A/N: SO... hi? Umm...yes. Happy reading...? Please don't riot... Please?

I didn't want to cry, not when it was supposed to be such a happy thing. Holding a life was supposed to be good. I bit my lip as Severus pulled me into him, whispering the promise of safety into my ear. I should be happy. I shouldn't be so scared. I shouldn't be so worried. I shouldn't not want this to be happening. But I didn't. I bit my lip harder. I didn't want this. I couldn't.

The tears came harder. We had to stop those that remained, those that sought to destroy everything all of us had built to be so ignorantly weak. Who would get inside? Who would tip the scales so that we could win? I had to make it inside. I couldn't stand to be the weakest link yet again when it was within my power to stop everything from falling apart.

And beyond that: how would I manage to keep this baby alive when I couldn't help but succumb to the panic raging constantly within me? I couldn't be pregnant. I couldn't. It was not possible. Severus had done everything he could to make sure that we were protected. And I had helped him. I hadn't once resented the fact that we had to use a condom. I never once mentioned how much I had preferred feeling him like I had that first time, that night before the start of term some six weeks ago.

The tears came faster, though my mind was surprisingly calm and clear. I tightened my arms in an attempt to remind myself what was real. Severus was real. He was here. He wasn't angry or upset or hurt. He didn't even seem like he resented what that stupid piece of muggle science told us. Maybe…maybe it wasn't a bad thing? Maybe it wasn't so horrible news. But…I couldn't see it. The shock was still too overwhelming. So I just leaned into him, pulling him tighter against me, and cried until there were no more tears left to fall down my cheeks and wet his shoulder.

I hiccupped a few times when this happened, but I refused to release him from my embrace. Instead, I turned my head so that it rested more comfortably in the crook of his shoulder. My chest shuddered as I pulled in a deep breath and sucked down the intense woodsy scent of Severus. It settled over me as it always did, and I receded into its warmth. While my mind was clear from the ever imminent panic attack in a way it hadn't been in nearly two months, it still found peace within his scent. It chased away the overwhelming shock that kept me thinking of only the ways that this pregnancy was the worst thing that could happen.

And as the shock receded, a warm, bubbling sensation began fill my chest. So slowly, filling my chest to the point where I couldn't help but smile. At first, I didn't recognize it—months of panic attacks and years of the fear of war had clouded my mind to the point where I almost had forgotten what it felt like. Besides, it had been so long since I had felt it in such great of a magnitude. Eight years since I'd been visited by Professor McGonagall and had it explained to me that I was a witch. Eight years since I'd stepped onto Platform Nine and Three Quarters with all the supplies I would need for my first year. Perhaps…Perhaps it was even stronger this time than those first exciting moments of the Wizarding world.

Excitement. Expectation. Elation.

Holding a life was a good thing—a wonderful gift. And…just because I hadn't been planning on having a child this young, and certainly not this early on in a marriage…didn't mean that it wasn't a happy thing. Some routines would change. Some plans would have to be remade. And…and some action would have to be taken quickly before public word spread of my carrying Severus's child. But that couldn't—no, wouldn't—subtract from the pure elation that flooded my chest. I was going to make Severus a father. He would hold his own child in only a few months. To imagine all the love that I knew he held within his heart expressed in such tender motions with a baby. It left me breathless from joy. And, well, wasn't that something?

It would all be worth it—all the trouble that this pregnancy would bring—it would be worth it just to see Severus wrapped around a person so small and so utterly him.

I took in another deep breath, my chest shuddering again from the sudden expansion. His arms tightened around me the smallest amount, and I felt his lips press against my shoulder. "You'll be ok," he whispered, his voice so deep that it rumbled in my chest. "It'll all be all right."

"I know," I whispered, tightening my arms around him for a moment. "I know it will be." I pulled away from him so that I could look him in the eyes. I was surprised to find tears tracks running down his cheeks. He was…he was just as surprised and worried as I was. I unwrapped one arm from around him and wiped away a tear that had just begun its descent down. "I have you, Severus. Of course everything will be ok."

He took in a shuddering breath before he nodded. And then he leaned in and kissed me, so gently. My response was instant, and I blushed as I felt desire warm the core of my body. His arms tightened around me again, but in such a different way. My lips faltered, and I pulled away deftly, too embarrassed to look at him. We were pregnant. I was holding a life within me. Now was not the time to be making love. I mean, what if it wasn't even safe? It wasn't like I knew if it was or not.

Severus looked at me, and I saw the hurt in his eyes. Not that he tried to hide it from me.

"Sorry," I muttered. He slowly shook his head and tightened his arms around me, trying to pull me back into him. I resisted, though, despite knowing that it would only make him feel worse. "I mean, I want to. I just…I don't know if it's safe." I whispered, feeling my cheeks warm from the blush spreading across them.

Severus laughed. Like, flat out laughed. I bit my lip. "Do you really think I would suggest doing something that would endanger you?" He asked me, his voice bordering on incredulous. "Either of you?" He added after a moment's pause. I blushed harder. He leaned forward until his forehead rested against mine. "If it makes you nervous, we don't have to. But it's ok if we do."

He didn't say anything more, nor did he try to progress anything physically. As it went most nights, he was leaving the decision completely with me. It took me all of two seconds to kiss him. His reaction was just as instant as mine was, and it was only a matter of minutes before we were both shirtless. I hissed as his bare skin skated across mine. I bit his bottom lip as his hands ran down my back and around my hips. He growled something into my mouth and then picked me up in one fluid motion. His steps were solid as he headed towards the bedroom. I almost forgot to stop him.

"Why?" He asked me, and I could tell he was beginning to get frustrated. Sex wasn't something I normally over thought.

"Take me here," I told him breathlessly, pulling myself up his torso until my skin was flush against his. His hands tightened against me, but I felt him hesitate. We hadn't really explored different places or positions—aside from that one afternoon in the classroom. But the situation kind of dictated that we do something different. It hadn't been premeditated like this was. I chuckled a little bit. If you could even consider this premeditated.

He bit my lip. "What's so funny?" He asked me roughly, continuing to walk to the door. Was he seriously going to ignore my request? That was…unusual of him.

"Just something I thought," I told him. And then the coolness of the stone wall was pressing against my back. Goose bumps ran up my arms, and I couldn't resist the shiver that ran down my spine as he bit my lip again. His hands skated down my sides, tracing light circles over my hips. I pressed them against him, relishing in the satisfying friction it caused.

"Hmm…" he murmured as he took captive my mouth again. I gave it to him willingly, enjoying his taste on my tongue as he pulled my pajama pants off in one swift, fluid motion. I sat forward, pressing myself against him, running my hands down his back lightly. He bit my lip harder, and I let out a low moan. I ran my fingers down his hip lines lightly, outlining the perfect "v" they created. But my hands were shaking when they pressed against the top of his trousers out of desire, and I fumbled for a few moments with his front button without success. I let out an exasperated breath before pulling his wand out of his back pocket. With an easy flick, the pants disappeared. I eagerly pressed myself against him, letting out a small sigh as he skated across my core.

He kissed me one last time before pulling away from. "Open your eyes," his voice skated over me like warm velvet. It just stoked the flames of my desire; I couldn't stop the thrust of my hips. A strangled chuckle floated over me before his hands were on my hips. I instinctively wrapped my legs around his hips. "Hermione, look at me."

I did as he said, my eyelids sitting heavily over my eyes. His eyes made me suck in a breath—the intensity of the emotion was shocking. His left hand left my hip in favor of my cheek; I leaned into it. I felt him move the slightest amount, and then I felt him pressing into my entrance, my skin giving way painlessly to him. He didn't look away from me.

"Hermione, I love you," he told me quietly, fervently.

He entered me slowly, taking care to make sure I was accommodating him well. He arched one eyebrow after he was situated within me. I took a breath and then nodded. Whatever emotions he had been restraining during the night and our earlier conversation, he released them into me.

It was hard and fast, but not so fast that it frightened me. His mouth explored my neck and chest in ways that felt new despite the fact that they weren't. He surrounded me with his smell, his touch, his sound. In the darkness of our bathroom, pressed against the stone wall, I let myself disappear into the escape he gave me. I responded to his passion with passion and desperation of my own. There was no room for fear or thought—there was only me and him. His thrusts became increasingly harder, deeper, if it was even possible. I felt my stomach tighten, and then the climax was crashing around me. My legs tightened around him, holding him within me, as I let out a strangled cry.

"Sev—" I murmured against the skin of his neck, clutching his neck desperately. It was only two more thrusts before he stilled, and I felt him release inside of me. "Sev—" I murmured again and again and again, unable to complete his name.

He wrapped his arms around me, pulling me away from the wall as he sank to his knees. He pulled me with him when he fell onto his back; I lay ungracefully on top of him. His hands stroked my back as he kissed my neck gently. It was here, in his arms, that I was safe. It was here that I was me, that I was able to escape from the hell that was my mind. It was with him that I was ok.

"Severus, I love you, too."

And then I lay my head against his chest and fell asleep.