With this chapter, the Simon stories come to a close. I've enjoyed writing them and reading your reviews.
Again, I am not advocating an opinion regarding abortion, I've just used it a plot device.
J.K. Rowling owns the Harry Potter Universe.
Several days later, Miss Smythe returned to Hermione's office. "Good afternoon Professor Snape."
"Liza!" Hermione looked up from the papers she was grading. "Please come and sit down. How are you feeling?"
"Um, I am not sure. I've found out the ministry will handle my uncle. Professor I need to talk to you…..it's personal."
Hermione threw up a silencing spell and warded the office door. "There, now we won't be disturbed."
Liza looked anywhere around the room other than at Hermione. Her hands were flat on the desk in front of her, flexing her fingers as though massaging the wood would alleviate her nervousness. "I've thought and thought about this baby. I do not want it. I feel nothing about it." She looked at Hermione now, tears brimming in her eyes. "I don't know what to do!"
"Are you sure you do not want your baby?"
"I don't know," Liza got up from the desk and paced the room. "Every time I think about what happened I just want to die. I want to feel like I am happy to have a baby, but I can't. I feel like I have something foreign in me. But I won't have an abortion; I don't think that's right either."
Hermione looked at the girl, biting her lip as she carefully thought about the topic she wanted to bring up. "Liza, you were just a second year when Simon was born, yes?"
"Yes I was. Everyone knew you had a terrible accident and he was born too soon. You nearly died," Liza softly said.
"And very few people know that as a result of that accident, I also can no longer bear children."
"I'm so sorry."
"Thank you. Professor Snape and I decided this past fall that we wanted to adopt a child. We have filled out the paperwork with an agency, but we have not received any response. As you now know, in the wizarding world adoption is rare because out of wedlock pregnancy is rare, and situations like yours are even more rare. "Liza, do you think," Hermione took a few breaths before finishing. "Could you consider letting Professor Snape and I adopt your baby? You said you do not want to abort the child."
Liza was stunned. "You….you would be willing to adopt my baby?"
"I've told you we had contacted an agency. We did in October, but there has been no response. Would you like some time to think about it? It is asking a lot."
The distraught girl looked at once relieved and also confused. She rubbed her face and ran her hands nervously through her hair. "Please I need some time to think. My life is out of control right now. Things are happening so fast."
"Very well. Let me know what you've decided."
The end of March came with no promise of spring yet. Ginny gave birth to a son and named him Albus. Simon enjoyed school and his Auntie Angelina; although, it seemed his parents were prey to several Weasley wands and smaller pranks. One particular prank caused Severus to be quite late for class one morning when he discovered that Simon has replaced the shampoo in his parents' bathroom with a formula that caused Severus' hair to alternate between bushing up like a hedgerow and then straighten again but turn green.
Hermione and Severus kept a watchful eye on Liza Smythe but they did not pressure her for an answer. Her pregnancy was not common knowledge; Hermione and Poppy were able to teach her a few charms to hide the small bump burgeoning in her belly. In the second week of April, Liza stopped after class to speak with Hermione.
"What can I do for you Liza? Shouldn't you heading to the Great Hall for lunch?"
"Yes Ma'am. This will only take a moment. May I speak with you and Professor Snape this evening?"
"Of course. Can you meet us here after dinner, say half eight?"
"I'll be here. Thank you."
Hermione left her office and hurried to her quarters. "Severus?"
"In here!" A deep baritone called from their bedroom. Hermione walked in to find Severus coming from their shower with a towel wrapped around his waist; his wet hair dripping a trail of water down his chest.
"Yes, I have two Longbottoms this year in the same class."
Hermione just looked at her husband of nearly seven years. He was still trim, his abs still cut. Some of the scars on his chest and back had faded over the years, but he was still littered with them. He had more chest hair than when they first married, and Hermione was admiring the way his muscles rippled as he moved into the room. She followed the line of muscle from his chest down to where the towel obstructed her view.
"Madam Snape, you are staring." He smirked at her.
"You're quite distracting in that towel." Hermione answered, a knowing smile warming her face.
Severus walked toward her. "Am I, hmmm?" He bent his head to kiss her neck. "How about this? Is this distracting?" He bit her neck and she moaned. "And this?" He began to undo her robes and nipped at her neck.
"Oh gods, yes." She purred in pleasure. She reached out and pulled his towel off and began to stroke his length.
"Now Madam," he responded with a soft growl. "You are distracting me."
Half an hour later, both lay in bed with their legs entwined. Hermione spoke. "You know, I came in here to tell you something important before you distracted me."
"Hmmm?" Severus began kissing her neck again.
She shoved him away. "Liza wants us to meet with us after dinner. I told her to meet us in my office at half eight. Do you think she's decided?"
Severus stopped kissing her neck and looked at his wife noting her face was pleasantly flushed. "I hope so; one way or another, we'll know after dinner. Now, wife, if you're done distracting me, I have another class to teach. "
Hermione gasped in indignation. "I believe it was the other way around, husband." Severus responded with a deep loving kiss and then got up. Hermione did as well and they prepared for the afternoon classes.
After dinner, they left Simon in the care of a house elf and went to Hermione's office. Severus could tell Hermione was nervous and pulled her close and rubbed her back. "Relax, know-it-all, relax."
"I know. I am so hopeful and afraid at the same time." A soft knock interrupted them and Severus bade Liza to come in.
"Good evening Miss Smythe," he said. "Please have a seat." Hermione sat at her desk and Severus stood behind her.
"Good evening, Professors."
"How are you feeling this evening?" Hermione asked.
"I could do without the indigestion, but Madam Pomfrey gave me something for it." She cleared her throat and looked at her hands before looking at the couple. "Professors, I've given this a lot of thought, She stuttered a bit before being able to speak clearly again. "Would you still be willing to adopt the baby for me?"
Severus squeezed Hermione's shoulder. "Are you sure of your decision? Is this what you want?" he asked.
"Yes. I had so many plans for my life. The circumstances surrounding my pregnancy…..I cannot feel an affinity for this child. It would be better for the child to go to parents who would love it more than I could. Who would look at it as a blessing and not as a reminder," she muttered and looked at the floor.
Hermione breathed in deeply before speaking. "Liza, if you are sure this is what you want, then Professor Snape and I would be willing to adopt the baby."
Liza shyly smiled. "Yes, this is what I want." There was a silence for a moment as each person in the room considered what just happened. Liza spoke again. "I must confess something to you that helped me make my decision. In mid September, while the weather was still nice, I was on the astronomy tower attempting to locate one of the molds that Potions Professor Snape had assigned as homework for potions. I saw you and your son at the lake with the Potter's. I watched you play with him and then I saw you two together on the blanket while Simon played with the other kids. You looked so natural together; the two of you alone and the two of you with Simon.
For all I know of your roles in the war; yours as a supposed death eater," she glanced at Severus and then turned to Hermione, "and yours as part of the 'Golden Trio', I must admit I held you to a much different ideal as people and parents. You are very formal with each other in public and most of the students wonder just how formal you are in private. After what I saw from the tower that afternoon my opinion changed; you are not any different from any other grown-ups I know. When you two looked at each other, your magic radiated all around you. Can you feel when it does that? I thought about that afternoon while thinking about my decision. It would help me knowing that the child I give away would be part of what I saw….a happy family. You two obviously love Simon and if I may be very bold, obviously love each other."
There was silence after Liza finished. Both Snapes were clearly flabbergasted that their relationship was regarded in such a manner by a student.
"Our interpersonal relationship is not a subject for gossip, Miss Smythe." Severus spoke firmly, peeved that his personal life was seen and commented on by a student.
"Never, Sir. No one will hear of what I have seen."
"Thank you. However if you are to become, for the remainder of your pregnancy, part of our personal lives then we will ask you to be discreet." Squeezing Hermione's shoulders again, he cleared his throat and continued. "Now, I am not sure what the next steps are. I believe I will contact my solicitor to arrange the legal side of things. I would wish for your welfare to be our concern, and any care you may need until you give birth will be taken care of by the Snape estates. I imagine Madam's Snape and Pomfrey can take care of any female issues."
Hermione spoke. "Yes, of course. Liza, I imagine you want this to remain private; you do not want your pregnancy exposed?"
"There are more advanced charms than the ones you already know what will hide your pregnancy as it advances. I can teach them to you. But I think for tonight this is enough." Liza stood and Hermione approached her. "Liza, I know this will be hard for you, but you have made Professor Snape and me very happy." She gave the girl a hug.
Severus just nodded his head. "Now, return to your common room, and when we have arranged the legal issues, we will discuss some of the other details such as living arrangements when school is done and the like."
"Good night Liza." Said Hermione.
After she left, Hermione turned to Severus. His lips twitched into a slight Severus smile. Hermione threw herself at him and cried. He knew why and didn't have to say anything.
Sasha Jean Snape was born August 12th at 3:31 in the afternoon at St. Mungo's. Hermione was by Liza's side and coached her through the birth while Severus waited in the expectant father's area. Hermione was the first to hold her daughter and when she brought the baby to Severus, he gently took her in his arms. A small smile broke over his face. Already he was committing to memory the feel of the weight of her body as he held it. "She is beautiful."
"That she is, Severus, that she is," Hermione replied with tears in her eyes.
When Hermione returned to Liza's hospital room, she asked her if she would like to see the baby. Liza nodded. Peeking at the pink face nestled in the blankets, Liza knew in her heart she made the right decision.
The Snape's ensured that Liza was well cared for after the birth and Liza returned to Ireland aware that the child she gave birth to would have a perfect life.
Severus and Hermione had explained to Simon a few weeks before his sister was born that they were going to adopt a baby. They explained to him that they would go to St. Mungo's to get the baby and bring her home. The baby, a girl, was growing in another mum's tummy. It took him a while to understand that just because you get a baby in your tummy does not mean that you are meant to be a mum and so Hermione was chosen to be the baby's mum.
As Severus predicted, Simon was agog with questions from what color hair the baby would have to whether or not the baby would be able to talk right away, have teeth, do magic, walk, run, hop, skip, jump, and on and on. When Severus had had enough of the incessant questions, he limited the boy to one question, per day, at breakfast, and that was it.
Today was the day his baby sister was coming to live at their house! Simon excitedly waited with his Grandma Minnie while his mum and dad went to get his sister. The Floo activated and they entered the sitting room. He saw his mummy holding a tiny blanket in her arms.
Simon ran to his mother. "Is that my sister?"
Severus answered, "Yes it is."
"Can I hold her?" Simon asked, bouncing on his toes in an effort to see into the bundle in his mum's arms.
"Sit on the couch next to Grandma Minnie." Severus answered.
Simon sprung onto the couch. Hermione sat next to him and Minerva sat on his other side. Hermione laid the baby in his arms. His eyes went very round and he whispered "She's very tiny!"
Hermione laughed. "You were even tinier!"
Simon touched her head with one finger. "She's got no hair."
"It will grow in." The baby began to fuss. Hermione picked her up. "Severus, could you get a bottle?"
Minerva exclaimed over the baby as Hermione fed her. Simon stood nearby attempting to resist the desire poke that soft spot on his sister's head that pulsed as she drank. After a while, Minerva left the family to get to know each other. Hermione handed the baby to Severus and asked him to burp her while she got Simon ready for a nap.
"What do you think of your sister?"
"She's very tiny."
"Yes, but she won't stay that way for long."
"Do you think she'll be magical?"
"Good. I like my sister, mum."
"I do too."
"Will you still like me? And daddy too, will he still like me?"
"Of course! When you're a parent, your heart grows extra love so that you can love all of your children no matter how many you have!" She planted a kiss on Simon's head. "Now, go to sleep and later you can help me and Dad take care of Sasha."
Simon rolled over and hugged his purple dragon tighter. "Love you mum!"
Hermione left his room and went to the sitting room. Not finding Severus and the baby, she went to the nursery. As she went nearer, she heard Severus' low baritone rumble speaking.
"…..your mummy loves you, too. And for some unfathomable reason, she loves me. Shall I tell you how your mum and I met?"
A/N: The parts in the story where Hermione mentioned her fear of not having enough love and then her answer to Simon about your heart growing were taken from real life. My one brother and his wife were about to have a second baby, and he had asked my mother how on earth would he be able to take any of the love he had for his first daughter and give even an ounce of it to a second child? My mother told him that God gives you more love to give. My parents had seven children and not one of us felt any less loved than the other, so I tend to believe her advice!