Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 10 of 26

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3 weeks:

The room still smelled faintly of 'new', that weird combination of fresh wood, plastics and the lightest traces of paint. They had been thorough, she had to admit, the renewing Air Cleansing charms were a nice touch especially since they kept the scent from overwhelming Sebastian. He slept in her room for the time being, it was just easier since she was feeding him every couple of hours, but soon she would move him into the room that his family had helped make for him and it was nice that there was literally nothing she could do to improve upon it.

Lavender hadn't been kidding when she had told Hermione that she needn't worry about the nursery. She smiled at the blonde witch who was perched somewhat comically on an old, beat up rocking horse that Hermione had grown up with. Her mother had enlisted the help of Lavender's mother to get several of Hermione's childhood things over to the flat, the horse being one of them.

"So I take it you like the nursery, then?" Lavender asked, rocking back and forth, her bare feet held up off the ground. "I never got around to asking when you first came home."

"I love it," Hermione said, rocking slowly with Sebastian in her arms. She was surprised by how easy it was for her to breastfeed in front of people. She didn't want to go out into the park and whip it out but it didn't bother her that people like Lavender and Harry had seen her nursing her son. She was too focused on him, anyway, to really bother with anyone else. It was a soothing experience, intimate in a way that was not even remotely sexual. Awe inspiring was as close as she'd come to describing the feeling. It was one thing to know that her body had created and sustained this little person; it was another entirely to hold him in her arms, protect him, care for him, and nourish him.

"Even the colour?" Lavender grinned at her, curls swaying with the motion of the horse.

"Especially the colour," Hermione agreed with a laugh, looking around at the pale green walls of the nursery. Lavender had taken great joy in telling Hermione about how Harry and Severus had argued over the colours of the walls. Harry had initially spelled them a rich crimson but Severus had axed that as too harsh of a colour for a baby's room. After that it had become a war of who could cast the fastest spell to charm the walls a specific colour. By the end of it, Lavender had simply walked out, purchased some speciality paint in 'sea foam green' and came back with it to find them still arguing. Harry had only admitted defeat at the sight of the can in Lavender's hands and let Severus charm it on to the walls. Hermione's only regret was that she hadn't been there to watch Severus and Harry go head to head over the colour of her baby's bedroom walls.

The delight about all things magical was that not only did the paint not have to be rolled on the Muggle way but every once in a while the walls would seem to ripple and a wave of colour would crash against a corner or an opposing wall, foaming and swirling like the sea.

"What's that feel like?" Lavender asked, nodding her head at Sebastian where he was latched on to a breast.

"It was a bit painful at first," Hermione shrugged. "That faded quickly, thankfully. The sucking sensation is a bit odd but you get used to it. I've got a cream from Healer Bray to put on my nipples after he feeds that will stop them from getting raw and chapped when he starts teething but I don't have to worry about that for a while."

"When will that joy happen?"

"It could start as soon as three months," Hermione shrugged, "but everyone is different. My mother said that my teeth didn't come in until six months so he might be a late bloomer, too."

"What about Prof—uh, Severus?" Lavender said, blushing. She was trying not to call him Professor, at his own insistence, but she forgot regularly.

"I don't know," Hermione admitted. "I haven't asked, but he hasn't offered either."

"He brought you stuff that was his as a baby, though, right?"

"He did," she nodded. "It was very sweet of him and Sebastian seems to be intrigued by the teddy though that could be because it blinks and waves at him."

"He seems pretty into this whole being a father thing," Lavender observed quietly, slowing down on the rocking horse. "Are you guys...seeing each other?"

Hermione sighed and switched Sebastian to her other breast to balance them out. "I don't know what we are, to be honest. I don't even know what I want. Should I be dating him, really, Lavender?"

"Why not? You're obviously attracted to each least I hope you are, you kind of have a kid together," Lavender said, eyeing her.

"We are—I mean, I am," Hermione bit her lip. "It's weird, you know? I wasn't at all attracted to him when we were in school, I didn't even like him much beyond the fact that he's brilliant. But..." she trailed off.

"But what? How on earth did you guys end up together long enough to make him?" she gestured to Sebastian. "You've never told me about that night."

"I don't remember much of it," Hermione admitted. "Something that I'm ashamed of, if I'm honest with myself. I don't usually get that drunk and I certainly don't have casual flings but...I don't know Lavender. We found each other in the bar, we started talking and the more we talked, the more I found myself fascinated with his mouth, the more I wanted to kiss him. It sounds cheesy and...and stupid but," she sighed and gave up trying to explain herself as Sebastian finished, watching her with familiar dark brown eyes while he gummed at her flesh. His hair was growing in more and she could see the occasional curl, making her wonder if Healer Bray had been right about him having her hair.

Straightening her clothing, she threw a cloth over her shoulder and picked up Sebastian to burp him as she continued the thought that had been chasing around her head.

"Part of me thinks that that night was just a drunken shag. I was lonely, pissed beyond belief, and he was there. I don't even know where I got the courage from to ask him home, it had to have been the booze," Hermione said, gently patting her son's back as she paced. "And while I don't regret having Sebastian, does that mean I should automatically start seeing his father? Does having a child necessitate having a relationship with the man? Maybe it does in the Wizarding world but it certainly doesn't in the Muggle one and...I can't help but feeling that that's a bad reason to start a relationship."

"Well, didn't you say that you guys were working on being friends, first?" Lavender asked, watching her friend. "Why not see if something comes out of that instead of worrying about it now?"

"I should take your advice," Hermione said, murmuring to Sebastian as she rubbed. "I know I should, but I can't seem to. I want a relationship with him, I do, and I don't know why and that terrifies me. What if this is just some misplaced emotion on my part? What if I'm just trying don't know, conform?"

Lavender laughed loudly. "You? Conform to what the Wizarding world wants? You of the S.P.E.W and the misjudged werewolves and the defying Pureblood doctrine that has been passed down for a millennia? You?"

Hermione grinned wryly and rolled her eyes at her friend. "When you put it that way I sound like a rebel without a cause."

"Just roll with it, Hermione," Lavender laughed. "Stop over thinking it."

"I can't help it," she admitted. "That's who I am, remember? Besides, I feel there's so much to say, so much to talk about, and we're just avoiding it. And I want to avoid it, I want to pretend that we're...I don't know. We're not normal are we?"

Lavender snorted just as Sebastian spit up against his mother's shoulder, the milky concoction landing on the towel. It had taken her several tries to get that right without some of it ending up on her sleeve or in her hair. There were still days where she discovered some, hours later of course, and had to deal with the fact that everyone she'd come into contact with had probably seen the white stain on her clothes.

"That's my little man," she crooned. "Feel better?" she lay him down on his changing table and wiped up his mouth. With a flick of her wand she threw the towel into the hamper.

"That's disgusting," Lavender said, walking up beside her and wrinkling her nose in the direction of the soiled cloth Hermione had used to wipe his face.

"That's having a baby," she retorted. "Aren't you glad we don't live with you anymore?"

"Are you kidding? I've gone back to take-away for dinner," Lavender said, picking up Sebastian and cradling him against her shoulder. "Now Auntie Lav can hold you because you're done barfing all over Mommy, aren't you?"

"Don't get too ahead of yourself," Hermione said wryly. "You can never predict when he might spew out of one end or the other."

"God, you're the best birth control a witch could ask for, aren't you?" Lavender asked the small boy in her arms, her voice soft and teasing. "I think watching your Ma change your nappie for the first time cured me of any desire to ever have sex again."

Hermione snorted. "You say that now."

Lavender grinned at her wickedly over the small dark head of her son but before Hermione could say anything else they both heard a voice call out from down the hall.


"In here!" the two witches called in unison. Lavender made what she called 'spooky fingers' with one hand and Hermione rolled her eyes.

"I swear 'Mione," Harry's footsteps echoed his grumbling as he made his way down the hall of her flat and into the nursery. "Are you mad? You're flat isn't even warded."

"Just because you don't feel the wards, Harry, doesn't mean they're not there," Hermione arched an eyebrow at him. "How many years have you known me, anyway? When have I ever left anything to chance?"

Harry grinned and shrugged. "Point, I suppose. Still, you can't blame me, I usually feel them."

"When did you get so cocky?" Lavender asked, rocking Sebastian in her arms as he drooled on her shoulder.

"When I saved the world," Harry cracked, grinning at the blonde. It was a sign of how far he had come that he could make a joke about the most trying times of their lives. "Now, do I get to hold my nephew or what?"

Harry's grin turned stupid and sappy as Lavender rolled her eyes and handed the tiny bundle over. Sebastian flailed his arms a little, he was getting used to moving them more and more, until he was settled in Harry's arms. Cradled in the curve of the strong, sinewy muscle, her son watched Harry with interested as he talked softly.

"And how are you today? Did you spit up on Lavender?" he asked. "I bet you did, didn't you? You're a good kid, that's why."

Hermione laughed as Lavender squawked indignantly and draped Severus' old blanket over Harry's shoulder. "Take him to the sitting room and I'll meet you there with some lunch. C'mon Lav, we should let them do their male bonding or Harry will whinge."

Lavender scoffed but followed Hermione to the kitchen and handed the other witch condiments as they were requested. Lavender was horrible in the kitchen and Hermione now understood why her mother said that the poor girl could burn water when Hermione had first moved in with her.

When they finally reached the living room it was to find Harry sitting cross legged on the floor with Sebastian balanced on his legs and a finger held in each tiny fist as the infant studied the older man who was singing him a Muggle nursery rhyme.

"Oh, Merlin," Lavender groaned dramatically, though there was a smile on her face. "He's singing. Poor kid."

"I'd give you the V Lav," Harry said, his smile widening for Sebastian, "but my hands are otherwise occupied."

"I'm surprised he's not asleep yet," Lavender said, setting his plate down on the floor beside him.

"I think he will be shortly," Harry said, casting a quick cushioning charm on the floor and placing Sebastian's blanket on the carpet in front of him before gently laying the baby down on his back. "Oh, Snape stopped by while you were in the kitchen. He said he'd come by later."

"He did?" Hermione frowned. "I didn't hear the Floo. I wonder why he didn't just stay?"

"He seemed irritated," Harry shrugged, picking up his sandwich. "Then again, he's always irritated."

"He's not," Hermione defended. "He just finds you irritating."

"The feeling is mutual," Harry mumbled around a mouthful of food.



1 month, 3 weeks:

Hermione found herself bored one Thursday afternoon and decided, on a whim, to visit Severus at his shop in Diagon Alley. He had not stopped by during the lunch hour since the time Harry and Lavender had been over, only after his shop closed, so she was a bit worried that he might be busy. If he was, she would simply do some shopping and either come back later or go home. She figured that it could do no harm since the world already seemed to know that he was the father of her baby; the sheer number of Howlers that she had received before she warded her flat against any mail not delivered by Morgana proved just that. She had been furious with herself when she had had to dive on top of Sebastian and cover his ears with her hands to stop him from going deaf from the shrieks. She had wanted to find out who the sender was and give them a Howler right back for putting her child in danger but she realized that they probably wouldn't care.

The public was torn on their opinion of her as yet unseen baby; half of them thought that the poor child should be taken from her and Severus and given to responsible people to raise properly; the other half seemed to think he was somehow to blame for the circumstances of his birth, as if he had inherited some darkness from his father. Hermione had simply stopped reading the paper, she couldn't take it.

Packing them some lunch—left over lasagne from the other night that Severus had particularly enjoyed after she had convinced him to stay for the meal—she enlarged one of her cloaks so that it would cover both her and Sebastian before she Disillusioned herself and snuck out of the flat. Sebastian still wasn't old enough for Floo travel, it was too disorienting for infants and they had a tendency to inhale the hot ash, so she had to be stealthy in her adventures.

She managed to Apparate away from her apartment building the moment she stepped outside of it and the few reporters who still hung around, even after they had slowly realized they were not going to get a story, didn't realize she had even come out until they heard the crack of her disappearance.

She landed in the courtyard of the Leaky Cauldron. She wasn't going to remove her Disillusionment spell until she tapped on the bricks with her wand and saw just how busy Diagon Alley was. It wouldn't do to be knocked into, especially when she was carrying Sebastian. Instead, she pulled up the now extremely large hood of her cloak and let it cover most of her distinguishable features.

Having never been to Severus' store before, it took her a while to find it, but when she did she couldn't stop the grin that spread over her face. Moste Potente Potions was spelled out in the same slanting writing of Severus' own hand in silver letters across the top of the shop. She knew it was done on purpose; the tome that held the same title was the book that she had learned how to produce a Polyjuice potion from. It was full of extremely difficult and controversial—though not necessarily Dark—potions. It was perfect for Severus' store.

When she pushed open the door, a soft chime rang over her head and she stepped into the cool, dimly lit interior of a shop lined with potions and supplies.

"May I help you with something?" came a cool voice from behind her, making her heart jump and her breath hitch.

"Yes, I'm looking for a tall, snarky Potions Master. I've heard one can be found here," she said, turning around and pulling down her hood with a grin.

Shock and confusion raced across his eyes before he quickly composed himself. His eyes wandered downwards almost instantly, seeking out the bundle under her cloak. She swept the material aside to reveal Sebastian in a sling, his dark brown eyes looking around at the world.

"Why are you here?" Severus asked softly, reaching out to take her small burden. She released her son into his father's arms and held up the small basket she had with her.

"I come bearing lunch. I hope you haven't eaten," she smiled at him.

Had he not been holding his son he might have been able to point his wand behind his back and Vanish the remnants of a sandwich but, as it turned out, he had not yet mastered spell casting with infant in arms yet. She easily followed the movement of his arm and caught a glimpse of brown paper before it all disappeared.

"No, I haven't eaten," he lied smoothly, turning back to her. "What have you brought?"

She laughed, throwing her head back as the sound bounced around them. "You need to work on your subterfuge."

He arched an eyebrow at her.

"What?" she asked, still smiling broadly. "It's true. You've gotten rusty."

"What have you brought?" he asked, pointedly ignoring her comments. "Lasagne?" She thought she might have caught an undertone of hope in the one word.

He spent almost every evening at her flat, even when her mother was still staying with her, but he had rarely accepted the offer of food. He seemed to time his arrival carefully so that it would be after she had eaten but before Sebastian had been put to bed. He often stayed long after the baby had been put down and, though she would never admit it to him, his visits were fast becoming her favourite part of the day. They spent much of the time talking about Sebastian or his work and though they never got into anything to personal, or about the future, it was still...something. They had a pattern, a routine, an almost comradery.

"How'd you know?" she asked, placing the basket on the now cleared counter and pulling out the containers.

"You came looking for a Potions Master, did you not?" he asked, tapping the side of his large nose with a raised eyebrow. Hermione paused for a second, unsure if he was implying what she thought he was. His eyebrows rose at her silence and she finally smiled.

"So I did."

Severus was...teasing her.

She turned away from him, unwilling to let him see how wide her smile had grown as she emptied the basket. She pulled out the now familiar blue blanket and a wooden baby spoon that had the initials "SS" carved into the handle. It was charmed to never wear or splinter so it was as good as it was when it had been used forty years prior. Hermione had taken to using the items Severus had brought them—a couple of outfits, a few more blankets, a well loved magical teddy and the spoon—as much as she could. She loved the look that Severus tried to hide whenever he saw his son in a shirt that had been worn by him when he was a babe or staring curiously at a teddy that he remembered sleeping with.

With a quick wave of her wand, Hermione transfigured the basket into a wicker approximation of a Muggle car seat for Sebastian to sit in while they ate. Severus placed the baby inside and then pulled up an extra stool for her. Together they unpacked the food, lifted the Stasis charms she had placed on them and proceeded to dig in. Sebastian could not yet eat solid foods but he enjoyed the flavour of some of them and so Hermione experimented with him to find out what he liked best.

"What do we have for him today?" Severus asked after swallowing a mouthful.

"Peas and carrots, mangos, and apricots," Hermione said, opening the first of the very small jars. She ended up eating all of the baby food that she opened but she didn't really mind because she enjoyed the faces her son made as he was introduced to each new flavour.

"I'd place money on mango," Severus said, a small smile on his face as he watched his son. They sometimes bet on which new flavour he'd enjoy the most and Severus had been experiencing a winning streak.

"You're probably right," she said dipping the spoon into peas and carrots so that there was a little on the end.

"Ready, sweetheart?" she placed the spoon against his lips, rubbing it a bit so that he would open up and taste. He tried to suck on the spoon every time but it was enough to get the flavour in his mouth. He closed his lips around the spoon and tongued it with a thoughtful expression on his face.

"He doesn't seem to mind it," Hermione said, surprised.

"Try the mango."

"Okay, okay," she said, grabbing her own fork and popping a bite into her mouth as she cleaned off the spoon and dipped it into the mango.

"Next one," she said softly, repeating the process. Sebastian opened his mouth and sucked on the spoon for a second before his face screwed up and he let out a startled cry.

"Oh!" Hermione laughed, turning to Severus. "He doesn't like your mangos! I should have placed money on it!"

"What's wrong with you, child?" he asked his son, his voice slightly incredulous. "There's no accounting for taste, apparently," he mumbled, grabbing the jar of mango baby food and proceeding to eat it.

Hermione was still laughing when the shop door opened quickly, making the bells above it chime rather violently. She looked up over the basket-cum-seat and spotted the last person she ever would have wanted to see in that moment.

"So it's true," Ron breathed, his eyes riveted on Hermione's face.

He stood there in the entryway to the shop, several feet away from the counter, but the room suddenly felt incredibly small. His chest was rising and falling rather rapidly, as if he had run a marathon to get there. The look on his face, however, was what made her reach out for her son. He looked livid.

"Severus," she didn't take her eyes off of Ron. "Please take Sebastian to your office. Ron and I need to talk."

Severus, thankfully, didn't argue. He merely reached out and plucked the entire ensemble that held his son and walked through the door just off to the left behind her. It wasn't that she believed Ron would purposely hurt her baby, but she didn't trust him not to lose sight of the fact that there was an infant in the room and start throwing around hexes. There was less chances of that happening if both Severus and Sebastian were out of sight.

"Ron, what are you doing here?" she asked quietly, stepping around the counter.

"Jenkins saw you coming in here," he said and his voice was curiously void of emotion. "He told me. I came to see if it was true."

"Whatever it is you wanted to know, you could have just asked me," she said, still talking softly as if she were wary of startling him.

"The kid," he nodded his head towards the office behind her. "Is it really Snape's?"

"Yes," she said, swallowing at the look that crossed his face. "It wasn't planned but...yes, Sebastian is Severus' son."

"Severus," Ron spat, his face taking on a sudden and nasty expression. "You'll have his kids, eh? But not mine? What's the fucking deal, Hermione?"

"Ron," she tried, taking a step forward. "It's not like that—"

"THEN HOW IS IT?" he roared suddenly, his face turning an unpleasant shade of red. "Explain it to me, Hermione, because I'm fucking dying to know! Wasn't that the deal breaker for you? Huh? Kids? I wanted them and you didn't, and now you have one with him!"

"No, Ron. You wanted a hoard of kids and I didn't but that's only part of what broke us up," Hermione said, sighing heavily.

"How could you?" he continued as if he hadn't heard her, and maybe he hadn't. "You slept with Snape? That fucking ugly bastard? Merlin's balls, 'Mione! How can you stand yourself?"

"How dare you Ronald!" she hissed, taking a step toward him in her anger. "You have no right to talk about him like that!"

"Frankly, Hermione, I don't give a shit!" he spat. "Are you afraid poor Snape is going to hear us? That I might hurt his feelings?" He looked over her shoulder and pitched his voice to carry. "Hey Snape! You greasy old man! How's it feel to be fucking a witch young enough to be your daughter? You sick fuck!"

"RONALD!" Hermione yelled, praying that Severus had cast a Silencing Charm but not really believing it. "Who I sleep with is none of your business! It hasn't been since the day we broke up!"

"You're right," he spat. "It's not. I just feel sorry for the kid, you know? A dirty old Death Eater for a father and a whore for a mother."

Hermione reared back. He would have been better of slapping her; she was stunned that Ron would say something like that to her. She didn't notice Severus advancing on them with his wand drawn until he had placed himself between the two of them with the ebony tip pointed directly at Ron's heart.

"Remove yourself from my premises, Mr. Weasley," he said, his voice deadly cool, "or I will be forced to remove you myself."

"You're going to attack the Chief of Defence, Snape?" Ron sneered at him. "I have the perfect cell for you, now that I think of it. I can have you in there faster than you can blink."

She felt something heavy settle in her chest at his words. Ron had always had so much pride in being the youngest Chief, the head of The Department of Security and Defence, otherwise known as the Guards of Azkaban, that she was shocked he would sully it by threatening to pull rank and put Severus in jail for something he didn't do.

"Do you honestly think anyone will believe that you are the injured party here? You've hardly kept quiet about how you feel about Hermione's pregnancy and our relationship, not to mention your famous temper. If anything Weasley, you'll be the one gracing that cell with your, no doubt, illustrious presence," Severus' lip curled in distaste. "I'm going to suggest that you leave once more before I make you."

Ron snorted. "No one is going to believe you, Snape, and her reputation is about as dirty and ruined as she is these days so—"

Ron's words cut off with a bang as he was hit in the chest by a wordless spell from Severus. He fell backwards, landing on the carpeted floor with a hard thump. He didn't have a chance to catch his breath, however, as Snape flicked his wand at the younger wizard and threw him bodily out the door and into the street beyond. With another vicious flick, the door slammed shut, warded itself and the 'Open' sign turned over to reveal 'Closed'.

Hermione stood there and felt the sudden silence closing in on her. She blinked at the spot where Ron had been and, before she knew it, the tears that had been threatening spilled over her cheeks. Without thinking about it, she turned to Severus and pressed her face against his chest, her hands grasping fistfuls of the back of his robes. She felt him tense briefly before his arm came up around her shoulders to pat her back awkwardly as she hiccupped wetly. She would have laughed at his apparent inability to offer comfort but she was so miserable that she couldn't find the humour in it at the moment.

"I'm sorry he said those things to you," he eventually said, his voice soft again.

"I know that people are saying those kinds of things," she said, turning her face so that she could press her cheek against him. "I've heard some of it. It bothers me a bit, yeah, even though I expected it but Ron...," she trailed off, sniffing. "I knew he'd be angry, I just didn't think he'd be cruel."

"He feels that you betrayed him," Severus' hand slowly worked its way into her hair, smoothing her riotous curls. "You gave another man what he wanted more than anything."

"A child?" she snorted. "He can have a baby with anyone."

"A family," he whispered.

"Are you family, Severus?" she asked, not able to look up at him.

"I don't know," he replied, his hand stilling. "Do you want me to be?"

"Yes," she answered instantly. "I want you to be a father to my baby. I want you—," she stopped abruptly, unsure if she should continue. She had barely thought about it and she was afraid that she was doing it for all the wrong reasons.

"You want me to what?" he prompted.

She shook her head, hesitating against the words that pushed at her teeth until they spilled out in a rush. "I don't know. I just want you."

She felt the hitch in his breath, the way his entire body became rigid and she held her breath as she listened to the sound of his heart pick up. He didn't say a word, he didn't move, but he didn't push her away, either.

"Severus?" she whispered.


At that moment, Sebastian began to cry from the other room. Hermione broke away from him, feeling slightly guilty for forgetting about her own child even if it was only momentarily. Wiping her eyes with her palms, she sniffed once and offered him a small smile. "That's a hungry cry. I better go feed him."

She had just rounded the counter, heading for the office door behind it, when she heard Severus turn.


"Hmm?" she faced him, trying to keep her expression neutral. He looked...thoughtful.


A small smile broke out over her face and she felt her heart clench in her chest as his lips twitched.

"Yes," she echoed.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 10 of 26

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