A/N: This is it! The big chapter! Champagne is in order here.
By the way, to those who lurk, feel free to leave a review, the door is always open.
Special thanks to BEG 75 for the ENORMOUS amount of help she gave me with this chapter. I couldn't have done it without you.
If I've learned one thing from him it's that my kids will never have to say… walk a little straighter Daddy, you're swaying side to side. Your footsteps make me dizzy and no matter how I try. I keep tripping and stumbling, if you'd look down here you'd see. Walk a little straighter Daddy, you're leading me.
Walk a Little Straighter- Billy Currington
It had been four months since Allison had written that first diary entry, and her due date was fast approaching. Severus had fixed Spinner's End as best he could, but by the amount of neglect the house had suffered, it was only a temporary solution. Spinner's End was no place to raise children, but until the baby arrived, it was their only option.
When she awoke, it had to be somewhere between 2 or 3 in the morning. Her back had been bothering her all evening, but she'd assured Severus it was nothing more than just a backache brought on by the baby's extra weight. Rolling out from under Severus' arm and making her way to the bathroom, she rubbed the sleep out of her eyes.
Sitting on the toilet, she waited. Nothing. Chalking it up to paranoia thanks to her due date being so close, Allison climbed back into bed. Unforunately, she didn't get any rest. The first contractions were starting. Going back to the bathroom, she sat on the toilet once again and picked up Severus' pocket watch. If she felt that same sort of pressure again, she'd wake him up and go to the hospital.
Madam Pomfrey had agree to be her midwife, provided there were no complications. The week before, she had told Allison not to come in until the contractions were strong and about ten minutes apart. The next one didn't come until 15 minutes later. Rolling her eyes, she put the watch back on the counter and went back into the bedroom. Not wanting to get back into bed, she paced the floor.
Severus awoke the sound of footsteps going in circles. Rolling over and checking the clock, he opened his eyes to see Allison's silhouette walking from one end of the room to the other, and Allison muttering to herself.
"Are you alright, Allison?" he pushed the blanket off and sat up.
She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. "My contractions are starting."
"What?" he practically jumped off the bed and went to her side.
"They're about 15 minutes apart, no need to worry yet. Poppy said to come in when they're strong and ten minutes apart."
"Allison, in case you've forgotten, we cannot get to St Mungo's through King's Cross, and even then it'll be six hours at least. Apparation is out of the question, it's dangerous enough without you being in labour."
"Well then what do you suggest we do?"
"We may have to bring Poppy here."
"We never discussed that option!" Allison's eyes went wide. "I mean, we discussed the possibility of maybe not doing it at Hogwarts, which is why St. Mungo's was the better place, but here in Spinner's End? Oh Severus, we can't!"
"We may not have a choice," he spoke calmly and closed her hand around hers. "The Muggle hospitals can't do it safely, since this would be considered a magical birth."
"But they do it all the time without even realizing it!" she protested. "What about all the Muggleborns? They're all born with magic and the Muggle hospitals do just fine."
"That's because the magic is dormant…" he started.
"Well so will the baby's," Allison reasoned, moving toward the bathroom to pick up the watch again. She stopped just short, leaning on the wall for support as another contraction, this time stronger, started.
Her breathing heavy, Severus went to offer her his hand.
She shook her head. "No…" she insisted. "Just… no…"
Once it had passed, she grabbed the watch and checked it. "Okay, that was eleven minutes from the last one. Poppy told me to call on her once they got to ten minutes. It's up to you, Severus, if we can't get to St. Mungo's and Apparation unlikely, what should we do?"
"You're forgetting just how strong my magic is, Allison. It's marred by years of war and pain and torment. I had no choice but to develop it beyond what seven years of Hogwarts could do, beyond what any adult in any reasonable circumstance could achieve. If the baby is anything like me, and I'm sure he will be, we'll need to take the proper precautions, especially since you are so much smaller than I."
"So what do you want to do?" she repeated.
"Poppy should be here, Allison. I do not think you would be able to travel anywhere safely."
"Fine," she answered. "I'm going to lie down."
She winced as she sat on the bed.
Severus raced down the stairs and threw a handful of Floo powder into the fireplace. Informing Poppy of Allison's progress, Poppy agreed that Allison should not move from Spinner's End and immediately flooed back with Severus, medical kit in hand.
Allison winced again, biting back a scream as her water broke.
"When did the contractions start?"
"About an hour ago…" she winced. "Ow, oh my God…"
"Okay, I want you to get up and walk around a bit," Poppy answered. "Lying down will only make it worse."
"Oh great…" she pushed herself up and swung her legs over the side of the bed. "Why can't I be one of those women who sneezes and baby slides out?"
"Half the mothers in the world wish for such a thing," Poppy answered. "Walk around the house, Allison. Don't use the stairs, and when you return I'll see how dilated you are."
"Okay fine…" she got up and steadied herself before continuing. "Merlin's pants I feel like a duck. I'm waddling instead of walking…"
She knew Severus was stifling a smirk. "If you quack while I'm out of the room I'll hex you into next week."
"I'd never lower myself to such vulgar statements, my dear Allison," he answered as she walked out.
Half an hour later, Poppy called Allison back and checked her.
"Very good, Allison, seven centimetres already."
"Only seven?" she whimpered. "Why? Why only seven?"
"For only contracting two and a half hours, Allison, seven centimetres is remarkable. If you keep going the way you are, baby will be here in no time."
"Yay…" she whimpered, adding a sarcastic inflection to her tone. "I want him out so I can hold him."
"Even if he causes you this much pain?" Severus asked. He knew it sounded juvenile, but it was all he could think of to ask.
"It's no less than what I did to my mother or what you did to yours," Allison told him. "Oh shit, give me your hand…" she begged.
He obliged, and suddenly felt as though his fingers were caught in a vice. Allison screamed as she held on to him, waiting for the contraction to pass. Releasing his hand, she saw the blood slowly returning to the surface. "I'm sorry. Did I break anything?"
"I hardly think a few sprained fingers are enough for comparison to what you're going through right now," he answered.
"That was one nasty contraction," she managed. "Damn it, how do people do this and constantly want more babies?"
"I have no idea," he told her, stroking her hair.
"This is it and then I'm done, you realize," Allison put her hand to her forehead. "After this I don't think I could do it again."
"You say that now, but you may find yourself wanting another."
She scoffed, gripping the streets under her back. "If that ever happens you can be the one to carry the baby and push it out."
Severus let out a solitary laugh. "That's biologically and physically impossible, you know that."
"Of course I know that, but it doesn't mean I don't wish it would happen." Allison squeezed her eyes shut. "Ow, ow, fuckity ow!"
Poppy reappeared, carrying a bowl of water.
"Check me again?" Allison begged.
"It's only been about 20 minutes, child," she reasoned. "Unless you're Merlin himself, you probably have not gotten very far in the last 20 minutes."
"But you said I was progressing unnaturally fast for a first labour…" Allison was grasping at straws, and she knew it. "Please?"
"Okay, if you insist…" Poppy obliged her. "Sorry dear, still seven."
"Ohhh…" she whined. "This is not fair…"
"If life were to suddenly get fair, I doubt it would be while you're in labour," Poppy answered. "Don't get discouraged. Seven centimetres in less than two hours, that's remarkable in itself. Your body will do the work, don't fight it."
She sighed, closing her eyes. "This is your fault, you know," she whispered to Severus.
"Yes I know, Allison," he kissed her forehead. "Poppy, have you been in touch with the Healers at St. Mungo's yet?"
"I sent an owl just before I came in with the water," she answered. "They'll send one back soon, I'm sure."
A tap on the window caught their attention.
"Ah, there, you see?" she smiled and greeted the owl. "Perfect, they've said that once Allison has delivered, they'll ready a bed and take a look at baby, make sure he's healthy."
"Good…" Allison smiled. "Damn it, this hurts so much, I want this over with! Why can't he just make an appearance now?"
"Shouting about it isn't going to make him appear any faster," Poppy told her. "Remember I said for you not to fight it. Let your body do the work." She wet a cloth and placed it on Allison's forehead. "Babies come on their own schedule. He just happens to be taking his time. Patience is a virtue, dear."
Severus stifled a snigger. "You do realize, Poopy, that patience is not a word in Allison's vocabulary?"
"Oh like you know anything about that!" she screamed through another long and powerful contraction. "I should hex your balls off and feed them to you for this! You did this to me, it was you!"
If he had not dealt with situations worse than Allison's labour Severus might have been surprised at her remarks. However, he realized he'd said the wrong thing at the most inopportune time. Instead, he opted to stay silent and wait with her.
Without any pain medication, Allison could not have gotten any sleep. Another four hours passed with little or no interruption, as Allison dilated the last three centimetres. Oddly enough, they'd barely noticed the time go by as he read to her from one of the books she kept in the night table drawer. Strangely enough, she hadn't cared that it had been an old copy of The Tales of Beedle the Bard, he could have read her one of his old Potions textbooks and she would have been happy, just as long as she didn't have to think about the pain.
"Allison, the last three centimetres are done. It's time to push."
She managed a weak smile.
"Severus, I want you to get on the bed behind her and support her back. Allison, bring your knees up so I have a clear view of your vagina."
Her eyes went wide.
"Oh come on now, Allison, I'm a qualified Medi-witch and a midwife. I've delivered many other babies, and they've all got to come out somewhere."
Severus moved behind Allison and did as he was told.
"Okay, Allison, Hold it for ten seconds… ready? Push!"
Allison bore down, hoping it wouldn't take too long.
"Relax… relax relax relax…" Poppy told her. "Take a deep breath, hold this push for ten seconds again. Ready, and push!"
"Ow, oh my GOD!" she screamed.
"Don't waste your energy on screaming at me, Allison, use it to push baby out. Relax, that's ten seconds!"
Her breathing heavily, Severus was at a lost. He could not do it for her, as much as he wished he could take the pain away from her.
"A few more pushes and baby's head should crown, ready? Push again, hard hard hard!"
Allison obliged, feeling a burn as the baby's head appeared.
"I can see his head, Allison, he's got a lot of hair," Poppy told her. "Severus are you alright back there?"
"Is there anything else I can do?"
"Nope, what you're doing is fine. Make sure her back is supported and this will be done before you know it. A big push this time, Allison, the head is halfway out. Hold it for ten seconds, go!"
Allison gnashed her teeth and pushed again.
"Good girl, his head is out. Two more pushes he should be here. Thirty seconds rest and go again!"
"I can't do it!" she sobbed, leaning back on Severus' chest.
"Yes you can, his head is out, Allison. You said you wanted to hold him, he needs to come out before you can do that, and the only way he's coming out is if you push him out." Poppy would not hear any of it. "Come on, two more pushes!"
As promised, with two more pushes and a final scream, Poppy told Allison to stop, and clamped the umbilical cord.
"Oh my God, there he is!" Allison smiled as tears filled her eyes. "There's our baby!"
Severus kissed her forehead as she leaned back against his chest. "You did it, Allison."
Poppy immediately cleared his mouth and throat, and set him on Allison's chest. "Thank you, Poppy, I can't thank you enough."
"You did it, Allison. That was all you."
"I couldn't have done it without you," she insisted.
Severus gingerly moved from behind Allison and placed pillows behind her. The baby was screaming and turning pink as Allison cried.
"Look at him, Severus."
"He's beautiful," he agreed. "The most beautiful child I've ever seen."
"He needs a name though," she said. "Do you have any ideas?"
"I believe that should be your decision," he told her. "Considering what you've just done, you should name him."
"What do you think of the name Callum?"
"I think it's very handsome," Severus told her, not willing to argue. Of course, he had given almost no thought to what their child's name should be. He would tell her later that the name Callum meant 'dove' in Latin.
"Yes," he answered. "I am not picky, so long as his name does not include Tobias and sounds like it would compliment either of our last names."
Allison's eyes went wide.
"You were thinking the same thing I was."
"He shouldn't have your last name, as to protect him from Lestrange and Greyback."
"More or less, yes," he answered. "Plus it does not do for my reputation to be seen as a family man when the entire school knows me as a snarky dungeon bat."
She chuckled. "Oh joy oh bliss," shaking her head, she stroked the baby's cheek. "Hello Callum Norman Paul McCormack."
"May I?" he asked.
"Yeah…" she gingerly transferred Callum from her arms to his father's. "He's not made of glass, just talk to him."
He nodded and shifted the baby in his arms. "You're more your mother than I would've thought," he told the baby.
It was all Allison heard before turning over and falling asleep, if only for a few minutes.