Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
Severus was different. He had gotten much quieter lately, and he didn't talk to her as much. Their work progressed, but there was a different feel to things. He had gotten very intense and much more driven to finish the project. Septima supposed it was due to some fatherly need to care for their child.
Those people came around more than ever. They sneered at her but were all smiles for him. Severus started leaving with them, telling her he'd meet her at one apartment or the other later. When he arrived, he made love to her frantically, as though he was trying to forget something. She had no way of knowing, but she suspected that he was seriously considering the Death Eaters. Perhaps he already was one.
They argued over everything, from how to present their findings to whether the dishes should be done before they went to bed. Septima found that somehow she couldn't sleep at night unless the kitchen was clean. She would go into the bedroom to find Severus asleep in the middle of the bed. Some nights he would wake and reach for her as soon as she approached; other times he snored even as she slid next to him.
In mid-May they were in the lab, arguing over how Septima's work would proceed after Severus was done. He was sneering yet again, and she turned away from him to hide her emotions. That was when she felt it. Something was rubbing against her belly, from the inside.
“Septima, are you listening to me?”
“No, Severus, I can't say that I am.”
He was beside her in and instant, his hand around her wrist. “I'm saying something important.” He tugged her around and looked at her, but she didn't look up. She had her hand on her tummy and she was staring down toward it.
It hung between them for a moment or two.
Neither had mentioned Septima's pregnancy in weeks. She suspected he would like to pretend it wasn't happening, and left the topic completely alone. She had no idea what he thought. Now, he reached his hand out as though to touch her and drew back.
“It won't hurt you,” she said. For once she took his hand within hers and brought it to the spot where she felt the baby move. The rubbing sensation happened again, and then a light tap or two.
“It's real, isn't it?” he whispered.
“I want to do all the right things, to care for you both.”
“We can care for each other... and for little Renée together.”
He smiled at that. “Renée, hm?”
“It's much better than Elvendork.”
“It is at that.” He leaned down as though to kiss her, but one of his odd friends happened to show up.
“Severus, this could be the night,” he said.
Severus suddenly looked serious. He nodded to the other wizard and left.
Septima gathered her things and went home. She fixed dinner and then cleaned up. When that was done she sat and tried to read. She kept staring at the table in the kitchen. Her notes were there from when she looked at the numbers before.
Don't do it, she told herself. You don't want to know. She concentrated on her reading. It was very interesting and might have a bearing on her future research. She stared at the page while trying to ignore the call of the numbers.
Hours later, she became aware of herself sitting at the table, surrounded by parchments filled with scratched out terms. Even when she tried to make small adjustments, the equations came out the same. Disaster and heartbreak filled every possible future with Severus. Tears were streaming down her face as she started yet again. There must be some way to make it work.
Suddenly there was a pain in her middle that seemed to make her whole body ache.
A/N: I appreciate my readers' patience in leaving things here. Thank you to Trickie Woo for beta reading.