Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
Septima had started to wonder whether it was too soon to hope for Severus's return when the door to the house opened and closed. Eileen gave a shout about something, and then there was a great deal of conversation that Septima couldn't quite make out. Finally, Septima heard Severus's approach to the bedroom.
He opened the door with an odd look on his face. “Are you up to some company?” he asked.
“Your mum has the baby. She's giving him a bath.”
“Yes, we saw them.”
“We? Who—” She stopped short as she saw who was standing right behind him. “Re—Miss Granger?”
Severus stood aside and gave his daughter a push.
Hermione stood just inside the door and folded her arms. “I figured some things out, and he said that—I know you're my mother.”
“I named you after René Descartes.”
Septima rolled her eyes. She wanted to slap herself. Was that really the first thing she ever wanted to tell her daughter? Hoping that it couldn't get any worse, she motioned the girl further into the room. She barely noticed that Severus had backed away and shut the door.
“How could you tell him I was dead? How can you pretend I never happened and go on with your life?”
“I've longed for you every day since it happened,” Septima said in an attempt to explain herself. “I was in the Janus Thickey ward at St. Mungo's. They told me I'd had a miscarriage and showed me your grave. Then there was some sort of treatment, and I forgot most of it.”
“Except you didn't forget. Professor—my father—showed me some of the Arithmancy you did about me.”
“I've spent fifteen years thinking that I was going mad or that I was a terrible Arithmancer.” Septima chanced motioning the girl closer, patting the bed for her to sit on. “Then I finally asked the numbers, and they told me about you. Severus says it's obvious, but I never saw it. I'm not much of a mother, am I?” She felt her eyes filling with tears.
The girl shrugged. “You came through for me when I really needed you, when I was so miserable that I wanted to leave Hogwarts.”
Septima blushed. “I can't believe I spoke to Severus that way. There was a time when he would have shouted at me and disappeared for days, at the end of which I would have been like a crushed flower.”
Hermione twisted a finger in the bedclothes. “Why do you stay with him?”
“I love him, and I can't be happy at all without him. I tried for years. I tried again last year, and almost brought disaster on a good many people.”
“You really love him, then?”
“Was I really just some sort of accident?”
Septima shrugged. She put her hand over her daughter's hand. Hermione didn't resist when Septima squeezed. “You weren't planned as such, but I was happy when I learned I was pregnant. I had created a world in my mind where we would finish our work at the university, get married, and have children together. At the time you were conceived, I thought I had proof that he loved me too. You were just a bit sooner on the schedule than I would have put you.”
“But he was in love with the other witch.”
“I'll probably never know who she was, but I think she was one of the people killed when Sirius Black confronted Peter Pettigrew on that street corner right after You-Know-Who died. At any rate, I knew she existed, but things were going so well that I thought maybe she didn't matter. Then I told your father I was pregnant, and then I learned a few things.”
There was a knock at the door and Severus poked his head around it. “Master Nicolas has had a bath, and now he is most insistent that you give him some time.”
“And a feeding, I would guess,” said Septima. She put out her arms and took the baby, who immediately began rooting around. It had already become a habit to simply open her nightgown and offer her breast to him.
Hermione made a face and stood up. “I shouldn't—I don't know why I came, but I should go.”
Septima reached and took her daughter's hand. “No, you shouldn't go. You belong here. The whole situation is very complicated and some things are awkward, but you're my daughter. I'm not going to lose you again.” She looked up. “Severus, why am I crying?”
He sat on her other side. “It's just that you had a baby yesterday. You're tired and you've been through something tremendous.”
“I can't seem to get control of myself.”
He smiled and soothed back her hair. “You'll feel better in a while.”
Hermione sat back down. “I still have many questions.” She looked between her parents. “Is there a place for me in this family?”
Septima tightened her hold of Hermione's hand while Severus reached for the other. “Absolutely,” said Septima as Severus said, “You've always had one.”
“The Grangers... they'll always be my mum and dad, you know.”
“Of course,” said Septima. “I hate that they adopted you when I wanted you so much myself, but they did nothing wrong. Actually, they did so very many things right.”
A/N: Thank you to Kyria and Owlbait for beta-reading