"Look there, pet," Voldemort hissed. Hermione shifted her eyesight and red hair became clear.
"Ron!" she gasped, scrambling to her feet. The boy was nearly bruised beyond recognition but he held himself as steadily as possible. His chin dropped a little from its defiant stance.
"Hermione?" he said and caught himself when his knees threatened to give way. Hermione turned her head to glare at the Dark Lord.
"How did you get him?" she snarled and Voldemort only had the decency to smirk at her.
"We caught up to your friends today," Voldemort said.
"Harry?" Hermione asked after a moment of horror, but Voldemort's expression turned sour and his gaze settled on Severus, who immediately kneeled.
"I'm sorry, my lord," he said quickly.
"Your idiot husband caught the one of no importance," Voldemort growled. "He was repaid for the mistake, too."
Hermione bit her lip and glanced toward her kneeling husband, who showed no sign of weakness, and then flicked her sight back to Ron.
"What are you going to do to him?" she asked, clenching her fists by her sides. Voldemort laughed and hissed in a way that Harry had to sometimes. Hermione knew it to be the snake's language. Afterwards everything was silent for a few moments and Voldemort looked around.
"Where is she?" he snarled. "Lucius!"
Lucius stepped forward immediately, bowing his head.
"Go and find Nagini! She's going to have her dinner..." Voldemort said, though he looked nervous as Lucius slipped out of sight. Hermione nearly jumped out of her shoes when Ron began to laugh hysterically.
"Ron…?" she breathed, but he only pressed a hand to his broken ribs and wiped a tear from his eye. Hermione couldn't tell if it was a tear of mirth or pain.
"Quiet, blood-traitor!" Voldemort hissed, but Ron only grinned at him. "Quiet!"
Voldemort raised his wand toward the red-head.
"Please, Ron," Hermione pleaded suddenly, not wanting Ron to be killed. Had he gone completely mad?
"My Lord!" Lucius yelled as he ran back into the room, the end of the cane hovering above the ground in his hurry to kneel at the front. "Nagini's dead. Her head has been… been completely severed…"
"WHAT!?" Voldemort roared, his wand hand shaking as it pointed at Ron, who continued to laugh harder.
"Harry's here," Ron said, "and he's come to kill you for good."
Hermione's mouth dropped open as she stared at her friend. Voldemort kicked Lucius to his side as he walked past toward the red-head. Hermione fell forward to hold Lucius' elbow and help him to his feet.
"Are you alright?" she breathed quickly.
"Yes, yes," he mumbled, although he held tight to her arm to steady himself.
"Look here, pet!" Voldemort growled. His eyes seemed to glow a brighter red than usual. "You had better put that brooch of yours to good use on your friend, or I will kill him."
"Wha— but I can't!" Hermione stammered.
"Just do it!" Lucius whispered.
"But I really can't!" she yelled, sweat beading on her forehead. She hastily tried to reach out for Elladora again, but did not find her, as she knew she wouldn't. Elladora had terrifically bad timing when she decided to spare Hermione her presence. Voldemort narrowed his eyes at her and then turned his wand upon Ron's chest. Ron was beginning to slump over, as if all the injuries were beginning to kill him anyway. Hermione's grip on Lucius began to falter as Voldemort's mouth opened.
"Hermione, no!" Lucius whispered harshly and tried to grab at her, but she was already sprinting toward the middle of the circle.
Hermione's body collided with the tall wizard's so hard that she sent them both sprawling to the floor. Voldemort hissed and writhed in a very snake-like manner, and Hermione pushed herself away from the dark wizard. She grabbed for his wand, although she wasn't quite sure what she would do afterwards. The whole circle of Death Eaters had cried out and drawn their wands.
"No, I will kill them!" Voldemort snapped, still having his wand in hand. Hermione ducked behind him and tried to speak to Ron quickly, telling him to run for it.
Everything next happened in such quick succession that Hermione hardly realized what happened. She heard Severus yell for her with a desperation she had never heard. She saw life shoot back into Ron's bright blue eyes, looking at her with fear. There was a bright green flash mixed with blonde hair as something enclosed around her body, letting forth a ripping scream that only the truly anguished release.
Hermione fell to the ground under Lucius' weight, her face pressed into his shoulder.
"Lucius, Lucius?" she stammered, tears already falling as her fingers found his cold face. "Please…"
The man's body was kicked off of her, and Hermione found herself face to face with Voldemort's furious face once again.
"You're of no further use to me," he hissed, his face contorted. Hermione's hand enclosed around Lucius' wand and she slashed it upward quickly, careful to keep check on her Occlumency. The purple spell slashed across his chest, cutting the dark lord's robes and flesh.
"Oh, look," Ron mumbled behind Hermione, "he bleeds the same color as Muggles."
The whole room was in an uproar by then. No one paid attention to the opening entrance while Hermione stumbled to her feet, Lucius' wand fixed on Voldemort.
"You don't stand a chance against me, Mudblood," he snarled. Hermione drew a breath, ignoring the rising fear and fighting to keep her mind protected. How to beat him? Well, she couldn't; that was Harry's job. How to avoid death in a room full of Death Eaters? Hermione hadn't the answer.
A feeling struck her chest. It was fear that wasn't her own; a sickening fear that made her nearly vomit but it wasn't her own. Hermione didn't dare look away from her enemy but she knew Severus was trying to get to her. She could hear his struggles, but other Death Eaters were holding him back. Hermione pulled her pride and bravery to the forefront and drew herself up. She was prepared to fight and she was determined to live. Hermione had a baby to protect; she had Severus' baby to protect.
"Say goodbye to your husband," he smirked.
"Fuck you," Hermione growled.
Then Hermione felt a hand enclose around her free one. The pressure was so familiar that Hermione nearly dropped her Occlumency. A smell filled with loving memories wafted passed. Her mouth dropped open and she glanced quickly about but she saw no one.
Voldemort waved his wand, his thin lips beginning to speak the killing curse, and an extremely surprised, confused look crossed his features. Then he disappeared without warning, leaving empty air where he once stood.
There was a stunned silence in which not one person breathed. Hermione looked around when she heard a familiar grunt and found her husband rushing toward her. The Death Eaters screamed and roared their alarm, but he ignored them.
"Severus!" Hermione gasped, holding his arm desperately. He pulled her close against him, grabbed Ron roughly, and Apparated the three of them away.
They appeared again in what Hermione had assumed to be his home away from school. Ron collapsed on the floor, but he still breathed so Hermione turned to Severus.
"I have to go," he said quickly, pushing his mask back from his face.
"What just happened?" Hermione breathed and refused to let go of his arm.
"Potter showed up. Took the fool long enough…" Severus muttered. "It's all part of the plan, Hermione. I told him where the meeting was and how to get in. I let him go and took Weasley on purpose. He came in under the Invisibility Cloak, and teleported himself and the Dark Lord to a remote location with a portkey. Hopefully, he'll finish the job before the Dark Lord calls the Death Eaters again."
"Then where are you going?" Hermione said, pulling Severus back to her when he tried to pull way.
"I know where Potter is and I have to go to him. I have to make sure he lives, Hermione. Take Weasley to St. Mungo's," Severus said and then he stopped to kiss her. It was over too quickly. "Let go, love, just once more."
Hermione released him slowly and before he pulled the mask back down she said, "Elladora won't come back. She won't come back because she doesn't want to hurt me… she doesn't want to hurt our baby."
Severus froze, his black eyes glittering at her strangely. A rush of emotions filled Hermione's chest so quickly that she thought she might faint, but she knew the emotions to be his. The emotion set on happiness so abruptly that Hermione laughed lightly, her eyes locked to his, despite the situation. Then Severus smiled at her warmly, leant down to kiss her stomach, and Apparated away while he was still smiling.
Hermione shook her head and turned to Ron, who seemed to be unconscious but alive nonetheless. She Apparated them to St. Mungo's easily, where the nurses rushed Ron away quickly.
"Be careful with him!" Hermione called, looking after her friend worriedly. When his red hair was out of sight, she made her way to the desk.
"Can I help?" the receptionist asked.
"I'm pregnant," Hermione said, feeling a little lost. How was Severus? Alive, he had to be. Hermione would have felt it if he died, Lucius said so… Lucius… Hermione blinked away hot tears.
"Congratulations," the nurse said. "Is there something you need?"
"Oh, I was…" She faltered, not knowing if she should say it, but decided it would be best for them to know. "I was put under the Cruciatus Curse for a few seconds not an hour ago. Can you make sure the baby is alright?"
The nurse stared at her for a moment and Hermione didn't blame her. The Cruciatus was an Unforgivable.
"Who did it to you?" she asked.
"I can't tell you," Hermione said firmly. She did not want to do this right then. She just wanted to make sure the baby was alright. "Can we please just check on the baby?"
The nurse raised her eyebrows and directed her toward the maternity ward. Hermione hurried away and her thoughts wandered to Severus again.
He's alive, he's alive, he's alive…
The nurses checked her in quickly when she told them what had happened. They weren't sure what the results would be, since they never had a pregnant mother who had faced the Cruciatus. Hermione felt as if she floated between reality and what-if's while the nurses poked and prodded her with wands. They never spoke directly to her, only whispered amongst them selves. An hour passed by. The nurses brought in a doctor, who checked her and asked her questions about the curse. How long did it last? What sensations in the belly did you have? She answered them robotically.
"WHERE IS SHE!?" a male voice suddenly roared after the doors to the ward were blown from their hinges.
"Sir, you can't—!"
"Bloody hell, I'm her husband!"
"Severus?" Hermione yelped, twisting around to look for him. Her eagerness was rewarded when she saw him running to her cot, nearly knocking the doctor across the room. "What happened?"
"Are you alright?"
"Is he dead?"
"How's the baby?"
"You! Stop shitting around!" Severus snapped at the doctor, who was peeling himself from the wall where Severus had thrown him. "What about the baby!?"
The doctor gave Severus a disgruntled look and resumed studying Hermione, murmuring spells over her flat tummy.
"What about Harry?" Hermione asked again eagerly, tugging on Severus' sleeve.
"Alive. I took him to Poppy at the school where he won't be bothered," Severus said, his stern eyes on the doctor.
"And… did he… accomplish…" Hermione said slowly, not wanting to rouse the doctor's curiosity any more than necessary.
"Yes, he's free now," Severus replied. Hermione's head fell back, her eyes watering with happy tears while her husband wiped them away when they fell.
"There," said the doctor and stood back. "Your baby is perfectly happy and unharmed. It seems the Cruciatus only affects the person it was inflicted upon. The baby, a whole other person by itself, felt nothing."
Hermione laughed as the doctor walked away, her fingers rubbing her stomach. Severus dropped his forehead into his hands and rubbed his temples.
"It's alright, Severus," she said, gently shaking his forearm. "We're okay, all three of us."
Severus lifted his pained black eyes to her amber orbs.
"I suppose you wouldn't accept an apology," he said.
"Will you accept mine?" she asked. At his confused expression she added, "Honestly, Severus. I could have asked you to take me away, and at any moment you would have. I don't doubt that. The only reason I went through today's meeting was because I'm stubborn. I stayed for Harry, and good thing, too. I don't know how he would have done it without you."
"I don't suppose I'll ever cure you of your Gryffindor ways," Severus said after a moment of thought and then smirked at her. Hermione slapped his shoulder playfully.
"Definitely not, because the baby will be a Gryffindor," she smirked.
"I beg to differ," Severus snorted.
And nine months later, in the same room, on the same bed, the argument continued…
"It's a baby boy," the doctor said, flinching away from Severus when the father reached to take his son. The unfortunate doctor put up with a lot of abuse from the high-strung couple.
"Ooh, Severus, lay him here," Hermione breathed, her red face sweaty and curls hanging lank. The man gingerly put the baby on his wife's chest and looked under a bit of curly black hair to find watery black eyes.
"You've given birth to my Slytherin son, love," he smirked at her.
"Not if I have anything to do with it," she said softly, with a deceiving smile directed toward her husband.
"Sebastian Snape… Nice ring to it, I daresay," he murmured, Severus' eyes much brighter than usual.
"You have a few moments with your boy, and then we need to take him to clean him up," the doctor said and left the room. A few people stumbled in immediately, as they were all leaning on the door.
"Merlin, Hermione, I thought you were dying!" Ron exclaimed, looking curiously into her face and then down at the baby. "Bloody hell, it looks just like—"
"Me?" Severus asked expectantly, and Ron backed away with a nervous laugh.
"How are you, Mione?" Harry asked, and tucked a few curls behind her ears.
"Good, Harry, really good," she smiled. "Is everyone outside?"
"Yeah, Dumbledore's there, too," he said.
"I thought he was visiting Draco today?"
"Sometimes Malfoy doesn't care for his visits, Hermione. Sometimes he'd rather just sink into the misery of Azkaban, but Dumbledore thinks he can still come out alright in the end," said Harry, rubbing his wand arm, where Hermione knew a chunk of his arm was missing. Just another reminder of the former Lord Voldemort.
Hermione felt an anxiousness pulling in her chest and she looked sideways at Severus.
"Could you excuse us?" she asked.
Harry and Ron nodded, bid her goodbye, and left quickly with smiles.
"Thank you," Severus said. The shared feelings had grown much stronger ever since Hermione had gotten pregnant, and she knew he wanted to be alone with her.
"Gladly," Hermione sighed, and let her head fall back. "I'm very tired anyway. Can we go home soon? I want to set Sebastian up in the nursery."
"Everything's ready at the school, but they need to keep you for a while longer," he said.
"I was thinking," Hermione said, her fingers toying with the baby's hair, "that his middle name could be Lucius. The man did save our lives, in the end." Hermione watched Severus consider it while watching their child, and he raised his black eyes to her amber ones. Even after a year and a half, Hermione felt a spark of nervousness leap in her belly at his smoldering gaze and her heart warmed delightfully. His smiles were no longer rare around her, and Hermione could still read his eyes like Hogwarts, A History. She knew what he was going to say before he said it.
"I think that's a good idea, Hermione," he said. "Sebastian Lucius Snape, then."
Disclaimer: I don't own Harry Potter!
Aw, that's it! That's all, I be done, it be gone. I really hope you enjoyed it. I tried to tie up all the loose ends. I'm sorry Lucius died, but I felt he had to. I'm sure he's happier with Narcissa. We all loved him, though.
So I'm moving on to my next short fic soon between Hermione and Draco. Much more smutty, although an amusing plot bunny. Keep your eyes open for it!
It's the end, so let me hear all your thoughts! I love you all and thank you for reading!