Fic: Two For The Money (SS/HG) Title: Two For The Money Author: Irena Candy Pairing: SS/HG Word Count: 4170 Rating: G, Humor, AU Summary: Severus Snape marries for money. Disclaimer: Anything that you recognize is the property of J.K. Rowling. Everything else is merely the product of this fan's demented imagination. Warning(s): none A/N: Just a bit of fluff.
Two For The Money
Professor Severus Snape looked up, scowling, as a soft knock sounded at his office door.
"Come in!" he said irritably.
He still had all of the fifth-year essays to mark, and was in no mood to deal with the doubtless trivial complaints of some spotty adolescent. His mood wasn't helped by a throbbing headache acquired the night before. He was going to have to give up solitary drinking--or remedy this morning's inexplicable lack of hangover cure in his medicine cabinet.
True to his expectations, the door opened to admit that bushy-haired bane of his existence, Miss Know-It-All Granger.
"What is it, Miss Granger?" he snarled. "My time is limited."
She calmly seated herself in the chair on the other side of his desk, reached into her school bag, and removed a folded sheet of paper, which she held out to him.
"What, pray tell, is that, Miss Granger?"
"It's a certified copy of a Muggle legal document, Sir. I would like you to read it."
Frowning, he took it from her hand with two fingers and unfolded it.
"Last Will And Testament?" He looked up and quirked an inky-black eyebrow at her.
Hermione nodded, delicately smoothing her school robes over her knees. "My Great-Aunt Gladys, on my mother's side. She married one of those American businessmen who fleeced their shareholders, raped their companies, and left with a golden parachute."
"A golden... "
"Never mind," she said hastily. "The only important thing is that Great-Uncle Henry got away with it. They didn't have any children, he left everything to his wife when he expired in the arms of a drunken harlot, and when Great-Aunt Gladys died last week she left me the lot."
"Congratulations," he muttered. "I fail to see what this has to do with me, Miss Granger. If you want investment advice, I suggest you talk to Professor Vector. I'm sure there are Arithmancy algorithms that cover all eventualities."
"Read the end of the last paragraph, Sir."
He lowered his eyes to the document again, and read aloud, "... full possession of the principle on her thirtieth birthday, or upon the date of her marriage."
"She was a very conservative woman," Hermione said, sounding slightly bitter about her great aunt's fiscal reservations, "especially after Great-Uncle Henry's peccadilloes."
"Apparently so. Well?"
"You've been a teacher here for about fifteen years, right? My father's second cousin is a teacher too. He teaches math in a Muggle boarding school and he says that the pay is lousy, the staff are a bunch of back stabbers, and the students are bloody-minded idiots."
Snape refolded the document carefully, wishing that his head would stop throbbing, and handed it back to her. "Granted, I see the similarity, but as much as I may sympathize with your father's second cousin, I fail to see your point, Miss Granger."
She leaned forward, a calculating smile on her seventeen-year old lips.
"Professor Snape, how would you like to marry me for my money?"
"You must be mad," he said flatly. "I'm a middle-aged teacher of Defense Against the Dark Arts, a Death Eater, and a known traitor."
"Plus a brave spy for the underground resistance, and a future recipient of the Order of Merlin, First Class," she said loyally.
"I'm twice your age," he muttered, resting his throbbing head on one hand. His lank black hair hung over half of his face, obscuring most of his hooked nose and, mercifully, hiding the sight of Miss Granger from his aching eyes.
"I've reached the age of consent, and I like mature men," she said with a glint in her eye and a determined note in her voice. "Besides, when you're 120 and I'm 100, who's going to notice?"
"Just why are you.. ah, proposing this, Miss Granger?" he asked, lifting his head to stare at her and brushing the hair out of his eyes with one slightly shaky hand.
"Because I have four years of college ahead of me before I can expect to get a decent job, and if I don't get some real money of my own I'll be expected to live at home with my parents for the foreseeable future, eating health food, being reminded to floss, and never coming within shouting distance of a chocolate covered cherry."
"Hardly the end of the world, Miss Granger."
"But I like chocolate," she said, in that same determined tone, "and I'm sure that there are a lot of other things I would learn to like if I'm not stuck at home with my parents until I'm thirty years old!"
Snape tapped the fingers of one hand on the top of his desk, and stopped abruptly when he realized that he was doing it in time to the pounding in his head.
"Do you mind telling me just how much money is involved?"
"Not at all," she said complacently, and named a figure that in one brief glorious moment cleared up his hangover. "That's as of last quarter, of course. It's gone up since then."
Snape steepled his fingers under his chin and stared at her, bushy cinnamon-colored hair and all. The teeth, he noticed, were no longer as overly large as they had once been, but perhaps that was merely a glamour cast by the idea of all that money.
"Suddenly, you interest me, Miss Granger."
"I thought I might," she said smugly.
"Has it occurred to you that I might agree to your proposal and then disappear to parts unknown with all of your great-aunt's fortune, leaving you destitute?" he asked, in his best baritone purr.
"While I don't believe that you'd be quite so crass, there are such things as pre-nuptial agreements."
"And your idea of a split is what?"
"Three-quarters for me and one-quarter for you," she said promptly. "After death duties, of course."
"Of course," he murmured. He pondered the girl's offer for a few long moments. "I would have thought that Mister Potter, or Mister Weasley..."
"Ron is an unmitigated ass, and Harry is head over heels in love with Ron's sister, Ginny."
"Good points," he admitted, and thought of a life of monied leisure, without snotty students, bickering co-workers, or Dumbledore's skinflint attitude toward departmental budgets.
There was also the little matter of finally getting shagged. A brilliant but impecunious employee of Hogwarts wasn't much of a catch in the first place, and how the hell he was expected to meet women when he was on duty as a sodding Head of House twenty-four-seven for ten months out of the year was beyond him. Or did she intend a purely celibate marriage of convenience? He cleared his throat.
"About the personal aspects of your proposal," he began delicately.
"'Tis a consummation devoutly to be wished," she quoted, the glint in her eye even more pronounced.
His own fathomless jet-black eyes moved down to the rounded curves of her breasts, covered but not concealed by the school robes, and he wondered what she'd look like in a thong bikini. Or less.
"Miss Granger," he said with sudden decision, "I think this calls for a drink, to celebrate our forthcoming connubial understanding."
He reached into the bottom drawer of his desk and pulled out a half-full brandy bottle and two glasses. He poured generous amounts into both glasses and shoved one across the desk toward her.
"To your Great-Aunt Gladys," he said.
"Great-Aunt Gladys," she repeated as they clinked glasses.
One drink led to another and as the brandy hit bottom and the world started to look very rosy indeed, they began discussing the merits of Majorca versus the French Riviera as a honeymoon destination, and whether it would be better to trust to wizarding financial institutions abroad or to convert some of their filthy lucre into Euros.
"There is still the little matter of the Dark Lord, however," Snape said, frowning slightly as he split the remains of the brandy between them. "Our marriage can't be a secret or you won't be able to inherit your great-aunt's fortune. As soon as it becomes public, and the Death Eaters report to the Dark Lord that I've married a Muggle-born witch, my life expectancy is going to diminish drastically."
"Then we'll just have to k-kill Voldemort." Hermione said, with only a slight hiccup.
"I have to kill Dumbledore first," Snape said moodily.
"What!" She blinked and tried to focus on his face.
"I took an Unbreakable Vow," he said. "In fact, I took two of them."
"That was careless of you. They aren't mutually exclusive, are they?"
Snape made sort of a waffling motion in the air with one hand.
"Just what did you swear that you'd do?"
"I swore that I'd do whatever it is that the Dark Lord wants Draco Malfoy to do, if the brat is incompetent to do it himself--which he probably is, the insufferable little prat."
"Who made you take that vow?"
"Well," he said a little apologetically, "it was Narcissa Malfoy."
She looked at him sternly. "Have you been carrying on with that blonde iceberg? Because if you are, it will have to stop after we're married. I intend to be a jealous wife."
Snape beamed at her with a glorious, brandy-induced revelation. "I have always wanted someone who would be jealous of me! I assure you that I have never been involved with Narcissa. For one thing, Lucius would have me neutered if I did. For another, I have just realized that I prefer bushy-haired intellectual brunettes to icy blondes."
It was her turn to beam at him. In fact, she got up from her chair, walked around the desk, and seated herself on his lap, the better to do her beaming.
"What was the other vow?" she asked, after a pleasantly personal interlude, during which they were able to assure each other of their sincere intentions, while exploring certain previously unexpected advantages of being an engaged couple.
It took Snape a while to focus his attention back on the previous conversation, but he eventually picked up the thread. "I swore to Dumbledore that I'd kill him myself if circumstances looked like he was going to be captured, tortured, and killed by Death Eaters."
"That doesn't sound too bad," Hermione said thoughtfully.
"That's rather hard-hearted of you," Snape said, surprised. "I thought you were one of Dumbledore's biggest supporters."
"Oh, I am!" she assured him. "But if Draco is supposed to kill Professor Dumbledore--and I'll bet it's something along that line, because he was probably responsible for the hexed necklace that sent Katie Bell to St. Mungo's, and the poisoned mead that nearly killed Ron--then you're sort of off the hook. One Avada and you've covered both vows."
"Yessss, but I'll still be on the run and accused of murder; a wanted wizard with no opportunity to enjoy your great-aunt's fortune," he said glumly, seeing his visions of a bikini-clad Miss Granger and a tropical beach, with sapphire waters lapping against golden sands, recede into the distance.
"We'll think about that later," Hermione said firmly. "The first thing to do is to get our hands on Great-Aunt Gladys' money. Then we can worry about your other obligations. I have no intention of letting my brand new husband die of unfulfilled vows. Anyway, I'm sure Dumbledore is a powerful enough wizard that he can think of some way to fake his own death and fool the Unbreakable Vow hex."
She snuggled closer and began kissing his throat, working her way around to his lips by way of his right earlobe and cheek. Snape shrugged and tightened his grip on Miss Granger's curves. He might as well die a rich man as a poor one.
* * *
Snape was nervous. Snape was very nervous. It was four days after their discussion in his office and he and Miss Granger--no, Mrs. Snape--were in his rooms at Hogwarts, having sneaked away early that afternoon and Apparated to the closest Ministry Registration Office, where they were officially married. The bored Ministry official who performed the wedding ceremony took the five galleon fee, handed over their copy of the marriage certificate, and assured them that the official paperwork was already on its way to the Ministry's Hall of Records. It was a done deal.
Immediately after the wedding, they paid a visit to Diagon Alley and Gringotts, where they informed the goblins of Hermione's change of status. Gringotts was delighted, and was making plans to convert Great-Aunt Gladys' fortune into galleons and move it to the vaults. The goblin in charge, with a rapacious gleam in his eye that Scrooge would have admired, assured the newly-wed couple that by the time the move was finished, there would be no record of the transaction, or the original sum, in Muggle records--thus bypassing those inconvenient rates and duties. From the Muggle point of view, poor Great-Aunt Gladys died destitute.
Severus Snape, courtesy of his brand new bride, was now a very wealthy man. There were just two little problems. The first was finding a way to stay alive and enjoy the money. The second was deciding how he could explain to his newly-wedded wife that he was, at nearly forty years of age, an inexperienced virgin.
He was unhappily convinced that she would expect him to be a suave and accomplished lover, a sexual swordsman, a Slytherin sex god with advanced training courtesy of the dark revels and drunken orgies of the Death Eaters.
Truth to tell, most of the dark revels consisted of listening to the Dark Lord ramble on about his dire plans for revenge on his enemies until nearly dawn, at which time he would cast a few Crucios out of spite and retire to sleep the day away curled up with Nagini. The Dark Lord never seemed to understand that some of his followers had day jobs and needed their rest.
His band of evil minions generally wandered off to a local caff for an early breakfast and enough coffee to keep them from splinching when they Apparated. After dickering over the bill they went on home and tried to get some sleep of their own. If there actually were any drunken orgies, Severus Snape had never been invited to any of them.
The bathroom door opened and Hermione walked out. She was dressed in a blue flannel nightgown with a high neck, long sleeves, and a kitten embroidered in white on the pocket. She looked at him apologetically.
"I intended to run into Hogsmeade for something a little more... " She blushed slightly. "I just couldn't find the time."
"Ah. Yes, I see."
She picked up her wand from the night stand. "I would hate to tell my children that I wore blue flannel on my wedding night." She flicked the wand along her night gown. It glimmered, coalesced, and Transfigured into a a skimpy, sheer, frothy bit of nearly transparent scarlet silk that showed a great deal of Hermione.
"Just a bit of prestidigitation!" she said triumphantly.
Snape goggled, gulped, picked up his gray flannel pajamas, and fled to the bathroom, shutting the door behind him.
When he emerged pajama-clad some minutes later, Hermione was in bed, with the sheet and duvet pulled up to her chin. Admittedly, his dungeon bedroom was a trifle chilly. He slid into bed next to her. They lay there, side by side, staring at the ceiling.
"Have you known many girls? Women, I mean?"
"Not many. That is to say... "
"You didn't have much opportunity, I suppose, between O.W.L.s and N.E.W.T.s and Death Eater plans and all that?"
"Well, no," he conceded, and coughed nervously.
She turned on her side, head propped on one hand, and surveyed him. He could feel himself start to flush.
"It's all right, Professor. I brought a book."
"With illustrations. I found it in the Restricted Section." She reached over to the nightstand, picked up the book, and handed it to him.
He took the thick red-bound volume with shrinking fingers. It was labeled, in flaking gold script, Wande and Cauldryn: Ye Moste Potente and Secryt Sexe Spells, by Marcus Lascivious; translated from the Latin.
"That was very clever of you," he said in a weak voice.
"We ought to read up on the theory first," she said firmly.
They did. It was fascinating.
The practical aspect, however, was a lot more fun. So much so, in fact, that the sky was growing light again by the time they drifted off into contented and satisfied sleep, both of them thinking ruefully of all the time they had wasted and the opportunities they had doubtless missed. Their night gear lay puddled on the floor and somewhere along the line, without either of them noticing, Professor and Miss Granger became Severus and Hermione.
Hermione woke first, stretching luxuriously in bed. Severus awoke as she turned over to face him, and he looked at her with a broad, lazy, grin.
"Who are you?" she asked, teasingly. "And what did you do with my hair?" she added with a grimace, as she realized that she had a tendency to stick to the pillow.
"I'm your husband, as of 4:35 yesterday afternoon, and I guess we got too carried away with the chocolate fudge sauce."
"Then you'd better come to the bathroom and help me wash it off in the tub," she said, sliding out of bed. "Bring the book."
There are some things that bear repeating before they can be fully appreciated.
After a while they decided that they needed something to eat, to keep up their strength, so they climbed out of the immense tub, banished the bubble bath, tossed on a few clothes, and ordered breakfast--or possibly lunch--from the house-elves.
"We've taken care of marriage and the money," Hermione said briskly, as she wiped the strawberry jam off of her upper lip and picked another chocolate-covered cherry out of the box she'd bought at Honeyduke's. "That just leaves Voldemort and your Unbreakable Vows."
"Those are two definite drawbacks to complete happiness," he agreed.
"We have to do something about that... that deranged psychopath!"
"Redundant," Severus murmured, reaching over to a bowl on the table and scooping up some number of little brownish things to sprinkle on his toast, which was already covered with butter and Marmite.
"Whatever he is... " Hermione paused in her conversation and stared at him. "What are you eating?"
"Cashews," he said succinctly.
"Peanuts are for pansies," he said with a shrug.
Hermione shook her head briefly, as if to re-order her thoughts, and went on. "There's no way around it. Voldemort has got to go."
"What do you have in mind?"
"Obliterate him, or dismember him, or something like that," she said vaguely, buttering a scone and eying Snape's bowl of cashew bits.
"I doubt that can be done. He's made himself pretty invulnerable."
"With Horcruxes, you mean," Hermione said.
Severus sputtered and almost spit coffee over his chest. "How do you know about Horcruxes?" he demanded.
"Dumbledore told Harry all about them, and Harry... "
"Told you and Mister Weasley," Severus said wearily. "It figures. Anyway, if that's what the Dark Lord has done, I think we're out of luck."
"I don't think so. In fact, he's more vulnerable, because he thinks that he isn't vulnerable at all," Hermione said, sprinkling cashew bits on her buttered scone.
"But he can't be killed," Severus pointed out. "That's the whole point of putting part of your soul in a Horcrux."
Hermione smiled and leaned over to kiss him on the cheek. "Voldemort already had a Horcrux when he tried to kill Harry as a baby; at least that's what Dumbledore said. When his curse against Harry backfired, what happened?"
"He lost his body, and his spirit wound up hanging around a desolate forest in Albania."
"And how long did it take him to come back?" she asked, buttering another scone and helping herself to more cashews.
"Thirteen years," Severus said with dawning comprehension.
"Exactly!" Hermione said, sounding relieved that Severus, unlike Harry and Ron, didn't need things spelled out in words of one syllable. "Trying to find four Horcruxes and then kill Voldemort is putting the cart before the horse. What we have to do is kill him first. Then we've got years to look for the Horcruxes before he can get himself together enough to build a new body--or get someone else to do it for him. I'm not going to let that happen! I am going to rid the wizarding world of Voldemort, and an army of snorkblasts couldn't stop me!"
Severus smirked. "I like having a strong-minded wife."
"As for those Unbreakable Vows," Hermione continued, "I think I have a solution for that too."
She rummaged in her school bag, which she had stashed under the table, and took out a neatly hand-lettered parchment stipulating that Albus Percival Wulfric Brian Dumbledore, being of sound mind (which was debatable, of course) had decided to end his long and illustrious career due to old age and irreversible poor health, and therefore designated Severus Snape as his instrument of merciful release. It was headed Statement of Intent: Assisted Suicide.
"If you can't get him to sign it, we'll just have to forge his name," Hermione said, determined not to let anything interfere with the future she had planned--said future involving a life of luxury and shagging Severus Snape six ways from Sunday in various innovative ways, which would be difficult if he was locked up in Azkaban.
* * *
Finding Lord Voldemort in a vulnerable position wasn't as difficult as Hermione and Severus had feared. It did seem to reflect badly on Gawain Robards and his highly trained Aurors that they couldn't manage to follow such clues as a Quibbler article headed, "Monster Snake Sighted in Colchester." With that bit of information in mind, Severus and Hermione made a few casual inquiries at Colchester pet shops, eventually finding one that had records of large monthly purchases of white rats. Taken together, the two items made pretty conclusive evidence.
After that it was merely a case of a few watchful evenings, getting through some rather outdated magical wards, and administering a coup de grậce with the double-barreled shotgun purchased at a Muggle gun shop. The operation left shreds of Dark Lord and Monster Snake splattered across an oak paneled bedroom, and insured that Voldemort's latest body wasn't good for anything but dog food, or possibly Cornish pasty. Just to be sure that the Prophecy was fulfilled, they had let Harry buy the shotgun shells for them.
"Never limit your options," Hermione remarked, just before she and Severus dumped the shotgun in the River Colne and Apparated back to Hogsmeade. "Why chance the outcome of a hexing duel when buckshot is just as effective?"
* * *
Severus Snape, clad in sleek black bathing trunks, stood on the lanai of their tropical bungalow and gazed affectionately at his curvaceous bushy-haired wife. She had just finished writing her parents' address on the wish you were here picture post card -- although, of course, he knew that she didn't wish any such thing -- and smiled lovingly back at him.
Severus's skin was a warm toasty brown from the tropical sun, and his wiry muscles moved easily over his well-toned body. Salt water swimming had stripped the excess oil away from his thick black hair, leaving it smooth, sleek, and shining. His nose was still hooked, and his manner was still snarky, but he had been assured that he was absolutely perfect by an intelligent young woman who seemed to appreciate his dubious charms, so who was he to argue? The sex was great and the island climate certainly beat the clammy highlands of central Scotland.
Hermione picked up a couple of letters that had come by owl, held them out to him, and said, "Minerva says that the Wizengamot finally agreed to accept Dumbledore's assisted suicide statement, so we can go back to England any time you'd like. Harry wrote too, and says that an antique dealer in Lisbon may have the Hufflepuff cup."
"Good," her husband said, scanning the letters briefly and then leaning over to pour more sparkling wine into their champagne flutes. "It's a great time of year to tour Portugal."
-- end --
This little bit of frivolity was inspired by the Reality Bites Challenge on SH.