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Valora stood alone at her bench in herbology. She was one of the few people to return to the class. There were virtually no Gryffindors or Slytherins and it mostly consisted of Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws, but there was one person here who made it worth her while.

Severus watched as her hands gently pressed the soil in around the dittany plant she was potting for Professor Sprout. She didn't need her gloves and he watched as the dark brown dirt gave a contrast to her lily white skin. Her nails were short and painted a deep red. Using the back of her hand she brushed her bangs away, leaving a slight smudge of dirt. Tossing the rest of her hair over her shoulder she went back to work.

"Stop staring at me." She said quietly. Severus immediately stiffened and returned to his own work.

"I wasn't staring." He hissed. He hated being caught. Valora's low laugh sparked a fire in his veins.

"Yes you were." She told him, looking up and fixing him with a gaze that made him feel like forgetting every vow he had ever made and telling every single person on earth that she belonged to him.

Valora cocked her head to the side, watching his pupils dilate. He gave her the smile. The special, rare smile that was only meant for her. Severus's eyes traveled down the length of her, pausing at certain points. She could see the desire filling his eyes and couldn't help but bite her lip. The man was driving her crazy.

The woman was driving him crazy. Biting her lip and staring at him like she wanted to rip the clothes off of his body. Valora leaned forward and using her finger spelled a word in the light layer of dirt in the space between them.

Shack?

Severus looked up at her and wiped his hand across the word, replacing it with another.

Time?

Valora looked up at him with a devilish smile and used her hand to erase the word.

"Feel like skipping dinner?" She asked. Someone walked by and the two immediately shut up and returned to their work. The passing student looked at Snape and Nox for a minute, confused. The air around them felt charged...electric, and practically dripping with something. Valora tucked a piece of hair behind her ear, exposing more of her white throat and Severus cleared his throat quietly. The student shook his head and walked away. Snape and Nox. Yeah, right. As if that would ever happen.

Severus and Valora locked eyes and Severus gave her one nod which made Valora feel, quite literally, weak in the knees. She promptly leaned on the table for support and managed to send Severus a glare for snickering at her.

xxxxxxx

As Valora stood at the door of the Greenhouse and pulled on her heavy cloak, she felt someone accidentally brush a hand across the small of her back and a shiver went up her spine. It was winter, and though Valora detested cold weather she loved how it got darker earlier. It made it so much easier to sneak around. Valora pulled up the hood on her black cloak and wrapped her scarf  around her throat.

Severus watched the shiver ripple through her and inwardly smirked. He left first, not waiting for her to finished bundling up. Valora tried not to stare as he walked off. When she was finished she walked out and went the opposite way to reach the Whomping Willow, which unfortunately was the longer way that passed by the lake which was completely frozen over. The wind was blowing hard and it stung her face. All this work just to shag her boyfriend? It wasn't fair.

Severus was relaxing on the bed when he heard someone come in. He grabbed his wand as a precaution. He knew it was Valora, but if for any reason it wasn't...

Valora poked her head around the corner of the bedroom.

"It is fucking freezing outside." She said, going to stand in front of the fire Sev had started and began taking off her cloak and scarf.

"Well, it is winter, Valora." Severus said dryly, leaning back and putting his wand back on the table.

"I know it's winter, Severus." She replied with a sarcastic roll of her eyes. She turned to look at him. His robes were open, showing the black button down and black slacks beneath them. Her eyes became hungry as they raked over him. She playfully climbed onto the bed and positioned herself over his hips. Valora laughed as he stiffened beneath her. She leaned forward and kissed him gently at first, but soon she became aggressive. Severus flipped her underneath of him. He wanted to take his time, to savor her, but Valora was making it impossible. She was pulling him in by his collar and moving her body against his in such a way that it made him forget the meaning of slow. They made short work of each other's clothes and were soon beneath the covers. He was kissing down her neck, between her breasts and over her stomach. She pulled him by his hair until her mouth found his.

Valora found her desire overriding everything else in her brain. She couldn't control her own volume, she couldn't even hear herself, the only sound in the room was her heart pounding in her ears and Severus's breath against her skin. Valora nipped at his shoulder and he paused for only a fraction of a second, immediately assessing what she wanted. His girl wasn't looking for a quickie in the Shack, but a game. Their favorite game.

Severus pulled her up and kissed her roughly , he and Valora soon began completely tangled in the bedsheets, biting, growling, kissing, laughing. It was perfect until a noise alerted them that they weren't alone. The two jumped apart as if shocked. Valora was quickly pulling her clothes back on while Severus did the same and extinguished the fire. The mood was gone as they both rushed down the stairs, eager to stay ahead of whoever was coming down the tunnel. Severus was fuming and so was Valora. Only the marauders used the Shrieking Shack, so she knew it was her friends coming down. They couldn't know, they could never ever know. Valora had Severus's hand as they raced out of the shack.

"Come on. Into the trees." she said, tugging him along after her. Valora pulled him until they were almost at the school's front gates. She felt along the ground for the door to the secret passage.

"Here, get in." she said, holding the door open for Severus. He just stood there looking at her, clearly pissed.

"I hate them."

"Yes. I know, please get the fuck in the fucking passage before we're seen." Valora told him, not in the mood to have this conversation outside. Severus glared at her and went into the passage and Valora quickly followed. They went down the short staircase until they were in a long corridor that led back to the school. Severus and Valora lit their wands and paused.

"Now, go ahead and continue your rant about my friends."  Valora said with a bit of an attitude.

"Are you going to tell me that you're not upset?" he asked, looking furious.

"Well, I'm not thrilled we were interrupted Sev, but it's not like they did it on purpose!" she said in her friends' defense.

"That is so like you to choose their side!" Severus screamed. Valora threw her hands up and shook her head.

"You are impossible. I'm not choosing sides because there aren't sides to choose. I hate it when you act like this. Don't even talk to me right now, okay? I can't talk to you when you're in moods like this." she said, storming off down the passageway.

"I want my notes back!" he yelled childishly. Valora groaned loudly.

"Fine! They're crap anyway! I don't need your stupid notes!" she said.

"If they're crap why did you want them?" Severus taunted.

"Merlin, Severus. Are you being this bitchy because you didn't get off? Newsflash: NEITHER DID I! Did it ever occur to you that I may be just as frustrated as you right now? So I really, really, REALLY don't want to argue."

"I don't care about you're getting off, I care that your git friends ruin everything!" Sev yelled back. Valora turned and slapped him. Severus glared at her for a moment then slapped her back. Valora gasped, somewhat shocked. Soon they were hitting and punching each other and before they knew it they had picked up right where they had left off in the shack.


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

Valora's eyes fluttered open but it hurt. She was staring into a warm, white light that practically blinded her. She groaned.

"All right, I know I didn't get into heaven, so where the fuck am I?" she asked, gingerly sitting up. No sooner had her eyes adjusted to the hospital room before her then the door was opening and a tiny, platinum blonde mediwitch was rushing in. Her robes were pink, a disgusting looking pink that made Valora wish she were still momentarily blinded.

"Hey there, sleepyhead!" the woman said, her voice a pitch so high and grating Valora physically cringed.

"Shit. I'm in hell." she concluded with a sigh. Only hell would have this many horrors. Pink. Blondes. High pitched cheeriness. Definitely hell. "Oh well, at least I'll know people." She said, which unfortunately caused a shrill giggle in the mediwitch.

"You're not in hell, silly. Oh the others will be so glad to know you're awake. Should I go get them?" she asked. Valora covered her one ear and waved her free hand at the door.

"By all means, just stop talking." the brunette responded. The previous headache was gone but if this woman didn't shut up another one would quickly start. The woman rushed out of the room and Valora took the moment to get her bearings. She sat up further and looked around. She was in a private room and there were things beeping around her quietly. There was a tray of potions next to her and as she breathed in she caught a whiff and for a moment it was like Severus was right beside her. Something in the back of her mind clicked and she tried to remember why exactly she was in here. Had she taken a potion that went badly? Valora didn't have more time to figure out how she had wound up in Mungo's because in the same second the door was flung open and Sirius rushed in, followed by Harry who was holding Teddy and Mrs. Weasley, Ron, Ginny, Hermione, George, and Mr. Weasley. Sirius immediately took the chair by her bedside and kissed her forehead and took her hand in his.

"Merlin, who died? Could you all lighten up, please?" She asked with a smile. Harry smiled back and leaned down to kiss her cheek before handing Teddy to her. Valora smiled.

"Hello, sweetling." She said to Teddy who blinked up at her with drool sliding down his chin. The mediwitch was thankfully silent as she went about checking the various things that needed checking.

"Well, Ms. Nox it seemed that you were a bit dehydrated and generally run down. You should really watch your electrolyte levels. Just a fainting spell, though. You should be right as rain by tomorrow, but we want to keep you here for observation.

"So she'll be alright?" Molly asked.

"Perfectly alright." The mediwitch confirmed. Victoria tried not to wince as she laughed.

"You're sure?" Sirius asked, his thumb rubbing circles into the back of her hand. The blonde rested a reassuring hand on Sirius's shoulder.

"Mom and baby are both fine, Dad."

Sirius's eyes bugged a tiny bit and his grip on Valora's hand tightened. Valora stared at the woman in open-mouthed horror. Before she could register the movement herself Valora was practically lunging over Sirius to reach her wand which lay on the bedside table.

"Valora, watch Teddy!"

"I can hex and hold a baby, Molly!" Valora said angrily. Still reaching for the wand she glared as Harry smiled and moved it a little farther out of her reach. Oddly enough, the smile her godson was wearing reminded her of Dumbledore. She shook her head and continued to reach but Sirius pushed her gently back. He didn't say a word but his eyes were soft and he didn't look at all angry. Valora felt a ray of hope and settled back, cuddling Teddy close to her before looking up to stare daggers at the mediwitch.

"So, my baby's okay?" She asked.

"Yep." The overly perky woman replied.

"And I'm okay?" She double checked.

"Never better." The mediwitch confirmed.

"Good. Then get the hell out." Valora commanded. The woman looked flustered for a moment but quickly left the room. Valora looked at Sirius and they seemed to have a silent conversation. They both knew they would have to discuss this later, without everyone else around. Sirius squeezed her hand gently and kissed her knuckles.

"Love you, kitty cat." he said, using the nickname she loathed, but this time around it made her smile.

"Love you too, mutt." she said quietly. "So, will someone tell me what happened and why I'm in the hospital, other than 'you passed out'."

"Well, when we came back to the apartment I heard Teddy screaming his head off, so I thought I'd go in to help you settle him down." Harry explained. "When I walked into your room you were passed out next to your vanity, and I mean you were out cold. Not even Hermione could snap you out of it. You just kept muttering to yourself, but you couldn't hear us or anything. I called Sirius and Ron called his mum, and then Sirius picked you up and apparated here."

Valora listened intently and paused before responding. "What was I muttering?"

Harry and the other three teenagers shrugged. Ginny spoke. "It sounded like gibberish to me."

Valora looked at Sirius for his input, but he too shook his head.

"It didn't sound like English, Pardus. Probably just nonsense." he told her. Valora nodded, not entirely certain of what they were saying but believing it to be true.
she was remembering snippets of the night. The storm, the baby, the lullaby, and then...

"Damn it, Valora! Stay awake!"

Severus's voice. She had heard him as plain and as easily as she heard Sirius or Harry. It had been so real. Looking around she knew he wasn't here. Severus was lying in a coffin, six feet under ground. It was nothing more than a hallucination. A part of her was satisfied, and the other part longed to be in a perpetual hallucination. She missed him, so much.

"I miss you too."

"What?" Valora asked. Sirius and the others looked confused.

"What dear?" Molly asked. Valora shook her head.

"Nothing. Never mind." she said. It was nothing.

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