Disclaimer: I do NOT own Harry Potter or any characters from the Harry Potter series. The characters belong to their creator. I'm just playing Puppet Master for a while and pulling the strings. I own nothing but the plot.

A/N: At the end.


Fireside Musings (The Way Things Should Have Been)


He poured himself a large glass of cognac and sat down in his wingback chair in front of the roaring fire.

Little dunderheads were getting more stupid with each passing day.

Five cauldrons exploded, three students needed to be rushed to the infirmary, and his robes had been singed.

And that was before lunch.

Honestly, he was wondering why he still put up with it.

He could have a private lab of his own, with no little annoying brats to watch….

He looked into the dancing flames and his brow furrowed.

"That's the cognac my father gave us as a wedding present."

"Smart man. I always did like him."

He heard her chuckle.

"Hard day?" She asked.

He looked to his right, facing the direction in which the warm female voice had resonated from.

She was curled up in the other wingback chair, an open book laid across her lap.

He sighed and nodded.

"Very." He explained.

A sculpted eyebrow arched.

"Yes, it sounds it." She said, a mocking tone in her voice.

His own eyebrow quirked at her and then he gave another sigh and slumped in his chair.

"I'm sorry. I'm just sick and tired of having to spend my days with children that ruin the simplest of potions, singe my robes and destroy my cauldrons."

"So I take it I need to do a bit of shopping, then?"

"If you wouldn't mind…?"

She shook her head.

"You know I don't mind. I enjoy shopping for you. Maybe this time I'll find you some colored robes….maybe a nice red…."

"You wouldn't dare!"

She giggled.

He always hated it when she mentioned anything red.

Old rivalries are hard to forget…..

"No, I know you don't like that color. But what about a deep green?"


"But you like green."

"Yes, but not to wear."

"You like it when I do."

"That's different. In any case, if I started wearing robes in any color other than black, the students would think I was ill."

"Alright, I'll get you plain boring black robes, like always."

"Boring? I thought you liked my robes?"

"Yes and no. They suit you, but at the same time they hide you."

He gave her a small smirk.

"You're the only one who needs to see me."

"True." She smiled.

He looked back into the fire and sipped his drink.

She's why I do it…

I enjoy coming back to her at the end of the day.

He looked over at her again.

She had taken up her reading once more.

She would read by the fire every night.

It was a habit that she had acquired during her school years and she had yet to give it up.

In truth, he didn't mind.

Many nights they would just sit reading together by the fire.

Tonight she was reading Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte.

She loved books, but she had a fondness for muggle fiction.

She had even convinced him to read a few titles….

Wuthering Heights, Oedipus Rex, Lysastrata, Antigone, The Symposium, To Kill a Mockingbird, and The Prince among others.

The Prince had been quite an interesting read. Machiavelli was definitely on to something…

They weren't bad, all things considered….

Not that he would admit it.

"Aren't you tired of reading that one?" He asked.

She must have read it at least half a dozen times.

She looked up at him from her reading.

"No. It's a good story."

"It's about a girl who falls in love with her much older and unavailable boss."

"Some people wouldn't see a problem with that."

"I suppose…."

She chuckled.

"Severus, do you have any idea how many girls have crushes on you?"

He blinked at her for a moment.

"No and I don't care to."

She chuckled again.

"It really is the same basic idea, you know."

"No it's not. I would never get involved with a student!" He said adamantly.

"I didn't mean you and a student. I know you would never do that."

He looked at her consideringly for a moment.

"You're not insane and I don't keep you locked in a tower. And, I might add, I'm not that much older than you."

She smiled.

"So you were paying attention…."

"I always pay attention."



"What did I eat for breakfast this morning?"


Why did she have to do that?


She normally ate bangers and eggs…waffles….maybe toast….

But this morning….

She had tea…..with lemon….but she ate…..

"I don't recall you eating breakfast this morning, you just had tea."

"I retract my former comment. Apparently, you do pay attention."

She went back to reading her book.

I was right?


She didn't eat….

"Are you feeling alright?"

She looked up again and smiled.

"Fine, I just wasn't up for breakfast this morning."

She looked back at the book and he turned back to the flames.

It really was something…..

He never thought that he would ever be as happy as he was.

He always assumed that he would leave school, get a job and then become absorbed in his work and be a miserable man.

And that had been a possibility.

Actually, he could very well be dead.

He had considered joining the Death Eaters and becoming a servant of the Dark Lord and there really was no telling how his life would have turned out…

He might be still a potions professor, maybe even a spy….but he would definitely be unhappy.

And he knew, deep down, that if he had gone down that path, he wouldn't have her.

He regarded her again, specifically, her left hand.

Had it really been seven years?

Seven years since he had asked her to marry him?

He had been so worried and in the end, he shouldn't have been.

They had been together since their school days, in one capacity or another and once they left school, they began to date like a regular couple.

Odd, how they had gone from classmates, to study partners, to friends and progressed to something more.

Then again… Maybe it wasn't so odd.

She had always treated him kindly, much more so than anyone else he had gone to school with.

Hell, she treated him as good as his own family.

And she had brains.

Without her, he definitely would have had lower grades.

Not that he would admit that, either.

And she had a sense of humor.

Their old Potions professor always did gush about that damned bezor….

And she was beautiful.

She had caught the eye of many of their classmates.

But for some reason she never seemed to date any of them. She always said that the reason she never went on dates was because she was too focused on her schoolwork.

Whether or not that was true, he had no idea….

But he liked to think that maybe the reason she didn't date had something to do with him.

Only twice in his life had he ever been truly afraid.

The day he asked her to go out with him and the day he had proposed.


They had kept in touch, sending owls back and forth, after they left school and by the end of summer he began to miss hearing the sound of her voice, even if she was nagging him.

He had suggested they meet for lunch and catch up.

She had agreed that it was a great idea and they met up at The Three Broomsticks about a week later.

Their conversation had been light and friendly. Mostly, they talked about work.

She had been accepted into a Spells program at the Ministry and was part of a division that was making new spells.

She always had been good at spell work….

He had accepted an offer to study under a Potions Master.

Not the most glamorous career, but it had its good points…

To this day, he didn't know what made him do it, but he was very grateful that he did.

She had stood up to leave and he stopped her by gently grabbing her wrist.

"What's wrong?" She had asked him.

"I…would…would you like to have dinner with me?"

He felt so stupid at the time.

She had looked at him curiously.

Her eyebrow would still arch like that whenever she was curious.

"You want to go on a date?" She had questioned.

He couldn't remember her voice being harsh or rejecting…just surprised.


He was surprised that his voice hadn't cracked.

She looked down at him and for a fraction of a second he wanted to take back his words and just let her leave.

But then she smiled at him and he could suddenly breathe again.

"I'd like that."

His eyes widened with shock.

"You…you would?"

"Actually, I was going to ask you the same thing, but I chickened out." She told him.

That was the only time she ever admitted to being less brave than him.

Gryffindor pride….

It had been a relief to know that she had wanted to ask the same thing…maybe he wasn't insane for liking her after all…..maybe she liked him in return….

"I do believe that that is the only time a Slytherin has ever heard such words from a Gryffindor."

"It will be the last, too."

He smiled at her.

The Gryffindor courage was back.

"When would you like to have dinner?"

"Hmm…well, we both have work this week…And I don't think we want to be too tired to enjoy our meal… Fridays are half days for me. What about you?"


"Then, how about seven o'clock on Friday night?"

"Suits me, but I think I should pick the place, since you've picked the time."

"Fair enough. Surprise me Friday." She told him and she slipped a hand into her handbag and pulled out a slip of paper and a muggle writing tool.

"You use a pen?"

She looked up at him and smiled as she scribbled down something on the paper.

"Easier, quicker and neater than a quill. Here." She said and she gave him the paper.

He looked down at it carefully.

Number 1365

Gryphon Grove Apartments


"Think you can find it?"


"Alright then. I'll see you Friday." She smiled.

Their date had gone exceedingly well.

He went to her apartment to pick her up and was surprised by how charming the apartments were there. They were small, but well kept with small flowerbeds and white fences. A very quaint little view. But it suited her.

She had moved away from home just after graduation and found the apartment, or at least that's what her letters had said.

She greeted him and the door, dressed in a muggle summer dress, a dark blue one.

She looked so beautiful.

Her long hair was done up in a clip and a few strands had escaped and began to spiral delicately, framing her face.

He had thought ahead and brought a rose.

She always did like them.

And the smile that graced her face when she saw it was still a cherished memory.

She allowed him to take her arm and he led her away from the apartment and back to the street.

"Where are we going?"

"I thought you wanted to be surprised?"

She just smiled at him.

In the end though, she had been surprised.

He took her to a muggle restaurant.

"I didn't think you ate at muggle establishments…"

"Normally, no. But I am aware of them. This one is supposed to be quite good." He had told her.

And it did live up to its reputation.

"Now it makes sense."

"What does?" He asked.

"Why you're not wearing robes. You're wearing dress slacks, a button up shirt and a frock coat. You wanted to blend in. I thought it a bit odd at first. I've never seen you in muggle garb before."

It was the truth.

"Would you rather be stared at because I chose to wear robes?"

"No." She smiled. "It was very thoughtful of you. And you look very nice."

She had told him sometime later that he looked much better than most wizards she had seen try to dress like muggles. For some reason, they did not know how to match or coordinate their apparel so that they would fit in…

After their meal he had one surprise left.

"A movie? But how did you know about…?"

"My father is a muggle."


He let her choose the movie and he paid for their tickets.

All things considered, it wasn't a bad movie…

But he was glad to leave.

The floor of the theatre was sticky, it was cold, even by his standards, and there were far too many little screaming children present for his liking.

She clung to his arm as he walked her home.

"I had a really great time tonight." She said when they reached her door.

"So did I."

She smiled.

"How about we go out again?"

It was a bit of a shock to hear her say it, but a good shock.

"Tomorrow night okay?" He asked.


"I'll see you then."

"Night, Severus." She smiled and she leaned up and kissed his cheek.

"Night." He managed and she went inside.


He sipped his drink again.

"Go easy on that stuff." He heard her say.

"There's plenty left, don't worry." He smiled.

"There better be. My dad spent a fortune on that bottle."

Yes, he must have.

Her father was quite something.

The first time that they had met, he thought the man might kill him.

They had been together for almost a year by that time.

But her father's intimidating demeanor actually served a purpose.

He had told him so.

"If you are too afraid of me to stand your ground, you don't have any business being with my girl."

And he was right.

She could be quite stubborn. Their occasional bickering was proof of that, but he enjoyed the mental exercise he got whenever they disagreed. It was refreshing to argue with someone who could argue right back with validity.

And no man wants his daughter to be with a man who can't protect her.

But once her father realized that he couldn't scare him, the man was rather nice to talk to.

Her mother was lovely too.

Her sister was another story.

The first time that she had seen him she'd run from the room screaming.

"I'm sorry, but I did warn you. She doesn't like anything to do with magic."

"Yes, I can see that."

And her boyfriend…

Good Lord!

As wide as a Quidditch pitch and filled with twice as much air.

He loved to argue with anyone and everyone about anything and everything.

And he was vain to boot.

All that seemed to matter to him was status. One had it or they didn't. And he judged status two ways. By the vehicle one drove and the job one held.

Her boyfriend looked like he would simply piss himself when he found out what he did for a living.

"So, what company do you work for?" He had asked.

"I do not work around here and I do not work for a company."

"Then what do you do? Don't tell me you're a loafer!"

"I am a professor."

"Well, that's different…What do you teach? Mathematics, science?"



His eyes went wide and his face began to turn a rather interesting shade of puce.

He never knew that it was humanly possible to turn that specific color.

"You…you're seeing another one? A freak like you?! Not a normal man?!" He yelled.

She was caught off guard by his ranting and tears welled in her eyes.

"She is not a freak. She is intelligent, witty, charming and beautiful and many more things, but a freak isn't one of them. And if you ever yell at her or degrade her again, you'll be lucky if you live to regret it."

It was only whispered, but it had the desired affect.

It had shut him up and kept him and her sister at a distance.

She was surprised that he had defended her, but how could he do otherwise?

He loved her.

Proposing had been terrifying though.

He had asked her father's permission. It was the proper thing to do.

"You want to marry my daughter?"

"Yes, sir, I do. I love her very much and I can't fathom my life without her and, frankly, I don't want to."

"I see…."

"Sir, I would like your permission before I ask her."

His eyebrow had quirked at him.

"What's with this 'sir'? If you're going to marry my little girl you better get used to calling me 'dad'."

Her father and mother had been a great help in surprising her.

He took her out to dinner on her birthday and then they went back to her parents' house to have cake.

She never expected him to give her a small little box, topped with a bow.

He would never forget the look on her face or the sparkle in her eyes when she opened the box.


He had gotten down on one knee.

"I wanted to surprise you. Your mum and dad helped quite a lot."

She looked up at her parents who stood behind him smiling at the scene before them.

"You knew?"

"Of course we knew. He asked our permission." Her father told her.

She looked back down at him.

"You asked my parents?" She whispered.

"Yes. It's only right that I ask them if I can take their daughter away and make her my wife."

Her eyes widened.

"Your wife….?" She asked; surprise clearly evident on her face.

He smiled up at her.

"Marry me?"

"Are you sure?"

"If I wasn't, I wouldn't be asking."

A gorgeous smile graced her lips and she nodded before the words escaped her mouth.

"Yes, of course I'll marry you!"

He was so overjoyed that he stood up, bringing her with him and spun her around in the air several times.


It felt like a lifetime ago and at the same time…..

It felt like it was yesterday.

He was still the Potions professor.

But she was no longer working at the Ministry.

She was working at Hogwarts, assisting Flitwick with Charms.

She noticed him staring at her hand.

"Afraid you made the wrong choice?" She asked.

He looked up and smiled.

"Not a chance. I just can't believe it's been over seven years since I proposed."

"Time flies."

"It does." He agreed, finishing his drink and setting the empty glass down on the small table beside his chair.

As if on queue, the clock on the mantel chimed the hour.


Her eyes shot up to the clock and then back to him.

"Happy birthday, Sev." She smiled.

Mmm….it was his birthday…

He'd forgotten.

She closed her book, stood up and walked to him.

"Let's see… It's you're twenty-fifth birthday…"

"And that means what, exactly?" He asked, looking up at her.

"Twenty-five kisses." She smiled and she leaned down capturing his lips in the first of those kisses.

"Is that so?" He asked when she pulled away.

"Unless you would prefer twenty-five kicks?" She asked with a playful smirk and a glint in her eyes.

"I like the kisses just fine."

"Good." She told him and she gave him a quick peck on the lips.

He smiled up at her, his arm slipping around her waist, and he pulled her down onto his lap.

She gave him a peculiar look.

"Best present I could ask for." He whispered and kissed her lightly on the cheek.


"Mhmm. I doubt there is anything that could make me happier than having you in my arms."

"Does that mean I can't try?" She inquired.

His eyebrow rose curiously.

"And how do you plan to do that, if you don't mind my asking?"

"Should I take that to mean that you want me to try?" She smiled.

"By all means, my dear." He answered.

She nodded and settled against him, resting her head on his shoulder.

"I got a letter from my mum today…."

What the heck did that have to do with making him happy….?

Oh well, best find out what's going on…..

"How are she and your dad doing?"

"They're fine. Dad's been busy with his little projects after work and mum's been knitting blankets again."

"Sounds a bit dull."

She shrugged.

"They like it. And they get to spend everyday together."

"Anything else going on?"

"Yeah, but I'm not sure if it's good news or bad."

He looked at her worriedly.

"What's happened?"

"Mum mentioned my sister in the letter and her husband."

He made a sour face.

"I still can't believe she married that cretin, even if they are suited for each other."

A sad look touched her features.

"I'm sorry. I shouldn't have said that. She's your sister and…."

"No, you're right. Besides, it's not like she ever liked me. And her husband certainly never did."

"What's going on with her that your mother mentioned her?"

She looked up at him before she answered.

"She had a baby last week."

The look in her eyes was almost painful to look at.

She looked away again, into the fire.

Longing, sorrow, envy….

It was no secret.

At least, not anymore.

She wanted a child.

He could see it in her eyes.

And why not?

They had been married for several years and they weren't in danger of separating, far from it. He loved her more now than ever.

She had told him long ago that she wanted a family and children of her own some day.

He wanted the same.

But when they were first married, he had just started as a professor at Hogwarts and she was still working at the Ministry, keeping the worst hours.

And then she had been hired as Flitwick's assistant, a position that did not afford her the luxury of much personal time.

And he had been busy at his job as well….

But now?

Flitwick no longer required as much of her. She had proven herself and now Flitwick allowed her free reign. More than anything, she had become like a second Charms professor, but now that she was used to the workload, it wasn't as bad as it had been in the beginning.

As for him, his Potions classes were taxing, yes, but he had also become used to it. After a while, the explosions and incidents had become typical and rather predictable.

They had always said they wanted children…..

And their jobs wouldn't be a hindrance any longer…

And money?

He had plenty to spare.

He earned a respectable wage as a professor, but he had family money, as well as residuals from the potions that he had developed and marketed since he became a Potions Master.

And she had her own galleons too.

Money was no longer an issue, as it had been when they were first married.

Room? They had plenty of that too.

Dumbledore had been all too happy to expand the Potions Master's quarters for his bride. There were spare rooms in their quarters that were going to waste, unoccupied.

He really was having trouble thinking of a reason…

Okay, maybe there were three times in his life when he had been afraid.


His wedding night.

He had every reason in the world to be worried…

They had never been intimate before. She believed that it wouldn't be proper to sleep together before marriage.

He never forced the issue. He could wait as long as she needed, but when the day finally came….

He thought he would make a fool of himself.

Funny, she told him that she was afraid she would look like the fool….

That had relaxed him a bit.

It was just the two of them, as it always had been.

They took their time and enjoyed simple touches and gentle kisses while they were dating, but once they were married….

She had gone to the trouble of buying a white silk nightgown for the occasion.

He still had to fight the blush that would creep into his alabaster cheeks every time he thought about it.

The only thing that had troubled them that night was what could result from consummating their union.

"I think it would be best if we used a contraceptive charm, darling." He told her.

"Why? We're married now. If we…"

"I don't think we're quite ready for a child yet. You're still working odd hours at the Ministry and I just started at Hogwarts…

"I….but you do want children some day, don't you?"

He smiled at her and cupped her cheek in his palm.

"Yes, I do. I want to have a family with you very much. I just think we should wait a little longer before we make any additions."

She returned his smile.

"Okay, but you won't have excuses forever. Eventually, you'll run out of reasons for us to wait."


She had been right.

"You okay, darling?" He asked quietly.

She always responded more favorably to 'darling', for some reason….

She turned to face him again and forced a smile.

"Yes, I'm fine."

"It doesn't take an Occlumens to know that you're lying."

"I'm not lying, I'm fine, really." She told him.

"Are you sad that your sister had a baby?"

"What? Don't be ridiculous. Why would I be sad about that?"

He looked her in the eyes.

"Because you want a child of your own." He whispered.


"Please don't try to tell me that you don't. We both know that that isn't true. You've always wanted a family and children."

"Yes, but…we can't. We both have jobs and are busy all day and…."


She looked up at him and swallowed.

"And it wouldn't be fair to a baby, us working all the time."

"You know we don't work all of the time."

An eyebrow rose questioningly at him.

"What are you saying?"

"I'm saying that we don't have any valid excuses anymore. There's no reason why we shouldn't have a baby."

"But….you don't like children…."

He smiled at her.

"Correction, I don't like teaching other people's dunderheaded children. I've always rather liked the idea of having a few children of my own…."

"You know, it's not like you can send them back if you don't like them, Sev…..The students get on the train eventually and go home to their families…If we had a baby….."

He chuckled.

"What's so funny?" She asked.

"You've wanted a child and now you're trying to convince me that we shouldn't have one."

"No, I'm not…I'm just……"

"Just what?"

"Just making sure that you're sure."

He gave her a confused look and she smiled at him.

It wasn't just a happy smile….it was an 'I know something you don't' sort of smile.

She used to smile that same way every time she figured out a complex spell or potion before he did when they were in school.

"I went to see Poppy yesterday and she told me I should go to St. Mungo's…."

His eyebrows rose in alarm.

"Is something wrong? You told me that you were fine….."

"And I am. I went to the hospital to make sure, though." She told him.

"Make sure of what…?"

She smiled again.

What the heck was going on…..?

She leaned closer to him, to whisper in his ear.

"You're going to be a daddy, Sev."

He looked back at her. She was still smiling.

"Happy birthday." She giggled. "I hope this is a little bit better than just holding me."

"Are…are you serious?"

She couldn't really she?

"Mhmm. I wanted to be sure before I told you."

His eyes sought hers for a moment and then he smiled.

Truly smiled.

Something he only did around her, and even then, it was rare to see.

She laughed.

"So, does this make you happier?"

He laughed too.

"You had this planned….."

"Not entirely, but you can't blame me for wanting to surprise you. It is your birthday, after all."

"The only down fall is, I don't see how you could top this for my next birthday."

She chuckled again, but sobered quickly.

"Are you really happy?" She whispered.

"Of course I am. Why wouldn't I be?"

"Because it's sort of out of the blue. We weren't trying or planning and…"

"And that just makes it a better surprise." He told her and he captured her lips in a sensuous kiss.

She pulled back and he smiled at her again.

This time though, it was a small smile, but it still reached his eyes, which sparkled at her in the firelight.

At some point they had simply stopped using contraceptive charms. Not because they consciously wanted to conceive, but more because it was a real mood killer to have to stop and reach for a wand every time they made love.

He knew it was a possibility that she would conceive, but he shrugged it off, believing that worrying about it wouldn't do any good, for either of them.

In truth, it had actually been a relief to them when they stopped using the spells.

And it made the sex mush more enjoyable too….

"How long?" He asked.

"The healer thinks I'm about three and a half months along, give or take a week. So, some time this summer. Late June or early July."

"Sounds perfect. We'll be able to devote our attention to the baby because the dunderheads won't be here."

She giggled.

"Sev, be nice."

"I am being nice."

She rolled her eyes at him.

She never liked it when he called the students dunderheads, but she had come to accept it over the years.

She snuggled into his arms and sighed happily.

"Have you been having morning sickness? Is that why you weren't eating this morning?" He asked quietly.

"Just a little and I don't have it every day. It just started one day and I didn't think anything of it, especially since it didn't happen the next day……"

"But what about your…..cycle? Didn't you notice….?"

"I thought it might have been from stress… I've been busy trying out new lesson plans for Flitwick and I've been a bit more tired lately because of them….I figured it was just my body recuperating or something. He's had me teaching for the O.W.L.S. And I thought they were bad enough when I was a student…."

"But why didn't you tell me? If you were feeling overworked, I could have…."

"No, it's not your job to manage my workload. And I wasn't sure… I didn't want to get your hopes up if it was just stress….I didn't want to get mine up."

He held her close, kissed her head softly and began to stroke her deep chestnut red silky locks.

He saw her smile.

She enjoyed being held, even if she wouldn't admit it.

And he enjoyed holding her.

And kissing her.

And looking at her.

Spending time with her, reading with her, talking with her….

He enjoyed everything about her and everything that they did together.

And now….

He looked down at her in wonder.

She was pregnant….

He was going to have a child with her….

Would the child be a boy or a girl?

Would the baby have her eyes? His hair?

The possibilities were streaming through his head.

"Here, give me your hand." She said, snapping him out of his thoughts.

Curious, he let her take his hand.

She placed it on her abdomen and looked up at him.

Her eyes shined up at him.

Full of happiness, joy, excitement and love.

She was so happy….

They were going to have a child…

She was his…..


He leaned back in his chair and sipped his drink.

He wasn't sure if the warmth in his bones was from the tongues of flame that danced before him or from the liquor.

He sighed heavily and shook his head to clear it.

Every night images plagued him; his dreams seemed to come to life.

He would pour himself a drink after dealing with dunderheaded adolescents all day and retreat to the sanctuary of his wingback chair by the fireplace.

And while he sat, the images would come, unbidden, into the forefront of his conscious mind.

He knew that the images weren't real.

But he still desired to see them, torturous as they were.

She had never been his.

She had always been Potter's, ever since that horrible day in fifth year….

True, they weren't officially a couple until their seventh year; he knew she would be Potter's.

And he couldn't blame her, not after the way he had treated her that day.

But he had loved her, even if he had no chance in hell with her.

After they had graduated, she and Potter had gotten engaged and married.

And then she gave Potter the thing that he wished he could have had with her.

She gave Potter a son, a real family.

And him?

He was a servant of the Dark Lord. A branded piece of chattel.

He was a lonely and miserable bat who terrorized his students and dwelled in the cold dank dungeons of Hogwarts proper.

And he was heartbroken.

He could accept that she wasn't his and he could even accept that she had chosen that prat, Potter and had a child with him.

What he couldn't accept was her death.

She was the woman he loved, and even though she wasn't his, he still cared for her.

He never wanted anything bad to befall her.

But she wouldn't get out of the way…

She wanted to protect the baby…her baby.

As much as he sometimes wished she hadn't protected the child, he knew deep down that she could do nothing else.

She loved her child and gave her life to protect him.

Much as he would have done for her.

And the woman he had fallen in love with cared too much for others to care about what happened to her. It did not come as a surprise that she had died protecting one that she loved.

She wouldn't have been the woman he loved if she hadn't protected her son.

Every night images of the past would visit him.

And every night he wished that he could go back and change what had happened.

But not even a Time Turner could undo what had been done.

He looked up at the mantel and then gazed into the flames.

It was well after midnight and he had no idea how long he had been there, staring into the fire.

Every night he seemed to sit by the fire for longer and longer periods of time, losing himself to his memories and his fantasies.

Eventually though, he would awake from his stupor and come back to reality.

She had never been his, they had never even kissed….but when he sat by the fire, he found it easy to imagine that she was sitting beside him, reading a book or that she was snuggled up close in his arms and they were whispering about their interwoven connected futures.

Though it was simply wishful thinking that she was his and they were together and sharing their lives with each other…..

It was the way things should have been.

Even if the images weren't real and were only the result of the alcohol…..

And the warmth of the hearth….

She was with him.

His Lily was with him….

In his fireside musings.


A/N: To date, this is my longest post. 27 pages in MS Word isn't exactly a short one-shot. I finally got around to doing a Snape pairing, like I promised I would to make up for what happened to him in a chapter of "Howl At The Moon". I realized that there aren't too many Snape/Lily fanfictions floating around and the concept popped into my head and wouldn't go away until I penned it. Not the most uplifting or happy of my postings, but I think it's very 'real', considering the context of their relationship in the actual series. And surprisingly, I think I would consider this cannon, because it doesn't go against the series. I hope you liked reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

IMPORTANT!- I recieved an email notice today from Borders Bookstore that the 7th and final Harry Potter book will be released on July 21st, 2007. For those of you that don't know, the 5th movie is being released on Friday the 13th- the week before the book. And you can now reserve your copy of "Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows" at Borders and you get to chose a nifty sticker featuring one of two Snape themes. (Yes, I used the word 'nifty'- get over it). Just thought I'd share that with you... Oh, and Daniel Radcliffe has been shot- and the pictures are quite something. I fully recommend taking a look at the pictures, taken to promote the play that he will be staring in next month in London, along side a fellow HP cast member- remember good old Uncle Vernon? Yup, he's in the play too.

Enjoy the Potter-y goodness!