IMPORTANT: I've never given birth. I've never even attended a birth, so I can't tell you what goes on. Some of this might be horribly wrong, and I beg forgiveness from those who have given birth, or have seen someone.
Cato is male, and is Roman - it means "wise". I just liked the way it sounded.
Natalya is Russian. It's the Russian form of Natalie, which apparently means "Christmas Day". I love the name, though, and decided to use it.
Adonis is Greek, and it means "Lord".
8 MONTHS LATER
The sound of Hermione's voice crying out in pain raised the hair on my arms. I resisted the urge to run to her, to barge into the room and do anything in my power to stop the pain. However, Poppy had already shooed me out of the room once, saying she didn't need any distractions or a man telling her how to do her job. Poppy promised to retrieve me as soon as she was ready. From the sounds of it, by the time Poppy came to get me, Hermione would be finished giving birth.
I paced back and forth before the entry doors, my robes swishing and my face creased in a concerned frown. Another cry of pain stopped me in my tracks, and I felt my body sway towards the curtain surrounding the bed Hermione was situated on. Only the knowledge of facing Poppy's wrath kept me away from the bed. Finally, giving up the pacing, I settled myself onto the only remaining chair that wasn't occupied. Septimus sat next to me, calmly reading a magazine.
"How can you be so calm?" I demanded. Septimus glanced at me before returning his concentration back to the magazine. After a moment, he closed it and tossed it onto the table in front of us.
"Julie went through the same thing. I was a nervous wreck, just as you were. But she got through it all right, and in my opinion, Hermione's a bit tougher than Julie. If Julie can make it through, Hermione can." Septimus patted my back. "All will be well."
Poppy's head appeared from around the curtain, and she beckoned for me to come. I jumped to my feet and was across the room in less than five strides. I practically ran around the curtain in my eagerness to get to Hermione. Poppy tutted behind me as she followed me in. She closed the gap in the curtains that she had opened to allow me through, and moved to the other side of the bed. I grabbed her hand and gently squeezed it. Hermione's eyes were closed, and her face was pale and sweaty. Curls clung to her face, and I brushed some away.
She opened her eyes and smiled up at me, grimacing slightly when a labor pain over took her.
"Severus..." She mumbled. I leaned forward and brushed her forehead with my lips.
"I'm here, Hermione." I said quietly. Hermione sighed and relaxed slightly, until she was seized with another wave of pain. Her hand squeezed my so hard I thought I felt a bone creak. I winced in pain and fought the urge to jerk my hand back and shake it. When she let up slightly, I pulled my wand out and cast a quick spell over my hand, one that prevented Hermione from breaking my bones, no matter the amount of pressure.
"Can't you give her something for the pain?" I asked desperately. I didn't like the idea of Hermione being in pain.
Poppy shook her head and explained. "The potions could have some unexpected side effects on the babies. The babies magic could be affected. Nobody's ever been willing to risk their babies to have experiments done." Poppy double-checked that everything she could possibly need was within arm reach.
"Severus, I advise you to back away a little bit. The girl will need some air to breathe, and I've known some woman to get violent with the man at their bedside." Poppy commented. I straightened up from my kneeling position and took a step back, but didn't release her hand. Poppy smiled her approval and encouragement before lifting the blanket up and settling down so she could watch the babies' progress and make sure nothing would go wrong.
"Now, I know it hurts, but when I tell you to, you must push, alright?" Poppy coached. Hermione moaned in response, which Poppy took as acknowledgement. When another wave of pain hit Hermione, Poppy commanded her to push. Hermione responded, making a long groaning noise as she did it. When Poppy told her to let up, Hermione relaxed and panted. This continued a few more times before Hermione had to take a quick break. Poppy instructed me to feed Hermione some of the crushed ice in a cup on the bedside table. I obediently followed her instructions; trying to ignore the glare Hermione was aiming my way.
"You..." She hissed. I blinked down at her, my hand still poised above her mouth, the crushed ice melting my hand and dripping into her open mouth. "You...you did this to me. I hate you. Do you hear me, Severus Snape? I hate you!" Her voice steadily rose in volume, and her face flushed alarmingly. Poppy sent me a 'this-is-completely-normal-don't-worry' look. I released my breath, which I hadn't realized I was holding.
In the background, I could hear Poppy speaking. "We've got the head. Hermione dear, keep pushing!" Hermione let out this half scream, half groan noise, and I instinctively moved closer to comfort her.
"Hermione, love, please...calm down..." I wasn't sure at all what to say in a situation like this, but apparently that was the wrong thing to say.
"CALM DOWN? YOU WANT ME TO CALM DOWN? I HAVE A HUMAN BEING COMING OUT FROM BETWEEN MY LEGS! YOU CALM DOWN! NO, BETTER YET, GO TO HELL, SEVERUS SNAPE, AND TAKE YOUR FUCKING MANHOOD WITH YOU!" She yelled, still glaring at me hatefully. I swallowed heavily and winced. I ducked my head and allowed my hair to fall in my face, blocking my hurt expression. She doesn't mean it...it's the pain talking...
Again, Poppy was speaking in the background, telling Hermione to push, that it wouldn't be long now.
"You look at me when I'm talking to you, Snape! This is your fault! YOU DID THIS TO ME! NEVER AGAIN, I SAY! NEVER!" Hermione screamed, face twisting in pain and anger. I was vaguely aware of Poppy instructing Hermione to push, and Hermione responding. She made another one of those drawn-out groans. Her hand was clamped on mine, and I was sure I couldn't get out of her grip if I'd wanted to. When Poppy instructed her to stop pushing, Hermione panted heavily, still glaring up at me. I was nervous that she'd start screaming again, but thankfully she didn't.
"Hermione, we've got the shoulders. Just a bit more, now." Hermione pushed, and I cautiously brushed some hair away from her face. She glared up at me when I touched her, but I didn't back down.
"You...don't ever touch me again. Ever." She whispered. I nodded solemnly and fed her some more crushed ice. She panted and followed Poppy's instructions to push. After a few more minutes of pushing and breathing, a baby's cry filled the room. Poppy moved around a bit at the foot of the bed, but I couldn't see what she was doing because the blanket was in the way. Then Poppy stood up and carried the small baby over to something that looked like a sink, where she proceeded to wash him up. She made sure the baby was in perfect health before casting a spell to make sure the baby wouldn't roll of the table or hurt himself in some other way. Then she returned back to Hermione and settled at the foot of the bed yet again.
After a few moments, Hermione's whimpering increased back into the half scream, half groan.
I swallowed. Oh god. Not again. I should've known it was coming - Hermione was having twins, after all. But once was more than enough for me. I wanted to take Hermione's pain away. I wanted my sweet Hermione back, with her lovely laugh and shining eyes.
I glanced down at the woman on the bed, noting her angry and pain-filled expression.
It was obvious what Hermione was thinking: that she was going to make good on her command to never touch her again. I wanted to groan, but knew that if I did that, the consequences would be dire.
I'm never having sex again.
The screaming had ceased, which was always a good thing. I frowned suddenly. Or maybe it was a bad thing. I was suddenly quite nervous and worried. I jumped to my feet and followed the path Severus had been pacing not too long before. The sound of the curtain sliding caught my attention and I turned sharply. Severus was exiting the little area, his face pale and his eyes over brimming with emotion.
I patted his back as he collapsed into the chair I had just vacated. He lifted a trembling hand up to his face and rubbed at his eyes.
"So...how is she?" I asked. Severus looked fine, but he could have been in shock.
"She's fine...asleep. Poppy's giving Cato and Natalya an examination. When she's done, she'll bring them out." He replied tiredly. I sympathized with him. Hermione's labor didn't take all that long - a couple hours at the most. Compared to some, Julie's had been short at three hours as well. But it was the longest three hours in my life. The things she said were enough to scare even the Dark Lord into running away. It was only her grip on my hand that kept me in place.
"Severus...what Hermione said..." I started to say, but Severus cut me off.
"I know, I know. She didn't mean it. It was the pain." He didn't sound too convinced, however. I think it might've been the "I hate you, go to hell" thing that's really bothering him.
"Yeah, and she'll probably apologize too. Julie promised to castrate me with a spoon first chance she got while giving birth. She apologized after she had slept and calmed down." I chuckled nervously and shifted slightly, crossing my legs. Severus looked better at the thought that Hermione hadn't been quite as angry or violent, but he looked a little uncomfortable as well. He stretched his legs out and crossed them at the ankles.
I clapped him on the back. "Well, I must be going. Julie wanted to know as soon as possible how Hermione and the babies were doing, and I don't want to get on her bad side." I stood up and moved towards the door, already thinking of Julie at home with little Adonis. The sound of Severus' voice stopped me just as I reached the doors. I turned to find him standing, looking even more uncomfortable than before.
"Thanks for coming." Severus said. He refused to look at me while he said it, instead staring at the wall.
"Your welcome." I turned and exited the Hospital Wing, and quickly made my way down to my quarters, which were near the D.A.D.A classroom. I had been offered a job to take over that position, and I took it immediately. Severus remained in the Potions position, and Julie was taking over the Charms position, since Flitwick was retiring. Once Hermione finished her almost-completed apprenticeship, McGonagall would be retiring and Hermione would take over her position.
Tabby and Jon had gone on their Honeymoon, and nobody could yet locate them to give them the news that Hermione had started labor. Jules and Mike were arriving tomorrow from their home. They had to take time off from their business, and Hermione going into labor was quite sudden. She hadn't been due for another week. Shannon and Kyle had returned from their travels, and were staying at Hogwarts as guests. They had stayed in the Great Hall with the students. More than two teachers missing at a time at the Staff Table caused questions, and if people knew Hermione was giving birth, everyone would rush to the hospital wings to give their congratulations and get in the way while doing it.
It was surprising how happy everyone was, now that the war was over. I caught site of the door leading to my chambers and my wife, and my pace quickened. I couldn't wait to give Julie the news and play with my son.
I also couldn't wait to see what the future would bring.
I sat beside the sleeping Hermione in the most uncomfortable chair in the world. It was two hours after the labor, and Hermione had woken up briefly just fifteen minutes before. After a whispered, "I love you", she had apologized profusely for the things she had said. She even hinted that she was averse to having kids in the future. At my look of surprise, she had smiled softly.
"While the pain was horrible, it was all worth it. We have two gorgeous, healthy children. I certainly wouldn't mind more, but not for another two years or so. Maybe four..." Hermione trailed off. Her eyes were slowly closing, and her breathing was evening out. In seconds she was asleep, clutching my hand.
The moon was rising, and a gap in the curtains allowed a slice of moonlight to fall across Hermione's sleeping face. She looked beautiful, with her smooth skin and full lips. Her eyelashes were crescent shaped shadows just below her eyes. A few stray curls fell into her face, but she didn't seem to feel them.
She's so beautiful. And she's all mine. I doubt I'll ever get rid of the awe of having a woman as wonderful as Hermione loving me, but I had hoped with time I would stop doubting her love and accept it without questions. She told me she loved me, and I believe her. But I wasn't sure her love would last. She's a young, beautiful, intelligent woman. I'm old, sarcastic, and not exactly handsome.
I doubted it no longer. She had my children, and that ties her to me in ways that I couldn't imagine before. Our Wedding had been permanent, but Hermione having the children made it even more so.
She'll be mine for eternity.
I smiled, a full, big, happy smile for what seemed like the first time in years.
I found my soul mate; I have a wonderful family...
And I was home.
I would like to thank my beta, Awnya Inahartbeat, for two reasons: one, for being the amazing Beta that she is. Without her, this story wouldn't of been possible, and the labor scene would've been a little off. And two: forthe idea of Septimus and Julie having a baby a month before Hermione. I know it's sudden and that I should have mentioned it before, but I just loved the idea.
BETA: Thank you, SeverusFan for allowing me the opportunity to be a part of this story! I loved every moment of it and I am also sorry to see it go. Much love to you and your fans!
Thank you, to all of you that read my story (and special thanks to those that had followed me through my entire story, even from my - very - shaky beginning).
I've said it before, and it'll always be true: You all are the reason I continued with this story.
NOTE: It has come to my attention that there is another story out there with a near identical plot to mine. I have received an e-mail from the author, who assures me the story will take a different turn than mine. Because of that, I've allowed her to continue her story. But I'll keep my eye on it, and if it does, in fact, start to become too much like mine, I'll complain to the people that run fanfiction. Thanks to the Anonymous reviewer who brought the story to my attention!