I was asked, "How about some fluff and kissing :)"
How could I refuse?

So here it is just for you;
an different ending with a kiss or two.

Hermione walked in the general direction of Gladrags Wizardwear's Hogsmeade location. Her daughter slept peacefully in her arms as her husband guided her with a gentle hand in the small of her back. It was a lovely day, and Hermione was content. Her eyes lazily roamed the streets as Summer continued to talk of America, her voice a mere background hum for Hermione, Severus, and baby Senua. They all continued in this insouciant manner for several minutes, their ease unbroken, until Hermione stopped abruptly, causing Severus to pull her to him as he looked about in alarm. His distress abated when he saw the object of Hermione's fascination: Ginny Weasley.

The young redheaded woman walked on, not realising she was the object of Hermione Snape's scrutiny. Hermione's eyes didn't miss a facet of Ginny's demeanour or appearance. All of Ginny's attention was fixed on the man who walked beside her, holding her arm linked through his in a most gentlemanly fashion; the gaze she bestowed upon him was nothing short of adoring. Her robes were crumpled, as if she had worn them for more than one day in a row, and in her free hand, she held a slightly wilting, beribboned wreath of flowers. As Hermione's regard turned towards Ginny's companion, her eye was caught by a gleam of gold on Ginny's left ring finger: a simple slim band of precious metal that shone brightly in the morning sunlight. As Hermione stared, a large hand covered Ginny's and patted it lovingly. Hermione followed the hand up to the man's face and watched as Remus Lupin looked down upon Ginny with obvious pride.

As the pair drew near, it was Severus who spoke, his deep sarcastic tone breaking the reverie of the two. "Robbing Molly Weasley's cradle may prove hazardous to your health, Lupin."

Remus Lupin's eyes snapped to Severus's as Ginny gave a startled yelp.

"Remus," Hermione looked from Remus to Ginny, "Ginny, you're married?" Hermione asked with growing excitement.

Ginny looked at her older friend and beamed. "We were married yesterday." Ginny blushed.

"So it would seem," Severus drawled as he looked pointedly at their rumpled clothes. The two women embraced joyfully as Remus addressed Severus.

"We ... uh," Remus began shyly, "spent our wedding night at the inn. We eloped; so, packing was really -"

"I see," Severus cut him off, inadvertently saving him further embarrassment. "Have you told no one, then?" he asked.

"Well, we've told you," Ginny said with a nervous laugh.

"Oh, Ginny," Hermione said softly, "you know how your mother's going to react." Then her face took on a horrified look as she added, "And Ron'll go berserk." She turned to Remus. "He'll come after you, Remus, he'll try to hurt you."

"I know, Hermione," Remus said sadly. "I won't be surprised if Ron attempts to use an Unforgivable on me for marrying Ginny." He added brightly, "At least Harry will be fine with it, don't you think? It's OK, really, Hermione, it is. We've talked about it all, Ginny and I. We are both prepared for people's reactions."

"Ron's a given and we'll deal with it. And compared to Remus, Harry is completely inadequate!" Ginny added vehemently. Realising what she had unintentionally given away in her rush to defend her marriage, her blush deepened into a vivid scarlet as she cast her eyes downward.

Severus sneered in obvious distaste as a light pink stain crept into Remus's cheeks.

Hermione broke the tension. "Let's not stand about in the street, we should go somewhere. Celebrate. Have you two had breakfast, yet?"

Remus steeled himself and looked Hermione in the eye. "We took breakfast in our... in our... room." The pink stain on Remus's face deepened to that of a ripe tomato.

"Good!" Summer said heartily. She knew the time to jump in and diffuse a situation when she saw it. "Let's all -"

Summer's attempt was cut off by a loud 'pop' of Apparition followed by crazed screaming. "You married my sister!"

"It would seem that Mr Weasley has been informed," Severus drawled.

His snide comment was unheard under the barrage of Ron's anger. "You SICK, PERVERTED WEREWOLF!"

"Ron, NO!" Ginny shouted.

Ron, however, was ignoring the object of his unnecessary protection. "Did you TOUCH her? Did you TOUCH my BABY SISTER?"

Ron turned to Ginny. "Did he put his hands on you?"

"Of course, Ron," Ginny snapped. "We're married. We're married and -"

"Are you a werewolf's whore, then?" Ron spat at his sister.

"That's my big brother," Ginny announced angrily, "always protecting and caring for me." Ginny glared at Ron and continued speaking about him. "Loving and sweet he is..."

"I wonder who told him?" Hermione whispered to her husband.

Suddenly, there was a flash of light and everything was shrouded by thick smoke. Hermione was on her knees, screaming and doubled-over in agony. In a blur, Severus was kneeling beside her as Ginny took their baby and backed away, so Severus and Summer would have room to help Hermione. As Summer bent down to and try to help her, Hermione passed out. Severus caught her and cradled her in his lap. Summer withdrew her wand and began casting spells over Hermione's prone form.

After what seemed an eternity to those surrounding the felled witch, Summer nodded in satisfaction and looked Severus in the eye. "I can undo the damage -" she began, only to be cut off by Ginny's piercing scream. Everyone turned and barely caught a glimpse of Ginny and the Snapes' baby daughter being Apparated away by a hooded figure.

Severus was clearly torn by dual needs: his overwhelming need to stay with his wounded wife; and his acute need to protect his newborn child.

Summer stepped in and took control. "Severus," she said in a tone more serious than any he had ever heard from her, "go after your daughter. I'll care for your wife. Go, quickly now, before you lose the Apparition wake."

As Severus quickly kissed his wife, Summer turned to Remus. He was holding Ron's wand to keep him from Apparating in haste and making the situation worse. She got their attention and asked, "You know how Aurors follow an Apparition wake, don't you?"

"Yes, of course," Remus said.

Ron nodded.

Summer spoke to Remus. "Wait until Severus's Apparition wake begins to fade, and then follow him." She walked right up to Ron and got in his face. "YOU," she barked in her harsh American tones, "run and Floo to Snape-on-Westray, get Harry Potter here. Then get yourself back here in time to follow Remus's Apparition wake and make your own. Then Harry can follow you. Now!" Summer poked Ron in the chest, and ordered, "RUN!"

Surprisingly, Ron followed Summer's instructions without delay.

When Ron returned to Summer a scant few minutes later, she was healing Hermione. He spoke to her without breaking his pace. "Harry's coming!" Ron panted. "Tonks is following him," he added, just before the crack was heard that signalled his following in the fading wake of Remus's Apparition."

Hermione clung to Severus, her arms around his neck, her cheek pressed so tightly to his that the bone ached. She pressed her body into his as she attempted to literally absorb him, and be absorbed by him.

She had never been one to play damsel in distress; she preferred to be in the thick of the fight, fighting for herself and for those she loved. This time, she had been taken out before the fight began, only to awaken and find herself alone with Summer and Albus in Snape-on-Westray, during which time she discovered that Severus was out risking his life to save their daughter; and save her he did. Ginny had brought her back, safe and sound. After much cuddling, the infant went to sleep and was placed snugly in her cot. As soon as Hermione placed her daughter down, she began pacing their bedroom, frantically. She was distraught because Severus had still not returned. No amount of reassurances from Ginny would ease her mind, until she saw that Severus was safe with her own eyes.

Now, he was finally home and in her arms. He had allowed no harm to come to Senua and he was fine. Hermione's fears were all for naught. However, she needed to feel Severus. She needed to assure herself that he was with her, that he was safe and whole. She nestled her face in his neck and tightened her hold on him. As Senua began to waken, it was Hermione's turn to feel torn: torn between her need to be as close to Severus as possible, and her need to comfort their child.

At the mewling sounds of Senua, Severus unwound Hermione's arms from his neck. At the bereaved look on her face, he whispered, "Shush." Severus stroked Hermione's face gently, his deep black eyes fixed on hers with a breathtaking intensity. In this unspoken way, he communicated his love and care as clearly as if he had said the words. He finally voiced one word softly: "Come." Taking Hermione's hand, Severus closed the short distance to Senua's cot. He picked up their daughter and led Hermione to their bed. He placed the baby in Hermione's arms as he situated himself and pulled her to him.

Hermione sank gratefully into her husband's comforting embrace and simply asked, "What happened?"

"The raucous group - currently being fed by the elves - and I got Senua back." His face was expressionless, but his voice held a challenging smile.

Her need to know was so great that she didn't even realise that she was being baited. "But how, Severus? Who took our baby? Why did they take her, what did they want with her? What happened? Is there any danger -? "

Severus cut across her, "No, do not worry. That wretch can no longer get to us."

"How IS that? How do you know for sure? You didn't have to... to..."

"No, I didn't have to kill anyone. The culprit is in the custody of some very irate Aurors. Take a breath, My Love, and I shall endeavour to answer all of your questions."

Hermione breathed deeply and pressed herself deeper into Severus's embrace.

"It was Rita Skeeter. She hired the wizard who abducted Senua and Ginevra. Senua was the main target. Weasley," he continued, with no small amount of disdain making its way into his tone, "was told of his sister's marriage as a diversion. You were hurt in hopes of taking both you and Senua. As you know, Ginevra relieved you of Senua and she was taken instead. I followed their Apparition trail, as I am sure you have been told. I arrived in an abandoned building. Skeeter and four hired wizards were there. She was holding Senua and laughing maniacally. The wizards seemed to be regretting their part in Senua's abduction; it was as if they were beginning to realise how deranged Skeeter is. I drew her attention. She gave Senua to what seemed to be the most intelligent of her... employees." Severus's voice filled with rage. "She told me that he would ... " Severus trailed off.

Hermione turned in Severus's lap and stroked his stubbled cheek. "It must have been awful."

Severus's eyes were distant as he remembered.

In the dim light barely filtering through small, high windows that were covered in layers of dirt, Severus saw Rita Skeeter roughly hand his baby to a stocky wizard. "One move and he'll kill your precious daughter, Snape. And don't think for a second that it will be a quick or easy death." Rita Skeeter's voice was shrill and frenzied. She was obviously unhinged.

"Be warned," Severus hissed; a lone Severus Snape was still a force to fear. As he rounded on Rita and her accomplices, he forewarned menacingly. "I shall not hesitate to use Unforgivables on you all." His glittering eyes scanned his dilapidated surroundings, noting the large doors behind the others.

"Give me your wand, Snape," Rita said almost conversationally, her voice echoing in the building's emptiness. As she stepped towards Severus, Ginny was revealed. She was lying on the floor, the victim of a Body-Bind.

"Perhaps you are willing to risk death under my Cruciatus, but are your friends?" He turned to the wizards and addressed the one holding his daughter. He saw their expressions and asked, "Have you not seen the Cruciatus Curse held longer on a victim than to cause mere madness?" He paused, his face looked calculatingly thoughtful. "I daresay you have not," he continued in a low deadly tone, "as it is not a common ability. It does take a peculiar skill, but I am quite adept, I assure you. I have killed in this way on several occasions. It's quite remarkable to watch; the prolonged torture drives the victim to insanity. Then the caster merely continues to hold the curse until the victim, in his mad desperation, finds a way to end his own life. That desperate death does not occur right away, mind you. No, no, it most certainly does not. It takes a vast amount of torture..." He gave his audience a pregnant pause and then continued, his deep voice dropped to a mesmerisingly venomous whisper, "... But, for those who possess the magical strength and ability..." he smiled a smile that implied he immensely enjoyed causing such a horrific death " is remarkable to inflict. I have caused people to tear through the flesh of their own thighs in order to lay open an artery and to bleed out, frantic to do anything to end the unbearable agony." He fingered his wand casually, his dark eyes narrow and gleaming in the dull light. "Imagine, if you will, pain so severe that you rip through your own arm with your teeth in an attempt to end it. Of course, that wouldn't end it, would it?" he asked with a twisted smile. "So you finally bludgeon your own head against the ground in order to find release." Severus paused and allowed them to absorb the information he was imparting. After a moment, he continued in a tone that could only be described as casually evil. "Then again, others with more strength have managed quite ... creative ... ways to die." He paused, yet again, to allow the horror to sink in. "Have you ever felt the Cruciatus cast by a Death Eater?" Severus asked, his voice cold and terrifying. "It is most ... potent ... I assure you. I wonder how much more ... intense ... the Cruciatus cast by a Death Eater whose daughter was harmed would be? Shall we find out?"

Rita Skeeter found her voice. "Don't listen to him!" she screeched. Then turning to Severus, she commanded, "Give me your wand, now, Snape!"

The burley man holding Senua looked at Skeeter. "What does he mean harmed? When I agreed the this, ya never said nothin' about hurtin' the kid. Now yer threatening 'er? She's just an innocent baby."

"You'll do as I say," Rita snapped.

The wizard turned to Severus. "I'm not hurtin' no baby. Here, take 'er back." As he went to hand Senua to Severus, Rita drew her wand and began to cast "Diffindo". However, in the same instant that Severus took his daughter, he wordlessly and wandlessly disarmed Skeeter. The Duelling Master followed that with a quick Stunner of his own, rendering Rita Skeeter unconscious as he held his daughter securely.

There followed the distinctive crack of Apparition and the appearance of Remus Lupin.

"Lupin," Snape drawled. "Ginevra is over there. I believe a simple 'Ennervate' will bring her around. Otherwise, she appears unharmed."

Remus ran to Ginny and roused her while Severus incapacitated the wizards and the unconscious Skeeter with a concentrated sneer and a click of his fingers.

With the danger passed, Severus settled his infant daughter against him in the gentlest manner as Remus pulled Ginny into his lap and fussed over her.

This was the scene Ron Weasley Apparated into. "Help's on the way," he panted as he bent over and clutched a stitch in his side. When he looked up, it was to see Severus soothingly swaying as he stroked his daughter's back and murmured softly to her.

His eyes turned towards his sister, who lay in Remus's lap. He saw that Remus was unaware of anything else as he gently caressed Ginny's hair. Remus was voicing tender concern over her health, despite her declarations of wellness.

As Ron's mouth dropped open in silent dumbfoundedness, Harry Potter appeared.

Directly after him, Nymphadora Tonks arrived on the scene. Putting her hands on her hips, the young, pink-haired Auror asked, "So, what have we here?"

Severus tried to appear unaffected, but the gruffness of his voice when he answered his wife belied his facade. "Senua is safe, that is all that matters."

"Go on," Hermione said, bringing one of his hands up from her waist; she entwined her fingers with his and they held their daughter together.

"I disarmed and detained Skeeter. One of her minions seemed to regret his actions and voluntarily handed Senua to me. Then Lupin arrived and revived Ginevra. Before anything more could be discovered, we were joined by the amazing dunderheaded duo and Nymphadora."

"Don't use that name, it's rude," Hermione chastised.

"I should say that it is more an accurate assessment, rather than a rudeness," he said drolly.

"I meant 'Nymphadora'; she prefers Tonks, as you well know," Hermione huffed.

"Does she? Well, well, who would have thought?" Severus asked sarcastically.

"You know full well she does."

"Perhaps, although, I must say that I am glad you agree with me," he pronounced.

Knowing her husband, she smiled and concurred. "I do agree that Ron can be quite a dunderhead at times. However, Harry can be clever when he tries."

Severus grunted and asked in an affronted tone, "Shall I continue?"

"Please do," Hermione responded pleasantly.

"Hmm." Severus scowled, but it was a wasted on his wife. "Tonks," Severus said in with disdain, "took charge. She questioned Ginevra, and then released her to bring Senua home. The rest of us had to return with her to Auror Headquarters. Not much was revealed by way of motive; however, considering our history with Skeeter, it's not difficult to hazard a hypothesis."

"True, she does seem to hold a grudge" Hermione agreed. "Although, it was she who was in the wrong to begin with."

"Indeed," Severus allowed. "What we are certain of is that Skeeter drew Weasley to us to create a diversion; Skeeter hexed you; then, acting on her orders, the large wizard in her employ grabbed Ginevra and Senua and Apparated them away to a predetermined location. That is where they met three other wizards that were working for Skeeter. Finally, Skeeter joined them, and when I got there, she had Senua. She passed her to the large wizard and the rest I have told you. The wizards in her employ gave us the additional information. Uncharacteristically, Skeeter is not talking. Her accomplices did all say that she hired them with the express intent of kidnapping our daughter and you; however, it would seem she withheld from them her desire to cause physical harm."

"Will we never be safe and left alone?" Hermione asked.

"I cannot promise you that. The world is what it is." He sighed into her hair. "However, we should be safe and free of Rita Skeeter in the near future. She is being held, awaiting trial. Nymphadora said we could expect the trial to take place in a reasonable amount of time. With Albus on our side, I foresee a long imprisonment for Ms Skeeter."

"I'd rather she got help than be imprisoned," Hermione said softly.

"What?" Severus asked with a sneer.

"I mean, there must be something wrong with her. No sane witch would obsess and threaten us as she has. No woman in her right mind would kidnap another's daughter. I may have blackmailed her into line a few years back, but she was clearly unbalanced before that, or I wouldn't've had to use such drastic measures. No, I would prefer she got the help she needs so she will never pose a threat to anyone again. That would be better than simply giving her a punishment that will most likely only exacerbate her sickness. Because I think she must be sick to be the way she is."

"Altruistic, indeed. Have you no sense of vengeance? Do you not want -"

"I do, actually. I'd dearly love to wring the life out of her with my bare hands. However, my mother always said that two wrongs don't make a right. I may not always have lived by that, but, we have a daughter now, so it's time I tried. I'd be no better than Rita Skeeter if I wished her harm. And where my instinct is to inflict harm on the b- witch, I can't help but think: there are those who would have seen you put in Azkaban when you were a young Death Eater, when you were essentially a hurt and confused child. How would that have helped anything? It wouldn't've. It would have made things worse for all concerned. Albus saw that you're a good man, Severus, and he gave you a chance to make a new life. Who am I to judge Rita Skeeter? Although, I'll admit that I don't think she's a good woman. I think she's self-serving to the point of evil, but there must be a reason why she's that way. Maybe if she got help..." she trailed off. With a sigh, she said, "But then, maybe she can't be helped; still, everyone deserves a chance. Don't get me wrong, she's a danger to us, and who knows how many others. Because of that, I want to see her in prison. However, if we had a way to help her, instead, it would be better, I think."

"You, My Love, are a better person than I," Severus said seriously. "I would see her suffer for what she has done."

"I understand that, Severus, and that's my instinct too. Had I not learnt that Moody, and others, would've put you in Azkaban long before I met you, I might still agree with you."

"I know that," Severus began coldly, "however, I still wish to make her pay."

Hermione smiled. "Maybe it's your testosterone talking," she lightly teased.

"I am inclined to agree Madam Snape," Severus purred into her ear. "Shall we make better use of my hormonal surge?"

"Not with a house full of people waiting to see us, we won't," Hermione answered primly. After a minute's silence, she added in a wicked tone, "Let's see if we can encourage them to move on."

Severus smirked.

The Snapes made their way towards the group in the kitchen. They didn't notice that the door to the stairwell leading down to their potions lab was ajar. Nor did they sense the presence that smiled malevolently as they passed by that cracked door.

A sudden loud, unearthly noise broke the silence of the night and awakened the sated lovers. They looked questioningly at one another. After a moment, Severus called for Meppy. When the elf failed to appear, the two sat up in alarm. He called Reny. When Reny, too, failed to appear, the Snapes threw on dressing gowns as Severus called for Quimple and Darvis. Hermione picked up their daughter and cradled her protectively as they clutched their wands and took in the ramifications of an elf-less room.

Severus silently indicated that Hermione should ward the door behind him as he left to search the house. He headed for the outer rooms, intending to search them and then seal off each in an inward pattern. He got no further than the second set of library doors when he turned to find Hermione coming through the first, heading towards him while clutching Senua to her chest. Before Severus could send her back to the safety of their bedroom, he caught a slight movement in the dark shadows across the large library. He had no time to react and found himself disarmed and immobilised with successive cries of "Expelliarmus! Incarcerous!"

Severus could just make out a deeply hooded figure as it moved in the shadows of their library, wand drawn. "Who are you?" Snape demanded in his most severe tone. When no answer was forthcoming, he continued. "Who dares invade my home?" His voice became lethal as he added in a whisper, "I'd have your name before I hex the very life from you."

The shadowed figure spoke, its voice male and rasping. "Big words for a bound and unarmed wizard, Snape." The unknown intruder laughed and said in an ominous voice, "My witch wants to hurt your wife. I want your evil, depraved, Death Eater head mounted on my wall..." He paused, and then added in an irrationally conversational tone, "It seems like I can get both in one, doesn't it?"

Hermione had heard enough. She hid Senua and made her presence known by advancing on the interloper and proclaiming, "You'll have to kill me before you take my husband's head."

The shadowed man turned towards her and rasped, "I'll not think twice about hurting a lady, if you make me."

"That doesn't surprise me," Hermione replied coolly. "You've already threatened an unarmed wizard. Why should you show scruples now?"

"Scruples? Scruples? You want to talk about scruples?" the intruder rasped madly. "Your husband is nothing more than murdering Death Eater scum! My parents were tortured and slaughtered by his kind. Maybe it was even him. Maybe it was your husband who raped my baby sister in front of our whole family. His build is about the same ... and the way he carries himself ... I saw it all, you know. Maybe your husband was just one of them on the side, applauding the brutalising of a little girl. Maybe he was one of those who got off on the sight of my little sister's torn body. Maybe he wasn't even there. It doesn't matter ... it doesn't matter at all! He still supported them. They're all the same. This is what you live with. You're no lady; you're a filthy Death Eater's bint. Now put down your wand! I won't ask you again, and I won't think twice about hexing you."

"Ah. Well, on that, sir, we differ," Hermione said in measured tones. "You see, I shan't take the time to think at all."

The intruder seemed to hesitate. Hermione didn't. She disarmed him and flew at him. With her wand pressed into his throat, she hissed, "Apologise to my husband!" At the same time, she wandlessly freed Severus.

The intruder struggled to speak around Hermione's wand. "I'll never apologise to the likes of him!"

Severus joined Hermione and placed the intruder under a Stupefying Charm. Severus spoke softly to his wife. "He seems only willing to voice vulgarities. Why don't you settle Senua, while I fetch some Veritaserum?"

When Hermione rejoined Severus, he was holding a phial of Veritaserum while casting 'Ennervate' on the intruder.

A few questions later saw Aurors taking John Kinnear, Rita Skeeter's long time Muggle-born 'companion', into custody.

Meanwhile, Severus and Hermione were waiting anxiously for news on their house-elves, who were being treated by a renowned Healer the couple had called in. The Healer told them that the elves injuries were extensive and, in Meppy's case, life threatening. Reny and Darvis were seriously wounded, but they were expected to make full recoveries. Quimple, the dear old elf, had gladly given his life for the Snapes. The Healer reminded the Snapes that house-elf magic is powerful - some say more powerful than the magic of wizards, in a way - but when surprised while sleeping, even that wasn't enough. Reny and Darvis were able to respond to some gentle questions, and they had made it known that Quimple had fought valiantly. It was his magic that had made the sound that awakened the Snapes. If it weren't for him, Severus and Hermione would have been caught as unaware and unprepared as the elves were. It was his warning magic that had enraged the intruder enough to end his life then and there. When Meppy became distraught over Quimple, she was treated to severe hexes and curses. Not that Reny and Darvis hadn't fought, they had. It was merely that Reny and Darvis were subdued first, giving Quimple time to warn the family. The Healer gave this information to the Snapes quickly; he was in a hurry to return to Meppy's care and the Snapes did not detain him.

Reny and Darvis were their old selves again, and Meppy was on her way to a full recovery, although, for the time being, she was on a strict regime of medicinal potions, and she still had to use some magical medical equipment to aid her mobility.

Elves and humans alike at Snape-on-Westray mourned the loss of Quimple.

It was not long before Rita Skeeter and John Kinnear were tried and sentenced. They wouldn't be a threat for decades to come. Their accomplices were tried separately and penalised accordingly. The Snapes breathed easier in light of Rita Skeeter's conviction.

Remus and Ginny Lupin's marriage was met with much scepticism and a bit of outright disdain, but they were too happy with each other to care. However, the Weasley family came around quickly. Even Ron Weasley finally made a tentative but lasting peace with the Lupins.

Much to Hermione's happiness, Ron formed the same peace with the Snapes. His friendship with Harry and Hermione was joyfully renewed.

Hermione Snape increased her efforts on the behalf of house-elves, as well as championing the cause for wizarding prison reform.

Severus Snape did consult with Hogwarts, and its Potions classes were vastly improved for his interference. Although he steadfastly refused to return to teaching, he accepted the task of creating a new Potions text and curriculum for the school, shortly after completing his latest project with his wife. Together, Severus and Hermione had managed to create the wizarding equivalent of an inoculation that rendered the recipient immune to the influence of the Imperius Curse. It was an amazing breakthrough.

The couple was just beginning work on a joint project: one Severus had been considering since he was a student at Hogwarts; one that Severus and Hermione believed would shake the very foundations of the wizarding world one day. However, more importantly for him was his daughter's latest achievement. It had happened just last week.

Senua Snape obviously wanted to be picked up. She held her tiny arms up to her father, who was quite busy gazing longingly at her mother's posterior; thereby, he failed to notice his daughters unspoken request. His inattention prompted Senua's first word, "Da!" She repeated it until her father noticed her, and acquiesced to her demand to be picked up.

After Severus had placed Senua down for her nap, he turned to Hermione. She took a step towards him in anticipation; her arms coming around his neck to pull him to her. Her left hand sifted through the back of his hair, while her other slid to his hipbone and pulled his body tighter to hers. She looked into his eyes. The eyes of her lover; her husband; the father of her child; and she was speechless. There in the inky blackness of his eyes she saw his feelings: his desire, his love, and... his joy. She was entranced by the depths of passion this austere wizard was willing experience with her, and her alone. It stole away her ability to breathe.

She felt his hot breath on her skin before his deep silken whisper reached her ears. "Hermione," he breathed, "Gods, Hermione, she spoke to me. She said: Da."

"I know," Hermione smiled into the skin of her husband's neck and inhaled his essence appreciatively. "You are her father, and she adores you."

Severus leaned into Hermione and he caught her lips with his. He pulled back and kissed her softly once, a fleeting brush of his lips against hers. This time when he spoke it was onto her lips, "You gave yourself to me, you gave her to me, you made us a family."

Hermione laughed softly, and said, "I think you helped a little with the creation of our daughter."

Severus growled low in his throat and nipped his wife's neck, "You know what I mean."

"I do, Severus, I do," she said seriously, as he claimed her lips again. As his lips moved slowly and sensuously on her, she couldn't help the small whimper that escaped her throat.

At the sound of her rising passion, Severus deepened the kiss; pulling her roughly to him, entangling his hands in her hair, and meshing their mouths together savagely. They were devouring each others mouths, lost in a swirl of emotions and need; the need to show each other the depths of their love.

Hermione made a small mewling noise of despair when his mouth left hers, only to moan when he trailed hot kisses along her jaw to her earlobe. He teased and caressed the small piece of flesh with his tongue and teeth, making Hermione begin to move her body against his.

"Bed," was the last coherent word Hermione could utter. How they made the short walk, she didn't remember. The next thing she knew she was laying atop of her husband, kissing and nibbling at the skin above his high-buttoned collar.

Severus was drowning in the feeling of his aroused wife devouring him and moving her body restlessly against his. He couldn't see her; the fall of her hair surrounded them both encasing them in darkness. He could, however, feel her lips on his skin, and her hands on his buttons as she pried them open. He reached up and took her head in his hands, rubbing his cheek lovingly along hers before he pushed her up just enough so that he could look into her eyes. "Beautiful," he whispered, his deep voice somehow lower in his passion, "you are the most beautiful..." he was cut off by his own need to kiss her. He pulled her face back to him and resumed kissing her with unrestrained passion; his tongue stroking hers in a deep sensual rhythm. His kiss held such intensity that it rendered them both breathless before it was done.

Hermione's passion fogged brain barely registered that somehow her husband had reversed their positions; and he now lay atop of her.

Severus was lost in his wife's softness. The feel of her sweet curves beneath him set him aflame. He kissed his way down her throat and feasted on the soft round flesh exposed at the top of her robes. As he continued to torture her with his kisses, his hand snaked down her body to slowly raise her skirt. When he had it above her knee, his hand disappeared beneath it. His arousal soared as he smoothed his hand along the soft satiny flesh of her inner thigh.

Hermione felt her husband slide down her body to kiss along the path his hand had been caressing beneath her skirt, and she lost all ability to think.

Much later Severus and Hermione checked on their baby daughter. They watched as Senua kicked her feet and smiled in her sleep. Severus wrapped his arm around his wife and fought the urge to grin. It was a battle he had been fighting ever since Senua had uttered her first word.

There would be few times in the coming years when the staid Severus Snape would lose that particular battle.


I want to thank Nakhash Mekashefah for beta reading this fic. Her talent and skill is astonishing!