“There is again a phoenix for young Mistress,” Fiercely announced, bowing deeply before the young woman on the desk. It had been three years now since they moved out of the castle, into the house that his master already owned. It was not an overly large building then but Fiercely had seen fit to suggest to his mistress that several rooms would need to be added. Mistress Hermione had not once questioned him.
By now the house not only held two separate laboratories, studies, and libraries, it also had a large underground cavern that was growing blue crystals of light. Fiercely had never understood that particular hobby of his mistress, but he surely would not question her.
“Did Albus send another glass of honey?” his master asked from the direction of the sofa, looking at his young wife with an amused smile. “I swear if he once more suggests that his magical honey would make a good potion ingredient…” he gritted his teeth, but Fiercely had learned to not fear the man’s temper, as he barely even raised his voice these days.
“No parcel, master,” he explained, levitating a small postcard towards the desk. “Another postcard.”
“Oh for fuck’s sake!”
Those little scenes were almost a weekly occurrence now and Fiercely enjoyed watching his master and mistress bicker back and forth over the former Headmaster’s little gifts. There were plenty, accompanied by postcards and letters sent from various countries.
“Where did he write from this time?”
Mistress Hermione chuckled. “Looks like he’s snorkelling in the Caribbean,” she said, showing her husband the card that displayed a very much changed man. Fiercely would always remember the day Albus Dumbledore had laid down his position, announcing his retirement shortly after the fight against You-Know-Who was won. The next day he stepped into the Great Hall with short, grey hair, and missing his long, famous beard. There had been a big uproar and Fiercely never completely understood if it was because of the man’s retirement or his change of grooming habits. Either way, the only people seemingly untouched by both were his master and mistress.
Taking a short look at the postcard, master Severus shook his head with a snort. “When will he ever get tired of this?”
“Of what? Sending us letters and little gifts? I imagine he will stop as soon as we finally decide to invite him into our home for tea,” the mistress replied, her eyes twinkling like polished gobstones.
Her husband snorted. “I actually meant travelling the globe, breeding magical bees, snorkelling . This is slowly getting ridiculous.”
“Is it?” mistress Hermione said, focussing back on an application letter from another family that wanted to take in a house-elf. Ever since she had founded the “House-Elf Placement Service” (HEPS, for short), she had had her hands full of work. But Fiercely knew that she would not have it any other way. “Just because he took another path than most of us expected, does not mean what he does is wrong or ridiculous. Maybe he is just sick of being stalked by Rita Skeeter, who’s trying to publish another biography.”
“The last one sure was entertaining. I cannot blame him for rarely being in the country. He’s probably trying to avoid uncomfortable questions,” his master replied with an amused smirk.
Fiercely saw his mistress shake her head with a gentle smile. “Maybe we should invite him, you know? It’s been four years now.”
“Why? Four years does not seem nearly enough,” master Severus scowled, but when he saw his witch’s hand gently coming to rest over her rounding belly, his gaze softened. Usually his mistress tried to hide it from everyone but her husband, but her very attentive elves had known for a while, of course. There was no hiding such an important fact as a growing family, and therefore another human to care for, from their eyes. Because it would mean more work, maybe Fiercely would even manage to convince her that another house-elf would be needed, to assure that things continued to run smoothly.
“Ah,” his master said, putting his book aside before walking over to her. “This pregnancy is making you way too sentimental,” he said, while gently kissing her crown. “Please tell me you don’t want to name our son after him.”
At that his mistress chuckled. “What? Like Albus Severus? That would be ridiculous.”
“Don’t worry, Severus. Maybe Harry would think this a good name choice for his second son, but he always had a soft spot for the former headmaster,” the woman said, leaning her head against her husband's belly.
He agreed with a hum. “That is putting it mildly. He seems to worship the ground that idiot is walking on, which is ridiculous considering that he had been used like a chess piece.” His master shook his head disapprovingly. “Whatever. Invite Dumbledore if you absolutely have to. Maybe you are right and these presents will finally stop. He does not seem to understand that he can not bribe me into forgiving him and by Merlin, I do not need another pair of hand-knitted potion-themed socks.”
Mistress Hermione chuckled. “I am actually quite fond of mine, even though I am not allowed to wear them in bed.” She twinkled, earning herself a dark look and a raised eyebrow.
“You can start wearing them when you get tired of my attention,” he stated, sealing her lips with a kiss.
His mistress chuckled. “When’s that supposed to be? In a hundred years?” she asked playfully, pushing the letter on her desk aside. That was when she suddenly became aware of his presence in the room.
“Fiercely,” she said, her eyes shining with happiness and embarrassment. “Could you ask Fawkes to wait? I am sure he is thankful for a little rest and I’ll attempt to write a letter to the old headmaster later.”
“Much later,” corrected her husband, nibbling her earlobe.
Fiercely nodded, repeating their order like the good elf he was. Then he popped away, leaving them to their privacy. He would order the other elves to avoid his mistress’ study for the following hours. It was not like they were new to their master’s and mistress’ mating rituals or like they were unwelcome to the elves. The more little Snapes that filled the house, the better it was for all of them.