Disclaimer: The characters here and the world they inhabit are the creation and property of JK Rowling and her assigns.
It was hard not to be angry at Harry Potter, even though it wasn't the boy's fault. It was He-who-must-not-be-named who had come back, after all. It was Barty Crouch who had arranged the Hogwarts end of the disaster that had just struck. And of course it was Severus who had taken that damned mark upon his arm on the day Septima's life had been changed irrevocably.
Yet it was Harry Potter who seemed to be sliding through it all, ignorant of the pain caused. Oh, he may have been aware, in his corner of the Hospital Wing, that Professor Snape had to go do something involving incredible danger. Septima had overheard enough to know that. But he couldn't know that Septima's heart was gone with Severus. He couldn't be aware that his friend could very well lose her father tonight.
The hand clasping hers tightened again, and the body in the bed whimpered. Aurora was feeling another pain. Septima added more heartbreak to tonight's list. Aurora's husband, Igor Karkaroff, had run as soon as he heard that You-know-who had returned, leaving a heavily pregnant wife. Aurora's body simply couldn't handle the stress, and she went into labor.
Severus had insisted that Septima take Nicky to Eileen's house, but after returning to the school she had nothing else to do than help the laboring witch through her pains. Poppy said it would be a long night for Aurora. Therefore, Septima sat with her as her labor progressed. “He's going to be killed,” Aurora said ruefully between pains. “My baby will be an orphan.”
“I'm sure that's not so,” said Septima reassuringly. “A Slytherin such as yourself must have made plans.”
“I don't know if they'll be good enough—Ahh...” Another pain hit.
“Try not to fret. That's just the labor pains making you hurt so much,” said Septima.
She tried not to watch the clock, but she couldn't help worrying about Severus. Dumbledore came upstairs and discovered Aurora's condition. He took Septima into a hallway and scolded her.
“This is your fault and your bad example. Have you explained to your colleague that she can't remain at Hogwarts as an unmarried mother?”
“She's been married to Igor Karkaroff since just before she took her position here, Headmaster. They've have been hoping to have a little one ever since. She and the child will be refugees, now. Surely you can show them some compassion.” Septima turned away after she said her bit. She didn't want to show the bitterness she felt, because she knew he would give Aurora far more help than Septima would ever get from him.
When she looked back, she knew she was right. Dumbledore was suddenly effusive in his plans, thinking of ways to accommodate a little one in the Astronomy Tower. He went down the corridor seeming less worried, while Septima returned to the task of comforting and encouraging the expectant mother.
Poppy was by the bed. “Is there any word of Severus?”
Septima shook her head. “None.”
“It's just as well. Aurora is just about ready, Septima. I need you to help her push.”
“All right.” Septima moved to the position Poppy directed.
A couple hours later, Septima walked to her own apartment. Watching Aurora with her baby girl made her own chest prickle, and she realized she needed to fix bottles for Nicky. She had done so and was relaxing for a moment, contemplating a shower when Poppy's head popped into her fireplace.
“Septima, you need to come to the dungeon.”
“Is Severus back?”
Poppy may have nodded her head, but it was hard to tell without a body connected to it. “Come quickly.”
“I'll come right through.” Poppy was already gone.
Septima tossed Floo powder into her fire, but when she stated her destination, the fireplace wall stayed solid, and she bumped back into her own lounge, falling to the floor. She put out the small flame on her robe and rubbed her now-bruised shoulder. After brushing herself off, she walked to her door and yanked it open. If her husband was back from danger, she was going to him, welcome or not.
She heard voices as she walked through the dungeon. “She needs to be here.”
“She would be a useless bother. She has no idea what she'd be facing here.”
“She'll learn. Now that they're married, she's the best thing for him.”
“Just start curing his various injuries, Poppy. He'll shake off the rest. He always did, before.”
“Headmaster, he needs his wife. Haven't you ever asked yourself why the Death Eaters seem so healthy?”
“Septima...” It was Severus, himself, sounding so weak and lost that tears sprang to her eyes. No force on Earth would keep her from his side when he sounded like that.
She went into his lounge and found the Headmaster and Matron continuing their argument. She walked past, but Dumbledore reached for her arm. “Oh, no you don't. You'll just be a bother, and you'll get in the way.”
She was aware of the Headmaster, but couldn't make herself pay attention to him. Severus needed her, so she simply brushed past his outstretched arm.
Dumbledore blustered, but he was behind her now. She had eyes only for the wizard in the bed. He was so pale, and he seemed so alone. “I'm sorry it took me so long to get to you.”
“You're here. Septima, I need you.”
“Anything, Severus, I'll do whatever you need.”
Poppy came in and Septima looked at her in a silent question. What was she supposed to do? The Mediwitch smiled and said, “Somehow, I think you'll know. Do the same things I've shown you since last summer.”
They were alone then, or if others were in the room, it didn't matter. Septima kissed Severus's head. “My love, what did they do to you?”
He licked his lips as if it took a great effort. “Wife, I hurt.”
She looked at his face and realized that she did know what to do.
A/N: Thank you, as always, to Kyria of Delphi and Owlbait!