So, it's been a year. I'm so sorry! Really I am. So, here is the next chapter. And just to get it to you as soon as possible, it hasn't been to my beta. So, there may be some editorial mistakes. Also, because of the content restrictions here, a nice little lemon scene was cut. But you can check out my other archives for the full version. Just give it a few weeks. Hope you enjoy! And review! It's how I get my motivation.

Chapter 6 - Baby, Or No Baby

Severus walked the hallways of Hogwarts almost in a trance. He'd walked them so many times in the past during the War that his feet automatically knew where to take him. It had been over a year though since his last nighttime excursion. When he'd been freed of serving two masters, sleep actually came to him and he had had no need to pace the corridors. But now, the night before Hermione's appointment with Madam Pomfrey, his restlessness had come once again.

The both of them had carried out their agreement to resume life as normal until they knew for sure. They were spending countless hours in one or the other of their offices, assembling the core curriculum for their combined classes. Hermione wanted her students prepared when they left her instruction and picked up with Severus. And he had agreed wholeheartedly. With all of the preparations for the upcoming school year, Severus had had no problem keeping the possible baby off his mind.

Until tonight, that is.

He had absent-mindedly wandered up to the Owlery again. He walked across the room, which was almost empty, save a few barn owls picking at the night's kill. It was eerily quiet, but he was glad for the silence. He stood at the window, looking out onto the grounds. He knew tomorrow would change things. And he was afraid of that. He wasn't dreading becoming a father. He was afraid of losing Hermione if she was in fact not with child. Severus had come to the realization sometime in the past week that he wanted to be with Hermione, baby or not. But what if she didn't feel the same way?

His thoughts were interrupted by a voice behind him.

"Couldn't sleep either?" Hermione asked, a slight strain in her voice.

Severus whirled around to see the woman who filled his thoughts. She was wearing what appeared to be cotton Muggle pajama bottoms and t-shirt under a dark pink night coat. Her hair was down and framed her face in a messy, beautiful way that made Severus, again, weak at the knees.

"No. I assume sleep is eluding you?"Severus answered as smoothly as possible.

Hermione nodded while scrunching her nose. "May I endure insomnia with you?"

Severus grinned. "Of course, Hermione. I was just pondering." He looked back to the landscape cloaked in the moonlight.

"And just what are you pondering? Pondering fatherhood? Or the celebration you will throw if you do not have to put up with me for the rest of your life?" Hermione said, with a hint of humor.

Severus quickly looked down at the young woman standing next to him. "Hermione, look at me." She glanced up, surprised by his serious tone. "I would never celebrate loosing you. In fact, I was pondering the opposite." He stopped, not sure if he was willing to go on with just what he had been thinking before she had entered the Owlery.

"The opposite? What do you mean?" she asked softly, almost as if she was afraid of the answer.

Severus sighed at the battle between his mind and heart. His mind had been the victor for most of his life, always winning out with logic over emotion. But not this time.

"I mean, that I never want you out of my life, Hermione. Baby, or no baby. I am completely enthralled by you. I fear that if you are not with child, that you go on with your life; leave me behind as a distant memory. And you would have every reason to. It's selfish of me to ask you to stay when you have no reason to be with a man twice your age." He stopped talking, fearful that he might have let emotion win a little too much and might begin to weep. He waited, but she said nothing for a long moment. She reached out and took his hand.

"Do you really think that I am not attracted to you, body and mind? Severus, you are the first man I am content, excited even, to have a conversation with. I enjoy being with you. You make me smile and give me butterflies in my stomach." She took his other hand, turning him so that he was facing her as she continued. "I want nothing more than to be with you, Severus." She paused, a grin breaking out over her face. "Baby, or no baby."

Severus could not hold back any longer. He pulled Hermione into his arms, raised her chin up to meet his, and kissed her passionately while her arms encircled his neck. Forget the Firewhisky, the chemistry was there all by itself, and the tender kiss quickly became heated. Severus explored her neck with feather-like kisses, extracting small moans from the petite girl who was running her hands through his fine, black hair. His hand expertly untied the belt of her night coat, exposing the thin white shirt underneath. It was obvious Hermione was not wearing a bra.

Severus felt a twitch in his trousers at the sight of her nipples standing erect in the cool night breeze. Not wanting to cross a line, he settled his hands on her small waist, pulling her in close to his body. He looked down at her beautiful face, highlighted perfectly in the moonlight. Her hands rested lightly on his chest. They then began to explore, opening his dressing coat as he had hers, only he was not wearing anything but sleeping pants underneath his robe. But even that, it seemed, was about to change.

They both collapsed in satisfied exhaustion, remaining twisted in each other's arms. As they caught their breath, Severus gazed at the radiant woman lying next to him. She snuggled into the crook of his arm. He pulled her close and kissed the top of her head.

"Perhaps we shouldn't get too comfortable. I would hate to fall asleep here and have an early riser catch us with our robes around our ankles," he said with a chuckle.

Hermione laughed. "True. Besides, this floor is starting to numb my rear end." She looked up him with a contented smile on her face. She pecked him on the cheek as she hopped up off the wooden floor. He smiled. Severus would never cease to be amazed by her.

After gathering their clothes and redressing, they started the walk back to Hermione's quarters. Severus was actually dreading leaving her, but he would not presume to be invited to stay the night. He hoped that she would want him to stay. That would be divine. But he reminded himself not be too optimistic.

They arrived at the entrance of her rooms. She paused at the door in a somewhat awkward fashion. He frowned at her.

"What is it?" he asked, beginning to be concerned. She looked at the ground, then up at Severus.

"I don't want you to leave," she said in a little voice. He sighed in relief.

"I don't have to leave, if you wish."

Without another word, they both slipped into her rooms with smiles on their faces.