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Valora stretched out on Sirius’s couch. Harry sat beside her writing a letter to Neville while Sirius read the paper. The three often spent time together. It wasn’t as if they were terribly busy anymore, and it was nice to just act like a family.

“Anything interesting in the paper, Padfoot?” Valora asked. Sirius shrugged.

“Not really. There’s a rumor that Rita Skeeter may be coming out with a new book, but right now its just speculation.” Sirius told her. Harry and Valora groaned.

“I can’t stand that woman. You know she’s an unregistered animagus?” Harry said. Sirius and Valora raised their eyebrows.

“Oh no, how terrible.” Valora said sarcastically. “Hear that, Sirius? Unregistered animagus.”

“I’m too shocked for words.” He replied jokingly. Valora laughed.

“Who would do such a thing? Oh yeah, we did.” She said, shoving Harry lightly. He laughed.

“Well, you guys didn’t do it to spy on people and write lies about them.” Harry said, returning to her letter. Valora smiled at Sirius and laughed quietly to herself. A very loud grumbling fill the room and Sirius and Harry turned to look at Valora’s stomach. She shifted uncomfortably.

“I skipped breakfast.” She explained lamely. Sirius rolled his eyes and put the paper down before standing up from his seat.

“I’ll make you a sandwich.” He told her. “What do you want?”

“My favorite.” She told him with a smile.

“Of course. Extra bacon, I assume?” He checked. The only confirmation Sirius received was an even bigger smile from Valora. He laughed and went to make her lunch. Harry smiled and raised his eyebrow.

“What’s your favorite?” He asked. Valora laughed to herself.

“A turkey BLT with mayonnaise on toasted rye bread. It’s delicious.” She told him. Harry nodded in appreciation.

“Sounds good.” He agreed. Valora leaned closer to him and poked him in the side before glancing up and making sure Sirius wasn’t around to hear her.

“What are you doing this weekend?” She asked, brushing a dark piece of hair out of her golden eyes.

“Not much. Why?” He asked. Valora swallowed and bit her cheek before lowering her voice and leaning in a bit closer to her godson.

“I need to go to St. Mungo’s for a pre-natal checkup, and I didn’t want to go alone so I was hoping you would-“

“Yes, I’ll go with you, Valora.” Harry told her with a smile. Valora let out a sigh of relief and then smiled

“Thanks, Harry.” She told him, then leaned in to hug him.

“Don’t mention it.” He told her. Valora raised an eyebrow.

“I won’t and I would like you to keep it quiet as well. Okay? Especially from…” Valora nodded her head towards the kitchen. Harry shot her a look of disapproval.

“He’s going to find out eventually, you know.” He told her. Valora shrugged, not trying to think about how she would explain to Sirius that she was pregnant with Severus’s child.

“What are you two whispering about?” Sirius asked, walking in with a plate for Valora.

“Thank you!” She said, eyeing the sandwich greedily before tearing into it. Valora fought a frown as she chewed. It was good, but Sirius always made his bacon crispy, and Valora liked it chewy, the way Severus made it on the rare occasions he cooked. Usually she was the one cooking for them, at least that’s how it had been for the few sober years they’d had together. As she hate, she thumbed through the Daily Prophet. Sirius took a seat on the other side of her and read over her shoulder.

“Job hunting, Pardus?” He asked. Valora shrugged.

“I’m considering it, but it doesn’t look as though I’m qualified for very much.” She admitted, looking at all the prerequisites the jobs in the paper demanded.

“You don’t really need a job, ‘Lora. That inheritance of yours would let you live comfortably for the rest of your life, and then some.” Sirius reminded her.

“I know that, Siri, but an inheritance is no reason to be lazy. Besides, I want a job; something to occupy my time, other than visiting people.” Valora explained. Sirius scratched the back of his head as he thought.

“How about a part time job at Flourish and Blott’s? You love reading.” He suggested. Valora leaned her head from side to side as she tried to picture working at a bookstore. It would be nice but there would be so many people, many of who would recognize her, and to be completely honest, she didn’t want any more reunions. There was no energy left in her to deal with that.

“I don’t think so.” She said, taking another bite of her sandwich.

“Why don’t you go back to teaching at Hogwarts? You were one of the best DADA teachers we’ve ever had.” Harry offered. Valora winced.

“I don’t think I’m quite ready to go back there just yet, Harry. In fact, I doubt I ever will be.” Valora admitted. Sirius stiffened beside her and Harry nodded.

“Understand what you mean. That’s why Ron and me are going directly into Auror training. Hermione’s going back to finish her 7th year with Ginny though.” Harry explained. Valora nodded.

“Auror training.” She said thoughtfully. Sirius looked at the both of them with a worried look on his face.

“You two just finished a war, and you want to jump right back into hunting for dark wizards?” He asked. Harry laughed.

“The training takes years, Sirius. I’m thinking of it more like extensive DADA training.” The younger man explained. Valora took another bite of her sandwich.

“I’m just bored.” She said, shrugging. “Besides, I don’t think I need to train. I think I know most everything I need to know. I should write to Kinglsey about it.”

Sirius frowned. “Are you being serious?”

“Of course.” She said. “It’s something I like doing. I’m pretty damn good at it. I have the experience. Moody trained me, albeit on a time constraint, but I’ve been trained by a professional.”

“You’re insane, Valora.” Harry chuckled to himself, his eyes dropping to her stomach for the briefest of seconds. Valora felt her shoulders tighten.

“I am not.” She said firmly. Sirius laughed a little and took a bite of Valora’s sandwich.

“Don’t be so sensitive, ‘Lora. It’s just strange that we finally get what we’ve been fighting for and already you’re anxious to jump back into that life.” He said. Valora bit her tongue to keep from screaming and blinked her tears away quickly before either man could see them.

“That life is gone, Sirius. I’m never going to be able to jump back into it no matter how badly I may want to.” She said quietly, before standing up and grabbing her jacket from the back of the couch. Sirius frowned in confusion and Harry looked sadly at his godmother as she got her things together.

“What’s your problem?” He asked as Valora zipped up her jacket. She shook her head.

“No problem. I just have somewhere else to be.” She explained.

“Where are you headed?” Harry asked, his voice light in an effort to relieve the slight tension.

“I promised Andromeda I’d visit Teddy today.” Valora explained. Sirius nodded.

“You two have gotten closer.” Sirius noted. Valora shrugged as she put on her sunglasses and ran a hand through her hair.

“It’s not easy to raise a baby after such a huge loss. You can barely take care of yourself, let alone this little person who is entirely dependent on you. Andromeda and I are taking turns so it doesn’t become too overwhelming. I’ll come over and she can take a nap or go out. I think it’s good for her.” Valora explained. Sirius nodded.

“I was by yesterday. I’ll try to go again sometime this week.” He said. Harry smiled at the thought of his own godson and Valora noted it.

“I heard you spent the night with Teddy again last night.” Valora said. Harry looked only slightly embarrassed but shrugged.

“He doesn’t like it when I leave. Andy says he cries for hours. I was just helping out.” Harry explained. Valora smiled and hugged him, kissing the top of his head.

“You’re a great godfather, Harry.” She told him before turning to hug Sirius.

“Thanks for lunch, Siri. I’ll pop in later this week.” She told him before breezing out the door. Sirius watched her go and Harry fought a wince at the longing he read in his godfather’s eyes. Sirius finally turned and took another bite of Valora’s unfinished sandwich.

“She has a secret.” He said simply. Harry’s adrenaline kicked in but he played it cool.

“What makes you say that?” He asked, pushing his glasses back to a more secure position on his face. Sirius shrugged.

“She always does.” He said with a smile. Harry laughed and went back to writing his letter.

-----------------------------------

Valora appeared on the front step of Andromeda’s house and knocked on the door. After a moment Andy appeared with Teddy on her hip. It was like she had aged a decade since she lost her family. The grey in her hair was more noticeable, the lines in her face had deepened and there was a constant air of defeat that hung over her. Briefly, Valora wondered if she would appear the same in a few years.

“Hello, dear.” Andy said with a smile. Teddy made a small noise and immediatley held out his chubby arms. Valora laughed quietly. After a month of seeing him almost every day he had become quite used to seeing her.

“Hey Andy.” Valora said, stepping inside. “How are you?”

“Just fine, dear. I was about to make lunch. Are you hungry?” Andromeda asked.

“No, thank you. I just ate. Do you want me to take him while you do that?” Valora offered.

“That would be very helpful, Valora.” Andy told her with a smile as she transferred Teddy into Valora’s waiting arms. The pale brunette walked into the living room as Andromeda went into the kitchen.

“Hello, baby.” Valora said, taking a seat on the couch and looking at the little boy in her arms. He gurgled a noise in reply and grabbed onto her pinky with a tight grip. His eyes were locked onto hers and she smiled wide.

“You get bigger every day!” She said, in an excited, cooing voice. She brought his little hand to her mouth and pretended to chew on it and he smiled.

“Is that funny? Are you laughing at me?” She asked rhetorically before returning to playing with him. He kicked his legs and squealed in delight. Valora laughed as his blue hair unconsciously switched to match her own dark brown. She leaned down to plant a bunch of little kisses on his soft cheeks. Andromeda walked out with her lunch in one hand and Teddy’s bottle in the other.

“Here, Andy, I’ll do that.” Valora said, reaching out to take the bottle from her. Andy thanked her and watched as Valora took Teddy in one arm and began to feed him his lunch. The women talked about the weather, some politics going on within the ministry, the usual banter.

“I was talking to a few friends of mine, and they keep begging me to go to Italy.” Andromeda said as they talked. Valora smiled and looked up at Andy.

“That’s a terrific idea! You should go.” Valora encouraged. Andy shrugged.

“I’m not quite sure I’m ready for an Italian vacation, just yet.” Andromeda told her calmly. Valora looked at her with a very serious and compassionate expression.

“Andy, do you think you’ll ever feel ready for a vacation?” She asked. Andromeda straightened.

“No. I don’t.” The older witch admitted. Valora brushed a piece of hair out of her eyes.

“Take the vacation. Go see Italy. What I remember about it was pretty beautiful. Think of what a great story it will be to tell Teddy. Get your mind out of England for a little while.” Valora told her. Andy chuckled to herself.

“You seem intent on shoving me out the door, Valora.”

“Not at all!” Valora said with a smile. “I just think you should take the chance now, because it will only get harder to leave as more time passes.”

“Speaking from experience?” Andromeda asked, raising her eyebrows. Valora’s smile disappeared from her face.

“Leaving was never my problem. My problem was coming back.” Valora admitted quietly. Both women were quiet for a moment and the only sound was Teddy slurping happily on his bottle.

“I’m not sure.” Andy said in a low voice. Valora took a deep breath.

“Go to Italy, Andromeda. I’ll watch Teddy while you’re gone. Go and just worry about you for a little while. You’ve been consumed with the baby and haven’t had time to do anything but babysit and mourn.” Valora said.

“That was…blunt.” Andromeda noted. Valora felt a tiny blush creep into her cheeks.

“I’m sorry.”

“Don’t be. I’ve grown quite accustomed to it. Dora would just open her mouth and let out whatever thoughts were on her mind. She always spoke very highly of you, even before you’d met. Mad-Eye had spoken of you often. You two had a lot in common, and you remind me of her.” Andromeda said, her eyes glassy with unshed tears. Valora lowered her head and focused her attention on the baby, and tried to pretend she didn’t hear Andromeda sniffling back tears.

“Alright.” The woman finally said. “I’ll go to Italy.”

“Yeah?” Valora asked, surprised she was able to get through.

“Yes.” Andromeda agreed. Valora smiled. She was happy Andy could take a break from grief. Valora didn’t pretend that a vacation would make everything better, but she hoped it would give Andy some time to address her feelings, feelings she’d been ignoring to take care of Teddy. It would be good for her and, as selfish as it may be, Valora wanted alone time with her godson. She had limited time left with him and didn’t want to waste it.


When Valora got back to her flat it was close to dinnertime, but she wasn’t feeling hungry. Instead she went into her bedroom and changed into her black slip before walking down the hall to her study. Taking a seat at her desk she pulled out a piece of parchment and a quill before glancing up and smiling to herself at the picture of her and Severus on the edge of her desk, framed. It was the picture that Colin had taken, catching them off guard. In the picture they were staring at each other. Severus’s eyes were softer than usual, pleading with her to stay, his concern obvious. Valora was staring back with a faint smile on her lips, because she was already plotting her victory. Then they would both whip their heads to look at the camera and the masks went up immediatley. It was almost funny to watch how easily they were able to fall in and out of the roles they played. Still it was a bittersweet feeling.

Valora dipped her quill into ink and scratched out a quick letter to Kingsley, asking about the Auror situation currently within the ministry and what exactly she would need to do to become one, and also if her past would hinder her plans. It was something she knew nobody would be too thrilled about, Severus would be furious. The idea was not a good one, considering soon she would be too pregnant to do much, but she still thought she could do something tactical. Maybe help sort through reconnaissance, help to train, anything really. When it was finished she went to place the sealed letter on her nightstand as a reminder to send it out tomorrow. Harry and Sirius had both told her it was time to get a new owl. Still, out of respect for Jasper she could not bring herself to do it. Jasper: her bird, her companion, who had been captured and doubtlessly killed months ago, when she and Sirius had escaped the safe house. It didn’t seem fair, but then again, most things didn’t in these dark days.

Valora whispered her love to Severus’s picture before turning out the light and climbing into bed. The headache she had been nursing for the better part of two weeks was still there, not so much painful as uncomfortable. It pulsed in corners of her mind she hadn’t known existed. Then there was her breathing. With each intake of air it felt as though a knife were cutting across her heart, reminding her that her life was not worth living anymore. She didn’t see the point without Severus by her side. As usual, she cried herself to sleep.

----------------------------------

Valora walked towards the library, not knowing what to expect. Last week she and Snape had kissed. It wasn’t just a kiss; it was kismet, a fated romance. She knew this in her bones, but she wondered if Severus felt the same way. If this had to end she knew he would have to be the one to do it because she would never be able to. Worse, what if he acted like it had never happened. If he did that she wouldn’t be able to be held accountable for all the broken bones she would give him. Quietly she pushed open the library doors, and was not surprised to find Madame Pince asleep behind her closed office door, snoring softly. Valora walked down and wove through a few aisles until she found the secluded table she and Severus worked at. Snape didn’t look up as she sat down, his face obscured by the dark hair hanging in his eyes.

“Hello.” She said indifferently as she took her seat. Severus mumbled a similar greeting without glancing up at her. Valora bit the inside of her cheek, worried.

“How are you?” She asked as she pulled some books out of her bag. Severus looked at her for the first time since she arrived and quirked an eyebrow.

“Fine.” He told her with a serious expression on his face. Valora was taken aback by his tone and ducked her head into her studies before he could make her feel any worse. She had kissed him, and meant it. Had he only been using her? Unconsciously she began drumming her fingers against the tabletop. Suddenly a hand shot out to cover hers, squeezing it lightly.

“Could you please stop that?” Severus asked quietly, without releasing her hand. Valora raised an eyebrow but relaxed her hand and Severus released her.

“Thank you.” He said.

“No problem.” Valora responded tersely. Inside she wanted to flip the table over and begin punching his face, breaking his big nose and scratching out those beautiful grey eyes.

“Why do I get the feeling you want to kill me?” Severus said, sounding almost amused. Valora glared at him and shrugged.

“You tell me.” She said, snapping the book closed and walking down the nearest aisle, hiding from the stare she knew Severus was giving her. She leaned her face against the leather spines and took a breath, closing her eyes against the tears that were rapidly filling her eyes. What an idiot she had been! Giving her heart so willingly to someone who had never intended to keep it. She banged her head once against the books, trying to smack the ridiculous thoughts from her skull. Valora was so absorbed in mentally berating herself that she didn’t hear Severus approach her. She did however feel it when he rested his hands on her shoulders and spun her gently to face him. Valora was too surprised and angry to do anything but glare at him through tear-filled eyes. Severus frowned and reached up to smooth her hair away from her face.

“I thought we had agreed that we’d reached a point of no return? You aren’t having second thoughts are you?” he asked, looking concerned. Valora frowned up at him.

“Are you kidding me?” She asked, annoyed. Severus glared at her.

“Does it look like I am?” He asked, his voice like a razor, cutting her through. His eyes were hard, his jaw set and he was towering over her, standing close to her. Without warning or much reason Valora threw her arms about his neck and pressed her lips hungrily against his. Severus was surprised but didn’t care too much as he pressed Valora back against the shelves, wrapping his arms around her waist and squeezing her closer to him. Valora had never in her sixteen years felt as alive as did in his arms. She brought her hands down to grip his waist before pulling away for air and resting her head against his shoulder. Severus leaned his cheek against the top of her head and Valora laughed a little.

“I thought maybe you hadn’t meant what you said last week.” She admitted quietly. Severus let out a breath.

“I had the same thought, about you.” Severus told her. Valora laughed again and leaned back to look at him.

‘We have issues.” She said and Severus twisted the edges of his mouth up in a smirk. Valora reached a finger up and ran it over his lips, then across his cheek and down his neck before looking back into his eyes.

“You can trust me.” She told him quietly. Severus nodded.

“I know. You don’t have to worry either. I’m not going anywhere.” He said to her. Valora raised her eyebrow at him.

“Promise?” She asked coyly. Severus spun her and pressed her against the opposite set of shelves. He pressed his lips against the side of her neck, down to her shoulder, slightly pulling aside her shirt to reach the skin beneath it.

“I’ll take this as a yes.” Valora said with a smile, tangling her fingers in the ends of his hair. Severus lifted his face to hers, his eyes smiling if even though his mouth was set in a line.

“You should.” He told her, kissing her softly, the urgency of a few moments ago completely gone. Valora’s heart was beating double time and she wondered if Severus felt the same way.

“I didn’t know I could feel so happy and so terrified at the same time.” She admitted softly against his lips. Severus kissed her again.

“It’s a pain in the ass isn’t it?” He said flatly. Valora laughed and slid her hands down the front of his shirt, toying with the buttons playfully.

“It’s addictive.” She told him, nipping at his lower lip. Valora had never felt so honest, so vulnerable. It was refreshing to be this way with someone who felt the same way. She wouldn’t admit it, at least not right away, but she was pretty sure she was falling in love with him. Merlin, only a week since they had shared their first kiss and she could already envision a future. If her friends knew they would laugh in her face, still. James was in love with Lily and intended to marry her and the boys hadn’t laughed. Then again, Lily was a Gryffindor, and Severus was not only a Slytherin, but also the ultimate enemy of the marauders. This was the worst kind of betrayal but she didn’t care. She wouldn’t give him up. She never would.


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Valora ran a hand through her drying hair and pulled on her underwear and bra. Her skin was still slightly damp from her morning shower. It was a lazy day, and Mrs. Weasley was supposed to come by eventually with a recipe book. Valora was determined to learn how to cook for herself. She could make simple meals well enough to keep herself from starving, but lately she had been wanting something different and hoped that she would find that in a new recipe. As she pulled on her black sweatpants she turned and glanced into the mirror, her pale, wet skin glistening in the sunlight streaming through the curtains. As she studied herself in the mirror she noticed the tiny bump on her abdomen. It wasn’t a surprise exactly, considering she was about three months into her pregnancy. She rubbed her hand lovingly across the little bump and sighed before glancing up at her pictures of Severus and putting her hands on her hips.

“What do you think? Do I just look chubby?” She asked him, poking the little bump.

“No, dear, you look pregnant.” Came a familiar voice from the doorway. Valora gasped and looked up to see Mrs. Weasley, her arms full of groceries and the cookbook.

“Molly! I…” Valora paused and threw on the black t-shirt lying on her bed. “I can explain.” She told her as she pulled the fabric over her head.

“I did come over here planning to showing you how to make a casserole, but now I think we should discuss your baby.” Molly told her in a tone that let Valora know this wasn’t an option. Valora walked forward and took the bags from Molly’s arms.

“Do you mind if we talk while we cook? I’m starving.” Valora proposed. Molly nodded, her expression suspicious. Valora smiled weakly and placed the food on the kitchen counter, stopping to lean against the counter and take a few deep breaths. Molly was rolling up her sleeves and washing her hands, watching the other woman.

“I’m not quite sure how to begin.” Valora admitted softly. Molly took a deep breath.

“Does Sirius know?” The redheaded woman asked. Valora frowned.

“No.” she said, rolling beginning to wash her own hands.

“Why not? He should know if he has a son or daughter on the way.” Molly said, sounding annoyed. Valora almost snarled but fought back her anger.

“It’s not his baby, Molly.” Valora explained tightly. “It’s Severus’s.”

Whatever vegetable Molly had been washing clattered into the sink and she turned to face the brunette who was still taking things out of the bag, purposefully not looking her way. It felt like a lifetime to Valora before Molly spoke again.

“I didn’t realize you two were actually together. What Harry said, at Hogwarts, most of us just assumed he was trying to break You-Know-Who’s confidence. We didn’t realize he was serious.” Molly explained. “How long?”

“Since our 6th year.” Valora said, storing some of the things in the refrigerator. “Harry was telling the truth. Severus was no more of a Death Eater than I was, the only difference is that I was the only one that knew that, well myself and Dumbledore.” She explained. “I loved him, and still do, and every day without him kills me.”

There was another silence that settled over the kitchen and unexpectedly tears sprang to Valora’s eyes.

“Merlin, I miss him so much, Molly.” She said, her voice breaking as a sob hit. Valora’s knees buckled beneath her and she fell to the floor, curling her knees up to her chin. “I don’t want to be here. I want to die. I want to be with him. I can’t do this alone. I can’t, I can’t…” she cried.

Molly had never seen the strong woman so utterly broken. The sight of Valora sobbing on her kitchen floor broke her heart. It was unnatural, and wrong. An expecting mother should be glowing and smiling, not crying. Molly sank onto her haunches and gathered Valora into her arms.

“You aren’t alone, Valora. I’m here. You’re not alone. Shh…” Molly whispered into her ear, rocking her gently. Valora let herself be held and reassured. It was foreign and strange, to have someone holding her while she cried about Severus, but it was exactly what she had needed, and though it didn’t lessen the pain in her heart, it made her feel a little better that, for once, their love wasn’t being persecuted.

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