Disclaimer: All things Harry Potter belong to JKR.
A/N: Now the windows? Trying to peek in, are you? You people will do anything! Sigh! *Goes to buy some blinds* Cough Southern_Witch_69 Cough
Severus stood with his arms folded across his chest and his legs spread apart as if preparing for battle, watching her nervously pace his livingroom, looking at the pictures he'd placed about. After a few moments, he said, "I thought you said that you came here to talk to me. So far, you've said nothing."
She jumped at the sound of his voice and turned to face him. "I'm debating it now. You act as if you don't want me here."
He looked her up and down, pausing only at her belly. When he reached her face, he shrugged. "Perhaps I don't. But the fact is, you're here. You said something about having made a decision?"
Hermione shook her head. "I don't want to talk to you while you're in this sort of mood. I've done nothing to deserve this sort of treatment."
Severus walked over to his brandy and poured himself a drink. "Then I don't suppose that we'll ever speak. I'm afraid I'll likely be in this mood around you for quite some time."
"Why? Why? You have to ask?"
"I'm afraid so, Severus. What has happened between the last time I saw you and now to make you act this way towards me? It's getting rather old."
Severus swirled his brandy around in his glass and took a sip, watching her over the rim. "You took your sweet time getting here, didn't you? Did you enjoy keeping me out of sorts? Was that your way of paying me back for the way I acted in Italy?" He watched as the nervous expresson slowly faded from her face and anger took its place.
She immediately stopped pacing, placing her fists on her hips. "Excuse me?"
"Just get on with it, Hermione," he said, agitated. "Say what you've come to say and then go. I've things I need to do."
"No, I don't want to talk to you while you're acting like this. How dare you accuse me of some sort of payback! That's your way, Severus, not mine! What's gotten into you? Last week you were telling me that you love me and want a life with me—want to marry me—and now you act as if you can't stand the sight of me. I want to know what's changed!"
"You tell me."
She growled in frustration. "How can I tell you? I have no idea what Flobberworm has crawled up your arse, but I do know that I will not be the brunt of your foul mood!"
"Well then let me enlighten you!" he yelled, the thin thread of his anger snapping as he slammed his empty glass on the table. "I come to you, pour my heart out at your feet, and you dismiss me for Weasley! Weasley, who—in case you've forgotten—cheated on you in your own home! I go, mind, without a word of protest, reassuring you in fact by reminding you once more before I leave that I love and want you, and what do you do? NOTHING! You couldn't be arsed to say you feel the same, go to hell, or anything.
"Then as if all that isn't bad enough, you keep me waiting here an entire week without one word! Not one word from you, Hermione! I've never poured my heart out easily, and now I know why."
Hermione took a deep breath for calmness before speaking. She could see that he thought she was here to reject him. "I needed the time to think. I don't think that you understand just how deeply you hurt me in Italy, Severus. And just to make it clear, taking time to think was in no way trying to pay you back. I wanted no, needed to think things through. It had been clear to me that I loved you, Severus, but that was the easy part. I had to feel that I could trust you now as well. You should know me well enough by now to know that."
"And it took you the better part of five days?" he asked, walking back to lean against the front door to put some more distance between them. God how he wanted to touch her, even after everything.
"Five days? Humph! I'd say five days sure as hell beats five months!"
"When you'd left Italy, you hadn't poured your heart out to me! As a matter of fact, you'd ended things with me. I had no way of knowing, not really, if you still truly wanted me. I specifically told you that I love you!" He waved his hand in the air. "At this point, none of that matters. Just say your piece and be done with it."
"Apparently you don't care to hear what I have to say, so I'll go." She did not want to confess her feelings while he was so angry.
She started to walk past him, and he grabbed her arms, spun her around, and gently pressed her to the door, placing a hand on either side of her head, boxing her in.
"What did you decide?" He couldn't control himself; he leaned in and took a long, appreciative sniff of her neck, nibbling as he did. He couldn't continue arguing with her over his hurt feelings. He wanted her too badly. And really, why was he fighting with her when he wanted to prove to her that he loved and wanted her? Wanted to marry her?
He had to bury his hurt feelings and show her that she wouldn't be wrong to trust him. She loved him; he had to believe that. When she'd first gotten there, he'd been sure that she was going to tell him to bugger off. Now, he wasn't so sure that had been her intention at all.
"I… I… Severus," she whispered.
"Yes?" he asked, working his way to her ear. He hadn't wanted to do this now, but it had been so long since he'd touched her this way, and their emotions were running high. Besides, the fact that she hadn't refused him straight away gave him some hope. "Your decision?"
She placed her hands on his chest, gently pushing him back. "I can't think when you do that!" She scowled at his smug look. Then, giving in, she laid her forehead on his chest, weary of arguing. She was ready to begin her life, and to do that, they had to start over. "I do love you, and I want to marry you, if the offer still stands."
Severus cleared his throat, trying to compose himself. "You're sure?"
She nodded. "Yes. Very sure. I wasn't at first. I needed time to sort through my feelings, your feelings, and to take into consideration our children's feelings. I simply had to decide what I wanted more, Severus, a life with you or a life without you." She smiled up at him as if she knew a secret that he didn't. "Besides, someone recently told me there are no guarantees in life."
He placed his hand under her chin and lifted her head so that he could look into her eyes. "Of course the offer still stands. I love you. And I will make you one guarantee. I will never hurt you again as I did in Italy." He lowered his head and began kissing her. Gently at first, and then with more vigor. "God, I've missed you!"
"Yes," she agreed. "I've missed you, too. Especially with these raging hormones!" she nervously laughed.
Severus placed his arm under her knees and lifted her, intent on taking her to the couch. He raised an eyebrow. "Gained a stone or two, have you?"
She gasped and then playfully smacked his arm. "Not the right thing to say at this moment."
Saying nothing more, he walked her to the couch and tenderly laid her down. He brushed the hair away from her face. "I want you, but if you'd rather, I can wait."
In answer, she pulled him down to her and kissed him. "I don't want to wait. But with my size, wouldn't the bedroom be more comfortable?"
"My bedroom furniture is being delivered tomorrow," he informed her as he kissed his way down her throat and onto her collarbone.
Breathing heavily, she began to unbutton his robes. "But the invoice?"
"Liam's furniture. I wouldn't feel right making love to you on my son's bed." He took out his wand and enlarged the couch to make her more comfortable. "Better?" When she nodded, he laid his wand on the table and continued.
"Mmm," she moaned as he took off her shirt and bra and suckled her breast. "Oh, God, don't stop."
"I've no plans to stop." Suddenly emotions took them over, and neither could speak. They began undressing each other in a frenzy of movement.
Once they were both undressed, he started kissing her again, working her clit with his finger and thumb.
Her hips started pumping, and she groaned. "I'm ready. I'm ready for you, Severus. Now."
He rose to his knees, lifted her hips and slowly entered her, enjoying the feeling of being inside of her again. He teased her nipples as he told her, "Before long, I won't be able to enter you this way." He rubbed her belly for emphasis.
She couldn't speak. The feeling was overtaking her, and she moved as fast as their position and her size would allow. "So close," she murmured.
Because it had been awhile and he was close himself, Severus once again started working her clit and groaned deeply when he felt her tighten around him.
After she'd come down, he began pumping faster, searching for his own release. It didn't take him long to find it. Once he'd finished, his first instinct was to collapse on top of her, but at the last moment he held himself in check.
Breathing heavily, she said, "This position is beginning to hurt my back."
"Right," he said and quickly moved, grabbing his wand to clean them both. "While you were thinking, did you decide when and where you'd like to be married?"
"No, I hadn't gotten that far yet. I don't want to do anything until we've met each other's children, and they've met each other."
"Yes, that's sensible." He looked at her belly, considering. "I want us married before the baby comes."
"I agree with you there. We don't have a lot of time, but enough, I think."
"Gretna Green?" he hopefully asked.
"You mean elope?" She folded her arms across her chest and raised an eyebrow. "No, I don't think so! The Ministry?"
"I didn't mean elopement, per se. I wanted the children with us." She simply shook her head no. "I don't want to get married at the ministry, Hermione. The church?"
"No," she patted her belly. "Not the church; I wouldn't feel right. We don't have to decide right this minute, do we? Besides, I'd like a tour of what will be my new home."
"Hold on," he whispered. "I think I've got an idea. There's a little garden out back. It needs some work mind, but I think… Yes, I think it might just do the trick."
"Oh?" she asked, intrigued. "Show me!"
After looking at it, inch by inch Severus thought, she turned to him beaming. "Oh, Severus, I love it! We can ask Neville to come and help spruce things up a bit."
"Longbottom? Really, Hermione. I don't think I'd want Longbottom using his wand anywhere near my home."
"Come now, Severus. You know that he's brilliant with this sort of thing. And would have likely done better in Potions had you not frightened him half to death."
"Right. We'd likely all have been blown to smithereens." He looked into her smiling eyes. "Happy?"
"Yes, actually, I am, and at peace now that we've settled things between us."
"Yes. When would you like to start moving you and the kids in?"
She raised an eyebrow. "After the wedding, of course. We've impressionable children to consider, you know."
Severus sighed. "I thought you'd say as much. Come, let me show you the rest of our home. We'll furnish the rest of it together, and Rose and Hugo will pick out their own bedroom furniture as Liam did."
"Sounds lovely," she said as she took his hand and started her tour.
Rose sat on the sofa in the lounge, studying her Charms book. Her mother had been in labor going on six hours now, and she knew the boys would be getting restless soon.
Looking over, she studied them both. Hugo was playing a game of Exploding Snap alone, and Liam was reading some sort of book. She sighed. Her brother hadn't really tried to get on with Liam. Not that he'd been mean, he'd just not made any sort of effort, or accepted any efforts made by their step-brother.
Rose knew that it was because Hugo had been jealous of their mum showing Liam so much attention. Not that she'd neglected either her brother or her, Rose thought. Hugo just didn't appreciate the fact that there was another boy, around his age, who shared her affections.
When Hugo sighed of boredom, Rose stood. "Would the two of you like to join me for tea?" she asked.
Liam looked at Hugo, then back at Rose. "I would. How about you, Hugo?"
Rose smiled at the struggle on her brother's face. He really wanted to hate Liam on principle, but it was hard for him to. "I guess. I was hoping to hear something by now though. Don't you think it's been a very long time, Rose?"
"Yes, it's been quite long. But I think that's normal."
Suddenly, Harry and Ginny came briskly down the hall. "Rose, we got here as soon as we could," Ginny said. "It was nice of the Headmistress to allow you three to be here."
"Professor McGonagall said that because this happened on a Saturday, and a Hogsmeade weekend, she would make an exception. But we have to be back by six tomorrow evening."
"Makes sense," Ginny agreed.
Harry knelt in front of Hugo. "All right?"
Hugo shrugged, glanced quickly at Liam, and then looked at his uncle. "She's been in there six hours, Uncle Harry."
Harry understood that his nephew didn't want his new step-brother to see that he was worried about his mum. He looked over at Liam, and Liam said, "It does seem really long. Do you think things are going okay? Surely my dad would let us know if anything is wrong."
Ginny smiled. "Six hours might seem like a terribly long time, but it's not really. It took me twelve hours with Lily, you know."
"Twelve hours!" Hugo and Liam both yelled at the same time and then instinctively smiled at each other.
"Liam and I were going to get some tea," Hugo said and watched his step-brother smile.
"Yes, would any of you like some?" Liam asked.
Before any of them could answer, Severus came bursting out of the delivery room.
"Is the baby here?"
"What did she have?"
Severus held up a hand to stop the horde of questions being hurled at him. "Hermione is fine, and so is the baby." He looked at the Potters and then turned to the children. "You've a baby sister."
"A sister!" Rose exclaimed! "I wanted a sister!"
"You would," Hugo said and Liam smiled.
"What's her name, Dad?" Liam asked.
"We've decided on Chloe Jane Snape," he proudly told them.
Rose placed a hand on his arm. "Can we see them? Chloe and Mum?"
Severus smiled down at his step-daughter who looked so much like her mother. "Yes, in a bit. They're cleaning them up just now."
Harry slapped Severus on the back, startling him. "Well done, man."
"Thank you," Severus said formally. It was still odd for him to associate with the Potters, considering that Weasley was Harry's best mate. Harry had told him numerous times that Ron made his choice with Lavender, and he'd fully expected that Hermione would get on with her life.
A loud bang had all heads turning towards Hugo and Liam. "Oops," Liam said, slightly embarrassed, holding a blackened card in his hand. "Looks like Hugo wins this round."
Rose smiled at her two brothers, both so like their own father. She wondered what Chloe would look like, if she would have bits of them all.
She sat, waiting to be allowed inside her mum's room, and watched everyone. Severus, his tension slowly fading around her aunt and uncle, and Liam and Hugo, speaking more than they ever had to one another, and thought, This is my family.
Her heart felt a slight pang at the thought of her daddy, but she pushed it out. He and Lavender were her family, too. She suddenly thought of her grandparents and wondered if she should let them know about Chloe.
Before she could ask, the doors opened and the mediwitch informed them that they could see Hermione and the baby now. Rose, Hugo, and Liam quickly walked through the door.
"Mum!" Hugo said as soon as he walked in the room.
Hermione smiled, looking at all three of the children. "Come and see your baby sister," she told them all.
They tentatively walked to her bed, gathered close and looked down at the tiny pink bundle in their mother's arms. "She's so small," Liam said, gently running a finger down the baby's cheek.
Hugo gathered closer and studied her. "What color are her eyes, Mum?"
"They're blue for now. We'll see if that changes." Hermione looked at her eldest daughter. "Rose?"
Rose simply nodded, tears in her eyes. "She's beautiful." She turned to Severus and surprised him and Hermione by giving him a fierce hug.
Severus patted her back and then put his arm around her shoulder. "She is that," he said proudly. "Like her mother." Then he took his eyes off of his wife and daughter and turned to Rose. "Like you."
Hugo put his finger down his throat and fake gagged himself. "Rose? Beautiful?"
Everyone laughed, and then Harry surprised Severus by saying, "Okay, you three. We're going to stop by your grandparents' house and let them know about Chloe, and then you guys are bunking with us tonight. Lily will love that. I'm afraid that until she starts Hogwarts next year, she's going to be hell to live with."
Hermione smiled. "You're sure?"
"Absolutely," Ginny assured her.
When Liam started to step back, Hugo gently grabbed his arm. "It's fun at my aunt and uncle's house. We can sneak in James' room and check out all the neat stuff he has in there."
Rose smiled, feeling proud of her brother. Finally, he was making the effort that Liam had been trying to make all along. "That's right," Rose agreed. "And Grandmum will have cookies and hot cocoa for us."
Liam looked at his father, feeling unsure. "If you think it's all right."
"It's absolutely all right," he assured him.
After everyone had cleared out of the room, Severus walked over to sit on the bed with his wife and daughter. "She really is very lovely," he told her.
"Yes," Hermione agreed. "All of our children are."
"Happy in our little fairytale?" he asked.
"Definitely," Hermione told him. "Especially now that you've turned from a frog to a prince!"
Severus leaned in and kissed her. All was right in his world now.
A/N: There you have it. I hope you enjoyed!