Continuing Tales


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 9 of 26

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12 hours:

Hermione woke suddenly, her heart racing. She was unsure of what it was that had jarred her from sleep but as she took in her surroundings her memories returned and she relaxed. Sitting in a chair beside her bed, his head pillowed awkwardly on his coat, was Severus. On her other side in a small, hospital issue crib, was her son.

Her son.

She slowly edged to the side of the bed and looked down at him as he slept. His face had more colour in it now and even his head was more properly shaped than it had been when he emerged from the pool of water. She had mentioned the oddity to her mother who reminded her that she too had looked a bit funny after being squeezed out of 'a down there', something that had made Hermione grimace and Severus snort.

Gently, she reached down and brushed her fingertips over his forehead and the downy soft hair that covered his skull. She couldn't help but smile and think that he was utterly perfect in every way. It was a biased opinion, she knew, and there'd probably be many a time during her life where she would wonder why she had had a child but in that moment he was wonderful.

His lips made gentle sucking motions as he slept and she grinned slightly. Healer Bray had shown her how to nurse him, and everything else that came with it, earlier in the day. It was an unusual sensation and not one that she was completely keen on because it did hurt a bit after a while but both her mother and Healer Bray had assured her that it would pass rather quickly. Sebastian simply had to 'perfect his technique' as the healer had put it, which had made both Severus and Hermione snort.

She had actually been in the middle of nursing him for the first time when her company arrived. Harry, Ginny, Lavender and Lavender's mother had shown up to see the baby. It had been awkward, to say the least, when Harry walked into the room to see Hermione's breast mostly exposed. Severus had, in an unexpected act of chivalry, picked up his cloak from the back of his chair and draped it over Sebastian, holding it up enough so that the baby could still breathe. The stunned looks on everyone's faces had clearly made him uncomfortable but he had stood there, holding the black material over her, until Sebastian was finished and she could cover herself up.

After that, things had gone slightly downhill and Hermione frowned to remember it. Severus had seemed to withdraw from the company as they 'ooh'd and 'aww'd over the baby. Sebastian barely made a peep as he was passed from hands to hands, his unfocused eyes trying to make sense of the world around him.

"He's got Snape's eyes," Harry said softly, cradling the newborn to his chest and watching him with a look of barely disguised envy.

"And his hair," Ginny said, just as quietly, leaning over Harry's shoulder. "Actually, he's like a miniature of him," she smiled. "Are you sure this is your baby, Hermione? I don't see any of you in him."

Hermione snorted derisively from the bed. "I assure you, he's mine. I have the stretch marks to prove it. Besides, he's a boy, it's better if he looks like his father than his mother."

It was then that she had looked up at Severus and realized that he no longer stood next to the bed, but rather was staring out the windows at the far side of the room, completely ignoring the proceedings going on. She had frowned in confusion but at that moment Lavender's mother had begun to talk to her about handy charms that helped with things like cleaning spit up or creams that cleared up diaper rash faster than you could blink and Hermione forced herself to pay attention.

She rolled over and looked at the sleeping man who could not possibly be comfortable and wondered exactly what it was that had caused him to pull back so much. He had been companionable, friendly even, and willingly chatting with her mother until her friends had arrived. He had been amazing during the birth, supporting her both physically as well as mentally with soft comments of encouragement and strong hands to hold on to. What had happened?

She felt off and couldn't make heads or tails of it. Part of her was disappointed that he seemed to revert to his silent self, even after everyone left. It had only been the two of them in the room and yet he had barely spoken a word to her and when she had offered to let him hold Sebastian he had declined and then informed her that he would be in the canteen in the same breath. Watching his retreating back left her with an ache she didn't understand.

"I wish I understood you," she whispered softly, watching his relaxed face. "I wish I knew the real you."

She closed her eyes with a sigh and turned over fully to face him, snuggling into the soft cushions of the bed and pulling the blanket up over her shoulder. With her bone deep weariness it didn't take long for the lull of darkness and silence to pull her under. She didn't see the dark brown eyes across from her open.


2 days:

"So," Lavender said, plopping down on the bed next to the fully dressed Hermione. "You're coming back to my place, right?"

Hermione smiled at Lavender and shook her head. "I have to brave it at some point, Lav. Besides, I have to take apart my den and make it into a nursery somehow."

"I wouldn't worry about that if I were you," Lavender crowed happily, her eyes darting over to where Severus sat, holding his sleeping son in his usual chair. Hermione followed her gaze but Severus didn't look up at the pair of them.

"Why...?" she asked, dragging out the word while she eyed her friend.

"Let's just say you had some help while you've been here," Lavender said, smiling mischievously.

"I'm going to come home to a red and gold nursery, aren't I?" Hermione asked, smiling despite herself.

"No!" Lavender laughed. "Severus wouldn't let us. He said it was better for the baby to be in a room full of soft, light colours."

"He did, did he?" she asked, her tone slightly incredulous. She turned once more to look at the man in question. He continued to ignore her in favour of watching his son instead.

"Mmhmm!" the blonde witch nodded, her curls bouncing with her excitement. "But since I figured that you would want to go home I am officially offering myself as your slave. You know, to help out when you're passed out on the couch because stinker there was up at the crack of dawn."

Hermione laughed. "You're offering to move in with me, to what? Be my husband?"

"Hey, hey," Lavender laughed, too. "I know you're hot stuff and all but you're not exactly my type."

"Please, woman," Hermione scoffed, and waved a dismissive hand. "I could rock your world."

The pair of them giggled over their silliness and it was then that Hermione caught a glance at Severus and realized that he was now staring at them—or Lavender specifically. For a second she thought he was amazed at their crude humour but it startled her to realize that he was...upset? Not angry but...sad, maybe? No, not quite. It was...just upset? She frowned, unable to read him, and it was then that he met her gaze directly.

"Well, I'll just have to content myself with fantasies," Lavender sniggered, completely unaware of Severus' gaze. "So, do you want the help?"

"I, uh," Hermione turned back to Lavender guiltily. She had completely forgotten the point of the conversation for a moment. "Perhaps in a few weeks? My mother is going to stay with me for a bit, just until I get the hang of things."

"Okay, you just let me know," Lavender said easily. Hermione felt a rush of affection for her friend and reached over to hug her, pulling the other girl forward awkwardly and making her laugh into Hermione's collar bone. "You're going to smother me!"

"I love you," she said, happily squeezing Lavender harder.

"I love you too, okay? Just let me go, you crazy bint!" Lavender laughed, flailing a little. Hermione let her go and watched the other witch straighten her hair. "You weirdo," Lavender said fondly.

"And you willingly spend your time with me, so what does that say about you?" Hermione countered.

"That I'm mental, apparently." Her tone was dry but her eyes warm. "Are you all packed and ready to go? Your mum is waiting outside for us, she said she had to go back to her place for something. I'm going to Side-Along with her to your flat. Do you want me to come back for you or...?" she trailed off and looked over at Severus who was, once again, focused on Sebastian.

"I will take her, Miss Brown," he said quietly.

"Thank you, Severus," Hermione said, slipping out of the bed and picking up her bags. "Lavender, do you mind taking this back with you? I'd rather not have too much to carry with the baby."

"Sure thing," she said, picking up both Hermione's and Sebastian's bags. "I'll see you in a bit."

She danced over to where Severus was holding Sebastian and, without so much as a blink in the older man's direction, she leaned down and kissed the infant on the forehead. "See you, little man," she said softly before turning to go.

"Are you ready to go?" Hermione asked quietly. He seemed to be in an odd mood, one that he had been in since the baby was born and she didn't quite know what to make of it. He was silent most of the time, contemplative, or just...odd. He gave people the strangest of looks at the weirdest of times and for the life of her, Hermione could not understand what was going on in his head. As if to prove her point, he watched Lavender let herself out of the room with a strangely contemplative expression on her face that Hermione didn't understand.

"Yes," he said simply, handing Sebastian back to her.

He watched as she placed him on the bed and gently wrapped a thick blanket around him. He was wearing one of the many infant onesies that she had either been gifted with or purchased herself but it would not be enough against the cool weather outside. This one was from Lavender and it read across the front "Mommy's Little Mess Maker" in glittering letters that changed colour.

Once Sebastian was wrapped up snugly, he slept through the process surprisingly, she lifted him into her arms and together they set off for the main lobby of the hospital. They had just arrived in the corridor that would lead them to the exit when Lavender came rushing up to them, closely followed by Mrs. Granger.

"What's wrong?" Hermione asked immediately.

"The press," Lavender said. "It seems that someone blabbed about you being here. They've surrounded the entrance and..." she trailed off, her eyes darting up to Severus.

"And?" he prompted, impatient. "Out with it Miss Brown."

"They know you're Sebastian's father," she said in a rush. "I don't know how, but as soon as I stepped outside to find Hermione's mum they were screaming at me to confirm it."

"How did they even know you were here with me?" Hermione asked, completely thrown. She knew that the news would break eventually but she hadn't expected to have to deal with it so soon.

"Our anonymous friend, apparently," Lavender said her tone deep and unimpressed. "They were asking for Harry, too, so I think whoever it was told the press everyone who had been there the day you gave birth."

Hermione sighed deeply, feeling a headache blossoming in her temples. "I didn't want them to be able to get a picture of Sebastian if I could avoid it," she admitted.

"And they will not," Severus said in his quiet, calm way. She looked up at him confused as he began shrugging out of his long coat with all the buttons. He swept it around her shoulders and buttoned it up around both her and the baby in her arms, leaving the neck open enough that Sebastian could breathe. It was large enough that it was barely constricting.

She beamed up to him in gratitude. "You're a genius," she said.

His lips twitched slightly at the corner. "Hardly."

"Perfect!" Mrs. Granger smiled. "Now let's get the hell out of here. "

Together the four of them walked to the exit and left the building together. Immediately, Hermione was blinded by flashes and deafened by various voices calling her name, or Severus'. She blinked against the lights and stepped closer to Severus. He wrapped an arm around her shoulders, guiding her to the edge of St. Mungo's property and growling at the reporters who tried to push closer at her. The moment they were beyond the Anti-Apparition barriers he pulled her back to his chest, wrapping his arms around both her and the baby under his coat and whisked them away with a deafening crack!


7 days:

"They say we stand for nothing and there's no way we ever could...," Hermione crooned to Sebastian, cupping warm water and dribbling it over his head gently. " we keep waiting, waiting on the world to change..."

She heard the Floo chime behind her and called out, "I'm in the kitchen, Mom!"

"Your mother is using the Floo Network?" came a deep voice from behind her.

Hermione turned around, one hand still on Sebastian, and spotted Severus standing in her kitchen, holding a paper bag in one arm.

"Yes," she said. "Kings managed to pull a few strings for me but it's being kept pretty hush-hush, for obvious reasons."

They had quickly discovered that not even her mother could leave Hermione's flat to get supplies. The Prophet had pictures of her from the day they all left St. Mungo's and now knew exactly who to look for and bombard. As a Muggle, she was more than defenceless against them. Normally Muggle's were not permitted to use the Floo Network unless under dire circumstances but after Kingsley had caught wind of the fact that the pair of them were practically prisoner's in Hermione's flat he had made some calls.

Severus nodded and put down the paper bag on the table in the corner before joining her at the enlarged kitchen sink where she had a bright blue Muggle infant bath seat in the warm water.

"You're giving him a bath?"

Hermione ignored the temptation to tease him about asking the obvious and simply nodded. "Take your coat off, roll up your sleeves, and you can finish. He needs a good soaping."

Severus did exactly as she bid him and picked up the soft flannel that she had been using to wash him. Sebastian sat calmly, blinking up at the lights, as his father ran the wash cloth gently over his skin. Hermione didn't bother telling Severus that he didn't need to spend so much time cleaning between the little boy's toes because for the first time in days Severus looked completely relaxed and happy.

She dried off her hands and began working around the two of them as she whipped together some sandwiches. She put one aside in a container for her mother, whenever she got back. She was using Lavender's Floo as her exit and so she often ended up staying out longer than intended when she ran into Mrs. Brown. The two got on like a house on fire.

Hermione plated one for Severus as he drained the water in the kitchen sink and began drying Sebastian off by hand. She had a no charm policy when it came to her son, at least not while he was so young. When he was older she would Scourgifyhim within an inch of his life, but not while he was an infant. She put her own down at the table but remained standing as she took the first bite, her eyes wandering over the paper bag that Severus had brought with him. It was fairly full and looked like the edge had been curled over several times. Her curiosity got the better of her and while Severus had his hands full of wet baby, she opened up the bag and peered inside.

"Severus?" she called softly, not wanting to startle him as he used a charm to wrap the towel around Sebastian. "What's this?" she poked a hand in and pulled out what looked like a handmade blanket. The fabric was soft with age and many washings and the colour faded from what was once a dark blue to a light shade that reminded her of what the sky looked like right before a summer storm.

He turned around with Sebastian in his arms, cradling a tiny head in his large palm, and froze.

"Well, they're...I just thought that—" he hesitated, unable to hold her eyes. He swiftly walked over to the table where one half of it was covered in Sebastian's baby stuff. Hermione had brought everything with her to the kitchen so that she could dress him in the warm room. Severus laid him down gently on his changing blanket, charmed to be extremely cushiony, and began putting a diaper on him. It was a skill that Severus had mastered quite quickly, much to the irritation of Harry who still could not figure out how the damn things worked.

"Is this your baby blanket?" Hermione asked softly, watching as Severus's long fingers deftly pinned the corners of Sebastian's cloth diaper together snugly.

"I know that you have plenty of blankets and toys for him," he said quietly, still not looking at her, "but I had them in my house and I thought perhaps you might have a use for them."

Hermione wondered at the sudden change the items had brought out in him, especially considering that he had given them to her willingly, but decided not to ask him. She shook out the blanket and caught a whiff of detergent as she did so; he had clearly prepared these items to bring to her, so why did he seem so...nervous?

Yes, that was it. She watched him slip Sebastian into another onesie and realized that it was nervousness that danced across his face. Did he think she would reject these pieces of his childhood? Why?

"Lift him up when you're done?" she asked, watching him finish the last button and slip his hands under the small body. When he was held securely in Severus' hands she walked up to the pair of them and wrapped the baby blanket around Sebastian before gently taking him from his father and cradling him against her shoulder.

"Thank you," she said softly. Leaning up on her toes she grabbed his chin in her hand and placed a firm but chaste kiss against his lips.

She couldn't say what it was that prompted her to do it, his cheek would have sufficed, but she knew she had made the right decision when he looked completely flummoxed and a pleasurable warmth unfurled in her belly.

"You're welcome," he said softly.

"Eat your sandwich and you can show me what else you brought for us," she aimed a wandless spell at her plate, making it float behind her while she meandered into the sitting room as if it were perfectly common place to kiss Severus Snape in her kitchen and leave the man staring after her, his mouth slightly open.


A Harry Potter Story
by Alexis.Danaan

Part 9 of 26

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