(Highlight to View) Warning(s): Fertility issues; body hate/acceptance issues; surrogacy.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: Their child's first burst of uncontrolled magic comes as quite the surprise—to everyone.
Note: I hope my inspiration did your prompt justice.
Summary: He admitted to wanting children, mumbled it really against her hair and she felt the way his body tensed as if waiting for a dismissal.
Accepting it was the hardest part, realizing that your own body couldn't keep your child safe enough to be born for a mere nine months was— it was— she couldn't even describe it. There are days when she hates her body, there are nights when she weeps in Severus's arms and wishes all of it away, wishes them away and his idea to try for a child. She hates him.
She had never thought about children, about having some Vicky or Dave running around screaming bloody murder and then kissing her good night. She was going to marry the man of her dreams, change the world one person at a time and live happily ever after. But then one night he admitted to wanting children, mumbled it really against her hair and she felt the way his body tensed as if waiting for a dismissal.
She turns around and kisses him tenderly, promises to think about having children, and asks for some time to think as she doesn't want to rush into being a mother. She doesn't promise him anything, but he kisses her and holds her close.
"If you don't want children that's okay, Hermione. I never thought I'd live long enough to have my own. We could stay together, only the two of us, and I'll be perfectly happy."
This has never been in her plans, but he wants children; her perfect perfect man wants his own dunderheads so she starts to carve out a place in her life for a baby, their baby.
One of the first things she does is slowing down the tempo; hiring another architect is not so difficult after all and Hermione can do with a couple more hours outside of the office according to, well, everyone. Stress is bad for your health and all that rot. At the end of the day it's a big change for her, but Severus decides to only comment with "Better late than never" and a proposition for a second honeymoon. She wonders if he realises what's going on, or if they're both keeping mum and pretending nothing's really happening.
Stopping the contraception potion is another easy decision to take, one step at a time. Except the contraceptive potion, as it turns out, cannot be stopped cold turkey so she goes to a consultation and gradually decreases the strength and the frequency of intake. They are exceedingly careful of the way she flushes the potions out, detoxing is slow and tedious work at the end of the day. One first must prepare the soil and everything else comes later on.
After six months of self-reflection and quiet preparation she finally sits him down for the talk. She wants to wait a little more, give herself more time around children. He nods and hums at all of the right places and she wonders if she can really come back from that. Is she being cruel to him? And is it possible to avoid it in the first place?
She talks with her friends and reads a lot of books, a lot of blogs of young parents and their daily adventures. It's scary and hilarious and she is afraid of what she can do to a tiny human, but decides that they're going to try. She loves children; Severus wants children. They will make it work.
And then her body betrays her.
After more than six months of trying they go to a mediwizard who after only ten lousy minutes of scans and spells says the cruel truth that no, they cannot have children. She can't bear them.
Except, that she's muggleborn and there are uteruses aplenty and galleons are not a problem.
Except, they will be the laughing stock of the wizarding world and they cannot — she cannot — take one more article about her happy and childless life. "Is she barren?"
They think about adoption and maybe they could, maybe they should go with it, there are so many abandoned and orphaned children after all. The war was cruel to many, but everything that came in the years afterwards has made life for some so much worse. Maybe they will end up adopting an older child later on, but she's still not ready to give up on their own. She has the names picked out and there's a cute little onesie she bought after the first falsely positive test; her body sometimes hates her back.
Moving away from the wizarding world is easy; getting rid of all the magical everyday objects is the hard part. Mum and Dad help them clean up their house and their vocabulary — it takes more than a year — but they manage and, after all, there are more than enough practitioners of the old faith so they can blend with the odd crowd if needed.
Hermione learns to cope with the awful potions Severus comes up with at Cokeworth and tries to find the best possible surrogate for their child, then the next and the next. And the next.
After more than two years and a bottle of diluted Felix Felicis, that Hermione doesn't even suspect, they find Amanda. Or to be more precise, Mum finds Amanda in the university where she tests every drug available so that she can pay her tuition. She's a nice enough girl, smart as a whip and has good genetics on her side; her teeth are neither bucked nor crooked. Not that it matters, but Severus doesn't want to take any chances.
They've gotten to know each other over the span of a couple of months before Hermione feels brave enough to broach the subject that's been sitting at the back of her mind. After that it's a matter of negotiation and stupid, trivial money; thank Mer— God she has it.
She agrees to their conditions. She'll stop testing drugs, won't take drugs, or drink, or smoke, "Hermione, come on! You know I don't take anything."
She drinks a lot of potions that Severus makes her drink daily for two weeks straight. Those drugs need to be flushed out after all. And agrees to come live with them after the first few months, possibly when it starts showing. "If there's nausea it'd be rather sooner."
At the end the wizarding world is the immutable one. Hermione can't believe they would rather not have children than risk them not being magical.
"A child's magic is tied to its mother's. The magic always comes from the mother. It needs time to take and connection so that it can grow strong. Implanting your eggs in a muggle won't give you a magical child; it will most probably be a squib, Mrs. Snape. Think about it."
The childbirth is easy. Amanda is young, fit and ready for this to be over with.
Their son cries out at precisely 15:45. His sister comes 19 minutes later and is covered almost from head to toe in her amniotic sac, just like her mother.
The midwife is surprised, as is everyone else. Hermione couldn't perform the usual diagnostic spells without breaking the Statute of Secrecy and they were not prepared to face a team of obliviators and a criminal charge.
They are small, and ugly, and perfect.
After three days the babies come home, and Amanda, who has packed in anticipation, walks out of their lives as fast as her tired legs are able to carry her. She will be invited to the christening she knows, but building a connection is something they all are afraid of so leaving it is.
And Hermione? Well she is anything but calm or collected for a very long time. At first she's shoving the tiny little bundles at Severus every time they start crying and wonders what deity possessed her to even agree to think about having children, let alone the gruelling torturous process that followed. She's afraid. She's afraid to touch them, to break them, to taint them. What if a tremor comes out of nowhere and she drops Sophia on her head?
There are so many things that can go wrong; so many trivial, stupid things she used to do without question and now she doesn't dare to tuck Mason in because what if the sheet suffocates him?
She is watching her own children from the doorway of their bedroom and wants to weep with the injustice of it. She wanted them, she did. Why is she so afraid all of a sudden?
Severus is patient, but that cannot be said for her mother. "Hermione, take Mason while I feed Sophy. Just pat rub pat rub. That's my girl." She's scared witless and her hands are shaking the first time she bathes them, but she does. Mum has taught her so many things in her life, being a mother is just one more on the list.
"There's nothing magical here, Hermione. They are tiny, helpless little humans and they love you, but they will also argue with you. They will sneak out to a party, or the library and you will pretend you don't know. They'll scrape a knee, maybe break a bone and you will cry and laugh and curse the furniture. The most important thing is to love them, just love them, sweety. Look how happy Mace is right now, just resting on your shoulder."
And he is, he is half asleep and drooling, there is a little fresh puke stain on her old blouse because she didn't expect to burp him. He is soft, and sweet, and smells like heaven.
That's the day she really starts being a mother.
The change is not so much in anything she does, but in the way she does it. She's changing their diapers, burping and bathing them. The first time she bathes Sophy she's so scared of getting water in her ear she barely washes her head. But she gets better; practise makes perfect and her mother is here to help when she messes up.
The first time she tries skin-to-skin she's overwhelmed and starts crying, and Mason, of course, feels restless and cries out for his father. The second time he's barely fussy and then, then he's resting and on her chest, barely moving and falls asleep at one point. Hermione is in love.
Once getting over her fear and discomfort, she can't get enough of her babies. It's like all of the pressure that has been weighing on her is suddenly gone and they are here. They are here and are all hers!
Her mum moves out when the twins are nearing their second month.
The first day is okay, the second a disaster, but they manage. Her mum is only a phone call away, and babysitting her grandkids is a privilege as she's fond of saying. Slowly but surely Hermione and Severus learn to walk while dozing and earn the badges of being parents of twins.
Somewhere in between changing nappies and potty training Harry contacts her as inconspicuously as he is able to. He's awkwardly leaning against a tree near the favorite playground of the twins and she's wondering why now? What happened?
As it turns out nothing more has happened than Pansy getting pregnant and wondering if their child could end up being a squib. It's not an uncommon fear amongst purebloods so she understands. Harry has, however, apparently needed a couple of discussions to realize why that mattered.
After one long talk and explanation of why they choose not to perform magic in front of the children, Uncle Harry becomes a muggle for at least two hours every week just so he can, maybe, regain his best friend and possibly keep her.
It's not that they don't like being wizards; it's that, what if the children aren't wizards? Will they resent them for not inheriting the gene? What if only one is? Will the other hate their sibling just because they can float a feather? No, they will go as muggle as possible until some kind of magic manifests; they have decided that long ago and they will stick to it.
That they do; it's not a chore after all. The years go by and the twins are accepted in daycare three times a week and later on in the kindergarten two blocks away. They are sweet, and thoughtful, and oh, so smart.
They both can read simple stories and count to ten by the age of five. The smiling faces their teacher sends them home with are first stuck on the fridge and when the space runs out Severus clears a wall in his study; they start sticking them to the once perfect white wall just high enough for Daddy to look at when he's tired from work.
The twins get accepted at the second best school in their district, but it's okay because they're close to the house and Hermione can be there in half an hour, tops, when something happens. And it happens, no matter how nice the neighbourhood is or how well behaved the children are, there is always someone happy to say that girls cannot play at being cops and there are dolls in the playroom.
Mason has come home with a loose tooth, and Sophy's ribbons sometimes go mysteriously missing, but they are happy and smiling, holding hands, most days so Hermione only goes to talk with the teacher every other month.
Mason is always serious and quiet, happy to sit at his desk and draw, while his sister jumps in puddles and giggles at her mother as she chases her down the street. They both like to cuddle with their father when being sick; Hermione is the parent who gets to keep track of time and the medicine that has to be taken.
By their ninth birthday Hermione is sure there's nothing magical about her kids and talks with her mother. They start to look into secondary schools and the list of the best paid jobs on the market. Her parents take the twins to their office for a day and Mason can't stop talking about fake teeth and tooth decay for almost a month; Sophy stops eating sweets for two whole weeks. When uncle Harry comes to visit on the weekend being a detective comes again on top. However, Sophy is going to be a hairdresser and that's final. Until a month later when she's proclaiming that she's going to be an astronaut of course.
The latest obsession of her babygirl, no, sweetie, I am not calling you that in front of others, is the Winx Club. She's playing at being Bloom most of the time, but when they visit Aunt Emma and Charlotte, her cousin, wants to be Bloom so she gets to be Flora. The house is outside of Gloucester and has the most spacious garden Hermione has seen in years.
The children shriek and run and play and there's nothing particularly interesting about it until Hermione realizes that they're barely hovering over the ground. She's not sure she's seeing what she's seeing so she asks Emma for a scone and as her cousin goes inside to retrieve the plate she turns to Severus. "Am I seeing things or are the children flying? On makeshift brooms?"
She's blinking as if dazed and waiting for Severus to tell her that yes, she's seeing things and no one is flying in this garden, but then the unthinkable passes through his lips, "I think you're right." He squints and purses his lips thoughtfully. "I don't think Charlotte realizes it, look at the way she pushes off of the, well, air really while running from Mason." Hermione feels her heart thudding behind her ribs and wonders when the world has started tilting when her husband steadies her. "Breathe, Hermione, breathe. In. Out. In— I'm sorry, Emma, but Hermione feels a little faint. I'll help her settle in our bedroom."
They walk inside the house and she realizes they should go back and put a stop to the accidental magic at least one of the children is displaying, but when she tries to talk she starts laughing. "They are magical, Severus, at least one if not the two of them are wizards. Maybe Charlotte, too. Who knows? Maybe it's come from this branch of the family." Her husband hugs her and walks them to the usual bedroom Emma prepares for their visits. "I cannot believe, but— what if it's fluke, Severus? What if it's just not enough to be a wizard? The levitation charm is the first one we learn. Oh God, what if they have noticed and nothing happens the next week or the next? What…"
Severus leads her to the window and points to the three laughing children semi flying around the garden and hugs her. "Look at them, Hermione. Look how happy they are; that's the most important thing, the most precious gift. I know you want to share the magical world with them, but even if they outgrow that part of themselves it won't matter, it doesn't matter."
And it didn't. she knew that it didn't, but there it was, the thing she has most feared through the years, hope…