Hermione wasn’t answering the Floo. Severus should not have been panicking, but he was. It hadn’t even been eight hours since he had last seen her – nine months and three days pregnant and ready to pop, getting dressed to meet her boys for lunch. He had tried to get her to stay home. He had even offered to Apparate out to get her mother to stay with her, but she had just laughed.
“Go on, Severus.” Hermione had waved her hands. “You’ve been waiting for this conference for months. I’m just sorry I can’t go with you. Ah!” She held up a finger as he opened his mouth again. “I’m only going for lunch with Harry and Ron, the walking will do me good. Now go, you’re going to miss your Portkey.”
“Don’t overexert yourself,” he muttered sullenly, bending down to accept her kiss on his forehead.
But that was hours ago, and she hadn’t answered him at all. He was about to send his Patronus after her when he remembered the hunk of plastic in his pocket. Slipping his wand back up his sleeve he instead pulled out the cell phone his mother-in-law had gifted him. He hit ‘call’ and held the phone to his ear.
The ringing of the phone interrupted the temporary silence. Ron cursed and Hermione sighed as the ruckus started up again. “Harry, can you answer that please?” she asked.
“Yeah… oh.” He grimaced as he saw the screen. “It’s your husband.”
“You didn’t call him when I told you to, did you?” Her voice began to rise in pitch. “HARRY JAMES POTTER—”
“Hey, Snape, how is your potions convention going? Enjoying Italy?” Harry took the phone out of the room so he would be able to hear over all the noise.
“’Mione?” Ron sounded panicked and Hermione took pity on him.
“Bring her here then.”
Snape was pacing around the convention center. His Portkey back home wasn’t due to leave for another hour, but if he started Apparating now it would still be hours until he was in range of Scotland and he’d probably be too sick to strangle Potter and that’s all he could focus on.
“Alright, Potter,” he spat into the receiver, “in what world does it make sense telling me that Weasley has a black eye before telling me that my wife was in labor?”
“I just thought you’d like to know that when her water broke she was in the middle of pulling out her wand. She stabbed Ron in the eye. It’s pretty funny, admit it.”
“My joy in Weasley’s pain is tempered by the fact that you still haven’t told me how my wife and child are doing,” Severus hissed, glaring at the poor apprentice who had stumbled into his path. “I swear, Potter, if you don’t give me a straight answer this time I will poison you and let you choke on the bezoar. You better tell me that my wife and child are alright.”
“I’m impressed that you can still sound so dour and threatening over the phone.” Harry held the phone away from his ear as Snape began cursing again. He stuck his head into the bedroom. Hermione still reclined on the bed, but now she had her new-born nestled to her chest. Ron had moved back to the armchair where he was earlier, but instead of holding the baby he now held an icepack to his blackening eye. Harry sent Hermione a helpless look and pointed to the phone. She rolled her eyes and motioned for him to hand it to her. “You sure?”
“I’m fine, Harry. Now give me the phone before you give my husband a heart attack.”
“He’ll be fine, ‘Mione. He’s just upset that you have horrible timing.”
“Like I chose to go into labor in the middle of Diagon Alley,” Hermione mumbled as she held the phone to her ear.
“Hell,” Severus exhaled, relieved to be finally talking to her, “all Potter told me was that you were in labor and somehow Weasley was injured. Please tell me it wasn’t as traumatic as I’m envisioning and that you and the baby are alright?” The last was whispered as a question and Hermione smiled.
“We are perfectly fine. Baby just decided that she couldn’t wait one moment longer. Harry told you I stabbed Ron?”
“My Portkey leaves less than an hour.” His relief was palatable through the phone. “Tell my daughter that I’m disappointed that she couldn’t at least wait until I returned to the country.”
“Well you’re the one who had a conference on her birthday,” Hermione teased. “It’s alright, Severus. I’ve abused both Harry and Ron and they are perfectly traumatized. You’d be proud.” She ended with a loud yawn and Snape made a disapproving tsk!.
“I do appreciate the distress of your friends, but please rest, I will be home as soon as possible. Did the mediwizard leave a list of potions that you should be taking?”
“Yes. Half of which I know you have in stock downstairs.”
“Good. I will be home soon.”
“I love you.”
There was a pause, as there always was when Snape knew someone was listening. But he did lower his voice to murmur it in return. Hermione was teary when she hung up the phone.
“Eew,” Ron commented, then addressed the infant Hermione held in her arms. “Philly, prepare yourself, your parents are even more disgustingly mushy in person.”
“Don’t call her that.” Hermione gently stroked Philomena’s brow. “I know it’s a mouthful, but Severus and I spent a long time debating on it.” Hermione scooted down in the bed and made a space in the blankets to lay the sleeping infant by her side.
“How about Mena then?” Ron offered. “’Mione and Mena?”
Hermione huffed, but smiled anyway. “That’s actually kind of cute.”
Harry laughed. “Ron, you better do something with your face before your date tonight.”
“There’s bruise paste in the bathroom,” Hermione offered. “Sorry about your black eye, Ron.”
“It’s a decent trade,” Ron shrugged, “a black eye for the cutest goddaughter ever.”
“Yeah, I think so too.” Harry smiled and bent down to give Hermione a kiss on her brow. “Good job, ‘Mione.”
Potter was quietly talking to his wife through the Floo when Snape opened the front door. “Hold on, Gin, Snape’s here.” He stood and brushed the powder off his pants. “Mum and baby are sleeping, Ron had a date but I wanted to wait until you got home.”
Snape paused with his hand on the doorframe, looking down the hall towards the bedroom before sighing and turning back. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome, and congratulations.” Harry gave Snape a friendly smile, before he tossed a handful of powder into the fireplace and left.
Severus wasn’t sure how long he stood in the doorway to the bedroom, letting the frame hold him up when his knees nearly gave out. He had thought he had made his peace with becoming father months ago, back when Hermione’s stomach began to show and he could feel the first flutters of the baby’s magic. But now seeing apprentice turned wife – who he was really head over heels for – curled protectively around the blankets containing their newborn he was hit with a sudden wave of apprehension.
It wasn’t like he’d had any experience with children under eleven. He tried to remember the last time he had held a child and was drawing a blank. He carefully lowered himself onto the bed beside his sleeping family. He gently smoothed back the blankets to see his daughter. Little Philomena Snape. She was so tiny, her little fists curled by her head. Severus lightly ran his finger tip over her cheeks, marveling at how soft she was.
“Isn’t she perfect?” He started at Hermione’s voice. She smiled at him sleepily and he couldn’t help but smile back.