AN: This is the final chapter of 'Our Child'. I thought long and hard about this and decided that this was the best way to end it. Some people may not be happy with it, but I am and I can only hope that you enjoy this.
Chapter Fourteen - Christmas
In his opinion, Christmas morning had come too early for Severus's liking.
He would have liked to spend a few more days alone with his beloved, but knew that he needed to spend time with his daughter and the Potters and Weasleys, whether he wanted to or not; and they would be opening the door shortly. Keeping this thought in mind, he crawled out of bed, careful not disturb Hermione, and searched under the tree the house elves had set up the night before for the gift he had picked out for Hermione.
"What are you doing?"
Turning around, Severus realized he hadn't been near as stealthy as he had hoped. Hermione sat perched at the end of the bed, covered in only a sheet and looking sleepy. Severus rose and walked over to the bed, handing Hermione the small box as he stopped in front of her. He leaned down and kissed her softly. "I was retrieving your Christmas present." As he watched her open the small box, he added, "I know we hadn't planned on making a formal announcement, but I think that this will answer quite a few questions your friends will plan on asking."
Hermione rolled her eyes at him before looking inside the box. Inside the velvet lined box was a small diamond in a platinum setting along with a chain so she could wear it on her neck when she had Potions classes to teach. She looked up at him and murmured, "Oh, Severus, it's perfect." She pulled the ring out of the box and placed it on her left ring finger. She pulled him close and said, "Best Christmas present ever," before she kissed him then got up to get ready for the day.
A few hours later found Severus surrounded by a small contingent of his daughter's extended family. He was surprised that no one had either noticed or remarked on Hermione's new ring. Well, Reyna might have, but she could be sneaky when she wanted to. It wasn't until he was sitting back and enjoying some spiced cider that Ariadne noticed the ring.
Ariadne grabbed her mother's hand and examined the ring. She was still for a moment before she asked, "Is that what I think it is?"
"If you think that I asked your mother to marry me this morning, then the answer is yes." Severus ignored the surprised looks everyone was giving him and took another sip of his cider. "Why are any of you surprised? You put us together in this room."
Hermione made a face at him. "I think they're surprised that we got engaged. I'm fairly certain that only Reyna and Ariadne were expecting this step." She gathered Ariadne into a hug when she saw her daughter was a little shocked. "I know this might seem fast, but your father and I had originally decided to wait until this summer to announce our plans. We also decided that we wanted to talk to you about what this could mean for you. I know pregnant women make you nervous," at this she gathered Ariadne a little tighter to her, "and Ginny has told me why. I want you to know that you have nothing to worry about."
She relaxed her embrace and slipped the gold band off her right hand, holding it between her thumb and forefinger, and showed it to Ariadne. "I had just started up my apprenticeship with Kumada-sama and was having... difficulties concentrating on the task at hand. He suggested that I get a tangible reminder of the thing that was causing me difficulty concentrating. That day I went out and bought this ring, something that could be special to me and be in my sight all the time."
Ariadne grasped the ring and touched the worn surface. "What's this supposed to remind you of?"
Hermione slipped the ring onto Ariadne's thumb. "It was to remind me that I had done the right thing and given you the best chance you could have. That you were somewhere with people who loved you, even if I couldn't be." She wiped away the tears that were slowly making their way down Ariadne's face. "I don't need it anymore, so I want you to have it. I want it to remind you that you are our child and that Harry, Ginny, Severus, and I are your parents and nothing can change that."
After the conversation at Christmas, Ariadne seemed to have a weight lifted off her shoulder and became excited to help both Ginny and Reyna get things ready for their new arrivals.
The week before Valentine's Day treated the Great Hall to Reyna suddenly laughing then trying to get Ron to leave his pudding to take her to the hospital wing. When he dallied, she announced to the room that she was in labor and would meet him there when he was finished. The speed he moved at when it finally clicked what was happening caused the entire room to erupt with laughter.
When Ginny finally went into labor, it was a much less public affair. The Weasley clan gathered outside the hospital wing and played games as they waited for news. Just before Harry came out to tell everyone the good news (mum and babies, Callista and Ryan, were healthy) Hermione handed little Amelia to Severus and told him that he needed to practice holding a baby.
Christmas Eve morning dawned with Hermione yelling for Severus and Ariadne. Once Hermione was settled, Severus sent his patronus notifying Ginny and Harry that the baby was one the way and asking them to come sit with Ariadne.
A few minutes after midnight on Christmas Day, Severus brought out the newest member of the Snape clan. He walked over to where Ariadne was sitting and showed her how to hold the baby. Once she was cooing over the baby, Severus said, "I hope Orion is the last elaborate Christmas present you ask for. I don't think your mother is up to the task of doing anything so elaborate anytime soon."