Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters and core personality traits are the property of J.K. I own nothing, nor do I plan on profiting from using her work. No copyright infringement is intended.

This is only half of the chapter but I"ve been MIA so long that I thought I'd post it so you didn't have to wait for me to finish up the second half before you got another update.

In the last 4 months I ended a relationship, started talking to my high school sweetheart again, became engaged after 2 months of dating, and moved into a new apartment for the start of this school semester with my new fiancé in tow.

Busy summer. I apologize. I'm back in school and will be better.

Alternative Payment; Plan Part 3

He stayed in his potions lab far longer than was common for him, waiting until he would be safe in an assumption that his houseguests had retired to their quarters for the evening. Severus lived in subterfuge for so much of his life that he was brutally honest within the confines of his own mind, and thus was willing to recognize his eagerness to enjoy Miss Granger's company as soon as possible. Still, the idea of sitting across the dinner table from her and the child to share a communal meal felt uncomfortably domestic.

The carefully repressed wizard strode first to his personal rooms after arriving at his estate—bent on teasing himself with the promise of bedding the female for just a touch longer—but found they were not as empty as he had left them early that morning.

Pulling himself into the shadow of the doorway, he watched the scene and wondered what in the world the chit was doing in his bed. He had never brought a witch into his heaven before; uninterested in inviting professional harlots into his home where they would undoubtedly try and help themselves to his valuables. The idea of allowing a whore to sully his sheets and go unchecked as he slept—the only time the man could be considered anything close to vulnerable—was a scenario less appealing than taking up his old teaching post at that hell they called Hogwarts.

So he was surprised at how much he fancied seeing the beautiful socialite comfortably tucked under his rich duvet.

She wasn't alone though, which was the reason for his hesitation.

The babe suckled her breast with so much enthusiasm that it produced a flurry of contented noises that had it's mother giggling as she watched him fondly, stroking his downy hair with a light finger. Severus thought fleetingly to Draco's praise of her maternal devotion and knew even that hadn't been proper accolades. It was unlikely either one of them had ever seen the amount of love in the eyes of their pureblood mothers that Hermione brimmed with as she gazed at the son she'd been abandoned to care for alone.

"Professor Snape was right, you know?" she cooed to the child, "You're a real glutton, little love. But that's perfectly fine. I'm just so glad we're going to be okay," she added so quietly it was a strain to hear it.

Severus rolled his dark eyes at her ability to call him by the title of her childhood after having taken him into her mouth so vigorously just days earlier. He noted the inclusion of herself in the statement—we're going to be okay—and though it was not her who was terminally ill, it told of her inability to go on if the boy was lost.

"He's a bit hard around the edges but he's the most capable wizard I know. He'll take care of us," the beauty babbled on happily, as though she were talking to someone who fully understood her instead of a nursing four month old.

He stiffened at the certainty in her voice, unsure of the sensations it invoked within him. The long ostracized and distrusted man was sure no one had ever held so much confidence in his abilities and intentions. Instead of the usual annoyance he harbored for that blind Gryffindor trust, he felt a pang of guilt for the price he'd pressured her to pay for his services.

Not enough guilt to free her of the obligation, however. He now wanted the witch more than anything in the world worth coveting and there existed no other way for a man like him to claim such a treasure.

"And weren't the ponies just lovely? I know you're too little to appreciate them but maybe he'll allow us a visit when you're older…"

"He can have the dung droppers. It was the elves that rallied to keep them," Severus drawled as he announced his presence by walking into the room, lest he overhear more of the girl's starry-eyed musings.

Granger started at his sudden appearance, her small body jerking with surprise. The movement popped the deep pink nipple of her full breast out of the babe's mouth and he gave a wail of irritation.

Even the shrill cry of the newborn couldn't damper the shot of lust that hit Severus at the sight over her perfect, exposed bosom. He wondered briefly how truly deprived one must be to grow hard over a nursing mother, but had never put much stalk in propriety.

"Severus! You scared me half to death," she chided as she worked to get her fussing son to latch back on.

His eyes narrowed at her nerve, even as he wondered how it could possibly still be a surprise to him, "May I remind you that you are currently making yourself comfortable in my rooms, Miss Granger. I assure you, the wives' quarters are far from squalor."

Instead of looking properly chastised for invading his private domain, her pale face reddened with annoyance. "I would have loved to have been allow in my own bed but your elves all but forced me into yours," now he wasn't so sure that the heat in her cheeks wasn't a blush. "They were also very insistent that they dress me fittingly. I hadn't realized you'd made the whole manor aware of our… agreement," she sniffed.

Only the founder of S.P.E.W. would consider the elfin servants 'the whole manor'.

Now that his attention was directed accordingly, he realized his comforter was wrapped strategically around her lower body to protect her modesty, only the tiny straps and bust of the most provocative little white negligee were left visible.

Severus nearly laughed, "I'm a great deal kinder to them than the previously family of the manor, if you can believe it. I told them nothing, but I assume they took it upon themselves to… prepare the witch I brought home."

They were meddlesome little blighters but, looking at the divinely clad female, he couldn't say he was unappreciative of their efforts.

Hermione squirmed, "Speaking of which, I don't think this is going to work as originally planed…"

It was anger he felt at her words, to be sure, but there was also a great deal of embarrassment and disappointment. In his office, the stunning young mother had looked the appropriate level of indignant at his offer but kissed him with a passion that had seemed far beyond obligatory. It had given the wizard a sense of masculine pride that had long been denied to him, but now… Was he so unappealing to her that she'd back out before subjecting herself to him?

His face darkened with a severity he hadn't had cause for in years. He wouldn't force her, if she couldn't bare it, but the girl would be out on her arse in sort order, "May I remind you that a contract has been signed, Granger…"

Her mouth popped open before forming a little 'o' of alarm. "I wasn't referring to that, sir!" she corrected hastily, "I'd never- I'm… fully prepared to fulfill the commitment I made to you," she added softly, demure.

The knot in his gut eased but believing the best of other's and their words wasn't a natural reaction of his. "Then what, pray tell, are you referring to, wench," he snapped.

Soft hearted as she was bright, the girl noticeably wilted at his hostility. Snape couldn't believe the jolt of remorse that bit at his mind for being the source of her upset. Clearly he had ejaculated his very ability to stay objective and detached during their brief first coupling.

"I only meant that Hugo is deathly frightened of your elves," she explained, huge gold eyes imploring, "They were meant to look after him while I'm indisposed but I don't see how that's going to work."

He managed to hold back a rather humiliating sigh of relief. "Just like a Gryffindor to fret over non-issues," he sat on the edge of the bed and peered at the feeding child. It was perplexing how normally prudish women become nonplussed with a bare breast the moment they attach an infant to it.

She harrumphed, "Tell me it's a non-issue when he's screaming his fool head off and I'm out cold."

"He'll accustom himself to the elves, Granger," he dismissed, "Stop coddling the child or you'll end up with a boy as ill-equipped for life outside the womb as your spineless ex-husband."

It hadn't been his aim but he was quite pleased with himself when she grinned at him in conspiratorial kinship. She obviously held no residual fondness for the redheaded oaf. If he could just turn her against Potter, she might be worth her weight in that gold the wizarding world seemed to think she was made of.

"However," he continued, to put her at ease, "if it's necessary, I will see that the child is well cared for. Even if I need to hire a nanny that meets his advanced criteria."

Hermione smiled at him with something close to affection and he seemed incapable of looking away for several long beats of silence. The strange moment was only broken when the two became aware of a gentle rhythmic breathing and looked down to find Mini Granger had fallen asleep on the job.

"Do you mind if he stays in here with us?" she asked tentatively, "He's an excellent sleeper…"

He had intentions towards the witch that were not child appropriate but didn't want to separate the worried mother from her ailing baby and knew the alternative was sending them both away. Now that she was there, he very much wanted her company for the night. Severus thought years of marriage was the prerequisite to getting cock-blocked by offspring, but apparently not.

He gave a conflicted nod.

She whispered her genuine thanks, pushed the covers aside and dismounted the raised platform of the mattress with skilled, graceful movements that neither woke nor jostled the small burden against her chest.

Severus groaned in discomfort. His cock was thick and large and normally required a bit of time to accumulate the amount of blood needed to fill it completely. The vision of the most structurally flawless female he was sure he'd ever seen, padding across his room in a gown that just barely covered the swell of her pert little bum had his damned tool pulling the sustenance from his very veins with a speed he feared might stop his heart.

Perhaps Malfoy had been right about the perils of his advancing age.

For such a tiny thing, her legs held the slender divinity of women with a full head more height and he was certain no frighteningly thin model-type could claim such curvy, wide hips. The waves of chestnut hair she was once tormented for now wove like dark rivets of liquid flowing down to her narrow waist, its wild nature anchored by the length and weight of it alone.

The cold intellectual all at once discovered what it was about these creatures that had wizards bending over backwards to please them. Surely if she were to request the contents of his volt at that very moment he would sign it over willingly.

She seemed to sense his lust because she walked to the very far edge of the large space, partially obscured by an antique changing screen, before transfiguring a chair into a temporary crib for her little one. He was laid to sleep with a cuddle and a kiss and Severus was grateful for the one-way silencing spell she placed on the room's corner.

The tenuous control over the urge to immediately mate the witch was staggering but brought to mind one last item of business before the night's activities.

He fished a freshly brewed vile of pink potion out of his robes and held it out to her when she'd made her away back to him, "If you'd please."

Granger took only a second's glance at the liquid's color before recognizing the common household elixir. Her cheeks tinted to match, "I've already spelled myself to prevent… that," she said, stopping short of accepting the tiny bottle.

Severus snorted wryly, "Half of wizarding Britain and at least four of the Weasley litter owe their lives to the reliability of such spells," he pressed it into her dainty palm, "Now be a good girl and drink."

"I trust this is your own work and safe for my milk," she grumbled petulantly as she popped the lid and tilted into her sweet mouth without bothering to wait for an answer. His former student knew he'd have thought of such things before even considering the prescription.

"It's not only safe but fully necessary. Begetting a child off you would be both exceptionally discourteous on my part-," she interrupted him with a sharp laugh, "-and a danger to you and the foetus when paired with the treatments you are about to undergo to cure your son."

"Must we pretend it isn't due to your fear of fathering, large nosed, bucktooth progeny," the cheeky witch snickered as she placed her spindly wand and the empty vile on the bedside table. "The taste is quiet nice though. I should have been buying my contraceptives from you."

His blood heated even further; discovering that he didn't care for the thought of this witch—his witch, for the time being—needing protection from relations with another male. "They aren't high-end enough to make my inventory. This is the first I've prepared in some time," he ghosted a hand over the silk on her belly and drew her close, "Are you ready to make it worth my effort, princess?"

Again, she did not withhold her matrimonial-like affections; stepping between his legs and into his embrace at the bed's edge. "I'll do my best," she breathed, nose-to-nose. Her kiss held greater novelty than any well-versed sexual prowess would to him and he enjoyed it even more than he did the first time, when he hadn't been expecting it.

"I want to see you," he hissed out, frustrated by even the negligible slip of fabric between his fingertips and her flesh. "Let me see my prize, witch."

She took a shallow gulp of air and nodded courageously before stepping back to push the straps of her garment off her shoulders. It pooled at her feet right along with the rest of his resolve.

The girl stood as still as mouse under the gaze of a snake and he lavished in the opportunity it gave him to study her. Her body was a vision of feminine perfection; everything a man envisions in a mate while settling for the realities of mortal women. The narrowness of her waist contrasted beautifully with the heavy roundness of her breasts but was balanced by the most delectably pair of hips. A human hourglass.

She had the firmness, the radiant glow, that only youth and pure, God's given beauty could provide. Severus was willing to bet a fair amount of coin that the Dark Lord himself would second guess pureblood supremacy if he had been presented with such a specimen.

"Such a brave little girl," he crooned smoothly, "Posing so gloriously for me," he traced the sharp lines on her collar bone and she gasped prettily, "How does our noble warrior of the Light reign across the battle field but tremble when I bring her to my bed?"

"I think I can claim dueling Death Eaters to be my greater strength between the two," she whispered and leaned into him as he cupped one swollen breast.

The older man gave a rare grin at her responsiveness, "I'm not sure that's true, Miss Granger. If that keen mind of yours was an indicator of magical greatness I can only imagine the things you're going to do with this body," he gave her another reverent once over but halted the progression of his eyes when they found something amiss. He touched the slightly shimmering skin on the top of her hips and quirked a brow at the girl, "Something to hide, lioness? I'm shocked… I didn't take you for a supporter of glamours."

She looked suitably contrite at being caught, dropping her gaze to his thigh, "I have a few… stretch marks from my pregnancy. I never really noticed them until I considered our arrangement and I hadn't time to get a salve to heal them properly. I didn't want them to… dissuade you."

Though it was a violation of his rule that would ordinarily earn his ire, he said nothing to chastise but waved his palm over the area and canceled the simple concealment charm; an easy enough tasks to perform wandlessly. What wasn't easy was even being able see the marks she'd been trying to cover. Upon closer inspection, tiny silver lines decorated the pale skin there. They were lighter in color than the rest of her flesh and as thin as unicorn hair. Somehow, even these would-be imperfections were lovely.

Hermione searched his face for a reaction, tense.

"I think they're fitting."

Her eyes narrowed at him. "Because they're unsightly?" she guessed with a simper.

The attitude was such a Slytherin trait that it endeared her to him just a little further. He stroked the lines with the full care of a potions master's hands and felt her relax against him. "Because they're soft, feminine…" he murmured into her ear and noted her fluttering lids, "because no one but the gods should be as flawless as you are without them… because they tell anyone you bless with a glimpse of them that you're a healthy, fruitful young witch and there's nothing unsightly about that."

"Merlin," she whimpered, a women as thoroughly aroused by words as she was by touches. He knew the baritones of his voice appealed to her. It was far from the grunting Weasley was capable of.

He drew her warm body flush with his, dropped open-mouthed kisses along her throat with tenderness he hadn't known he possessed but felt compelled to bestow upon her. The wizard's firm lips worked their way down her body until he had to maintain a firm hold on her bottom to keep her from collapsing. "But they aren't the only bits of you that have benefited from being a mother, are they, witch? I've wanted at these since you broke into my store and demanded my assistance."

"Oh Severus," she moaned and braced herself on his shoulders, a dab of embarrassment, "You need to be careful with those…I still have a lot of problems with leaking…they don't discriminate."

This was confirmed when he nipped gently at the darkly hued peak. Even the weak suction coated his tongue with the warm, nutty nourishment she provided. It was like nothing he'd ever experienced before and he held her so close that it was impossible to tell which of them was the one vibrating with pleasure. "You taste unbelievable," he growled, "Are you this sweet everywhere?"

The Golden Trio's princess was sin and purity, sedate and shameless... the kind of beauty wars were waged over. If his bias had caused him to assume Ronald Weasley entirely brainless before, he now knew it to be true.

"Do you want this, Granger?" he pressed his swollen, cloth covered groin against her cunt. It was obscenely bare of both kickers and hair, her folds petite, "This is a business transaction but that hasn't kept you from drenching the front of my robes like a wanton."

She shivered but didn't shy away, "I do want you," she nodded into his neck, "I won't lie. It's been too long for me."

He sneered, "Its been a life time for you, wench. You haven't any idea what it will be like to have a real man inside you."

"Do real men make love with all their clothes on," she pulled back to ask shyly.

Severus got the impression she thought there a possibility that he'd just pull down his fly and take her quick and hard like one would a street whore against an alley wall. He again reminded himself that such a women required more care and warmth from a partner.

He patted the plush bed beside him, giving her firm bum a soft smack as she took his invitation and mounted the frame. A groan of profound need escaped him at the sight of her presented to him as her small body clambered up the raised piece of extravagant furniture. "Gods, I swear I'll have you from behind before this is over, little girl," he warned.

She turned and gave him a sassy little grin, lowering herself onto her back with arms propped up just enough to watch the wizard remove his robes under the same scrutiny he placed on her.

He hadn't expected to feel so self-conscious.

The miraculous war survivor was heavily muscled and cut like the strongest of men but he bore the a full arsenal of scars that came with living a life as hard as the one he'd suffered through. His back was a patchwork of marred skin and now that she'd asked, he had to acknowledge that she would be the first of his lovers to see him as he was—stripped of the severe black robes that repelled like armor.

He didn't make a show of it, nor did he have quite enough nerve to jump right in by spelling his clothes away. Severus opted to remove them as though he were not under the golden gaze of an angel of a woman. He listened with an impassiveness he wasn't fully in possession of for gasps or shrieks of horror as he exposed the ghastly panel of his chest—skin so damaged by dark magic that not Merlin himself had power enough to restore it—but none came.

The wizard was down to his briefs when her gentle caresses simultaneously startled and grounded him. In the recesses of his mind he knew it to be the most intimate contact he'd ever allowed between himself and another human being; much less this forty-five kilo ball of ridiculousness who would never cease to drive him insane in one way or another.

The pad of her finger traced an outline of a particularly dark blemish he couldn't fully remember acquiring, "I think they're fitting," she repeated his early sentiment.

He was wary of where she was going to go with such talk. That they were proper penance for his numerous wrong doings? That they marked his past with the blackness he'd chosen to spawn in? He couldn't hold thoughts he frequently had himself against her.

"Because they're unsightly?"

Hermione smiled sadly and pulled him down onto the bed, on top of her lithe little body so that he had to support his significant weight on his arms on either side of the girl to keep from hurting her. She brush the tip her button nose against his beak, "Because they aren't soft," she grinned, lips curved like wicked little bows, "but neither are you…" the girl crooned to him, "Because no man who's lived through such darkness can be anything less than deserving of a second chance at light…"

"You're bleeding heart sentimentality is legendary," he bit out, the edge lost by the unusual cord of warmth he held for her.

She spread her thighs for him and he had the heady sensation of a perfect fit; hard muscle nestled in the softness of that perfect creature. The sensation of being a teen again, overwhelmed by passions he had no control of, registered in his mind, but it was dismissed an instant later. No, Severus was sure he'd never felt this. Lily Evans had been his hearts desire but he had come to realize that it was the boyhood hope of acceptance by someone so pure that had driven his fixation with her.

He wasn't sure what sure what the difference was exactly, as Granger was as pure and good as newly fallen snow—lack of virginity having no baring on that fact—but this was no pathetic pining of broken child; this was a mortal's yearning to connect with a goddess.