Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 5 of 26

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33 weeks:

"Lavender, I can't leave my bloody flat! It's insanity!" Hermione cried. Sitting in front of her fireplace she bitched to Lavender's floating head. She wrapped both arms around her stomach as she felt her son do a barrel roll inside of her and mentally reminded herself that she was supposed to be relaxing and staying calm.

"Well, I was talking to Kingsley about that, and the whole fact that you can barely get to work," Lavender said, her face tinged green from the Floo. "He thinks that since you're due in a couple weeks that you should work from home."

"A couple weeks?" Hermione repeated. "I'm not due for another seven weeks! Am I supposed to hide out in my apartment for nearly two months!"

"Actually, I was going to ask if you wanted to come stay with me for a bit," Lavender said. "You can stay until the baby is born... or longer if you'd like."

Hermione smiled. "Be careful what you wish for, Lavender."

Her friend's head moved in a way that suggested she was shrugging but since she couldn't see the other woman's shoulders, it was hard to tell. "Ah well, I'm not worried about it. I am worried about you and the whole stress thing you were talking about. Why not try it for a week, see if you feel better? I've got a spare room, you know..."

Hermione sighed. She had to admit, it was a good idea. It would get her away from the reporters that had been hounding her non-stop since Skeeter's story broke and hopefully that alone would decrease the amount of stress she was currently feeling. It had quickly become bedlam outside of her apartment, even though it was a Muggle neighbourhood, and she couldn't leave her place without being accosted. Many of them seemed to have little care for her or the baby, as long as they got a picture of her and the belly she was no longer bothering to hide. One morning she was trying to leave her flat and go to work when she was knocked into hard by a reporter and had it not been for a parked car next to her she would have fallen to the pavement. The reporter didn't care, however, as he shoved his camera in her face and demanded for the billionth time to know who the father of her baby was. It was then that she decided to stop going out.

"Can I think about it?" Hermione asked.

"Of course," Lavender assured her. "The offer is indefinite. You just let me know."

"Thank you," Hermione said. "I appreciate it. I just don't want to be a burden to anyone."

"You're not going to be a burden, don't worry Hermione," Lavender assured her. "It's not like you're an invalid, just really, really pregnant," she laughed, eyeing her extremely large belly. Hermione had gotten used to having no lap but Lavender was still adapting and she couldn't seem to tear her eyes away from it. The day she had seen the baby moving under Hermione's tight skin had been extremely entertaining—Lavender constantly watched her belly for signs of movement now.

"How are you doing...with everything?" Lavender asked softly and Hermione knew exactly what she was referring to.

When the news had broken that Hermione was pregnant, and that she had no intentions of naming the father of her child, the Wizarding world had gone into an uproar. Harry had been hounded until he gave a public statement where he declared that he was supporting Hermione in any and all of her decisions. The press had had a field day with speculating whether or not Harry was the father, something that Hermione had wanted to publicly deny for his sake, but Harry had convinced her that it was unnecessary. Ginny knew that Harry had not fathered her child and that was all he gave a shit about.

Worse had been when they cornered Ron.

He had given an interview and in it he made it clear that he had had no idea she was pregnant, that she had hidden it from everyone in his family, and that under no circumstances did he support her decisions. He stated that he spoke for the entire Weasley family when he said that Hermione Granger would no longer be welcome at any of their respective homes or in their company.

It had gutted her, more than she would ever admit to either Harry or Lavender. Even though Harry had assured her that Ginny didn't give a shit—actually, Ginny had also assured her of that when she had shown up at Hermione's flat the day after Ron's article ran—she hadn't heard from any of the other Weasleys and it hurt. She had hoped, even though part of her knew it was in vain, that Molly Weasley wouldn't turn her back on her. They had fallen out of touch when Hermione broke it off with Ron but whenever she had seen the older witch in public she had been embraced and kissed and invited over to lunch—something that she had always wanted to but didn't dare accept. She didn't want to make things awkward between Molly and Ron.

"It's okay, I guess," she admitted. "I haven't really heard much from people I know, just strangers who love to tell me that I'm going to hell," she grimaced.

"Would you believe me if I told you that they don't matter?" Lavender asked, gently.

"Yeah," Hermione shrugged with a small smile. "I knew it was going to happen but knowing it and experiencing it are two different things, you know?"

"Yeah, I—"

Lavender was cut off by a loud rap at Hermione's door. She had warded it early on so that no one except for her friends could actually make it to the front door, which meant that whoever was on the other side was someone she knew. She turned back to Lavender.

"I better get that. Can I call you tonight?"

"Sure thing, take care Hermione," Lavender said, gave her a bright smile and pulled her head out of the fire with a small pop!

Hermione stood up slowly, using her favourite armchair to help her, and made her way over to the door. She opened it up a crack and sighed in relief as she saw Harry on the other side.

"Come on in," she said, opening up the door for him.

He came in, his eyes widening at the sight of her belly. She had seen him many times over the course of her pregnancy but most of those times had been while she was still wearing her charmed robes from work and he had not seen her in person in recent weeks, only through the Floo.

"Wow, you've gotten big," he said as she closed the door. He reached out to touch her belly with no hesitation and a small smile flitted across his face as he did so. "How is it?"

"He," she said with a smile. "It's a boy."

"Really?" Harry said, his eyes darting up to hers, excitement clear in his expression. "You decided to find out, then?"

"Not quite," she confessed, moving into the kitchen. "The Muggle doctor let it slip. I'm not upset that I know, though. It's kind of...nice. I've been thinking about names."

"Oh?" Harry asked, joining her in the kitchen as she put a kettle on. She had stopped drinking caffeinated tea but it was a habit that was ingrained in her—company is over? Put the kettle on.

"Yeah, I really like Sebastian. What do you think?" she asked.

"Hmm, different. I like it," Harry said, sitting down at the table. "Not very English, or Wizarding."

Hermione sighed. "What if I don't give a shit about what the British Wizarding public wants?"

"Hey," Harry held up his hands. "I'm not against it, I'm just saying."

"Yeah, well, I don't care, okay?" Hermione crossed her arms over her very large chest and even larger belly. "With what they've been saying, my choice of names for my baby should be the least of their worries."

"True," Harry agreed and watched as she poured him a cup of tea and made herself a hot chocolate. They were silent until they were both sitting at the table and Hermione was blowing on her hot drink.

"So, what brings you by today?" she asked, taking a small sip.

Harry grimaced. "I...well, Snape is looking for you."

"What?" Hermione said, dropping her cup to the table. The hot liquid sloshed over the sides and Hermione whipped back her hands to avoid it. "What do you mean he's looking for me? Why?"

Harry's eyes darted from her hands to her belly, to her face and she didn't like the expression that he adopted. "I was hoping you could tell me that."

"I don't know!" she yelled, aware that she was acting hysterical, even though she couldn't seem to stop herself. "I don't know what he wants. What did he say?"

"Not much," Harry admitted, his eyes narrowed at her. "But he was frantic, demanding to see you, to speak to you. He insisted that it was 'of the utmost urgency'."

"I...I...," she trailed off, not knowing what to say that would make Harry stop looking at her as if he knew everything.

"He's the father, isn't he?" Harry asked, his voice quiet.

"I...I...Harry...," she tried.

"Hermione, calm down, it's not good for you or the baby," Harry said, reaching over to pat her hand. "I don't care if it's Snape. I mean—I kind of care, it's a bit weird, you know? But mostly I just care about you."

Hermione stared at him for a heartbeat before she promptly burst into tears.

"You need to tell him, 'Mione," Harry said softly. "I think he already knows, anyway. He suspects, at least."

"I can't Harry, I can't," she sobbed. "I kept it from him for so long. I just can't."


35 weeks:

Hermione was pacing a hole into the hearth rug in her sitting room. She had moved in with Lavendera few days after she had made the proposition and so far she had not regretted it at all. They worked well with each other and since Hermione was working from home—as per Kingsley's orders—she was able to make sure that their dinner was ready by the time Lavender got home from the Ministry. The other witch had declared that Hermione might not be allowed to leave when the baby was born simply because she had gotten used to not having to make dinner.

Now, however, she was waiting for Molly Weasley to show up at her old, mostly uninhabited flat.

Hermione had warded Lavender's apartment so that only Morgana could deliver mail to her and so Molly had had to go through Harry in order to set up a meeting. Hermione hadn't known what to think of it, she had no idea what it was that Molly wanted to say but given the woman's past habits of yelling first and thinking second, and she wasn't sure she had made the right choice.

Not for the first time did Hermione wonder whether or not Skeeter had been right when she had called her so-called brilliance into question. She had forgotten about her spell privileges being revoked when she left active duty and she had willingly invited Molly Weasley to have it out at her in the privacy of her own home.

What had she been thinking?

She didn't have time to berate herself any further on the subject as her fireplace sprang to life with bright green flame and Molly stepped out of it, brushing soot off of her robes.

Hermione stopped and stared at her. Molly looked up from her robes and stared back.

They met each other's gaze hesitantly until Molly broke it first and fairly gaped at Hermione's stomach. She watched as the older witch's eyes bugged out of her head and she took a steadying breath.

"I knew that you were pregnant but...," Molly trailed off, seemingly unable to tear her eyes away from the evidence.

"Hearing it is one thing, seeing it is another entirely?" Hermione guessed, repeating her own words to Lavender.

Molly's eyes finally drifted upwards and met Hermione's. "Exactly."

Hermione didn't know what to say after that and she fidgeted under Molly's scrutiny until the older witch took pity on her and sat down in an armchair. Hermione, spurred on by Molly's movement, took a seat on the couch.

"You look good," Molly said softly. "I'm glad that you're taking care of yourself."

"I'm trying," Hermione said. "I had a little incident but...I guess you've heard about that."

Molly nodded, looking down at her lap."It's not that uncommon, to get a bit of the bleeds. I had them for every one of my pregnancies."

"Did you?" Hermione couldn't stop herself from asking. She had wanted to talk to Molly so badly when she had realized that she was going to keep the baby—this woman had had seven magical children; if she couldn't tell her what to expect, no one could, but she had been terrified of asking.

"I did," she nodded. "And I freaked out the first time, too."

Molly smiled at her slightly then, and Hermione felt a little bit of hope flare in her chest.

"I'm glad I'm not the only one," she said, softly.

"No," Molly said. "You're definitely not. You're not the only young woman to find herself pregnant and unmarried, either."

There was something about the way that Molly said it that made Hermione look at her curiously. Molly's inability to meet her eyes spoke volumes. Taking a deep breath, the woman began to talk.

"When Arthur and I were young, we were a bit foolish. We always planned to marry but we had thought that we would wait a little bit after graduation, my mother was positive that I would change my mind with time," she explained. "I knew that I wouldn't, but we thought that we would appease her and wait a year. We weren't in a hurry at the time."

"But then, I got pregnant and things changed. Arthur and I got married as soon as I found out because we knew that there was no way our families would let us wait once they learned of it. We made it quick; it was smaller than what my mother had wanted, but we didn't want to go through months of planning and have someone realize. It was all over and done within a matter of weeks and shortly after that we announced that I was expecting Bill. Everything was happened so close together that no one realized I was pregnant when I walked down that aisle."

Hermione stared at Molly, unable to form words. She knew that there had been a time when Molly Weasley had been Molly Prewett; that she had been young and silly girl at one time, she just couldn't picture it.

"Hermione, please marry the father of this baby," she said, suddenly. The statement startled her and she frowned at Molly. "Don't look at me like that. Marry the man and end this nonsense. They won't stop taking shots at you as long as you're unwed. Even if you marry someone else later, if it's not the father of this babe, they won't accept it."

"I can't, Molly, I...," she tried, unsure of what to say.

"Why not?"

"He doesn't know, for one, and I don't think we'd make for a very happy marriage," Hermione said.

"You can work at it, can't you?" Molly asked. "You clearly cared enough for him to get like this."

Hermione's cheeks flushed with the implications and she found that she couldn't tell Molly that it was a drunken one night stand that had gotten her 'like this'. She didn't want the woman to be any more disappointed in her than she already was.

"I really don't think so," she admitted. "What happened was not...out of love."

Molly was silent for a moment before she nodded silently. They sat there quietly for a few minutes before Molly suddenly stood.

"I'm sorry," she said softly. "I should be going. I'm glad that you and the baby are healthy."

Hermione swallowed thickly as she realized the shift in Molly's behaviour and the reasoning behind it. She watched, her fists clenched in her lap and her heart beating painfully in her chest as Molly reached into the Floo powder and called out 'The Burrow'. By the time the green flames swallowed the other woman there were tears were running down her cheeks. She sat there, watching the fire slowly fade into nothing and felt her heart break just a little bit more. She knew it was hard for Molly, someone who had been brought up so traditionally, but part of her had hoped that she had truly loved Hermione like a daughter, or at least enough to ignore what the public would think and be there for her.

Apparently not.

Hermione stood on shaky legs and headed for the hearth. She grabbed a handful of the fine grains, dropping the powder into the empty grate and calling out 'Lavender Brown residence' as the green flames consumed her.

Stepping out into Lavender's sitting room, Hermione barely managed to brush her clothes clean before she sat down hard on the couch and curled up as much as she could around her swollen belly to cry. Huge sobs heaved out of her, shaking her frame and making her stretch out so as to be able to breathe easier. She blindly reached for the throw that Lavender kept folded over the back of the couch and pulled it over herself, hiding her head from the world.

She woke to the sound of a knock on the door of Lavender's flat and she sat up groggily, glancing blearily at the clock over the mantel. It told her that it was far too early for Lavender to be home, which meant that it could only be one other person: Harry. Sitting up, she briefly contemplated ignoring the door and going back to sleep. She had no energy to deal with anyone else today and a large part of her simply wanted to wallow in her own misery some more. A second round of knocking resolved the issue for her and, with a huge sigh, she hauled herself off the couch.

Making her way to the door, Hermione rubbed the sleep and dried tears out of her eyes before she opened the door. As predicted, Harry stood on the other side. He gave her a tight smile and stepped into the apartment, filling up the place with his restless energy as he shifted his weight from foot to foot. Hermione eyed him speculatively and unconsciously tensed.

"What's up, Harry?" she asked warily.

"How did your meeting with Molly go?" he asked instead.

"Not bad," Hermione said vaguely, not really wanting to talk about it.

"Good, that's good," he said, nodding distractedly. He was not paying close enough attention to notice that her eyes were puffy and that she looked like shit. "I know you don't want to hear this, Hermione, but I think you need to see Snape."

"Harry, please—" she began.

"No, Hermione, listen to me. You have to tell him. He's driving me nuts looking for you, he's gone everywhere trying to find you. He's even tried here but you've warded it within an inch of your life so he can't actually get in. Does that sound like someone who doesn't care?"

"What? Care about what, Harry?" she demanded.

"When you first found out you were pregnant you told me that the father wouldn't care. Snape clearly cares, and he doesn't even know for sure that it's his, he just suspects. Someone who doesn't care wouldn't try this hard to find you."

"Harry, please leave this alone, I'm begging you," Hermione said wearily.

"No, Hermione, listen to me—"

"NO!" she snapped, her rage coming on sudden and fierce. "YOU listen to me, Harry Potter! This is MY life, not yours! I will make the decisions here! I don't want him to know, and that's the end of it! You can either accept it, or not, I don't care anymore! Just leave me alone!"

With that, Hermione whirled around and stomped away feeling every bit the child as she did so. Tears welled in her eyes and fell down her cheeks, hot and uncomfortable, as she hurried to the guest room that Lavender had so graciously given her. She didn't even bother to let Harry out of the flat. He could damn well figure it out himself because she was going back to bed.


37 weeks:

When she had moved in with Lavender, Hermione had brought the little CD/Radio that usually resided in her kitchen. Like her fascination with the telly, Lavender took to it instantly. Hermione usually sang along to music as she cooked or cleaned, it was what helped passed the time for her during mundane tasks and after taking up residence with her friend she gained a backup hummer. Lavender had started to learn some of Hermione's favourites but it seemed that the other witch was usually content to listen or hum softly.

"I don't want to talk about it to you," she sang softly, mixing the batter in front of her with a steady rhythm. "I'm not an open book that you can rifle through...

Lavender sat at the kitchen table, situated in the middle of the room, and mashed bananas for Hermione to add to the batter when she was done. Her blonde head bobbed in time to the music playing and every once in a while Hermione would catch her mouthing the words.

"You're begging for the truth," Lavender lip synced, "so I'm saying it to you."

They heard a knock at the door and Lavender got up to answer it with a quiet word. Neither of them were expecting company but it wasn't unusual for Lavender's mother to pop by on the weekends, especially on Sundays. She would usually bring them something to eat, marvel over Hermione's belly and tell her to eat more. It was clear where Lavender got her sweetness from; despite being a half-blood and raised in the wizarding world, Mrs. Brown didn't give a rat's ass that Hermione was unwed and pregnant.

"Now I'm just a basket case without you...," Hermione murmured the words as she turned around to see if Lavender's banana mash was done and finish it if need be. When she looked up, however, it was to find Severus Snape standing in the middle of the kitchen with his eyes glued to her stomach.

"JESUS CHRIST!" Hermione shrieked, stumbling backwards and catching herself on the counter. He looked just like he had the day they came across him outside the Ministry. "What are you doing here!"

"I...," he opened and closed his mouth but nothing further came out as his eyes darted between hers and her belly.

"I brought him," Harry's voice said as he stepped into the kitchen, Lavender behind him. Her smile fell as her eyes darted between her former Professor and her roommate.

"You what?" Hermione spat, her eyes narrowing on her friend. "You had no right! I thought I asked you to STAY OUT OF THIS!"

"He has a right to know, Hermione!" Harry yelled back, crossing his arms over his chest defiantly. Hermione opened her mouth to start screaming when Snape cut them both off.

"I would thank you both to stop speaking about me as if I am not in the room," he said coolly. He seemed to regain his composure and was able to drag his eyes away from her large stomach. His gaze, when he met hers, was calm and unemotional. "Is Mr. Potter's assumption correct? Is it mine?"

"No," Hermione spat, leaning forward to grasp the back of a chair with flour covered hands. "It most certainly is not yours! He's mine! You and Harry can both just fuck off!"

"Hermione—," Harry began.

"Shut up, Harry," she yelled, tears beginning to form in her eyes. "I told you stay out of it. Why couldn't you just listen to me?

"Because Snape has the right to know that you're carrying his son!" Harry yelled. "And if it was me, I'd want to know!"

"IT'S NOT YOUR DECISION!" she screamed, taking a step towards him with every intention of smacking him silly. The movement, however, set off a sharp pain in her abdomen and she couldn't hold in the gasp any more than she could stop herself from pressing a hand to her belly.

"Hermione?" Lavender rushed forward and Hermione belatedly remembered that she was even there. "Are you okay? What is it?"

"It—," she gasped again and clenched her eyes shut. "Oh, no. It hurts. Stabbing pains, Lav, stabbing ones!"

"Okay, okay," Lavender said, pulling out a chair and guiding her towards it. "You sit, I'll get the bag."

"What? What bag? Hermione?" Harry asked, all of the anger drained from his face and replaced with concern. Lavender paid him no mind and rushed past a shell shocked Snape to run up the stairs.

"Hermione?" Harry knelt in front of her, grabbing hold of her hands as she tried to breathe evenly.

"I think you sent me into labour you, asshole," she spat, glaring at him. She was absolutely livid with him but that didn't stop her from holding on to his hands like a drowning woman.

"I...what? You can do that?" he asked, his eyes darting between her and her belly.

"Do I look like I'm fucking with you?" she sucked in a breath as she tried to hide a grimace of pain.

"What do I do?"

"You get out of the way," Lavender announced, coming back into the room holding two duffle bags. One contained clothes for Hermione while the other held everything the baby would need. "I'm taking her to St. Mungo's."

"I'm coming," Harry said immediately.

"Yes, yes, just help me get her up," Lavender said, impatiently. They both reached for Hermione and helped her stand as she continued to try to take deep and even breathes, waiting for the next surge of pain. Together the three of them managed to waddle their way to the Floo. Harry had just reached for the powder when another pain hit Hermione, stronger than the others, and her knees gave out.

"Oh, fuck!" she yelled, dropping to her knees.

"Hermione?" Harry turned to her just as Snape swept into the room.

"Move, Mr. Potter," he said. His was voice smooth and calm as always but as he slipped his forearms under Hermione's armpits she could feel that he was shaking slightly. He helped her stand, making sure she was steady, before he leaned down and swept her into his arms.

"Snape!" she yelled. "Put me down!"

"Mr. Potter, if you would," he nodded towards the fireplace. Harry nodded and flung a fistful of powder into the fire. "St. Mungo's," Snape called as he stepped into the green flame.

Hermione tucked her head into the crook of his neck and pulled her feet in as they spun. She felt her hair flying around everywhere and she clenched her eyes shut against the world just as the spinning stopped and Severus stepped out of the grate with her in his arms.

"Sir?" a voice asked.

"This young woman has gone into labour," he said calmly, making Hermione wonder how he could be so collected at a time like this.

"Lay her down here," the voice said and Hermione found herself being lowered onto a magical stretcher and looking up into the face of a young medi-wizard.

"Hello there," he said kindly, smiling at her. "My name is Roger. Can you tell me how far along you are?"

"Thirty-seven weeks," she said, her eyes darting to Severus as she did. His lips thinned in response and she knew he was doing the math in his head.

"Okay, we're going to get you to a Healer, okay?" he said, tapping the side of the stretcher so that it would follow him. "How far apart are you pains?"

"They were coming in close together but they've since slowed down," Hermione told him as Snape followed them out of the lobby and into one of the many hallways.

"And have you experienced any practice contractions?" he asked, weaving his way deftly through the halls. Hermione had no idea where the hell they were going or how she would get out later but she figured it didn't really matter.

"Not really," she said. "A twinge or two. I had an incident with spotting at 8 months."

"Did you come here?" he asked.

"No, Muggle hospital."

"You should have come here," he said, but there was no anger in his voice.

"I know, but I was trying not to advertise it," she said, glumly.

Roger turned and grinned at her at that. "Yes, I recognized you but it's not exactly professional to point it out, is it?"

"Oh, thanks," Hermione said, smiling softly.

"If we could get back to the point?" Snape asked pointedly. "Is she going to be okay?"

"Well, we have to wait for a Healer," Roger said, pushing open a door that led to a brightly coloured room. "But giving birth at thirty-seven weeks is not considered premature. That being said, since your contractions have slowed down the Healer will probably want to attempt to stop labour and keep the wee man in there for as long as possible."

"The 'wee man'?" Severus echoed, a look of complete and utter distain on his face.

"Well, we do get the paper in here, you know," Roger grinned at Severus, despite the scowl on the other man's face. "Anyway," he quickly darted a look a Hermione before he addressed Severus once more. "Are you the father?"



Severus and Hermione glared at each other while Roger stood between them awkwardly.

"Uh," his eyes darted between the two of them. "Only family members or the other parent can be in the room..."

"My friend's will bring my mother soon enough, I'm sure," Hermione told Roger as pleasantly as she could. "In the mean time, I think I'd prefer to be alone."

She glanced at Severus and had to look away from the cold fury on his face before he turned and stormed from the room, leaving a very confused Roger in his wake.


A few hours later it turned out that Roger had been right. Healer Bray, the attending mediwitch, had decided to stay her labour with a handy little potion and keep her in the hospital for observation for a couple of hours. Harry had brought her mother shortly after she had taken the potion and Mrs. Granger had questioned her daughter endlessly about the tall, dark haired man pacing the hallway outside of her room until Hermione had faked being tired and her mother had left the room.

Hermione lay back against the hospital bed and thought about Sever—Snape, she told herself firmly—being out in the hallway with her mother and probably Harry and Lavender, too. What would they be talking about? Would they be telling him about her pregnancy? Did she want them to?

No, no she did not. It was none of his business. He didn't even know that it was his, only Harry had said that, she had not confirmed it.

What would she do if he asked for a paternity test? Did she have any right to deny him? She didn't know enough about wizarding law.

She couldn't help but think back to how fixedly he had stared at her stomach, his eyes wide and his face—for the first time in her memory—void of emotion in a way that did not mean he was hiding himself behind a mask. He looked as if he was so shocked that he didn't know how to feel as he stood there in Lavender's kitchen.

And the way he had scooped her up in his arms as if she weighed nothing? She was no romantic fool but there was a part of her that fluttered happily at the fact that his first notion was to carry her, bridal style. It didn't escape her notice that he didn't seem to balk at the extra ten pounds she had put on during the pregnancy.

She shook her head, trying to physically dislodge the thoughts from her head. Stop being an idiot, she chided herself. He's your one time lover, not boyfriend, or even your partner in this.

"Hello dear," Healer Bray walked into the room with no warning, her mother following behind her. As the door swung open Hermione could see Snape come to a standstill and Harry hunched against the wall outside her door. She met Snape's gaze for the barest of seconds before the door swung shut on him and she turned to the older witch.

"Now, we're going to send you home for hopefully at least two more weeks," she began. "I've been told that both of your incidents of hospitalization—the bleeding and now this false labour—were triggered by stress. Most women are not as sensitive as you or perhaps you are under a considerable amount of it, either way, I'm going to prescribe you a very mild version of the Calming Draught," she pulled out a piece of parchment from her robes. "I want you to take a teaspoon with breakfast, lunch and dinner. It won't knock you out but it will keep you in a very relaxed state for the majority of the day."

"It's okay to take, even with the baby?" Hermione asked.

"It will not harm the baby," the Healer reassured her. "It is mild enough and you won't be taking very much of it. Now, our last bit of business is this nasty bit of paperwork."

Healer Bray took out a rather long scroll of parchment and held it up for Hermione to read 'Confidentiality Agreement' across the top.

"It's not standard practice but I thought you might want to sign one of these with the hospital," she said, tapping it with her wand and charming it stiff. "It stops any of the hospital employees from releasing information about you, your records or your whereabouts in the hospital to the media without severe repercussions. They're not supposed to do it anyway but we both know that people talk, this makes it more legally binding that you are not to be discussed outside of the hospital. You don't have to sign it, but I highly suggest that you do."

"Thank you," Hermione said, taking the contract and reading through it quickly before taking the self-inking quill that Healer Bray had ready for her and signing her name at the bottom of it.

"Perfect," Healer Bray said. With another tap of her wand the parchment rolled up and she put it in her pocket once more. "Now, have someone pick up the Calming Draught for you. I suggest either having someone competent brewing it for you, I'll include a copy of the instructions, or purchasing it from Potage's in Diagon Alley."

"I see you have plenty of people to escort you home, so I'll let you get on your way," Healer Bray said with a smile. "Try to stay off your feet, okay?"

"I will," Hermione agreed.

"Good, I don't want to see you for another two weeks!" she winked at Hermione before letting herself out.

With a deep sigh, Hermione turned to her mother who had a strange expression on her face.

"What's wrong?" she asked.

"Is that man out there the father?" she asked softly.

"Let it go, mother," she said just as quietly. Swinging her legs over the edge of the bed, she quickly dressed in her maternity clothes and picked up the bags that they had brought but not needed. "I don't want to talk about it."

"Hermione, you should at least—," but Hermione was not listening. She strode out of the room and found herself face to face with Harry, Snape and Lavender. Snape was still angry, she could tell by the tightness around his lips and eyes; Harry was watching her warily, as if expecting her to lash out at him again; Lavender simply looked worried.

"I am to go home and rest, to stay off my feet as much as possible, and to take a mild Calming Draught three times a day," she announced to all of them. "Harry, would you mind stopping off in Diagon Alley and getting this for me?" she handed him the parchment the Healer had given her, complete with the instructions on how to brew it, not that Harry would need that part.

She turned to Severus and felt her stomach turn to stone at the hard look in his eyes. "Can we later? I don't have the energy to have it out with you right now."

He seemed to debate on saying something but after a moment's hesitation he simply nodded, his dark eyes watching her carefully as if she were going to disappear...or keel over.

"Can we go home now, Lavender?" she asked, trying not to sound pitiful.

"Of course," she smiled. "Just think of all the relaxing you get to do now! You'll put your feet up and do nothing all day long. Doesn't that sound like fun?" Lavender teased.

Hermione groaned dramatically, letting Harry take the bags from her hands. "I wish this baby would just come already, at least I wouldn't have to worry about being bored," she grumbled, mostly to herself.

"You'll be eating those words in a month, I guarantee you," Mrs. Granger said from behind her, causing everyone to turn and look at her with surprise—though it was probably more because they had forgotten she was there. "What?" she asked, seeing their expressions. "Have any of you raised a child before? I have. They're a pain in the ass."

Lavender snorted, Severus' lips twitched and Harry chuckled.

"Thanks for the vote of confidence, mom," Hermione said tiredly, but with a smile. "I'm glad to know that I was the apple of your eye."

Mrs. Granger snorted. "If that boy inherits any of your habits, you're in for a lot of sleepless nights. Did you know that you loved to babble even when you were an infant? You'd be up for a feeding at 4am but you wouldn't stop yammering on after so I'd have to walk around with you for an hour until you passed out again."

Hermione rolled her eyes as Harry fairly choked on his own tongue.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 5 of 26

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