Title: Catch and Release

Author: lj user=roozetter

Other pairings/threesome: Harry/Severus, Ron/Hermione

Rating: R

Word count: 5,561

Warning(s): Potential trigger - miscarriage

Prompt: Ron walks in on the couple in an intimate moment.

Summary: Harry has a "tell," when he needs affection. Ron never realized Severus had the same one.

A/N: Written for the Snarry A Thon 2011, and totally dedicated to accioslash and torino10154, for being such fantabulous mods and cheerleaders. Much love to faeryqueen07 for the lightning fast beta.

" Catch and Release"

The baby is tiny, ridiculously so.

He can't see any of her appendages, so tightly is she swaddled in her pink fuzzy blankets, and the balls of magic pulsing warm yellow and orange lights down upon her makes her nose look like a giant freckle and turns her wispy red curls into a carrot top. She fits perfectly in the crook of his arm, and he can't help but think that he was born for this, that his arm grew to its current length for the specific task of holding this grunting little vegetable-looking child.

She is the most beautiful thing he has ever seen.

Hermione is curled up on her side on the hospital bed, the crisp white sheets making her look washed out and flushed at the same time. She's sound asleep, a damp patch slowly spreading over the cotton of her nightie as her body realizes it's almost time to feed the baby. Ron knows he should wake her, but he can't seem to move. Can't seem to do anything except hold his new daughter and try to remember to breathe.

A gentle knock on the door, followed by a quiet, "Ron?"

He turns his head toward the door, manages to look away from his baby and get his eyes to follow the motion of his head a moment later, and sees Severus shutting the door to their hospital room, Harry already moving across the room with a blinding smile, trying to simultaneously shrug off his traveling cloak and deposit a huge bouquet of flowers on the counter. Severus takes pity on Harry and Summons the flowers right as Ron stands.

"Rosalyn," Ron chokes out, taking a single step forward and carefully – gods, she is so tiny - transferring her into Harry's waiting arms. "Rosalyn Eileen Weasley. We're calling her Rosie."

"Oh," Harry breathes out, just as enamored as Ron as he reaches out a finger and ghosts a line over one satiny smooth cheek. "She's perfect."

Ron is pretty sure he is nodding stupidly, but can't seem to make himself stop as he gazes at the baby. "Yeah."

Severus is standing by Hermione, flipping through her medical chart with a frown of concentration before giving a single, approving nod and replacing it in the warded container at the foot of her bed.

He glides forward to stand at Harry's shoulder, glances down at the baby with a carefully blank face. "It is a Weasley."

Harry laughs out loud and glances up at Severus through his messy fringe of hair. And there it is, that moment when their eyes connect, that intimacy that binds them together in even the most public of situations, and Ron takes a shuddering breath and bows his head.


There was a moment, a single day of blinding clarity, when Ron knew he was going to spend the rest of his life with Hermione … and that Harry was not going to spend the rest of his with Ginny.

It was a perfect summer day at the Burrow, Harry's nineteenth birthday to be precise, and the four of them were lazing by the pond while Molly finished Harry's birthday cake. Ginny was giggling as she sat beside Harry and tickled his arm with a blade of grass, Harry smiling and sleepily batting at her hand. Ron was stretched out beside Harry, right arm propped behind his head, left hand idly playing with Hermione's hair as she lay reading a book with her head on his stomach.

"So, I made the team," Ginny offered offhandedly, discarding the grass strands and leaning back against Harry's leg. They share a look, something warm and lingering that tells without words that this is a subject they've already discussed at great length. "The Holyhead Harpies."

"My sister, a harpy." Ron shook his head lazily, feeling vaguely like he was missing something but too warm and happy to really care. Besides, if it was something important, Hermione would elbow him. "I feel there's a certain bit of symbolism attached to that."

"Ha, ha, ha." Ginny rolled her eyes, glancing at her wand as though debating whether or not to hex her brother for that statement.

"But what about…" Hermione rolled over, propping her arms on Ron's stomach as she glanced at Harry and bit her lip.

"What? Me and Harry?" Ginny's smile was more than a little wistful as she shifted to lie on the grass next to Harry, curling close to his side and snuggling her head onto his chest. "We're friends. We'll always be friends." Her smile turned impish as she stretched out her leg and nudged Ron in the thigh with her toes. "I'm afraid if you want Harry married you'll have to hold out for Snape."

Ron wants to laugh, wants to sputter about Ginny being delusional and how she shouldn't make jokes about Harry's future the very day she announces to her brother that she's leaving town. But then Harry's hand twitches, an almost involuntary spasm where his fingers curl and release, like he wants to reach out but doesn't quite know how.

And that was the moment.

Harry didn't know how to ask for comfort, how to beg people not to abandon him. When he was twelve he'd clenched his hand and Ron had stood by his side during the Heir of Slytherin fiasco. When he was fourteen he'd clenched his hand, but Ron had been too busy wallowing in self-pity over not being named a champion and had turned his back. At seventeen he'd clenched his hand, but between the Horcrux and exhaustion, Ron had again turned his back and walked out of the tent.

But after that, after Fred and Lupin and tiny little Creevey, spending sleepless nights simply listening to each other breathe, Ron had vowed never to turn away from Harry again. So if Snape made Harry's hand twitch … Ron would reserve judgment for now.

"Yeah, well." Stretching his right arm out from under his head, he wriggled until he managed to slide it around Harry's neck and pull his friend closer to his side. "Harry always did have a thing for the Half Blood Prince."

Hermione giggled unconvincingly, looking between Ron and Harry with a curious mixture of concern and relief. Still, she didn't do anything more than start talking about Ginny's new job until Harry, who still hadn't said anything, gradually relaxed and took a deep, shuddering breath.


He's taken for granted popping round to Harry's place without prior notification. They've been closer than brothers for too many years for any false modesty to remain between them, and between Harry's nightmares and the echoing silence in the Burrow, Grimmauld Place has become kind of the trio's place.

And besides, with his parents in Romania visiting Charlie, he has to tell someone his news, in person, or he's afraid he'll burst.

The kitchen is empty, and Ron has rushed through the room, up the stairs, and into the hallway before he remembers about Mrs. Black painting and Silences his tread. The murmur of voices alerts him to the partially opened door of the living room, and Ron pauses, confused, pulling his wand reflexively before continuing forward on tiptoe. Harry rarely has visitors.

Severus Snape is sitting on the couch wearing flowing black robes, elbows on his knees and fingers buried in lank hair. His breathing is off, sounding labored and too fast in the suddenly quiet room. "Harry, this is foolishness."

Harry is standing there looking flushed and awkward, his green button-down shirt untucked and rumpled, biting his swollen lips as he rubs the palm of his hands over his denim-clad hips. "It's not," he responds hoarsely, taking a step closer to Snape. He clears his throat and clenches his hand, taking another step until their knees bump. "Severus, it's really not."

Ron's brow crinkles in confusion as he looks between the two men. He knows what intimacy looks like, knows what it feels like, when the air goes thick and heavy and it's hard to remember to breathe. He's frowning thoughtfully, wondering how accurate Ginny was when she teased about Harry wanting to marry Snape, when Harry does something that blows his mind wide open.

Harry's hand clenches … and then he reaches out, settling tentatively on Snape's shoulder. Ron stares, unconsciously holding his breath. He can list on one hand the number of people Harry has ever reached out to.

When he's not rebuffed, Harry gets bolder, pushing against Severus' shoulder until he's leaning back and looking up at Harry with an expression Ron has never seen on his face before. Slowly, cautiously, Harry moves, reaching out to gently slide Severus' elbows off of his knees and swinging his leg up and over until he is sitting on Severus' lap, straddling him, and his palms – when had Harry raised his other hand? – are pressed flat against broad shoulders and rubbing soothingly.

Severus' hands twitch, like he wants to reach out and hold Harry right back, but doesn't quite know how. Hidden in the hallway, Ron's mouth parts in surprise. How has he never noticed that Harry and Snape, both such private, autonomous individuals, have the same tell?

"Please?" Harry asks hopefully, leaning in to press a chaste kiss to Severus' temple.

"Harry." Closing his eyes, Severus slowly leans his head forward until his forehead rests on Harry's breastbone. The gesture makes Harry smile, the tension easing out of his shoulders as he slides one hand around to cradle the back of Severus' neck.

Ron feels like he's been punched in the gut, and retreats back to the kitchen to think about this.

Somehow, in the midst of restoring Hogwarts, clearing Snape's name, and learning how to reforge their images in a world where their meaning has been stripped away – The Boy Who Lived and The Spy – Harry and Severus found themselves together. And if Harry is reaching out where normally he would turn away or wait, then this is a serious relationship.

Mind made up, Ron bounds up the stairs and tramples down the hall, not bothering to mask his approach. The curtains surrounding Mrs. Black's frame don't even twitch, and Ron's grin brightens all the more as he thinks of the curses Snape must have shot at it.

The two are still sitting on the couch, both of Harry's arms now wrapped around Severus' neck, Severus' fingers digging in a white-knuckled grip on Harry's hips. Ron laughs at the sight of them, relatively certain Snape attempted to shove Harry off his lap when he heard Ron, with Harry equally determined to hang on.

"Harry!" He dashes across the room and jumps on the couch, flinging his arms around Harry and giving him a firm kiss on the mouth. "Snape!" Still enthusiastic, he lunges at the other man, giving him an equally enthusiastic kiss before pulling back slightly.

Harry is grinning, Snape looks murderous. Ron beams a smile at them both and yells at the top of his lungs, "She's pregnant!"


Ginny flings open the door to the Burrow and yanks Ron inside the second his feet touch the back porch. "About fucking time you get here!" she hisses in irritation before tossing a smile over his shoulder. "Hermione, you look radiant."

Hermione grimaces in return as Ron extracts himself from his sister long enough to help her remove her outer robe. Hermione's just come from work and is wearing a smart pin-striped suit, snug against her slightly thickening belly. "I don't feel radiant," she sighs, letting Ron lead her toward the kitchen table, "I feel swollen and useless."

"You're amazing," Ron insists firmly, smiling as she smiles up at him. And for a moment he's lost in the smell of her perfume and the flush of her cheeks, wanting nothing more than to curl up with her and listen while she vents about the incompetent idiots at the ministry who wouldn't know the difference between a Muggle and a Mongoose.

"Tender," Ginny interrupts flatly, once again seizing Ron by the arm and yanking him to his feet. "Don't let Angelina near the stove, Hermione," she warns as she drags Ron from the room. "She's nearly full term, and last week the twins blew up the pan of mushy peas."

Ron lets himself be dragged from the room once Ginny twists her shoulders and pushes through the hidden panel to the left of the door. They'd discovered the secret passage when Ron was four and Ginny three, desperate to hide from the twins, winding from the kitchen to just outside the rarely used front door.

"All right, what is it?" He asks resignedly when they're standing outside and Ginny is casting a Silencing spell she had to have learned from Harry.

"Harry's here."

He blinks. "Well, yes, it is his twentieth birthday party."

"No, you dolt." Impatiently punching him on the arm, Ginny leans closer and drops her tone to a whisper. "He brought Severus with him!"

This is news to Ron. Only not, as he has never been able to get the image of Harry reaching for Snape out of his head. "Since when do you call him Severus?"

"Really?" Ginny looks like she wants to throttle him and Ron flicks a wary glance at her arms, muscular from the last year and a half playing sports for a living. "That's the most important detail to you? He gave me permission to call him Severus last time I went over for dinner. Happy?"

She flips her hair over her shoulder and reached for his hand. "But Mum and Dad don't quite know what to do about him being here and it's awkward. You know they'll take their cues from you, so you need to go in there and make it better!"

"You have dinner with them?" He and Hermione have been over several times to eat or simply visit with them, but somehow the thought of Ginny going over there as well is just … odd.

"Ron." Ginny is talking through clenched teeth,

"Relax, Gin." Ron rolls his eyes and slides his arms around his sister, hugging her close to his side. "It will be ok."

"You'll make it better?" Her big brown eyes are worried as she looks up at him, and Ron suddenly realizes how desperately she wants Harry to be happy.

"I'll make it better," he promises, kissing her on the temple like she's a toddler. But she's beaming up at him, and he suddenly notices how pretty she looks in her pink summer dress. "If you start bringing guys home, however, I'll … do something threatening."

They're laughing as they open the front door, and the tension slaps him in the face and nearly sends him reeling. Severus is standing in the corner, one arm wrapped tightly about his chest, his other hand clenching a glass of punch hard enough that Ron would bet Galleons it's been spelled against shattering. Harry is standing next to him, smile slightly strained as he chats with Hermione, one hand gripping Severus' elbow and rhythmically clenching and releasing.

Ron takes a second to marvel over how even amidst the comfortable chaos of his home Severus and Harry seem to have created an isolated bubble all their own.

He trades a glance with Hermione as he calls out greetings and crosses the room. Gin was right about the strained smiles and almost bewildered helplessness as people try to figure out how to act around this new development.

"Happy birthday, Harry!" He exclaims happily, carefully hauling his best friend into a hug that doesn't dislodge the desperate grip he has on Severus' arm. When he pulls back, he is unsurprised to see Severus glowering down at him.

"Attempt another kiss, Mr. Weasley, and I shall not be held accountable for my actions."

Ignoring the startled looks, Ron bursts out laughing and raises his hands in surrender. "No kissing," he promises cheekily. "I will, however, tell you …" he trails off to glance at Hermione and somehow she knows what he wants to say and steps to his side.

"We would love it if you would consent to be the baby's godparents." She speaks loudly and firmly, an edge of defiance to her tone, and Ron again marvels at how they can be so impossibly grown up at only twenty.

Harry looks like he's about to cry and Severus looks like he's been cursed to within an inch of his life. Ginny is shrieking and clapping her hands happily, Percy has forgotten he's eating mid-chew, and his mum …

"You're pregnant?"

… It's only then he remembers his parents were in Romania when Ron and Hermione found out they were expecting, and they have subsequently forgotten to spread the news since they figured everyone knew.


Later, Ron will marvel at the scene he interrupted.

Severus is lying on his back, both arms wrapped tightly around Harry as though afraid the other man will flee during the night. Harry doesn't seem to mind the position, a look of peace on his sleeping face as he lay half on top of Severus. They're completely entwined, connected far more than physically. And Ron can't help but reflect that even in the years immediately following the end of the Dark Lord, Harry never slept deeply enough, never felt safe enough, not to notice an interruption as loud as the one Ron just made.

But that will be later.

Right now all he can do is look at Severus helplessly when black eyes fly open and a wand snaps into his peripheral vision. Somebody is breathing unevenly, loud and harsh in the serenity of the bedroom, and it takes several beats of his erratic heart before Ron realizes it is him.

"Severus? What…?" Harry blinks as his position is jostled, turning to squint at the doorway. The fact that he doesn't immediately reach for his wand or his glasses speaks volumes about the trust he has for Severus and, oddly, reminds Ron of the way Hermione will wearily close her eyes and drop her head on his shoulder after a long day at work.

"Mr. Weasley." Severus' voice is alert and composed, belying the vulnerable position Ron found him in. "One would presume there is a point behind your untimely interruption."

Ron's breath stutters and his heart stops beating again. "They won't let me see her," he chokes out brokenly.

Severus' eyes narrow, but it is Harry who speaks. "Ron?" Now he is turning, fumbling on the bedside table for his glasses. Ron wants to go to him, wants Harry to dredge up his infamous blind luck and sprinkle it over him, but now that he's stopped running he's afraid that if he moves again he will shatter into a million pieces.

"They won't let me see her," he repeats, tears beginning to slide down his cheeks as he stares at Severus. "You have to … she's bleeding and crying, but they kicked me out of the room and they won't let me see her!" Panic is making his voice rough, and he is shouting by the time he finishes speaking.

Harry looks frozen in place, a stricken expression on his face, but Severus is already moving. Throwing back the thick blue comforter and striding to the wardrobe uncaring of his nakedness, he grabs a black robe and shrugs it on. He pauses once to look at Harry, their eyes connecting and a million words flying unspoken between them. Harry nods, climbing out of bed as Severus reaches Ron in the doorway, squeezing his shoulder gently before gliding past.

The rush of the Floo is loud in his head, and the next time he blinks he's in St. Mungo's with Harry holding his hand and coldly demanding to be let through.

It's like a dream. A really, really bad dream. Like the ones he used to have of Fred after the war, where he cursed and screamed and yelled that if Ron had never left the tent they would have found the Horcruxes that much faster and he would still be alive.

Only, as the door opens, Ron realizes with sickening clarity that he is not dreaming. Severus is standing next to Hermione's bed with an impassive expression on his face as she clings to his arm and sobs. Harry's hand clenches at the sight and he is dragging Ron into the room, reaching out to Severus while Ron gazes brokenly at the girl he has loved since he was a teenager.

Hermione latches on to him with one hand as he staggers and literally collapses onto the bed, refusing or unable to let go of Severus' arm. Ron understands. He feels like a teenager, out of his element and lost, as he wraps an arm around her and an arm around Harry, and somehow having the icy silence and control that makes up Severus Snape is calming, reassuring.

"He was a boy, Ron." Hermione's tears are soaking his shirt. Out of the corner of his eye he sees Harry give Severus a helpless look before burying his head into Severus' neck.

"Our little Byron," she weeps. "And he was beautiful, wasn't he, Severus?"

Ron has read the parenting books, the images of fetuses stamped permanently in his brain. At just under four months, the baby looked like an alien, all un-proportionately large head and tiny, tiny limbs. Still, he looks up at Severus, feeling like his answer will somehow make the world make sense again.

"A singularly exquisite representation of the male species."

Ron can feel Severus' hand clenching from where it is pressed between his and Hermione's body, and knows that Severus is being kind in the only way he knows how to be.


"I don't want any fuss," Hermione insists for the um-teenth time, smoothing the lapels of Ron's dark blue dress robes. "Just a simple ceremony. We're already practically married, this just makes it official."

"Good ju-ju," Ginny pipes up obediently, twisting in front of the full-length mirror as she examines her up-swept hair and flowing purple robes.

"You look lovely, dear," the mirror coos in response to her primping. Ginny beams and blows the glass a kiss.

"Did you get the rings, Ron?" Hermione has a slightly desperate look in her eyes and Ron leans down to kiss her in lieu of answering.

"Hey, now," Harry cheerfully interrupts from the doorway, "You're supposed to wait until you say 'I do' before you carry on with any of that." He gives Hermione a faintly quizzical look. "Aren't you supposed to be wearing white?"

Hermione smoothes her hands down the sides of her pale green robe, one hand shifting to linger possessively over her flat stomach. "Green is traditionally associated with hope," she answers slightly defensively.

"Which is very good ju-ju," Ginny agrees brightly, giving Harry a warning look through the mirror.

"And you look stunning," Harry responds immediately. "Doesn't she, Severus?"

"Oh, Severus." Hermione gives Harry an absent smile, pausing to smooth a hand down his silky green robes and run an affectionate hand through his messy hair before turning to his companion. "Did you bring the nutrient potion?"

Not one of them mentions that Hermione, healthy and fit, does not require daily supplements. Nor do they point out that not being married while pregnant the first time in no way contributed to the loss of the baby.

Severus merely arches an eyebrow, reaches into the inner pocket of his traditional black robes, and pulls out a vial. "Freshly brewed this morning, Miss Granger. Harry took the liberty of dropping the remaining vials off at your charming abode."

Ron can't help the slightly giddy laughter as Hermione downs the potion and finally – finally! – some of the tension eases from her shoulders. "Charming abode, huh? I guess that's better than calling it a hovel."

"I like your house, Ron," Harry pipes up loyally, grinning as the atmosphere in the room lightens. "It's cozy."

The registrar at the ministry seems a tad overwhelmed as Ginny stands beside Hermione and Harry and Severus loom next to Ron. But all of them except for Hermione are clutching their wands and glaring, so nothing is said. The officiate maintains his silence as Hermione charms stars onto the ceiling and what sounds like waves crashing upon the shore to fill the room. Still nothing is said as Ginny lights incense and Hermione takes deep breaths while ordering everyone to clear their minds and think happy thoughts.

It's comforting, and Ron breathes deeply and leans into the solid body next to him as he pleads to the gods to let positive ju-ju protect his family.

He opens his eyes feels quieter inside, like he's breathed the ocean or the herbs inside himself and they have somehow smothered the frantic edge of worry that never quite leaves him.

Harry and Severus clearly feel the sense of peace as well. They're gazing at each other as though they've forgotten there's anyone else in the room besides them. Slowly, Severus' hand contracts and releases. He raises his hand, reaches out, and trails one finger across Harry's brow, down his cheek, and under his chin. Ron doesn't even have to look at Harry to know his eyes will be bright and intense.

And then the registrar is pronouncing them man and wife and Ginny is dancing around the room, long red hair burning like firelight in the candle-lit room. Hermione looks happier than she has in ages, gripping his hand like a lifeline and beaming.

Harry is swept up in the jubilation as well, clapping Ron on the back and grinning broadly before turning around, standing on tiptoes, and kissing Severus full on the mouth. For someone who dislikes public displays of affection, Severus wastes no time fisting his hands in Harry's robes and kissing him back.


She's been working at home since her fourth month, spending long hours on the chaise in the magically-enhanced sunroom, listening to Vivaldi and Beethoven and Rachmaninoff. Ron quit the Aurors in her eighth month, accepting the more flexible hours that came with George's offer.

They're just sitting there listening to the wireless, him reading the paper and Hermione flipping through some boring-looking tome about international wizarding confederations, when she gives a soft, "Oh!" and drops her quill.

Within seconds he's Summoning her pre-packed hospital bag and sticking his head in the Floo, forgetting about the bag until it smacks him upside his head just as he chokes on a mouthful of ash as he calls out for Severus.

Harry is laughing, telling him to step aside for Severus to step through and, yes, he'll Floo the Burrow and let Ron's family know about the baby.

Hermione is lecturing about how her contractions are barely contractions and it can be false labor, but she's clinging to Severus' hand and reaching for Ron, and between the two of them they've managed to Apparrate her to St. Mungo's without Splinching or getting lost along the way.

The staff isn't best pleased, but when a Healer casts a spell to check the fetal heart beat and the baby rejects the magic and rebounds it so hard the Healer is thrown into the wall, they let Severus stay, if only to get clear vitals, as all Ron can do is stand dumbly by his wife's side and hold her hand.

She is screaming at the Healers to remain calm and happy, to bring her baby into the world with good ju-ju, and eventually snatches Ron's wand out of his hand and starts casting curses when they don't obey. Ron watches Healer Addams scamper around the room as a transfigured bunny rabbit, watches pulsing blue flowers shimmer into existence out a Healer's ears as she runs for the door, and simply strokes the back of Hermione's hand and reminds her to breathe.

Severus is between Hermione's legs now, declaring he will fail her on her NEWTS if she dares cast a spell at him. Ron wants to remind him they've been graduated for nearly five years now, but Hermione is obeying him, letting Ron's wand slip from her fingers and clatter onto the mattress, and all Ron can think of is how back in third year Hermione's greatest fear was failing all her exams. He knows her fears have changed, so he simply kisses her temple and tries to hum one of the classical songs they've been listening to for all these months now.

Then Hermione is wailing, or Severus is, or … He's afraid to look but unable to prevent his head from turning, from looking at Severus with desperate pleading.

"You have butchered Bach," Severus informs him gravely, long fingers carefully supporting a squirming blob of pale blood-covered flesh.

"I'm not naming the baby Bach," Ron answers, tears streaming down his face as he watches Severus place the baby on Hermione's heaving chest.

"I should hope not," Severus answers scathingly, reaching up to wipe moisture from his eyes as he watches Hermione laugh and wipe away the blood and kiss every finger as the baby wails. "Bach is a deplorable name for a girl." He seems to remember where he is and musters up a sneer. "Even for a Weasley."

Molly is the first person through the door once the Healers clear Hermione and finally get their hands on the baby to check her reflexes and whatnot. Ron's not seen his mum weep like this since … ages, and stands to the side as she converges upon a beaming Hermione and coos at her newest granddaughter.

His brothers are there, all of them, with their wives and children. The hospital staff looks overwhelmed by the surplus of people, but Harry is there too, laughing and grinning and hugging Severus, and they won't dare upset their darling Savior so soon after the war.

But when Molly flings herself at Severus and weeps into his shoulder about what a "good, good man you are, Severus Snape!" he has clearly reached his limit. Touching Harry's elbow, they exchange a warm look loaded with meaning and slip out the door.

Later, so much later, when he is alone and Hermione has stopped watching the baby breathe long enough to give in to her exhaustion, they come back.

Severus glides forward to stand at Harry's shoulder, glances down at the baby with a carefully blank face. "It is a Weasley."

Harry laughs out loud and glances up at Severus through his messy fringe of hair. And there it is, that moment when their eyes connect, that intimacy that binds them together in even the most public of situations, and Ron takes a shuddering breath and bows his head.

"You're to be the godfathers," he tells them, voice hoarse from too many suppressed emotions, tearing his eyes away from his vegetable baby to look them in the eye.

They exchange a look, Harry smiling gently before turning back to Ron. "We understand if you want one of your brothers to be the godfather, Ron."

"Godfathers," he corrects stubbornly. "There is to be no Godmother. Only you two, so you can help teach her the important things."

"Like Potions?" Severus queries sardonically.

Ron just shakes his head, reaching to pull tiny Rosie away from Harry and place her in Severus' steady arms. "Once upon a time there was a boy named Harry," he says softly, watching as Severus automatically shifted his stance to better support the baby. "He didn't know how to ask people to love him, and was lonely until he fell for a man equally closed off, and they learned how to reach out together."

"Ron." Harry sounds choked.

"She won't be raised like that," Ron whispers. "She'll be loved and spoiled."

"Probably too much." Severus agrees darkly, but his hands are gentle as Rosie scrunches up her face and grunts and he shifts her to his shoulder.

"Yeah." Ron nods, entranced yet again by his little girl. He has to physically shake himself to get the conversation back on track. "But if we … If Hermione and I were to die."

Harry is already shaking his head negatively. "No, Ron, don't think like that."

Ron ignores him and looks directly into Severus' eyes. "If we die," he continues firmly, "she'll be broken in a way no one can fix. And sometimes her hand will clench, like she wants to reach out for comfort but doesn't know how."

He can hear Harry suck in a startled breath, but he can't look away from the emotions burning him through Severus' eyes. "You'll help her, then. You'll teach her how it's ok to reach out and accept the love being offered her, because you'll understand. Yeah?"

Harry's hand clenches and releases before reaching out and yanking Ron into a hug so tight it steals his breath. "I swear it, Ron. I swear." Ron can tell by the catch in Harry's voice that he is crying, and simply wraps his arms around him in support.

"Rosalyn." Severus finally breaks the silence by stating thoughtfully. "A fine name for a Goddaughter. Merlin willing, she will have her mother's brains."

"Yeah." Ron isn't embarrassed to admit he has to knuckle at his own eyes before he lifts his head from Harry's shoulder. "Yeah, we love you, too."