Co-written with Stormypup
Disclaimer: All places and characters belong to JK Rowling and the WB and various publishers. We just take good care of their characters in the mean time. No money is being made off this piece of fiction.
A/N: This piece of fiction is complete at 10, 221 words! I'm very happy about this if you couldn't guess by the insane amounts of unfinished fics...like my Christmas one...anyways. I'd like to thank my beta-reader, NSW, for being every bit of wonderful that she is. Also, as a bit of a warning, this fic contains MPREG and revolves very much around a sad situation with pregnancy.
The morning had started off like most of his mornings had recently. He woke up safe and secure in his husband's arms, knowing that his own body wouldn't let him stay like this for long. As if the very thought had been an instigator, the need to relieve his bladder became apparent.
He slid off their bed and waddled into the bathroom, noticing something was off. He winced and rubbed his lower back as he went about relieving himself. That, he thought sullenly, was something new and altogether unpleasant. He finished his business and washed his hands before returning to his bedroom to see if his husband had awaken yet. Unsurprisingly, the man was already up and getting dressed.
Harry flashed him a tired grin as he went to lay back down on the bed again. As soon as he had settled, the pain returned, not strengthened, just returned. He closed his eyes and settled his head against his pillow and inhaled sharply.
Severus was in the process of buttoning his shirt when Harry's gasp caught his attention. Frowning, he sat down on the edge of the bed, putting his hand over Harry's belly. "Is the little bit giving you problems this morning?" he asked, rubbing small circles on Harry's belly. His frown deepened as he looked at Harry's face.
"Your belly feels harder than normal," he said, applying a little more pressure.
"That's not a good thing, is it?" Harry murmured, opening his eyes to meet Severus'.
Snape was gently prodding Harry's stomach. "Have you had any pains?"
At Harry's look, Snape rolled his eyes. "Aside from the usual, idiot."
Harry shrugged nervously. "My lower back's been giving me grief, but that's about it."
Snape brushed back the hair from Harry's forehead, and kissed him softly. "Do you want me to stay home today?"
"I'm sure I'll be fine, unless...unless you want to stay." Harry couldn't help the tinge of hopefulness that belied his words.
Snape cocked his head to the side, studying Harry closely. "No hiding behind your foolish Gryffindor courage, Harry. If you're worried that something is wrong, tell me. If you simply wish me to remain at home today, tell me."
"Stay?" Harry begged. "I just...I don't know what's wrong."
That settled it for Severus. Normally, Harry was the one reassuring him that everything was fine, that he and the baby were both well. The fact that Harry was worried worried Severus more than anything. He didn't like the way Harry's stomach felt either.
"I'm going to floo Healer Vardent, stay here and try to relax," Snape said, squeezing Harry's hand and sweeping from the room.
Harry bit his lip and tried valiantly to calm himself down. He tried to rationalize with himself that this was fine and soon everything would be normal again, right as rain, hunky dory, happy as a pig in poop. Burying his face in his pillow, he exhaled shakily, one hand pressing protectively to his stomach.
Something was wrong with him. He thought he was past the point he'd have to worry about complications. 7 and a half months was way too far in for something to happen. The healer had told him so, had promised him that after the 4th month things would be breezy, well as breezy as these things could go. Harry gripped the pillowcase and squeezed his eyes shut, attempting to block the tiny niggling voice that was saying he deserved this, deserved to lose their son.
Five minutes later, Snape returned with Healer Vardent in tow. The healer smiled reassuringly at Harry, but both Harry and Severus could see the worry in the man's eyes.
"Morning, Harry," he said, sitting down on the bed next to him. "I hear you aren't feeling so well," he continued, poking at Harry's belly and frowning. "Any odd pains?"
"Yes, nothing maj-ow." Harry winced and hissed out his teeth.
Snape was by Harry's side in an instant, taking his hand and squeezing it reassuringly. "Well?" Severus snapped at the healer, who was waving his wand over Harry's belly, frowning.
Healer Vardent was going over the information appearing over Harry, his frown deepening. "I can't confirm it here, but I'm afraid Harry's body is trying to reject the fetus. I'd like to get him back to St. Mungos to run further tests."
"You said once we were past 4 months, we didn't have to worry about that," Harry cried, his hands cradling his belly protectively.
"Master Snape, with your permission, I'd like to connect your floo directly to St. Mungos, it makes flooing possible for patients," he said, smiling at Harry. "No side trips, just a straight shot."
"Don't just stand there, do it!" Snape growled, causing the Healer to hurry from the room.
"He lied to us," Harry choked out, nuzzling their joined hands.
Snape stared after the healer, at a loss as to what to say. If they lost the baby..."It will be alright," he said, stroking Harry's hair. "It will be alright." Maybe if he said it enough times, he would believe it himself.
Twenty minutes after that had them crowded inside a small room in St. Mungo's. Harry had yet to let go of Severus' hand, too afraid to do anything more.
"It's too early," murmured Harry as he glanced at the Healer's retreating back. "If Sebastian comes now..." Harry gasped and grabbed at his stomach.
"You speak as if our child is some kind of Hufflepuff," Snape said, forcing his voice to remain calm, despite the fact he was screaming inside. "The Healers believe he is big enough to survive, he's just going to need some help. I have no intention of leaving this place without my husband and my son," he said, forcing Harry to look at him. "Do you understand me? We will be leaving here as a family."
"You really believe he could make it?"
"Of course. He's a Snape after all," Severus told him, as if it were a given. "He'll have my stubbornness, and your blind luck."
Truthfully, Severus couldn't imagine how anything so small, and so helpless could possibly survive. And if the baby was as small as the Healers believed, it was going to be an uphill battle.
Before they knew it, the Healers were back and trying to take Harry away. After a very heated exchange in which threats were leveled, Severus was allowed to accompany his husband. Now it was in the hands of the Healers.
"I'm scared," Harry admitted softly, unable to meet Severus' eyes. "You aren't leaving, are you?"
"Of course not," Snape said, squeezing Harry's hand tightly. They continued down the hall and into a large, white and sterile room, where a young Healer handed Harry a pink potion.
"Severus?" Harry asked, worriedly.
"What are you giving him?" Snape asked, scowling.
"It's a mild sedative, Professor," the Healer said, stepping back quickly. Snape was fairly certain she had been a student of his at one time.
Snape nodded curtly. "It's alright, Harry," he said, helping Harry sit up to drink from the vial. "When you wake up, you can see our son."
Harry reached up and cupped Snape's cheek with his hand. "And you'll still be here?"
"Good." Harry hooked his hand behind Snape's neck and pulled the man down gently before pressing his dried lips to his. He released him and took the vial that was being offered to him and downed it in a gulp. "Tastes good," he commented, his vision already blurring.
Snape watched Harry until his eyes closed, then leaned down and kissed him on the forehead. Someone placed a hand on his back. "It's time, Severus," Healer Vardent told him, and Snape nodded. He held Harry's hand tightly, praying to gods that he didn't believe him, that both would be all right.
The first thing Harry noticed upon waking was it was dark, very dark. There could have been a number of excellent reasons for the sudden lack of light, but the first thing that jumped to his mind was he was captured, again. He couldn't wait to be rescued; he didn't only have himself to worry about this time. He struggled against the restraint on his arm trying to tear his arm away.
"Lemme go!" Harry cried. "Please lemme go!"
Snape was dozing when the arm underneath him began to thrash, causing him to sit upright in a hurry. Then Harry started screaming.
"Harry! Harry!" Snape said, placing an arm across Harry's chest. "Harry, stop, you're going to hurt yourself!"
Harry gasped, his eyes frantically trying to pierce through the darkness. He gripped Snape's arm, clawing at it. "Sev? So dark. Why's it so dark?"
Snape gripped his wand, releasing the light dimming spell put upon the room, bringing the lights up brighter. "It's just a spell, they wanted you to sleep," Snape said quietly.
Harry took a moment to get used to the light. He looked at the careworn face of his husband and felt his stomach plummet to his feet. "Where is...is Sebastian all...?"
Snape swallowed the lump in his throat. "Sebastian is alive," he said softly. "He wasn't as developed as they would have liked, but he's alive, and he's fighting. I told you, he's a Snape," Severus said, glossing over the scarier parts of the day.
They had lost Sebastian twice, his lungs unable to keep going on their own. "He's in a stasis chamber that's helping him to breathe and he's being given potions to help stimulate his internal development."
Relief flooded through him and he un-tensed just enough to grab Snape's hand in his own. Harry watched the mask slip on his husbands features and despite the reassurances flowing from the other man's tongue, he couldn't help but wonder.
"What are you hiding from me?"
Snape schooled his features, smiling weakly. "Nothing, I'm just tired. I need to let the Healers know you're awake. Once they clear you, we'll go see the baby." He kissed the back of Harry's hand, gently placed it on the blanket. "I'll return shortly."
Harry nodded and let him go, afraid that if he argued he'd say something that would be hurtful and even cruel. It just wasn't fair. There was something Severus was hiding from him and he wanted to know what it was, no, he needed to know. He needed to know why Severus couldn't let his guard drop around him anymore, needed to know what was lurking just behind that carefully placed mask.
He knew Severus only did it to protect him, but this didn't only affect him. It affected both of them equally. Miserable and tired, he fell back into a restless sleep waiting, waiting until Severus came back and opened up to him once again.
Snape took his time walking to the Healer's station, needing a moment to gather himself together again. He had nearly lost his whole world, and it had left him feeling numb, and it was a numbness he couldn't seem to shake. He thought that when the baby was stable, he would snap out of it. When he didn't, he told himself that when Harry was awake, everything would be fine.
But it wasn't.
As he passed a large window, Severus found himself wondering what would happen if he put his fist through it. Would it hurt? Would he even feel it?
He reached the Healer's station, and informed them that Harry was awake and asked them to inform Healer Vardent. As he walked back to the room, he practiced his reassuring smile, hoping he could fool his husband until the numbness passed.
Harry groaned and opened an eye to see Healer Vardent smiling pleasantly down at him. "Good, you're awake."
No, kidding. He struggled to sit up and offered a wan smile at the Healer. He watched as the man scribbled something down on his clipboard before going back to smiling at him.
"How are you feeling?"
Like a hole as been ripped in my stomach. "Fine," he answered.
The Healer rolled his eyes. "Why is it every time I deliver a baby from a male, they all say they're 'fine' afterwards? Let's try honesty shall we? On a scale of 1 to 10, how is the pain in your stomach?"
Harry shrugged. "8?" he ventured.
"Oh yes, you're fine," Snape said, scowling. "Bloody Gryffindor," he muttered.
"Careful, I was a Gryffindor," Healer Vardent told Snape, grinning.
Snape's lip curled in displeasure. "Yes, I recall giving you detention on more than one occasion."
Chuckling, the Healer reached into the pocket of his robe and pulled out a large bottle. "Drink a cap full of this every hour," he pointed his wand at a small bell on the wall. "The bell will remind you, and if you're asleep and don't wake up, one of the junior Healers will wake you."
Harry nodded distractedly. "How's the baby? Is Sebastian alright?"
The Healer shared a look with Snape before answering. "He's very small, Harry. His lungs are really struggling, and it's going to be awhile before he can breathe on his own. He's not out of the woods yet, we're monitoring him very closely."
Harry shot a quick scowl in Snape's direction before nodding and grinning half-heartedly at the Healer. "When will I be able to see him?"
"Soon," the healer reassured him, petting his gently on the leg. "Once you are better yourself."
"And when will that be?" Harry asked, already feeling restless. He wanted to move, pace, run down the halls screaming, but he was being confined.
"Soon, I told you. You need to rest still."
"Not today then?" Harry asked sullenly.
The healer shook his head. "No, not today, perhaps tomorrow, if you're doing better."
"All right," Harry conceded, already plotting the ways he could escape this room and find his son. He craved that reassurance.
"There's a good lad."
Harry waited until the Healer had fully shut the door before rounding on his husband. "You lied to me."
"What are you talking about?" Snape asked, frowning. You'll have to be more specific about which lie you're referring to.
"Sebastian. You lied to me, it's written all over your face."
"The Healer told you nothing that I hadn't already. I told you that his lungs weren't developed and that he was in a stasis chamber," Snape argued. "What exactly am I supposed to have lied to you about?"
"That's what you are lying to me about. What happened that makes you both so focused on his lungs and nothing else? What happened to him when I was unconscious, Severus? I need to know."
Snape looked at Harry, his face expressionless. "Take your potion," he said, taking the bottle and filling up the cap and handing it to Harry.
Harry pushed his hand away angrily. "I'm not taking the bleeding potion until you tell me what happened."
"What good will it do you to know that your son died?" That I had to stand by helpless and watch while they tried to save him. Snape ran a hand through his hair, closing his eyes. "Twice, he stopped breathing altogether, and they had to fight to bring him back. Take the potion," he said through clenched teeth.
Severus Snape could face torture, the prospect of his own death, and walk into the heart of enemy territory, but the prospect of losing his son had nearly destroyed him.
Harry did so without a word, watching as Snape's face crumbled in ways it hadn't in years. His words played about in his mind never quite sticking, never attaching themselves to him as if they didn't pertain to him and his child but someone else's entirely. He understood the words all too well, but, he just couldn't let himself hear them.
"Severus," Harry whispered, eyes dry as ever. He reached up a hand and brushed his thumb over the man's high cheekbone.
"You can cry you know. It is allowed."
"Crying won't help Sebastian," Snape said, swallowing the emotion that nearly overwhelmed him at Harry's words.
"No, but it'll help you."
"You're infuriating when you talk like Albus, you know that don't you?" Severus asked, attempting to change the subject.
Harry grinned weakly. "I try."
"Are you hungry? I've been told you can have pudding or gelatin if you wish."
"Is the pudding chocolate?" Harry asked.
"I'm sure that can be arranged," Severus said, sitting on the bed next to Harry. "There's something else you need to know, something I haven't told you."
Harry looked up at him worriedly. "What?"
"I'm sorry," Snape said, hanging his head to hide his face so Harry couldn't see his eyes. "He has my nose."
Harry choked on a laugh and let his head fall back against the pillow in sweet relief.
Five hours later, once the hospital had settled down for the night, and Healer Vardent had left for the night, Severus procured a wheelchair for Harry before the idiot tried going on his own. He wheeled Harry into the ward and to Sebastian's stasis chamber.
Harry pressed his fingertips against the glass and inhaled sharply. "He's so tiny," he whispered fear tingeing his expression and tone. "He's barely looks as big as my hand."
Snape rested his hands on Harry's shoulders, his grip tightening as they looked down at their little son. "He actually looks better then when I last saw him," Severus said softly. "That potion they are dripping in to him will help his lungs and other organs to develop. His eyelids have been spelled closed to give his eyes time to strengthen," he explained. "He has your hair," he added, smiling.
"How can you tell?" Harry asked, his fingers still caressing the glass in the way he wished he could his son. "He barely has any of it."
"Look at the whirls on his head, they go in a dozen different directions," he said. "His head is one big cowlick, much like his father."
Harry lightly knocked Snape in the thigh with a small grateful smile. "You aren't complaining are you?"
"He's got to hate you for something, Merlin knows he'll never forgive me for the nose," he said, sitting on his haunches and resting his arm on Harry's thigh. "His eyes are still blue, but they usually are when they're born. They'll most likely go green according to the Healers."
Harry felt himself grinning genuinely for the first time that day. He leaned forward and pressed his lips to the older man's.
Snape squeezed Harry's thigh, a soft smile on his face. "We're going to have resize all those clothes Molly sent over, he'll drown in them now."
The Healer on duty came over and the two moved back, allowing her to run her scans. "How is he?" Harry asked nervously.
The Healer smiled. "Oh, he's a fighter this one, ain't no mistake. Just needs a bit more time to ripen." She winked at Harry and went back to her desk, making notes in her chart.
"Bit more time to ripen?" Harry snorted, trying to brush aside the tendril of fear that was currently worming away at his gut.
"She was a Ravenclaw, so I assume she isn't a complete moron," Snape said, his eyes following the girl.
"She acts like he's some kind of vegetable or something," Harry hissed angrily.
Snape arched a brow and said nothing for a moment, patiently waiting for the anger to cool. "We never did give him a middle name."
Harry bit his lip, then asked nervously, "What do you think of Evan?"
Snape thought about it and nodded. If he was going to be reminded of anyone on Harry's side, Lily was the least objectionable. "Sebastian Evan Snape. I think it suits him."
Harry smiled and turned his attention back to his son. "He's going to be in there for a long while, isn't he?"
"Yes, for a few weeks at least, perhaps longer if he doesn't respond well to the potions," Snape answered. In the back of his mind, he had been going over ways to improve the potion if need be, but he was reluctant to tell Harry that, not wanting him to lose confidence in the Healers.
"What potions are they giving him?" Harry asked, biting his lip as Sebastian turned his tiny little head just a fraction towards them.
Snape outlined the various potions that had been combined into a bit of a cocktail that seemed to work effectively on premature babies. "The logic behind them is sound," he added reassuringly. "He just needs a little more time."
"I wish I could see his eyes," Harry murmured, tapping the glass softly. He watched as one tiny fist unfurled at the noise. "I wish I could hold him," he added even softer.
"I know," Snape replied softly, unable to come up with anything comforting to say. He knew not being able to hold Sebastian was going to be the hardest part for Harry in the coming weeks. "You're allowed to spend as much time with him as you'd like, once you've recovered," he added, "which means you need to sleep soon."
"Yes, sir," Harry answered but it lacked its usual cheek.
"Tell your son goodnight. We'll come back first thing in the morning."
"Our son," Harry corrected idly, caressing the glass one last time. "Night, love," he murmured, before slouching back in the wheelchair.
Snape said a silent goodnight to their son, and wheeled Harry back to his room in silence. He helped him get settled in to bed, and gave him his dose of potion before kissing him softly.
"Will you stay? Please," Harry asked, his voice choked with emotion.
Snape nodded and toed off his shoes, sliding carefully in to bed next to Harry, who buried his face in Severus' chest and sobbed himself to sleep.
The next week crept with agonizing slowness. Harry found himself spending more time with Sebastian and without Severus and that distressed him. After the first night, Severus hadn't accompanied him once to see their son and from what the nurse at the desk said, he hadn't gone to see him once by himself either. Harry counted himself lucky that he saw his husband at all any more.
The third day here had seen a decided lack of Snape. Harry had woken up cold and alone for the first time in over a year and he felt overwhelmed. He couldn't shake the feeling that Snape was hiding something from him, and the more he thought on it, the more frantic and unnerving his ideas became. One idea stood out above all the others and it made his inside's clench painfully. What if…what if Severus decided they weren't worth it? All the effort to keep this small family together? Did he hate him because he had almost lost their son?
"When will I be able to hold him?" Harry asked the Susan, the nurse from behind the desk-who had turned out to be wonderful silent company- the next Saturday as he tried valiantly to keep the maudlin from his tone.
"He's improving every day, but he's not quite there yet I'm afraid," she said with a sad smile. "I know you must be going a bit nutters. At least you get to go home today, sleep in your own bed."
Harry smiled wanly and nodded. "Yeah. What time am I getting kicked out of this joint anyways?"
Snape's voice came from behind him. "As soon as you gather your things together, which if our bedroom is any indication, it could take hours." He kissed Harry on the cheek and smiled at Susan. "Good morning. How's the boy today?"
Harry frowned. He couldn't remember the last time Severus had called their son by his name. It was always, 'the boy' or 'the baby'.
"I was just telling Harry that he's getting stronger every day," Susan said, smiling despite the tension she felt coming from Harry.
"Is Healer Vardant here? I'd like to have a word."
Susan looked at the schedule on the desk. "He should be in his office, would you like me to see if he's busy?"
"Thank you," Snape said, nodding.
Harry looked at him questioningly. "What's going on? Why do you want to talk to him?"
"I just wanted an update on the baby from someone other than the junior healing staff. We'll have a chat while you're gathering up your things," Snape answered, looking around at the pictures on the wall.
Harry nodded and stood up from the rocking chair that had been installed beside Sebastian's stasis chamber the second day in. He gripped Snape's arm to steady himself, still unused to the odd lack of weight to the front. There was not a moment since Snape had arrived that he had actually been able to look the man in the eye and the same held true on their silent journey back to Harry's room.
"Can you get my suitcase?" he asked, rifling through drawers to pull out all his clothing and picked up the one lone stuffed bear that Hermione had given him at the end of 7th year from his pillow. When Sebastian was well enough, it would be his, but until then...Harry gave the bear a squeeze and laid it beside his clothing.
Snape grabbed Harry's suitcase from the closet and set it on the bed.
Susan came in and told him that the Healer could see him. "This won't take long," Snape told Harry, smiling awkwardly and leaving the room.
Harry nodded and flashed him a quick grin before returning to packing. He wondered what Snape was up to. It had felt like forever since he'd actually seen the man, even if that was a lie. Somehow a day seemed longer than it once had and now he was being all secretive and Harry couldn't stand it.
If he didn't need to pack so much stuff, he would have gone and eavesdropped on the conversation.
Twenty long minutes later, Snape returned to Harry's room to find it empty save for the suitcase. Knowing that Harry would spend as much time with Sebastian as he could, he walked to the natal unit and found Harry sitting in his rocking chair, resting his head against Sebastian's stasis chamber.
He placed his hands on Harry's shoulders and kissed him on the top of the head. "Are you ready to go home?" he asked, looking at their son. He had been told that the boy had been steadily gaining weight, but he still looked incredibly small.
Harry gripped Snape's hand tightly and shook his head. "No," he whispered, outlining his son's body with his finger against the glass.
The feeling of helplessness overwhelmed Snape again, the same feeling he got every time he looked at their son. It was doubly painful seeing Harry so distraught, knowing there was nothing he could do that would fix it.
Healer Vardent entered the room and began a quiet conversation with the nursing staff. Snape did his best to distract Harry from them.
"We've still got to finish the nursery," he reminded Harry, resting his chin on the top of his head. "And there is an absurd amount of presents waiting at home for you and the baby. I was wrong about needing to shrink his clothes, I believe Molly and Granger have knitted him enough smaller outfits to last him quite awhile. We won't even have to do wash for weeks."
Harry managed to muster a small grin at the thought of Molly and Hermione bonding while sewing. Ron had probably gone nuts during it.
"That's a plus. Have the house elves finished painting the nursery yet?"
"Yes, though I had to convince Dobby not to paint the blasted thing in red and gold. I assume green and silver were agreeable with you," Snape said teasingly.
"Oh you better not have," Harry said, glaring up at his husband. "I thought we agreed on a soft yellow."
"Did we?" Snape asked innocently, kissing Harry on the nose. "It is indeed a soft yellow, with light blue and light green accents. It's quite soothing." Severus had actually been spending a fair amount of time in the nursery, when he wasn't working on his other project. It made the ache a little more bearable to know that his son would be coming home to this room. That soon his family would be under the same room once again.
Harry hummed happily, before returning his attention back to his son. "Sebastian looks bigger. It's funny. I was so scared he was going to be so tiny forever and everyday I come here and see him looking just a tiny bit bigger, moving just a bit more."
"He's as stubborn as his father," Snape answered fondly. "But I will not have the boy come home to an unfinished nursery. Are you going to come home and help me finish it, or do you plan on laying about all day?"
Harry frowned. "He has a name you know."
Snape looked at Harry oddly. "Yes, I was there when we named him."
"You haven't said it. Not once," Harry told him, craning his neck so he could look up at him. "Not since the first day."
"Of course I have," Snape said, frowning.
"Are you going to help me with Sebastian's nursery? I have been informed by Granger that the outrageous number of stuffed animals do not belong in a trunk, where I had shoved them all."
He waited for Harry to tell Sebastian goodbye, and the two of them went to Harry's room and retrieved his suitcase. From there they went to the common floo for the trip home. "There is one more thing you need to do," Snape said, frowning. "You have to convince the bloody elf that just because young Master Draco had a pony growing up, it does not mean our boy needs one as well."
"Oh please tell my you're joking." Harry shuddered at the thought. There was just no way he'd put his baby on a pony. "Dobby hasn't found a way to smuggle one onto the property yet has he?"
"No, but he's got that look about him that says he's up to something, but you know he never listens to me," Snape groused, throwing floo powder into the flames.
He waited for Harry to go before him, then followed right behind, content in the knowledge that at least he was able to bring his husband home, if not his son.
"He does so...he just listens to me better."
As if summoned by thought the house elf appeared before them bowing lowly, before letting out a cry of joy.
"Master Harry has returned!" Dobby wailed. Harry swayed as his legs became locked together under the elf's crushing hug.
"Nice to see you too, Dobby."
Snape rolled his eyes at the display, already afraid how the thing was going to react when they brought the baby home. He had a feeling he'd have to restrain the excitable elf.
"Dobby, release him at once, he's still not completely healed," Snape ordered, scowling.
The elf's eyes widened and he sprung back from Harry immediately and went in search of something to hit himself with. The wall turned out to be closest and it took Harry a good minute to get the hysterical elf calm again.
"Thanks," Harry muttered sarcastically, shooting an exasperated look at his husband.
"My pleasure," Snape answered with an innocent smile that he couldn't pull off- even on a good day. "Would you like to see the nursery? You can figure out what to do with all those stuffed animals. If Granger brings anymore, we'll need a separate room to keep them in."
"I wish I knew where she was finding them all," Harry said, gripping Snape's hand. He dragged the man down the hall to the nursery and paused just at the entrance. Reverently, he ran a hand over the door frame before entering the room. Soon to be his son's room.
The faint scent of fresh paint still clung to the partially full room and Harry let out a content sigh. "Have you found the cradle yet?" he asked, leaning backwards against his husband of 3 years.
"Yes, it's in our room. I thought you'd want the baby close by you for awhile," Severus replied, wrapping his arms around Harry's waist.
There was a changing table with a stack of new nappies, and various jars of creams and ointments. "Did you make those?" Harry asked, pointing at the jars.
"Of course," Snape replied, affronted. "I wasn't about to trust our boys bottom to some inferior rash cream."
Harry chuckled, suddenly glad to be home. "Thank you," he said, this time sincerely.
Snape tightened his hold and kissed Harry's neck. "Tell me where you want the shelves so we can begin to get this room in order."
Two days later, Harry was itching to return to the hospital. He had been anxious yesterday, but today was worse, so much worse.
"I need to see him, please?"
"We're going, I just need to make a quick floo call. Finish getting dressed and we'll go," Snape told him with a gentle smile.
Harry nodded and rushed to change out of his pajamas and into his clothes.
When he joined Severus in the living room, he caught the tail end of the conversation. "You're certain he's in no danger?"
Harry frowned, not hearing the reply. "We'll be right there."
"Severus?" Harry said, grabbing Snape's arm in a vice grip. "Is it Sebastian, is he alright?"
"Harry, Sebastian is perfectly fine. We're going right now and you can see for yourself, alright?" Snape said soothingly.
Harry nodded and went to the floo, and before Snape could even turn around, Harry was gone. "Impatient brat," he muttered and followed after.
Harry was waiting for him in the common floo area, and the moment he saw him grabbed Snape by the hand, practically dragging him to the natal unit. Once there, they found Nurse Susan and Healer Vardent standing over Sebastian's chamber, the two of them running scans with their wands.
"What's wrong? Is he ok?" Harry asked, panic rising by the second.
"He's fine, Harry," the Healer assured him calmly. "Actually, he's better than fine. Harry, would you like to hold your son?"
Harry stopped and felt Snape crash into him from behind. He chewed on his lower lip and took a few steps closer to Sebastian's stasis chamber. It was what he wanted. His heart thudded painfully in his chest as he inched closer, afraid that if he made any sudden movements he'd wake up again and find himself back in bed.
"Yes," he breathed.
"It worked then?" Snape asked Healer Vardent while nurse Susan opened Sebastian's chamber. "The modifications to the potions, they worked?"
"By leaps and bounds," the Healer replied, smiling widely. "You've changed the time it will take for lungs to develop, it's like night and day."
Harry barely heard what was being said as he watched his son being lifted from the stasis chamber. He was breathing on his own. Harry was unaware that he had bitten through his lip as he waited impatiently to be handed his son.
He barely listened to the instructions on how to hold him properly, too absorbed in the little boy to care.
"Can I hold him now?" Harry asked, cutting off Susan's rambling directions. She smiled and carefully handed Sebastian to him. The word mine ran through his mind as he cradled the boy to his chest. He barely realized he had spoken the word aloud.
Seeing Harry, Snape cupped his face. "Yes love, he's yours."
"He shouldn't be out of the chamber for more than an hour at a time," the Healer informed.
Susan stepped out, and when she returned, she was holding a bottle. "Would you like to feed your son?" she asked Harry, her smile bright.
Harry stared at the bottle with a mixture of shock and confusion. It was a baby doll bottle, the kind little Muggle girls would feed their dolls with. He couldn't even imagine how little liquid that held and that was all his son could handle? He sat down heavily on the chair, just staring at Sebastian's face. Taking the bottle soundlessly, he examined it for another few seconds.
"When can you remove the spell for his eyes?" he asked quietly, as he ran a finger down the baby's nose and stopping at its mouth. The infant sucked at Harry's finger and Harry smiled.
The nurse looked at the Healer who nodded. "For a time, not too long though."
"Thank you," Harry said softly, waiting for the nurse to lift the spell. But his eyes didn't open, and Harry frowned.
Susan smiled. "He's just asleep at the moment, he'll open them when he wakes up," she assured him.
Severus knelt on the floor next to Harry's chair, his long fingers stroking his boy's soft skin. "Such a beautiful boy."
Harry couldn't do much more than nod. One lone finger trailed down Sebastian's arm and pressed against the tiny palm. Miniature fingers curled around his index finger and he let his finger stay there, just for a little while. "He's still so tiny."
"He really is just a bit," Snape said. "Harry, did I do right? I mean, are you happy?"
Harry stared into deep pools of onyx, wondering where this was coming from.
"Of course I'm happy," Harry finally answered, dropping his eyes back to his son's face and almost startled to see his son squinting back. "He's awake."
Snape leaned in closer, studying the boys eyes. They were most definitely blue at the moment, and he found that he did hope they turned green, like his dad's. Snape reached out a finger to Seb's little hand, smiling as his finger was engulfed by his tiny, frail, hand.
"Instincts are good," the Healer muttered as he wrote down something on the clipboard. Harry glanced up and shook his head before looking down again. "Do you still have that bottle?" he asked.
"Yes sir," he said, holding up the tiny bottle he had yet to give his son. "Alright, lets get you sorted then." The healer came over and showed Harry the best way to hold the baby for feeding. Once Sebastian was settled in Harry's arm, they gave him the bottle. "Rub the nipple of the bottle across his lips," Susan told him softly.
Harry did this, and the baby's mouth opened and began to greedily suck on the bottle. Snape was amused by Harry's triumphant grin, but said nothing, just enjoyed watching his family.
"How often can we do this?" Harry asked, slowly beginning to rock back and forth. He tipped his head to the side, just content to watch his son eat. He wanted to memorize every inch of him before they were forced to leave him behind once more. As much as he didn't want to admit it, putting him back in the glass box would be the worst feeling in the world.
"For now, three times a day, for an hour each time. When we're sure that he can handle it, we'll take him out of stasis for longer periods until before you know it you're taking him home."
Harry nodded slowly. "How will we know when to come though?"
Vardent shook his head with an easy smile. He took out his wand and for a wild second Harry thought the man was going to curse him or his son. He held the baby protectively to his chest as he shot a distrustful glare at the man. The possibility that he was overreacting never crossed his mind as he stared down the Healer.
"We'll make it easy," the Healer said, quickly running a scan on the baby to make sure it wasn't in any distress. "He needs to eat every few hours, so why don't you plan on being here breakfast, lunch and dinner, and you can feed him," the Healer said, smiling gently at Harry. "The times in between the staff will handle until he's a little stronger."
Harry was still looking at him suspiciously, but he nodded. "All right." He handed the bottle back to the Healer soundlessly, finally freeing his hand again. Immediately, he was touching his son, tracing a thumb against his brow and cheekbone. Blue eyes stared at him and he was hooked. A broad smile emerged on his face and he leaned forward dusting a kiss on the premature babies forehead.
Snape watched in wonder as Harry changed before his eyes from husband, to husband and father. It brought a lump to his throat that he was having trouble swallowing. He wanted to reach out and touch them both, but didn't want to interrupt Harry's moment with his son. Instead he watched, unable to look away.
Harry glanced up and met Snape's eyes. "Your turn," he murmured, making to hand Sebastian to Severus.
Severus took a step back, shaking his head, eyes wide. He was suddenly terrified that he would break the tiny little boy. "He needs you," he said, his voice coming out as a choked whisper.
Harry's lips parted in confusion. "You don't want to hold him?"
Snape looked at the various Healers looking on, feeling the weight of their stares. He cleared his throat as he returned their curious gaze. "Could you give us a moment alone, please?"
Vardent shook his head slightly and gripped Susan by the arm and guided her out of the neo-natal unit. Harry watched them go with mounting trepidation. When the doors slipped shut, Harry's gaze fell down to the infant in his arms. Sebastian was already dozing off again and he slowly began to move the rocking chair back and forth again like he had grown accustomed to doing in times of stress.
"What's wrong?" he asked quietly.
Severus hadn't the slightest idea how to explain. He felt so unworthy to touch something so innocent and pure, afraid he would sully it somehow. "I don't know what to do," he said, eyes pleading with Harry to understand.
Harry slowly raised his head to meet Snape's anxious gaze. His heart constricted painfully and he reached out, running a hand along the man's jawline.
"You're afraid," he said in shock.
Severus nodded curtly, looking over Harry's shoulder, unable to meet his eyes, shame and longing warring within his chest.
Harry curled his arm protectively around Sebastian as he slipped off the chair so he was kneeling next to Snape. Using his one free hand, he bent Snape's arm gently, when he regained the man's attention, he carefully placed his son in his husbands arm. He grabbed Snape's other hand and kissed his knuckles before securing it beneath the other.
Severus couldn't breathe and his mouth was dry as dust as Harry placed their son in his arms. Sebastian's eyes opened, looked at him for a moment, then closed, his little body relaxing into sleep. Severus couldn't take his eyes off him, studying each line, each crease of the baby's face. The whorls of thin dark hair, his little ears, and not so little nose. He wasn't aware he was crying until he saw a tear fall on to Sebastian's rosy cheek.
Harry reached forward with fear and awe coloring his motions as he went to wipe at the stray tears leaking from the corner of Severus' eyes. He swallowed thickly and his mouth ran dry. It had been so long since he had seen the older man break down like this, and he watched it afraid that if he made any sudden movements or said anything the moment would end.
He knew he'd never be able to mention this again and he wanted to savor the raw emotions pouring off Snape. There was no way to tell when he'd get to see him this open again.
Severus took a deep breath in an attempt to pull himself together. Shifting slightly to free a hand, he ran a finger down the baby's face, to his tiny hands. Lifting it, he studied each little finger and kissed his little palm before allowing Sebastian's grip to tighten around his finger.
"He's perfect," he whispered, unable to take his eyes from his son.
Harry leaned his head against Snape's shoulder, reaching down to run his fingers over the dark fuzz on Sebastian's head.
"Surprising, considering who his parents are," Snape said, chuckling, having gotten his equilibrium back. "He's going to hate me for that nose."
Harry shook his head and closed his eyes. "I happen to love that nose."
"And we know how daft you are," Severus said, smiling at Harry, finally able to meet his eyes. He shifted to hand Sebastian back to Harry. "Hold our son," he said softly, knowing their time was about up, and they'd have to put him back.
Harry met Severus' eyes and smiled, pressing a kiss to the aforementioned nose, before taking Sebastian back.
"You did this," Harry said, cradling the baby in his arms. "Made this possible."
Severus spread his knees a little allowing Harry to settle into the hollow there, leaning against his chest. He placed his chin on Harry's shoulder and wrapped his arms around his waist, watching his son stretch his neck before settling again. "You did all the work," he said softly, not caring that they were sitting on the floor.
"When you talking to the healers," Harry whispered, "you were talking about a potion, one that you made. I wouldn't be sitting here with you and our son if you hadn't."
Severus rested his forehead on Harry's shoulder. "It was killing you," he said softly. "I felt so helpless, and useless, I had to do something." He lifted his head, looking at Sebastian. "I made some improvements on their potion. I didn't want to get your hopes up, it would have been too cruel had it not worked."
Harry tipped his head to the side and looked into his husbands face. "It wouldn't have only affected me. Why didn't you say anything?"
"I didn't want to see the look in your eyes if I failed, if I couldn't give you what you wanted most," he whispered softly. "If it weren't for me...you never should have had to go through this."
"What are you talking about?" Harry asked.
"Our son shouldn't have to pay for my mistakes," Snape said, voicing the fear that had been nagging at him, that he was being punished for his past. He escaped going to Azkaban, but he couldn't escape being punished.
"And he won't," Harry murmured. Sebastian stretched in his arms and Harry's gaze was drawn down to the sleeping infant. "He will be fine."
Severus said nothing, forcing himself to relax and enjoy the moment with his family.
Harry had been waiting for this day for weeks. He was practically ready to strangle Severus for moving so slowly. It had been a month since Sebastian had been born and it still thrilled Harry to the core. The little boy had survived and now they were going to the hospital for what he hoped was the last time in a long while. Sebastian could finally come home, where he belonged.
He was standing by the floo tapping his foot impatiently.
"Hurry up," he whined, his grip on the floo powder tightening until his knuckles went white.
When Snape joined Harry, he was looking a bit sheepish, trying to hide the little stuffed dragon he had bought for Sebastian in his robes.
Harry inspected him from head to toe trying to figure out what Severus was hiding from him. He shrugged it off and grabbed the other man's hand, pulling him into the fireplace with him. He felt Severus' hand cover his as he raised his hand with the floo powder in it.
"Ready?" he asked, excitement coursing through him.
"What are you waiting for, let's go get our son," Snape said with a haughty smirk that only made Harry laugh. A few moments later, they were stepping out of the floo at St. Mungos.
Harry practically ran through the halls, dragging Snape behind him in his haste. He never wanted to be in here again.
When all was said and done, Harry had Sebastian secured in his arms, and Snape had signed every parchment that needed signing. All that was left now was to go home.
"You're sure you can apparate the both of you?" Snape asked for the 5th time. Harry was fully recovered now, but he was still worried that something would happen to the two of them.
"Yes, Severus," Harry said with an exasperated sigh.
"I'll meet you at home then," he said, kissing husband and baby on the forehead. Looking around him, he reached into his robe and pulled out the small stuffed dragon and tucked in between Sebastian and Harry. His glare was enough to keep Harry from mentioning it, and with a crack, he was gone.
Harry glanced around the atrium of the hospital and spotted Susan smiling at him. He waved jovially at her, before he too, baby left the hospital with a crack.
Snape was waiting impatiently for his family, though it had only been a few seconds, he was already worried something had happened. When Harry finally appeared, his eyes took inventory of both of them before relaxing.
Stepping forward, he put a hand on Sebastian's head. "Welcome home," he said, kissing Harry softly.
Harry smiled into the kiss. He ran a hand down Snape's cheek, settling it on his shoulder.
"Let's go show Sebastian his room," Harry said, breaking away from Severus.
They walked down the hallway to Sebastian's room and Snape stepped back, knowing that Harry was literally going to show the baby around. An indulgent smile on his face, he leaned against the door frame and watched, a feeling of peace and contentment surrounding him. It was a peace that had been missing since the day Sebastian had been born, but it was back, and he let himself enjoy it.
Harry stepped into the room, glad that the fresh paint smell was gone. The soft lighting and coloring of the room had easily won him over when he had first returned from the hospital and he only hoped it was as soothing to his son as it felt to him.
He carried Sebastian around the room, commenting on things as if he understood what was being said. He also threw in a lecture about knocking over candles for good measure. It was at the rocking chair that Molly had given him that he finally stopped. His fingers caressed the antique piece of furniture before he seated himself in it.
Sebastian had been steadily gaining weight and he now looked like most newborn's did, but it was still worrisome that he was this tiny. He began to rock slowly as he played with the baby's foot.
"How long do we have until we are invaded by your extended family?" Snape asked, folding his arms across his chest.
"Tomorrow," Harry answered. "I told Hermione to fob them off with sticks until then."
"Remind me to thank her," Snape said, snorting. He wasn't relishing the invasion of Weasleys into his home, but he knew it was important to Harry.
"You can when the Weasley's end up overpowering her tomorrow morning."
"I'm sure there's an important engagement I must attend tomorrow," Snape said jokingly as he pushed off the wall. "I'm going to prepare a bottle, the Healers said he'll be hungry soon."
Harry smiled and nodded, focusing his attention down on the tiny person in his arms. "All right."
"Oh you are a pretty baby," Molly crooned to Sebastian, her fingers tracing all his little features.
"Boys aren't pretty mum," George said, looking over her shoulder.
"They're handsome," added Fred, peering over her other shoulder.
"Nonsense!" Molly said, cooing.
Harry and Snape looked at each other and rolled their eyes. The Weasleys had only been there for five minutes, and Harry could see that Snape was itching to make them all go away. He took Snape's hand, holding it tightly, just to make sure he didn't bolt.
Ron and Hermione sidled up beside Harry and handed him and Snape glasses of water.
"He really is gorgeous, Harry," Hermione murmured, watching as Molly continued to fuss over Sebastian.
"Too bad he got Snape's nose," Ron mumbled, causing Harry to punch him in the arm and Hermione to elbow him in the ribs.
"Well he does!" Ron said defensively, ignoring Snape's glare. He'd learned a long time ago that Snape's bark was usually worse than his bite. Usually.
"It could be worse, he could have red hair," Snape said casually, smirking at Ron.
Harry scowled at the two of them. "Behave, both of you."
Snape sipped his water, his eyes on his son, who was beginning to squirm in Molly's arms. "How soon does he need to eat?" Snape asked, looking at Harry.
Harry glanced at the clock on the nursery wall. "About five minutes ago," he answered.
That was all Snape needed to hear. He crossed the room to Molly "Sebastian is due to eat, Molly. If you all will excuse me, I'll go feed him," in the other room, where it's quiet and there's no people. Ignoring her protest, Snape bent down and retrieved his son, smirking at Harry as he left the room.
Harry rolled his eyes and shook his head. He clapped his hands together. "So," he said brightly, "What's been happening with you lot?"
Snape took a bottle from the fridge and cast a warming charm on it, before continuing on to the nursery. As soon as he sat down in the rocker, Sebastian's face began the contortions they had come to recognize as his pre-scream for food.
"Now now, none of that," Snape said, his voice low and soothing. He rubbed the nipple of the bottle along Sebastian's lip, and the boy latched on immediately, sucking greedily.
More often then not, Harry handled Sebastian's feedings at St. Mungos, and had continued to do so when they brought Sebastian home. Severus looked down at his son, a soft smile on his lips. It was a smile only Harry saw and it would no doubt surprise the people who knew him that he was capable of such expression.
Sebastian was looking at him with curious blue eyes that seemed to take in everything. It still shook him, the emotion he felt when those eyes locked with his own. He had never felt anything like the love he felt for his son, and it was still overwhelming at times, which is why he often left things like feeding to Harry.
"You are going to be your father's undoing," he said softly, and Sebastian's eyes, which were beginning to droop, snapped open again. Snape chuckled. "You're better off going to sleep, though feel free to cry if it allows me to escape from the chaos," he continued as the boy's eyes began to close again.
Soon, the bottle was empty and Sebastian was sleep, milk leaving a trail from the corner of his mouth to his bib. Smiling, Snape removed the bottle and lifted the small bundle to his shoulder, patting him gently. Moments later he was rewarded with a belch.
He rested his cheek against the top of the baby's head, his hand rubbing gentle circles on his back. Never in a million years did Severus Snape expect to be sitting in a nursery, rocking his son, with a room full of well wishers just down the hall. Granted, he could have done without the well wishers, but they were important to Harry, so he would tolerate them.
Speaking of which. Sighing, Snape stood, his palm holding Sebastian securely against chest. The masses had gathered to see the boy, and he figured Harry probably needed saving by now, so he rejoined the group in the living room.
Harry grinned when he entered the room. "How'd he do?"
"He's a glutton," Snape replied airily. As soon as he finished speaking, there was a squelching sound coming from Sebastian. "And I believe he's in need of a fresh nappy," he added, handing the baby to Harry with a smirk.
Harry wrinkled his nose in disgust. "Course he does, and you won't do this because?"
"I thought you needed more bonding time with your son," Snape replied, smirk widening.
"Boys," said Hermione, shaking her head and reaching for the baby. "May I?" she asked.
Smirking at Snape, Harry handed Sebastian to Hermione. "Everything is in the nursery," he said, but Hermione was already headed that way.
"Ron, you're helping," she called over her shoulder, causing Ron to pale.
"Good job there mate, she's been talking about nothing but kids for months now," Ron said, scowling at Harry before following after Hermione.
Harry raised an eyebrow as he watched Ron stalk off after his wife. He glanced up at Severus sheepishly.
"Suppose it'd be a bad time to tell them that they're Sebastian's godparents, wouldn't it?"
"Fred, why is it nobody ever asks us to be godparents?" George asked with indignation.
Snape leveled his gaze on the twins. "Perhaps because they are afraid of what condition you would return their child in, were you left alone with them."
"Oi, Ron and Ginny turned out alright," Fred argued.
"Yeah, the purple wore off Ron's chest by the time he was 5!" George added.
"And you ask us why." Harry shook his head in incredibility. "Remind me never to leave Sebastian in their care," he added in an undertone to Severus.
"As if I would allow that to happen," Snape answered, not bothering to lower his voice.
"Severus, as my only grandchild is living in Romania, and I don't get to see him nearly enough, you're just going to have to accept that Sebastian is part of the family now," she said, her tone leaving no room for argument. "And I expect all of you to be regular visitors at the Burrow."
Snape inclined his head toward Molly. "Of course."
Molly nodded in a business like manner before going to check on Ron and Hermione. Harry had the strangest feeling that Ron wouldn't only be hearing about babies from Hermione anymore. He knew Molly Weasley well enough to suspect she'd be hounding him for another grandchild soon enough.
It took the entire Weasley clan another hour to finally clear out of their home, finally having to enlist Fred and George to help them with the task of getting the two ladies out of their home.
Harry shut the door and leaned against it with a sleepy smile. He had forgotten how tiring it was to be in the presence of so many people at the same time. Silence permeated the house in the party's wake.
He was silently thrilled that Molly had so easily accepted little Sebastian and Severus into her family. It had been the most horrifying conversation of his life when he had faced the Weasley matriarch and patriarch about wanting to bond with Severus. He had gone into it fully prepared to be snubbed for the rest of his mortal life by the entire family, Ron and Hermione included. He hadn't planned on them accepting it after so little persuasion.
Then, when he first found out about Sebastian, it had been a completely different matter. He and Severus had been in a stable relationship for seven years, six of which they had been bonded or married for, but it still didn't ease his nerves when he firecalled them late that afternoon. Charlie had already had a boy, with his long time girlfriend Chelsey, so grandchildren were nothing new to the Weasley family, that still hadn't made him feel any better. Ron and Hermione were supposed to have the next child, Harry was not.
Once again, he found himself finishing off a conversation with Molly Weasley in a daze of well wishes and promises of visits and extra nappies if he needed them.
Harry knew things weren't always going to be perfect. Babies were notorious for throwing a wrench in relationships, but he and Severus had literally survived the wars, they would definitely survive fatherhood.
"I don't suppose you'd be interested in taking a nap with me?" Harry asked, wrapping his arms around Severus' neck. "Sebastian should sleep for another hour or -"
Crying from the bedroom interrupted Harry before he could finish the sentence. He lay his head on Snape's shoulder and laughed.
"I believe our son is awake," Snape said, grinning. "Would you like to do the honors or shall I?"
"I vote for both," Harry said, taking Severus' hand. "It's your turn to change his nappy."
Snape snorted and followed Harry into the nursery, watching as he took Sebastian from his crib, whispering soothing words to calm him. He went to Harry's side, wrapping an arm around his waist. "Mine," he whispered, cupping Sebastian's head and rubbing across his soft scalp with his thumb, pulling Harry closer.
Harry smiled. "Yours," he agreed, kissing Severus on the cheek, content to start the new chapters of their lives, together.
A/N: We couldn't help ourselves. We can't write sad endings, we're physically and mentally incapable of keeping the boys sad. I hoped you enjoyed reading that as much as we enjoyed writing it.