Disclaimer: I do not own the rights to Harry Potter or its characters. That all belongs to J.K Rowling.
Severus stepped out of the Burrows fireplace with sluggish, heavy steps. Ginny looked up at him from the table, she was the only one in the kitchen at the time. Her eyes were full of a deep; bounding empathy… he looked so solemn, almost defeated. He walked to the table and slumped down in one of the chairs. She watched him take in a deep breath before leaning over and resting his forehead on the cool table top.
Ginny watched him for a moment, unsure how to show him a sign of comfort. He could be erratic, testy, and his temper could be worse than Harry’s at times, and she did not want to provoke a fire whose embers were at the moment dying out.
But before she could fuss about what to do, she saw Severus’s hand uncurl from its tense fist, and move towards her, palm upwards, fingers open in earnest.
His face was still hidden against the table, his long black hair falling onto the top and spilling in thick locks over the wood.
Ginny reached her hand out and grasped Severus’s lightly, his fingers curled softly back over hers, and in silence they comforted each other, if only for a few moments.
‘Your hands are cold’ he said softly to the wood.
Ginny was surprised at his sudden sign of gentleness; she had never believed he could be capable of such a subtle gesture of need and consolation. In that one moment, she got just a small glimpse of why Hermione loved him so much.
He peeled his head away then, and glanced at her, his raven eyes full of sorrow. He pulled his hand away from hers and grasped the edge of the table tightly.
‘How are the children?’ he asked, staring at the table top. Ginny sighed heavily.
‘Silas is so young, he is a little restless but other than that he is as good as gold’ she replied.
‘And Aurora?’ it was a sad little whisper, as if he already knew the answer, and was hushed, ready to receive any news that was other than good. His eyes found Ginny’s.
‘She’s… she’s struggling’ she whispered, and looked away ‘She’s not been well Severus, she’s been running a temperature since she came here, I thought at first she might have caught a virus or something but it seems linked to what’s happened, and she rants and raves in her sleep. She cries out things that don’t really make sense’
Severus covered his face suddenly, and at first Ginny thought he might have been crying, but she saw he was merely in a despair, lost for what to do.
‘Severus, has it ever crossed your mind that perhaps… Aurora, well-’ Ginny stammered ‘-well that she might be a little… different?’ she said it softly, not wishing to anger Severus with the statement, but to her surprise Severus looked at her quite fearfully, as if the fact had been a tiny plague he had chosen to ignore.
‘It’s just’ Ginny continued ‘She sometimes says things that hardly make sense yet they make perfect sense at the same time, and she doesn’t stutter when she says these things, she talks almost like an adult, she doesn’t sound like herself. I thought at first it was because she was delirious, but some of the things she says…. Well they are almost, I don’t know…’
‘Prophetic?’ Severus finished in a whisper, and Ginny nodded.
‘Yes’ Severus said ‘Do you know, before Hermione was taken, Aurora had dreamed that Draco would come, she had drawn pictures of him… and I was so foolish, I ignored the obvious. She had seen her mother being stolen away by a monster and I failed to see what she was talking about’
‘You couldn’t have known though Severus’ Ginny soothed ‘children have strange fancies sometimes, they have bad dreams, it natural, they can’t be helped-’
‘But I knew, I knew something bad was going to happen. I didn’t feel right the whole time I was away and I did nothing until it was too late’ he shook his head.
Ginny placed her hand on his forearm and squeezed it tightly, Severus looked up at her, ashamed of the tingling sting of tears behind his eyes.
‘Listen to me’ she hushed ‘everything that has happened over the last few days, it is no one’s fault, everyone seems to be portioning the blame on themselves… but it was one terrible event that could not be stopped, no matter how hard you imagine it to be different, it’s a waste of good intelligence Severus. Now, Aurora and Silas are fine here with us, we can deal with whatever Aurora may be feeling. But you need to think about Hermione, and how you are going to get the mother of your children back safe and sound’ he stared at her, wondering vaguely how such a girl could have become so strong, in the midst of disaster Ginny always seemed to have her head screwed on the tightest. He nodded, and smiled thankfully at her. She patted his arm, and then released him.
There was a sudden thump above them, and the Ginny and Severus looked up at the ceiling, there was loud whimpering coming from the room above them, and then-
‘-Daddeeee!’ a little voice cried.
They both ran to the stairs and took the steps two at a time, for they realized the sounds where coming from Aurora and Silas’s bed room.
Severus reached the door first and threw it open, Silas was crying in his crib and Ginny pushed past Severus to get to the baby and sooth him. Severus stared with black, stunned eyes as they fell upon his daughter. Who lay with her back flat to the floor, her arms curled up to her body, her fingers clutched hard against her chest like an arthritis ridden pensioner.
She was panting hard, her legs were twitching oddly as if she were having a fit, and a wheezy sound started to rise from her throat as she convulsed.
Severus ran to her side and knelt down, he attempted to grasp her shoulders but she only cried out, he tried to grasp her attention but her eyes were plastered to the ceiling, seeing through it, seeing past it. He was frightened at how wide her pupils had grown, they were so dilated that he could barely see the colour of her irises.
Sweat beaded her forehead and her lips trembled. He moved his head downwards and whispered to her.
‘Aurora? Aurora sweetheart… what’s wrong?’ he pleaded, unable to do anything.
She cried out loudly, making him jump, he watched in horror as her black pupils suddenly seemed to spill into the whites of her eyes, as if an inkwell had been knocked over a fresh piece of parchment, the blackness spread until every bit of her eyes were bottomless with darkness. Her shoulders arched and her head was thrown back against the floor, her neck muscles straining horribly.
Slow, wheezy words began to force themselves out of her tensing throat, quite unlike the sweet little voice of his daughter, they were deep and rough, Ginny and Severus watched her in terrified awe.
‘Pallid faces, in times unknown
Love among ruins and scattered stone.
Back to where the blood began
In monstrous waves it pulsed and ran
Half the dozen halved again
Back to where the blood did stain.
Hearts and faces scarred alike
Glinting with the goblin spike
And high above the faces wield
That old, and mighty tainted shield
Held by one, and one alone.
Upon the Lazerus’ bloodied throne.
There the blood will bind together
Man and Shield and Life forever
But one death will kill off two
A sacrifice to save the few.
A Lazerus needed, a Lazerus’ life,
Without it the shield will not survive.
She cried out one last time before the black of her eyes drained away and her pupils became unfocused, Severus grasped her then and hugged her close to him, before she fell limp and exhausted in his arms and fell asleep at once.
He stared down at her face, her black curls where stuck to her sweaty forehead and he wiped them back, he mopped her face with his sleeve and kissed her head gently, still shaken by what he had just witnessed. His daughter had told a prophecy, a real, substantial prophecy that he did not understand.
He looked back towards Ginny, who wore that same confused expression, Silas had nodded off in her arms as she rocked him.
‘What do I do?’ Severus whispered, the question was directed to the room as a whole, it was for Aurora, and her non-sensical prophecy, for Ginny who was lost for words, and for the sleeping Silas, who was oblivious to the world around him, and the disaster that seemed to keep swirling around them all.