Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the Harry Potter series of books. I am making no money from the distribution of this fanfiction. Anything you recognize is not mine.

Author notes: Thanks everyone who had reviewed so far. This is the second part of Chapter 11.

"Fletcher has a cold Mrs. Hopkins. I gave him a calming draught and also a sleeping draught to ease his suffering, but otherwise I am afraid the cold must run its course." Hermione took the bundle of baby boy from the healer and kissed his warm skin. In all her life she had never felt so relieved and terrified in the same moment. The feelings of terror, brought on by the fact that she really had nowhere to call home, were replaced with happiness and understanding as Harry rubbed her tense shoulder and calmed her fear of being alone. She had faith in her abilities as a mother to care for her young son and she had always been independent in most aspects of her life; however in her years of marriage to Christopher she had come to rely on a second presence in her home.

"Thank you, Madame." Hermione offered before leaving the room as quickly as possible. She accumulated all of Fletcher's blankets and toys and walked through the halls of St. Mungo's to rid herself of the hospital and the smell of discontent. She had always hated hospitals.

"What time are you off, Harry?" She asked as the brisk July air hit her face both warming it and cooling it at the same time.

"Anytime is fine. I was working extra to get out of my house. Gets lonely without someone to come home to." He looked to the sky and offered his robe to her as he felt a slight drizzle falling on his face and fogging his glasses.

"Only in July can the sky look that clear and yet there still be a shower in the air." Hermione took the cloak in thanks and wrapped both herself and Fletcher before they moved closer to Harry to apparate to his home.

"We can apparate from here, if you're ready." She nodded and he embraced her tightly, his arms cold and limp from hours of work. A swift crack was heard in the air and seconds later Hermione was staring at a lovely brown flat with Harry's name on the post box.

"It's lovely, Harry." She said, handing him his robe and stepping towards the door. He followed slowly, his heart happy to have his friend back and his mind heavy with yet more questions.

Times in brownstone number 24 were lovely. Hermione soon adjusted to living in Harry's home as he wasn't there much and often stayed in the kitchen most of the time. Fletcher had adjusted as well to his new room but could often be found sleeping in Hermione's room in a crib that she'd found at a flea market not far from Harry's house. Harry hadn't asked all the questions he'd really wanted to, but figured Hermione would answer them herself without his having to ask as it wasn't really his place to go digging into her past. Their relationship had become as it once was; Hermione buttered his toast and poured his tea as she'd always done at Hogwarts and he read her the important parts of the paper. Their routine was exactly that, routine. Hermione was awake at five in the morning to get Fletcher up for his daily exercises and activities for his eyes and also his muscles. She made the tea at six-thirty as Harry was getting out of the shower and at seven sharp they ate a quiet an often sublime breakfast, most of the talking was done by Fletcher who had managed to learn a few small sentences, git being his favourite.

Eight o'clock was reserved for a moment of silence for their departed and for the start of a good day and Harry was off to St. Mungo's. Hermione left for the ministry at eight-thirty, Fletcher either went with her or stayed with Ginny who loved watching him. They both returned at six o'clock at night to make a haphazard dinner. It was all so normal now after seven months that Hermione and Harry hardly wondered what life had been like before, though Hermione was still curious as to what Severus was doing, yet never tried to contact him except to get the books she'd left at his home. He hadn't offered any apologies or niceties so she hadn't bothered asking why things had turned out the way they had. Times were lovely, but in need of change. Hermione wanted something more; her own flat, her own rooms, and most of all freedom from the reliance on a man. She loved Harry as the brother she'd never had, but often she wondered why she had continued to stay in his home for so long. With Christopher's trial over, his confinement semi-permanent, she knew the money she'd saved would be available to herself only. So, she'd decided to buy her own home.

"Harry, I've bought a flat." Harry spit his tea a bit and laughed shyly his eye catching hers in surprise.

"Already? Well, where is it then?" Hermione took the spoon from Fletcher's grasp and helped him out of his hi-chair.

"We can go look at it if you'd like." Harry followed Hermione out of the back door towards the lawn.

"You've moved into my backyard?"

"Don't be daft, I bought that one there, behind yours." Hermione pointed at the brick townhouse directly behind Harry's and waited for his response. Surprising, he went back into the house without a word.

"Harry! I'm sorry I didn't tell you it was sort of a surprise." Hermione yelled after him, Fletcher smiling towards the door, a stone in his tiny hand.

"It was a brilliant surprise, Hermione, I just needed to get my trimmer to take down those shrubs."

"You could just use your wand." Hermione said after ten minutes of watching Harry try to garden. "I thought you said your Aunt Petunia used to make you garden." Hermione said, snickering as Harry tried desperately to clear the bushes.

"Yes, perhaps that would be easier. Come on then, Madame Wand Waiver, queen of Gardening, help out." Hermione took her wand out and the shrubs were gone, there absence replaced by the openness between the two homes.

"When are you moving then." Harry laughed a bit and picked Fletcher up from his delightful hole in the mud.

"I was hoping this weekend, but that depends on whether we can convince Ron to help."

"That's not big deal. Michael and Paul will be with Molly this weekend because Katie's gone back to the hospital. Ron will want something to occupy him."

"Well, I need to pop into work for a bit. Fletcher, want to come to work?" He turned his chubby face towards her and reached for her arms.

"Goody." He yelled, his face lighting up with wonder.

"I believe you have the only child in the world who loves going to a stuffy office full of books and weird potions."

"He's a book worm all right."

"just like his mum." Harry said, muttering a bit. She slapped his arm lightly and turned towards the house to get Fletcher cleaned up and to get her briefcase. Harry ruffled Fletcher's curly sable hair and wished them a good trip. He had almost hoped Fletcher would be staying for the afternoon as he was easy to use as a test case for new therapy techniques he had been learning. With Hermione's permission and with his education, he had successfully helped give Fletcher one third of his vision back. That had been a truly remarkable feat as no one had done it before.

"I shouldn't have let you get so dirty, Fletcher James. You look absolutely dreadful." She used her wand to clean his clothes and then a soft, warm rag to wipe his face and hands. She felt that personal touch made her son trust her more than simply using magic to clean him all the time. After his quick cleaning, Hermione gathered her notes on a potion she'd been researching that helped remove the unpleasant symptoms of pregnancy and headed with Fletcher in tow back down the stairs. As she rounded the last step, she grabbed Fletcher's jumper and hat and they walked through the door.

"Ron's coming by tonight for dinner, thought we might fly a bit." Harry voiced while polishing his Nimbus 2006 on their front steps. Hermione rolled her eyes and laughed bit as she heard Fletcher try to say broom.

"It's not enough that Fletcher's first word was nimbus, you'll have him flying on a broom between our houses before he can walk properly." Harry smiled at her comment, forming a new plan for the young boy. He let Fletcher feel the broom in his hands and then sat back on the stairs, his head low and his mind intent on his broom. Hermione worried that he was lonely, but everyone was lonely lately and she hoped someday he would find a new love.

"I'll be home around five." With that she stepped off the stairs and apparated to her office in the ministry. Fletcher held tightly to her neck, his hands in a fist that she'd tried to explain to him many times. She needn't have worried about his being scared of apparation as he was a fearless child, inheriting his Uncle Harry's lack of care for rules. Even at 11 months and 27 days old, Fletcher was a dare devil born to make his mother worry. His sicknesses had subsided with age and with improved vision she was sure he would be walking more steadily soon enough. She had come to work that day for one reason, Remus was being released from the Wolfsbane potion research and she would finally have her good friend back to talk to and relate to.

"Good morning, Hermione." She heard as she entered her office door. She gave Fletcher his favourite book and watched him scuttle towards a bean chair in center of the room.

"Good morning, Remus, glad to be out?" Hermione asked, pouring a cup of tea and sitting beside him on the couch.

"Yes, very much. I believe I have had quite enough of the ministry for a good while. I had hoped to see you earlier this morning, but Arthur said you've bought a flat and was closing some final papers today. Said you'd been staying with Harry." Hermione sipped her tea and nodded as he spoke.

"Yes, for about seven months."

"I remember leaving you in the capable hands of Severus Snape eight months ago, was he that horrible that you had to move in with Harry?" Remus asked, his eyes moving from Fletcher's giggles at the marine animals in his books and Hermione's nervous laughter.

"We were not compatible living mates." She replied bluntly, hoping Remus would drop the matter.

"I realize that I am prying but the way you are holding that cup as tightly as you can leaves me to think something happened." She placed her teacup on the table in front of her and stood her face was blank, her mind in turmoil. She hadn't really relived the moments except when Harry had asked. It wasn't like she had broken up with Severus as they hadn't been dating, but rather she felt as if it was all over, completely over.

"It was fine until I began to care for him again and then, as always, he became his famous, sadistic self and said some things that were hurtful and irreversible. I left his home in July and moved in with Harry. We haven't spoken since." She turned towards him, but kept her eyes on Fletcher who was watching two whales jump towards him from the book. Her stores were the next object of distraction, but they were rather bare and kept her attention only seconds.

"You began to care for him again?"

"As if I ever really stopped. It was just so easy, Remus. He was kind and helpful. He danced with me in the study."

"But..."

"As always, it just isn't enough for Severus to have someone to love him. I tried to support him and help him grieve when his father died, but he was so closed off. Adonis had been so kind to me when I had stayed with Severus before and I hoped that my relationship with Adonis would've comforted Severus, but he said these horrible things to me." Fletcher had moved from his bean chair to Remus's leg, begging with open arms to be lifted from the floor.

"Severus doesn't understand human compassion."

"He understand pain, pain he inflicts on others and himself. He said he didn't want his family to find Fletcher and me in the house after his father's funeral. He said that Sauronis and his sons would find it all odd and make accusations. He said I didn't deserve Julius." Remus moved closer to Hermione and let Fletcher crawl from his lap to hers. His tiny fingers curled in Hermione's hair as he lay his head on her chest.

"He was mourning, Hermione."

"He apologized for implying that Sauronis and his sons would think I was a whore, but he never apologized for Julius. He said I didn't deserve him."

"And you haven't talked since?"

"No, I left with Harry from St. Mungo's that night. Fletcher had a cold and since he'd been so ill I went to St. Mungo's. Severus hasn't tried to contact me and I never said goodbye."

"And who's Julius?"

"Severus and my son. I was pregnant when I was abducted by the Death Eaters and as a result i lost him." Remus's gaze fell quickly on her face and saddened as he realized the implications of Severus saying she didn't deserve the child.

"I'm sorry, darling." Remus wrapped his arms around her shoulders and pulled her close to him.

"I wish I would've told you a long time ago, but I never found the words."

"All in good time, Hermione. You had every right to keep that private. And as for Severus, well, I can only imagine he was feeling less than deserving himself. It's no excuse, I know." Fletcher hugged Hermione's neck a little and sighed. She was sure he could sense her tension.

"Thank you, Fletcher."

"His vision seems to be improved."

"Yes, Harry has been working with him to improve his vision. His verbal skills are top notch. He has said so many words, but often has the hardest time with the simplest once. This morning he couldn't say broom and last night he said conundrum." Remus smiled at Hermione gushing over her son. The more he watched Fletcher, the more he was reminded of Hermione. When he had last saw the boy, he had been a twin to Christopher with dark hair and all his features, but now his features had softened and his eyes were bright like Hermione's, except violet like Christopher's.

"Is that a Weasley sweater?"

"Yes, Molly sent it last week as an early birthday present. His first is on Sunday, can you believe it?"

"No, it doesn't seem as though it's already been a year." Hermione snuggled her son a little tighter and kissed his soft cheeks.

"So much has happened that I have to stop and breath sometimes in fear that it isn't over yet." She whispered, her eyes now on Remus's tired face.

"There are many more years to improve upon this one."

"You must come to his birthday party. We'll hopefully be in number twenty-six by then and you'll get to see our new home."

"What time will it be, I'll have to check my schedule." Hermione laughed, standing to gather Fletcher's books up off the floor.

"Sunday at three in the afternoon. Ron will have Michael and Paul. And of course the entire Weasley broad will be there and Neville's daughter Caroline."

"Neville?"

"He adopted her from Russia. She's a doll, all tiny and in love with her new Papa. It's so sweet seeing them together."

"Mummy, where Caroline?" Fletcher asked, his face sad in searching for the little girl."

"She's with Uncle Neville in Kent, poppet. We will see her on Sunday with Michael, Paul, all your Weasley cousins and Uncle Remus."

"I must be going then, Hermione. Have to dust the flat down and hopefully get some much needed sleep."

"You'll have to tell me about your tests sometime."

"An owl will be bringing you some interesting news this afternoon so I'll let that explain everything." Remus gave her a quick hug and walked out of her office. True to his word, not five minutes after he left, an owl fluttered at her window.

"Thank you." She said to the bird, giving it some treats. She opened the letter and dropped into her chair. The potion had been a great success and because of her involvement in both the preliminary tests and research, she was going to get an Order of Merlin, First class on February 16.

"Saturday, aren't they a bit abrupt." She read on and saw that the ceremony was going to be at the ministry in the reception hall at seven p.m.

"Maybe Harry won't have anything to do." She thought aloud, not wanting to go to the ceremony by herself. She put the letter in her bag and tidied up her office a bit before wrapping Fletcher in a blanket and closing her office door behind her. She turned right towards the hall and stepped quickly down the great steps and out the door. Before disapparating home, Hermione looked towards the muggle city. She wrapped the blanket tight around Fletcher's body and took one more glance towards the street and as she disapparated, she caught sight of Severus Snape apparating beside her.