Disclaimer: All Harry Potter people, places, and things, (all Harry Potter nouns) belong to J. K. Rowlings. Desiree Snape and Eleanora Snape are mine.
Chapter 16: Sunlight
Everyone's jaws dropped when Desiree entered the room with what appeared to be minor scratches. "I would have stopped by sooner, but I was detained by this annoying tree with a mind of its own," she explained.
"That would be the Womping Willow," Minerva mentioned.
Desiree realized that everyone was staring at her. "What? You're all looking at me as if I walked out of the ground. And where is Nora?"
Remus ran over to her and wrapped his arms around her, holding her close. "When we could not find you in the battlefield, we decided to check for you among the injured. We thought we had lost you. I love you, so very much. Don't you ever scare me like that again," he whispered.
She stood on her tiptoes and kissed him soundly. "Everything's alright. I love you too."
After the two had embraced, Severus walked over and tapped her on the shoulder. Wordlessly they hugged and she understood clearly that he had also been worried. When they parted, she turned her head toward Minerva, but then winced in pain, realizing that her shoulder hurt.
"You sit down and we'll have a look at that," Poppy suggested.
As she sat down, Desiree also spotted Harry. "Would someone please tell me where my daughter is?"
Harry stepped forward. "Ms. Desiree, Nora assisted in the defeat of Voldemort, but the effort drained her a bit and she is on the bed over there, unconscious," he told her, gesturing to the form on the bed.
Desiree gasped and tried to head over to her daughter, but Poppy placed a hand on her other shoulder. "She'll be fine in a little while. She just needs to build her strength back up. Now I need you to sit still while I try and X-ray spell on you to see if the tree did any damage to your spine or any other bones."
After a few minutes, Desiree twitched and tried to scoot over. Poppy eyed her with concern. "I'm so sorry, am I hurting you?"
The younger woman shook her head. "No, but it tickles." The medwitch smiled slightly and sighed.
"You can go now if you want. Both of you seem to be fine," the medwitch told her.
Desiree eyed her strangely and gestured with her hand. "Back up a moment, what do you mean by 'both of you' when you were only talking to me?"
Poppy's jaw dropped in surprise to the question. "You mean you really didn't know? Don't you keep a calendar?"
Desiree smirked and shook her head. "I gave up keeping one over a year ago when I was watching a young dragon for Hagrid and the creature ate nine calendars in the same day. What's this all about?"
The medwitch chuckled and placed a hand on the younger woman's shoulder. "You are with child, two and a half months along to be exact."
Her eyes grew as big as saucers. She looked up at Remus as he sat next to her and took her hands in his. "Tell me I heard what I think I just heard," she breathed.
"You did, and so did I," he said, kissing her on the forehead.
Minerva cleared her throat. "I believe that would explain your nausea."
Desiree blushed and began laughing. "You're right. I can't believe how completely dense I've been. I should have realized something was off when coffee upset my stomach."
Suddenly the form on the other bed stirred. Harry headed over and called out, "Nora's waking up!"
Everyone joined him and Desiree stood closest to Nora, with Remus standing next to her. Poppy stood on the other side with Harry while Severus and Minerva stood at the foot of the bed. The girl's eyes fluttered open and she stared oddly at the people surrounding her bed. She attempted to sit up quickly, but Poppy held her down for a moment. "You need to take it slowly for a moment."
"Why is everybody standing around here and what are we all doing here? Wait," she paused and looked for Harry, "is Voldemort-"
"Dead, he is dead and our side won the battle," Harry finished. "You passed out shortly after he was killed."
She nodded. "I see. Now what? What's happens next?"
It had taken the girl to ask what none of the others had thought to ask. "I believe I should answer that," Minerva began. "Now we can finally rest a moment, acknowledging that we are all truly free, am I correct Mr. Potter?"
He understood that she was referring to his scar's tendency to burn when Voldemort's influence was near. Instead of answering, he looked at Nora. I can't believe he is finally gone. Now my life can be semi-normal, he told her mentally.
She smiled and replied through thoughts. Yes, but somehow I don't think anything around here can ever really be considered normal. The adults stared at them strangely as they both laughed.
"That's right, Professor McGonagall. Now we can all relax a bit and have a normal life," he stated.
By then Nora was sitting up and preparing to leave. "I feel fine. May I please go now?"
Poppy laughed. "You are as bad a patient as your mother, who has some news to share with you."
Nora stood and raised an eyebrow, not wanting to spoil the surprise by reading her mother's thoughts. "Nora, you're going to be a big sister," she said quietly.
The girl pulled both Desiree and Remus into a hug. "Congratulations. I'm so happy. Finally, somebody else gets the attention," she commented with a broad smile.
The group ate dinner together and Albus announced what had happened regarding the battle at breakfast of the following day. After breakfast, Nora sat in the Common Room playing chess with Harry. This time they used the Wizards' Chess set. She had taken the white side and left the black side for him. They began conversing as the game drew to a close.
"Knight to h6. Things are probably going to be dull around here after the press goes away," she remarked.
"Somehow I doubt it. Bishop to g5," he stated as the bishop glided from e7 to g5 to intimidate the knight.
Nora shook her head and studied the board. He was falling into her trap. "I never really gave much thought to the future. I wonder what I should do after I graduate. This would be easier if I still had my queen. Knight to g4."
"Fortunately I still have mine. Queen to g4, queen takes knight," he remarked as the queen hacked away at the knight.
"Bold move, but you forgot my rook. Rook to a8, check," she exclaimed.
Instead of moving his king out of the way, he did something completely unexpected and looked over at her. "Would you go out with me?"
She suddenly realized that by getting close to winning the game, she had fallen into his trap. He had left his king unattended on purpose. She looked at him, seemingly perplexed and he worried that he had made the wrong move. Then she smiled and he was relieved. "Yes," she finally said. "Yes, I would like to call myself your girlfriend officially."
When school was let out for the Christmas holiday, because Nora and Harry spent their winter break at the school, they went out that afternoon for a snowball fight, joined by Ron, Ginny, and Hermione before their train left. Then the three had gone, Desiree and Remus took over. From a bench a few yards away, Minerva watched them with amusement. She turned and smiled when Severus joined her.
"Of all the frivolous things to do, a snowball fight is at the top of the list," he grumbled.
She laughed. "I remember a certain boy who had perfect aim and started several snowball fights by 'accident.' As long as they are having fun, what does it matter how frivolous it is? That evil wizard is gone and they can finally have something to enjoy. Desiree's child will be born to a world without the fear of Voldemort."
He nodded. "You are correct. I wonder what Nora and Potter will do after they graduate."
"I suspect that Mr. Potter will find something challenging to do and Nora will not be far behind him. I should tell you that before the end of the year, Desiree will need a substitute. Because Remus is now living here I was thinking of asking him to take over his old class, but since you've always wanted the position, I thought I would ask you first," she mentioned.
He actually smiled, but shook his head. "I think it's high time that I gave Remus the chance I should have a while back. You can give the position to him if you wish."
She placed her hand over his. "You've come a long way in a few years. I think I like this side of you."
To her surprise, he took her hand and kissed it. "Minerva, I think it's time I asked you something I should have brought up a while back," he paused and locked his gaze with hers. "I do not even have a ring at the moment, but after all that's happened, I would rather not wait any longer before asking you. I love you. Would you do me the greatest honour of becoming my wife?"
Minerva was more than shocked, she was mortified. She did not have the words to adequately describe what she wanted to tell him, therefore she opted for another approach. Nearing him, she kissed him passionately before speaking. "Yes, and I love you too."
After a few more minutes of kissing, they turned back to the snowball fight and she noticed a rare mischievous glint in Severus' eye. "You're up to something," she observed.
He walked over to a patch of snow and quickly formed a snowball. She headed toward him and shook her head. "You can't possibly hit them from this far away, you know," she reminded.
"Watch," he remarked as he took a few steps forward. He threw the snowball and hit Harry on the head.
The boy and everyone else looked around, stunned and uncertain where the snowball had come from. It had seemed to come out of nowhere. Desiree turned and spotted Severus, then began laughing. "I think she figured it out," Minerva commented. "Shall we join them in their frivolous games?"
He took her hand in his and they began walking toward the others. "We might as well."
……………………………………………… Fin ………………………………………………..
(I have had fun writing this story and I hope all of you have had fun reading it; my thanks to excessivelyperky and Leta McGotor, for reviewing :D)