Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or the characters within the book or movies in any way, shape, or form.
A/N: So the reason for the long wait for this chapter is that it took me a while to figure out that I had not actually switched the story status to completed like I thought I had. So as a gift for sticking with the story even after I thought it was done, I forced myself to come up with more…hopefully it lives up to expectations, if not, let me know…maybe there could be more to come…
The Truth About Scars
"I think I found her!" Neville exclaimed as he ran into an anxious looking Remus Lupin and Minerva McGonagall, "She's in the Room of Requirement."
Remus and Minerva shared a quick look before Minerva spoke, "I'll go find Severus, he's searching for her somewhere near the library," she turned to Remus, "You and Neville go see if you can figure out what's going on and try to coax her out of the Room. Send a patronus if you get her to move, otherwise I'll bring Severus to you," she ordered before spinning sharply on her heel and walking off in the direction of the library.
Remus turned to Neville questioningly, "Did Hermione say anything to you when you found her?" he asked as they began the assent to the fifth floor from the Great Hall. He, Neville and Minerva had been the only three that Severus had trusted enough to finally enlist in his search to find the beloved Hermione. Apparently she had been missing since that morning, but Severus hadn't thought anything of it, but when dinner finally rolled around and Hermione still hadn't been spotted by any staff, portraits, ghosts or otherwise, Severus had grown concerned enough to reluctantly involve the three other professors in his search for her.
Neville shook his head, looking slightly embarrassed, but more confident than he had been when he was been back in school, "I didn't actually talk to her," he said evasively, thankful, not for the first time, that it was the summer holidays and that the castle was empty except for the Hogwarts staff, faculty, ghosts and portraits.
They turned up another flight of stairs as Neville began to explain, "I went to Hogsmeade thinking that she might have just got caught up at the book store or something and I ran into Harry, Draco, Luna and Ginny who were out on a double date together. Anyway, I asked them if they had seen her, which they then told me that they had not. So I explained the situation, about how Severus came to us to help him find Hermione, and Draco commented that she must still be in the castle if Severus was unaware of her location," Neville took a deep breath, talking and walking hadn't always been his forte, "Which made sense, considering how close they have been since last November when they finally got together."
Remus snorted at Neville's juvenile way of referring to Hermione and Severus' relationship, it was a bit more then 'got together,' "Anyway," he urged Neville to go on.
"Right," Neville panted, "Harry's response to Draco's comment was to pull out the Marauder's Map from his back pocket—which he apparently carries around everywhere with him—and began to scour it looking for Hermione," Neville shook his head, "He couldn't find her on it, so Ginny brought up that the Room of Requirement doesn't actually show up on the Map, and that Hermione was probably reading in the Room and had simply lost track of time."
Remus shook his own head, concern heavy in his eyes, "Hermione wouldn't just disappear like this without telling anyone, even if she was just off reading a book somewhere. There's something more going on."
Neville nodded, "That's what Luna said, which made Draco comment that if Hermione was hiding in the Room and if I had been unable to find her there previously—it was the first place I checked after Severus asked for our help, but I couldn't find her there—it would be because she had some specific use for the Room and it wouldn't let me find her without me knowing exactly what she had wanted to use the room for. To which Ginny said that it would depend on her mood then what type of room she wanted the Room to be, using Harry trying to catch Draco in our early sixth year as an example. I had noticed yesterday that she had seemed really nervous and this morning she looked about ready to burst into tears," Neville looked at Remus to see if he agreed.
Remus thought back to that morning, he had been a little concerned for Hermione when he saw her this morning, but he had brushed it off as the result of an argument between her and Severus which meant that he really shouldn't stick his nose into it, "I saw it too," he agreed.
"Well, when I told them this Luna said that it probably meant that she would have asked for a replica of the girls lavatory," Neville shook his head in confusion, "Which really doesn't make much sense, but she is a girl and therefore she doesn't make much sense really ever. Anyway, I went upstairs to check and I heard her crying, but I panicked and came to find someone else more qualified to handle a crying, and therefore potentially dangerous, Hermione."
Remus gave a small laugh, "You are a wise man Neville Longbottom, though I don't think Hermione would really hex you if you were just trying to help."
Neville began pacing back and forth in front of the wall, concentrating on what he wanted and soon enough a door appeared, "Yes, well, one can never be too sure."
Walking confidently past the younger man, Remus slapped him on the shoulder with a grin, still finding himself slightly amused that Hermione had chosen a girls loo to hide in, "Hermione?" he called as he entered the room looking around for any sign of the witch.
A serious of quick sniffles brought his attention to the far side of the room. Hesitating for a short moment he and Neville shared a quick look of concern before they both headed in the direction of the sounds, "Hermione?" Remus repeated softer as they drew near the girl who was sitting on the floor with her arms wrapped around her jean clad knees with her head resting on top, "What's wrong Mione?" he asked, using the affectionate nick name that was given to her by Sirius back in her fifth year.
Slowly Hermione lifted her head and looked and Neville and Remus with red watery eyes, it appeared she had been crying for a while if not all day. Without saying a word she nodded her head towards them and looked pointedly over their shoulders. Turning around Remus found a small pile of about five white sticks scattered behind him, bending he picked one up and looked at it closely. The stick was completely white except for the two pink lines and the grey words next to the lines that told him that two lines meant—Remus spun around to look at his friend in surprise.
"You're pregnant?" he asked her gently.
Hermione's face crumpled as Neville gasped, "Yes!" she spat as she burst into tears again.
Remus returned the stick to the ground and nervously scratched the back of his head, trying to figure out how to go forward, "I take it you're not pleased about it?"
Head jerking up Hermione scrambled to her feet, "What are you talking about Remus?" she snapped, "I'm so overwhelmingly ecstatic I don't know what to do with myself!"
"Um," Neville started, but he quickly closed his mouth when Hermione turned her gaze to him. He was thoroughly confused, if she was so happy why did she look so upset? 'Women' he sighed mentally; clearly unprepared and unsuspecting Hermione to turn and start beating him with a box immediately following his mental comment.
"What do you mean 'women'?" Hermione shrilled, as she attacked her friend, "What is that supposed to mean?"
Remus was momentarily confused before he recalled that both professors were skilled occlumens and legilimens and decided that Neville must have accidentally thought out loud in his mind (or however that worked). Trying not to laugh as Neville cowered beneath Hermione's blows Remus reached out and grabbed one of Hermione's' flailing arms, "Hermione," he interjected, trying to calm her down and get her attention, "What Neville was probably thinking was that he doesn't understand why you have been hiding out in a girls Lavatory all day crying if you are happy that you are pregnant."
Hermione turned to face Remus, suddenly looking drained, "I am incredibly happy," she stated wincing as she looked at Neville and his almost still cowering position before her, "Sorry," she muttered quickly, before returning to her original thoughts, "But I don't know how Severus will react."
"So it is Severus' then?" Neville asked unthinkingly.
Remus winced as Hermione whipped around to face her friend, her hair falling out of the already messy braid it had been in as she glared at him, "Of course it's Severus baby!" she yelled, "Who else's would it be?" this time she actually reached out and whacked his head, not too hard but hard enough that it made him flinch.
Neville held up his hands defensively as he moved to cower behind Remus, "I didn't mean it that way," he moaned shaking his head weakly, "I won't speak again I promise."
Remus actually chuckled this time, but he quickly forced it down as he took in the still serious appearance of his friend in front of him, "So you don't think Severus will want a baby?" he asked to clarify.
"I don't know," Hermione whined, "We never really talked about it. I mean we only talked about getting married once months ago," Hermione slumped against the wall, "What will I do if he doesn't want it?" she whispered.
Stepping forward Remus pulled Hermione into his arms, "You'll rely on your friends to support you, and we will, every step of the way. But Hermione," he lifted her head to look at him, "Don't you think you should find out what he does think before we go jumping to conclusions?" Hermione hesitated, before slowly lowering her eyes and nodding, "And do you really want to tell him in the girls loo?" he asked her gently.
Hermione shook her head and sighed, "I was always going to tell him, I just needed a little while to get myself together."
Neville suddenly spoke up again, "Well that little while ended up lasting all day, Severus has been going out of his mind looking for you, he even pushed down his pride long enough to ask us to help him."
"No," Hermione gasped, "It's only been a few hours," she said in a way that sounded as if she were pleading with them to change what she already knew was reality, "He's not going to be happy," she moaned.
Remus gave a smirk, "And yet you still love him," he laughed, "Now, unless you want him finding you in here with the clear evidence of what you have been doing right over there," Remus gestured to the pregnancy tests behind him, "I suggest you make your way to his quarters, or your own if you prefer, but really, anywhere would be better than a lavatory."
Hermione pushed him lightheartedly, "I'll go to our—" she coughed, choking on her words, when had Severus' quarters become 'ours'? She sighed, probably from the first night they spent together innocently cuddling on his sinfully comfortable bed, she answered her own mental question, "Severus' rooms," she clarified.
Remus gave a humorous nod, pretending not to have heard her slip up. Pulling out his wand he winked at her, "Better get started on getting there," he told her, "I'm about to tell him where you are going and last time I checked the library was closer to his quarters than to the Room of Requirement."
Hermione rolled her eyes and turned to stare at one of the stalls, surprising Remus when it turned into a roaring fire place with a handful of floo powder in a small container next to it. The fireplace looked ridiculously out of place in the bathroom, but Hermione headed toward it none the less, turning one last time to speak to them before disappearing into the green flames, her 'thank you' echoing behind her.
Stumbling out of the fireplace Hermione turned to look at the clock over the large fireplace to find that she had, in fact, spent the entire day unintentionally hiding. Sighing she moved towards a real bathroom deciding to at least make an attempt to make herself look like she hadn't been crying all day.
Letting out a hopeless groan as she caught sight of the massive ball of curls that surrounded her head, she pulled out her wand and uselessly tried to tame the hair. Eventually she just pulled it back into a messy bun at the nape of her neck. She was about to move to the bedroom to change into something more comfortable for the evening but was stopped by the sound of the door to the living room being slammed open.
"Hermione?" a deep voice called with an undercurrent of concern and panic that would have been undetectable to anyone that didn't know him as well as she did.
Reluctantly stepping out of the bathroom Hermione sighed, "Hello Severus," she murmured, unable to even look at him.
She was surprised therefore, when milliseconds later she found herself being enveloped in a desperate hug, "You're okay," Severus muttered into her head, sounding very much relieved.
Weakly Hermione nodded her head, "I'm sorry to worry you, I really had no idea I had been gone for so long," she told him softly, pulling back to look up at him only to find his lips crushing against hers before she could say anything more.
Just like the first time she had kissed him, her heart stopped beating for several beats only to turn around and begin a steady gallop once it realized it had stopped. Her stomach flipped pleasantly and she felt her body relax completely against his, every curve of her body fitting perfectly with the hard planes of his strong form. A small whimper escaped her as she felt his worry and desperation in his kiss, 'what on earth did he think had happened to her?' her mind absently wondered before all coherent thought left her mind as his tongue began plundering her mouth expertly.
Eventually Severus pulled away and pressed his forehead to hers as they both tried to catch their breath, eventually Hermione broke the silence, "I may have to disappear more often if that's the reaction I get when I come back," she breathed, gently pressing her lips to his once more in a chaste kiss, "I'm sorry I made you worry though," she added, her eyes opening to look up into his own dark eyes.
Severus suddenly looked concerned again, "You've been crying," he murmured, his thumb gently rubbing under her right eye as if he could take away the strain from her eyes with the motion, "What's wrong?" he asked her pulling her to sit on the comfortable couch, "Was it Bothrop and her flock of idiots?" he demanded to know, his voice still gentle. He knew full well that Hermione's life had not been made easy by any stretch of the imagination when they had made their relationship known, and Bothrop and her gang seemed to be at the head of every difficulty in their lives as of late.
No matter how many times the group of witches found themselves on the receiving end of Marauder, DA, and Hermione patented curses (which was just about constantly these days, courtesy of Lupin, Longbottom and Hermione respectively) they never seemed to understand that they were simply victims of their own stupidity. More than once he had found Hermione crying tears of frustration over the three professors, though not on her own behalf, like she should have, but on his own.
To be completely honest another ten minutes and the carefully calculated calm that he pretended to have whenever the Bothrop and her cronies were around would have snapped and he would have found himself doing something truly unpleasant to them to find out what they had done to his Hermione.
Hermione startled him out of his thoughts by shaking her head, "No, it was nothing they did," she said softly, her eyes not lifting to meet his.
Gently Severus placed his fingers under her chin and lifted her head to look at him, still partially surprised that anyone, let alone this beautiful witch, would willingly allow him to touch them, "Tell me who made you cry love and I promise you I'll make them pay," he stated venomously, his eyes showing his possessiveness towards her, no one messed with things or people he considered his and got away with it.
Again Hermione shook her head, "It's probably just something silly that I needn't have worried about," she murmured, placing her lips against his cheek softly before she snuggled down against his chest comfortably.
The two sat in silence for several minutes, both trying to come up with a way to speak to the other. Finally Hermione broke the pseudo easy silence, "What would you say if I told you I was pregnant?" she softly asked, quickly squeezing her eyes shut after the words escaped her, even though he couldn't see her face.
Unconsciously Severus felt his body stiffen, "I would ask you if you were serious," he eventually responded in a low voice.
"And if I told you I was?"
Severus sat up and turned Hermione towards him, trying to fight off the impending emotions that were trying to force their way into his heart, "Are you?" he asked her guardedly.
Hermione's eyes were now open wide as she stared back at him in terror before forcing herself to nod. Severus sat still in stunned silence for several long minutes not saying anything, the only sign that he had heard her was the look in his eyes that told Hermione he was thinking hard. Just as she thought he was about to say something Hermione felt her heart begin to break as he jerked to his feet and swept out of their quarters.
She stared at the door dumbly for several long stunned minutes before she became aware of the wetness that was once again on her cheeks. Wiping furiously at the tears that came unbidden to her eyes Hermione was frustrated to find that they only came quicker the more she swiped at them, eventually devolving into her forcing herself to her feet and to their room where she pulled off her day clothes and tugged one of Severus few muggle t-shirts on. Numbly she stumbled the remaining feet over to their bed where she curled up in the fetal position and finally let herself sob.
The feeling of emptiness was overwhelming and her chest ached in a way she had never felt before. Not a coherent thought made its way through her mind as she sobbed body shaking sobs, clutching his pillow to her chest.
A while later, who knew how long, Hermione's tears were all dried up though her eyes ached to release more. She stared stonily at the wall in front of her, her back to the doorway to their room, not really thinking just trying for once in her life to make any and all thoughts in her mind just stop. That was when she heard the door to their quarters open quietly and soft footsteps make their way to just outside their door.
"Hermione?" his voice softly called through the door before the handle turned and the door opened inwards; Hermione didn't turn around. His footsteps moved toward her quickly, "Oh Hermione, no, no, that's not at all what I meant," Severus reached out his hand to touch her shoulder causing her to jerk away from him to stand on the other side of the bed, the despair she felt earlier turning into hurt and anger.
"Then what did you mean Severus?" she snapped, "What else was I supposed to think? I tell you I'm pregnant with your child and you just get up and leave? Without a word to me, might I add! How else was I supposed to view the situation?"
Severus lowered his head in shame for a moment, "I'm sorry, I just—"
"You just what?" Hermione exclaimed, "Felt terrified? Because I sure as Salazar do! I can't just walk away from this like you can Severus! I'm so absolutely bloody terrified and you just up and left!" suddenly the tears were back and Hermione found herself collapsing on the bed again.
Severus stepped around the bed as quickly as he could without making an idiot of himself, "Hermione, I didn't leave because I'm upset," he told her, pain clearly in his voice, "I didn't mean to hurt you like this," his fingers cautiously reached out to wipe away her tears, prepared for her to smack them away at any second, "I never wanted to make you cry; please don't cry Love," he murmured softly.
"Why did you leave?" she asked him brokenly, her hands reaching up to clutch his one traitorously.
Severus met her eyes with his, carefully searching them as if looking for answers to questions she didn't know, "I went to get this," he lovingly told her, reaching into his cloak pocket and pulling out a small lovely silver velvet box that had a green vine etched all around the box. Slowly Severus opened the box to reveal a lovely gold ring with a large beautiful green emerald gemstone set in the middle of a cluster of diamonds on either side of the gem, "I have been meaning to do this for a while now," he told her lowly as he lifted the ring from the box, "But when you told me that you…that we are going to have a baby I couldn't wait any longer."
Hermione's eyes hadn't left the absolutely gorgeous ring and Severus swallowed nervously, "I love you Hermione," he said softly, "And even though I just found out an hour ago that we are going to be parents soon, I already love our baby more than I ever thought possible. I won't say being married to me will be easy, because it most likely won't," he gave a humorless chuckle, "As we just found when I stupidly left you thinking I didn't want the baby," he shook his head as his eyes made contact with hers once more, "How could I not want anything that was both a part of you and of me?" he asked her rhetorically, "But even though it will be difficult to be married to me, will you marry me anyway?"
Nearly groaning as tears came gliding out of her eyes once more, though as a result of different emotions this time, Hermione gave a short laugh and nodded her head, "Yes," she choked out, her eyes moving from his back to the ring that Severus was now holding out to her, "Yes," she repeated as he placed the ring on her finger, "But if you ever run out on me like that again the saying 'hell hath no fury' will suddenly have a whole new meaning!"
Severus smiled, one of the rare face splitting grins that he normally fought with everything in him, "I promise, and again I apologize for my temporary lack of sanity."
With a large grin on her own face Hermione launched off the bed and into his arms kissing every inch of him that she could, laughing as he picked her up and spun her around.
This was her Severus, the man no one but her ever got to see, not that she wanted to share him; the father of their child and the man who owned her heart so completely that she sometimes felt that she would lose herself if he ever left her.
"I can't believe it," Severus murmured several minutes and kisses later.
Hermione pulled back to look at him even as her fingers deftly unbuttoned the zillions of buttons on his shirt, "Believe what?" she asked him breathlessly as he attacked her neck with a primal fervor.
"I actually owe Lupin money," he groaned, "You actually said yes like he said you would."
Hermione paused what she was doing, "You thought I would say no?"
Severus lifted his head as he lowered her onto her back on the bed, gently smoothing a few errant curls away from her face, "Well we had only been together for a few weeks at the time, and Lupin told me that if I were to ask you to marry me you would say yes, he bet me twenty galleons. I told him it was unlikely, it had only been a few weeks after all, but he said whenever I asked you, whether the next day, or years from then your answer would still be the same."
Hermione laughed and gave him a slow lingering kiss full of promises of what was to come, "Oh I don't know about that," she jokingly told him, "There is only so long a girl will wait to hear that question," she laughed at the surprised look on his face, "But have no fear Severus," she assured him, "I have a lot of patience, I would have waited a long time for you to ask me."
Severus kissed her, "And are you glad you didn't have to wait that long?" he teased her, chuckling as he felt her tear his shirt from his torso.
"Mmhmm," Hermione hummed, distracted by kissing him once more, "Ecstatic."
"I love you Hermione," he murmured into her ear as he pressed a kiss to her earlobe.
"I love you too Severus."
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