“Get back in bed. You’re letting all the warmth out.”
With a soft giggle Hermione tucked the blankets in tighter around her grouchy husband and pressed a quick kiss on his forehead. One of the lasting effects from extended bouts of the Cruciatus was nerve damage that made cold weather especially painful. Severus would likely stay beneath the heat-charmed duvets until after his morning coffee. Snatching up her wand she cast a light warming charm towards the bed. He grumbled out a thank you. The charms didn’t help much with the deep curse damage, but it was still appreciated.
Hermione snuck a look into the nursery; Philomena was still sleeping peacefully in her cradle. She smiled, assuming she had about twenty minutes before the three-month-old woke up. With her eyes on her daughter she nearly stumbled over the cat weaving between her feet. “Oh shoo,” she muttered to the creature. Vexatious, a scrawny little stray that had “followed” Severus home last summer, blinked up at her. “You want me to start a fire? You are a spoiled thing.” Vex purred at her and bolted down the stairs to the empty hearth.
When she made it down the stairs Crookshanks was waiting for her on the pile of pillows near the fireplace. Vexatious joined the orange Kneazle as Hermione lit the fire with a sharp wave of her wand. Both familiars purred as the fire began to chase the November chill away, though Vex kept his head up and ears pointed towards the stairs, eyes unblinking. Hermione shook her head at the cat’s odd behavior. The cat had earned its name by following Severus around like a shadow, occasionally wandering off with potion ingredients and Hermione’s stockings. Annoying indeed.
Humming softly to herself Hermione went into the kitchen and began to prepare their morning drinks, tea for herself, and coffee with a generous dose of cream for Severus. She prepared them the Muggle way. No matter how she varied her charms – tea prepared by hand never quite tasted the same as tea that had been magically prepared. Or at least that’s what Hermione thought. Severus disagreed, as long as it was sweet enough to rot teeth he didn’t care whether it was made by hand or by magic. She went ahead and prepared his coffee with the machine anyway. It was a ritual she enjoyed. She had just finished arranging the beverages and a plate of toast on a tray when she heard the stairs creak. Tray in hand she exited the kitchen to find Severus sitting on the sofa. He was wrapped in the duvet from their bed with Philomena gurgling in his arms. Vex perched proudly at the back of the sofa, sniffing at the wriggling baby.
With a smile Hermione placed the tray on the table and cuddled up next to Severus on the sofa. Hungry or simply sensing her mother, Mena began to fuss. Severus adjusted the baby so he could wrap his free arm and the duvet around his wife before gently passing their daughter over. He wandlessly summoned his coffee as Hermione positioned Philomena at her breast.
“Damn cat woke her up,” Severus grumbled after a few moments. Vex purred and moved to curl himself on Severus’ lap, which earned him an annoyed look from his master. Severus sent his mug back to the coffee table and began to stroke the cat with a trembling hand despite his snarky words. “I should turn you into a bookend and leave it at that.”
Hermione snorted. “Oh don’t. We can’t have a single odd bookend lying about, and you know that Kneazles don’t transfigure well.”
He began to play with her curls as they fell across his hand on her shoulder. “Then I’ll leave him be, this time,” he drawled softly. Hermione turned her head up for a kiss, which he granted with a happy hum.
“You warm yet?” she asked, smiling against his lips.
“Yes, very much so.”