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Valora held Teddy tight to her as Sirius careened the wheelchair she was in down the hallway. He would fling her around corners and shove her down halls like St. Mungo's had become a kind of theme park. Valora was fine as long as he didn't make this bumper wheelchairs. There was a close call when he stopped them only a few inches from a little old lady covered with purple spots. After that Sirius slowed down. Valora adjusted Teddy in her arms and sighed for the millionth time.

"I can WALK you know." she reminded him. Sirius looked down at her like she was insane.

"But this is so much more fun." He said. Valora rolled her eyes and he smiled wide.

"Fine, but I'm walking home. Do you have the stroller?" she checked.

"Harry left it out front with a charm on it so it won't be stolen." Sirius assured her.

"Good. I don't feel like chasing someone down for a stroller." Valora said as they reached the front doors and she stood. Sirius kept a hand at the small of her back as they walked out the front doors.

"Well, I would be the one chasing the stroller down, Pardus." Sirius said, taking the charm off the stroller while Valora strapped Teddy in.

"I'm faster than you." Valora said simply as she made sure the baby was secure. Sirius merely snorted in protest. Valora smiled at him as they began walking back to the apartment. Sirius didn't look too happy.

"We should have just apparated. You shouldn't be straining yourself." he said. Valora smacked him lightly in the arm.

"I need to exercise." she said. "So did Harry say whether or not he and Ron would be home in time for dinner? I was just going to order Chinese. Should I get them something?"

"Yeah, they'll both be starved. Auror training is pretty intense." Sirius said.

"You're telling me." Valora said, remembering her long sessions with Moody. She has gone through a tougher training than the others too.

"I think they'll both be fine with it though." Sirius said. Valora raised an eyebrow as she pushed the stroller down the street.

"Really?"

"You don't?" He asked, pushing aside the branches of a small tree to keep his place at her side. Valora shrugged.

"It doesn't really seem like Ron's thing. Don't get me wrong, he's a great kid, but I can't picture him as an Auror...at all. Harry on the other hand has a clear talent for it." Valora said. Sirius nodded, neither agreeing nor disagreeing with her take on it. The woman yawned and Sirius immediately took the stroller from her and stopped to look at her.

"Are you feeling alright?"

"Padfoot, it was just a yawn-" Valora tried to say.

"Do you need to sit down?" Sirius asked. Valora narrowed her eyes and took the stroller from him.

"I need you to calm down, is what I need." She said and then after a quick thought. "I also need a danish. Do you want to grab breakfast?"

"When do I not want food?" He asked jokingly. Spotting a vendor up the street a bit he pulled out his wallet and upon realizing he had no muggle money Valora stuck some in his hand.

"Thanks, love. Did you want anything else?" He asked, shoving the bills in his back pocket.

"Two coffees?" she asked. Sirius frowned.

"Absolutely not. See, this right here is why I'm moving in. Coffee is no good for the baby. I'm getting you juice." He said, walking away. Valora stood for a moment, stunned. Firstly, he thought he was moving in and secondly, what did he care about her baby? Pushing Teddy up the street, she parked herself on a bench across from the vendor while Sirius paid for the food. Valora was rocking the stroller back and forth when Sirius rejoined her.

"Alright, two danishes and a cranberry juice for you, a breakfast sandwich with coffee for me, and we have Teddy's baby food in the bag." he said, opening his sandwich and taking a bite. Valora looked down at the pile of things in her lap.

"I only said one danish." she said.

"You always want two, though." he said through a full mouth. Valora unscrewed the lid to her juice and took a sip.

"So, what makes you think you're moving in?" She asked, using the back of her hand to wipe her mouth.

"I don't think-"

"Shock there." she said dryly. Sirius shot her a look.

"I know." he said.

"Oh, you do?"she asked, ripping open her danish and taking a bite, using her foot to rock the stroller to keep Teddy asleep. Sirius nodded and swallowed his food.

"Look, you'll be living with two teenage boys, Teddy needs looking after as well when he's over and besides you'll need help with the baby when it comes and I take my role as Godfather very seriously. I want to live with my family, Valora." Sirius told her. Valora turned to face him more.

"You look, I could write a book on handling teenage boys. I can look after Teddy just fine and I can take care of this baby on my own, without your help, Sirius Black. Also, I haven't named you Godfather yet, so you need to stop being so self-righteous. When can you move in?" she asked with a smile. Sirius laughed.

"For a minute I thought you were going to tell me no." he said, taking a sip of coffee. Valora quirked her eyebrow up.

"As if that would have stopped you." she said. She watched as he ate his food and waited a minute before asking him,

"Are you on something?"

"Sorry?" Sirius asked, not sure if he'd heard her correctly.

"You do realize that you're volunteering to watch me over the next few months steadily get more pregnant and that the baby is Sev's. It's not like a disease that will go away in five months."

"Are you only four months? You look at least-"

"Sirius! I mean it. This is a baby. This is Snape's child and I'm going to raise it and I need to know you can live with that." she said seriously. Sirius frowned and thought for a minute.

"You're wrong." he said quietly.

"Oh?" Valora asked.

"It's not his baby. It's your baby. This is a part of you. I mean, I don't really want to settle down and have kids of my own, but I get to have a hand in raising the kids of my very best friends. First Harry, then Teddy and now this one. Do you know if it's a boy or girl yet?"

"Is your coffee spiked?" Valora asked, taking the cup and smelling it for traces of alcohol. Sirius just laughed at her.

"Look, Harry was raised by the Dursley's and neither you nor I were able to help him when he needed us, but we're being parents now the best we can, same thing for Teddy, I may not be his godfather but I'd like to think I have a special place in his life along with you and Harry. Now this baby will at least have it's Mum around which is something I can't say for Harry and Teddy, and both Harry and I will be able to help out. You, me, Harry and now Teddy. We're a family. Merlin, Valora. You're going to be a mother." Sirius shook his head.

"I know it's weird." she agreed. Sirius laughed.

"I guess this means no more leather pants." he said lightly. Valora looked upset.

"Who made up that rule? I love my pants and I'm keeping them, I don't care if the baby doesn't like it. If it's a girl I might even buy her a pair, Severus used to say if we ever had any girls they weren't allowed to wear leather until he was dead an buried." Valora said without thinking. Both she and Sirius went silent and Valora took another large bite of her danish.

"You already love my baby?" she asked softly. Sirius nodded.

"I really do." he said. Valora took a deep breath.

"What do you think of their father?" she asked.

"He was a git." Sirius said with a shrug. Valora's eyes flashed.

"Sirius!"

"Well, he was! I hated him and that hasn't changed, kitty cat. As far as I'm concerned this child has no father. I know how babies are made and I just-" Sirius fought down a gag and Valora rolled her eyes. "I'm not even going to discuss it because I want to keep my breakfast down. Suffice to say, this baby is yours, and no one else's. Got it?" he asked. Valora wasn't thrilled but she was happy enough that Sirius was so accepting of her baby that she wasn't about to start a fight over something she knew she couldn't change.

"So, it's an immaculate conception, then?" she clarified. Sirius shrugged.

"Sounds good to me." he said. Valora smiled and leaned her head on her best friend's shoulder. Sirius wrapped his arm around her and they sat like that for a while, just eating and rocking the stroller.

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

Sirius sat in the living room with Teddy, playing with him and making the child squeal and giggle with delight while Valora stood in the kitchen, heating formula over the stove and spooning Chinese into paper plates.

"It's really convenient that you moved in while I was in the hospital...before I said yes." Valora said to him. Sirius laughed.

"Always two steps ahead, kitty cat."

"And when did that hideous nick name come back?" She griped coming in and putting the two plates on the coffee table.

"Stop complaining. You know deep down you love it." He said, handing Teddy over to Valora who held his bottle in her hand.

"Oh, yea. It's adorable. Almost as good as Pollux." Valora said with a wicked grin as Teddy sucked happily on his bottle. Sirius narrowed his eyes.

"It's a family name."

"Sirius Pollux Black. Sounds like a disease." Valora said. Sirius shoved a wonton into his mouth.

"Not half as bad as Ambellina. Valora Ambellina Nox? You know your initials spell VAN? Your name sucks." Sirius said while shoving food into his mouth.

"I happen to love my name. So much that if I have a daughter that will  be her name. In other words my friend, you can suck it." Valora said with a sardonic smile. "Feed me a piece of chicken, would you? My hands are full."

Sirius speared a piece of food onto a fork and fed it her as Ron and Harry trudged in looking exhausted. Ron's eyes brightened as he took sight of the food on the table.

"Please, let there be more." he said in a hopeful whisper. Valora smiled and shook her head.

"On the counter, Ron." Sirius said. Both boys rushed in to make themselves plates.

"Don't eat with your fingers!" Valora yelled followed by the immediate clatter of silverware. Once they were done both Ron and Harry joined the two marauders back in the living room. Valora nudged Sirius with her food and opened her mouth for another piece of food.

"Sirius is moving in, by the way." Valora said as she chewed. Harry and Ron both paused.

"Oh, are you two finally together then?" Ron asked with a stupid grin. Harry rolled his eyes and Sirius hung his head to hide his smile while Valora looked positively stricken. Sirius looked up at her.

"Shall I hold the baby while you hex him then or should I just do it?" he asked.

"This is a team effort, Paddy. We'll wait until he's sleeping." Valora said seriously.

"Good call. No, Ron. We're not together, I'm just moving in to help out." Sirius told them.  Valora propped her feet in Sirius's lap and continued to feed the baby.

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

Valora stormed into the nearly empty note in her hands. It was the night before Halloween and up until four hours ago she had been very excited about it. Then Severus had slipped a note into her hand after Transfiguration.

It's over.

That was all it had said. She had been so angry she had barely eaten at dinner and he had avoided her eye from across the tables, then Valora had used some of her rage to her advantage during Quidditch training, smacking the daylights out of the bludger. Now she was free to go scream at him. This was the third time this week he had broken up with her and they had only gotten together three weeks ago! Since they had gotten together he had already broken up with her eleven times. It was infuriating. Her thin, 16 year old frame shook with anger, she had dirt on her cheek from Quidditch practice since she had skipped the shower, he hair was a wreck and she looked like she had just done battle. Silently she stalked into the library and went directly to the back table, not surprised to see Severus. He looked up at her and frowned. She walked forward and slammed the book he was reading closed.

"What's the excuse this time?" She asked angrily. Severus ripped the book out from under her hand and glared at her.

"I need an excuse to break up with you?" He asked, reopening his book to the page he was on, like she wasn't there. It tore her to shreds inside.

"Uh, yea. At least the ten other times you said it to my face. This time I got a note. If you don't want to be with me then fine, but don't be such a fucking coward about it." She hissed, crumpling the paper and throwing it into his face. Severus was beginning to stand but Valora could feel the tears coming and so she rushed out of the Library and hurried down until she was in a deserted corridor. Sobbing quietly she tried to muffle the sound with her hand but it wasn't really working. What was she doing? Every time he broke up with she talked him back into it. He must think she was pathetic, constantly trying to win him back. Well not this time. If he didn't want her than she sure as hell wasn't going to tell him that she still wanted him.

Valora wasn't sure how long she sat there but soon she heard footsteps. At this point she didn't really care about getting a stupid detention so she didn't move except to sigh and lean her head back against the wall. Closing her eyes she hoped that it was only a student and that they would leave her the hell alone. Instead she got kicked, not hard, but enough to make her reach for her wand. She looked up and though she half expected to see Severus, she was instead met with cool gaze of Dylan Rapier, a 7th year Ravenclaw who should have been a Slytherin. He was also buried in books and only came out to make scathing comments to people and insult their intelligence. Well excuse the rest of the world for having a life, Rapier.

"What the hell are you kicking me for?" Valora said, scrambling up into a standing position.

"You shouldn't be in the halls, Nox. It's past curfew." He said in a disgustingly superior tone.

"Rapier, if you don't want the entire school to know that you got beat up by a girl who isn't even in your year, I suggest you stop being a hypocrite and keep walking." Valora purred dangerously.

"I'm only trying to help-"

"If you don't shut it and move along I'll help rearrange your face." Valora hissed at him.

"You're so violent." He sniffed, crossing his arms, disbelieving of her words.

"Look, I'm really not to happy right now and I'm feeling a bit unstable so I swear to Merlin, if you say one more word I'm going to break your nose." Valora warned him.

"You're such a b-"

The words went unfinished as Valora's fist shot out and the crack of his nose breaking echoed off the halls. Dylan tried to use his hands to stem the river of blood pouring forth but it wasn't helping. He was crying and wandering in a frantic circle while Valora just stared at him, not really caring about anything other than the fact that she was going to have to serve another detention. It was Professor Slughorn and Professor McGonagall who arrived on the scene first. Slughorn went to try and help Rapier while McGonagall narrowed her eyes and walked right over to Valora.

"Well, what's your excuse this time?" She said, crossing her arms and staring the younger woman down.

"Sorry? I don't understand the question." Valora said saucily.

"Ms. Nox this is the 11th time this month you've gotten into a fight with someone!" Professor McGonagall screeched. Valora nodded seriously.

"It's like the whole world's out to get me, Professor. I'm simply defending myself."

"Bloody liar!" Dylan screamed, sounding rather ridiculous as he currently had two handkerchiefs stuffed up each nostril and was being lead to the Hospital Wing.

"Fancy a black eye too, Rapier?" Valora called after him angrily, making to rush towards him but was stopped by McGonagall.

"Miss Nox! This is not how a lady should behave!"

"Damn good thing I'm not a lady then!"

"MISS NOX! That is quite-"

"Excuse me, Professor McGonagall." came a voice from the end of the hallway. It was Severus, walking toward them taking avid notes.

"Mr. Snape, you too are out of bounds. It is past curfew for you both. Go to your dormitory at once." Professor McGonagall said icily.

"Yes, Professor, but I thought I should explain Ms. Nox's actions first." he said evenly. Professor McGonagall looked suspicious and Valora just stared at him, making sure to keep her face impassive.

"YOU are going to explain HER? Oh, this should be good." McGonagall said sarcastically.

"We've been working on an extra credit project for Defense Against the Dark Arts. It's about reactions to violence. We're going to make a chart to see how people respond. Whether they use magic or physical assault, whether one is more prevalent than another given the attackers gender. Also if the response is different based on the victim's gender. To keep the results as uncontaminated as possible we haven't told anyone. In hindsight we probably should have gotten permission." He explained smoothly.

"Yes, you should have." McGonagall said before turning to look at Valora. "Is this true, Ms. Nox?"

"Every word, and I'm so sorry I snapped at you, Professor. I was still in character and not thinking clearly." Valora said with a saccharine sweet voice. McGonagall rubbed her eyes.

"I can't very well deduct points for extra credit but you two had better not continue this. Find a different project and stop breaking the rules. Also, Ms. Nox, you will apologize to Mr. Rapier tomorrow, along with all of the other people you've maimed."

"Of course, Professor." came Valora's reply. Professor McGonagall shook her head at them both and left the way she came. Valora and Severus stood only a few feet apart, staring at each other.

"So you-" Severus began but Valora promptly cut him off.

"Thanks for the rescue and everything but I can't imagine we have anything left to say to one another." she said, crossing her arms and turning to walk away.

"Stop acting like a child." Severus said, grabbing her by the elbow and spinning her around.

"Stop jerking me around, and I mean that literally and figuratively." she said, ripping herself out of his grasp.

"I'm not trying to." he said, and he sounded sincere. Valora took a step closer to him.

"How do you feel about me?" she asked.

"You're a Gryffindor-"

"How do you feel about me?" she asked again taking another step.

"Your best friends are imbeciles, you're extremely violent," he said gesturing to the blood spatter on the floor "and you are ungodly stubborn-"

"Severus, how do you feel about me?" she asked, taking his face between her hands and staring at him. Tears were building in her eyes when he didn't respond. Valora dropped her hands and felt the hot tears begin to slide down her face. Severus used the arm that wasn't holding his books to hug her close to him.

"I'm sorry." he said quietly. Valora shoved him away then.

"No you're not. You don't care about me at all. Was I some kind of experiment. See if you could make a Gryffindor fall for you? Well, congratulations Sev, you did. I just, ugh, I can't believe I was so stupid that I believed all that bullshit you fed me. You must think I'm really pathetic." she said, wiping her nose on her sleeve and trying to quickly brush away the tears.

"Stop." Severus said.

"What?"

"Knock this off. You're not acting like you. Since when do you take things lying down? I've never seen you cry over a guy like this." he said quietly.

"Firstly, you've never seen me cry over anyone and secondly you're not 'a guy'. You're...you, and I'll cry over who ever I damn well please you ignorant ass." she said heatedly.

"I'm not...sure...about us." he said finally. Valora rolled her eyes then.

"Oh, shut up. No one's asking you to marry me, this isn't about you being unsure, this is about you being a coward. I can deal with cowardice but I can't deal with you lying to me. Everyone else I have to keep secrets from. I have never hid things from Sirius but now I am, and it's all for you and you have the audacity to lie to me about why?"

Severus stared at her angrily.

"I'm not a coward."

"I wish you weren't, because then maybe you'd have the strength to actually be with me." she said softly. Severus used his one arm and drew her in quickly by the waist.

"Oh, is this the part where you kiss me and take me back and make everything all right again, Prince Charming?" Valora said sarcastically.

"No, this is the part where I tell you that if you ever call me a coward again, I'll hex you into next week, then I kiss you and ask you to take ME back, and tell you not to associate me with Muggle bedtime stories." Severus said with a smirk before bringing his mouth down to hers in a sweet kiss. Valora smiled and laughed lightly into the kiss, causing Severus to pull back with a raised brow.

"What?" he asked, noting how different she looked, tears gone as if they had never been there, eyes bright and triumphant, her lips parted and smiling.

"I just adore getting my way is all." She said, using his hair to bring his face back down to hers. Severus pulled back again.

"Did you really 'maim' eleven people?" he asked. Valora shrugged.

"Define 'maim'."

"What did you do? Attack someone every time I broke up with you?" He asked. Valora nodded.

"Basically yea, so for the safety of your fellow students you really should stop doing that." she told him with another smile. Severus shook his head and studied her for a moment. Valora frowned at him.

"Stop thinking." she told him.

"I don't know how." he said quietly. Valora knocked the books from his arms and jumped up, wrapping her legs around his waist. Severus staggered back into the wall and instinctively caught her under her thighs, holding her. Valora smoothed his hair away from his face.

"Is this helping?" She asked, kissing his neck and jaw. Severus said nothing in response and instead began kissing her fiercely. Valora smiled. It really was too much fun when she got her way.


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

Teddy was sleeping quietly in her crib while Valora turned to her side in the mirror she was in her underwear and a bra, and without the baggier clothes she's been wearing to downplay her pregnancy she thought she looked huge. Turning to the side she gave a little sigh, Sirius walked by and paused for two reasons. One, his gorgeous friend was standing there in her underwear and two, she looked a lot further a long then he'd thought.

"Wow, you look a lot bigger without clothes on." he said, leaning in her doorway.

"Gee, thanks, Sirius." Valora said, putting on her black slip, but he was right. The slip was tight around her middle and the shiny fabric only accentuated her growing stomach.

"I'm serious."

"I know you're Sirius." Valora said, laughing lightly at the bad joke. Sirius rolled his eyes.

"You know what I mean. You look further along than just four months. Are you sure, you're only four months. I won't be angry or anything." he assured her. Valora rolled her eyes now.

"I've been to the doctor. I'm four months. I'm sorry if your so unobservant you didn't notice I've been wearing baggier shirts to hide it." she said quietly.

"Well, you still fit in your leather pants, so I didn't question it." he said. Valora smiled to herself. She had bewitched those pants to always fit her not matter what size she was. It was good to know it still fooled people.

"I'm going to bed now, Sirius. I'll see you in the morning." Valora said, walking over to close her door.

"Night, 'Lora." Sirius said, walking down the hall to his room. Valora closed the door softly and rubbed her stomach fondly before turning out the light. Climbing into bed she settled in against her pillow, Teddy's light breathing lulling her to sleep.

"I love you baby. Even though I haven't met you, I love you very much." she said, kissing her fingertips and placing them on the bulge.

"I was wondering when that maternal instinct was going to kick in." said the disembodied voice that seemed to be haunting her.

"Severus?" she whispered quietly.

"Well who else do think it would be, Valora?" he asked in a condescending tone. Valora groaned and pulled a pillow over her head and then ripped it off and began ranting in a heated whisper as to not wake Teddy.

"I'm hearing voices now? Really? On top of everything. This is such bullshit!" she hissed.

"Glad to know you miss me so much." Severus's voice replied sarcastically. Valora rubbed her eyes and growled slightly.

"Ugh, why can I hear you?"

"Because I'm talking to you." he said flatly. Valora quickly removed her hands from her eyes.

"Stop being a smartass...Merlin. See what you've made me do? I'm arguing with myself." Valora said.

"I didn't make you do anything. Stop being so melodramatic."

"You know what?"

"What?"

"This is a dream." she said with a satisfied smile.

"Oh it is?" Severus asked, sounding amused.

"Yes. This is a lovely dream and I am going to wake up in the morning and realize that. So I love you and goodnight."

"You hear the voice of your dead fiancee and you go to sleep?" Severus asked. Valora sighed loudly.

"No, I have dreams about hearing the voice of my dead fiancee and I know I won't be able to bare it when I wake up and realize it wasn't real, so may I go to bed now?" She said with a light whine to her voice. Severus's voice betrayed a sigh.

"Goodnight, love."

"Goodnight."

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