Author: Athea (
Fandom: Harry Potter
Title: Forbidden Forest, part nine
Pairing: Snape/Hagrid
Summary: Their bond grows stronger.
Date: 9 September 2002

I had him all . . . inside of me . . . as far as he could go . . . was I insane?

I'd done some research and found a spell that would widen my channel to accommodate his length and girth. It still felt like his whole arm was up there and I was afraid to move. I had a death grip on both of his hands while I slowly relaxed enough to shift half an inch or so.

"Sev?" He was whispering and looked more afraid than he had in the last attack on Hogwarts. "Am I hurting you?"

"No, not exactly. It feels a little strange, that's all." I concentrated on lifting up a tiny bit and he bit his lip. "How does it feel for you?"

"It feels . . .wonderful . . . oh, Merlin. So good that I'm about to come already." He was panting a bit and I felt rather proud of that.

I leaned forward and rose up a little further before sitting back down again onto his thighs. He groaned so I did it again, but this time I felt sudden warmth flash through my whole body. It was my turn to moan.

"What is that, Ru'? Warmth," I moved to try and recreate it. "Oh my, that feels . . ."

He was watching me closely. "Warmth like a flash of heat lightning through your whole body?" He waited for my nod and I felt him relax just a bit. "That's your prostate, Sev. It's why making love feels so good."

"Really? I wondered why people talk about it feeling good. It never has before for me." I was rocking up and down and flushing from head to toe with all the lovely warmth flooding my body. "I can see why you like it, Ru'. We'll have to practice this a lot."

"Morning, noon and night, Sev, we'll take turns makin' each other feel good." His eyes were slitted with pleasure and I felt a glow around my heart that it was me making him feel this good.

"Yes, I'll make up that lubricant by the gallon. Oh," I gasped and came all over his stomach.

He thrust up once and flooded me with his seed. It felt like a hot enema swimming through my bowels and I was glad that I'd flushed myself out or I'd be embarrassing him once he came out. We were both shaking all over and I think I was crying but it wasn't because of the pain, although there had been just a bit. It was because I had made him happy and in the attempt found a part of myself that I didn't know I had.

Rubeus rolled us carefully to our sides so I could relax completely. He was still hard inside of me and I tried to flex those inner muscles around him. His gasp told me that I'd done it right and I smiled happily.

"Damn, Sev, that feels better than anythin' ever in my whole life." He nuzzled kisses all over my sweaty face. "Beautiful Sev, you're just full of surprises, aren't ya?"

"Did you really like it, Ru'?" I had to ask although he'd never lied to me.

"I really, really liked it, Sev. It's a good thing we're already bonded though. This way I'll always 'ave you right by my side." His hands stroked my back all the way down to where he pierced my body and I shivered at how good it felt. "We're goin' ta be busy, Sev. There's a whole lot of positions we need to try out. But next time, I want you to come inside of me."

I liked the way his big hands stroked my cheeks. He moved one of my legs up over his so he could reach my balls and I started tingling again. "Ru', that feels good." He rolled them tenderly and kissed me again, sucking my tongue right into his tasty mouth. I felt his hips flex ever so gently and the fire was back.

We moaned in unison and I gave a thought to how sore I'd be in the morning. But it would be worth it, knowing that I'd given him this pleasure. And I was willing to bet that he'd help sooth some healing ointment inside of me. I needed something more but I wasn't sure what.

"Ru', I can't move well enough in this position." I told him fretfully.

He chuckled and gingerly moved me onto my back with him between my legs. That did feel better and if anything it felt like he was even deeper than he'd been before. "How's that, love? Better?"

Moving in and out very carefully, he made me feel like the most cherished person in the world. "Oh yes, Ru', much better. A little harder, please. Oh . . . yes . . . oh my god that feels good. More, Ru', a little more."

"I won't hurt you, Sev." He told me sternly, the sweat dripping off his face onto mine.

"I won't break, Ru'." I told him fiercely and framed his face with my hands. "I love you, Rubeus. I love you so much."

"Oh Sev, I love you, too." He leaned in to kiss me and I wrapped my legs around him to get him deeper. Our tongues entwined and we started rocking faster and faster.

I was going to spontaneously combust if he didn't do something soon. My shaft was caught between our stomachs and it was leaking so much we were going to be glued together. Every time his hard shaft hit that spot inside of me, I felt it all the way down to my toes. Nothing had ever felt this good. I was going to be on my back for the rest of my natural life just so I could feel this over and over again.

And suddenly I felt my toes curling and every muscle in my body exploded.


I wanted to pass out in the worst way but I'd squish Sev if I did, so I rolled us to where he was on top before I relaxed all over. He'd fainted or something but it would be a moment until I could check. I'd never come that hard in my life. After being afraid that I'd never know this sweetness, it seemed like a miracle how well it had gone. I was shrinking a little and I knew that Sev would be sore as hell when I came out.

Stroking his ass, I real slowly began inching out of him. Every muscle in his body had seized up when he came but they were all limp now so I moved him easily. Nuzzling his temple, I thought about how brave he was and how glad I was that I'd been the one to rescue him. It was so sweet that he hadn't known about the prostate gland. Those bastards who'd taken him against his will had never come close to making him come.

All he'd known is that I wanted him and he'd set his mind to giving me what I wanted.

And he'd said, 'I love you'. Right out loud, he'd said it. I hadn't been joking about how much I loved him. We were forging the kind of bond that my parents had and I couldn't help smiling at the thought of what Mum would say when I told her. She'd give him such a hug that he'd be feeling it for a week, the way he was going to be feeling me if I didn't get some salve inside of him.

My cock told me that he was real happy where he was but I knew better. I'd give him a stern talking to later, right now I had to . . . there. We were going to be glued together if we didn't get cleaned up. Sev was still limp so I moved him off to the side so I could sit up. I inspected myself to check for blood but thankfully there wasn't any. I checked the trickles coming out of him and they were clear, too. So I hadn't permanently hurt him, just made him sore.

Standing up, I was a little dizzy but once the room quit spinning, I was okay. I picked him up gently and carried him back into the bathroom. Luckily, I hadn't drained the tub. A quick heating spell and I lowered him into the steaming water. He moaned a little and I tensed up. The hot water had to hurt a bit.

"Ru'," he said groggily and I hushed him while running the washcloth over his flushed skin. "Feels good."

"Good, how do ya feel otherwise?" I rinsed away the soap and tenderly cupped his poor cock. He hissed a bit and tensed then relaxed.

"Well fucked, that's how I feel. Dearest Ru', you are a giant among men." His dark eyes were sparkling and his grin was the biggest one I'd ever seen. "Get in here so I can wash you again. You are definitely messy."

I chuckled and climbed in a little wearily. It had been a hard day in more ways than one. "I hope ya made up something soothin' that I can stroke inside of ya."

He ran the soap over my messy stomach and said saucily, "Of course, I did, Ru'. I knew how powerful you'd be." He made sure that he got all of his seed out of the hair there and teased me at the same time. "It aches a little but part of that could be from the spell, too. I'll do some more reading about that particular one once my library is unpacked."

"It's not one that you've used before?" I asked him while he washed my face for me.

"I used something similar when I knew that Voldemort was likely to punish me that way. Done well in advance, it loses something but then none of them were as big as you are." He sighed and swarmed into my lap for a kiss.

He's getting good at that, I thought muzzily while I wondered where his energy was coming from. I could already feel his cock rising up and I just had to laugh to myself. Who knew that he'd be so energetic in bed? My brothers would laugh themselves silly if they found out.


I felt like I could fly. Truly, if I'd known how much fun making love was, I'd have thrown myself on Hagrid's mercy years ago. Maybe his seed was energizing me or something but I was ready to go again. "Ru', would you like me to come inside of you? Or are you too tired?"

He sat up straight and looked indignant. "Of course, I'm not too tired, Sev. I think that's a real good idea. I may need a wee bit of help standing but then I'm all yours."

I kissed him again then jumped up and pulled him up with me. He's a beautiful sight when the water is cascading off all those bulging muscles of his. And he was mine, all mine, he'd said so. Suddenly I was feeling extremely possessive and determined to stake my claim to this beautiful man in front of me.

"I love you, Ru'." I finished toweling off and used my damp towel to stroke over his back and down to his firm cheeks. Leaning over, I kissed each one while he started and peered over his shoulder at me. "Don't worry, Ru', I'm just letting them know that they belong to me now."

"All of me belongs to ya, Sev, but they appreciate the gesture." He was chuckling a little and I slid my arms around him, plastering myself against his back.

He was so warm and big and beautiful. I had to remember to tell him that everyday, the same way that he reassured me all the time. I was a taciturn man but he would need the words and I found that I wanted to say them, over and over again. "Bed, Ru', we need a bed right now."

He caught my hands and started moving out of the bathroom, pulling me along with him. His buttocks flexed against me and my shaft hardened even further at their tantalizing nearness. It was a good thing that I'd made up a quart of the lubrication. Now that I knew how good it felt being taken, I was curious how it would feel to take. I was pretty sure that I wasn't big enough to hurt him but I might not be big enough to satisfy him either.

His eyes were drooping a bit and I wondered if I should wait until the next day. But he had the oil in his hands and just that touch hardened me completely. With a little kiss, he turned around and went onto all fours for me. Spreading his legs for me brought him down to just the right height and I parted his cheeks to inspect the seemingly tiny hole. His balls hung down and I stroked my hand over my cock to get some of the oil so I could massage them.

That seemed to wake him up and his moan was music to my ears. Hesitantly, I rubbed the little hole and then slid my longest finger inside. He moaned again and pushed back so I knew I'd done it right. His breathy little moans had turned me to steel and I stroked in two fingers for a long moment before he was pushing back again and saying my name over and over.

I couldn't wait any longer and I put my crown to the hole that still looked impossibly tiny. But the decision was taken out of my hands when he pushed back hard and I popped inside. "Ru', are you . . . all right?"

"Ya're inside me, Sev." He flexed his cheeks and I felt his muscles ripple around me. "Course I'm all right, I'm bloody fantastic. Move, Sev."

So I moved on in until I couldn't get any further. Stretched over his back, my hands on his hips, I knew that it felt almost better than when he'd been inside of me. "You're so hot inside, Ru', and tight."

"No more than ya, Sev." He flexed again. "He feels good in there, yes, he does. Move, Sev and he'll feel even better." He peeked over his shoulder at me and I freed a hand to brush his hair aside so I could see his eyes. "Love ya, Sev. Now move."

I chuckled and pulled out a little then back in. Out a little further then back in a little harder. I was pretty sure that I wouldn't hurt him but I had yet to hit that spot that had felt so good to me. Varying the angle each stroke, finally I found it. His whole back flushed a light rose color and I hit it again just to see if I had it right. Groaning, he told me in no uncertain terms to keep it up.

So I settled in to make him feel as good as he'd made me feel. It felt like liquid metal around my shaft, like he was remaking it into something beautiful. I'd thought of sex as a messy, disgusting business but it wasn't at all. Of course, the men who'd taken me didn't love me. No one had ever loved me the way that Rubeus did. I was the luckiest wizard in the world that this man of infinitely beautiful soul loved me.

Wanted me. I felt reborn again, the way I felt when Albus had told me that I'd been declared dead. Free, that was it. I felt free of the old sour me. I loved someone else and they loved me back. The years of degradation and fear were gone from my soul. For a moment, I wished that everyone could feel this happy.

And the next moment, I was coming so hard that I almost passed out again. Panting, I finally heard the high-pitched keen that told me Ru' had come, too. The bed was a mess. We were glued together again and I had the feeling that Hossic and Gration had just heard us come. But I really didn't care, not if my lover didn't.

"Sev, I think ya've got a natural talent at that." Rubeus said quietly, in between the pants. "A real talent that ya're going to have to practice with me."

"Equal . . . turns . . . Ru'," I took a deep breath and let it out slowly. "We'll take turns, giving and taking."

"Now I really did make a mess," he chuckled tiredly. "Three baths in one night is a bit much, love."

I gathered my strength and slowly eased out of him. He caught his breath when I popped out but I couldn't see any blood so I hoped that I hadn't hurt him. "Hold on and I'll do a quick clean up." Concentrating, I removed all the body fluids from the bed and dropped them into the tub of now cold water. "Sleep, Ru'."

Flicking off the lights, I moved into his arms when he finally lay down and turned over. This was a night that I'd keep tucked away in my heart. For the first time, I truly felt the bond between us. Strong and sure, it was warming that thawing heart of mine.


Both additions looked great, if I do say so myself. Well, the outsides did. The insides still looked a little unfinished. The walls were plastered smooth and painted white. The floors were sanded smooth and the Headmaster had come and done a beautiful job of staining and sealing them. No matter what we tracked in, they'd clean up with just soap and water.

I like being practical. So does Sev but he's also got a real eye for beauty and when the Headmaster sent a rolled up rug made small with Harry one day, I learned just what he'd been used to in his life. Sev tensed up a bit when he took it from Harry's hand and he took a real deep breath before unrolling it. We were standing in our new bedroom, fitting the bookshelves into place while the sun shone in through the east window.

It was early morning so the light was pouring onto the honey oak floor and bouncing onto the white washed walls. He laid it on the floor and muttered the enlarging spell. Slowly it began to return to its normal size while the colors grew more vivid and the design finally showed itself. It was gold and green mainly but with flowers of every color of the rainbow growing in profusion among the golden stems of grasses that I didn't recognize.

He knelt and stroked a patch in the left corner where a bouquet of blue gillyflowers grew. "This was my mother's favorite flower. I remember her teaching me all the names of the plants in her garden and what they could be used for. She was a master herbalist and a fair potion master in her own right. Father told her that she wasn't to do the manual labor, it was undignified. She'd nod and agree then head for the garden the moment he left. This rug lay in her sitting room and I played on it when I was very small. She'd sit right down with me and tell me stories about when she was young."

"Ya loved her very much, didn't ya, Sev?" I sat down beside him and pulled him into my lap, gesturing to Harry to go find the twins. "She sounds like a great mum."

He laid his head on my shoulder and clung to me. "She was the only person who loved me, Rubeus. Until you came into my life, she was the only one who cared whether I lived or died. I still miss her."

The little sniff just about made me cry, too. I rocked him slowly and patted his back soothingly. "She's still got a place in your heart, Sev. Course ya miss her and ya probably always will. But I'll share me mum with ya if that's all right."

He sniffed harder and clung a little tighter. "She may not like me at all, Ru' and won't want to be shared. I'm not what she'd want for her son."

"Mum loves me and wants me to be happy, Sev. You . . . make me happy." I said it very distinctly so he'd know how serious I was. "I . . . love . . . you."

"I love you, too." He was blotting tears on my shoulder but I just kept rocking him. "Do you mind if we keep this rug in here?"

"Nah, it's gorgeous. We can put it right by the bed so everyday when ya get up, ya'll step on it and remember ya mum." I dropped a kiss on his soft hair and wondered about all the layers that Severus had to him. He was like an onion that you had to peel the rough skin off of before you could find all the lovely white layers underneath.

"That would be very nice, Ru'." He sat up and cupped my face in his hands, leaning in for a long kiss, a comforting kiss.

Then we got back up and finished putting the bookshelves all around the walls. He got tired pretty quickly but not before I enlarged a box of books and he put the first few on the shelves. I decided that we didn't really need color on the walls since the books were colorful enough just by themselves. Hossic stuck his head in next to see if we were ready to move our bed into the new room.

It looked great once we got it in just the right place. Since the walls were covered floor to ceiling and wall to wall with the bookcases, the bed had to go in the middle of the room. That was kind of odd but the window at the foot spilled light onto us in the morning and the small desk and leather covered chair from Sev's sitting room that the Headmaster had smuggled out to us masked the headboard from the doorway.

The rug just fit, like somehow his mum had known how much room we'd have for it. I kind of thought she must have hoped that Sev would find someone who loved him as much as I did. Some day, I'd tell him that but not now when his emotions were so close to the surface. He was okay with showing them to me but I knew he wouldn't want the twins to see.

Although he had relaxed around them quite a bit, I just hoped that he had a rest before the rest of the family showed up.


I shook myself from the memories of the last week. The twins had left this morning, walking with me to the gates of Hogwarts and the Harley Davidson motor bikes they'd left in my shed. They roared off with me waving good bye then turning to the mews to catch up on all the work I'd been missing. Severus had insisted that I go at least once a week to my job. The kids had been doing a great job and the mews were mostly empty of magical creatures.

It's the harsh winters that mostly send patients my way and lately our winters had been real hard. Severus had told me once that he thought it was all the discharge of energy in the battles between the Dark and the Light that was causing all the bad weather. He might be right I thought but for now it was still summer and the nights had been just lovely.

Of course, I was spending them with my Sev so even a snowstorm wouldn't have bothered me. I grinned at the thought and finished mucking out the stables. The kids had tried but without me there to show them how, lots had been missed. All of it went on my compost pile and I turned it over carefully, gauging how ready part of it might be. Sev wanted to grow some herbs that he remembered from his mother's garden.

And I wanted Sev to have everything his heart desired so that included improving the soil so those herbs would grow. I remembered my mother hanging stalks of herbs from the broad oak beams that crossed all the ceilings of the house I grew up in. They always smelled so good that I'd wanted to eat them when I was very little. For an instant, I saw a little black haired boy playing in front of the fire of our cottage front room.

Odd, he looked more like Sev than me. I shrugged and finished mowing the fields around Hogwarts. Maybe I was visualizing him as the happy little boy he'd been while his mother was alive. I wanted him to be happy like that again. Wistfully, I wondered what it would be like to have a little boy or girl made up of bits of both of us. Shaking my head at my fancies, I cleaned up and put away my mower.

It was time to go home to Sev. I begrudged every moment that I wasn't with him so I didn't even take a break and go up to the school to have lunch. I'd put a pot of stew on the stove to simmer before I left so I just hurried into the Forest to walk home. I've got a long stride so it didn't take me any time at all to go the three miles. The cottage still looked odd to me with the east and south wings growing out of it.

But there was purpose to the new additions. Our new bedroom reached to the east while the new animal hospital came off the main room to the south. Sev's herb garden would grow out from the point where they met to the end of each addition. That way the plants would be protected from the north wind that sometimes howled off the lake in the middle of winter.

I walked in and looked for Sev but he wasn't there. Sticking my head in our bedroom door, I saw a pale hand lying just off the mattress. Sudden fear hit me and I took two giant steps to the side of the bed only to find him sprawled out with a smile on his face. He was just tired, I decided when I looked at the bookshelves. Four more crates were empty and stacked by the door and the shelves were a dizzying riot of reds, greens, blues and blacks. He'd been working hard.


I awoke to a soft kiss and Rubeus' smiling face. He'd been working hard and I could smell the rich scent of him. Pulling him closer, I slid my arms around his neck and began licking his face. He was slightly salty and I decided right then and there that I needed more of that in my diet. But he was pressing little kisses all over my face and that felt so good that I slid my lips to meet his for more of the unique taste that is his alone.

His stomach growled among our little moans and I pushed him a little bit away. "You forgot to eat again, Ru'."

He shrugged ruefully. "Didn't so much forget as didn't want to take the time."

"Bad Rubeus," I scolded him, sliding out from under him and rolling to the other edge of the bed so I could stand up. The room moved a little around me and I clung to the bedpost for a moment before heading for the door. "Your stew has been tantalizing me while you were gone. I had one bowl already but I'll have another while you're eating."

"Good for ya, Sev." He joined me, pressing me down into my chair. "You've worked hard enough today, love. I can dish up me own stew."

"The bath is ready, Ru'. I knew you'd want to take one." I'd already set the table so all he had to do was ladle out the stew into the bowls by the stove.

"I stink that bad, huh?" He chuckled and sat down beside me, placing a bowl of his delicious stew in front of both of us.

"Stink is too strong a word, Ru'." I leaned against him and took another deep breath. "You smell of the stables but mostly of new mown grass. I've always liked that scent. My mother would take me out after the outside elves had mown around the manor and we'd sit under a tree while they were raking. All kinds of insects would fly out of the grass and she'd name them for me until I was a little older then I'd name them for her."

"That's a good memory, love. I like 'earing about when ya were just a little." He kissed my temple and got up to get another bowl of stew.

I wasn't done with mine yet and my bowl was half the size of his. Perhaps a trip was in order to Diagon Alley to the bookstore where I could find a basic cookbook. I was a Potion's master, surely I could manage a simple recipe or two. When autumn came, Hagrid would be working at Hogwarts everyday. I shivered a little. I would not be leaving this cottage so it would be up to me to have food on the table when he came home.

"Ya cold, Sev?" A concerned hand touched my shoulder and I managed a smile.

"No, Rubeus, I was just thinking about . . . autumn when you go back to work full time." I took another bite of stew and might as well have been eating some of the sawdust that we'd made so much of while building. I swallowed it anyway and contemplated the five spoonfuls left in my bowl with dismay.

"Ah, Sev, don't be thinkin' about that now. It's still two months away." He sat down and pulled me into his lap, wrapping those strong warm arms around me. "Ya'll be feelin' better by then. Ya may even want to go back to teachin' kind of on the sly like. The Headmaster told me that he's goin' to make a port key for us. We'll be able to leave here and go to your hidden rooms in the school and then come back again."

I clung to him, burying my face in his cotton shirt. A port key would be handy in case of emergency. "Teaching?"

He chuckled. "I know that 'mione would like to learn from the best and that's ya, Sev."

I thought about Miss Granger and her thirst for knowledge. She had the mind and will to be an inspired potion maker. "She is a good student."

"And there's 'arry askin' questions and all from his potion text book." He reminded me of the young man on whom so many hopes were pinned. "Now that he's a little less scared of ya, I think he might learn a little better."

"There are certain lessons that he needs and they're not in potions." I relaxed a little more. "If Albus would just hire a good DADA instructor, Harry might live long enough to put an end to this chaos. Until then, I'm hoping that he'll let me show him a few things that might give him an edge."

"There, ya see, it will be all right." Rubeus picked up his spoon and went back to eating, every now and then sharing a spoonful with me until I really couldn't eat anymore. "Now, what brought up thoughts of autumn?"

So I told him about my idea about getting a basic cookbook so I could prepare dinner for him. He kissed me hard and told me that he didn't want me to do anything I didn't want to do. That made me smile and hug him close. No one had ever told me that before, they were too busy telling me all the things I had to do. Once again, Hagrid was freeing me from my old life and showing me a bright future.

We washed the dishes together and tidied up while Cyrus, the hellbender, heated our bath water. He really liked the tunnels that Hagrid had made for him and he'd brought his mate to see if she'd like to nest here. So far, she had a favorable impression and we'd had all the hot water we could possibly use.

I soaped him from head to toe while he lay back and let me. I loved his body with all its differences, but I especially loved his beautiful shaft. He liked me to grip it really hard and slide his foreskin all the way down then back up again. It seemed such a fragile hood of skin to me but so far I hadn't hurt him. When he moaned and clutched the side of the tub, I knew that he'd reached the point where I needed to take him in my mouth or into my body.

I was getting really good at the enlarging spell and the familiar ache that stretching myself for him always brought me. But no ache could last when he slid inside of me so I cast it hurriedly and rubbed some of the special lubricant onto the silky smooth shaft. Then I straddled him, guiding him to my entrance. The blunt pressure always made my eyes water but once he pushed through, there was nothing but the heated length of him forging deeper into me.

"Oh, Sev, there's nothin' like ya." His hands held my hips so he didn't slide in too fast. "So tight, love, ya're always so tight."

"I think . . . you . . . grow when you're away for the day." I panted with the effort of seating him within me. Finally, I had him held fast and I took a deep breath, stilling my hands on his chest and tickling his big brown nipples into peaking for me. "All right, Ru', I've got you."

"Ya do, Sev. Ya got me forever and a day." His big hands slowly lifted me a couple of inches then let me drop. He was always so careful of me and this way he could watch my eyes to see if there was pain.

"Good, I want you forever and ever." I wiggled a little and he gave that little growl that is so exciting, picking me up a little higher before letting go. My gland was heating up and sending tingles throughout my whole body. I pinched his nipples and he flushed all over. My own shaft was caught between our stomachs and I was deliciously hard by the time we were both panting.

Then I tightened all over and came while he pulsed within me.

"Sev, I think it's time we went to bed. I need more room than we've got here." Hagrid very slowly lifted me off his shaft and set me back far enough for me to grasp the sides of the tub. "I don't want any of those bathtub accidents they always talk about."

I was trembling from coming and he thought I was too cool so he hurried us out of the tub, not even taking time to dry us off. I nibbled on his ear since it was close and his moan was music to my ears. I liked that I could give him pleasure with my body. No one had ever wanted that from me so I had a lot saved up with which to gift him.

We tumbled onto our bed after a hasty drying spell and I spread my legs for him, reinforcing the 'amplificare, consummare' of the enlarging spell. He took a moment to lick my seed from my stomach, scooping up the slippery stuff from his groin and painting the ruby red crown of his magnificent shaft with it. That seemed so intimate a thing to do that I groaned breathlessly and demanded he come back inside of me.

Grinning, he lifted my hips off the bed and nudged my entrance with his re-anointed crown. The flared head stretched me so wide that I felt as if his girth would split me in two. We both groaned while he slid slowly inside until he could go no further. I felt possessed by this wonderful caring man in my arms. Tugging him down to my lips, I kissed him with all my heart and received his in exchange.

"Oh, Sev, ya're so beautiful like this." He murmured while beginning to move within me. "I wanted to mow a big heart in the far meadow and put our initials in it. Soppy, I know."

I groaned and lifted my hips to meet his downward thrust. "Soppy, indeed. I prefer to think of us as a potion with two powerful ingredients that have to be mixed in just the right proportions."

He chuckled and thrust a little harder while I felt lightning zing through me from my head to my toes. "I had a kind of vision today about a little boy made up of both of us. That'd be a great potion, that would."

"A child?" I'd never thought of children. If I was a woman, I'd be able to give him what he wanted. He deserved to have a child of his own but if he stayed with me, that dream would never come true.

"Sev, look at me." His voice brought me out of the despair into which I'd begun to sink. "I love you. I don't want anyone else, not ever. Ya're my very own bonded and I'm yours. A child would be nice but not if meant we'd have to be apart."

I blinked back tears. I truly did not deserve this man and his love but I'd fight to the death to keep them both. "I love you too, Rubeus. We can pretend that it's possible and make love as if we were making that son."

He kissed away the tears that escaped. "Love ya so much, Sev, my very own love."

I held him close and moved with him, wishing with all my heart that I could give him in return all the beautiful feelings that he gave to me. He was moving faster now and the heat built until it had to explode. If I could, I would give him everything he wanted. And from deep inside of me, I felt his seed rush in and fill me with his life.


Had Dumbledore been there he would have cautioned against the enlarging spell that Severus had used. He probably would have also gently reminded them what heart-felt wishes can become. And he definitely would have given them a lecture on combining sperm while making love.

But since he wasn't there, they joyfully made love and created a child, all at the same time.


I came back from a trip out to the Frozen Caves to fix up an old friend. Siggerrrd, the Ice Drake, needed his yearly colonic and Sev had helped me brew the gallon of Dispose-All that did the trick. He wanted to go and watch since he'd never seen a drake before but I talked him out of it. Even drakes need a private moment or two when they're purging out all the bits and pieces left behind by their prey.

For some reason, they can't digest claws. So, I go in with the six foot enema tube and clean out Siggerrd's colon with the Dispose-All potion and wait for it to flush those bits that get stuck. He's usually pretty grim when I come but then he relaxes all over once he's cleaned out and we trade a few stories back and forth. He's not a great conversationalist but then I'm not either.

Sev was all curled up in his outdoor nook with Ty to watch over him and a good book that he'd unpacked when I left. I'd kissed him breathless before heading off. I had a casserole of tuna and noodles baking in the oven and Sev promised to take it out if I wasn't back in two hours. The Frozen Caves are about a half hour walk for me and the treatment takes an hour so I was right on time when I walked into the clearing.

Sev wasn't in his nook so I figured that I'd surprise him. But when I went to open the front door, I heard voices, female voices that I recognized. Flinging open the door, I stepped into a hug. "Rhea, when did ya get in? Why don't any of ya let me know ya're coming?"

She giggled and hugged me tight, her reddish hair curling all over the place like it usually did. "We're not going to let you hide the evidence from us, big brother. Besides, we had to hurry to beat Mum down here. We figure you've got about four days before she and Dad come calling."

"Royan, ya, too?" I grabbed my little sister with my other arm and squeezed them to me. "I'm so glad that ya both came."

"Well, Hossic told us that you were so happy, you could fly and I think I see why." The youngest girl in the Hagrid family was also the smallest of us. She didn't even reach my chin. Her dark hair was like Dad's and straight as straight could be. But her eyes were watching Sev and I looked over to make sure that he was all right.

He was standing kind of stiff by the stove but he looked all right with that shy smile that just melted my heart. "We've already introduced ourselves, Ru'."

"Good, we'll have to celebrate." I let my sisters go with a kiss on their cheeks before heading to Sev. I kissed him limp and then guided him to a chair while he was still dazed. I wanted him to know without a doubt that he came first with me. I'd explain it to the girls later if they still had a question. "Let's have lunch then bake a cake."

When the Hagrids gather in the kitchen, it should be chaos but somehow never is. The casserole was demolished quickly then the girls made free with the ingredients while I put Sev to grating the chocolate. Triple Fudge Mocha Delight is a family favorite and I shared the recipe with him with the girls chiming in on the repetitious instructions. There really was a lot of stirring in it, but it's worth it once you sit down to eat.

Somewhere in all the hustle and bustle, Sev's wish for a cookbook came out and the girls immediately demanded that we go to Diagon Alley to shop. Sev looked kind of downcast when he told them that he was supposed to be dead. Rhea chuckled and told him that no one would recognize him once she fixed him up. She works on all the productions of the Scotland All Giant Extravaganza Society or SAGES for short as their head of makeup.

Sev was real interested when she started the tale of how they put on Gilbert and Sullivan's Mikado over the winter. Rhea's the storyteller in our family and she had Sev chuckling in no time. I was beaming at all of them by the time the cake came out of the oven and onto the table. The girls liked him and he was enjoying them so all was right with my world. Mum and Dad would like him too, I just knew it.

The rest of the day was spent in showing the girls all the changes we'd made in the cottage. Sev tried to offer them our bed for sleeping, telling them that we could sleep out in the tent. But they just hugged and kissed him, explaining that they preferred camping in the summer rather than sleeping indoors. When we had a quiet moment together, I reassured him that they really did hate sleeping in. In fact, they'd be up early to skinny dip in the lake.

He shuddered instantly and I hugged him again, reminding him that our bath would still be nice and hot. Smiling, he kissed me slowly and hugged me close. I could hardly wait until it was bedtime. After dinner, the girls pulled up a couple of chairs and I pulled Sev into my lap the way we always sat in the big leather chair in front of the fire. He kept sneaking little peeks at them until finally Rhea smiled at him.

"Sev, you're now our little brother. Rube loves you and I can see how much you love him. I like seeing the two of you snuggling." She sighed a bit. "It makes me want that for myself. It's hard sometimes for half-breeds like us to find someone who looks beyond our parentage to the individuals we are."

"I had no idea that prejudice was still so rampant." Sev settled back against me and held my arms close around him. "I wish that there was something I could do to help."

Royan smiled at us. "You're doing it, Sev. You love Rube and that gives us hope."

"I'm not any kind of a role model, I'm afraid." Sev looked at them both. "I made a lot of bad decisions when I was younger. I joined Voldemort for a time. I didn't see through him when I should have but once I did I came back to Hogwarts looking for redemption."

"Ya more than made up for any bad decisions ya made, Sev." I kissed his temple and thought about all the times I'd awakened him from a nightmare. "Ya paid any dues that anybody could possibly ask."

"Ah, Ru', you have an infinitely forgiving nature." He sighed a little, his beautiful hands stroking mine where they lay on his stomach. "Others are less sure of me. But now, I've left all of that behind until the final battle."

"You think there will be one?" Rhea asked with a frown.

Sev nodded. "He's failed again and again but each time he takes a little more ground, a few more souls until eventually we'll be on the losing side. He doesn't care how many men die because there are always more looking for power or wealth."

"And the Light does care about its warriors." Royan said softly, meeting Sev's gaze with her own. "I wouldn't have it any other way, Sev. Watch out for each other, please. I don't want to lose either my elder brother or my new one."

I saw Sev blush and I hugged him so tight that he squeaked. We talked on for another hour but then the girls said they needed their beauty sleep so they took over the bathroom first while we retreated to our bedroom. I liked undressing Sev and we played the game that we usually played in taking each piece of cloth from each other's body.

Rhea knocked on our door and called out that the bathroom was all ours. We called back a goodnight then waited for them to retreat to the roomy tent that the twins had left. We took our time cleaning up but saved our loving for our bed. Sev was still a little unsure of the proprieties so we made real gentle, slow love until we both sighed in contentment.

Cuddling close to me, he quickly fell asleep in my arms. I followed him soon after, although I was kind of excited about our shopping trip the next day. We'd not been out in public together so this would be fun. I wondered how Rhea planned to disguise my beautiful Severus. Hopefully, he wouldn't get too tired. I rested my chin on top of his head. If he did, we'd stop and get a cup of tea so he could rest.

Satisfied that we would be all right, I settled myself and went right to sleep.


Rhea was indeed a magician with makeup. I didn't recognize myself once she was done with me. My face and hands were the same shade of tan that Rubeus sported; she'd trimmed my hair and braided it, changing my face completely; then she braided a silver bell into one of the long braids just in front of my ear before picking out some of my more revealing muggle clothes.

Rubeus watched in fascination and I could see the fire in his gaze that normally remained in our bedroom. Every time I moved my head, the bell gave a single sweet chime. It should have been distracting but instead, I found myself turning my head a little more quickly to make it ring. I thought that I'd wear that again even if it was only in our bedroom.

I liked that light in Ru's eyes. We had a full breakfast although I suddenly turned nauseas and only managed tea and toast. It was only to be expected after the rich cake of the day before, I reassured my hovering lover. He nodded but I could already see his protective streak grow a little more. That should have made me feel claustrophobic but I found that I liked being held close.

Someone cared whether I lived or died, felt well or ill, and there was someone for whom I cared. That was the best gift that I'd ever been given but I hoped to find something for him on our trip. There was a book on hippogriffs that I'd seen once but not bought. I was hoping that the bookstore would have it. I took Royan aside for a brief moment before we hopped through the fire and into the floo network.

"Would you be willing to take this message to Gringott's for me?" I handed her the envelope with my pseudonym on it. "I set up an account under this name almost fifteen years ago. I always knew that someday Severus Snape would have to die. I hoped to survive my death and it seems that I have. This is my rainy day fund."

"Won't they need to see you?" She took it and smiled at the name.

"Phineas Bane is a recluse and always sends another to transact his business." I told her truthfully. "My signature will vouch for you and I've given them instructions to pay out a thousand galleons from my vault."

"That's a lot of money to entrust to me, Sev." She gazed straight into my eyes.

I wasn't used to a woman my own height. "I trust the Hagrid family with my life. I think I can trust you with my money."

She chuckled and linked her arm with mine. "You've got a deal, Sev."

Taking a deep breath, I prepared to face the outside world for the first time since my 'death'. Ru's big hand radiated warmth to the small of my back and I took courage from his touch. I was part of a family now and that was armor that I would gladly use.

But actually it wasn't too bad, I discovered. Surrounded by taller people, I actually felt rather petite and almost invisible. We were pretending that I was their young nephew who was tagging along after his elders. Our stop at Gringott's went well and a small part of me who'd rather feared the sharp eyes of the goblins finally relaxed. The galleons made a satisfying weight in my belt pouch.

Diagon Alley was bustling with wizards and I found myself shrinking into Rubeus' side. I'd never done well in crowds and I felt a touch of my old agoraphobia rise up. But by concentrating on the sound of Ru's voice, I was able to keep walking. We stopped at a dress shop to let Rhea and Royan shop for new outfits to celebrate our bonding. Even though it was summer, part of the store had displays of silk long underwear for winter.

I had an odd thought and took Rhea aside while Royan and Rubeus were arguing over whether burgundy or wine was the better color for her. "Rhea, would Ru' wear silk long underwear?"

"He would if you gave them to him, love." She chuckled. "I know his measurements. What color would you like to see him in?"

Passing her some galleons, I blushed. "Green - for the healer that he is."

She dropped a kiss on my head. "Green it is. Why don't you take him to the bookstore and we'll meet you there. That way I can order them without him knowing about it."

Nodding, I signaled to Ru' and he left off trying to convince Royan that burgundy would go with her red hair. He and Albus shared a taste for bizarre color combinations. But then we were outside and striding for the Dragon's Lair, one of my favorite bookstores. The front of the store catered to the new book trade and was bright and airy. But once you passed through the gray granite arch in the back, you entered the original shop.

Ancient shelves of old oak, blackened with age, held row after row of used and rare books. Taking a deep breath, I relaxed even more. This was my vision of nirvana, more books than could be read in five lifetimes. Ru' chuckled and patted my shoulder, whispering in my ear, "I'll meet ya back here, love, in half an hour. If ya get tired, we'll take a break then. Okay?"

His rumble and the soft puff of Ru'-scented air made my stomach clench but in a good way. "Yes, all right. Did you know that the back entrance here conjoins with the back door of Rivendell's Café?"

"No, but that's good ta know, Sev. I'll stay in the front part and wait for the girls. Then we'll come find ya." He caressed my shoulder and I could see that he wanted to kiss me almost as much as I wanted to kiss him but we were in full view of at least three other patrons so we parted without any further public display.

I headed straight for the magical animal section and browsed there for almost the entire time. They had not only the hippogriff book, but tomes on hellbenders, griffins and a dozen other magical creatures that I knew only by name. I staggered up to the witch at the back counter juggling thirteen oversized books that were heavy as lead. She took my galleons after asking me if I wanted to be an animal handler when I grew up.

Really, Rhea was a master craftswoman with a makeup brush. I blushed and nodded, asking her if she'd spell them small so my uncle wouldn't know what I'd bought. I told her some of them were a surprise for him. She smiled and gave me my change after wrapping them in a tidy package of brown paper with a twine handle. Then she spelled them small with a flash of her wand and wished me good luck in my studies.

Odd but part of me wished that I really was going to make a new start. Instead of becoming a Death Eater, I could become Ru's partner in the healing business. I knew a hundred ways to kill with my potions and only half that many to heal. How sick was that? My knees suddenly grew weak and I had to hold onto a nearby shelf to stay upright. It was definitely time to sit down and take a break.

And as if on cue, I heard Ru's voice arguing with Royan while Rhea laughed at them. Turning the corner, I saw my new family looking for me. How wonderful to see their smiles and know that they wanted me, truly wanted me. My heart gave a funny little leap at the fire in Rubeus' eyes and his hand outstretched towards me. I hurried to join them, enjoying the hug that Rhea gave me and the teasing question about my purchases from Royan.

We threaded our way through the narrow stacks to the back door that opened on a little courtyard. Tables and chairs were set up on the flagstones among the herbs growing in a patchwork pattern. Half of them were taken already and Rubeus chose one almost hidden in a wisteria arbor. He'd seen my hands shake and he pressed me down into the back chair with a gruff reminder to rest while he went to get our tea.

Royan joined me, waving Rhea off to bring back some of those cranberry muffins that she liked. Once they were gone, she opened one of her shopping bags and showed me a scrap of silk in a brilliant emerald green, telling me that was what Ru's new underwear would look like. It was just perfect and so I told her. She coaxed me to tell her another story about my mother and I happily complied.

But right in the middle of my story, my arm blazed with pain and a scream rang out from the Café. Royan and I were out of our seats and running for the front before it had a chance to die away.


Damn Voldemort, I cursed silently while throwing another wrought iron chair at the wizard who had hexed a pair of witches sitting at the table in front. Rhea was lobbing rock cakes at the second villain after first spelling them into real rocks. The others in the café were screaming and pushing but not doing anything but get in the way. A tingle in the air told me that Severus had just arrived and I redoubled my efforts to get the two attackers to back off and apparate away.

He'd just begun healing and I wasn't about to let any of them hurt him again. The one that I clubbed with a chair stumbled out the front door and I followed him to make sure that he didn't try anything else. All up and down the Alley I heard screams and saw blood being shed by friend and foe alike. The tingle was back and I found Severus right by my side looking with sad eyes at the mayhem.

I just wanted it all to stop and for them to go away without killing anyone. Sometimes when I see animals being tortured a red haze seems to fall over me and I have to work really hard not to hurt anyone. And I certainly didn't want to do anything with Sev there. But there was something building inside of me that I wasn't sure I could stop. Then I felt one of his hands slip into mine and he was pointing the other at the men in black cloaks.

"Ferro ignique vastare." He said real quiet-like and I felt all of my anger channel through our hands to his pointing fingers.

And just like that, the bad wizards went up in flames. But Sev was swaying and I swept him up in my arms when he began to crumble to the ground. I've never been so scared except for the night I found him being tortured.

"Good heavens, Rube, what did the two of you do?" Rhea was at my shoulder and I shuddered.

"I don't know. It was mostly Sev but I don't want him here when the Aurors come." I didn't want to let him go but I had to. "Take him to Hogwarts." She gathered him into her arms and held him close. I dug in my pockets for the portkey that the Headmaster had given to me. "Use this to get into his hidden rooms at the school. Then go find Albus Dumbledore. And get Poppy to look over him."

The bright flashes of Aurors popping into the street told me our time was up. Looping the chain around her neck, I twisted the center section and watched them disappear. Royan linked arms with me and we stood ready to answer questions. Several people had noticed Sev pointing towards the attackers so the Aurors asked us to sit to one side while they kept questioning the others.

The inside of the Rivendell Café was a shambles so Royan and I started picking things up and setting them right. The staff overcame their shock and began to pitch in, too. The broken tables we set to one side and since the chairs were wrought iron, they mostly survived the battle. Royan began sweeping up the remains of the snacks that had hit the floor. A witch who'd survived the melee, cast a drying spell so the tea and coffee was easier to sweep up.

It was better to keep on doing something but inside I was so afraid that whatever we'd done had hurt Sev. I wanted to be with him in the worst way but I had a duty to the rest of the wizards who'd been attacked. Dad and Mum had always taught us to do our duty faithfully but right now I wished I'd taken Sev myself to Hogwarts.

"Hagrid." One of the Aurors came up to me. "Rubeus Hagrid, grounds keeper at Hogwarts, we're ready to take your statement now. This is your sister, Royan?"

"That's right. And what's yar name?" I asked him quietly.

He looked startled that anyone would dare ask him such a question. "I'm Auror Bentley. Now, who was the young man that disappeared as we came. You should know that is a direct violation of Regulation 647, 'all witnesses to acts of violence are to remain in the vicinity of the crime'."

I'd been afraid of that question but I still hadn't come up with a good lie.

"Ah, Auror Bentley, how nice to meet you again." The Headmaster's voice came from over my shoulder and I almost fainted in relief. If he was here then that meant that Sev was safe. "Hagrid is naturally reticent about the young man since he is a student at the school. And his first instinct was to send him out of danger but since you have everything well in hand here, I've brought him to answer your questions."

I looked over my shoulder real quick and saw Harry wearing almost the same outfit that Sev had been wearing. He even had his hair done the same way with the pretty little bell in his dark hair.

"I'm sorry, Sir, but I was really scared by all the nasty wizards. My name is Harry Potter." He said with a shy smile at the suddenly voiceless Auror.

I relaxed all over. That should take the stuffing out of them, I thought with satisfaction. Harry had been on this firing line before and he was getting good at handling them. All the wizards and witches knew his story so I only had to lie a little when I said that we'd pretended to be his aunts and uncle so we could go shopping. We were dismissed as nonessential and we faded into the background. Royan went to the back and got all our packages together so we could apparate back to Hogwarts once the Headmaster and Harry were done.

I listened to Harry deny all knowledge of how he'd set them on fire. He just opened his eyes real wide and shook his head with a bewildered shrug. "I just wanted them to go away and stop hurting everyone. I wished that I was a fire-breathing dragon and could just make them disappear."

Auror Bentley looked real wise and nodded gravely as if he understood. "Naturally natural, young man, I can see you haven't got far enough in your lessons to understand the effect of such a cause. Cause and effect are natural pairings in the world of magic."

"Quite right, my dear boy." The Headmaster patted his shoulder and smiled at him. "Now that you have our names and explanations, I think it's time we left you to handle the hordes of reporters that I can see gathering outside this lovely little shop."

The Auror preened at the suggestion that he could handle the news media, nodding importantly and waving us away. Finally. I wanted to be with Sev right now. The Headmaster stopped a moment to speak a few words to the staff of the café and Harry leaned into my side and whispered real quietly that Sev was all right, just a little shaken up. He was with Poppy in his hidden rooms and we'd go straight there.

Thank Merlin, I sighed and gathered up the bags, waiting impatiently for Dumbledore to finish so we could leave. He joined us with a box of pastries that the staff had insisted on giving to Royan and me for our clean-up. Then we apparated to the front gates of Hogwarts before using the portkey for Sev's hidden rooms. I'd never been there before but all I could see was him, lying in the big old bed with Poppy at his side.

"Ru', are you all right?" The moment he saw me, he tried to sit up but he got all white and shivery and fell back onto the pillow.

"I'm fine, Sev." I dropped all the packages on the floor and crossed to his side, gathering him up in my arms and rocking him slowly while breathing in the lovely Sev-scent that spelled home to me. "How are ya?"

"Rubeus, is it true that you've bonded?" Poppy sounded kind of awed but stern.

"Yeah, we bonded a couple of weeks ago. Why?" I looked at her and held him even tighter in case she disapproved.

But she was smiling a big smile that I'd never seen on her before. "Congratulations, Rubeus and Severus, on your bonding. May you have many years of happiness together. I look forward to the party." She laid a hand on top of ours and took a deep breath. "And I expect you don't yet know it but congratulations on the baby that Severus is carrying."


I was safe in Ru's arms but it still felt like I couldn't catch my breath. "Baby?"

"Sev's pregnant?" Rubeus stumbled over the words as if they were a foreign language.

"Yes, I'd say a couple of weeks along. Channeling the magic disturbed the baby and it took part of Severus' energy to protect itself. I'm going to recommend that he not channel anything but the very smallest of magics until after the baby is born." Poppy smiled at us both while I heard Dumbledore in the background being happy for us.

"A baby," I seemed to have a need to say it over and over. Holding on to Rubeus, I rested my head against his hard chest and tried to understand. We'd taken no potion nor had we prepared ourselves for the usually difficult task of getting a male wizard pregnant. It appears that we'd simply gone ahead and done it. A baby was growing inside of me. A new person made up of a little bit of me and a little bit of Ru' was even now rooted deep within me.

"I had a vision, kind of like a picture of a little boy playing in front of the fire in our front room." His deep voice came softly to me. "He looked like ya, Sev and just maybe a little bit like me. Are ya mad at me, Sev?"

That brought my head up so I could look into those honest eyes of his. "Never mad, Ru', maybe a little scared. I'm not fit to parent anything."

His eyes crinkled into a smile and he dropped a kiss on the tip of my nose. "Nah, Sev, ya're going to be a great mama. Just like your mama was good to ya, ya're going to be good to him."

"You really think it's a boy?" I was so tired and bewildered that I just wanted to put my head down and sleep for a hundred years.

"Yeah, love, I think so. Lie down and sleep for a bit, Sev. I'll be right here." He snuggled me down into the pillow and shooed everyone to the outer room before lying down with me and holding me close. His humming sent me right to sleep.

It was late when I awoke feeling hungry. I stroked my stomach and thought about the new life held somewhere in there. I was going to need to read up on male pregnancy so I knew what to do to keep him safe.

"I can hardly wait to feel him moving." Ru's rumbling whisper came to me in the soft darkness of the bedroom which had never known a visitor before today. "I love ya so much, Sev."

I rubbed my cheek on his shoulder, breathing in his scent. "I love you, Rubeus Hagrid. What is your mother going to say about this?"

He chuckled and brought me up onto his chest in our favorite position. "She's going to be so happy that she'll dance over the cottage when she hears. I better tell ya now that she believes in big families. She's going to want a lot of grandkids."

"Then we'll need to find good husbands for Rhea and Royan because I'm not going to be the only one giving her grandchildren." I tried out a glare on him but it just bounced off into a smile. I feared that I'd permanently lost my glare to happiness. Ah well, I'd practice it in my spare time.

"We'll start looking right away." He promised me before chuckling at my stomach growling. "Ya're hungry, Sev. That's good since ya didn't have much breakfast."

"The nausea must have been the baby." I said, suddenly realizing that the words 'morning sickness' might have just entered my vocabulary for a long stay. "We need to go back to the bookstore so we can get some good books on pregnancy."

"We'll let Rhea and Royan go once the twins come back for another visit so they can protect them." He said quietly but with a little shiver. "I won't risk ya, Sev. I want ya safe always."

I kissed his lips gently, more comforting than passionate right now. "I want both of us safe, Ru', even more now than before. I'll be afraid to let you out of my sight."

"We'll figure out somethin', Sev." His warm hands stroked me slowly and I felt like purring for him. "But right now, I think we need to get up and eat something. I'm that hollow."

Chuckling, I rolled off of him and waited for the room to stop spinning. "Yes, let's eat some dinner. I can hear voices from the sitting room so I expect we have company still."

"Ya going to be all right with them all knowing about the baby?" He sat up and asked rather diffidently.

"They are our friends and family, Ru'. It's rather nice not to have to keep it a secret." I slid out of bed and stretched just a little. My body decided that felt fine so I shook out my clothes and joined Rubeus near the door. Taking a deep breath and holding onto his hand and my courage at the same time, I led us into the outer world.

The lights were bright and the room seemed full of people but a quick glance stilled my wildly beating heart. Albus and Minerva were on the loveseat by the fire while Royan sat on the green hassock by the wingback chair where Rhea was seated. Poppy and Harry were nowhere to be seen.

"Ah, Severus, it's good to see you up. We've ordered dinner for eight and it should be here shortly." Albus stood and hugged me. "I'm so happy for you, my boy. You deserve all the happiness in the world."

"I have all I need in Rubeus, Albus, thank you." I almost enjoyed the hug. Really, I was getting almost maudlin.

"Dear Severus, how very glad I am that you're safe." Minerva kissed my cheek, leaving behind the scent of lavender that I always associated with her. "Rubeus, I know that you'll take good care of Severus. Congratulations on your bonding," she moved to kiss Ru'. "And on your little surprise, many best wishes."

Rubeus blushed but bent so she could reach his cheek. "Thank ya, Ma'am. I'll take real good care of Sev 'cause I love him so much."

It was my turn to blush but it was lost in Rhea's arms and whispered congratulations. She was drying tears when she let me go. "Sev, you are such a treasure."

Royan was weeping, too but her hug was tender. "Dearest Sev, thank you for loving Rubeus and being willing to carry his child."

I hugged her back and whispered, "I love Rubeus so much that there's nothing I wouldn't do for him."

She chuckled. "Well, once Mum finds out, you might just want to make a list of things you need done because I expect we'll all be helping him get them done."

"Darn it, Sev. We're goin' to have to build on a couple more rooms." Rubeus looked rather chagrined. "There's a nursery needed now and a spare guest room. Mum's likely to want to spend the last month with us to help out."

"Oh dear," I hadn't thought of that. "We're going to have to stop calling it the cottage. We're going to need a whole second floor."

He laughed out loud and hugged me close. "We'll do whatever we need to do, Sev. I can hardly wait."

"And here's dinner," Albus said, opening the door for Dobby and Harry.

Oh dear, yet another person who knew I was alive. Perhaps he'd take a vow of silence?

The end of part 12