Epilogue

Tonks sat up in bed, staring at the entity that was her stomach. "Baby," she said sweetly, stroking her mid-section. "If you don't come out soon, I'm going to have to give you your own postal code. I didn't think it was possible, but you're still getting bigger."

The baby responded by giving her a swift kick. "You don't want a postal code? I guess I wouldn't either."

There were times Tonks felt guilty calling her stomach 'baby,' all the time. She and Severus decided they didn't want to know if they were having a boy or a girl until the baby was born.

She laid herself down again on the mountain of pillows on her bed. The baby was due five days ago and Tonks was getting anxious. Her Healer had placed her on bed rest two months ago, which was basically Tonks' version of hell. She desperately wanted to run, walk, hop, skip and or jump. Anything other than sitting in a bed all day doing nothing.

The first two weeks on bed rest were bearable. Severus was still in the apartment during the day and they played chess and talked and found other ways to waste the time.

But then Severus had been offered a job. A good job. A job that Severus actually wanted to take, which was something because he had turned down eleven job offers by then. And suddenly Severus was gone for at least six hours a day.

A manufacturer of Healing solutions had hired him in a strictly development position. Severus was given free range to try to make anything he wanted, as long as it was a healing product. Sometimes the owners of the company had specific requests, but mainly, Severus worked on his own ideas.

The company also understood that research didn't have a set schedule. All they asked was that Severus put in six full hours a day, five days a week, of pure research and testing. It could be at six in the morning or six at night, as long as he worked six hours. These hours would be very handy when Tonks went back to work in a few months.

"I'll give you chocolate if you come out, baby," Tonks said soothingly. "Wouldn't you like some chocolate? I bet you would."

Since the baby didn't respond with a kick, Tonks decided the baby didn't want chocolate and tried the bribe over again, only this time with broccoli. The baby didn't want broccoli either.

Tonks looked out the bedroom window and saw a great deal of snow flying past. It was late in January, and Tonks always seemed to be cold.

"Accio blanket!" Tonks said, pointing her wand at a blanket at the end of the bed. Quickly, she wrapped herself in the blanket's warmth and felt better.

"All right, baby. What magazine should we read? Witch Weekly?" Tonks let a pause develop, giving the baby time to decide. "Or Quidditch Quarterly?" The baby gave a kick and Tonks picked up the Quidditch Quarterly magazine.

"Good choice, baby," Tonks said softly. Tonks got through half the magazine when she started to feel tired. She put it down and within minutes, she fell asleep.

An hour later, Tonks woke up and stretched her arms over her head. She had to go to the bathroom. Again. Tonks always needed to go to the bathroom. Gently, she moved from the mound of pillow and stood up on the floor.

She took about three steps when she felt something trickling down her leg. "Bloody hell," she muttered under her breath. But then she stopped herself and put her hand on her stomach. "Baby, what I just said was wrong. I don't want to hear you swearing when you're able to talk, understand?"

Tonks looked down at the small puddle that was now at her feet and moaned, "I did not just wet myself."

She then realized that she still had to go the bathroom. Which meant only one thing. Her water had finally broken.

"About time, baby!" Tonks said happily. She waddled over to the fireplace and threw in a handful of floo powder. Slowly, she got down on her knees and stuck her head in the fire to speak to Severus' lab.

An elderly witch was sitting at the desk and looked down at Tonks. "May I help you?"

"Yes, please," Tonks told the witch quickly. "I'm Nymphadora Tonks-Snape. May I speak to Severus Snape, please?"

"I'm sorry, dear," the witch said, looking down at a notepad. "Mister Snape just entered a controlled environment and can not be disturbed for at least two hours."

"It's very important," Tonks begged. "I need to speak to him."

"I'm sure it is, Mrs. Snape, but Mister Snape is not able to leave the lab."

"Ms. Tonks-Snape," Tonks corrected automatically. "Look, I just went into labor. It's our first child. I need him with me."

The witch seemed to be struggling with a decision. "I'm sorry. This is a test they've been planning for a month. It would ruin weeks of research. I'll tell him as soon as he comes out of the clean room."

"Fine," Tonks snapped. "Please tell him I'm leaving for St. Mungos."

"I will," the witch told her. "Congratulations."

"Thanks," Tonks said quickly, and then lifted herself off of the floor. She looked down at her stomach. "Baby, don't you dare be born in the next two hours. I mean it. This is a parental order."

Tonks slowly walked to Virgo's cage. They had bought Virgo as their Christmas present to each other. Tonks' named him Virgo because that was both of their signs.

Severus had written out notes to their family to be sent when she was in labor. There was a note for her parents, Draco and Severus' mother. Tonks quickly tied the letters to Virgo's leg. "I know its cold, friend. Deliver my parent's letter last. Then stay there to get warm before you come home."

The small tawny owl seemed to nod and waited for Tonks to open a window. A moment later, the owl flew off into the distance.

Just then, Tonks was overwhelmed with a contraction. "Bloody hell," she cried out. She caught herself and then added, "Baby, ignore what I just said!"

She walked to the bedroom, where Severus had packed two small suitcases: one for her, and one for him in case the labor took a long time. Tonks marveled at how organized Severus was.

Tonks picked up the suitcases and slowly headed out the door to her apartment. She made it down one flight of stairs, when suddenly the one person she didn't want to see stuck her head out of the door.

"Hello!" Tonks' landlady said happily. "It's good to see you out and about."

"Thanks," Tonks grimaced. She started to walk on, but Mrs. Grey apparently wasn't done talking yet.

"Are you going on a trip?" Mrs. Grey asked. Then she answered her own question. "No, of course you're not. Is it time for the baby?"

Tonks nodded. "So I can't talk now. Sorry!"

"How are you getting to hospital?"

The real answer was the Knight Bus. But she couldn't tell Mrs. Grey that. "A friend is picking me up."

"That's good. Where's that husband of yours?" Mrs. Grey asked, her eyes narrowing suspiciously.

"Severus will be meeting me at the hospital," Tonks said quickly. Merlin's beard, did the woman never shut up?

"Would you like me to walk down with you?" Mrs. Grey asked.

"No, no, I'm fine. Don't trouble yourself," Tonks begged.

"If you're sure…" Mrs. Grey trailed off.

"Thanks again," Tonks said. Knowing she would be considered rude, Tonks walked down the stairs without another word to Mrs. Grey.

She glanced down at her stomach. "Baby, it's not nice to walk away from people like I just did. Just so you know."

Tonks finally made it to the outside of the apartment building. Putting one suitcase down, she threw out her wand arm and waited for the Knight Bus to appear.

Less than a minute later, Tonks saw the three decker purple bus stop in front of her. The conductor stepped out. "Welcome to the Knight Bus, emergency transport…"

Tonks cut him off. "St. Mungo's, please," Tonks said quickly.

The conductor's eyebrows shot up. "In a bit of a hurry, are we?" he asked slowly.

Tonks pointed her to stomach.

The conductor stepped right off the bus and helped Tonks on. She got the sense he had dealt with witches in labor before, because he didn't say another word.

Not many wizards realized that the Knight Bus cam equipped with seat belts. But Tonks strapped herself in, hoping she would be at St. Mungo's soon. The journey started, and the bus made an extremely fast U-turn. Tonks couldn't help but to moan as another contraction came over her.

The bus stopped, and the conductor helped Tonks off of the bus. "Good luck," he whispered in her ear before he hopped back on the bus.

Slowly, she made her way into the lobby, and to her complete surprise, saw Severus arguing with the witch at the reception desk.

"Severus?" Tonks asked.

"Dora!" Severus cried and ran over to her side. "How are you feeling?"

Tonks ignored the question. "What are you doing here?" she asked. "The witch said you were in a control room or something like that."

"I was, love," Severus said, leading her to a wheelchair. Once she was settled, he brought out a knut. "I'm charmed this to vibrate in my pocket if you sent the letters to the family."

"So you were able to leave?" Tonks asked, practically in tears. She was just so happy to see her husband. The reality of what was about to happen came crashing around her.

Severus nodded and squeezed her hand. He then pushed her up to the reception desk. "I'm Nymphadora Tonks-Snape. Umm…I'm going to have a baby," she said weakly.

"I can see that," the witch behind the desk said, smiling. "Who's your Healer?"

"Healer Mead," Severus answered promptly.

"All right, Mrs. Snape. A nurse will be right here to escort you to your room."

"Ms. Tonks-Snape," Tonks whispered.

Severus pushed the wheelchair away from the desk and Tonks muttered, "Why can't anyone get my bloody name right?"

Severus walked around the front of the wheelchair and knelt in front of her. Placing his hands on her stomach he said, "Baby, don't follow your mummy's bad example and swear."

Tonks took Severus' hands quickly as she grimaced through another contraction. "I'm really going to be a mummy, aren't I?" Tonks asked in amazement. Funny, she had been pregnant for nine months, yet she really didn't consider herself a mum. Severus nodded, and Tonks could see the love and concern in his eyes.

A nurse appeared and pushed the wheelchair into the elevator. Severus pressed the button to the second floor. Minutes later, Tonks was lying in a bed, her hands wringing the sheet on top of her.

Severus was sitting in a chair that he placed right next to the bed. His robe was off, and he rolled up his sleeves. They were both ready for a long night.

After four hours, she hadn't dilated any further then when she was brought in, and her Healer was concerned. The Healer suggested using a potion to help speed things up a bit. Severus asked what the potion was and when the Healer told him, Severus said that she should take it.

"It won't hurt the baby?" Tonks asked. She was worn out, and the labor had barely begun.

"I would never give you anything to harm either you or your child," Healer Mead said gently. He left the room and returned a moment later, holding a vial. Tonks drank it quickly, and was immediately overcome with a contraction.

"You may want to walk up and down the hallway for a bit," the Healer suggested.

"I can walk now?" Tonks asked. "I've been in bed for two months, and now I can walk?"

The Healer nodded and left the room. "I don't believe him," Tonks muttered.

"Would you like a walk?" Severus asked.

"Of course I want a blo…a walk," Tonks. "Please help me up."

Severus helped her get out of bed and they slowly walked out of the room. Down the corridor, Tonks could see her parents sitting in a small waiting area.

"Nymphadora!" Andromeda Tonks cried, running to Tonks' side. "How are you doing?"

"I'm tired, Mummy," Tonks admitted. Her mother took a wash cloth out of her purse and cast a dampness charm. She then placed the cloth on Tonks' forehead. It felt wonderful.

"Why didn't I think of that?" Severus wondered out loud.

"Because you've never given birth, Severus," her mother said with a smile. "They're letting you walk?"

Tonks nodded. For close to an hour, she walked up and down the hallway, Severus on one side, her mother on the other with her father right behind them.

"Mrs. Snape? Healer Mead wants you back in bed," a young nurse said.

"Ms. Tonks-Snape!" Tonks cried. She didn't mean to sound so angry, but she just had a contraction.

"Ms. Tonks-Snape. Right," the nurse said, with a bit of a fearful look on her face. "If you could just get back to your room."

"We'll be right outside," her mother told her, giving Tonks a kiss on the head. Her father's thought board read: Good luck!

A nurse helped Severus get her back into bed. Healer Mead walked in and did a quick examination. "Good news!" he said cheerfully, rubbing his hands together. "Only a few hours to go."

"Oh goody," Tonks sighed, lying back onto the hospital bed.

Three hours later, Tonks could tell that the baby was going to be out soon. Her whole body felt like it was on fire. She closed her eyes and concentrated.

"I can't do this," she whimpered. "Merlin, Severus I hurt. I hurt so much."

"I know, Dora," Severus said softly, pushing her hair out of her eyes. "It'll be over soon. Remember what the classes said. You're a warrior for you child. Give the baby your strength."

"I'm not a bloody warrior!" Tonks yelled, clutching Severus' hand with every ounce of strength she had left.

"I can see the top of the head!" the Healer cried. "Tonks, you're doing great."

Severus kissed her sweaty forehead. "Almost there, Dora."

"One big push, and the worst part will be over," Healer Mead said. "On three. One…Two...Three!"

Before she was in labor, Tonks had promised herself that she wasn't going to yell at Severus. The pain wasn't his fault. It really wasn't his fault…

"YOU ARE NEVER GETTING ME IN BED AGAIN!" she screamed at Severus, as she pushed as hard as she could. "NEVER!"

"Is there a silencing charm on the room?" Severus asked suddenly.

Tonks could see the Healer and the nurse nod in unison.

"One more push and we're done," Healer Mead said. He counted to three, and Tonks tried to think happy thoughts as she screamed out in pain for the final push.

"There!" Healer Mead cried out happily as Tonks collapsed on the bed. There was a slight smacking sound and Tonks could hear her baby crying out, protesting being out of the womb.

"You have girl," Healer Mead said.

'"Julia," Tonks whispered.

Severus kissed her hand and sat down on the bed next to her. "You're brilliant," he whispered. Tonks smiled, absolutely exhausted. All she wanted to do was sleep, but she knew that sleep was the furthest thing from her mind.

They watched as the Healer cut the umbilical cord and did a quick cleansing charm on the baby. Finally, after what seemed like hours, but was actually less than a minute, the nurse put the baby in Tonks' arms.

"Hello beautiful," Tonks whispered to her baby girl. Julia was still crying.

Severus reached out his finger and Julia brushed it with her tiny little hand. "She's real," Severus said, sounding almost surprised.

The door opened and Tonks' parents rushed in, their faces questioning. "Meet Julia Snape," Tonks said happily. Julia's skin was wrinkled, her face smushed a bit, and she was completely bald, but Tonks had never seen such a perfect creature in her life.

Tonks finally understood why her mother always fought to call her Nymphadora.

After a few minutes of fussing, her parents left to give Tonks a chance to sleep. The nurse came to take Julia away for some tests. Severus asked if she wanted to be alone to sleep.

"Stay with me," Tonks said, taking his hand and entwining their fingers. "You could probably use some sleep, too."

"Not as much as you do," Severus said, trying to hide a yawn. Tonks moved over a bit and gave Severus room to lay next to her on his side.

"Everything's going to be so different now," Tonks smiled. "I can't believe we did it."

"Julia looks like you," Severus said.

Tonks giggled. "Julia's about twenty minutes old. I think it's a little early to say who she looks like."

"I love you," Severus said, stroking her cheek.

"I love you, too," Tonks yawned. "I'm going to close my eyes for a bit. Is that okay?"

"Of course it is, Dora," Severus said.

Tonks closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Her lower section was still in some pain, but she decided to ignore it.

"You will let me get you in bed again, won't you?"

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Three days later, Tonks was able to leave St. Mungo's. Healer Mead pushed her in a wheelchair to the entrance, Julia sleeping peacefully in her arms. Already a little fuzz had grown in on her head. It looked like Julia would have the typical Black and Snape family hair.

Tonks handed Julia to Severus before she got up out of the wheelchair. She couldn't help but smile at how taken Severus seemed to be of his little daughter already.

"Stay here," she told Severus. "I'll get the Knight Bus. I don't want Julia getting cold." Which would be impossible, considering how many layers Tonks and Snape had dressed her in.

Tonks flagged down the Knight Bus and motioned to Severus to come out. On a whim, Tonks scrunched up her nose, and concentrated on light blue spike. She patted her head, pleased to feel the spikes, as opposed to the shoulder length hair she had put up with for far too long. It felt so good to morph again!

Severus smiled when he saw her hair. "You're back," he said, sitting down on a seat near the front.

"That I am," Tonks smiled. Since Severus was holding Julia, Tonks put the seatbelt around his waist, then fastened her own.

They spent the short bus ride pondering when she'd smile her first smile, cut her first tooth, take her first step and make her first bit of magic. The day after she was born, Minerva sent them an owl, informing them that Julia's name had already been written by the magic quill. They knew then she would be powerful someday

Together Tonks and Severus walked up the stairs, making a quick detour to show Julia off to Mrs. Grey. She seemed to get over her huff of not taking Tonks to the hospital as soon as she saw the baby.

After awhile, Julia started wailing, giving them the excuse to go up to their apartment. As soon as Tonks heard Mrs. Grey's door closed, Tonks cast a quick calming charm on Julia. The cries settled down to a whimper.

Tonks opened the door to the apartment, but neither Tonks nor Snape walked inside. They looked at each other for a moment.

"This is it, then," Severus said.

"We're really parents now," Tonks gulped.

Then they stepped through the door, ready to start the next chapter of their lives.

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A/N – I couldn't resist giving them a really happy ending. As always, please feel free to review. I always appreciate them, and thanks again for taking the time to read this story!