Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 22 of 26

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6 months, 2 weeks:

She drifted in a haze. Her body felt heavy and her brain thick; she wanted to move, to open her eyes but nothing seemed to be listening to her. She could hear snippets of conversation, a strange chiming sound and the familiar swish of robes around feet.

"I'm sorry Mr. Snape but seeing as you're not family, you can't be here. I have to ask you to—"

"I'd like to see you try."

"Please, she would want him here, just let him stay."

"I'm sorry Mrs. Granger but our policy states that—"

"Damn your policy to hell, woman! I'm not leaving!"

The wails of a child met her ears and she knew, through the haze and fog of her mind, that this was important. She had to move, she had to get to the child. Who was it? The child was important, he was...hers? The chiming sound became more frantic, increasing in tempo as if racing to a conclusion...a conclusion that yes, the child is hers. Her child. Her son. Her—

"She's panicking." The voice was close, right over top of her. She couldn't see it but she could almost feel the presence. She wanted to reach out, to grab this person, demand to know where her son was. Where is— "I need to sedate her."

She felt her head forced back and her mouth pried open as a voice shouted from somewhere in the distance.

"What are you doing, woman? You call that Healing? You're going to break her jaw!" This voice came closer, snarling viciously. The presence left, replaced by someone else. Soap, herbs, sweat. She knew this one. She knew him, she knew his scent, his—

"Open up for me, Hermione," he said, gentle hands cradling her face.

"Nuuhh..." she turned her head away from him. She had to know. She needed to know. Where was he? Her son? Sebastian! Where?

"Hermione," he gently turned her head back to him again. "It's a pain potion, you've been hurt. You have to drink this, please."

A dim part of her brain registered that she had never heard him say the word 'please', especially not like that.

"Suhb," she tried to open her eyes and look at him. She knew if she could look at him she could remember his name, she just needed to see—

"Sebastian is fine," he murmured, hands smoothing over her cheeks, her jaw, her neck. "He's with your mother, he's safe. If you want to see him you have to drink your potion, though. Come on, Hermione, open up for me."

"Guhng," she grunted, not even sure what she was trying to say to him. She felt his thumb part her lips and she let him open her mouth, pressing down on her teeth with one hand and cradling her head back with the other.

"Good, Hermione, good," he murmured. There was a rustling and the hand on her head let go before a thick liquid poured into her mouth, coating her tongue with a cloying sweetness that made her want to gag. She choked slightly as it hit the back of her throat but a hand massaging the column of her neck made her swallow and the potion went down, spreading a tingling warmth as it went.

"Sev'er..." she murmured, feeling her whole body grow pliant and relaxed.

"I'm here," he whispered.

She drifted again.


Hermione woke with a start, her head jerking back seemingly of its own volition as her eyes fluttered open.

"Well, good morning to you!" The familiar voice of Healer Bray met her ears, causing her to look up at the woman who was sitting on the edge of her bed. "Sorry about that," she said, holding up a small vial and capping it. "It brings you round rather fast."

"Smelling salts?" Hermione rasped.

"Similar," Healer Bray picked up a glass of water from Hermione's bedside table and conjured a straw. "Less for fainting fancies and more for bringing someone out of a medicated sleep."

Hermione sipped from her water, feeling it coat her throat and relishing in the sensation.

"Medicated?" she echoed. "What happe—"

She broke off as her gaze automatically began to catalogue the room around her and she spotted Severus standing in the corner, holding Sebastian in his arms. He met her eyes, his own inscrutable and dark, but he did not come closer.

"You were injured at work," Healer Bray continued, making Hermione look at her. "What's the last thing you remember?"

"I...," she blinked, thinking back. "I remember the Muggle grocery store. There was a wizard, he...he had a hostage? Yes, a hostage. A Muggle man, his wife's lover. He cursed me?"

"Sort of," Healer Bray said, pulling her wand out of her sleeve and pointing it at Hermione's chest. "He cursed the ground at your feet; your body caught the backlash of the explosion."

"My...?" Hermione looked down, pulling the sheet away from her slowly. Her limbs felt stiff and uncoordinated. Her entire torso was covered in bandages that wrapped right around her. "How bad is it?" she whispered.

"When all is said and done, it's not that bad. It certainly could have been worse. The impact of the debris hit you full force in the chest, breaking three ribs and fracturing two more. It also bruised the tissue of your lungs, so breathing hard will hurt for a little while, but that is all on the mend. You have several cuts and abrasions but none of it will scar so there's no worry there."

"Why am I covered in gauze then?" she asked.

"The wounds had quite a bit of dirt in them, as I understand it the suspect used a Reducto curse on the floor at your feet, causing it to explode. I've had to use a salve that will slowly push the dirt and grit out of your wounds instead of a cleansing charm. The charm is too harsh, it would stop the skin from knitting back together seamlessly. This will take time but you won't have any scars."

"Thank you, Healer," Hermione said softly, trying to smile at her. "Do you know what happened with Stibbins? His hostage?"

"You did well, my dear," Healer Bray smiled. "Auror Kingsley was in not too long ago and he told us that you effectively disarmed Stibbins despite his cursing you. The other Aurors were able to take him in and free the man he held. Oh, and I've been told that you have yet another hearing to attend now."


"In addition to Roger," Healer Bray's mouth twisted at the name, "it seems that your partner deliberately sabotaged you."

Hermione frowned, casting her mind back to the seconds before Stibbins turned and caught her with her wand trained on him.

"Mullens," she spat, sitting up and ignoring the twinge of pain from her chest. "That stupid bit—" Hermione broke off and looked over to where Severus stood with Sebastian. He had come closer to her while Healer Bray spoke but still, he did not speak.

Holding out her hands, she met his eyes. "I would like to hold my son," she said, her voice flat.

Severus handed Sebastian over and the baby made a happy sound at being settled in his mother's lap. He looked up at her, eyes exactly like his father's but oh, so much more expressive, and began babbling excitedly to her. She smiled at him and brushed his cheek with a kiss, inhaling his familiar baby scent—a mixture of soap, milk, stewed carrots and just baby.

"Why would she do this to you?"

Hermione's head shot up at the sound of Severus' smooth, calm voice. She met his gaze and the lack of emotion in his made her anger and hurt flare up. Part of her wondered why he was in her hospital room considering the explosion of their last encounter. Perhaps it was simply because of Sebastian.

"She does not approve of my personal life, nor the people in it," Hermione glared at him. "Pity she doesn't read The Prophet, she would have known that my circumstances have changed. Then again, she seems to be under the impression that I'm screwing Kingsley, too, and apparently she objects to a woman securing a better job by opening her legs but hey, I've got to take what I can, no?"

Severus' face remained impassive though she saw how stiff his shoulders became as ranted, her son blissfully ignorant of what was going on around him as he patted her bandaged chest curiously.

Healer Bray cleared her throat awkwardly. "I'm going to go file your release papers, I'll be back later."

Neither Hermione nor Severus looked at her, their gazes locked on each other—one hostile, the other seemingly calm—until the soft click of a latch catching signalled the door had closed behind the Healer.

"What are you doing here, Severus?" she demanded, her voice hard. "As I remember it, you made your position quite clear. Nothing has changed in that regard, so why are you here?"

"I was with your mother when Potter arrived with an owl from St. Mungo's. He is listed as your next of kin, so he was notified when you were brought in," he responded as if he were delivering a report on the twelve uses of Dragon's Blood, not speaking to the mother of his child. Anger crawled along her skin, making her flex her fingers with the urge to reach up and strangle the man.

"I'm quite aware of who is listed as my magical kin," she growled. "You can get out now."

"Excuse me?"

For the first time, inflection entered his voice and his expression changed—to disbelief.

"Did I stutter? Get out. Now."

"No," he retorted, frowning at her. "I need to speak to you and I'm not le—"

"You had your opportunity to talk to me," she growled, trying to keep her voice as level as possible so as not to upset Sebastian again. He was, thankfully, still happily exploring her bandaged torso, arms and hands. His clumsy little fingers grasped and pulled at the white gauze, ineffectually trying to pull it from her. "I distinctly remember begging you to listen to me, to talk to me but you opted for walking out. Well, you've had sufficient practice, there's the door," she gestured to it with one hand, the other snaking around her son's torso.

"Hermione, please—" Perhaps had she not been so angry, she would have registered the way his voice softened, the unfamiliar pleading note mingling with the familiar deep, smooth tenor she had become accustomed to. As it were, she did not.

"No," she cut him off, her eyes as cold and hard as her voice. "You can walk out of here on your own will power, or I can call security and have them remove you."

His face briefly reflected his shock before it grew hard. "And when do I get to see my son again?" he demanded, his voice low and angry.

"Oh! You want to see him now?" she laughed bitterly. "Strange, the radio silence of the last week had me under the impression you gave as much of a fuck about him as you clearly do about me."

"When do I get to see him?" he bit out, his jaw tense with anger and his hands clenched into fists.

"When I contact a law wizard about visitation and custody," she responded, the words spilling from her lips without thought. She hadn't planned it and they almost shocked her. Almost.

The effect on Severus was instantaneous. He reared back as if she had slapped him and all the blood drained from his face; his eyes widened and his mouth went slack.

" are," he tried, words seemed beyond him. "Why, Hermione?" he whispered.

The whisper, the pain in his voice, brought tears to her eyes and she looked away, her throat suddenly tight. The anger flooded out of her, leaving behind a stinging sense of emptiness.

"We tried, Severus," she murmured. "It didn't work. It's better to do this part with a mediator, make it legal and binding."

"Better for who?" he rasped. She closed her eyes against the sound and tightened her arms around her son.

"Better for him," she whispered.

A strange sound left Severus then, a sort of choked sigh. She heard him move but didn't open her eyes even as the rustle of robes drew closer to her bedside. Sebastian let out a gurgling sound as he began to babble and she knew that he was talking to his father; she could practically feel the heat radiating off of him, could smell the scent of herbs that clung to him at all times. The familiarity of it made her heart clench painfully in her chest and she fought down a sob, swallowing thickly.

"Please, open your eyes," he whispered, his voice soft and, for once, completely open. She could hear the pain, the sadness, in those four little words. It was that emotion, evident without the use of her eyes, that made her look at him.

Gently, he placed a little black box on the white linens of her bed, right next to her foot. She stared at it, unable to process exactly what it was that she felt. It was so small and innocuous, the black of the leather stark against her sheets, but it felt like that little box heralded the end of the world. Sebastian reached for it, making little grunting noises when she kept him close.

"I went to the Auror office first, but you had already left," his words were quiet and stilted, as if he were forcing himself to say them. Like her, his gaze was trained on the box. "When I was told that you had gone into the field and that Sebastian was not there, I figured that you had someone watching him at your flat, so I went there. Your mother and I were...talking...when Potter barged in, yelling about you being in the hospital. We rushed here to find that you were unconscious and with Healer Bray, I suppose she just happened to be on the Emergency shift when you were brought in."

"The whole time we sat there, waiting to hear anything about your condition, all I could think was that I might never get the chance to tell you that I was wrong, that I'm sorry for doubting you, for letting my jealousy cloud my judgment," his voice became impossibly soft that she almost missed his next words. "I thought that I might not get the chance to tell you that I...I l-love you," she tore her eyes away from the box then to watch the profound sadness on his face. He reached out and gently tapped the box with the tip of a long finger. "Or give you this. It belonged to my mother; it's one of the few things she managed to keep after her family disowned her for marrying a Muggle."

Hermione had no idea that there were tears silently coursing their way down her cheeks as she watched him, her heart breaking in her chest at the blatant agony in his expression and the glossiness of his eyes.

"Severus..." she had no idea what to say.

"I'm sorry, Hermione," he murmured. "I'm sorry I ruined it."

He tapped the box once more with his finger before he drew back and turned away, walking around her bed with a steady gait. His head was down, black hair curtaining off his face from her view and his shoulders hunched forward.

"Don't!" she called, her voice breaking on the single word and making him stop halfway to the door. She felt like someone had reached into her chest and ripped it open to squeeze her lungs in a tight grip. Her breath hiccupped in her chest and pain lanced through her. Stuttering unevenly she unconsciously tightened her grip on her son. "Please, don't go, Severus."

His body seemed to hunch in on itself even more, making a previously tall and proud looking man resemble something broken beyond repair, before he turned to look at her. He made no effort to hide the tears that glittered in his eyes and her heart ached in reaction. Severus Snape never cried, and if he did, he certainly never let anyone see.

"I don't want to," he whispered, his voice barely carrying to her.

"So don't," she cried, voice thick and pleading. "I take it back, I take it back. Stay with m-me. Us."

"I ruined it," he whispered, closing his eyes.

"No," she said, swallowing. With a voice that was slightly stronger, she declared, "Walking out that door will ruin it. Can't we fix this?"

He closed his eyes and, blindly, made his way to her bed. She watched his suddenly uneven steps as he rushed to her side and almost threw himself at her. His arms unerringly wrapped around her and Sebastian, the latter letting out a little grunt as the grip around him was tightened once more. Hermione wrapped one arm around Severus' waist, pressing her face to his shoulder and letting his clothing soak up her tears. They made an awkward picture, for sure, with Severus' long and lanky frame half sitting on the bed, half off of it, his head buried in her neck and his arm awkwardly around her and the babe. It wasn't comfortable but neither of them said a word as he quietly shook against her, murmuring her name interspersed with 'I'm sorry'. If her bandages were curiously damp when she finally pulled him down onto the bed with her, scooting onto her side and holding Sebastian to her chest so that he could curl up behind, she said nothing of it.

They had a lot to discuss, she knew it even as relief washed over her in an enormous wave. She wouldn't run from it this time, or hope that he would make the first move, because time had taught her that running only makes it worse and Severus Snape wasn't much of a talker when it comes to any and all things emotional.

Far sooner than she would have thought possible, Severus' breathing evened out and his grip slackened slightly. It occurred to her that he had probably not slept while she was unconscious and she gently laced her fingers with his. Using the hand half cradling Sebastian and a wordless spell she Summoned the little box from the bottom of the bed, catching it and holding it up for her son to peer at. He was not in the mood for a nap but he was being blessedly silent as his father slept. Slowly, she pried the lid open with her thumb until it snapped back on a spring.

There, nestled safely in more black leather lay a beautiful white gold ring. Holding a modest sized diamond between two arms made of Celtic knots, it was beautiful in its simplicity. She stared blankly at it and all that it symbolized as her mind whirled; was he serious about marrying her? Or was this a misguided attempt to show that he loved her? She didn't doubt that he loved her; she had suspected that he did and Severus was not the kind of man to say something like that without meaning it but...what if he simply thought that marriage was the only way to demonstrate love? Was this a reaction to his fear? If she said yes, would they end up miserable later? Could she even think about saying yes right now, when their relationship was reeling? Sebastian reached for the ring box, making a whining sound in the back of his throat as it remained beyond him.

"Hermione Granger," a quiet voice spoke up, startling her. "Would you do me the honour of becoming my wife?"


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 22 of 26

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