Learning to Live Again By: Barbara Kennedy

Author's Note: This story contains male pregnancy, but it is definitely not a Slash story nor is it likely to become one, so don't ask. In this story Snape is comfortably hetero. Any rating is due to subject matter and possible grossness later. ~~~~~~~ This story sprung from a Plot Bunny that I adopted from Hufflepuff's Badger when she was forced to abandon it due to dreaded Real Life Problems. She had written the first four chapters and posted them here on FanFiction.net but has since removed her version of the story so I can post this one. I was beta reading for her at the time. I really liked the poor little Plot Bunny and couldn't bear to see it waste away to nothing, so I asked her if I could have it to nurture and she kindly agreed. So I've taken it and re- written it. Here is my version. I hope I haven't changed it too much to be recognized. To the fans of her previous version, I hope I live up to your praise of her story. I can't promise how often I will be posting after the first four already- written chapters, but I will try to post as often as I can. This is going to be a long story for it to be told properly, so bear with me. I have a lot of plans for this one. Be warned that Snape is not going to have an easy pregnancy. After all, it is the result of a curse! Constructive criticism is welcome as well as praise. Flames will be used to brew tea.

Disclaimer: Harry Potter is owned by J.K. Rowling and rightly so. Therefore, no infringement intended. All praise ultimately goes to her for inventing this charming series we all play with because we love it so. _______________________________ Ch. 1 - The Curse

How could this have happened?

Severus Snape kept asking himself that question, but still the answer evaded him. His mind was a maelstrom of thoughts and emotions, so agitated that he could not seem to grasp even one concept for more than a fleeting moment.

He paced in his quarters in an effort to relieve the nervous energy that was steadily building. He could not figure out what to do and was beginning to feel trapped. He glanced again at the well-worn book he had grasped in his right hand. In a sudden fit of rage and with a roar of fury, he flung the book halfway across the room, causing several age-yellowed pages to scatter on the floor. He then collapsed dizzily into one of his high-backed chairs scrubbing his weary face with his fine-boned hands as he released a tremulous breath.

The final war between Voldemort had just ended abruptly not three hours earlier.

Severus could still hear the boisterous noises of celebration in parts of Hogwarts for the Dark Lord's downfall, but it was as if they were mocking him. He could not join in the celebration. Voldemort had gotten in the last laugh, at least with him.

Although the Order of the Phoenix had been warned that Voldemort was preparing for major battle with the rest of the Wizarding world, they had not been expecting the attack to be coming quite so soon.

However, earlier that very morning not long before the sun had begun to brighten the night sky, Voldemort's minions had attacked Hogwarts.

Almost from the beginning of the battle, Snape had somehow found himself in the precarious position of defending Harry Potter, making sure he was not captured or harmed. He had followed Potter from the castle into the very middle of the battle to defend the castle and its wards.

Death Eaters seemed intent on targeting the boy. He had saved the seventh- year student countless times from capture, or worse. In spite of this, Severus doubted the boy was even aware of his presence. The young Gryffindor had been too focused on trying to save everyone else.

The battle had raged on for hours. Large numbers of people on both sides had fallen, injured or dead. Severus was beginning to feel that the battle would never end. Finally, in the early afternoon, Voldemort made his appearance on the field of battle with a new wave of followers, including a group of dementors.

To Severus' great surprise, Voldemort did not go directly for Harry Potter. Instead, he seemed to be focused on Severus, himself.

Through fatigue and the effects of the dementors, Harry and Snape were soon surrounded and subdued in spite of Harry's powerful Patronus Charm.

Voldemort's intent became obvious when he ordered three of his most trusted Death Eaters to secure Harry for him. They were ordered not to kill him, he alone claimed that honor, but they were to keep the boy occupied nearby while he dealt with other unpleasant business, namely, Snape himself.

Severus could still clearly remember every word that was spoken.

"Severus, my dear Severus," crooned Voldemort mockingly, "whatever happened to you? I had placed such high hopes in you. You could have been great. You had a place of honor secure beside me. Instead, you have turned down that power and chosen to follow that pathetic muggle-lover, Dumbledore, in his misguided crusade."

Severus did not respond to his former master's taunts. His mind was completely focused on what was happening around him, awaiting his chance to attack. He knew he would not survive this last encounter with the madman before him. There was absolutely no question of that. Nor was he foolish enough to believe that he could hope to defeat the Dark Lord by himself, but he hoped to at least be able to do enough damage to him, before he was killed, that someone else would be able to finish Voldemort off.

When Voldemort realized that Snape was not going to respond, he smiled wickedly, his blood-red eyes glittering dangerously.

His voice lowered to a menacing hiss once more. The words were meant for Severus' ears alone. "Ever since I realized your betrayal, I have been planning what to do with you. A quick death is far too easy for you, even if you are subjected to the Cruciatus Curse for hours before I kill you. No my dear boy, that would be much too lenient. I have something much more delicious in mind. I will make sure you suffer for months before an extremely slow, painful and shameful death."

Severus shivered at the look in the reptilian eyes, but he refused to show the older wizard fear. He kept his wand raised, pointing it at the Dark Lord, and waited for his opportunity to strike. The chance happened almost immediately. Voldemort took his eyes off Severus for a split second, merely a quick glance somewhere off to the side behind Severus to make sure his followers were dealing with Harry Potter, who had apparently broken loose from them somehow. Severus took the opportunity to cast his spell. "Deletum!"

A deep blue beam burst forth from his wand and slammed hard into the chest of the Dark Wizard, knocking him backward. Voldemort, seeing his movement as Snape was about to attack, called out a curse of his own, "Ingravesco!" A thick pink cloud rapidly swirled its way to the Head of Slytherin, encircled him, then seeped into his skin.

Snape gasped as the unfamiliar spell begin to work. His senses were reeling with vertigo and his veins felt as if liquid ice had begun to fill them, not unlike the feeling of walking through a ghost. Just as quickly as it began, it stopped, and Severus could feel a pool of warmth begin to gather in the pit of his stomach and then burst outward throughout the rest of his body.

All the time, Severus had been dimly aware of Voldemort being slammed by his attack, followed quickly by a yell from Potter and another bright light.

When he became fully aware once more, he discovered that he had fallen to his knees.

As he raised his eyes he could see that Voldemort was dead not a few feet away from him. He twisted around slowly and quickly searched the immediate area, trying to ascertain what had happened, only to find himself staring into the shocked green eyes of Harry Potter. He stood immobile a short distance behind and to Severus' left side, wand still raised, pointing to where Voldemort had stood moments before.

Severus pulled himself to his feet a little unsteadily and tried to regain his balance. He was overcome by a wave of dizziness that almost sent him back to his knees. He stood still until the worst of the dizziness passed. He was about to go to Potter to see if he was alright, when he heard a cheer erupt around them. He began to realize that a crowed had already gathered around Potter and fighting had ceased. Voldemort's supporters were retreating. The battle was over. Soon a crowd of people was rushing to congratulate Harry.

Severus decided it was time to leave. He was still feeling dizzy, weak and slightly nauseated. Besides, he desperately wanted to know exactly what kind of cruel curse that Voldemort had thrown at him. Whatever it was, it was bound to be something particularly nasty. He desperately wanted to see if there was anything he could do now to prevent the worst from happening.

Now here he was, sitting in his room with no idea what to do now. When he had arrived at his room, he had immediately searched out his books of dark curses. He was surprised that he found the curse in the first book he looked in, but surprise quickly turned to horror when he found what the curse was. The book stated; "The Ingravesco Curse will cause the victim to become pregnant, regardless of their gender, male or female. When the curse has been cast upon a victim, the next person the victim touches will be the 'father' of the child. Conception does not occur until the victim touches someone or is touched by them. There is no known reversal for this curse.

Severus must have read the passage a hundred times, but still, he had a difficult time taking in the full meaning of what he had read.

No, he was not pregnant at this precise moment, but the next time he touched someone, he would be.

The first crazed thought that popped into his head was that he would just never touch anyone ever again, but the realistic and logical part of him knew him that was impossible, even with the knowledge that most of the people he knew tended to avoid touching him.

His frantic thoughts were interrupted by a knock at his door. Panic welled up in him and he quickly called out, "Go away!" He was disgusted to hear a slight tinge of desperation in his voice.

"Severus?" He could hear the Headmaster's concerned voice through the thick door. "Are you all right?"

"I'm fine, Albus." replied Snape, trying to sound reassuring.

He knew he had failed when the Headmaster said, "Severus, I'm coming in."

"No!" yelled Snape, but it was too late, Dumbledore had pushed open his door and walked into the room, his blue eyes behind his crescent shaped glasses shining with worry.

Dumbledore stood there gazing worriedly at Severus for a moment before asking, "Severus, what is wrong? Why aren't you celebrating with everyone else? Come along and join the fun, you deserve it. We are all in your debt for everything you've done, especially today. Harry said if it were not for your help, he would not have been able to defeat Voldemort."

Snape began pacing once again. Conflicting desires gripping him. He knew he needed to tell the Headmaster, but he really did not want anyone else to know what happened. However, if anyone could help him, he knew Albus could, so he took a deep steadying breath, stopped pacing near the older man and tried to explain.

"Albus, just before Voldemort was defeated," began Snape, "he was able to curse me one last time."

Dumbledore's eyes became grave, losing their normal sparkle, and he stepped closer to reach towards Severus to give him some comfort.

Severus saw Dumbledore's hand reaching for him and screamed, "NO, DON'T TOUCH ME!" scuttling away until he was well out of the other man's reach. His heart was suddenly racing and the blood was pounding in his ears. He wondered at this, he had never panicked like this before, why now?

Dumbledore quickly pulled back his hand, startled. He knew Severus did not like anyone invading his personal space, but he had never reacted so violently before.

Dumbledore was about to try and soothe the younger man again, only with words this time, when he noticed Severus raise his hand to his head and sway as though he was dizzy with his eyes rolling back. Albus was just quick enough to catch his Potion Master and cushion him with his body before they both hit the stone floor. Severus was completely unconscious.

Dumbledore suddenly saw a pink mist enveloping them both before he felt a disturbing heat in his groin and then a small jolting surge, much like a spark, passed between himself and Severus. He had never felt anything quite like it. He was overwhelmed by a sense of foreboding. He figured that it had something to do with the curse Voldemort had used on Severus. However, the feeling was quickly gone and he needed to take Severus to the hospital wing.

To Be Continued..