This is based on the Surrogate Mother Challenge on WIKTT. For full description of this challenge, please see the author's notes at the end of the first chapter.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling. I do not own any of the characters or things in Ms. Rowling's wonderful universe, although I would really love a Time Turner!

Special thanks to my beta SouthernWitch69, and to my wonderful muse, Meredith!

She stood there staring at her reflection in the floor-length mirror, rubbing her hands down along her waist and resting them on her flat belly. She had a fair figure, not overly thin, but definitely not heavy. Only a few slight curves. Her breasts weren't large, by any means, but maybe that would change too.

What would she look like when this was all over?

"Oh well," she muttered.

"Staring at yourself won't make you any prettier, sweetheart," snapped the mirror bitingly.

She rolled her eyes and proceeded to get dressed. She looked around at her small flat. It wasn't much; it was just a single room that held her bed, a chair, a small bookcase, and armoire. In the far corner was the fireplace with a small countertop, a sink, and a small icebox. The bathroom was shared with three other tenants down the hall. It was worth almost anything to get out of this dump, to get out of her financial debt, and to finally have the chance to make something of her life.

It was not as if she wasn't intelligent. In fact, she had been told by several that she was 'the brightest witch of the age' or 'the cleverest witch of the century'. However, no matter how intelligent you are, you still need money to survive. She had worked for seven years supporting Harry and Ron through school as well as another year aiding Harry in his pursuit to destroy Voldemort. When the final battle came, many people died. Most of her friends were gone. Dumbledore had died from Voldemort's wand. Lupin had died at the hand of Pettigrew, literally. Then Pettigrew had sacrificed himself so Harry could finish the final portion of the ritual to destroy Voldemort. Harry had died, in a sense, as Voldemort fell. Both of their souls had become trapped within a Pensieve. There was no way to retrieve one without the other. Thus, her friend was gone for good.

Soon after the battle, Hermione's parents had been killed in a fire. It had been considered an accident by the Muggle authorities, but there was something to suggest that this had been a post-war retaliation by a few of the remaining Death Eaters at large. The Ministry of Magic, in turn, did not acknowledge the Order of the Phoenix members at all. They felt that Dumbledore and his group had worked too far out of Ministry control to be considered legal. This left those that survived somewhere stuck in the middle. They were considered outlaws. Though the Wizengamot eventually released all of the remaining survivors of the Order, the should be war heroes were not held in any esteem and their records were tarnished.

It was because of this tarnished record that Hermione had not been able to find a decent job after the war. The Ministry of Magic refused to employ her because of her criminal record, and she could not get an apprenticeship with anyone. She had considered attending a Muggle university until the accident that killed her parents. Her parents' death left her in severe financial debt in the Muggle world, and thusly unable to afford going to university. She had left the Muggle world with no hopes of being able to repay their debt and was now trapped in the Wizarding world, where she had set out to find work.

Three years later, she had little to show for her efforts. She desperately wanted to do something, anything to advance herself. She barely worked enough hours at her two jobs to be able to pay her rent and buy necessities. She couldn't even think of being able to afford to further her education in the Muggle world or line the pockets of the right people to further her education in the Wizarding world.

This was all until she had run into Lavender Brown while working three weeks ago. Lavender had also been ostracized in many ways as a result of being a member of the DA and working for the Order during the war. Lavender had also not been able to pursue her career of choice without the necessary galleons to ensure that her criminal record did not follow her.

Hermione had been shelving the newest shipment of school textbooks at Flourish & Blotts when Lavender walked in. Same long brown hair, thin frame, but she had a glow about her cheeks and a definite swell in her belly. Hermione had walked up to greet the old friend that had shared her dorm at Hogwarts and asked how she was doing. After several minutes of casual conversation, Hermione asked if Lavender was married and was surprised to hear that she was not. Unwed pregnancy may be common in the Muggle world, but it was not common in the Wizarding world. Seeing Hermione's look of shock, Lavender proceeded to tell her about the latest 'job' she had taken. Lavender was surrogate mother.

Later that evening in her flat, after the initial shock, Hermione thought about the amount of galleons that Lavender had said she was earning for carrying a child for a Wizard couple that was not able to have children of their own. Hermione looked around at her own meager surroundings and began to wonder if it was something that she could do. The pay was substantial, being enough to get her into an apprenticeship nearby or even allow her to leave Great Britain to pursue her career of choice elsewhere. There were definite possibilities here.

Just then a Post Owl swooped in and dropped her latest round of bills on her table. With great trepidation, she opened the scrolls. There was nothing unusual until she reached the last one. It was addressed to Miss Hermione Granger c/o the Leaky Cauldron, and it had a Muggle stamp on it. Definitely not a good sign, she thought. Just as she had feared, it was the English Government with a threat to garnish her wages at the Leaky Cauldron to begin to pay her parents' back taxes. With the Leaky Cauldron also a part of Muggle London, they were able to track her employment with the establishment.

"Great! Just great! Now I can't even hold that as a second job!" she had screamed to her empty room.

When she had finally calmed down, she weighed her options and knew that she had little choice. She could either continue to live hand-to-mouth like she was doing, or she could do something drastic in an attempt to change her position. Looking at the piece of paper with the name of the agency that Lavender had given her, she wrote a letter requesting an application before she could change her mind.

The process had been rather quick, quicker than she had initially thought it would be. Hedwig had returned by noon the next day with an appointment time for Hermione. She had found herself going through the extensive application process in the clinic in only three days time.

The application process had consisted of a five-foot scroll of parchment dealing with her heritage, a blood test was taken to test for genetic abnormalities, photos were taken, and she even took personality and intelligence tests. She questioned the woman administering the tests on the reasons behind them. Hermione knew that Lavender was only carrying the child for a couple, and it seemed odd that they would need to know things such as personality traits. Hazel, the witch taking her through the application process, explained that some people had need for the egg of the witch carrying the child, but she would be compensated accordingly should that be the case with her. Hermione was a little taken aback by this bit of information. Carrying a child for someone was one thing. Actually having that child be a part of her and then giving it up was something else that she had not considered. She wasn't certain if that was something that she could do. She shoved the questions from her mind and decided it mattered little right now. She would 'cross that bridge when she got to it' as her mother had always said.

Within three days she had been called in for an interview. It was with a couple. The same witch that had taken her through the application process was there as a mediator as the couple asked Hermione what seemed like a million questions. Finally, they told her that they would contact the agency if they were interested in her. Her second interview was in a room with a mediator and a large window. It reminded Hermione of interrogation rooms she had seen on old police television shows that she watched when she was a child. She did not meet the people that were interviewing her then. Hazel just had a long list of questions that Hermione answered and she left. Again she was assured that she would be contacted if the people were interested. A few days after that she had yet another interview with an anonymous couple.

After hearing, for the third bloody time, that she would be contacted should the couple be interested in her, Hermione became discouraged. It was starting to feel like she was under a microscope. Here were people dissecting every part of her, yet she had no say in the people that spoke with her. She had no control. It was frustrating, nerve wracking, and more stress than she had been in since the final battle.

After a week of not hearing anything, she'd decided to quit counting on the money she would need to continue her life. She had resigned herself to trying to find a plan that was better suited to her when an owl arrived while she was having her morning toast and pumpkin juice. One of the couples she had interviewed with was interested. They wanted to meet with her at the agency at her earliest convenience, finalize the paperwork, and continue with the proceedings.

So, now, here she was, getting ready to go meet the couple and sign away the next year of her life. "Okay, it's now or never," she sighed, grabbing her threadbare cloak and leaving the room. She walked down the hall to the Apparition point. CRACK! She found herself at the entrance to Wilhelm Wigworthy's Wombs for Went.

Once again, she was sitting in the same interrogation room as she had been in three times prior. The witch with whom she had spent those interviews was sitting across from her with a genuine smile on her face.

"Don't be nervous, child," Hazel said. "I think you will be very happy with the arrangements that are being made."

Hermione took a deep breath and tried to relax. She knew she would have some answers soon. It wouldn't bode well for her to appear overly anxious or nervous. The couple had not officially hired her yet. Therefore, they still could opt for another carrier.

Oh God, what am I doing?

There was a small flash in front of them on the table. A scroll of parchment and a quill appeared. Hermione reached over and grabbed the scroll to open it. She scanned the document quickly and was stunned at the fees being offered to her. Lavender had told her about the standard fee, but that sum failed in comparison to the offer that Hermione was reading.

"This total is 35,000 galleons," she said to Hazel in disbelief.

Hazel smiled and nodded her head. "Yes, that's correct, Miss Granger."

"But, why so much?" asked Hermione. "My friend, Lavender Brown, said that the standard fee was 10,000."

"Yes, Miss Granger, but you need to read over the stipulations in this contract carefully. The gentleman making this offer is asking for quite a bit more then Miss Brown had to give." Hermione looked down and began reading the details of the contract carefully.

Okay, she thought. So, they want to use one of my eggs. That explains part of the excess fees. She continued reading while absently twirling the quill in her fingers. The contract seemed fairly standard to her. She would have no rights to the child.

No rights to your own child, Hermione, said a voice in her head that sounded incredibly like her mother. Do you really think you can do that?

I don't think I really have a choice at this point, she silently replied back as she pushed the forming feelings of guilt aside.

A secrecy clause was included; no one would know that this child was partly hers. That makes sense. I wouldn't want people to know that I had a child that I had essentially disowned, she thought bitterly.

The final bit struck her as a bit odd. "I have to move in with this couple and live there until the baby is born?" she asked.

"Yes, Miss Granger, that is correct. The gentleman has requested that you live with him, stating the desire to more closely monitor your health and the child's health."

Something finally struck Hermione. "Wait! You said gentleman? This isn't a couple?" she finally asked when she was able to find her voice.

"Yes, gentleman. He is single and desires an heir to carry on his family name," stated the witch matter-of-factly.

A thousand thoughts began swirling in Hermione's brain. She would have to live the next 9 months or so with a single man. He could be anywhere from 18 years of age up to 170 years old. He could be one of the Death Eaters that had bought their way out of Azkaban! This could be some sick ruse to hurt her, abuse her, or anything really!

She stared firmly at Hazel for several moments in contemplation. Finally she put down the quill, saying, "I won't sign anything until I meet this person."

She didn't notice the wall to her left melt away to reveal a tall man in long black robes. "That is a very wise decision, Miss Granger," he said in his most intimidating, low voice. A slow smirk grew on his face as he saw her surprise at his sudden appearance.

"P-Professor Snape!" she exclaimed when she realized who was standing in the place where the wall had been.

a/n: This is only the beginning, many (no, not all) of the questions that I know that you are all dying to ask will be addressed in the next chapter. Also, in case you are wondering, yes I do have another WIP in the early chapters here on Ashwinder. That one, along with this story, will not be abandoned. My betas won't allow it. ;-) Both stories are outlined and plotted. Thanks!

Wilhelm Wigworthy wrote "Home Life and Social Habits of British Muggles"...a required textbook for 3rd year Muggle Studies...mentioned in POA and FB.

This is based on the WIKTT Surrogate Mother Challenge posted by Okonchristy! The guidelines for this challenge are as follows (and yes, I'm only posting this once!):

Plot: After the war Severus decides now that things are safe he wants an heir. Thinking no witch would ever marry him because of his background he decides to hire a Surrogate Mother. Of course, it will have to be Hermione. He wants an intelligent witch and she is the smartest one of the age! As to why Hermione does this, that is the author's discretion.

-Severus must interview at least 5 witches
-Severus insists Hermione live in his residence during the pregnancy.
(Whether he is still at Hogwarts or not is the author's choice.)
-At least one of Hermione's friends tries to talk her out of it.
-Severus insists on a confidentiality contract so no-one, including
the child will ever know she is the mother and a contract giving him
all rights to the child and her none.
-Hermione gets at least one weird craving and Severus gets it for her.
-They must at some point during the pregnancy develop romantic feelings for each other.
-Authors choice how it ends, but I prefer happy!This is based on the Surrogate Mother Challenge on WIKTT. For full description of this challenge, please see the author's notes at the end of the first chapter.