And Snape’s to Blame
Professor Sprout didn’t notice the two girls trying to get her attention as she hurried down the corridor to the Teachers’ Lounge.
The gargoyles who had guarded the doors so well had disappeared as quickly and mysteriously as they had arrived. Missing their cheery greeting, she pulled open the door and saw the Potions Master.
“Severus! I just found out, I’m going to be a mother this summer and you’re responsible!”
The Hufflepuffs skidded to a halt and stared at each other, inching closer. They could hear Snape’s voice but not his words. Then Professor Flitwick saying, “I knew we should have chaperoned the two of you.”
Then, as if unconcerned, Snape again, “What do you think of the names Albus and Minerva?”
McGonagall’s voice, wearily, “Explain yourselves.”
The door shut with a snap. After the briefest of pauses the girls turned and dashed to their common room.
Severus had been surprised that Minerva had taken the news so well. She didn’t approve of teachers becoming too involved. Professionalism was the keystone of teaching in her opinion. She had reminded the staff more than once that it was important to maintain a distance, no matter how much one cared. But she had merely nodded at Pomona’s news and said, “Actually, Severus, I expected something like this. What did your husband say, Pomona?”
Sprout laughed, “He’s strutting like a rooster! He thinks he’ll have someone to make rounds with him at the hospital. Always wanted one of the children to follow in his footsteps. His time has come!”
“Are you going to let the child know about your role in this?” Minerva asked Severus.
Sometimes she could be too inquisitive. She could take a page from her own book, he thought.
“When the time is right, Minerva.” He stood, “I have work before dinner.” And made his exit.
Sprout jumped up as quickly, “So do I; later, Minerva, Filius.”
Severus and Pomona strode together down the empty passageway. “We’ll name them Albus and Minerva, that was the crowning touch, Severus! What could she say then?”
His response was lost to the two Ravenclaw boys in the side corridor who stared at each other. “Who are they naming Albus and Minerva?”
The other boy shrugged, “A potion?”
“Whoever heard of an Albus and Minerva Potion?”
Cho Chang was on her way to return books to the library when she over heard a gang of younger students gossiping. Cho recognized a few of the Ravenclaws but it was two Hufflepuffs who seemed to be doing the talking. She paused at the edge of the group to listen.
“I heard her myself! She said she was expecting this summer. And she said, “Severus you are to blame!”
Some of the students seemed convinced but not all.
“Are you sure that’s what you heard?” someone asked.
“Wait! We heard them too!” a Ravenclaw boy insisted. “It’s twins! We heard Professor Sprout telling Snape that Albus and Minerva were good names. And they’ve told Professor McGonagall already.”
“Potions classes use plants from the Herbology greenhouses. Sprout and Snape must work together. Who else would they meet? They live here all the time.”
“But isn’t Sprout married?” someone else countered.
“No, teachers aren’t married! Where would the families live?” a different voice insisted.
“It’s a big castle.”
Cho looked at the faces of the four. In spite of the protests of the others, these four stood fast. They certainly seemed to be telling the truth. She shook her head and continued to the library. She glanced around and saw another 6th year Ravenclaw at a table. Sitting beside her, she whispered, “Have you heard about Sprout and Snape?”
The other girl shook her head, tossing a glance toward Luna, who appeared lost in a book at the other end of the table. Cho continued, “I’ve heard that she’s expecting twins this summer and Snape’s to blame.”
The other girl gave a bark of laughter that earned them a stern look from Madam Pince. After a moment, she said, “I don’t see it. Sprout and Snape?”
“I know, hard to believe, isn’t it?” Cho agreed. “But the girl I heard it from heard it from Sprout herself.”
“Professor Sprout told her House?”
Cho shrugged. “What are we doing in here? Let’s go.”
Luna peered at the departing Ravenclaws and frowned. She closed her book and went to the corridor and after a moment turned toward the hospital wing.
The ward was quiet and glum when she entered and she was greeted with mumbled hellos. “I have news that will amuse you.” She said.
“Nothing could amuse me now,” Hermione argued, trying to find a more comfortable position.
Luna checked to make sure neither Madam Pomfrey nor Madam Umbridge could hear. “Professor Sprout is going to have twins this summer and Professor Snape is to blame.”
After brief shocked silence Ginny burst into laughter and Ron exclaimed, “You’re nutters!”
“I heard it from Cho Chang who heard it from a Hufflepuff who was told by Professor Sprout herself.”
“Isn’t Sprout a little old to be having a baby?” Ron asked.
“Well, so was Mum, when I was born.” Ginny offered.
“Professor Sprout told a student that she and Professor Snape are expecting twins? That’s exactly the wording?” Hermione asked carefully.
“Well, maybe it’s paraphrased a little, but it’s the same meaning.”
“I don’t know.” Hermione continued. “I’d rather know just who said it and exactly what they said. And how they heard it in the first place. I mean, I’m sure you’re sincere, but someone could be wrong.”
“I might be able to believe Sprout could be pregnant. Mind, it would be hard to believe, but Snape? If any woman alive could find Snap attractive, well then, I’m Professor Dumbledore!” Ron argued.
“You know, if you were just a little taller, and had a white beard, you would look like him.” Luna agreed.
“How could I be here, and in the Headmaster’s office at the same time? Two places at once?”
Luna took her time, “How do you know you’re in your office then?”
Ginny interrupted, “What are they naming them? Not something snaky like Susan and Silas Snape I hope?”
“Albus and Minerva,” Luna answered.
“Professor Spout doesn’t look pregnant.” Hermione countered. “And it doesn’t sound right.”
“Who could tell in those robes?” Ginny asked. She gave Neville a curious look, “What’s wrong?”
He shook his head. “I don’t believe it. Not… Not Snape.”
Madam Pomfrey opened the far door and came down the hall. “Move along now, time for dinner.”
Luna and Neville left, going straight to the Great Hall. Neville was lost to his own thoughts but Luna was listening to the talk in the hallways.
So too was Snape as he made his rounds through the castle toward the Great Hall by the longest possible route. The stress of O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T. combined with the incident at the Ministry of Magic and the year of Umbridge had taken a toll on the students. Now that the term almost over, most of them were looking more relaxed than he had seen them in months.
They were of course, still wary of him, as they should be. Although he hadn’t been taking as many points lately. The Inquisitorial Squad had taken the fun out of it. Conversations faded or stopped completely as he approached. He heard enough to know the Weasleys were still a major subject. The word “twins” kept popping up as students darted a glance in his direction.
He came to the Great Hall on schedule and entered through the main doors rather than going around to the back entrance. As he strode down the aisle by the Hufflepuff table one of the 5th years called his name, “Professor Snape?!”
He wasn’t used to being addressed in quite that tone, but he stopped, peered at the girl and answered in a silky, dangerous tone, “Yes.”
She stared at him as if in shock. And suddenly her neighbor asked, “We were wondering sir, when we’ll get our O.W.L. results.”
It was an incredibly stupid question. “July. Just as you were told before the tests began.”
“Oh, yes sir. We forgot. Sorry, sir.”
He glared at the four girls in turn and continued up the aisle to the Staff table. He did not see the entire house of Hufflepuff, as if one, turn their heads to follow his progress. Nor see their eyes grow wide when he paused to lean down and speak to Professor Sprout before moving to his own seat.
None of the teachers noticed that the entire student body froze when Snape and Sprout stood and left the table together. “Sprout is expecting and Snape is to blame,” was whispered by more than one student.
Neville had an appointment with Sprout after dinner. And, summoning all his courage, he worked the question into the meeting. “If you don’t mind, Professor Sprout… there’s been some talk, and I was wondering if you could clear it up for me…”
“Yes, Longbottom, what sort of talk?”
“Well, it’s being said that…you’re expecting a guest this summer.” It was the way his Gran usually said it and it came out in a rush. He waited for her answer.
“I’m surprised it’s out, but yes.”
“Oh, that’s nice,” he said, because it seemed that was what one should say.
“Well, good enough, Longbottom. If anyone might object it would be you but the child can’t help who his father is, can he?”
“No,” he squeaked, desperately wishing he could Disapparate.
“I don’t think a young Slytherin will be much harder to watch out for than any other lad.”
“No, erm, I’m sure he’ll be a good Slytherin… I should go now….”
Sprout chuckled as Longbottom hurried back to ward the castle, surprised at both his embarrassment and understanding.
By morning the story was completely though the Houses. Not everyone had the same version. But most agreed Sprout was pregnant and Snape was to blame. A good portion of the Slytherin House had their doubts. Very few doubted that Snape might be to blame, but not many pictured Sprout as his partner. And as there were quite a few Slytherin girls who could see Snape as appealing, most thought that either a Hufflepuff 7th year (“of age, you know”) or a local witch were more likely candidates.
And it was decided by the usual method that one of the 7th year prefects should approach the Professor and find out. She wasn’t happy about her election, but she was determined. “Enter,” Snape called to the knock.
“Good morning, sir.”
“Sir, I’d like to speak frankly and to the point.”
He frowned. This sounded ominous. “Yes.”
“Sir there is a rumor in the school…” He moved slightly and she froze. Snape was wondering if someone was talking about Death Eaters or the Order, or if an escape from Azkaban had been rumored. She continued, “Sir, it’s being said that you…. That this coming summer…” she hoped he would step in and say it for her, but he merely stared at here with dark beady eyes. “Sir, everyone is saying that you…You will be taking on paternal responsibilities… ”
Without moving or speaking he made himself dangerous. She could sense the anger and at last he spoke in a most cold whisper, “Students should mind their own business and let the teachers mind their affairs.” He paused, “Good day.”
Neville went to report to his friends in the hospital ward; “You asked her if she was expecting and she said yes”, Hermione persisted.
“And she told you Snape is the father?”
“All, but! She said the baby couldn’t help who his father is and she said the baby was a Slytherin. So who else could it be?”
Harry was pacing, “It’s stupid!”
The others exchanged glances. No one was going to counter Harry. He looked up as Madam Pomfrey approached and asked, “Madam Pomfrey, are any of the teachers dating each other?”
She stared, shocked. “That is, Harry Potter, for Grownups. Run along, all of you.”
The frazzled Slytherin prefect rushed back to the relative safety of the Slytherin common room. “He said they’re having an affair. He and Sprout.”
“Professor Snape told you that!”
“Well, you know how he likes to be subtle. He said to let him mind his own affairs. It’s there in the wording, you just have to know how to interpret it.”
“So, Professor Sprout is having a baby or twins and our Professor is to blame.”
“It seems so.”
Everyone stared, lost in thought, except for Theo Nott. He sat apart and smiled to himself and wondered at the fools around him.
After the last student left for the Hogwarts Express Professors Sprout, Snape and McGonagall met in the Headmaster’s office. “Has it all been settled then?” Dumbledore asked Minerva.
“You know I don’t usually approve of this sort of thing, but I can’t see any better solution. Severus has talked Nott’s father into giving him guardianship of the boy through his 17th year until he graduates from Hogwarts.”
“Nice touch, Severus.”
Severus nodded, “I don’t want him able to make any foolish decisions.”
Minerva went on, “And Sprout and her husband have agreed to foster young Nott this summer.”
“Adam is meeting him at King’s Cross Station this evening.” Sprout added.
Dumbledore’s eyes narrowed and he nodded, “He’s planning to be a Healer, isn’t he?”
Severus nodded, but it was Sprout who spoke, “Adam has plans to take Nott on rounds at St. Mungo’s.” Sprout laughed, “As much as I enjoy the grandchildren, it will be nice having a young person around who can carry on a conversation. Particularly one as bright as Nott.”
“Well done, then!” Dumbledore agreed.
And on the train there were still amazed comments; “Professor Sprout is expecting and Professor Snape is to blame.”
This was written in response to a challenge to blame Snape for something he isn’t usually blamed for. That challenge was inspired by a heated debate that ran quite a while on the Harry Potter for Grownups group at Yahoo!
Thanks so much to Gufa who beta-read this.