Hermione was still sore and exhausted when the children came back to start the school year. The baby cried all the time, was always hungry, always needed to be changed and the surge of power Hermione had enjoyed while pregnant was definitely gone.

Snape had to go back to work leaving Hermione alone during the day to care for their son but it was hard. Harry came first, to look at the baby who had pale skin and dark, wispy hair.

"Where did the blue eyes come from?" he asked.

"Those will probably fade, Harry, all babies are born with blue eyes," she said, yawning. He didn't stay long.

Hermione liked to sleep during the day with the baby in the big bed. She liked to curl around him and smell his baby smell and touch his soft skin. Madame Pomfrey had told her that she was healing quite nicely but it still hurt. Her body felt foreign, like it belong to some other women. Those were not her wide hips or her heavy breasts. She was no longer a girl.

She was somebody's mother, and sometimes, it scared her.

When she was well enough, she went home to see her parents. Her parents took the baby and Hermione, exhausted from travel, went upstairs to get some uninterrupted rest.

The sun was lower in the sky when her mother knocked lightly and came into the room. Hermione's breasts were full and uncomfortable and she felt like a cow, needing to be milked. Her mother didn't have the baby with her though. She had a glass of water and some biscuits and she laid down next to her daughter and held her in her arms.

"My baby girl," she whispered, kissing Hermione's forehead.

"That's me," Hermione said tiredly.

"Your father is enamored," her mother said. "A little boy."

"I know. Harry wants to teach him to play Quidditch already and he's not a month old," Hermione laughed. "I told him he had to wait a bit."

"I remember what it's like," her mother said. "It's like a white canvas and you get to fill it with whatever you want. It's hard not to start right away."

"Right now I just want him to sleep through the night and change his own nappy," Hermione said. "It's difficult."

"That will pass, my love," her mother assured her. "Come down and eat something."

As Hermione descended the stairs, she saw her father holding her son in the living room, twirling him around slowly in a patch of late afternoon sun.


At night, Brian slept in the crib nearby and Severus slept with one eye open.

"He's fine," Hermione murmured. "You're not getting any sleep."

"I'm sleeping," he said.

"Right now?" she asked.

"Yes," he said. "Now be quiet."

"Hmph," she said, and rolled over so her back was to him. "Just keep taking it out on your students then."

She was right, it was what he was doing. The older students had harbored high hopes for Snape this year. The war was over, he was married, and had a new baby. Perhaps he would change his ways, make potions a class, not a punishment. But.

Severus was Severus, after all and Hermione was secretly glad that he hadn't changed because she wanted the man that she fell in love with to stay that man.

Sometimes she went to meals and the students who had known her as a peer watched in awe as Severus draped his arm across the back of her chair while she cooed at her son, coaxing him to stay quiet in the loud room. Ginny tucked her long hair behind her ears and waved at Hermione who winked at her with a maternal glow.

Sometimes, just after curfew but before it was too late, Hermione would go into the great hall and show her son the ceiling, the swirling galaxies, the brightest stars, the pink and purple and blue nebula that lingered overhead.

"We made that together," she would whisper and his unfocused eyes would stare up at the colors until he fell asleep. Sometimes she would stay too long and Severus would come and put his hand on her back and lead her away, back to bed.

At night, she dreamed of stars.

The End