Disclaimer: I do not own anything related to Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling does.

A/N: This story is the third in the Elder Series and a sequel to Child of Destiny.

Nightly Rituals

Aurora Sinistra, a witch in her mid-thirties, brushed her long dark curly hair silently as she readied herself for bed. She had to admit that sleep wasn't that appealing to her tonight or any night for that matter. After the few months she had, she knew she needed it, though. She glanced towards her bed and sighed heavily. The man she loved unconditionally had locked himself in his office, brewing something feverishly, so she knew she'd be alone tonight. She honestly did love him unconditionally, but she wished he wasn't so into his potions. It sometimes felt as if he loved his potions more than her.

Gently setting her brush back down on the edge of the table, Aurora stood up and glanced at her reflection in the mirror. Her complexion was as pale as it had always been. Her dark brown eyes were a shade lighter, which was probably because of her daughter. She thanked Merlin profusely when she didn't find any wrinkles etched into her lovely face yet. Her hair was as dark as ever without a speck of silver. She sighed contently. She still looked rather young yet.

Closing her eyes, Aurora hung her head and sighed. They had been so lucky. It was only this morning that they nearly lost everything. The entire saga started a few months back with the Shadow attack that nearly cost her one chance at true happiness. The Shadow, whatever it had been, had preyed on Death Eaters all summer long. Anytime it met one, someone always found the body the next day.

On June 30, the Shadow ran into Severus Snape, the man Aurora loved unconditionally. Snape himself was a former Death Eater, but loyally served Albus Dumbledore, leader of the Order of the Phoenix, for fourteen years. The Shadow nearly killed him, though, stopping for some reason or another. Leaving him without his magic, Snape slowly recovered from his injuries that were both physical and psychological in nature. During this slow recovery, he allowed himself to admit finally his true feelings to Aurora, which soon after they started courting.

In September, their relationship started to hit the rocks as secrets started to unravel. One such example was that Snape learned of the scars on Aurora's back. Enraged that someone had hurt her, he stormed off to Malfoy Manor intent on killing Lucius Malfoy. However, soon after arriving, Narcissa Malfoy killed her husband and herself in efforts to protect their son. Unfortunately, Bellatrix, sister to Narcissa, watched her sister die and immediately assumed Snape had killed her. She quickly caught him off-guard and brought him before the Dark Lord where Snape was tortured for three months.

During this time, Aurora discovered she was pregnant. However, the circumstances surrounding her child's conception was rather strange since she had not actually been with anyone. In addition, she had to deal with one Dolores "Pain in the arse" Umbridge, who was the Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic. Umbridge had been convinced that Aurora was hiding Snape somewhere in the castle, so Aurora had to hide herself away practically. It all came to blows, though, the day Snape returned.

Snape had suffered an extreme mental breakdown while being held captive by the Dark Lord. It had taken his mother, who Lady Atal (an Elder who interfered numerous times with Snape and Sinistra, including Aurora's mysterious pregnancy) recently released back to the Wizarding World, to heal his mind. While all that went on in the background, a sinister plot unraveled that involved a student at Hogwarts destroying the castle from the inside. Jezlyn Sinistra, Aurora's little sister, easily foiled the plot when she mistakenly used magic while brewing. In an act of rage, Elder Malante, an Elder who worked for the past few months with the Dark Lord, murdered the Dark Lord because of the failure.

Hours later, Aurora gave birth to a beautiful healthy girl as per the instructions that Eileen Prince, Severus's mother, received from Lady Atal. With the child's birth, the Elders believed that Aurora's daughter prevented Elder Malante from doing any harm. However, a week later, Elder Malante managed to kidnap the child. Somehow, luck had been on their side and their daughter returned to them unharmed. In real time, that was just this morning, though, but to Aurora it felt like a lifetime ago.

Opening her eyes again, Aurora glanced at her reflection. Yes, it was positively amazing she didn't have a speck of silver yet after the last few months she had. She glanced away and towards the tempting bed. She sighed softly before drumming her finger against the side of her leg. The bed may have looked inviting, but she wasn't ready to sleep yet. She slowly walked out of the bedroom and across the hall towards her daughter's room. The sight she saw made her smile warmly. With his back resting against the headboard, Severus sat on top of the bed. Their daughter was sleeping peacefully with her head on the pillow that lay across his lap. His eyes quickly caught Aurora's as she stared at him.

Aurora then watched him carefully remove himself from their daughter's clutches. She was amazed at how gentle and silent he was. Their daughter didn't even seem to notice that her father had moved. As soon as he reached Aurora, he turned around and leaned against the wall. The two parents silently watched their daughter sleep for a few moments. It was a sight to see.

"We should leave," Severus quietly whispered.

"Yes, we should," replied Aurora with a soft smile. "But I don't want to."

"She needs her rest, Aurora, as do we."

"Can't we take her with us? There's room." Aurora instantly heard his soft chuckles.

"If you can move her without waking her, then by all means, Aurora," he responded.

"Mokai," Aurora whispered. Within seconds, the small house elf appeared in the room. "Please move Angel over to our bed." The small house elf's large violet eyes widened before he glanced towards Severus. When he received the brief nod, Mokai quietly sighed and snapped his fingers. The young sleeping child instantly disappeared from the bed. "Thank you." The house elf said nothing before he himself popped away. It took the parents exactly two seconds to walk back to their bedroom. Sure enough, the sleeping child was in the middle of the large black bed.

"Just for one night, Aurora," Severus quietly said as he walked towards his side of the bed. "We cannot smother our child because of what could happen, especially since we both know that she is safe." Both parents then quietly got into bed.

Aurora quickly slid an arm under Angel's head before sighing contently. She glanced towards Severus and caught his look. She only smiled, though, and gently brushed a blond curl back from her daughter's face. Their daughter was beautiful as she slept. It was as if staring into the face of an angel.

A few minutes later, Aurora heard a soft sigh of annoyance from the other side of the bed. She glanced towards Severus. She couldn't understand what annoyed him so much. Their daughter was safe and with them. When he flicked a blonde curl, she understood. Angel's hair, unfortunately, was like hers. It went all over and was usually in someone's face. In this case, her hair was in her father's face.

"Oh, suck it up, Severus," she whispered, closing her eyes. Laughing softly, she fell asleep.