The Spice of Life


August 1999

Severus was proudly walking with his pregnant young wife on the streets of Hogsmeade. His Apothecary was a success, and he could take a few moments of break to take his wife to choose a cradle for the baby-to-be. They had Apparated to the shop, chosen a solid and durable cradle - Severus wanted to have more than one child - and now they were calmly walking back home.

Ginevra was more beautiful than ever with her sweetly rounded belly and her face rosy with excitement. Finally, the nightmares of the war seemed to be receding into distant memory, and Ginevra could smile again.

The great paradox was that it had been the war that had brought them together.

Ginevra's voice awakened him from his musings. "Severus, I talked to my mother yesterday."

"What else is new? She has been visiting us every single day."

Ginevra laughed. "Oh, you know how it is, it's her first grandchild."

Severus was about to comment on the incompetence of Molly's sons in giving her grandchildren when he remembered the deaths of the twins in the war and Bill's painful situation, and decided to keep silent.

"Mum wants us to lunch in the Burrow next Sunday," added Ginevra.

Severus was going to protest that they went to lunch there every Sunday, but the hasty approach of a figure coming from the opposite direction started him. The clumsy young man almost stumbled into Ginevra. Severus pulled her to himself and braced himself to charge at the reckless brat.

"Harry!" exclaimed Ginevra.


Severus froze immediately, and yet his heart beat faster. He felt confused, and didn't react at all. For a moment, he thought that Harry Potter and his wife would fall into each other's arms and kiss each other ardently, but that didn't happen. Ginevra just held Potter by his shoulders, and Potter touched her arms.

"I didn't know you had come back!"

"Oh, I arrived just the day before yesterday."

"And you didn't call me? And mum, didn't you call her either?"

"Er, I was going to do that today."

Potter stared at Ginevra's belly, fascinated and visibly embarrassed. Severus suppressed his impulse to gloat, who would have thought I would win the girl in the end? Only then did Potter look at Severus. The young man's embarrassment seemed to grow. Severus couldn't help noticing that Potter was charming even when he blushed.

"Snape..." he said, with a nod.

"Potter. I hope you will excuse us. We have other matters to attend to."

"Severus!" protested Ginevra. "We haven't seen Harry for almost a year. The other matters can wait."

"Oh, I don't want to keep you. I'm sure there'll be other opportunities. It was nice to meet you," said Potter, faking a smile and looking about to go.

"Why don't you lunch with us in the Burrow next Sunday? Talk to mum. I'm sure she'll invite you."

"Okay. See you!"

Potter walked away, and Ginevra didn't talk for the rest of the walk. Severus felt as if storm clouds were gathering over his head. And into his head too. He hated feeling like that, and hated Harry Potter for making him feel like that.


Harry was back! Ginny didn't know if she was happy or not. Harry's return had left her excited and anxious. She still loved him, of course. Not like she loved Severus. With Severus it was a different thing; a more solid and intense feeling. Harry had been a heroic passion, a childhood passion. Unforgettable, but unreal.

Severus was very real. And Harry's return had clearly troubled him.

Severus was crazy about Harry, Ginny knew that too well. The truth was that it had been a common passion for Harry that had brought them together.

After the episode of Dumbledore's death, Severus had become a wanted man. In spite of that, Severus had continued passing crucial information to the Order and protecting Harry.

Harry had broken up with Ginny to protect her, but she hadn't stopped helping Harry secretly in his quest for the Horcruxes. That had been when she had met Severus, and he had provided her a key clue. Ginny had become the contact between Severus and the Order, always keeping secret the identity of her source.

Ginny knew that she had been his anchor and his lifeline. Severus was, back then, a solitary, bitter man who, against everything and everyone, wanted to fulfil his mission and finish with Voldemort. Severus, the antihero, had found a place in Ginny's heart, where before only the hero of her childhood was allowed.

When Harry had finally defeated Voldemort, he had felt too exhausted and stunned. The pressures on him had been enormous, and he felt guilty for the many losses. When the war had ended, Harry had disappeared from the Wizarding World. Severus had been imprisoned and judged; Ginny had testified in his favour in the Wizengamot trial. Severus had been declared innocent. He had opened an Apothecary in Hogsmeade. Ginny had gone after him, and they had started a relationship.

Three months later, they had married. The war had shown them that life was too short and that there was no time to lose.

Now, eight months after their marriage, when Ginny was seven months pregnant, Harry was back.

And Severus was visibly shaken.


Only after they had gone to bed did Ginny find the courage to speak.

"Severus, you still love him, don't you?"

"Me? You were his sweetheart. He was your first love. The one you will never forget," Severus declaimed bitterly.

"Well, you had an unforgettable love in your life too, and I don't believe it's just a coincidence that that was Harry's mother."

"Lily is dead. It's completely different."

"But Harry's alive, and don't tell me he doesn't affect you."

"Potter loathes me. I never had any hope of having him. It's not like you and him. You were in love with each other. You had a relationship. You certainly hoped he would marry you."

Ginny gave a mischievous smile. "Are you jealous of me?"

"Don't play with me like that."

"Do you think I'd leave you for him?"

A pained expression crossed Severus's face. Her husband was so transparent. How could he have been such a good spy? Or perhaps she felt he was transparent just because she knew him better than anyone else.

"I hope you at least think about our daughter before..."

Ginny interrupted him, "Don't be silly! Do you really think I would do such a thing? Do you have so little trust in me?"

Severus shook his head, looking utterly lost. "I don't know. Potter has always had the gift for turning my life upside-down."

"I love you, and I love what we have built together. This won't change because Harry's back."

Ginny wrapped an arm around her husband's waist, and he buried his face in the curve of her neck.


The next day, Saturday, when someone knocked on their door and she went to open it, Ginny wasn't surprised to see it was Harry. "Hi, Harry."

"Ginny. I'm sorry I didn't warn you I was coming, but... I didn't know if I'd really have the courage to come."

Ginny smiled. "Come in, let's have a seat and talk."

Harry entered, and Severus approached the two of them.


"Oh, hello, Snape."

Harry stretched his hand out to Severus, who squeezed it - perhaps too hard, from the way Harry reacted.

When Severus released him, Harry turned to Ginny and handed her a package.

"It's for the baby."

"Oh, thank you, Harry, how sweet of you. Have a seat, please!" Ginny guided him to an armchair, and then sat on the sofa with Severus beside her. Then she tore the paper off the present eagerly, revealing a white baby overall with a little cauldron logo. That was unexpected. "Oh, how lovely! Look, Severus!"

Almost as unexpected as the present was the smile that curled up Severus's lips. Severus stared at Harry intently, as only Severus could stare. "That was kind of you, Potter."

Harry smiled. "My first choice would be a Golden Snitch, you know... But I didn't think you would appreciate it."

"I wouldn't like to see my baby running after a Golden Snitch, at least for the next ten years," said Ginny, shuddering. "But Harry, where have you been all this time?"

"Oh, I've travelled the world and the seven seas. I've been to Europe, Asia and the Pacific Islands. I've been to the rainforest in Brazil, and to the ice cap in Greenland. I've been everywhere."

As Harry's tone was blasé and he didn't seem eager to talk about his travels, Ginny dropped the subject.

"And now are you planning to stay around? By the way, where are you staying?"

"Believe it or not, I'm in Grimmauld Place."

"Ugh. You're brave to stay there."

"I'm planning to finish Hogwarts. As you know, I dropped out before the seventh year."

Ginny had only finished the fifth year. She had gotten six OWLs! She didn't see any need to go back and finish Hogwarts. She liked to work on potions with Severus, and he was the best Potions master in the entire Wizarding World.

"Do you have career plans?" asked Severus.

"Maybe I can stay at Hogwarts, teaching Quidditch, or Defence Against the Dark Arts. The first position that becomes vacant."

Ginny looked at Severus. She was happy that he hadn't made any sardonic comment so far. He must have been restraining himself.

"So you will teach my daughter," Severus finally commented. "Are you qualified for such a heavy responsibility?"

"The mere thought makes me tremble," replied Harry, and Ginny couldn't tell if he was joking or not. "But I'm sure you'll follow her studies carefully and, if I make a mistake, you won't forget to mention it to me. It will be good for me."


"Yeah. I need challenge. I've learned that while I was away," said Harry, his eyes fixed on Severus.

Ginny shivered. The energy that passed between Severus and Harry was palpable. Maybe Severus would have a chance with Harry, after all.

Severus's voice awakened her from her daydream. "Potter, Ginevra and I would like you to be our daughter's godfather."

Ginny gaped. They hadn't talked about that at all! That was a lovely idea, but... Severus was risking too much.

"Me? Godfather? But... I don't deserve it. I've never done anything for you. I'm not worthy."

"Then make yourself worthy, Mr Potter."

"Oh, please, can't you call me Harry, since I'm going to be... er... family?"

Severus closed his eyes for a moment. Ginny's heart raced.

"Of course, Harry." Severus tried to sound natural, but his voice wavered. "As long as you call me by my first name too."

Harry still had his eyes fixed on Severus's. "Right, Severus."

Severus blinked, unable to hold Harry's gaze. Then he stood up, walked to the bar and produced a bottle of champagne and three flutes. "Let's toast to us. Just half a glass for Ginevra; she shouldn't drink more than that."


When Harry left, Severus found himself alone with his wife again. She opened her arms to him, and he carefully held her by the waist.

"You surprised me. If he really goes to Hogwarts, we'll see him very little, but even so... do you think it's wise to bring him into our lives?" asked Ginevra.

"We are like Harry, Ginevra: we need challenge."

"It's true. It's wise of you to have understood that."

"I was afraid of losing you. But what you said last night gave me confidence."

"Thank you for trusting me."

Severus gently held his witch and his witch-to-be, the two things that had come to be most precious to him in all the world.



See also the lovely fanart by Karasu Hime.


The Spice Series
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Ptyx, June 2006