Genre – Romance; angst; drama; no fluffy PWP's in sight! God, it's about time, no?
Warnings – Underage sex no matter where you come from. Until Harry is sixteen it doesn't get too far into the R bracket, but he does have sex when he is fifteen, so if it bothers you, don't read it. Also, there is male pregnancy, so if it bothers you, again, don't read it.
A/N – I know I'm recycling the bonded idea, but the bunny just grabbed me by the ears and wouldn't let me stop typing until my mummy came in and shouted at me for typing at four o'clock in the morning. By then I was hooked. Enjoy!
A/N 2 – Okay, so you may have read this before, and up to a certain point it remains mostly unchanged – a few new or changed lines and paragraphs. But then I got fed up of the corny, too-easy ending and decided, well, what the heck, let's write an epic. So I did (not quite, but it is even longer). Hope you enjoy it – it has a little more angst, and, yes, some more Mpreg. And a bit more slashy action. Yay!
A/N 3 – Sorry, I know they keep coming! This was on here before, but as I said, it has been changed. For more info, look at my profile. It is now an AU fic, written pre-OOTP, so please excuse Sirius presence and any other, you know, major disregard for canon – it truly wasn't canon when it was written. As it would have completely wrecked the plot to change it to be canon-friendly, we'll all turn our Time-turners back the appropriate amount of times to get ourselves out of this jam. Or, we could just remember that it's only fiction. Please R&R.
"I don't know what I expected, but it sure wasn't this. It started off so simply – a mispronounced charm in class. But it escalated and now I find myself sitting here, watching you, thinking about how it started and what led us to here.
Charms class was always fun for some reason – perhaps it was just because it was a little hard to take seriously a lesson from someone who was three feet high and had an obsession with gummy animals and levitation spells.
I still remember that day in fifth year when as a leaving present Fred and George presented him with a bag of 'gummy Flitwicks' that made you levitate when you ate one. He got overemotional and cried if I recall correctly.
The sweets never made the Weasley's Wizard Wheezes line, but every year since there has been a packet waiting for Professor Flitwick under the Christmas tree.
It always makes him cry.
You always roll your eyes, but we expect nothing more from you. It certainly isn't as if you actively try to make your classes fun, and for good reason, but I'm sure you remember from when he taught you how his class was.
Anyway, there we sat in charms class, laughing over a passage that told tales of wizards who got spells wrong by slightly mispronouncing them, slightly grossed out by the diagram showing the wizard who had turned himself accidentally inside-out.
It reminded us of that picture in Moste Potente Potions – you know the one, and yes, you know why we knew it.
Ron picked a charm off the list that was supposed to be used to bind your familiar to you and sadly said it wrong. Of course he forgot that his wand was in his hand and that it was rested on the desk and pointed straight at me. Instead of 'Animus Adnecto' he said 'Anima Adnecto' and the flash of white light from his wand hit me before I even knew it existed. The next thing I knew I felt complete; utterly complete. And totally unconscious, but never mind that at the minute.
At the same instance in the dungeons, teaching a class of seventh year Ravenclaw and Hufflepuffs, you fell to the ground. Of course, that's when the panic started. Our unconscious forms appeared at the infirmary at the same time and we woke to the sound of Professor Flitwick saying, "Oh dear, now that was unexpected."
You snorted. I remember that – you snorted. And I hated you for it. Here we were, waking up in the infirmary, unsure as to what the bloody hell was going on, feeling complete but not quite sure why and you thought it was bloody funny that Flitwick hadn't expected something.
Personally I felt like crying at the time, but you were there, and back then I would have been damned if I shown emotions other than boredom, anger and general apathy in your presence.
This time you were silent and for that I was grateful – you wanted to know as much as I did. I remember Flitwick fumbling for the right words when it's clear now that there were none.
"Mister Weasley here mispronounced a spell and it had quite an unexpected conclusion."
"And what does that child's ineptness have to do with me? What was the spell?"
"It was supposed to be 'Animus Adnecto'," Flitwick said, hesitantly.
You froze and turned your head to look at me.
I was still completely confused.
"'No' what? What happened? What did he do? He said 'Anima' instead; what did that do?"
"No, not Potter, not this."
I remember wanting to hit the small man when he chuckled and replied.
"Not Potter now, Severus – Snape."
I was gobsmacked and you were at a loss for words.
"I… you… what did the spell do? What did you do, Ron?"
You could speak to correct me or admonish me, I discovered.
"You foolish boy, do you not know any latin? We have been bound by our souls. We are the magical equivalent of married."
"We…we've been what? Why you?"
"That's what I would like to know."
"Severus, Harry, you appear to be soul-mates."
Our heads snapped around to the white-bearded man in the doorway at the same time, my disbelieving expression a replica of your own. You resorted to your now standard expression of refusal.
I laughed. I was hysterical – I was bound to the fourth person down on the list of people I hated, surpassed only by Voldemort, Malfoy Sr. and Malfoy Jr. For life. You looked at me as if I were mad, which at the time I suppose I was. I just laughed more when I saw the loathing on your expression, proof of the insane situation – how could we be soul mates?
I gave my opinion voice.
"We can't be soul mates – we hate each other."
Dumbledore chucked and I hated him more than anyone at that instant, even Voldemort. You were demoted to sixth – Ron was number two at that moment, now that it registered what he had done, accident or no.
"There is a thin line…"
"…Between love and hate."
This time it was me saying no. You were staring blankly at me if I recall correctly. Then Dumbledore spoke up again.
"Now, you will need rings – get them in the next day or so. As the junior member of the union, Harry will take Severus' surname. This is permanent: irreversible. You will therefore move down to the dungeons, Harry, without complaint. Severus, you will be civil to your husband while he is in your, plural, quarters."
I started laughing again and it was about that time you got up, walked over and shoved a calming potion down my throat. Was I the only one who noticed you took a sip yourself? I think so. I know you hope so.
"We will let you go to your chambers to talk. I do not expect to see you until tomorrow, as I will have dinner sent to your rooms – you need to really talk. Make this work and it could be something to see."
We both glared at him then, the old coot. He simply chuckled and went out. Ron stood to one side, completely ashen.
"Harry… I really didn't mean for this to happen. I am soooo sorry."
"Ron, just… just go. I'll talk to you later when I know what's going on and I can look at you without wanting to throttle you."
Ron bent his red face down and left along with the two shocked Hufflepuff prefects who had helped you up to the infirmary. I looked at you.
"It seems we have some things to discuss."
"Indeed, Mister Potter."
I pulled a face.
"Mister Snape, now."
"Apparently so. Come, let us retire to our quarters."
We talked long into the night. We were uneasy at first, remember? I sat on the edge of the couch looking as if I were about to jump up and leave and you made sure you were as far away from me as possible. You sniped and I made cheeky smart-arsed comments.
But then you mentioned Voldemort's reaction to the circumstances and that got us started on the Tournament.
Nobody ever talked to me about it after Dumbledore forced me to report what had happened to him at the end of the previous year – they were afraid I'd go mad or start to yell or something. But when you asked me how I was coping I broke down.
I needed to, whether you were you or not.
I had kept it all bottled up inside for too long. And you held me when I cried it all out; cried out the feelings of inadequacy and guilt and loss that I had felt.
You seemed to understand how much it hurt me to see the parents I never truly had after fourteen long, lonely years only to leave them to save myself, even if they weren't truly there. And that was when I told you about the Dursleys and the cupboard and the bars on the window and the food deprivation. About not knowing whom I was when I came here and not completely knowing who I was even now.
I told you how much it hurt to be insulted by the school and even the general public – people I didn't know but who thought they knew me – when they thought I had done things wrong or was using my celebrity for my own gain; how I could never be sure who people wanted to see – the real me or Harry Potter: Boy Who Lived. And I wasn't sure which was better for me to be in the long run, but I knew one would destroy me.
In return you told me about becoming Voldemort's servant and changing sides and getting redemption. About how you treated me in classes and why you had thought it was important to keep my feet on the ground and my wits about me.
You told me about your own family and how you hated your father. How your mother and sister had died because they refused to support Voldemort and how you had sworn vengeance for their deaths. You even told me why you got so upset by the Whomping Willow incident.
I must admit it was strange to hear that you had had a boyhood crush on Remus, but it helped me understand, and I respected your decisions when I took it all objectively.
And then I told you something I had never told anyone else.
"I get scared sometimes because I think he might be right."
"In the Chamber, in second year, he said we were alike. I told Dumbledore but he passed it off as coincidence. But I feel it. There is something dark in me, and I'm afraid that I'll end up like him. Oh, not join him – I wouldn't do that. But maybe become fanatical about some kind of 'cause' and be unprepared to let other people believe otherwise. I'm afraid that I'll let the darkness take over my power and turn me evil without me even having noticed until it's too late and I don't care anymore."
And you just… you didn't dismiss it. You acknowledged my capability to do something like that. But you also acknowledged my capability to not; to rise above my darker urges or even put them to good use by thinking like him to stop him in advance, and that was the first step forward in our relationship.
We both discussed Dumbledore's powers of manipulation and how he was seemingly training me to be the perfect hero. You told me that you didn't agree with him; that you thought I should be treated normally and left to make my own choices rather than be led to them, even if they had bad consequences.
And that was when I realised that you were what I had been looking for my whole life. Not just family, but someone who understood me too, and who, even if they didn't particularly like me, still felt I was worth saving, worth caring for.
You seemed to realise that I had just had a paradigm shift, and you offered me space and quiet to figure things out. It was then that we realised that Dumbledore expected us to share a bed.
We decided that for the night it would be okay, even if just for the warmth and comfort of being close to someone after so many personal revelations.
You let me get ready and fall asleep alone, taking the time to do some grading. I was dead to the world when you got into the bed, but you later told me that when you got in I curled up towards your warmth in a tiny ball. You tried to push me away, but I kept rolling back. Finally you settled for turning your back on me and leaving me to my own devices – I remember waking up in the middle of the night, mortified because my backside was pressed up against yours. I scuttled over to my side of the bed and slept back to back with you, about four foot of space between us.
How we managed to wake up with me spooned up against your front and your arm flung protectively around my waist I can honestly say I'll never know – you profess not to know either, and I believe you.
Face red, I went about my normal daily routine. You looked no different, but I can tell you were just as embarrassed. At least you didn't see the effect you had on me. I was mortified – I hadn't even known men could turn me on, and there I was with a raging hard on gained sleeping pressed up against Slimy Snape.
The cold shower just didn't do it. I couldn't believe I had to masturbate in your bathroom on the first day of our 'marriage'. I still can't, you know.
The bizarre, tense, awkward almost-dance we did around each other that morning was so strange that when you finally mentioned it we laughed – I laughed, you smirked – and it set the tone for our day.
We went to breakfast together and the school stopped and stared when we walked through the door speaking amicably. We both pretended nothing was unusual and said goodbye, taking our normal seats.
It was then I looked at my notebook and saw just how permanent this situation was.
It surprised me how calm I felt, but I still wanted Ron to understand what he had done.
I had spelled all the belongings I had that mattered to me, and that wouldn't look terrible with writing on, to say my name. And now they all said Harry Snape. I was married at the age of fifteen. To you, a man I still quite disliked despite my breakdown and your comfort. Another choice gone out the window, but at least this time I wasn't in it on my own.
I looked up at Ron, sitting across from me, trying not to look like he was gauging my mood and failing miserably. I shoved a book at him.
"Look. Look at it! Look what you did to us."
He stared at my new name and then at you. You gave him the deadliest glare I have ever seen and I am yet to see one to match it. He actually made a strange deflating noise, like the air coming out of a muggle balloon. They do that, yes. They don't have spells to keep them filled, and so if there's even one gap all the air comes out slowly and with a strange squeaky, hissing noise that gets more pathetic as there is less air to force out. That was exactly how he sounded.
Hermione proceeded to tell me that the whole school now knew and that she had spent the night yelling at Ron for his carelessness. I flashed her a grateful smile – I didn't want to have to yell at my best friend, and if it had all been said, I wouldn't have to.
McGonagall came up to me.
People gawked at me.
"Uhm… yes, Ma'am?"
"Your new schedule."
I looked at the paper. You couldn't teach me anymore, and they had arranged for me to be tutored by an outside source. Professor Frisson was to take me when I used to have Divination and I now had divination with your Slytherins, and Transfiguration with the Hufflepuffs when I used to have your class.
Reminded of your house, I looked up. They were watching both of us very carefully, judging and weighing just how much of this was our fault and possible reasoning behind it. Also, they were reviewing how they had to treat me now. Malfoy looked at me and we just stared at each other. He looked away first, I'm proud to say – I don't know why I felt that was such an achievement.
The bell rang for class and I realised that I now had entirely the wrong books. Running to the Gryffindor Tower I remembered that my stuff was in your dungeons, and then I had to run there before going to Transfiguration. When I finally got there I was ten minutes late and out of breath.
"Mister Snape, do you have a reason behind your tardiness? I saw you leave with plenty of time."
"Sorry, I had the wrong books because I had the wrong timetable, and then I forgot I had to go to the dungeons to get the right ones, so I had to go from Gryffindor Tower to there and then all the way back up here. It won't happen again."
She gave me a look of utter sympathy, as did the rest of the class, excused me of my crime, and then directed me to a seat at the back of the room.
I had already sat through this lesson the day before, so I didn't have much to do. I took the time to think about how to tell Sirius. He was going to crack up, that much was obvious. I actually knew it was going to be worse than when we found out – a lot more violent anyhow. I decided that I'd figure it out later – I had no idea where he was at the minute further than 'rounding up old friends'.
At lunch you came up to me and we left for Hogsmeade without my knowing where the hell we were going or why – I decided not to ask outright when I saw the scowl on your face, but I soon figured it out when we arrived at a jeweller's.
"The bond rings?"
You simply nodded.
We were there for not even ten minutes. The man took one look at us, went into the back room and brought back a set of plain gold bands – apparently Albus had owled ahead.
You insisted we have our names inscribed in them for a means of identification, but when we went to try them on only the one with my name would fit you and the one with yours fit me, even though they were supposed to magically resize. We shrugged off any romantic implications and decided it would still work – just in a different way.
We were back before the end of lunch and I managed to grab a sandwich and some pumpkin juice before heading off to Care of Magical Creatures.
The girls all kept demanding that they wanted to see the ring and finally one got it off my hand and saw your name. She proclaimed it cute. She was a Slytherin. I was shocked, needless to say, and quite frankly, I was a little scared too.
I snatched it back, scowling, and jammed it on my finger. I was very possessive of it for some reason, and it was like… no one else was allowed to touch it without my permission. I didn't know yet that it was an echo of how I felt for you.
People seemed to sense this new defensiveness and the rest of the lesson was spent learning about some obscure creature called a Tedragon. It looked strange and apparently smelt a bit funny. I was beginning to wonder if I did too, because every second I was there someone was staring at me. Not the most comfortable class of my life.
Apparently you weren't too happy either.
Dumbledore arranged for us to have dinner in our rooms again, and you spent fifteen minutes yammering on about students following your ring instead of watching what your hands were doing in the first place.
I just listened – you had listened to me last night, and besides you had a valid point – I knew how you felt, well, almost, and I could imagine the rest. When you finished you thanked me for listening and we ate in silence because neither of us knew how to follow that up.
After eating you had to 'present' me to your house – it was a tradition. To say that I wasn't looking forward was putting it lightly. About a hundred eyes stared at me when I came through the portal to the common room.
It hadn't changed since my second year, unlike the Gryffindor common room. I supposed that maybe since most Slytherins are from generations of pureblood wizards, they were used to tradition. It probably looked like this when Riddle was at school, and it would look like that when Draco Malfoy's grandchild stood in the room. Gryffindor's… now, we like change. Fred and George used Hermione's changing colour text spell to write 'Gryffindor rules' on the walls the night we had gotten back from summer holidays. It was still there now, as far as I knew.
You introduced me to your house as your bond and soul mate, Harold James Snape. They all clapped politely, but looked at me like dirt. I was glad I hadn't been sorted into that house after all. When we got back to the rooms, sitting and either writing or marking schoolwork, I confessed to almost being put in Slytherin. You just snorted and kept on trailing a red line of acerbic comments on some poor soul's work. When I finished my own attempts at homework I helped you mark the first year stuff. You made me sign my initials on every one I marked so that if there were any mistakes you would be able to prove that you hadn't made them. I didn't make any.
God knows what the students who got them back next day thought when, at the end of the essays, they saw my mark, the initials HS, and no caustic comment to hit them upside the face.
One poor Hufflepuff, however, actually got a remark from me. The test had been on sleeping draughts and he had gotten two out of twenty correct. It was very therapeutic scrawling all over the ill-planed work and writing 'not sufficient in the least' on the paper – well, I mean, he couldn't even spell properly.
When you saw that you smirked and said that maybe one day I'd have promise as a teacher. It made me very happy for some reason – it made me happy because you acknowledged that I wasn't worthless after all.
By eleven thirty we realised that we had made no comment on the sleeping arrangements. Again we tried sleeping at opposite ends of the bed, but the same thing happened. This time, when I woke at three in the morning as usual (I don't know why I do, but it's habit now and has been since I was very small), my head was on your shoulder, tucked under your chin, and I was once again spooned against you.
I really didn't care anymore – it was bitter cold where no one had been lying for hours on the linen and we had created a nice, warm cocoon in the very centre of the bed. Also, it was really very comforting to be held. I snuggled closer to you and fell back asleep, feeling you tighten your grip on my waist in your sleep, your bond ring warm and smooth through the thin fabric of my pyjamas.
When I woke the next morning I realised three things – one, you were still asleep. Two, I wasn't the only one with an errection. Three, I felt more comfortable in your arms than anywhere I'd ever been, including the time in the infirmary when Molly Weasley had hugged me. To tell the truth that had been overwhelming, so soon after seeing my own mother. Right now I felt… safe. Then you stirred.
I pretended to be asleep so you wouldn't think I was some sort of child who needed to be held. I didn't want you to know I liked it. To my surprise you did too. You tightened your grip and lay there for a while, your chest pressed flat against my back, one of your legs poked through mine and your hard length pressed against my thigh. You reached up a hand and stroked my hair, then gently got out of the strange embrace and went in to the bathroom.
The place where you had been pressed against my thigh felt like it was burning: a tingly sensation that didn't need to be scratched but enjoyed.
And I did enjoy it, although very guiltily.
I imagine how you must have felt, being aroused by a fifteen year old. You didn't think I was a child, per se, no, but my body was a teenager's and I'll admit my attitude to some things left a bit to be desired at the time. It's lucky that it was really my soul you were attracted to then, wasn't it? It's strange how when you know someone's soul, everything about him becomes beautiful. I know that's how I was beginning to feel about you, although I wasn't ready to tell you just then – I wasn't even really ready to admit it to myself.
This time we forewent the self-conscious movements around each other, and again we arrived at the great hall together. We didn't speak this time, but you guided me to my seat with a gentle hand on my back that felt natural to us both now, but very alien to the rest of Hogwarts' population. I honestly didn't know why Hermione was giving me that strange look until she elaborated later in private. I just smiled and started eating, dreading my first potions session that morning.
Professor Frisson was strange. He had dirty-fair hair, an unremarkable face and a strange glint to his watery-blue eyes that made me shiver when I first met him. He was, in one word, forgettable.
In a crowd I doubt I would have even noticed him never mind remarked on him. He was neither skinny nor fat; neither tall nor small; neither handsome nor ugly. He had no remarkable features that anyone could see and he moved through Hogwarts so undetected that it took a fortnight for me to be able to point him out to Hermione and Ron.
In class he was neither strict nor easy. He taught me potions, I learnt them and we did nothing else, not even chat or smile or nod hello. He would come down to our rooms, and in your research lab we would simply start the lesson.
He barely spoke, but always seemed to watch everything around him, especially me. At first I thought it was because of who I was. Then I thought it was because of who you were and our relationship. Then I began to worry about having something on my face or something else besides my scar no one was rude (or maybe polite) enough to point out to me. Finally I got paranoid and spoke to you.
We had settled in to a rhythm during that period of almost a month, becoming more and more intimate without realising.
Waking in each other's arms but not mentioning it; barely noticing the strangeness anymore.
Unconsciously giving each other supporting gestures or words when deemed needed.
Speaking with our eyes – no words needed.
Having enjoyable conversations about… whatever, at night when I would finish my homework after coming back from spending the early evening with my friends and then help you with grading. I was allowed up to second year standard now, and you barely gave the papers a glance when I set them in your pile, marked and initialled.
Sometimes we would read in front of the fire, or even play chess while drinking tea, or sometimes in your case a glass of wine or scotch. Then we would fall asleep, getting closer and closer to the middle of the bed each night, knowing it was inevitable that I would wake up pressed against you, you would wake up with your arm around me.
Everyday I would wait for you to wake, stroke my hair and then go to the bathroom. It was like a ritual.
Anyway, it was sometime during the marking of an essay on swelling solution that I broached the subject of Frisson.
That was another thing. In our rooms we were Severus and Harry. Outside, we were Professor and Mister Snape. We never discussed it further than you giving me permission to use your christian name, it was just agreed on.
"Severus, in a shrinking solution you said never to add wormwood."
"Professor Frisson says that as long as you add gottre flakes it doesn't matter."
"Professor Frisson is an idiot then. That may neutralize the reaction, but it will also make the drinker go a pleasant shade of blue and grow boils under their armpits."
"I would let him know just incase he tries it, but. He… he freaks me out."
You turned to look at me, concern and a little bit of anger in your eyes. You were already possessive over me, as I was over you. When I had heard Angelina and Dean insult you I gave them a sharp tongue-lashing. No one insulted you in front of me again. And I was still really touchy about my ring.
"What do you mean, he 'freaks you out'?"
"He watches me all the time. It's like he never takes his eyes off me when I'm in the same room as him, and he pops up all over the place. I… I'm sure it's nothing, really. I just feel uneasy with him."
"Do you want someone else in the lesson with you?"
I shake my head.
"No, honestly, it's just a… silly feeling."
You come sit by me on the sofa and place a hand on my shoulder.
"Harry, you have good instincts, even if you don't use them in the correct way all the time. How does he look at you?"
"I dunno. He's not leering or anything."
You relax a bit.
"He just… stares. I would say he stares through me, but he's most definitely looking at me. He's… watching."
"Tell me if you think he does anything else strange, and if he still makes you uneasy after a while I'm putting someone else there with you."
Then you smiled. I was still not used to your smile – I rarely saw it. I think that may have been the third time.
"It would be a good way to palm Longbottom off on some unsuspecting fool."
I laughed and the mood relaxed again. The next day you watched him watch me without my knowledge. Or his. You make a good spy.
In trusting you with my feelings, however half-baked and strange, you later told me I raised your level of trust in me. It raised mine in you too, taking me seriously and being concerned about me. It was certainly then that you slipped over the hate line and passed apathy into liking.
At the end of the day you revealed your findings to me and told me that while you weren't happy with it, there was nothing really to warrant a change. You advised me to watch my back with him and told me you would look out for me when you could. And I hugged you for caring.
We sat by the fire that night in an embrace. It seemed so natural by then that we never immediately realised how intimate it might seem to someone outside of the relationship.
It certainly occurred to me when Sirius' head appeared suddenly in the fire making me jump about a mile in the air.
You rubbed my back and stroked my hair to comfort me, and just as my heart rate started going back to normal, Sirius began to yell.
I've never quite recalled all the words – he used an awful lot of them if I'm not mistaken, and none too nice, either.
Mostly they were directed at you. He called you all sorts before I snarled at him to stop. You snickered at the genuinely shocked expression on his face and I couldn't help but silently agree that it was funny.
Finally, having convinced Sirius that it had been a genuine… no, not mistake, but accident, and that there was no foul play – Ron wasn't a death eater trying to carry out some fiendish plan for Voldemort – nor coercion going on, and that you hadn't touched me in any way inappropriately (I neglected to mention that we shared a bed and it didn't cross my mind to breathe a word about our mutual aroused state each morning) he started to calm a tad.
He then removed his head from the fire with a promise (or perhaps threat) to come visit at Christmas to spend some time with me.
We both breathed a sigh of relief when he left and that night no attempt was made to pretend we didn't like being held or holding the other. We simply crawled into bed together and I rolled over until I was pressed against you, head on shoulder.
After about five minutes you turned on your side and wrapped your arm around me, head tucked over mine. Then you did something you had never done before – you kissed the top of my head. I froze for a second, and then happily shuffled closer to you. When I felt that you had developed an errection it still didn't scare me away. Aroused me, yes, but I made no move to change my position – pressed firmly against you – other than to interlink the fingers of your ringed hand with mine. It took us both a while to sleep that night.
Showing our affection in public was never designed. It was always unintended, and I only realised when others mentioned it, or when that all-encompassing stare of Hermione's found me with a questioning look.
It was little things such as the hand on my back walking into the hall, or the disregard for proximity when talking privately in a corridor or after a meal.
It was the protective stance you took when you saw Frisson looking at me again and the way you always found me after a Quidditch match to make sure I wasn't hurt and to congratulate me in that sarcastic way that indicated you still wanted Slytherin to win the cup.
It was the way one day in a corridor you took points from Malfoy for taunting me.
But it did happen.
Our truly affectionate moments, when we both were aware that our relationship was evolving, were in private.
That first time we hugged; the first time I pecked you on the cheek (when you moved me up to marking third year essays – I blushed for hours after, but it felt so natural at the time); the first time we slept facing the other and my arms wrapped around you as much as yours did me; the first time I sat on the sofa listening to you read Shakespeare while my head rested on your lap.
The first time I admitted I'd rather spend time with you than with Ron and Hermione.
That last came the week before Christmas on the first day of the break. You were getting rid of your marking so that you could spend the holiday season however you wished, and you told me to shoo and get in minor trouble with my friends. I told you I wanted to stay, and when you asked me why I didn't tell you the trivial reasons – it was cold outside but cosy in here; they were always flirting; I didn't want to get into any kind of trouble, not even minor. I told you straight.
"I like your company more, Severus."
You simply nodded and handed me a stack of fourth year tests, their marking sheet, and a quill.
I did spend some time with my friends over that week, but not nearly as much as I used to. They didn't mind – they were now in a relationship, too, and they liked their alone time as much as I liked mine with you.
Sirius came Christmas Eve. He arrived one of those times you were reading aloud with my head on your lap. Sighing, I got up to answer the knock and in stormed Sirius, bringing in the castle's cold air and making me shiver.
You stood and helped me on with my sweater like it was the most natural thing in the world – which it was to us, I suppose. Sirius stood there watching in wonderment as you flattened my hair with a hand where it had gotten rubbed up by the fabric and then went to sit down without passing any form of comment to him or me.
He was, of course, welcomed by me with a hug and a cup of tea, both of which he accepted readily. You ignored our discussion, but put the book away so I would be able to keep up next time you read aloud and took up a novel instead.
I couldn't (and wouldn't) have asked you to behave better around him, and he seemed to sense that despite his intruding in your – our – personal space, you were making an effort to quell the animosity. He also seemed to sense that you were doing it for me, and that must have helped.
You declined tea when offered, but when you caught a whiff of my ginger and lime herbal tea – that you had gotten me addicted to – you obviously just had to have a taste.
It was nothing to me – I took a sip of my drink while the cup was sat on the table and then a few moments later you did the same. Apparently it meant something to Sirius. He growled at you and then proceeded to question me very carefully about our 'situation'.
It took me a while, but he finally accepted that soul mates were not likely to be in close contact with each other for a matter of months without forming some kind of close relationship, especially two who are bound magically, married for all intents and purposes. He didn't seem happy, but then again in your company he never was.
He left close to midnight and you had already gone to bed. He didn't seem to realise that there was only one door that led to anywhere other than your lab or the corridor leading from the living room (the bathroom was off the bedroom), and that before you had gone in and shut the door, the only bed in the room was on display.
That night was the first time we recognised our physical attraction to each other. When we lay down to sleep, my leg rubbed your errection and I looked up to find you looking at me questioningly, trying to read my face. I smiled and left my leg where it was and you ran your hand down my leg and briefly traced the line of my prick through my pyjamas before kissing my cheek and snuggling closer to me.
I fell asleep with a smile on my face – I knew it was okay now.
When we woke on Christmas morning there was another first: our first kiss.
Our first real kiss.
I woke up, arms around you, legs entwined with yours, not aroused for once despite the realisations of the previous night, but in a very relaxed mood. You were the same – it must have been the Christmas spirit.
You ran your hand through my hair and I muttered, "Merry Christmas, Sev." You gave me one of those rare smiles again and I smiled back, moving my head closer to yours on the pillow. You took my hand and fiddled with my golden band, apparently deep in thought. Then you looked up and our eyes met. It was entirely instinctual. I leaned forward, you leaned forward, and we met in the middle.
Your warm lips touched mine in a very dry and gentle kiss. I closed my eyes and ran my fingers through your hair and you moved yours up to my hair again, holding my head in place.
We broke apart, not even out of breath, and just closed our eyes and lay there in the peace until the alarm rang to remind us of breakfast in the hall.
As a teacher you were almost required to be there, and that day I had wanted to spend as much time as I could with you – I had never had a family Christmas before.
We got up and dressed, not even remembering when we first took it for granted that we neither of us minded changing in the same room anymore.
You wore your customary black, but you let me pin a little mistletoe to your robes and you looked classically festive, not silly as you argued. Of course, as the Gryffindor and half-Slytherin, I couldn't resist the occasion where I could wear both house colours with pride.
I donned a green robe that you said brought out my eyes and a red-trimmed cloak for warmth. We agreed to open our gifts when we got back and turned for another gentle kiss before we left the room.
I think that was the point I realised that I was in love with you – when my hands moved up around your shoulders and, instead of making me strain up on my tiptoes, you bent your head down a little. It was perfect and it just… fit. Your hands on my hips, my hands cradling your neck and the perfect union between.
When we broke apart this time I buried my head in your shoulder, you moved your hands up my back pressing me to you, and we just stood for a time.
You took my hand and led me through the corridors. Just as we got to the door to the hall, you stopped me and pulled me close enough so that you could talk softly in my ear.
"I love you, Harry."
I must have looked shocked because you laughed a little. I actually felt ready to cry with joy. I hugged you close.
"I love you too, Sev," I whispered.
You bent over and kissed my scar and then pulled away.
We entered the great hall, your hand on my back as usual, no indication of the emotion we had shown in the corridor a minute hence.
There were only five students remaining – myself, Ron, Hermione, a Ravenclaw first year called Ted and a Hufflepuff third year called Samuel – so we ate at the staff table. Sirius wasn't there – for obvious reasons – but Frisson was, for unknown ones, and one glimpse of his eyes following me gave me another attack of shivers.
"Are you still cold, Mister Snape?"
"No, it's just…"
I discretely nodded in my potions professor's direction before taking a long drag of my tea. I felt a warm comforting hand gently settle on my knee for a moment and melted inside, feeling better already. I absentmindedly leant my leg against yours and returned to my breakfast and explaining to Ron and Hermione that I hadn't opened their gifts yet, but that they were welcome for theirs from myself.
It was apparent that Ron and Hermione both seemed to have seen what had happened between myself and you when they didn't offer to come help me open gifts, like Ron usually does.
I invited them down after Christmas dinner when Sirius would be there. I knew you wouldn't mind – I had asked you before I asked Sirius, and you told me whatever was important to me. Dumbledore commented on your sprig of mistletoe and made me giggle – the other students stared at me as if wondering how on earth I'd managed to get you to do anything even remotely festive, even Hermione.
We retreated to our rooms after breakfast to open presents.
You bought me a book of Shakespeare's sonnets, my own red inkwell, a new quill and a beautiful snow-globe. It wasn't so much a snow-globe as a glitter-globe, with little flecks of shimmery light falling when you tap your wand to the top and stopping when you do it again. The tableau is of Hogwarts and a little metal plate on the wooden base says 'Harry's Home': I had told you during our first conversation that I thought of Hogwarts as my real, true home. My eyes watered and you told me that they looked like the flecks of light. We kissed again; after my first kiss – our first kiss – we couldn't seem to stop kissing.
You then tapped your wand to the bottom and a lullaby filled the room. I had to rub at my eyes with the heals of my palms to stop the tears from falling, but you just laughed quietly and told me I 'tend to get very emotional at the slightest thing'.
I bought you two novels by your favourite author that you didn't have but borrowed from the library so many times that, when I told Madam Pince I was buying them for you when I went to get the details, the librarian laughed and told me I'd lose her one of her best customers, but maybe I'd spare the spines of her books.
I also bought you some chocolate for your insanely secret sweet tooth (you are the only man I know who always accepts Dumbledore's lemon drops) and gave you the charm I made in Defence Against the Dark Arts.
We each bought a gem of some sort and brought them to class. We were told how to cast protective charms on the stones and it was explained that giving a personally charmed piece of jewellery to someone indicates that you care for them very much. The pendant I made for you is of black jade on a black leather cord, held together with a simple silver fastening. The jade has a small white flaw that looks to me like an S and to you like a lightening bolt. Either way it is significant. You looked overwhelmed and this time when we kissed it was deeper.
You ran the tip of your tongue along the gap between my lips and I met it with my own, which was soon giving over its space to you. I shuffled over to get closer and without breaking the kiss you pulled me on to your lap. I let you teach me what I didn't know, memorizing your motions and testing them out on you until finally I came up with my own sequence using what felt good to me and what made you squirm slightly, like flicking my tongue against the roof of your mouth and dragging it slowly forward.
Finally we stopped, after you remembered there were other people's presents waiting to be opened.
I got a lot of great and useful things (as well as a whole bunch of sweets and jokes and stuff), but the only thing that emotionally compared to your present was the silver framed photo of my mother sitting in a rocking chair, holding me as a baby while my father stood behind, hands on the back of the chair, smiling at the camera, which was from Remus. Both the globe and the picture went on to my bedside table, and they're still there.
To fill time between then and dinner we moved to the couch from the floor (still littered with paper and boxes and a list I made of who gave me what present) and split the time between snogging each other til our tongues were numb and you reading my sonnets to me while I curled up next to you, one of my legs slung across yours, the other curled under me and my head on your shoulder, eyes following the words as you read them.
Before we went to dinner I found Dobby and gave him the now annual three pair of socks to mix (not match). I received a hand knitted hat in return. You looked like you were biting the inside of your cheek to stop laughing when I put the rainbow coloured, teapot warmer look-alike, on my head. I wore it all the way to the great hall and you couldn't help but laugh a little at Ron's expression.
The headmaster approved anyway.
I took it off halfway through the meal because Hermione claimed it gave her a headache. Again reflexively, you flattened my hair, but this time it wasn't anger, but strange looks and silence, which greeted the gesture.
Again I didn't realise until it was too late, but I managed to continue acting as if nothing is wrong, as did you.
Dumbledore smiled at us brightly. Our legs touched again beneath the table and I placed my foot on the inside of yours, just to keep you close. I didn't realise that a black dog was watching my every move from behind.
When Dumbledore tried to force you to wear the Santa hat from the cracker and you got a little riled up, I repeated your action from breakfast and settled my hand on your knee until you had clamed. This time you brought your hand down and squeezed mine before letting me go.
That's all that happened at the meal between us, except glances at private jokes that are commonplace to the faculty and students now anyway. Apparently Sirius found this to be semi-acceptable behaviour, because he did nothing to stop it even in his dog form.
He did bring it up after the meal, though, when he brought his presents (lots and lots of clothes – both muggle and robes – and accessories that fit me brilliantly, a great and really rather thoughtful present if you took into account how I used to dress).
"Harry, why do you touch him? I saw you at the Christmas dinner – you were touching. How can you stand it?"
You were in your lab trying to avoid our company until there were more people to buffer you out, so you didn't see the anger and hurt that crossed my face, although I am sure you heard it in my voice.
"Yes. We were touching."
"How far has he made you go?"
"He hasn't made me do anything at all! I touched him because he needed comfort and he does the same when I do, too. Sirius, I love him – he's my soul and bond mate. We haven't gone further than kissing, really."
"Then why is there only one bed?"
I realise then that he has noticed and wonder why he hadn't brought it up previously.
"Because there always has been only one bed there – Dumbledore never organised another and we never wanted to ask after the first night. It's warmer down here to share a bed and it keeps away the nightmares. Also, it's a great comfort."
He looked sceptical but finally decided to believe me. Then Ron and Hermione arrived and you, at some point, came back with mulled wine.
Hermione sat in one chair with Ron like a dog in front of her on the floor getting his head patted and stroked. Sirius sat in the other chair and we were left with the sofa to ourselves.
You sat to your usual side and I curled up my feet under me and leant against you. You began to read one of your new books and I chatted freely with my friends. At some point your arm slid behind me, only lifting to turn a page when you couldn't with a finger from your other hand.
Otherwise your hand stayed on my hip; a nice, warm, solid weight that Ron and Sirius couldn't seem to keep their eyes off.
You were oblivious, lost in another world provided by fiction. You absently rubbed my side every once in a while, not noticing the envious looks Hermione shoots in my direction or the way I practically purred, although you seem to know how much I like it now.
It got late and once again you decided to go to bed before the others left, although you gave Hermione and Ron a friendly warning about being out after curfew on your way and planted a gentle kiss on my scar through my fringe, gaining incredulous looks from the other three and a smile and goodnight from me.
When you were safely in the other room Ron repeated Sirius' earlier question about the solo bed, and I give the same answer, which satisfied Hermione (even made her squeal and hug me when I told her I'm in love) but left Ron miffed that he can't share a bed with Hermione.
"Ah, but there are some crucial differences. One, we don't sleep in a dorm with other people; two, we are basically married; three; it's not that cold in Gryffindor tower, and four, I don't sleep there for the sole reason of trying to get into his pants."
Ron flushed, Hermione batted his head gently and Sirius crinkled his nose in both amusement at Ron and disgust at the 'getting into his pants' remark.
He finally decided to go and made the younger guests leave with him, apparently so that he could make sure they got to the tower in one piece, more likely to make sure they didn't both veer off to one dormitory together.
I yawned, stretched, said goodbye, and fell into bed beside you. You were already asleep on your side, back to me, so I kissed your cheek gently and ended up spooning you against me like we used to to begin with, only positions reversed.
I woke first the next morning, very thoroughly aroused at the feel of my cock pressed against your arse. I hardened quickly which woke you. You pressed backwards and I gasped, sensations running through me, gripping your chest. You flipped around and faced me.
"Are you still a virgin?"
I didn't even feel uncomfortable telling you I was.
"We are going to wait until you are of legal age for intercourse, but there are other things we can do now and until then if you like."
I was intrigued and told you so, pressing my erection against your stomach.
You slid a lazy hand down my chest and unbuttoned my pyjama shirt, leaving it on me but baring my chest. You swung your leg over me until you straddle my waist, your erection settled on mine.
Then you proceeded to run your hands over my upper body, nudging my nipples until they were hard and sensitive, then bringing your mouth down, let a hot puff of air hit one. I gasped, arching up and rubbing my errection on yours. We both groaned deeply. You then took the nipple into your mouth and licked, sucked and gently chewed on it until I was on the brink of coming. You did the same to the other one, and then just as the sensation built to overflowing, you ground your lower body into mine and I came with a shout of your name.
Limply laying myself back on the bed from where I ended up with my head and torso curving off the mattress I reached up and brought you down for a kiss.
It was readily returned and soon I decided that you deserved to know what a great teacher you are, even if potions was no longer the subject that I learnt from you.
Pulling the t-shirt you sleep in sometimes off, I gazed at your torso. I knew from touch that you are lean and muscular, but it was the first time I had been able to look while I touched, and not from across the room as you changed, and your skin was so pale and smooth that it took my breath away.
You seemed to enjoy it as much as I did when I ran my hands all over your chest and stomach, and I felt myself hardening against you once more.
I decided to see exactly how you react to touch and where. You soon found yourself getting stroked, licked and kissed, perhaps even a little nibbled, everywhere I could see your pale skin. Every so often you growled, voice low with desire, and even gasped and arched like I did.
Finally I made my way up to your ears and then your mouth, and with your tongue safely if actively in my mouth, I rocked a little on top of you. You responded in kind and within minutes I had come again and you had followed with a hoarse shout.
We both just lay there, me on top of you; your arms flung around me and left to lie – muscles deadened with relaxation – on my back, mine around your neck with my forehead pressed into your shoulder. It was you who recovered first, muttering a cleaning charm and gently caressing my back with your dextrous hands, and then finally speaking.
"God, Harry, you are so beautiful."
I got a little self-conscious.
"No, I'm not – I'm gawky and plain and I wear hideous glasses and I'm all skinny and bony and-"
You flipped us over so that you were above me, one hand tracing my jaw line.
"Harry you are beautiful. You are slender and pretty yet handsome and your glasses… well, yes, your glasses are hideous, but your eyes are beautiful and they look so dazzling now when you don't have them on. Why don't you get contacts?"
"Never had the chance with the Dursleys. Besides – I don't want to be bothered with the whole taking them out and in every day thing or the losing one or the hurting my eyes bit."
You wrinkled your nose, confused.
"Harry, you keep contacts in all the time and they don't bother you – I know, my sister had them. Haven't you noticed that only wizard-borns with designer frames which look better on them than none would wear them here? It's only muggle-borns that tend to wear less-than-nice glasses, for some reason."
I considered it and noded.
"Okay, I'll get them. Muggle ones you have to fiddle with every day and keep them clean and stuff. I guess I forgot I'm a wizard."
By the end of the day I had them, and when I first saw myself in a mirror that evening I really was shocked by the change.
We shared the shower the next morning for the first time, seeing each other completely naked for the first time. I felt a little uneasy, but you told me again that you thought I was beautiful and that you love me so much it wouldn't matter how I looked.
I then proceeded to let you know just how damned sexy you are, and your very impressive cock grew hard again, as did mine. You decided to teach me about blowjobs and proceeded to give me one hell of a ride in your mouth while the water poured over us.
When I came – very hard – I couldn't help but slide down the cool, wet tiles and just sit there while you continued to shower. You even had to wash my hair for me.
While you dried your legs, I contemplated how good your thighs looked, and felt the inexplicable urge to fling you on our bed and devour them. So I did, making full use of my lips, hands, teeth and tongue. You remained hard from the shower, and I decided to move my mouth a little north.
A bead of precome sat on the tip of your cock, and I licked it off, digging deep to make sure I get it all. It tasted a little strange, but not as gross as I had thought it might on hearing Seamus talk last year, and if it made you make that noise again, I would do it over and over.
I continued to give the first head I had ever given, sucking and licking and kissing you. You seemed to greatly enjoy it, and just as I took the head of your cock into my mouth, wrapped my hands around the rest of your length and sucked hard, you came.
A quick face-wash and mouth rinse and I got dressed and presentable for breakfast. I remember feeling that I enjoyed that side of the relationship quite a lot. I still do, just to reassure you.
On New Year's Eve Albus held a party and, shocking absolutely everyone except for the big black dog in the corner – grim in more than one way – you said, "Happy New Year, Harry," and kissed me in front of everyone at midnight. I kissed back, grinning brightly at your first real show of public affection to me.
Life continued after the Christmas break as usual, except maybe we were a little happier. It wasn't until Easter that it went a little sour and we discovered why we didn't like Professor Frisson.
I was already revising for the OWLs. Being with you had made me realise that education was important, and I was even beginning to find a thrill in learning something new – something that not everybody knew.
I was practicing potions for my practical when you came in to observe me, give me a few tips and that. You looked over my shoulder at my notebook and got this strange expression on your face. You picked it up and began flicking through it, getting angrier and angrier. And it wasn't at my messy handwriting.
"Harry, these aren't the OWL potions."
I was incredibly confused, and slightly worried.
"What do you mean, Sev? What are they?"
"They're… half of them are Dark Arts potions. Has he been making you make them all year, or just lying to you about them?"
I must have looked like Nearly Headless Nick had floated through me – I had done Dark Arts, and I wasn't terribly happy with myself. I stepped back from my cauldron as though I had been burned.
"I've been doing Dark Arts? Shit, Sev!"
You looked vitriolic and I was scared.
"We're going to Dumbledore right now."
And we did. Frisson was called and we discovered, via your Veritaserum and Dumbledore's excellent interrogation skills (the second time in as many year that I had seen the combination put to good use), that he was a supporter of Voldemort – not a marked follower due to his unhappy muggle heritage a generation back – who was making me brew dark fertility potions and one that would give the drinker an artificial womb, in the hope I would drink one voluntarily as a tester. If not, he was going to force me to drink them at the OWL exam. He was then going to offer me to Voldemort to impregnate and kill after giving birth to his very powerful, and hopefully evil, heir.
We had caught him before he could do any harm, which was lucky, and under the circumstances Dumbledore offered to tutor me himself in potions until the OWL exams. But that wasn't what I was worried about. I thought back to our first conversation and just knew that this was one step towards my becoming evil.
You took me aside and reassured me that it wasn't something I had chosen to do, and that blame lay in the choice to do something with full knowledge of the consequences.
I panicked for a while, almost hyperventilating at one point, but you managed to calm me down a little, as did Sirius when he arrived. You, Dumbledore, Sirius and I then sat down and discussed just what I didn't want to talk about.
"Harry, not only is it possible that Voldemort may attempt that plan for himself, but it is also possible that he is thinking about other things… spells to heighten power used in the Dark Arts which relate to sexual contact with another."
Sirius scowled at you.
"At least we don't have to worry about the virgin sacrifices – the greasy git's surely taken care of that."
I got… a tad hostile, but hostility was called for in my opinion.
"For your information, Sirius, he hasn't – no one has. Severus has been patient and wiling to wait however long I want – in fact he made me promise to wait until after I was sixteen even though as a bonded couple that law no longer applies to us. Shut up when you don't know what you're talking about, please!"
He just looked from me to you in absolute shock.
"You mean you never… he's never made you-?"
"Not that I didn't want to, but yes, he hasn't. I'll not say I'm… entirely inexperienced, but I am still a virgin in the true sense of the word."
Dumbledore spoke up.
"May I ask that you two take care of that as soon as possible? I understand and respect your wishes, but as Harry's safety is at risk, and I'm sure both yourself, Severus, and you, Sirius, would rather Harry loose his chastity than his life."
I couldn't believe I was being practically ordered to loose my virginity! Of course – as a teenaged boy – I was only too happy about it, which Sirius didn't seem to appreciate one bit, especially when I agreed happily and pecked you on the cheek. You just smirked at him and then turned to me, your voice soft and eyes full of concern.
"Harry, are you comfortable with this? I don't want you to feel pressured, and if you want to be with someone else who you'd feel more comfortable with; someone closer to your own age…"
You looked sad saying that, and it made me sad.
"I feel more comfortable with you than with anyone – you know that. I want to, and only with you."
So we did. That night you managed to create the most relaxing atmosphere possible in our bedroom with candles and aromatherapy oils and a massage, and you took me with such tenderness and love that tears welled in my eyes. It didn't even hurt me – you prepared me too well for that, and your touch was too gentle. I believe that I was truly lucky to have found out you were my soul mate before losing my virginity.
It was a fortnight later when I remembered that once, when practicing my potions, I had tested what was supposed to be a mild healing potion. When it hadn't worked and given me a slight stomach-ache, I had taken some antacid and shrugged it off as a mistake in the potion.
You hauled me up to Madam Pomfrey as soon as I told you – at quarter to midnight, you in your t-shirt and drawstring trousers and me in my pyjamas – and we found out that I was pregnant. It was, to say the least, a shock. It even surprised Dumbledore, but after a week of adjusting we realised that we were looking forward to it, even if we hadn't a clue what to do. We told no one except Sirius.
That was why a month later, when I was in Defence Against the Dark Arts and Lavender's misfired curse hit me straight in my stomach, knocking me out of my chair and against the wall, I panicked and not a soul knew why I was so afraid. No one knew why I was so anxious and clutched at my stomach, why the cramps I felt were so terrifying to me or why I sobbed at Hermione to get you for me – just to bring you; that I only wanted you. Ron went to go get Madam Pomfrey anyway.
No one knew why I refused to move or let anyone touch me or why when you showed up breathless and saw me sobbing against the wall, clasping my stomach, you looked so drawn and afraid.
You sat there beside me and clutched me to you, one arm around my back, rubbing gently and the other hand on my stomach, massaging me to help with the cramps.
You kept hold of my hand when Madam Pomfrey came down and ran some tests. She was in tears when she told us we'd lost the baby, and the gasps and shocked looks didn't really register to me. Just that you picked me up and held me on your lap in the chair I had been sitting in before getting knocked off, reassuring me that you loved me and that there hadn't been anything I could have done to prevent it. Lavender was in hysterics and the rest of the girls in tears. Ron just looked shocked and distraught, and the other boys in the class hadn't even guessed at the true depth of our relationship never mind that I was pregnant with your child.
You held me to you and kissed my forehead and rubbed my back and rocked me to and fro like I was a small child, and I curled up into you and just thought about what our child could have been, what he might have done in the world.
I kept telling you how sorry I was, and you looked at me with tears in your eyes as you told me again and again that it was nobody's fault and you loved me, and that as long as I was okay everything would be all right in the end.
By this time there wasn't a dry eye in the room, including the Defence teacher, and he was a six-foot three, muscular ex-auror who had seen a lot of death and destruction in his lifetime.
When the bell rang and a class of first year Slytherins arrived at the open door, gaping at their head of house and his husband, you picked me up, cradled me to your chest and followed Madam Pomfrey to the infirmary. I clutched you like you were my only anchor to reality, and I suppose you were in a way. I recall that the whole school was changing classes at the time and made way for us silently as whispers preceded us person to person on our journey, countless eyes staring and mouths moving, muttering about me and you and our lost child.
Madam Pomfrey performed an operation on me to remove the foetus, and for two days after I lay in my hospital bed, healing and crying, and you sat in the chair beside me holding my hand and looking into space.
Dumbledore explained what had happened to the school and the ministry and neither were allowed to question us.
Ron, Hermione, Sirius and Professor Lupin came to visit me but no one could really come up with the right words, so the visits passed mostly in silence.
When I went back to lessons no one spoke to me really; walking on eggshells, terrified that they might say something to make me start up again. I didn't care – you were the only one I allowed close to me, and I was clingy and reused to let you out of my sight unless necessary. Later you said you didn't care, that it was actually good for you to be sure I was okay; that you need to be with me as much as I with you.
Then over a week later, Lavender attempted to kill herself, and I knew I had to say something. To be truthful I stormed up to the hospital wing in a fury wanting to give her a piece of my mind. No one stopped me – it was the most animated I'd been in a week and a half.
"Just what do you think you're doing!?"
She started and looked up at me from the hospital bed, eyes red-rimmed and face pallid, wrists bound in white bandages until the salve finished healing the slice marks.
"Harry? What are you-?"
"Are you completely clueless? Don't you understand? I just lost my unborn child after Cedric last year and you want me to have your death hanging over me as well? Did you think it would make me feel better to hear that you died? Maybe that it would bring our baby back? Are you really so stupid?"
Lavender broke down into guttering sobs.
"I'm so sorry, Harry… so sorry… it was all my fault that you lost the baby… I cast the curse… I should have been more careful… I don't deserve to live."
I calmed down when I saw how worked up she was and finally saw you standing in the shadows, but ignored you for the time being – Lavender needed my help.
I took Lavender's hand and met her eyes, my hand on her cheek to stop her looking away. She was petrified, shaking like a leaf.
"Lavender, you didn't know to be careful – no one did except me, Sev, Madam Pomfrey and Dumbledore. It was an accident in the true sense of the word, and you are not to blame. If you are then I am too. Am I to blame, Lavender? Do I deserve to die?"
She sobbed again.
"No, Harry. I'm just… so sorry."
"So am I, but there's nothing we can do anymore. I don't blame you one bit, and neither does anyone else."
She looked at me, apparently not having noticed you, and ran a finger over my ring. For some reason it didn't seem like the usual violation.
"What about Professor Snape? Does he blame me?"
I looked over to you and you walked up to the bed, scaring the life out of Lavender – you always were at home in the shadows. You put your hand over the one I held on Lavender's.
"It was not something that could be helped and I don't blame you in the slightest, Ms Brown, but I will blame you if you try something as stupid as taking your own life again. Harry is correct – there has been enough death and it is likely to continue with Voldemort. Don't add to the death count for selfish reasons and don't blame yourself. It was an accident."
You squeezed my hand (and so hers too), kissed my forehead and then left.
Lavender looked at your retreating figure and then at me.
"He really loves you. I didn't know – I thought you were just close friends, you know, soul mates? But you're… lovers. He really, truly loves you as a husband."
"I love him too. It's strange, I used to hate him, but it just snuck up on me and now, I know it sounds sappy, but he's my world."
"I really am sorry that I took away your chance to have a child with him."
She looked at my furious gaze and backtracked.
"Even if it was an accident, and who am I to argue with Professor Snape when he says it was? I don't want to be skinning shrivel figs for disobeying a teachers direct order."
I laughed, and it felt great. I had been so caught up in sorrow that I hadn't thought to appreciate what I still had, and I still had you and my friends. And now I had a new person to care about, even if it wasn't my child.
I stayed with Lavender all that day talking about you and our relationship, and when she was released in time for dinner we found you and walked into the great hall together a few minutes late, your hands on her shoulder and my back, one of mine clasped in one of hers, obviously making the statement 'we don't blame her – say a word against her and you pay'.
I sat with her during meals the next day, too. Not one person muttered so much as a theory of anyone's blame in my presence, but I finally got a few condolences. Slowly but surely life got back to normal, even if both of our eyes had that extra layer of grief that wasn't there before and I had picked up the habit of running a finger across the thin, white lines across my stomach when I was upset.
I found great comfort in your arms and in our bed.
The school year ended and I got very high marks in all of my OWLs, including potions (although I had a lot of help from you as well as Albus in that area).
I was told I was to spend the summer with you at Hogwarts for safety's sake. The first few weeks we spent a lot of time at a tree by the lake, substituting its trunk and the grass for our sofa.
Many of the other teachers saw me curled up in your lap listening to you read or talking quietly with you or simply in your embrace enjoying your company and just smiled. There was even that one afternoon when you threw me in the lake and I pulled you after me. By the time we had finished splashing and dunking and pulled ourselves out, soaking wet and with the beginnings of a mutual cold, we had gathered quite an audience of amused faculty members who couldn't believe the childish, no, happy, side I had brought out in you.
For my birthday you got Ron, Hermione, Lavender, Sirius and Remus in on a surprise birthday party.
If it sounded like nothing special to other people, then they didn't know it was in your villa in a mountain range somewhere in Spain with its own private swimming pool and house-elves to do whatever for you.
Hermione had by then been convinced that freeing most house-elves, especially ones as well treated as yours, was a titanic insult and indicated that they were worthless, so she managed to cope with it too, if the sitting in a sun-lounger by the pool drinking a non-alcoholic cocktails brought by the elves counts as coping with it.
I was bombarded by gifts that afternoon when we had finished swimming and eating and generally having fun, but when I counted them there was one extra. You checked it for curses and when it was deemed 'safe' I opened it.
That was a big mistake, or perhaps not if the end overrides means.
Inside the box lay a bloodied, tiny blue baby-grow with a note pinned to it over the little white bunny decoration saying 'better luck next time'.
I threw it from me like it was diseased and it lay on the ground for all to see. I knew who it was from – who didn't? Lavender was crying again and you just looked so sad. I, however, was mad: both in the slightly insane with grief way and the angry beyond belief way. I grabbed my wand and concentrated on my scar without registering what I was doing before disappearing without a word from the gathering.
I appeared in front of Voldemort who was, obviously, quite surprised (as was I), and a little worried. He was alone but for a single death eater, quickly stunned, in some dungeon room inspecting torture devices.
He looked at me and smiled viciously.
"Happy Birthday, Mister Potter. I take it you received my gift. So nice of you to return the favour, although handing me yourself on a platter is a little extravagant, no? Tut-tut, Mister Potter, what would your husband say, rushing off like a foolhardy Gryffindor?"
I was enraged.
"My name, Tom, is Mister Snape. You made a mistake – haven't you already learnt the lesson of the power of a parent's love for their child?"
And I flung my wand up with no warning, spitting out a spell I didn't recall learning.
And he incinerated as I stood there. His body turned to a pile of ashes and there was nothing left. He hadn't even had time to scream.
I heard the hoarse cries of the death eaters in the building and checked the arm of the stupefied one – the mark was fading, fading, gone. It was done.
I collapsed in a heap and sobbed, alone for the first time in almost a year.
I was only sixteen, and I had just killed Voldemort for mocking the loss of my unborn child.
I had just thrown myself into a place I didn't know with an unknown number of people who were no doubt about to burst in and kill me, and without a way to leave that I knew of.
You had no idea where I had gone and were dealing with his little 'gift' on your own, and probably worried sick about me and why your mark had gone. The others at the party confirmed this later.
I didn't even know how I had gotten there in the first place, to tell the truth. It all seemed… too easy, but so hard all at the same time.
Finally another death eater appeared in the doorway. At least, I thought he was a death eater at the time. He was paler than usual and his silver eyes widened at the scene I front of him.
"Right. What happened?"
I gestured to the pile of ashes.
"Son of a bitch taunted me."
Draco looked at the tear-streaked, pale and undeniably-scared me in shock, especially when a thin chuckle escaped me.
"You would think he would learn! People love their children. People love their family. Why couldn't he learn that love is more powerful than any other weapon?"
To my surprise Draco Malfoy laughed.
"I think he might have now."
"And you aren't going to kill me for teaching him that special little lesson?"
"No, but my father might if he gets you. When the marks disappeared from their arms he sent all of us on a sweep of the manor. You're just lucky you got possibly the only non-supportive supporter of You Know Who in the place finding you."
"You aren't… weren't… a death eater?"
"Ten more minutes, maybe. Either that or dead. By the way thanks, Po…uhm, Sna... no, Harry."
"So how do I get out of here?" I asked, completely thrown off by the turn of events.
Draco – what else could I have called him after that? Draco looked at me for a while and then came over to help me up.
Down a series of narrow, darkened corridors he led me, and I had no other option but to trust him.
We passed two death eaters on the way, both searching for me, but Draco's knowledge of his home made sure we came up trumps. The shadows and many alcoves that Malfoy dungeons consisted of helped a lot, though, so maybe some credit goes the architect.
Finally there was a staircase – a very long one – and Draco led me into a silver and green bedroom filled with gadgets, books and all sorts of things that I imagine Dudley might have owned had he been a wizard.
He rummaged in a trunk at the bottom of his bed and pulled out the second invisibility cloak I had ever seen.
"Put this on and follow me. Keep close to the walls and be quiet."
I did as he said. You would have laughed – me, subservient to a Malfoy.
At first, when we entered the room where his father was pacing, silver cane clicking on the stone floor, I thought he had tricked me. Then I remembered that Malfoy Sr. couldn't see me, and it registered that he was talking to his father, and not about finding me.
"There was a dungeon chamber with a pile of ashes and Nott stupefied with his sleeve pulled up. I left it as it is. I didn't see anyone else, but I'm going to check the apparition border, if that's okay."
Lucius Malfoy looked troubled, pacing the floor and staring at his bare arm, but apparently he had heard Draco, for he stopped.
"Yes, yes, go. You are a good boy, Draco."
The older blonde man left the room and headed in the direction Draco and I had just come from and Draco coughed once, purposefully. I walked closer to him and muttered, "what now?"
He jumped slightly, then turned and walked. I followed, realising that he was leading me outside. We walked in silence for what must have been over two miles before we came to a hedged barrier.
"You can take that off now," he told me.
I took of the cloak and handed it to him.
"Climb over the hedge," he told me, doing the same.
Following his lead, I crawled over and felt myself pass through a magical shield. As if reading my mind he informed me that it was their anti-apparition barrier. Then he grabbed my hand and told me to think of wherever I wanted to be.
I thought of you standing on the patio of the villa in Spain and then a strange wave passed through me and I opened my eyes and there you were sat in one of the wooden chairs, alone, head in hands, staring at the gruesome present on the table.
"Don't look at it," I told you, and your head snapped up.
My body felt weak again – the adrenaline rush had worn off – and I felt myself crumble to the ground in a dead faint. Seconds later I was in your arms and you were brushing my hair out of my face, yelling into the house for someone to get a glass of water and the pale-blue potion from the kitchen counter. Then you remembered that I hadn't been alone.
"What happened, Draco?"
Draco was staring at the box on the table, more gruesome than I had remembered.
"Did he send you that?" he asked in a disgusted voice. You nodded and Draco looked ill.
"It pissed him," he gestured to me, "off no end. Don't know what exactly happened but one minute it's normal summer holidays with the death eaters, I'm waiting on Voldemort to get back so that he can mark me or I can, you know… die, and the next they're all writhing on the floor and their marks are gone.
'Father sent me on a search of the dungeons and I found him, a stupefied Nott and a pile of ashes that used to be the dearly departed prick in one of the torture chambers."
He looked at me strangely.
"He was muttering something about the power of love for family – I understand now."
The others were now crowded around and Hermione gave you the water and potion. You made me take a little of each and then helped me up into your lap on a chair.
I explained what happened, and when I confirmed that Voldemort, to the best of my knowledge, was dead, excited chatter spread through the patio. I was amused to see Sirius hug Draco for saving me.
I stared at your eyes – so dark and deep and full of pain and relief and joy and hatred and love, all at the same time. I looked at your pale, blemishless arm and gently ran my fingertips over it – it seemed so symbolic.
"I did it."
You smiled down at me and clutched me close, burying your face in my hair.
"You did it."
"I don't know how – it was too sudden and I don't even know how I got there, but… but I did it."
The rest of the afternoon was spent with me opening the rest of my presents and Draco going to notify Dumbledore and a small celebration – in relation to numbers, not zeal – of Voldemort's death.
That evening we retired to our room. You kissed me gently, but I was too highly strung for calm. I looked you in the eye.
"I need you to fuck me, and I need it to be rough – I need it to hurt."
You yet again seemed to understand; to understand that I wanted the pain to remind me that I was still alive – perhaps you needed the same affirmation.
You used lubrication on yourself, but didn't prepare me at all, and the hard thrusts and slight burning and small-but-definitely-there pain were exactly what I needed – I came hard and fast several times, and each time it felt like a little bit more of my soul came back to me.
Of course, the fact that we forgot the silencing spells and the whole house could hear the bed rocking and banging against the wall and our hoarse cries wasn't mentioned the next morning except for a gentle indication by Hermione (her subtle reference to the merits of silencing charms was rather amusing in retrospect), although Sirius had a minor amount of trouble looking me in the eye and all of my friends went red when they saw you.
The journey back to Hogwarts, or rather the scene when we arrived back, was undesirable to say the least.
Albus was waiting in his office, and immediately congratulated me on my victory. I wonder why it felt so hollow.
From then there was the hours and hours of unrelenting questions from both him and the Ministry: was I sure that it had been Voldemort? Did I know for sure that Draco Malfoy had actually helped me? How had I known I could find Voldemort? How had I know how to find Voldemort? How had I gotten past the anti-apparition barriers on Malfoy property? How did I know the spell and how to use it? Was I sure He was really gone?
Most of my answers were 'I don't know's, but in the end they seemed satisfied, all except a blithering Fudge who was muttering about it not being possible in a stunned voice.
The remainder of the summer was a barrage of owls and reporters and cameras and well-wishers. Still, you tried hard to see that I still had a routine, and I really loved it when we sat under our tree and read – you called me a romantic fool when I carved our initials into it, and Hagrid and Professor Sprout almost had a fit at my maltreatment of school property.
We moved on to other authors like Tolkien and Dickens. I still prefer the Shakespeare – it's more lyrical – but I enjoyed it all the same. I guess I really am a romantic fool.
School started again in September and it had been decided that, as long as all my Potions work was graded by someone else (Albus volunteered, of course), it was okay for me to be in your class. I think the events of the previous year nudged the Board of Governors into the decision, but I wasn't complaining. I got to stare at you even more than usual.
I'll admit, though, that it was strange. You weren't as you were before – you had no reason to be – but you weren't Severus, either. You were Professor Snape, who still managed to dredge up the will to yell at me when I used the wrong ingredients, but that was all only in class.
In private, well, if we hadn't already been married I'm sure one of us would have asked the other by then. We knew now that we were soul mates – we felt it. It was different. But now I felt like there was something, not missing, but that could make it even better – something I'd only felt once before when you'd dragged me up to Madam Pomfrey in the middle of the night. I wanted that feeling back, so I decided to approach you with the topic.
"Severus, last year, when I was pregnant, how did you feel?"
You looked up from your book and gazed at me as if analysing your answer in your head.
"At first? Scared. Confused. I didn't think I would be able to raise a child at my age and especially not with a teenager who had as little an idea of what to do as I did and who was still a student, technically a child himself. But then… I changed. I began to picture what life would be like with a baby – our baby – and I realised that it might be nice to have another person to love in our family. A person to watch grow up and a person who was a little bit of me, and a little bit of you, mixed together. I wanted it. I'm sorry it never happened for us in the end, very sorry."
"What if it happened again?"
"If you got pregnant again?"
"Yes. If we had the opportunity to have a child, would you take it?"
You stood up and came over to me, kneeling in front of my chair, taking my hands in yours as you gazed up into my eyes.
"Every time, Harry."
"I… I don't want to do the same as last time, and I want to wait until I'm not at school anymore – til I'm sure I'm ready for the responsibility. But, Severus, when I'm ready, when we're ready, will you help find a way for us to have a child? When I knew that I had a whole other life growing in me I felt so… right. When I knew your child was inside me… I just… I love you so much and I… I just wanted it so much and then…"
I was crying by then. You picked me up and took me to the couch, cradled me on your knee.
"Harry, I know what you're trying to say – what you felt. And when you're ready I'll do everything I can to help us have another child. Everything. I love you, too. And now Voldemort's gone we can raise a child without worrying about what he'd do. But not until you're ready and I'm ready. We'll wait until then and we'll find a way, I promise."
"I love you, Sev."
"Mmm," you kissed my forehead, "you too."
"Will you make love to me?"
And you did, and it was achingly bittersweet. It was a manifestation of everything we had just revealed to each other – it was exactly the way any parent would want their child to be conceived, but we both knew nothing would come of it, not this time anyway.
But I knew the opportunity was going to be there in the future, that we both wanted it and were determined to make it happen when the time was right. It made me feel complete again.
The reason I wasn't ready yet you never asked and I never told you, but I'm telling you now.
The reason was that I wanted the opportunity to be a teenager for just a little longer. It was strange enough being married at sixteen, and I wanted to keep whatever freedom I had left – a little selfish, maybe, but it was how I felt.
I loved you more than life itself, make no mistake I didn't think of you as a burden and I still don't – I never will. A child however, while I had been ready to adapt to have one, might have been when I was fifteen, and even then at sixteen and the years following. I wanted to wait until I knew that I could cope and wanted to have the responsibility.
Anyway, whatever the reason, we didn't talk about it any more. It wasn't a taboo topic, but there was no reason to until I came up to you and told you I was ready, and I wasn't then – I had already promised myself – and you – that I would finish my education first.
It was the first year of NEWTs, and a little less pressured than last year had been or the next year was going to be, simply because there were no formal examinations that year.
The fact that Voldemort was gone meant I had even more freedom. I started to spend Saturdays in Hogsmeade with my friends. I had fun, and it didn't stop me from having my different, calmer kind of fun with you… or the different, sweatier and more passionate kind of fun with you.
And you started to lighten up with the staff as well as the students and spent more time in the staff room talking to them rather than cooped up in our rooms or your lab, generally when I was with my own friends.
The year went quite quickly, and with no Voldemort to make an appearance, quite peacefully as well. I'll not say it was completely non-eventful, because you'd call me a liar. On the negative side of things there were all of the articles about you, me, and our relationship. There was the anniversary of the day I miscarried our child, which was spent out of class and in each other's arms on the sofa, but without any books.
On the positive, there was your birthday in late September, which was fun because with the help of Dumbledore I arranged for us to go to Egypt for the weekend – Bill helped us out with where to visit.
There was our anniversary shortly after that, and we spent the night rather happily in bed after a small get together with our friends where we got some 'one year late wedding presents'. The next morning I could hardly walk, but it was worth it.
There was Christmas with it's presents and family and mistletoe (and kisses at random places around the school) and, of course, Albus' Hogmanay party where the kiss we shared at midnight was a little more heated than last year's.
The dramatic thing that always happens that year was the day when Sirius was pronounced a free man, although whether that was positive in your eyes was something I'll never know, because if it was you'd never tell me for fear Sirius would find out, and if not you'd never tell me for fear of hurting me.
There was a haunted-house themed party at the Shrieking Shack, and I got rather drunk for the first time and I ended up so aroused that we had to spell one of the empty rooms shut, clean, and soundproofed so that I could rip off our clothes and quite happily mount you. Of course we missed the end of the party and people kind of guessed where we were, or rather what we were doing, from the long, deep kisses I'd bestowed on you before we retired out of sight, but I was drunk – I didn't care. You haven't made any complaints about it, either – just jokes.
The year ended, the summer passed with us spending the whole time in Spain. My 17th we had people – more this time – over again and no extra presents appeared. It was more rowdy thanks to the fact that it was the day Voldemort had died as well, so there were quite a few hangovers the next day then, too.
That year came around with all of the same birthdays and anniversaries, but it went by much faster thanks to the fact that I was studying almost 24/7.
I began to think about what I wanted to do. Not Quidditch for sure – it was my favourite hobby, but it was just that.
I didn't want to teach – seeing how busy you were all the time put me off that, although I did still enjoy helping you grade papers.
I began to think about medi-wizardry, and after a discussion with Madam Pomfrey (who told me if I hadn't picked up at least some medical training in the amount of time I'd spent under her care she would be disappointed) I had an apprenticeship with her for the next few years, which was wonderful because I could stay with you at Hogwarts as well as doing what I wanted.
I finished my education with top-rate NEWT results, third only to Hermione and Draco Malfoy. The Headmaster smiled when he told the school how the top three students were none of us Ravenclaws and made a speech about houses not making the person but the people making the houses.
It was in my second year of apprenticeship during the spring – about a year ago now – when I was almost twenty that I sat down with you after telling you we needed to talk. You looked so concerned at my serious face that I wanted to hug you, but I didn't dare before I told you what I had to say.
"Severus, I was reading one of Poppy's books today. I found a legal way for two men – two wizards – to have children together, and I wanted to tell you that I'm ready when you are."
You just sat there and stared at me for a minute, saying nothing, no change in your face. I was starting to worry when suddenly your face burst out into a smile and you hugged me tight, kissing me soundly.
"I'm ready too, Harry. Any time you want, we'll start."
So we both sat down and looked at the book and others on the topic. It was a rather different potion than last time, and it needed to be combined with a spell. It took over a month to get the father who would be carrying the child ready, but it was less dangerous than before for both myself and the child I would be carrying during the pregnancy.
After we had the potion made and Poppy on hand to perform the spell, it just took one more thing – the same thing it had taken last time. This time, however, we knew the significance of what we were doing, and like that time after I first broached the subject, way back in my sixth year, we made love in a way that showed not only our love for each other, but the love we would give our child when it was born.
It worked. At first only Madam Pomfrey knew, but when we remembered what had happened the last time, we decided better safe than sorry.
Our closest friends were told about two weeks in, and then another fortnight later the school and wizarding world as a whole were told.
Being pregnant, well, it's the most wonderful and yet most bizarre thing I've ever experienced.
There was the morning sickness until you made the potion. Then there was the kicking and the swollen ankles and the constantly full. The mood swings – now they were fun, not that I'm sure you'd agree. One minute I'd be yelling at a student for being careless and then hugging them, crying, because they were in pain and I was afraid I'd hurt their feelings.
I would tell you how much I loved you and then get angry with you for reasons even I didn't understand.
I would cry at the least things, even more than pregnant women because I wasn't used to having oestrogen in my system. I cried when Hermione and Ron got engaged and I cried the first time I could see the bump our child formed and I cried every time you told me I was beautiful or that you loved me.
The cravings were also fun. I never thought I'd ever find stoat sandwiches appetising and ice cream abhorrent, but I did. Even the smell of ice cream made me queasy, as did the smell of chocolate. I was eating more meat and vegetables than before, though. I guess my body just knew what minerals and proteins it needed, and apparently it needed no more sugar. I remember crying because once, just when I was contemplating going down to the kitchens to get some food, you showed up with a plate of sandwiches for me.
I never got too big, but I got big early on in my pregnancy and stayed that way. Lavender used to check in on me every second weekend, and squealed with delight when The Bump kicked at her hand through my stomach.
Pragmatic as always, we found out the sex of the baby so that we could plan it's – or should I say her – nursery.
The castle is strange in that it knows it's inhabitant's needs. Our quarters got a little bigger – another bedroom and bathroom appeared – and we spent our free time working out what to do with them and then using magic to put our plans into reality.
I was a little frantic and wanted to make sure every single little thing was perfect. I got really annoyed if something wasn't right and huffed until it went my way. Hermione helpfully informed me that I was 'nesting'.
From about a month ago I went on paternity leave (well, they could hardly call it maternity leave seeing as how I was going to be a father), and took to walking around the castle – waddling, truth be told – and down to the dungeons to watch you teach.
You got rather frustrated when your classes started ignoring you in favour of asking me questions about the baby and being pregnant and feeling my stomach, but since you were guilty of the same except more often in private, you gave them some leeway, and when I told you I thought the baby wanted to be near you, you told me that I was a romantic fool again, but consented to let me come and go as I pleased as long as I didn't interrupt too much.
That was why, this morning at about ten o'clock while you were teaching a third year Slytherin/Gryffindor class, you were in the room with me when I felt a twinge of pain in my stomach and grabbed the desk in front of me with the hand that hadn't gone instinctively to my stomach. It went unnoticed and I decided to wait and see if it happened again – to see if it was a proper contraction.
It did, and the following scene was rather funny.
"Uh, Severus," I called over the class to you, hand on my stomach as the contraction faded, "Severus, I think we need to go to the hospital wing. She wants out now."
The class went silent as everyone froze, and then you sprinted to my side as everyone started to chatter excitedly, potions ignored.
"Okay, lets go right now," you said, all panicked.
"Severus," I laughed, "we have plenty of time. At least wait until your class stabilises their potions and clears up. And get someone to go tell Albus to cancel all of your classes for the rest of the day. Oh, and I'll wait here with them while you go get my bag – you know, the one with all of my stuff for me and her after she's born. Oh yes, and someone will need to go tell Poppy to get ready and expect us up, and you'll need to bring some fire-call powder so that you can use the fireplace in the wing to tell people what's going on. Oh, yes, and Hermione's my back-up Lamaze partner incase you need to be out of the room at any time, so when you're getting the bag, call her and let her Floo over."
Everyone was looking at me in silence.
"What?" I asked. A third year Slytherin girl called Katie spoke up.
"How can you be so calm and collected? You're about to have a baby!"
"Because I know what to expect and it'll be a long time before my waters break never mind before I go into labour. Now would you run up to Madam Pomfrey for me, please, Katie? I'm sure Angela will look after your cauldron and things for you."
At the other girl's nod she ran off and I turned to you.
"Go, get my bag, Severus, and stop looking like a statue."
You unfroze and bolted out the door. I laughed at how frantic you looked, called, "and don't forget Hermione!" out the door behind you before turning to a Gryffindor called Michael.
"Would you go make sure that the Headmaster knows what's going on? You know where is office is, right?"
Michael nodded and sprinted off. I settled back into your teaching stool grateful for it's back, and supervised the class's clean up.
As they finished one by one, the came up and surrounded me, asking me what the contractions felt like and whether I was scared – things like that.
I was having another contraction just as you came back into the room, a sight more calm and with Hermione at your side.
"Oh, Harry! It's really happening? What's wrong" she squealed, practically bouncing up and down with excess energy.
I looked at her and through gritted teeth managed, "third contraction."
She immediately started on the breathing exercises and you offered your hand for me to hold while you dismissed the class to their common rooms or the grounds. After it passed, we started our slow trek up to the infirmary. Doors opened as we passed and people shouted out messages of good luck.
When we got to the infirmary there was a minor amount of hustle and bustle as I got into a gown and bed and we confirmed our wish for a Cesarean Section. I was hooked up to an IV and given antacid and some painkilling potions, and you stayed by my side offering comforting words, and when a contraction came, between you and Hermione I was breathing right.
As other things went on around me I felt a little groggy, but when Hermione left and they started the incisions, I soon focused. It didn't hurt, however gruesome it looked, but when she broke my water and I saw my child – our child – being pulled gently from my body I started to cry with joy.
The umbilical cord was cut magically, and as Poppy fussed about with my magical womb and magically closed me up, you cleaned our little girl and wrapped her in a blanket and handed her to me. She was little and scrunched up and crying and all red, and still she was the most beautiful thing I've ever seen.
I kissed her head, still sobbing, and you wrapped your arms around us and kissed my forehead the way you had a thousand times before.
The tears were still running down my face when Madam Pomfrey finished healing and cleaning me up and told us we had a beautiful daughter and asked her name – in the wizarding world they still have the habit of putting a hospital bracelet on the newborn baby for safety reasons (though ours are silver and tend to be held on to as keepsakes), and the name was written on them.
Shakespeare has had his influence on us, hasn't he? We called our baby girl Celia Valentine Snape, both of her christian names from Shakespeare's works.
Exhausted though I'd not gone through all the pain, after about an hour of just looking in amazement at her, I asked you to hold her and show our friends while I slept a little.
I watched with drooping eyes as you took her and dressed her in a disposable nappy and a tiny little baby grow, and fell asleep the moment you walked out of the room, cradling her in your arms with your finger caught in her miniscule hands.
She's such a little tiny real person – it never hit me so much as then when I saw her four little fingers curl around yours. I fell asleep knowing that I had helped bring a beautiful little girl into the world and that I was going to help her find her place in it as well as I could.
Anyway, I woke up about half an hour ago and you were sleeping in the chair beside my bed, Celia was sleeping in her little cot-thing between us, and I felt more refreshed than I probably had a right to – you make great painkilling potions, husband of mine.
So I've been sitting here, glancing between you and the other, new little person who my life now revolves around, and talking to you even though you can't hear me.
And as I said when I started talking, when this began I certainly didn't expect this to happen – to have a family who I love to bits; to be an almost fully trained medi-wizard with a husband and a child and a home and no Voldemort to threaten it all.
Oh, she's waking up now. She's probably hungry – I hope Poppy's got a bottle ready for her. And now you're waking up too – well, yes, she does have a strong set of lungs."
"Harry, what are you blithering about?"
"I'm just talking – I was saying she has a strong set of lungs. She's probably hungry – I was going to go see if Poppy has a bottle for her."
"You stay here – you've done enough today, I'll go find one."
"Thank you, Sev, love."
Harry picks up his daughter as his husband leaves the room.
"Celia, darling, that was your other daddy. He loves you just as much as I do, and I love you very much indeed. He has gone to get you some milk. Yes, he's that kind. Shh, don't cry – he'll be back soon and you'll get your milk. Shh."
Harry gently rocks Celia in his arms, and although she continues to cry, it's less loud. Severus returns rather quickly with a bottle of baby milk, and between the two new parents they manage to get a feeding towel under her neck, and she's soon sucking ferociously on the teat of the bottle that Harry holds up for her.
Harry gazes at his husband and soul mate.
"I was thinking about how much we've gone through to get here."
Severus looks up from his daughter to his husband.
"And what did you think in the end?"
"I think that it was worth it just to hold her in my arms. I can't believe she's out here already – she's a little person. I'm holding your daughter – our daughter – in my arms. She's just so…"
Harry nods and they sit in silence but for the wet slurping noises of the bottle and baby. After a while Celia forces the teat out of her mouth and she gets passed from one father to the other to have her back rubbed gently.
A few more minutes in silence and she's asleep in Severus' arms.
"What do the others think of her?"
Harry's tone is soft and quiet, but not quite a whisper.
"What do you think? Hermione started to cry, Minerva and Lavender joined her and the men baby-talked at her for half an hour. There are piles of cards and presents out there from the students and staff as well as them. She's going to be spoilt rotten."
"We won't let her be. I'm going to go invite some of them in."
"Make sure they'll be quiet."
"Of course, Severus. I love you both."
"I love you both, too, you romantic fool."
Harry gets up slowly, smiling, and leaves the room. Severus stares down at his daughter and starts to talk to the sleeping baby.
"You know, he's right, you're worth everything that's happened to us. I certainly didn't expect this when it all started…"
Remember, people, R&R!