profile] isidore13 actually finished with a while ago ;) Yes, I'm still working on it.



The real problem, Snape realized, as he watched Harry Potter -- his husband -- stride determinedly out of the Great Hall, was that when it came down to it, he didn’t really mind the notion of being married to the sodding Boy-Who-Lived (or whatever ridiculous moniker that the Daily Prophet had dreamed up this week.) His memory of Harry’s sacrifice upon the altar of his body was fragmented and dreamlike, not at all unlike the intensely sexual dreams he’d been having about the boy for weeks.

They’d begun perhaps two weeks before his capture -- damn Goyle and his own witlessness -- intense dreams about the boy-who-was-no-longer-a-boy. Something had changed within Potter and he’d burned Snape’s senses with hidden fire, power calling to power. He’d found himself stumbling near him, flush with arousal, fettered by the luminous darkness that spilled from the man -- boy, God Damn It -- in a shadowy cascade.

“Fool,” he snarled at the retreating back.

“With all due respect, Magus Umbrae, Harry isn’t the one who’s the fool.”

The Granger girl stared up at him with cool, dark eyes, unnaturally poised in the deepening gloom. Shadows flocked to him, cloaking him in gentle darkness, comforting him as he felt something within him tear.

“Fifty points --”

“Don’t be absurd, Professor, it’s a little late now to try and keep Hufflepuff from winning the cup.” The words were lightly mocking, though her eyes glowed with an odd affection.

“My only desire is to see that Gryffindor begins the year in negative territory.”

“Oh, of course.” Her lips quirked the same razored smile that she offered Dumbledore whenever he came around.

“Is there something you wished to say to me, Miss Granger?” he sneered

“Magus Umbrae, you will treat my lady with respect.”

The voice behind him came as an unwelcome surprise as it belonged to one of Malfoy’s hulking brutes.

“Mr. Crabbe.”

“Granger, actually.” The young man shouldered past him without regard to his status. “I suppose that this is as good a time as any to announce it.”

“Vincent --” Granger sounded exasperated as the boy knelt before her. “Get up.”

“My Lady, I am yours to do with what you will.”

“I know that, and I will that you stand up you idiot. Consort or not, I won’t have you subservient.” Vincent laughed and the girl blushed. “Well, not generally, anyway.”

The Great Hall was silent as Vincent -- Granger -- stood and offered his hand to his Lady. “I vow before this assemblage that the lineage of Crabbe is no more, its name dishonored and its family dispersed. Unnamed and unknown have I come unto this place and offered my wand to Hermoine Granger, Mistress of the Wards and Lady of Hogwarts. She is my charge, my life and my home, Lady and beloved.”

The Granger-girl stood, dry-eyed but smiling. “Be it known before this assemblage that from this day forward that I have taken Vincent Sine Nomen into my home, my life and my protection. Into my household do I take him and Vincent Granger shall he be, Consort and beloved.”

The bond between them flared, sun-bright but not blinding, and he found himself whispering, “As you will it, so mote it be, ” as shadows danced upon the walls.

“Miss Granger --” Albus’ voice echoed oddly in the after-image.

Lady Granger.” Vincent’s wand was out, grasped casually between his fingers.

“My dear boy,” the Headmaster started.

“Headmaster, I think we should take this to your office,” interrupted McGonagall.

“Quite right,” the old man gazed around the room and then caught Flitwick’s eye. The little man nodded and Dumbledore gestured that the couple precede him out the doors.

Snape trailed behind them, feeling oddly lost. Granger glanced back at him, mischief dancing like inebriated pixies in her eyes.

“Severus, it is not necessary --”

“Oh, I disagree, Headmaster,” the girl interrupted him blithely, flicking a finger at the gargoyle, which obligingly jumped aside. “Professor Snape really does need to hear this. It would be better if it were all of the Heads of House, but someone must monitor the ravening horde.”

With that, Hermione Granger flitted up the stairs her footsteps almost soundless against the ancient stones.

Her consort laughed, a wicked sound completely at odds with the strained guffaws Snape had overheard in the Slytherin dorms and he faintly wondered if he’d ever before heard Vincent Crabbe’s unshadowed amusement.

“It seems we must follow them.”

“Indeed we must, Headmaster.” McGonagall’s nod was prim, yet satisfied, something that Snape found oddly intriguing.

“What is going on?”

“A moment, Severus,” and she smiled at him, a good-natured quirk of lips he could not rightly recall seeing before, except that it was so often there, in the corner of his eye. Dumbledore headed up the stairs first, and he followed at a stately pace with the Head of Gryffindor on his arm, feeling the oddest urge to smile back.

The office they came into was not the one that any of them were quite expecting, although he supposed he should not be surprised to see Granger sitting on the front edge of a desk being snogged senseless by her lover.

“My dear child, what is this?” It was odd, hearing Albus Dumbledore clearly at a loss.

“Not to worry, Headmaster, your office is still intact, it’s just not living here right now.” Granger hopped off the edge of the desk. “I’ve brought you here so you can understand something.”

“And what is that, Miss Granger.”

“Lady Granger.”

“I am unaware of any action that has entitled Miss Granger to that particular appellation, Vincent.”

The girl shook her head at him and Snape found himself feeling oddly chastised. “Do you know what happened in the battle for the school, Professor?”

Snape stared at her and Minerva cleared her throat gently.

“Severus, you may be unaware that the Great Ward was broken when --” she stopped, closing her eyes.

Crabbe -- remembering to call him Granger would certainly be a challenge -- broke in with, “-- when the Dark Queen spilled her brother’s blood.”

Snape nodded, he hadn’t been so oblivious as to not notice the absence of both Weasley children. “I am told that you dueled her and won.”

The Granger-chit sneered at him. “You could say that.”

“Nah, you couldn’t. You wiped the floor with her and then proceeded to use her to stop up rat holes.”

Albus choked.

“Thanks for the analysis,” Hermione gritted. “That’s such a lovely image.”

“Not as lovely as your --“

“Finish that sentence at your own risk, Vincent.”

“Cat. I was going to say cat.”

“Crookshanks is, I am certain, just as impressed with that save as I am. At this moment I’m sure he’s licking his balls in your general direction.”

Vincent wrinkled his nose at her. “You --“

“Enough foreplay, if you will, and let us proceed to the rampant buggery.” It was amusing to see Minerva’s eyes bug out. Granger, on the other hand, just laughed.

“I’ll leave that to you and Harry, if you don’t mind, Magus,” said the ever-polite Granger, with that razor-edged smile. He glared at her, despite developing an odd fondness for that cutting curl of lips.

“As you please.”

“Definitely,” said Vincent and she elbowed him in the ribs. The boy – young man – winced theatrically, laughing.

“You might have noticed that the Great Ward is not currently missing, Magus.” Granger noted, rolling her eyes at her consort.

“I had assumed that the Headmaster had seen to that after the battle.”

Hermione shook her head. “Do you have any notion of what it takes to set the kinds of wards that are threaded through the castle?”

“It takes a great deal of power.”

“Well, if that isn’t the obvious statement for the day.”

Granger stepped on her consort’s toes without any subtlety at all.

Albus snickered. The girl glared at him as well. Just as well, it spared him the effort.

“When a warding structure is brought down by death magic, how do you restore it professor?”

How had his erstwhile husband withstood that pedantic lecturing?

“Life magic, any imbecile knows that.” He stared at her and then at Dumbledore. A seventeen-year-old girl, in the heat of battle...? “Bloody Gryffindors.”

“You could say that,” said Vincent. “No half measures for my beloved.”

“As you have so correctly assessed, Severus, it is Miss Granger who returned the Ward to power.”

“Headmaster, do you know that you are an incalculably enormous fool?”

“I am aware that I have a great many failings my dear child.” The old man’s blue eye shone with good humor. “Did you know that—”

“Blood of life versus blood of death, Magus,” Granger interrupted him. “I offered my life and service to the Castle… and it accepted.”

“The Castle is a pile of stones with only limited understanding,” Snape grated.

“If you choose to think of it that way, Magus.”

“For love of God, girl, call me Severus!”

“Your will, Severus.” She smiled. “You may call me Hermione, if you wish. The Castle is a great deal more than ‘just a pile of stones,’ as you called it. It has a knowledge and a will that have been… denied, shall we say?... for a great many years. It is most displeased, you know, that Voldemort and his followers were ever allowed access to it, and that the Headmasters have not done more in the past to prevent such things.”

“You must be joking,” said Minerva, lips pinched tightly. “The Headmaster –”

“Is much like those who have come before him… he was appointed by the so-called Board of Governors, a body that does not even exist in the Hogwarts Charter and was legislated by the Ministry when they found the Headmasters of Hogwarts to be too obdurate, too unyielding, and generally too damn right to control.” Granger – no, Hermione – huffed in annoyance. “I suspect that it was about that time that the blood-binding of the Headmaster was eliminated. The Ministry would not have wanted anyone to have the power that the Master of the Castle and Wards commands.”

“You make it sound as though you are a power to be reckoned with.”

Crabbe – Granger – hell, Vincent – rolled his eyes. “She is. She was even before this, but the Ministry is in for a shock.”

“May we sit down, Miss Granger?”

“Lady Granger, old man.” Despite the young man’s obvious subservience to the Granger chit, it was clear that he didn’t feel it for much of anyone else. “Don’t make me warn you again.”

“Lady Granger, then,” said Albus. “Unless I may call you Hermione?”

Severus’ brow rose minutely, something, he told himself, of a nervous tic. The Headmaster had always called students by their names, even after they had left school, bypassing the courtesy of asking permission. Granger’s flash of teeth showed that she understood the offer though.

“Of course, Albus.”

Minerva snorted. “Enough of this nonsense, all of you! I thought much better of you, Hermione, than to play little power games.”

“It’s not a little power game, Professor,” said Vincent. “Then again, there is no such thing to a Slytherin.”

“Hermione isn’t a Slytherin, Mr. Granger.”

Snape rather envied Minerva’s ability to say it without hesitation or flinching.

“No, I’m not.” Hermione agreed. “So, if I choose to enter a pissing contest I’m doing it for more than paranoid or frivolous reasons.”

“You aren’t particularly well equipped for pissing contests,” said Vincent.

“You want a spanking, don’t you?”

“Promises, promises.”

“I do believe I’ve had enough of the post-coital glow, ladies and gentlemen.” Snape chose to ignore Hermione’s grateful glance. “Albus has conceded in this slight contest of wills, so if you would please explain why we are here, Lady Hermione.”

Her lips pursed, distaste reflecting briefly on her features. “Of course, Magus Severus.”

That did not sound much better than Magus Umbrae, but he let it pass. She leaned back against the desk, fingers drumming relentlessly against the priceless ebon surface.

“I’m not entirely certain where to begin. There was the battle of course, and the Dark Queen’s sacrifice of her most-loved blood kin.”

“Ginny’s you mean?” asked McGonegall.

Hermione flinched. “The creature I dueled was no more Ginny than Voldemort was Professor Sprout.”

“Refusing to name a thing –”

“—increases the fear of it. Yes, yes, Albus, I have been Harry’s friend for a long time you know.” She ran her hands through her hair. “Thing is, Ginny, the girl I knew and shared secrets with has been gone for a while. I knew that there was something wrong – she’d stopped talking to a number of us, but we all thought that it was because… because Harry had come out to the Tower, and any hope she may have had for a relationship with him was hopeless.”

“Strange.” Snape remarked. “I would have thought that the whole school would have known about that.”

“We kept it quiet, mostly because of the Daily Prophet.” Granger’s smile was deadly, throwing the scar on her cheek into sharp relief. “Moles aside, and I have a few, the Prophet has been most… biased in their opinions about Harry. They’re only too happy to have sensational stories and the Boy-Who-Lived being the Boy-who-Shags-Boys would have been a distraction that he didn’t need.”

“Bastards,” agreed Vincent. “Potter’s a good enough sort, really. Too fucking honest for his own good, is Harry.”

“By all means, Mr. Granger, let us discuss the young man’s more sterling qualities.”

“Stuff it, Snape,” said Vincent, stepping quickly out of the way of his lady’s slow-moving slap. “Poor lad’s in agonies about violating you when anyone with half an eye and a quarter of a brain could have seen you wanted to toss him against the nearest hard surface and experiment with creative shirt-lifting.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Then maybe you need to have an in-depth discussion with your cock, Snape, because it’s certainly got a powerful preference for green-eyed Magi.

“If we could get back on topic?” asked Albus, his twinkling beginning, thank God, to dim.

“Of course, Professor.” Hermione sighed and turned her gaze out the window. “The Dark Queen – Voldemort’s Consort, if you prefer – sacrificed Ron at the center key point of the Wards.”

“The dungeons?” Snape stared at her. “How did you know where to go?”

“Magic.”

“What a singularly uninformative response, Lady Granger.”

“I suppose it is.” Her laughter was neither bitter nor amused. “I felt the Ward collapse, shattered in the waves of Darkness flooding upward from the dungeons. Malfoy was laughing, calling to his mother and I knew, in that moment, what I had to do.”

Brown eyes, like the darkest chocolate turned to the bright tapestries on the walls. “I was so angry with Harry when he left to go find you… so very angry that he would take Neville and Luna and Colin and Blaise of all people to look for you instead of Ron and me. We should have been there, I thought, for the end of it all, for Voldemort’s defeat. Wasn’t that part of what we had fought for? Wasn’t that what we had defied our teachers and the Wizarding world for? Hadn’t we proven ourselves worthy to be at his back when he took the evil bastard down? He denied us that, and in doing so kept the Castle from falling. I didn’t understand, you see. Harry could only do what he needed to do when he knew that Hogwarts would be safe.”

Hogwarts, Snape noted. Not her, nor the lamented Weasley. Hogwarts.

“He entrusted the Castle to you?”

“Yes.” Her gaze pinned the Headmaster. “Magus Lucis did not trust the Headmaster to be able to resist the backlash.”

Albus winced. “Does he know you call him that?”

“Harry,” said Hermione, “is Harry. Magus Lucis Noctusque is someone entirely different. Harry is my friend, but Magus Lucis Noctusque, on the other hand, is my Lord. It is not wise to confuse the two.”

“Does that make me your Lord as well?” purred Snape.

“It makes you the husband and consort of my Lord. It doesn’t necessarily mean I take orders from you.”

“How positively feudal,” hissed McGonegall.

Hermione nodded. “Essentially.”

“Harry Potter is not the king of the Wizarding World, Lady Granger.”

“No.” Her sharp-edged smile was grim. “Not yet.”
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cthulhuchan

May 2011

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