Severus was assisting Nicholas Morhaven in grading his first batch of end of term exams. Morhaven had come in rather late to the position, since the previous defense teacher, Michael Torgard, had resigned right in the latter half of the second term. Torgard had been hopeless, and Severus had not been sorry to see him go. But Nicholas was actually a competent teacher, it was a pity that he had come in on the tail end of his hopeless predecessor, so his influence was not as great as it would have been. Still, Morhaven did his best, and Severus was glad to help the Defense professor organize himself and formulate a grading rubric.
Once he had helped Nicholas out, Severus returned to his own quarters, where a very pregnant Zoey was napping. Tonight the Potions Master had decided he was going to eat dinner in his quarters instead of the hall. He woke his beloved with a few kisses, while Honey began to set the table and the dishes for Sorrel.
Zoey smiled lazily as she opened her eyes and gazed up at her husband. "Hello, handsome," she purred. No matter how many times she saw him, somehow it was always just like the first time. She knew he would deny he was handsome, despite the fact that half his girl students had crushes on him and some of his colleagues as well. But she never cared, for she loved him just the way he is. "Is it time to eat yet?"
"Yes. Wake up, beloved, before it gets cold."
Zoey grinned, then she sat up and saw the large array of food before her. "Were you expecting some long lost relatives? Or did you invite Hagrid?"
Severus shook his head. "Neither. You know how the elves fear us going hungry."
"Maybe we should invite Reg and Cindy," Zoey suggested.
"No, I want this to be just us," Severus said.
So they had a fun filled time eating, drinking, and making merry.
Until Severus felt his mark burn. "Shit!" he growled, clutching his arm.
"What's the matter?"
"He's calling," swore her husband. "He wants me to tell him all that had occurred in the last tri-quarter.
She paled. "And me? I wonder if Bella shall send me a letter asking for me?"
Bellatrix had no mind magic and so communicated solely by letter.
As if on cue, there came a soft tapping on the door and Severus opened it wandlessly. A nondescript brown owl flew in with a missive which it delivered to Lily.
She opened the letter and scowled. "There's a meeting tonight, something about celebrating a triumph. I wonder whose death we're supposed to be happy over?"
"God only knows," sighed Severus, Occluding his mind even as he acknowledged his master's summons. "I was hoping to be left alone tonight."
"No rest for the weary," Lily murmured, and she hugged Severus close. She hated those times they were summoned by Voldemort, they made her fearful of the cruel despot's temper and she prayed Severus never angered him. She couldn't bear it if he were tortured, as some others had been. "I suppose we ought to get going," she sighed.
To everyone's shock, there was no separation of witch and wizard at the meeting. Everyone gathered in the Malfoy drawing room, where Voldemort, smirking, urged Lucius to speak. Since the suave aristocrat was usually never at a loss for words, his sudden silence was amusing, until he said proudly, "At around 2 in the morning, Narcissa went into labor. Less than half-an-hour ago, she was delivered of a healthy son. He is nineteen inches long and weighs eight pounds. We've called him Draco Lucius." Now Lucius was beaming.
"I believe congratulations are in order," Voldemort stated silkily, and applauded.
The rest of the Death Eaters followed suit.
"I trust that when the rest of you are due, you shall follow Narcissa's example and deliver yourselves of sons also. We need healthy boys to continue our names and replace those who have fallen." He handed Lucius a small leather pouch.
Severus and Lily exchanged worried glances. Lily was the one closest to her due date next. It made her ill to think that the Dark Lord was suddenly keeping tabs on her, like a prize ewe. And now she had to worry about what she was having!
Severus put an arm about her. He didn't care what Lily had, as long as the birth and afterwards went fine. He was furious with Voldemort for putting that kind of pressure on Lily, she had enough to worry about with a first child. He saw Regulus across the circle shift uneasily, and knew his friend was thinking the same thing. Voldemort's "request" was ludicrous, because even with magic you couldn't guarantee the sex of a baby.
Lily was glad for Narcissa though. She had given Lucius his heir and pleased the despot as well. Now the lady of the manor could rest and enjoy her new son.
Once they had all congratulated Lucius, Voldemort spoke. "While we must slowly repopulate our ranks with our children, there is another matter we must attend to. It has come to my attention that the bloody Mudbloods and their offspring breed like rabbits. Before long we could be overrun with vermin." His eyes glinted red and he hissed, "So what shall we do about it, hmmm . . .?"
"Why don't we just exterminate them all?" growled Bellatrix.
"A simple enough solution, my dear," Voldemort bared his teeth in a smile. "But impractical."
"There's too many to kill off without being noticed," drawled Rosier. "But what if, instead of killing them, my lord, we made them . . . disappear?"
"Disappear? Go on, Evan. What advantage would that bring us?"
"Well, it means we leave them alive to do with as we please. We could find lots of uses for a captive Mudblood, not the least using them as a source of energy. With several Mudbloods to draw on, we won't need to fear burning out our magical core in a large spellcasting."
Voldemort started to smile. "Ahh! A fiendishly clever plan! Excellent! But . . . it would be of even greater impact if we took it one step further . . . and stole away their children. What panic and terror would ensure when those vermin awoke and found their little darlings gone!" He threw back his head and laughed, a cold sound devoid of all mirth. "Yes . . . a most interesting turn of events. I must think on it."
Abruptly he waved a hand at his minions. "Go, have a drink at the pub to celebrate Lucius' heir. Bella, Rabastan, Evan. You three begin counting the Mudbloods in and around Diagon Ally. I want an approximate count of their numbers."
The three leaped to obey and the rest quickly Apparated away. Severus and Lily returned to their quarters in Hogwarts, filled with apprehension and disgust.
After banishing their robes and masks, Lily said, "Sev, do you think he means to go through with it? Or is this mere theory?"
"I'm not sure. But it definitely is something that peaked his interest, and anything that does that is bad. You know he's always looking for a way to preserve his lifespan. He may decide that this is the way to go."
Lily shuddered in revulsion. "That's just . . . diabolical! To . . . to use another's magic to . . . boost your own life force. It goes against everything we were taught, everything we believe in. It's inhuman. Then again, he's hardly deserving of the title anymore with what he's done." She wrapped her hands about her middle. "Oh, how I wish he were exterminated! Then our baby wouldn't have to grow up in a world of terror and fear." She looked up at her husband sadly. "Sev, I'm so afraid. What will become of us if he succeeds?"
Severus wrapped his arms about her and whispered, "He won't succeed. You have to believe that, Lil. We'll make sure of it. I'll inform Albus, the next Order meeting is on Thursday. In the meantime, we need to increase the security here, though the Muggleborns at school are safe, we must make sure their families are too. We can't allow another tragedy like the Stephens family to occur."
"No," she agreed, resting her head on his shoulder. "May Merlin help us."
He moved his hand up to her neck and began to rub away the tension there. He cursed the Dark Lord to the depths of perdition. Lily should be relaxing and thinking about how much she was going to love holding the baby, not frightened of a madman's bid for world domination. "Why don't we sit down and relax?" He called for a cup of tea and then drew her over to the couch and onto his lap.
He gently ran his fingers through her hair, finger combing the fiery strands, then kneading the muscles in her shoulders and neck until she groaned with pleasure. He continued his massage, his fingers walking up and down her spine, gently pressing on the tightened muscles, loosening them. It was the least he could do to make her comfortable. He only wished he could do more, but short of trying to assassinate Voldemort, this was the only option.
Lily felt like she had been soaking in a hot tub when Severus massaged her, all of the tension simply melted away as he rubbed all the knots out of her neck and back with his strong fingers. His hands were both gentle yet firm and sent her into spiraling heights of ecstasy with every touch. "God, Sev! Don't stop."
"I won't." he assured her. He loved knowing he made her happy. "How do you feel now? Better?"
"Mmm . . . the queen herself couldn't feel any better," she admitted. "I feel so lucky, Sev, to have you here with me. I don't know what I ever did to deserve you."
"You loved me, no matter what." He replied. Then he leaned over and kissed the tip of her nose.
"As you loved me," she whispered, turning to capture his lips with hers.
For a few moments both were caught up in fierce passion that stole the breath from their bodies and then returned it in a rush, making them gasp in a whirlwind of sensation. When at last they drew away, both were filled with equal parts of desire and tenderness.
Lily gazed at him, her eyes shining with a deep and abiding love for the man holding her. In spite of the growing danger, she found her fears banished so long as he was beside her. She feared nothing when he was there, together they could overcome anything. "I love you, Severus. You are the best thing that ever happened to me."
"The same is true for me. You are my heart and always will be."
Had she not been so far along in her pregnancy he would have followed that statement with a sweet session of lovemaking, but since she was, he was content just to hold her close and dream of the day when he held his child in his arms and Lily slept whole and well beside him. For now, that would have to be enough.
A/N: Pardon the short chapter, but my allergies have been plaguing me lately. Hope everyone is recovering from Hurricane Sandy and the recent snowstorm.
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