Author's Note: This chapter contains FLUFF, FLUFF and FLUFF, with a little FLUFF thrown in for spice. Enjoy!
Miracle of Miracles
Hermione woke with a start and looked around her dorm room, wondering what could have startled her. Everything seemed quiet, so she assumed it was a bad dream. Unable to fall asleep again, she quietly rose from her bed and moved to the dark window to look out on the grounds. Almost at once, she saw a lone figure running down the main path from the gates, carrying in his arms a limp body. She frowned slightly, wondering what was going on. Deciding that she'd most likely find out in the morning, she decided to go back to bed. It was a while before sleep came to her. She'd had word from her parents and they were not happy about her engagement. Not at all.
The truth was, her mother was angry. She'd gotten two letters from them. The first was from her mother, forbidding the wedding and blaming Hermione for all of Mother's problems. The second letter shed light on her mother's angry mood. Her father had filed for divorce and wholly supported her union with Draco. He promised to give her away at her wedding. The thought of her father made her smile. She couldn't wait to introduce him to Draco, though the thought of her parents getting divorced because of her was somewhat disconcerting. Needless to say, her emotions were rather strung out already.
In the morning, the whole of Gryffindor was abuzz with news. Voldemort was dead and most of his Death Eaters were awaiting trail in the Ministry's holding cells. Hermione frowned down at the Daily Prophet she'd borrowed from Parvati Patil, wondering what was going on. She decided that she'd ask Harry. If anyone would know, he would.
She went up the stairs to the boys' dormitories, ignoring the boys coming down telling her that Harry wasn't there. She opened the door to Harry's dorm and found that it was, indeed, empty. Frowning, Hermione moved to Harry's bed, noticing how tidy everything was. If there was one thing she knew, it was that Harry's things were never tidy. Her curiosity grew when she saw the envelope on Harry's pillow. She reached out and picked it up, opening it to find a will inside. With a gasp, she dropped the parchment and ran from the room, heading for the Hospital Wing.
"Madame Pomfrey!" she shrieked as she flew into the room. "Madame Pomfrey!"
"I'm not deaf, child!" Madame Pomfrey scolded as she bustled into the room. Her features softened when she saw just who had been screaming for her. "You'll be wanting to see Mr. Potter, I expect."
"He's here?" Hermione asked hopefully. "Where?"
"Come along then," Madame Pomfrey said, beckoning with her hand. She led Hermione into a closed off room at the end of the ward. In the center of the room was a bed with Harry lying in it completely motionless. There were several tubes running from odd-looking machines and into Harry's body. One was obviously meant to help his breathing.
"What happened?" Hermione asked softly, fighting back tears.
"I haven't a clue, dear," Madame Pomfrey replied gravely. "Professor Snape brought him in late last night, but he ran out of here before I could ask him any questions." She sighed heavily. "I've seen him in here more these past seven years than any other student I can remember. The poor dear has drained his core, though I can't imagine how he managed that."
Hermione thought of the paper that morning.
He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named Discovered Dead!
This explained everything. Harry must have snuck out last night to end the war once and for all and Snape must have followed him. That's whom she'd seen running up the walk in the dead of night. Snape had saved Harry's life yet again. "How long will he be here?" she asked then, turning to look at Madame Pomfrey.
The nurse's sympathetic gaze gave Hermione all the answer she needed. "I've never seen anyone recover from a completely drained core," she said gently. "It's a miracle he's lasted this long."
Tears came to Hermione eyes and she fled from the Hospital Wing, one hand covering her mouth, and the other pushing open doors as she ran. She was half way to Gryffindor when she skidded to a halt, her mind racing. Professor Snape was a Spellweaver. She remembered when the man had single-handedly strengthened the wards around the school. She spun around, her robes swirling around her legs, and sprinted down the stairs towards the dungeons. If anyone could help, it was Severus Snape.
As she flew down the corridor, running faster than she ever had before, she ran straight into Draco, sending them both crashing down to the floor.
"Hermione!" Draco exclaimed once he realized who had crashed into him. "What's going on?"
Hermione quickly extricated herself from the pile. "I have to speak to Professor Snape!" she gasped as she finally got to her feet.
Draco shot to his feet and grabbed her shoulders just as she was preparing to run away again. "He's not seeing anyone," he said to her. "He's been out of sorts all morning. He won't say what's wrong, but he's not going to see you."
"He has to!" Hermione exclaimed, struggling against Draco's hands. "HE JUST HAS TO!" She broke free from his grasp and continued her mad dash to Snape's rooms, Draco right on her heals. She shouted the password frantically as she reached the door and burst through, her eyes immediately scanning the room for Snape, who was sitting on his couch, staring blankly at a bottle of absinth.
"Hermione!" Draco gasped behind her. "I told you-"
"Professor Snape!" Hermione burst out, cutting over Draco's protest. "I must speak with you!"
"Go away, Granger," Snape said. "I've no wish to speak with anyone."
"Please!" Hermione begged. "It's about Harry!"
"I already know," Snape gripped, not even turning to look at her. "You can go now."
"But he needs help!"
This caused Snape to turn around and stare at her, looking most incredulous.
"Please, sir! He's in the Hospital Wing! Madame Pomfrey says he's going to die!"
"What?" Draco yelped behind her. She ignored him.
"What is this nonsense?" Snape asked coldly. "He's already dead!"
"No he's not!" Hermione yelled back at him.
"HE IS!" Snape exploded. "I SAW HIM WITH MY OWN EYES!"
"HE'S NOT DEAD!" Hermione shrieked frantically. "BUT HE WILL BE IF YOU DON'T GET YOUR BLOODY ASS IN MOTION, NOW!"
The whole room fell silent, the two men staring at Hermione in astonishment. Snape growled low in his throat and left the room in a flurry of robes, Hermione and Draco right behind him.
Severus moved toward the infirmary at a brisk walk, his robes billowing behind him as though in reflection of his irritation. As though he wasn't suffering enough, the Granger chit had to come claiming that Harry was still alive. He burst through the infirmary doors angrily, walking toward Pomfrey's office without even pausing.
"Where are you going?" Granger asked behind him, sounding more than annoyed. "Harry's this way!"
Severus spun around and found Granger pointing toward a closed door. He went to it, glaring at the girl as he passed her, and threw the door open angrily. He froze in his place when he saw Harry lying on a plain white bed, tubes coming from many places in his body. Poppy was nearby, mixing something in a stone bowl.
"It's about time you came back here," she said when she saw it was him. "You didn't even tell me what happened!"
Only Severus didn't hear her, so fixated was he by the sight of Harry on the bed. His legs felt weak beneath him and he leaned on the wall for support. He slid down it slowly, barely noticing anything around him as he began to sob with relief. Harry was alive!
"Severus, pull yourself together man!" Poppy exclaimed, looking somewhat horrified at his actions.
"What are you doing!" Granger exclaimed at the same time. "You have to help him!"
This got Severus' attention and he sprang to his feet, spinning to face the girl. "What do you expect me to do! I'm not a Healer!"
"No, you're a Spellweaver!" Granger shouted back. "Help him!" She pointed a shaking finger at Harry's bed.
Severus turned to Poppy, hoping the woman would talk some sense into the fool girl, but Poppy was staring at him as well. "She has a point, Severus," Poppy said. "I hadn't even thought of it."
"ARE YOU ALL STARK RAVING MAD!" Severus exploded angrily while the three in the room kept staring at him. "WHY ARE YOU ALL STARING AT ME LIKE THAT!"
"His core has been drained, Severus," Poppy replied. "Only a magical boost can save him now."
Severus stared at her for a moment, and then turned his bewildered gaze on Harry. His aura was still conspicuously missing. As he processed what these people were saying to him, he wondered why it hadn't dawned on him sooner. He slowly moved toward the bed and grasped Harry's hand in his own. He trailed his hand up Harry's arm and across his shoulder, moving down to his chest. He gasped when he closed his eyes and saw inside Harry's magic.
In his mind, he saw a ball of violet light, flickering weakly, small threads of magic attempting to reach out from it, but blinking out before getting very far. He concentrated on that ball and pushed his magic forward, toward the threads. His magic wrapped gently around each thread and guided them back into their source. He allowed his senses to carry him throughout Harry's pathways, locating stray bits of power and guiding them back to the core. As he worked, the core slowly stopped flickering and began to glow a little brighter. Slowly, tentatively, small tendrils of magic began snaking out of Harry's core, spreading through his pathways without blinking out this time.
Severus' eyes fluttered open and he stared as Harry started to struggle against the breathing tube that was down his throat. Poppy approached immediately and removed it. Harry didn't wake, but he was breathing on his own, and his aura was now a faint glow around him.
Severus looked at Draco and Granger when Granger finally allowed herself to break down, sobbing into Draco's shoulder. Draco stared at Severus, bewilderment shining in his silver eyes. "That was brilliant," he said softly.
Severus stared at him a moment longer before turning his gaze back to Harry, who was still unconscious on the bed.
Harry felt warm and comfortable, yet weak. His eyes fluttered open, only to close sharply when they were assaulted by harsh white light. He groaned as a headache started to form. He felt a goblet pressed against his lips and he opened his mouth to accept the potion. A moment later, his headache was gone.
"Better?" a silky baritone asked.
Harry smiled and opened his eyes, his smile growing wider when he saw the relieved look on Severus' face. "Yes, thank you," he replied.
A tiny grin appeared on Severus' face. "Do you know the grief you've caused?" he asked. "I nearly had a stroke when Dumbledore gave me your little box of belongings."
"Sorry about that," Harry said. "I'd assumed I'd be dead by now."
"Fool boy," Severus said gently. "What ever made you think that I would want that infernal cloak of yours?"
Harry laughed happily. Of all the things he had been expecting, it certainly hadn't been that. "A memento of better times, Sev'rus," he informed his lover.
Severus chuckled. "Don't ever do something so stupid again, do you understand me?" he asked. "Running off to a Death Eater meeting all by yourself, not even telling anyone where you had gone? What were you thinking?"
"Oh, you know me," Harry replied. "I never do what I'm supposed to."
"I know that only too well," Severus commented. He bent forward and placed a soft kiss on Harry's lips, leaning their foreheads together afterwards. "Have I told you how much I love you?" he asked.
Harry beamed at him happily. "No," he replied. "But now's as good a time as any."
Severus smiled softly. "I love you, so very much."
"I love you too, Severus," Harry replied. "More than you could ever know."
Just then, there was a commotion outside the door before it burst open and two witches walked in; the one in front, who was holding a baby, was blonde, tall and elegant looking; and the one behind, who was holding a parchment scroll, was a read-head with bright blue eyes, shorter than the first but still tall and rather imposing. Both were wearing Ministry Green robes. Madame Pomfrey came in behind them looking harassed.
"I've told you that he's unwell!" she was ranting. "Can't this wait?"
"He looks fine to me," the witch with the baby said. The little girl was wearing the most adorable pink dress and blinking her large green eyes sleepily.
"Are you Harry Potter?" the witch with the scroll asked.
Harry nodded mutely, wondering what this was about.
The woman nodded sharply, unrolling the parchment. "After extensive searching and testing done by the Ministry of Magic, with the aid of the Paternity Potion, we wish to make known to you this minor child, hence forth known as Baby Girl Potter.
"Baby Girl Potter, daughter of Blaise Zabini and Harry Potter, was born on 15 March, nineteen hundred and ninety-seven at eight fifty-three p.m. Her paternity has been proven by use of the potion, proving beyond a doubt that she is the biological child of Mr. Harry Potter. The mother, Blaise Zabini, is serving a life sentence in Azkaban Prison for treason, and therefore holds no parental rights over Baby Girl Potter. Custody is hereby granted to Harry Potter upon the receipt of his signature upon the birth certificate." She held out a separate parchment to Harry, which he took, his eyes as wide as saucers. "Do you accept custody of the child?"
"I… yes!" Harry exclaimed, never having imagined that he would have a child of his own. The read-headed witch handed him a quill, which he used to sign his name on the bottom of the birth certificate. He thought for a moment before writing Serena Lillian Potter on the "Name of Child" line.
The blonde witch handed him the baby and with that, both witches turned on their heels and left the room without further comment. Serena opened her eyes for a moment before closing them again and drifting off to sleep.
"She's beautiful," Harry murmured, carding his hands through her silky black locks.
"Yes," Severus replied softly, sounding and feeling sad all of a sudden.
Harry looked at him. "What's wrong?" he asked.
Severus watched Serena sleep for a moment before shaking his head. "No, nothing." He smiled a bit; it looked painful. "I have some things to take care of. I'll see you later." He pecked Harry on the forehead and left the room.
Harry was somewhat concerned by Severus' abrupt departure, but his attention was quickly diverted as his daughter moved in her sleep. Harry felt deep pride and joy well up inside of him as he watched her. I have a daughter! he thought excitedly. Severus and I will raise her to be a wonderful woman. I'm a father! He felt like shouting to the world that he was a father.
Severus packed his things away by hand, foregoing the use of magic in favor of working off his frustrations by doing the work manually. The moment he'd seen Harry's daughter, he'd felt his future with the young man slipping away. He knew that Harry would come to realize that that child was one thing Severus could not give him, no matter how he wanted to. He always knew that Harry would eventually come to that conclusion himself, but he hadn't expected it to so soon.
He paused in his work when there was a soft knock on his door. He knew who it was. He hadn't spoken to the teen for two days, trying to delay the inevitable. He went to the door and opened it, staring at Harry for a moment before turning back around and continuing to pack.
"The password didn't work," Harry said, stepping inside and closing the door.
"Technically these are no longer my rooms," Severus replied. "The password was cancelled yesterday. I imagine a new one will be applied once Dumbledore finds a replacement for me."
"Why have you been avoiding me, Sev'rus?" Harry asked bluntly, getting straight to the point.
"I have not been avoiding you," Severus grumbled irritably. "I have been busy getting ready for my imminent departure from this prison."
Harry flinched a bit, but made no reply.
"Where is your bouncing baby girl?" Severus asked more sharply than he had intended. He'd been watching Harry, even if the boy was unaware of it. He never saw Harry without that child attached to him.
"Hermione agreed to watch her while I came down here to speak with you," Harry replied. "What's bothering you, Sev'rus?"
Severus turned from his packing and glared at Harry. It didn't have the same effect it used to. Damn. "Nothing," he snapped. "Nothing is wrong."
Harry nodded a little. "I could tell," he said. "You know, just the other day I heard Hagrid telling Draco how disgusting Hippogriffs are."
Severus snorted, recognizing the jibe for what it was. "Don't play that game with me. I taught it to you."
"Then stop lying to me and tell me the truth," Harry returned.
Severus sighed, running a trembling hand through his hair. "You confound me, Harry," he admitted. "I'll never understand why you chose me when you could have anyone."
"I don't want anyone, Sev'rus," Harry replied. "I love you. I can't just pretend that I don't. What is this about?"
"I can't make you happy, Harry," Severus said dejectedly. "I don't have what it takes."
"Tell me you're joking," Harry said dryly. "You really have no idea how happy I am just knowing that you love me?"
"What about your baby?" Severus asked.
"What about her?" Harry asked back. "I had planned on raising her with you. That is, if that's what you want."
Severus stared at him in relieved disbelief. "You… you want me to help you raise her?"
"Of course I do," Harry replied. "Why, what did you think I would say?"
"I… I thought you would come to your senses and find a beautiful woman to give you more little brats to join the first one."
Harry laughed long and loud, gripping his stomach in mirth. "Oh, Sev'rus!" he cried through his laughs. He calmed after a while and watched Severus through glittering eyes. "You are a silly man." He came across the room and pulled Severus into a tight embrace. He kissed him soundly. "I wouldn't trade you in for anything. Who else is going to spend the rest of his days driving me mad?"
Severus couldn't help it; he laughed too. He bent his head and kissed Harry deeply, his heart soaring with the knowledge that he now had a family of his own. "I love you, you little brat," he said. "I hope you know that."
Harry smiled. "I know it. You wouldn't put up with me otherwise." He gave a wave of his hand and Severus' things finished packing themselves. "What say you we blow this joint?"
"I think that's the best idea you've had all year." Severus wrapped an arm around Harry's waist and they walked out of the room, never to return. The went passed Hermione's room to pick up Serena and made their way to London to start a new, Voldemort free life together, for better or worse.
Author's Note: Well, that's that, as they are known to say. Just who 'they' are, remains a mystery, but I'll go with it. I hope you all enjoyed my little tale of woe and joy and I hope to see you all in the future, whenever I finish my newest works of art. I shall continue my re-write of Harry Potter and the Mysterious Elven Student and post it as the chapters are completed. It's not SLASH, and it's not the best thing I've ever written, but I'm rather fond of it. It was my first, after all. Many thanks to Victoria Ennis, who took her time and energy and used them on this fic, helping me out here and there whenever I'd get stuck. Thanks also to…
LeeLeePotter: Definitely dramatic enough. Hehehehehe
DestinyEntwinements: hehehehe, nope, he's not dead… hehehehe
Medicated Drama Queen: Thank you so much for your concern. I'm feeling much better recently, though they still haven't figured it out yet. I'm supposed to see a gastroenterologist, but I have to wait until I have enough funds to pay the co-pay. Pathetic, isn't it?
TheWingsoftheHouseofBlack: No, it wasn't Giles, sorry.
Jeni: I'm trying, but he has more stamina than I thought… hehehehe
Sister to the Egyptian Psychos
Squirrelz: That's where I got the idea for the black clouds, actually. I love that book.
Sliver of Melody: That's quite all right, m'dear. I'm just glad you came out of it better than your eckleticity. Hehehehe
P.S. Cheers to Night Walker1 for guessing correctly! Here's a whole box of cookies for you for being the only one who did! The quote was from 'Connie and Carla', a delightful film if you're not looking for deep soul searching material.
This quote: Severus snorted, recognizing the jibe for what it was. "Don't play that game with me. I taught it to you."
came almost directly from 'My Fair Lady'. I love that film as well. Ahhh, Audrey Hepburn could play some good characters, couldn't she?
Well, that's it. I hope to see you all in my next fic 'Tears in the Rain' which will be up eventually, but I don't know when. Hehehe. Ta, for now!