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To Live and Let Live

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Harry did write asking for a meeting, rather sooner than they had been expecting – 26th December.

Hermione,

Thank you for the talk and pointing out a few facts. I was wondering, if I could see you again soon. I did what needed to be done, and well... Ginny and I are no longer together. And no, there is no baby.

I did get the gift from you, and thank you very much for it. I know the voucher for you three is not very inventive, but I’m hoping each of you will find something nice at the bookshop.

Love,

Harry.

 

And so, Hermione invited the boy to their home again, but this time it was for the small dinner gathering they were having. It was only Minerva, Filius, Poppy, Pomona, Neville, and Luna, if she managed. Others of the Brigade were also invited, but mostly decline, as someone needed to “keep an eye on those blighters at school”, as Hooch put it.

When there was a moment Hermione and Potter could talk more-or-less privately, she found out what had occurred between the former-future Potters, as the boy told her the whole story.

##

Harry joined the Weasleys for the Christmas Day, and during the feast, Molly asked, 'So, have you set the date yet?’

Instead of saying simply “Not yet. We’ll let you know if we decide anything”, she told them all, 'I believe it will be something within the next month,' and smiled looking coyly at her flat stomach.

Harry stood up, and with a shy smile excused them both, to have a few words with his fiancée in private.

'Ginny, are you pregnant?’ he asked gently, with a hint of a smile.

She beamed at him, ‘Are you happy? We’ll get married quickly, and start the new Potter family!’

He faked hesitation, ‘Em, Ginny? You didn’t answer my question – are you pregnant?’

‘What? Why are you even asking?’ she went on defence immediately.

‘Because it’s rather sudden, don’t you think?’

She laughed and said in a very patronising way, ‘Oh, Harry... With the amount of sex we are having, don’t you think it’s rather easy to get pregnant?’

He took a deep breath, and said very calmly and seriously, ‘Ginny. Answer the question: Are you pregnant? And if you try giving me another evasive answer, I swear to any gods that may be listening that while I would never hurt you or any child, I will make sure you’ll regret playing games with me, when it’s not time for any fucking games. Now, answer my bloody question.’

The girl before him looked absolutely furious, but finally spat, ‘I’m not pregnant. Yet. But it’s only a matter of time. You wanted to start family quickly, so what is the problem?’

‘The problem is that I’m not ready to be a father yet. I’ve never had the chance to be young and live. The problem is that having a child is something we should decide on together. The problem is that your whole family thinks now that you are pregnant and we are getting married because there will be a baby in only a few months. The problem is that I don’t trust you anymore. I wanted to marry you and have children.

‘I wanted us to travel first, to have some fun, to start a career, for you to have a career of your own. I’m only 19 and you are only 18. I sometimes don’t feel adult enough to completely care for myself, and not to mention a baby! A baby is completely dependent on the parents, while I still have to stop myself all too often to shout something like “Hermione, have you seen my socks?”. One day, I will be more than happy to be a father. Not only that, but to be a real dad, who takes care of his children as much as their mother does. Now, I still wish for someone to look after me.’

‘Yeah, right. Like I’m going to take this crap. No, Harry Potter. I will not allow you to start going after some tarts during your “travelling and being young”. You and I will get married in a month, because that’s the soonest we can manage to organise everything, and then we can take a long honeymoon and you get your seeing the world.’

‘You don’t understand Ginny. I don’t want to marry someone I don’t trust. I am not even sure anymore if you even really love me.’ Then he added, ‘And let’s go back to your family and tell them the news.’

The girl ran before him crying and Harry could hear her yelling, ‘Daddy! Harry doesn’t want to marry me! He wants to leave me!’

He went into the room and said with the calm he did not feel, ‘Ginevra is not pregnant. She tried to trick me into marrying her, and while I was planning to propose rather sooner than later, I don’t trust her anymore. And so everything is clear: Ginny and I are done. We are not a couple anymore. Good bye to you all.’ Then he turned back to the girl again, ‘If you go to newspapers suddenly really pregnant, be sure I’ll demand paternity test and I’ll make it a public affair.’

##

When Potter stopped describing the whole scene, he realised the whole room had started listening a while ago. It was actually Minerva, who broke the silence.

She cleared her throat after taking another sip of her drink, and spoke, ‘Well, Mr Potter, it seems you finally started either thinking, or listening to people, who care about you. And if I may say so, Miss Weasley has always been a... problematic girl. Severus and I even talked on more than one occasion why she had ended up in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin, but, well.’

Hermione took over, turning slightly the shocked boy more towards herself, ‘Harry, I know it was not an easy decision, but frankly, I believe it was a good one. And no one can predict the future; so maybe in; for example, two years, you two meet up again and after having a chance at growing up, you’ll fall in love again? Who knows. Don’t think too much about it now, as what’s done is done. Have some of those marvellous biscuits.’

He took obediently the sweet, but before even trying it, he asked with crestfallen face, ‘What about Ron? He lives with me at Grimmauld, but he’s not speaking to me.’

Hermione rolled her eyes and huffed before answering, ‘It’s easy. Taking under consideration we are talking about Ron, ask for rent.’ Seeing surprise on Potter’s face, she sighed and explained, ‘If you talk to him giving the information in the right order, so: “Ron, are we friends?” He says “no”, then you say “In that case you’re going to pay me rent, because only my friends can live in my house for free”. It will give you Ron, who storms off to live with his mummy, but comes back after maximum of one month to apologise; immediate cease of fire; or, the least probable, rent money.’

Almost everyone laughed, chuckled, or; as in Severus’s case – smirked. After that, the party went on till after midnight.

*

On the 14th January 2000, Hermione gained her Mastery in Potions, which was celebrated by the whole staff and the few friends from the outside of school. What did help her, were the potions Hermione had developed working with cosmetics. She created four products, and all were more-or-less healing, but thanks to the fact they could be made with magic or without it, they were good for both magical and Muggle folk. It was only when the Snapes were lying in their bed after the party, that Hermione confessed to wanting to try one day and gain Masteries also in other fields; with Warding in the first place.

Severus laughed and told her, ‘I have never expected you to limit your education only to one field. And I must say that your wards are always bloody impressive.’

She thanked for the complement with a sound kiss, and they fell into the comfortable silence until Severus asked quietly, ‘Hermione? Are you asleep?’

‘Mmmm no, not yet. What is it?’

He hesitated, but finally spoke again, ‘I was wondering if something you had said was just a dream or if it was real. In the Shack, when I asked why you were saving me, you said you had your own reasons... Did it happen?’

The witch turned so that she was half lying on his chest to look into his eyes, even though it was pitch dark. ‘It did happen, love. I simply knew you were on our side and couldn’t let you be killed like that. I was the one who had taken care of you when you turned up at Grimmauld during summers, when everyone else was asleep. I was learning wards and any spells that could be interwoven into them, and I had a trigger for injured people, and another one for anyone meaning harm. You never once activated the last one. And do not forget that at some point, I had realised I would need to know as much about not only healing, but about Dark Magic as possible for me, in order to help Harry, to help you, help anyone else, and possibly survive myself. I was able to sense Dumbledore was dying. Painfully. It was only logical the two of you would use it to strengthen your position at Riddle’s side; no matter how reluctantly. So yes, I had my own reasons – I have always admired you and I knew you were not a traitor.’ She then kissed his chest right above his heart, ‘And look how well it turned out for me.’

He smiled, even if she couldn’t see it, and said with warmth in his deep voice, ‘For me even better, my beautiful and brilliant wife.’ They kissed and fell asleep right after that – it was a very long day.

**

In June 2002, Hermione found out she was pregnant. She instantly went to talk to Severus, ‘Love, we need to talk. Do you have some time now?’

Her wizard paled a bit, but nodded and they went to their sitting room. ‘Has something happened?’ he tried to be calm, but she could see too easily he was very nervous.

‘I’ve just performed the spell, and I’m pregnant. I don’t want to get too happy right now, because you do remember that I might not be able to... to...’ her voice broke, so Severus pulled her to his chest and wrapped her in his arms, warmth, and scent.

‘I love you no matter what happens. What do you want to do now?’

She looked up to meet his eyes, and said seriously, ‘I want for us to talk to Poppy and her to go with us to a Healer at St Mungo’s. I want them to cooperate, as I’ll be mostly here during pregnancy, and Poppy needs to know exactly what is going on. I need you to be there with me. And I don’t want Belle to even have a clue that anything is out of the ordinary. At least until it’s safe to tell her.’

He nodded, kissed her forehead, and agreed easily, ‘It’s a good idea with Poppy and Belle, and you know I will always be there for you. You, my dear wife, are stuck with me forever.’

She chuckled, ‘Just like you with me, my beloved husband.’

*

It was difficult more often than not, and Poppy’s help was a godsend on more than one occasion, but on the 23rd February 2003 the world was greeted by screaming Snape twins. Ian Filius and June Poppy were born by caesarean section, as the multiplied in force by the after-effects of Hermione’s tortures contractions of natural birth would be dangerous to both mother and the babies.

Belle was introduced to her siblings and was rather unimpressed since they were sleeping at the time. When she found out she wouldn’t be able to play with them for a long time to come, she announced she was going to grandma Minnie. Severus then told his older daughter to not be there for too long, as they would be reading a new book that afternoon, which caused the girl to relax and give a kiss to both her parents.

Belle was assured by her parents of their love by spending time with her the way they used to, and the fact it wasn’t as much time as before the babies, was forgotten by the girl thanks to the Old Brigade, who were more than happy to dedicate some undivided attention to the oldest Snape child. The girl was always as obedient as you could wish of a five-year-old, and Hermione and Severus infected her with the curiosity for world and everything it could offer. The only problem was that Belle was much more trusting than either of her parents, so Lu, as the elf Belle knew and loved most, was assigned permanently to keep Belle safe, while Su and Belly were chosen to help looking after the twins.

*

Hermione was a teacher respected by students, as they had quickly learned that she was strict but fair, and as long as they behaved properly, she was willing to make the lessons interesting even for those completely not into Potions. Besides, there was always the threat of a detention with either of the Snape Professors.

Hermione and Severus resumed cooperation with George Weasley, when the latter came with an idea requiring truly good Master of Potions. The couple thrived in working together, and WWW gained then a good business partner and George – reliable friends.

*

Hogwarts and the elves simply loved having “babies” (no matter how old those babies were) and they were taking wonderful care of the Snape and Weasley children. Fleur and Bill had had two, but after the Snape twins were one year-old, they started considering one more of their own. The kids were getting on beautifully, and the adults became close friends.

*

In the meantime, Ronald had come back to Potter with some lame apologies after two weeks since moving out. Their sharing the house hadn’t lasted for too long, however, as about six months later, Ronald had found out he would be a father to a baby, whose mother had been barely seventeen at the time of conception. And so, Ronald Weasley had suddenly married, found a poorly paid behind-the-desk job at Department of Magical Games and Sports, and become again angry with Harry for his own misery.

Ginny had been unhappy about the break-up for about a month, as thanks to going wild on her broom to release some tension she was noticed and offered a spot in a minor Quidditch team. After playing there for two years, she earned a spot in Holyhead Harpies. It took her an awfully long time, but she finally understood what Harry had meant – the need to be young and each of them having their own career. It helped her realise she had been a bitch and she apologised to her ex-boyfriend. Neither was in love with the other and it allowed them to be simply friends.

Hermione’s and Harry’s friendship had been rebuilding from the scratch and they were fine. Hermione had told her husband that it never would be the kind of almost-sibling-like bond that many had believed them to be, but she was happy with how the things were. The Boy-Who-Lived-Twice grew up and was now a much better person. He valued his friendship with the Snapes, as Severus and Harry had to get on, and the two wizards had learnt how to deal with each other well enough to call the other their friend (even without lying).

Harry became a full Auror and even managed to gain some respect based only on his own work, he travelled a bit, and dated a few women – some magical, others not. Severus was surprised to learn the young wizard to not be a playboy wanting to bed as many as possible, but Harry almost always dated to get to know them treating the women well. In the end, for the twins’ first birthday, Harry and Luna started talking more amicably than ever before and started a relationship soon after. It was about six month after Luna and Neville had broken up. Many had envisioned a Lovegood-Longbottom marriage and very blond babies to come, but the Snapes, who had been seeing the couple interact, never believed they would have survived. Harry and Luna on the other hand...

... Married in October that same year they started dating. The first baby came a little over a year after their marital vows.

And all was well.

There were the typical ups and downs of normal, peaceful life and the Snape family lived happily ever after.