Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
Septima didn't expect the greeting she would get in the Headmaster's office on this occasion. He guided her up the stairs, holding her elbow whenever a staircase moved. When they arrived, he conjured a soft, comfortable chair for her to sit on. “There you go, my dear. Are you interested in a little tea?”
She shook her head. “I'm fine, Headmaster.”
“I wanted to apologize. I misjudged you, Septima.”
She was too tired to do anything but burst into tears. “There, there,” he said, handing her a handkerchief. He watched her kindly until it stopped.
“I wanted to reassure you that Hogwarts will look after you and your child until its birth.”
“Thank you, headmaster.”
“Severus's apartment backs up to an empty apartment. We'll be able to put a door in the wall and give you your own bedroom and bath.”
“I appreciate that.”
“I know you'll want your own space, and I'm fairly certain that Severus will have no time to dance attendance on witches if our plans for next year work out.”
“I understand. I'll try to keep out of everyone's way.”
“Excellent! If my calculations are correct, we have until next March before the child will be born. Plenty of time to decide about how the adoption will proceed.”
“There are no unmarried parents at Hogwarts, of course.”
So this was what he brought her here for. He did it every time, feigning kindness and understanding. Then, whenever he told her the terrible thing he wanted her to hear, it sounded twice as bad.
“I suppose a great many things might happen by then,” she said. “As you say, there is plenty of time to think about it. If that's all, Headmaster?”
“Yes, I believe so, my dear. Run along and do your packing.”
She walked dispiritedly to her office and found the putative father of the child that was not yet in her womb, having just started its path through the necessary parts of her body.
“Septima!” Remus stepped forward and pulled her close, kissing her on the lips. Then he stepped back with a smirk.
“I should apologize for not coming to you when I should have, but I...” The whole story sounded dumb to her own ears. She was upset about her hair?
“I understand, Septima, you went to him, instead.”
“I went to get my hair cut.”
His hollow laugh rang out down the hallway. “That's ridiculous enough to be true.”
“When I was unable to go through it before, it was because you touched my hair. Severus has always combed it and paid so much attention to it...”
“Severus lavishes attention... on your hair? You'll have to do better than that, Septima.”
“He's always twitted me about how messy I let it get. He keeps his own much better than you would think. Then potions get into his hair, and...”
He sighed. “I suppose I'll believe you.”
“I went to ask him to cut my hair, and he refused.”
“So instead you spent the night with him.”
“I wasn't going to, Remus. I had every intention of coming to you. I was sure Severus didn't want me, that he would never want me again. If I had your child, at least I'd have someone in my life.”
“But after you told your story, Severus convinced you to stay with him.”
“I guess it was Dumbledore's potions... It was all like a dream. When I explained that I would be spending the entire night with you, he got very upset and worried. I'm afraid he made me see the nature of your affliction.”
“Septima, you weren't going to spend the night with me.”
“Dumbledore insisted upon it. He said we'd find the proof in the morning.”
Remus looked startled. “He really hates you, doesn't he?”
“He said he wanted to be sure.”
“So he was willing to take the very great risk that I would tear you apart, or bite and infect you. What would that do for our child?”
“I'm sure he thought it was the best way.”
“Septima, you know I had no thought of loving you, but I've always admired and respected you. I think we would have had an incredible time in bed together, and that we would have made wonderful parents to our child. Yet, I can't get between what you have with Severus. I see now that Dumbledore's plan could never have worked.”
A/N: Thank you to Owlbait and Kyria of Delphi for beta reading.