A/N Everything you recognise belongs to the amazing J.K. Rowling. Everything you don't, belongs to me. Please enjoy :)
I closed my eyes in his shirt, as his arms were around my body, holding me and whispering something in my ear. I didn’t listen to what he was saying, I just hugged him back, relieved that he was alive and that we were once more together. I sensed Snape standing rather awkwardly behind us before he went out of the room, his dark robes floating behind him. I smiled. And then I started crying, into Edwin’s shoulder. I had not realized until then, just how lucky I was to be alive. To breathe, smell Edwin’s scent...feel his hands around my frail and tired body once more.
“It’s okay, love. You’re safe now. You’ll be okay.” He whispered in my ear, his hands caressing my back in circles, as if I were a small child in need of comfort. “Shhhh...they won’t hurt you here.” His voice was calm and reassuring and it made me feel a thousand times better about everything. And yet it was not enough. The maternal hormones were dragging me from behind, into an awful state of mind, full of negativity and abominable thoughts. Now that I was finally here, what was going to happen next?
“I’m pregnant.” I whispered into his shirt, into a barely audible voice as if afraid he might accuse me of not telling him this before. His had stopped caressing my back. I could hear that Snape was back into the room. I felt awkward.
Looking up at Edwin’s face I saw shock. His eyebrows were raised and the look he gave me was that which resembled confusion. I could feel Snape watching us intently from behind. Was he having fun at my discomfort? Edwin’s face crumpled into a sheet of emotions. His eyebrows knitted together, just like his fathers’ when he was angry. His eyes could curse someone into oblivion if only they dared look at him. I felt his hands clench on my upper arm. He was angry. Oh Merlin, I should have told him earlier. What if he didn’t want to be a dad just yet? Maybe he was internally cursing himself for not taking more...precautions when being with me. Maybe he was angry that he let his thirst for freedom take over.
“Oh, Edwin...” I whispered and wished Snape could just bugger off. This was a private moment between Edwin and I and it was embarrassing enough without the grandfather of my child being there.
Before I could say anything else, he pulled me into a bone tearing hug and wailed: “Who was it? Who did this to you? What kind of monster...why...oh Anna, what did they do to you? I tried to talk to you through occlumency for days.. I couldn’t get through and then I saw you in a dark place…I could see the outline of the house they kept you in and I let Snape in my mind...thinking he will be able to get you out but he was too late…oh God…they did that to you… I’m going to kill them...”
“Edwin...” I started but he was too angry to listen to me. He continued cursing and swearing for about three more minutes, in which I tried to liberate myself from his breath stealing hug. If it were not for the abominable situation I found myself in, I would have laughed at his reaction.
“...bloody pixies and goblins...I’m going to kill them all.....”
“EDWIN!” I shouted and he stopped. He looked down at me with hurt eyes and he seemed close to crying.
“I’m sorry.” He said in a soft voice. “I’m sorry I wasn’t there to protect you...to keep you safe. I’m sorry.”
“No...Edwin, listen to me. They didn’t do anything like that
to me.” Oh, but they did try, I added to myself. Yet he didn’t need to know that. He looked even more confused. “It’s umm...well...we are the ones to blame. It’s...yours. But I’m happy!” I added when his expression resembled disgust. He let go of me and backed away as if I said I had Dragon Pox. “We’ll be okay. I’m okay.” I added when he started disappearing into the shadows of the house, too bewildered to say anything else to me.
I started going after him, but Snape caught my arm. “He needs some time to think it over, Miss Rider.”
I looked up at him and saw no sarcasm. He even gave me a small encouraging smile which I could not give back. Bloody maternal hormones. Just like that I was in tears again. Snape looked slightly uncomfortable. “There, there Miss Rider. It’s...okay.” He was patting my shoulder in an awkward motion. “No it’s not!” I added slightly angry. “It’s not okay! It’s not kicking anymore!”
He raised his eyebrows and looked slightly confused for a few minutes.
“The baby used to kick. But since they used the Cruciatus on me....oh Merlin!” I said and the fear finally caught up with me. What if the baby was dead? I had delayed thinking about it for as long as possible, but now that I was safe, everything that I had put off, came running back towards me, holding me with tiny hands like those of a pixie, but with the strength of a gnome. I started hyperventilating. Snape caught my shoulders and directed me towards a chair. I sat down. “What if something’s wrong with it...I...I...I couldn’t bear to...”
“It’s going to be okay, Anna.” His voice was soft. Not the same sort of soft he used in the classroom to make the hairs on the arms of his students rise. The soft that a father would use to calm down a distressed child. The soft a father would use to put a child frightened by the storm back to sleep. The voice of a father Edwin once knew and the voice of a man Lily once loved. I felt slightly puzzled to hear this particular voice of Snape’s directed at me, for I was neither his ward nor his...lover. I guessed I should feel honoured, but right then I was in too much distress.
His hands moved fast on the kitchen table, chopping down ingredients and placing them in the cauldron that was already waiting patiently on the fire. The firelight from the living room chimney was playing on his face, bringing in and taking out shadows. There was a slight smell of lavender...I didn’t even notice him throwing the dried herbs in the fire to make me calmer. I felt my eyelids heavy with weight and yet I resisted the desire to sleep. Minutes turned into seconds and before I knew it, Snape was sitting down next to me on another chair. He wasn’t sure whether I was awake or not, but I believed he did not want to startle me, for when he spoke his voice was quiet and calm.
“Drink this, Rid...Anna.” He put a cup consisting of a purple looking liquid which smelled a little like jasmine tea in my hands. “It’s okay.” He added when I didn’t move. “I’ll make the baby kick.”
“How?” I asked, suddenly more awake than ever when he mentioned my child. I felt my nerves shake and I could feel every little bit of my body being more alert than ever.
“If the baby is okay, it will kick.” Said Snape in the same soft and quiet voice.
“And if it’s not....” I looked down at the tea cup and I felt afraid. Afraid of no reaction.
But I drank it. The more courageous part of me wanted to know the truth, even if the truth consisted of pain. It tasted sweet, yet there was a sour touch to it, a little bit like the lemonade mum used to make in summer. She never got it quite right...it was either too sour or too sweet and I never used to drink a whole cup. Now I wish I did. I wish I stayed at that garden table, and drank that lemonade...all of it, really slowly so that I can spend more time with mum. I missed her and missed the advice she could have given me in a situation like this.
I waited. Time reversed and minutes became hours. The air became solid and every breath of it made my lungs hurt. Snape did not take his eyes off me. His eyebrows were so close together that you could say it was one. I waited, but there was no kick. I looked down into the cup to see if I drank it all. But the cup was empty...the white bottom was staring back at me, waiting for a reaction. My hands were shaking and I felt tired. If the baby was truly....dead...
that I didn’t want to go on fighting. I wanted to hide under the covers of my bed and stay there until it was all finished. I was so tired.
But then there was a kick. It was so faint that I wondered whether it was only in my imagination. I placed my hands on my belly and waited. It came again, even more faintly than before. I gasped. “It’s kicking!”
Snape gave me a small smile. “That’s good.” He said but I could see beyond his words. I knew he was more relieved than that, for I could read it in his face. His eyes lightened and his face muscles relaxed. He did care about Edwin...and about his son’s child.
“Thank you.” I whispered.
“There’s no need to thank me, Anna. But I do want to know who did this to you.” His voice became graver and he suddenly stood up in a storm. “Did they know you’re pregnant?”
“Only Lucius Malfoy.” I said in a sour voice remembering the satisfied expression on his face when he felt my bump before he threw me on the floor.
“So he cast the Cruciatus on you.” Said Snape, pacing up and down the kitchen. I felt as if I was being interrogated for a crime.
“No. That was...Ron.”I was surprised that it still hurt to think about Ron as a Death Eater. To think that Ronald Billius Weasley would deliberately raise his wand towards me.
“Aaa...so he does have some ability for casting a spell. I never would have perceived it...not after the marks he got in Potions and Defence against the Dark Arts.”
I said nothing. A part of me, the stupid part of me, still wanted to defend Ron against Snape and tell him that he was smarter than he ever let on. But then I remembered he tried to kill me and mentally slapped myself. “Can I go to bed?” I looked up at Snape, my lids heavy with sleep and my heart heavy with the weight of relief.
“Yes. Go upstairs and pick any room you desire, except for the last one on the left.” He said pointing his finger upstairs. I stood up from the chair, thanked him, and started making my way towards the unlit stair corridor. The walls were bare, but there were marks of paintings which had been previously hag up. I knew Edwin must have taken them off...spending more than half of his life so far in a painting must have made him hate frames and paint smell. I wished he could have listened to me about the baby. But funnily enough, I was not too stressed about this yet. I wondered if the potion Snape made me drink contained some sort of calming draft. I looked back to the small, candle lit kitchen and living room once more and saw Snape clearing up the potion ingredients with a flick of his wand. In the dim candle light he looked like Heathcliff of Wuthering Heights. If the baby inside of me was a boy, I would have loved him to look a little like Heathcliff, for he was my favourite book character, despite his controversial nature. I started going up the stairs, leaving behind the image of paternal Snape and wondering how in the name of Merlin I could think of Snape resembling Heathcliff. I smiled a little and made my way towards the first room I found on the corridor, for I was too tired to look at all the other ones and choose.
I jumped, startled at the source of the male voice. Edwin was leaning on the windowsill at the far end of the corridor, in the darkness. “Edwin...”
“I’m sorry.” He said and started coming towards me. The corridor was so dark that I could only make out the shape of his messy hair and his height. Sometimes, the moon would come out of the clouds and make his green eyes, Lily’s eyes, sparkle. But when the moon hid itself once more in the clouds, Edwin’s face would disappear in the shadows once more. I placed my hand on his chest and came closer, but he only moved away. “I’m sorry.” He repeated and disappeared in the darkness of the corridor.
“Its okay, Edwin.” I whispered more to myself than to him as I too, disappeared in the darkness of my room. “It’s okay.”
In the two weeks that followed, Edwin pretty much avoided both me and Severus. He would come down for the main meals without saying a word and then he disappeared back into the shadows of the house. In the first few days of my residence at the cottage I tried everything that I could think of to make him talk to me. But no matter how many times I told him I was fine, he would not listen. In the end I gave up trying and I started hoping. Hoping that he was not too lost in his own remorse to see that I was fine and even happy. To see the baby that was growing more and more each week.
On the other hand, Snape proved more communicative that I had ever anticipated. He often asked about the baby and about what Harry and Hermione were up to. I avoided the second subject because even though I trusted Snape with my life, I knew Harry did not and I did not want to betray him even more than I had already. Yet there was one subject which I desperately wanted to talk to him about. The death of Dumbledore remained a mystery to me, a mystery which I wanted to solve. But I just didn’t know how to start a conversation with Snape about that. In fact, I was more afraid that I would ruin the small friend like relationship we had developed since he saved me. So I decided to not ask about it, just yet.
It was only a few days later that Edwin stared changing. I was in my room, trying desperately to fit into the jumper I had already enlarged a few sizes, when the door opened and Edwin came in. He leaned against the wall, looking at my face and for the first time ever, at my bump, but not saying anything. I raised my eyebrows for a few seconds, but then they went down and I resumed to what I was trying to do before.
“Do you need help?” he asked and started coming towards me.
“No, I don’t need help.” I replied curtly.
“Are you okay, Anna?”
“Am I okay? Am I okay?” I turned around to face him angrily. “Well let’s see, Edwin. You’ve been ignoring me for the past two weeks, acting like you were the only one who had to suffer out of this.” I snapped pointing my finger at him and thinking I resembled Mrs Weasley when she was telling Ron off, the day he stole his dad’s flying car to save Harry from the Dursleys. “I’m bloody brilliant. Not to mention I don’t fit into my clothes anymore and I look like a complete wreck and....”
I could not finish the sentence because his lips crushed mine in a passionate kiss. My anger flew away just like that and the next minute we were lying on my bed, making out. A few hours later, everything was fine between the two of us.
Those two weeks and three days were probably the most tranquil times of my time with Edwin and Severus. After that it took only one conversation and a bit of news to turn everything around. We were sitting at the dinner table after finishing one of my mom’s dishes that I managed to cook. We were not really talking, but silence in that moment proved blissful. Underneath the table, my hands and Edwin’s hands were playing and whenever we burst out laughing, Snape would look at us like we were crazy.
I noticed something had changed within Snape in the past few days. He rarely spoke to us and he seemed snappy and concerned all the time. I thought he might have been irritated at our happiness, remembering perhaps, how his time with Lily was stolen by a greater force. I gave Edwin a sign with my eyes—maybe it was better to be in love in a separate room, yet when we were about to stand up, Snape raised his eyes towards us and said in the most authoritative voice that he could possibly muster: “Sit back down.” We obeyed.
For a few minutes, he didn’t say anything. But when he looked up at us I knew from the look of his eyes that something was terribly wrong. “We need to talk.” He said in a grave voice.
“What’s going on?” asked Edwin slightly concerned at his father’s reaction. “Do we have to move away? Did they find out we’re here?”
“No.” Said Snape looking at his son with tired eyes. “Not just yet.” Another silence followed. “You two are in grave danger.”
“Why?” I asked and instinctively took Edwin’s hand again as if Death Eaters were going to come out of the wall and catch us. “What happened?”
“You are aware, I presume, that Professor Trelawney has disappeared and is now probably at the mercy of Death Eaters.” I nodded wondering how that put us in danger. “After you left Hogwarts, Anna, she came up with a new prophecy. No one took her seriously at first. The Dark Lord of course, had different beliefs about the prophecy since it involves him.”
“What did the prophecy say?” I asked, even though, deep inside I thought I knew the answer.
“The Child of the Yellow Full Moon of the fifth month will be born and history shall repeat itself for the boy who lived shall have an ally. Ghosts shall come back to life and the Dark Lord shall be defeated six times.” When Snape finished talking everything was quiet. I could no longer hear the sea and I could no longer feel Edwin’s hand in my own. Although it was obvious, my brain was working to place the Prophecy into context.
“The child for the Full Moon of the fifth month...?”I asked slightly puzzled and wishing I could have paid more attention in astrology.
“The fifth month in the calendar of Merlin has a yellow full moon. That will occur in five months time, by the time you....” started Snape but when the realisation hit me I sort of stated hyperventilating.
“By the time I reach nine months of pregnancy.”
“Our child is in the Prophecy.” Edwin’s voice was full of anger. “That old hag....she shouldn’t have predicted...”
“Edwin, we can’t change what she predicted. Does he-who-must-not-be-named know?” I asked thinking of Voldemort’s red eyes burning with anger when he found out a newborn baby might mean his end.
“Yes.” Said Snape in a grave voice, looking at me as if I were about to break into tiny little pieces.
“Killed 6 times?” I asked thinking that was rather obvious. “Does that mean horcruxes?”
“You know about Horcruxes?” asked Snape a little bewildered.
“Yes. Dumbledore told...Harry and Harry told me. So the child of the Yellow Full Moon will defeat the Dark Lord without having to destroy the Horcruxes first? Will that make it easier?” I asked wondering whether we should fight or run away.
“Yes. I think it will make it easier. But Anna...this prophecy may not even be true. In fact I doubt it is true in which case we must get you two to a safe place.”
“Safer than here?” asked Edwin looking at his father with nostalgic eyes.
“Safer than here.”He looked at me wondering why I was not reacting differently. I didn’t know why I wasn’t acting differently...but I knew I was not as scared as I should have been. I knew that I had Severus and Edwin by my side and I knew that for now, at least, everything was okay.
“We’ll be okay. I know we will...”
“Rider it’s good that you’re being optimistic but right now I have to get you two out of here. Tomorrow by the latest we have to leave.”
Quietness fell upon us at the heaviness of Snape’s words. I looked at Edwin who looked tensed. Beneath the dinner table, Edwin caught my hand. This was no longer a game, for the grip was strong and I knew, even without words, that he was saying we’re in this together.
Snape looked at me as if I was one of his stupidest Potion Students who confused the Draft of Living Death with Felix Felicis. But before he could say anything sarcastic, a heavy knock on the door made us all jump to our feet. Edwin pushed me behind him as if Voldemort himself came to our door. I was holding on to his arm, looking intently as Snape started walking towards the door. “Hide.” He whispered.
There was no time to go all the way upstairs, for the noises would have been obvious. Edwin dragged me behind the sofa as if we were kids playing hide and seek. But I could still see perfectly well who was in front of the door when Snape opened it. I could see perfectly well how Snape fell on his knees once more as he saw the red haired woman he so bitterly loved.
“I thought...I thought....I thought you were dead
A/N I'm really sorry for the late update and for the short chapter, but I promise it was pivotal and the next one will be much, much, much longer. I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know what you thought.
On a second note, there will be about 5-7 more chapters and this story will finish. I've started a new novel called Roses Grow at Malfoy Manor (next generation), so if you are iterested in next generation stories, please read.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing so far and I hope you will like the ending...as you might encounter a very big surprise.