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Valora didn't necessarily dislike hospitals, she just felt that they were often filled with overly perky nurses. It was this belief she had been complaining about for the past twenty minutes as she, Harry and Molly walked to St. Mungo's.

"They had better not give me any of that 'you're glowing' bullshit. I may have to hex them." She griped as they walked through the double doors into the hospital lobby.

"Honestly Valora. This is a supposed to be a happy day. You could pretend to be excited." Molly chided as they stepped into the elevator for the 6th floor. Valora sucked in a deep breath but said nothing. She knew Molly was thinking of the baby, but Valora could only dwell on the fact that when the doors opened she would see other women, smiling and happy, with the father's of their babies at their sides. It wasn't going to be as great a day as Molly anticipated. Harry shifted at her side.

"Sorry for dragging you along, Harry. You don't have to stay if it's upsetting, you know." She whispered. It must have been awkward, what with her carrying the child of the man Harry had spent a good portion of his life hating. The dark haired boy smiled back at her.

"Are you kidding? That's my little god-brother or god-sister. I'm not going anywhere." He said. Valora almost got chills. He sounded so much James sometimes it was spooky. The doors opened and Valora was unhappy to see the cheerfully decorated lobby, complete with floating teddy bears and a dish of enchanted pacifiers along with flyers about midwives.

"This is torture." Valora groaned under her breath as Molly led the way to the front desk.

"We're here for a pre-natal check up." The older woman said. The young receptionist tucked a lock of jet black hair behind her ear and looked at a list.

"Name?"

"Nox."

"Alright...ah! Here you are, Valorie Nox?" she asked. Valora's jaw tightened.

"It's Valora."

"My apologies, Ms. Nox. You'll be in exam room three, with Dr. Huber."

"Fabulous." Valora said with a serious lack of enthusiasm, that made Harry hide a grin. Molly sighed as they walked down the hall to exam room three.

"Valora, do you always have to be quite so saucy?" She asked as they opened the door and walked in.

"No, but it amuses me." The brunette said flatly as she hopped up onto the examination table, swinging her legs a bit to keep herself from freaking out. Harry and Molly sat in the chairs to the side and all three waited in silence for the doctor to come in. When the door opened Valora was disappointed to see it was a young woman, probably in her mid-twenties. The name tag confirmed this was Dr. Huber. She had strawberry blonde hair pulled into a twist, sun-kissed skin and hazel-blue eyes. Also, she was smiling. Valora hated her immediately.

"Hello everyone. I'm Dr.-" The young doctor paused as she caught sight of Harry. Valora rolled her eyes and Molly took in a breath.

"Good heavens. You're Harry Potter." Dr. Huber said. Harry shifted uncomfortably.

"Er, yeah, I am." He said.

"It's such an honor. Did you need something? I could have one of the nurses get you a cup of tea if you'd like." She offered. Harry opened his mouth to protest but Valora was quicker.

"Actually, the famous Harry Potter came here for his first ultrasound. Oh, wait, that's me. So, Dr. Huber, if you would kindly wipe the drool from the corner of your mouth and get on with the examination, I'd very much appreciate it." Valora added a quick mocking smile to emphasize her point. Dr. Huber blushed and walked over to the woman. Molly was obviously mortified and was rubbing her temples, while Harry again had to hide laughter. He didn't condone Valora's attitude, in fact he was slightly shocked by how cutting she was being recently, but that didn't stop it from being slightly amusing to see people's reactions to her moods.

Dr. Huber went through the normal questions and talked Valora through the things to expect in the coming months. Valora drummed her fingers against her thigh.

"Dr. Huber, could we just do the ultrasound and call it a day?" Valora asked after twenty minutes of the woman's rambling. Dr. Huber looked confused.

"Oh, I assumed we were waiting for Dad." The blonde said. Molly sucked in a breath and closed her eyes and Harry looked away from the scene. Valora's expression froze.

"It would be one hell of a wait. He's dead." She said flatly. Dr. Huber closed her eyes and then looked at the floor.

"I'm so sorry. You're chart didn't say-"

"Dr. Huber, I understand." Valora said, in a calm and even voice. Harry and Molly let out a breath of relief, glad she hadn't bitten the woman's head off. "Now if you could please do the ultrasound."

"Of course."

The doctor pressed her wand to Valora's abdomen and after a quick spell the screen lit up. There it was. Tiny, with a quick little heartbeat was her baby, moving around. Molly's eyes filled with tears and Harry stood to get a closer look.

"There's your baby, Ms. Nox." Dr. Huber said.

"Can you tell if it's a boy or a girl?" Harry asked excitedly.

"Not yet, but development looks good. I don't see anything wrong. Would you like a picture?" The doctor asked.

"No, I'm fine." Valora said. Molly laughed.

"You say that now, but these are the moments you'll always want to remember. Yes, she'll take a picture."

Valora rolled her eyes but said nothing. She loved her baby, of course, but she didn't want a picture. She just wasn't that type of glowing new mother who wanted to document every precious moment of pregnancy.

"Can I wipe this crap off my stomach now?" Valora groaned. Dr. Huber nodded and handed her a tissue.


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Harry, Molly and Valora walked through Diagon Alley. Molly had created copies of the picture. One for Valora, one for Harry, one for herself and one for Sirius when she was ready to tell him. Then she had insisted on buying a frame for her copy to place on the mantle back at the Burrow. Valora was touched by how accepting Molly was of her child, but she still wasn't thrilled with the idea of spending a day hearing someone croon over babies. Instead, Valora steered the conversation to Harry and Ron, from which they all began discussing Hogwarts and how the boys would survive without their girls. The day was beginning to look up until they passed Flourish & Blotts. Valora stopped dead in her tracks and blinked a few times, stunned. Severus's face was blown up on a poster in the front window, staring at the crowds who passed by. It was an advertisement for Skeeter's upcoming bestseller. Valora felt dizzy and stared blankly for a few moments. This was wrong, all wrong. Severus didn't belong out here. He belonged back in Valora's flat, safe from the rest of the world. His grey eyes looked right past her and his face sneered at the people who passed. This was twisting him into a figure to be feared and hated. How could that woman do this?

"Valora?" Harry asked tentatively, touching his godmother's shoulder. Valora released a breath she hadn't realized she'd been holding and let Harry tug her away from the storefront.

"I'm sorry. I just...I wasn't expecting to see-"

"We understand, dear." Molly explained quietly. Something about the gentleness of her tone made Valora believe her. The brunette shook her head and bit her cheek hard to to fight back the tears that were fast appearing. Luckily they dried quickly enough and she fought down the darkness once again.

"I think I'm going to walk home." She said softly. Harry nodded.

"I'll walk with you." He offered. Molly hugged them both goodbye and headed towards the designated fireplaces to Floo home. As Valora and Harry walked they settled into a comfortable silence. When they were at the halfway point between Sirius's flat and Valora's, Harry turned to her.

"I think I'll pop over and visit Padfoot. Is that alright?" He asked. Valora smiled.

"Of course, sweetheart. Give him my love." She said, kissing the top of Harry's head and turning to go home.

"Valora." Harry called. The brunette turned and cocked her head to one side.

"When are you going to tell him?" Harry asked. Valora sighed and thought for a moment before looking up and shrugging with a small smile.

"When I know what to say." She explained lamely. Harry smiled and nodded in acceptance before turning to go to Sirius's.

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

Later that evening, Valora settled onto the couch with a cup of mint tea and a book, and it didn't take long for her to drift into sleep.

Valora closed the door the her flat as she walked in and threw her cloak on the floor. She had just gotten done a rather grueling session with Moody and wanted nothing more than a glass of wine and the feel of her pillow beneath her head. It seemed that wasn't what she was going to get as she noted a figure in dark clothing occupying her couch. Severus didn't look up from the book he was reading as she walked into the tiny kitchen and poured two glasses of wine.

"Just half a glass, Sev, or did you want me to fill it up?" She called. When silence answered her she rolled her eyes.

"Full it is." She said, topping off both glasses and then setting them down on the coffee table before taking a seat beside him and pulling off her boots and stretching her legs out in front of her. They both simultaneously reached for their respective glasses and took a long sip.

"So is this argument avoidable at all? Because I'm really tired tonight." Valora said, leaning her head back and closing her eyes. Severus snapped his book shut.

"Why must you always assume I'm going to start an argument?" He asked coldly.

"Oh, I don't know, maybe it's because you always do." Valora shot back with heavy sarcasm.

"You are so impossible." Severus told her, taking a gulp of wine. Valora scoffed loudly and stood.

"Oh I'M impossible?" She screeched as she walked into her bedroom.

"Yes, Valora you are. Impossible and secretive." Severus said to her as he stood to lean in her doorway, still holding a glass of wine.

"Secretive?" Valora repeated as she stripped out of her leather pants and t shirt.

"Yes. Secretive. You never talk about the training you're receiving, or what you're learning about the Order-"

"Because I've been sworn to secrecy you git!" She reminded him for what felt like the millionth time as she pulled on a pair of dark denim jeans and a slightly dressier black top.

"Where are you going?" Severus asked as she pulled on a pair of flat heeled boots.

"Out." She replied automatically.

"I thought you were tired." Severus said lamely.

"Well, somehow my adrenaline has just shot up!" Valora retorted, smacking him in the chest as she brushed by him.

"Let me guess. Black invited you out for a drink." Severus practically growled. Valora shook her wavy dark hair loose from it's ponytail and used her fingers to make it behave.

"Actually it was James' idea to go out tonight and he invited a bunch of people in the Order. I had originally said no because I wanted to sleep, but it seems as though that's not going to happen. So I would rather be with them right now than you." She said, raising her eyebrow as if daring him to keep the argument going.

"Not them. Black. Just say it, Valora. You would rather spend time with Sirius Black than with me!" Severus screamed at her. Valora threw her purse onto the couch.

"No, I would rather go out for a drink with my friends than argue with you!" She yelled back.

"This is because I'm a Death Eater isn't it?" Severus asked quietly.

"What?!" Valora said. "No, that has nothing to do with-"

"Than why don't you trust me?!" He bellowed.

"You're the one who doesn't trust me!" Valora screamed back. They both stood there in a stony silence for a few moments before Valora picked up her purse and grabbed her keys.

"I won't be here when you get back." He said spitefully as she opened the door. Valora shrugged bitterly.

"Who said I'll be back?" She replied bitchily before slamming the door behind her. From the hall she heard the sound of something inside her apartment shatter.

----------

It had taken more than a few drinks but Valora was feeling much happier than she had been when she'd left. A night with the boys always made her feel better. As she stumbled up to her doorway she groped in her purse for her keys. As she found them they dropped from her limp hand and she dropped to her knees, using the door for support as she grabbed them off the floor. The door opened and Valora, losing it's support, fell across her threshold. She heard Severus sigh.

"Merlin. They just let you go home on your own? You can barely stand." Severus said as he grabbed her and pulled her into a standing position.

"Hey, I thought you...you were leaving." She slurred as he shut the door and helped her to the bedroom.

"I thought you weren't coming home." He told her as he sat her on the bed and helped her pull off her shoes. Valora, exhausted fell onto her back.

"I'm really...really happy you're here, Sev." She said, her voice thick with sleep.

"I know, Valora." Severus said as he unbuttoned her jeans and pulled them off of her.

"And I j-just want to let you know that I love you and-"

"Sit up." Severus instructed.

"What?" Valora asked confused as he loomed over her.

"I need you to sit up for me." He repeated gently. Valora complied and he helped pull her shirt over her head.

"What was I...oh! Yeah, I was saying that I do trust you Sev. I'm not trying to be scht...sheek...seshe...keep stuff from you. I'm not." She told him as he maneuvered her beneath her covers.

"Alright. Go to sleep now Valora." Severus told her as he turned off the lamp.

"Wait." Valora said, her hand groping in the dark for his. When she found it she closed her fingers tightly around his.

"What?"

"I need to know you trust me too."

"Of course I trust you." He said, leaning down and placing a delicate kiss on her forehead.

"And that you love me."

"Always." He said, kissing her lips.

"And that you'll stay with me, even though I'm piss drunk right now and you have no shot of currently getting laid. Not that I think you'd want to have sex with a practically unconscious woman. I think you're much better than that. You don't have sex with drunk women. Wait, you'd better not have sex with any women. Except me, and I am currently a very, very drunk woman. You can only have sober or drunken sex with me, but currently both are out of the question. Sorry."

Severus just chuckled quietly in the dark at her drunken ramblings.

"Move over, Nox." He said, pulling his own clothes off. Valora smiled drunkenly in the darkness and moved over to make room for him, curling into his chest as he sidled in beside her.

"We're forever." She whispered. Sev wrapped an arm around her.

"and ever and ever, love."



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Valora had woken early for her appointment with Kingsley and for once didn't wear anything leather, except for her boots. She was still entirely in black though, which made her feel a little bit better. As she walked through the Atrium of the Ministry she was met with a mixture of smiles, frowns and general staring. Almost everyone knew her for one reason or another. The double agent, the godmother of the 'Boy who Lived', or the lover of Severus Snape. Unfortunately it was the latter that seemed to weigh most heavily on everyone's minds because she could hear the rumors and gossip starting the minute people thought she was out of earshot. Apparently, it didn't take long at all for people to discover her relationship with Severus once it no longer mattered who knew. Ironic really.

Now as she marched through the corridors she wished someone would say something to her face. She was not in a very pleasant mood, what with having to try and persuade Kingsley to let her become an auror, then to listen to people talk about her and Severus, also having to deal with the buzz about Rita's newest book. It was enough to make her wish all the Death Eaters weren't in Azkaban so she could go on a hexing and cursing spree.

As she reached the exterior of Kingsley's office, his secretary cleared her throat and pushed her green, horn rimmed glasses up her nose. She was wearing a bright violet dress that looked a little too snug on her plump figure and didn't do much for her frizzy and wild red hair.

"Excuse me. Can I help you?" She asked rudely. Valora fought the urge to flip the woman's desk over and instead gave the briefest of smiles.

"I have an appointment." Valora told her. The woman looked skeptical but opened the schedule book and ran her finger down the list.

"Ms. Nox?" The secretary checked. Valora nodded the confirmation. The frizzy haired woman wrinkled her nose as though Valora were something distasteful on a menu. Valora cracked her knuckles loudly to keep herself from grabbing her wand.

"Can I go in or what?" She asked. The woman just rolled her eyes.

"Please have a seat. He'll be with you in a few minutes."

Valora took a seat, emotions swirling within her. Anger was foremost along with annoyance but also there was a loneliness she couldn't shake. She felt separate from everything and oddly vulnerable. Things she hadn't felt since she was a little girl. A tiny pang of a headache punched through her melancholy thoughts and suddenly her annoyance was back. The door the Kingsley's office opened and Valora stood.

"Valora." He said, opening his arms to hug her. Valora made sure to put on a wide, mocking smile for the secretary.

"Hello, Kingsley." She said. He looked somewhat confused.

"How long have you been here?" He asked. Valora shrugged.

"Ten minutes, give or take." She answered. Kingsley frowned and looked at his secretary.

"Dorothea, I told you to let me know as soon as Ms. Nox got in." He reprimanded softly. The woman merely shrugged.

"I'm sorry, Minister. Must have slipped my mind." She said dryly. Kingsley instinctively caught Valora's hand which had balled into a fist as she took a step towards the woman, masking the movement so it looked less like the beginning of an attack and more like him escorting her into the office. Closing the door soundly behind them, Kingsley pointed to a leather chair in front of his desk.

"So, what brought on the urge to be an Auror?" He asked, settling into his own seat. Valora shrugged.

"It's all I know. I realize I never received the 'official' training, but I did plenty of field work, Moody trained me-"

"He trained you when you were eighteen. Things were different back then, the training alone has changed not to mention the threats and attacks have changed." Kingsley tried to explain.

"So what? I'll re-train. I'm not too old to learn." Valora said. The man sighed and leaned forward.

"Valora, you just got your life back. Enjoy it."

"I can't!" She snapped. "I feel useless and everything feels...wrong. Like, there's too much or not enough. I can't...I just..." Valora stopped as she felt her throat grow tighter. Like hell she would let herself cry.

"It's only been two months since the Battle. Maybe, you need to grieve." He suggested gently.

"I can't. I don't do that. There's only one person who can fix this and he's not here. I need him here. I need him alive." Valora muttered to herself, blinking back tears.

"Valora-"

"We were going to have a life...a family...and Voldemort took that away! He took everything! I can't let him get away with it. I can't do nothing." Valora said forcefully. Kingsley just looked at her sadly for a moment.

"I'm sorry, my answer is still no. The war is over, Valora. There are no more Voldemorts left to fight. It's quiet. Everything is calm." He said. Valora gritted her teeth and stormed from Kingsley's office, and he didn't attempt to go after her. As she flew through the halls she thought about what he had said. It was all calm now. Her headache pulsed.

"I like storms." She whispered to herself.

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