Five years later…

Hermione stretched and yawned, rubbing her stomach absently. "These numbers are driving me batty today."

"You're also two weeks away from delivery. Take a break, I'm certain Vector won't mind," Severus said as he looked up from the essays he was grading. "There's time enough to finish the advanced arithmancy degree after she's born."

"I know. Ooh," she said as she stood, touching her stomach once more. "I don't think it's going to be two more weeks, love. Will you run and get Poppy and Sibyll?" He nodded and left the room at a fast clip. Hermione smiled as she watched him leave and then moved into their bedroom, changing into a worn nightgown. She was stripping the bed when Sibyll entered.

"Hermione! What are you doing?"

"I don't want to ruin the good linens. Will you help me to put old ones on?"

"Or we could just put a charm on them so they won't get dirty."

"That, too. Sometimes I still forget I have magic at my disposal." She winced and touched her stomach again, hearing Sibyll perform the self-cleaning charm on the bed. Hermione let Sibyll help her into the bed and she sat back against the headboard, rubbing her stomach absently as she tried to keep her breathing steady.

By the time Poppy joined them, Sibyll was holding Hermione's hand as she bore down through her first truly painful contraction. "How far apart are the contractions?"

"I haven't been keeping track, Poppy," Hermione answered as she watched Poppy set up the tools she'd need for the delivery. "Though I do hope you're going to give me a pain numbing potion."

"Eventually, yes. Your labor is still in the early stages."

"You mean it gets worse?"

"Just a little, my dear. Now, I have to go do some tasks to prepare for this. Sibyll will know when it's time to get me again." Poppy left the room and Hermione looked at Sibyll.

"You never said anything about the pain being this bad."

"That's because I was so happy. I sort of forgot about the pain when I held Evelyn for the first time. It was a miracle we had her at all, at our age. And she can't wait to meet the new baby." Sibyll smiled as Hermione squeezed her hand tightly. "This, too, shall pass."

They sat and talked about what was going on in the castle until suddenly, the labor changed. Hermione's water broke and the contractions came faster and lasted longer. Sibyll left and came back with Poppy, who gave Hermione a potion to take. The pain instantly dulled and she found she could focus on pushing more.

Poppy checked to see how far Hermione was dilated and smiled up at her. "I can feel the head. Push down as hard as you can with the next contraction." Hermione did as instructed and could feel her daughter, their daughter, leave her body. Sibyll cut the cord while Poppy cleaned out her airway and then Hermione heard the child's first cry. Bursting into happy tears, she held out her arms.

Poppy placed the child in them and then used another spell to clean them up. "Will you send Severus in? He should come meet his daughter." Poppy left the room and Sibyll brushed Hermione's hair a little, then covered her with a sheet.

"She's beautiful, Hermione."

"Isn't she though?" Hermione stroked her cheek gently, smiling happily.

"She's here?" were the first words out of Severus's mouth when he stepped into the room.

"Yes. Do you want to tell Sibyll the name we picked out for her?"

"Of course. Sibyll, may I introduce you to Eileen Rosethorne Snape?" Hermione saw the quick tears that came to Sibyll's eyes and held out the baby to Sibyll, who gently took her.

"Really and truly?" she whispered, not taking her eyes off the child.

"Really and truly, my dear friend. You and Gil are going to be her godparents, after all, just like we are for Evelyn." Hermione looked over at her husband, her smile widening. "After all, it was you who brought us together."

"I rather think it was Fate that did that, Hermione."

"Well, Fate had a rather large helping hand, didn't she? The red string that binds us to our loves has grown ever tighter with the birth of our children." Hermione touched Sibyll's wrist and the other woman nodded.

"And may we all live happily until we pass beyond the Veil," she softly said as she passed the baby to Severus.

"Amen to that, Sibyll," he said dryly, his face relaxing into a rare small smile. "Amen to that."