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There’s No Place Like Home (For the Holidays)

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Squinting against the biting howl of the night’s winter wind, Severus unwarded the front door with a sharp flick of his wand and hurried inside, eager to leave behind the inclement weather and, hopefully, warm his weary bones by the fireside, preferably in the arms of his exceedingly amorous wife.

It had been a fortnight since hed left for the Potioneer’s Conference, and each day apart had felt more torturous than the last. He missed her unruly hair and smart mouth, her fiery glares and laughing kisses, but, above all else, he simply missed home, a place that had nothing to do with location and everything to do with heart.

Once inside the insulating warmth of their cozy cottage, Severus shook the snow from his cloak and peered around the corner into the front room, where he expected to see Hermione curled up on the sofa, in her usual spot, most likely buried under a book, but the only sign of her presence was a fluffy maroon blanket heaped on the coffee table, a dog-eared novel straddling its fuzzy peaks. Severus double-checked the clock on the mantle and confirmed the time. Only nine thirty-two. She usually stayed up until at least ten. Where could she be hiding?

Leaving his bag and cloak by the door, Severus toed off his shoes and padded through the house in his stockinged feet, quiet as a mouse. In the library, the Christmas tree theyd put up before his departure glimmered with strand after strand of fairy lights, the glow bright enough to read by. Clearly a recent purchase; open boxes and extra bulbs still littered the illuminated table. His jolly little bookworm, however, wasnt one of the things revealed by the multicolor blaze.

The kitchen proved to be a dead end as well, but he did find a pile of red candy wrappers on the table next to an empty mug that smelled faintly of eggnog. The candy wrappers perplexed him, as his wife had some rather aggressive opinions on the teeth-rotting effects of Muggle and magic candy alike. Perhaps shed got her hands on some more of that sugar-free nonsense her parents peddled. He made a face and hoped she hadnt saved him any.

When the bath, too, proved empty, Severus knew exactly whered hed find her, his deduction more logic than intuition. They only had one room left. And that room lent itself to the most merry of homecomings.

Careful to remain silent, Severus gently pushed open the door of their bedroom and smiled to himself when he saw her sprawled across the bed on her stomach, one leg beneath the covers, the other sticking out at an odd angle, her bare foot dangling off the edge. In his absence, shed strung an obscene amount of fairy lights up and down the bedposts and, in place of a canopy, had crisscrossed them in a twinkly spiderweb of rainbow stars. The Christmas lights bathed her in an otherworldly warmth, and Snapes heart swelled at the sight.

Using his wand, he made quick work of his clothes, desperate to free himself before his cock succeeded in splitting every seam in his best trousers. He climbed across the bed, careful not to jostle her, and slid one hand beneath the blanket, the skin on her back so soft and warm he groaned out loud, sensation creeping back into his numb fingers like liquid fire.

Hermione,” he murmured, his lips on her exposed shoulder, brushing over his favorite patch of freckles. Love? Are you sleeping?”

Movement rocked the mountain of chocolate curls above him. Sevrus?” she mumbled groggily. Isat you?”

None other. Were you expecting someone else?”

She snorted into the pillow. Father Christmas perhaps?”

Grinning, Severus dragged his teeth over the nape of her neck, delighted by the shivery outbreak of gooseflesh that rippled over her skin. Ho ho ho, little girl.” He rooted through her hair with his nose until he found her ear, which he greeted with a quick nibble. Have I got a surprise for you.” For the sake of clarity, he pressed his erection to her hip and slid his leaking glans along the side of her bum.

Oh, Santa!” She turned her head and gave him a sleepy but delighted grin. You brought me just what I asked for!”

Severus laughed and leaned in for a kiss. You didnt think Id miss our monthly baby-making date, did you?”

Her eyes softened, and she twisted her torso, looping one warm arm around his neck. Is that really why youre home early?

Snape looked away, smile suppressed. It had taken almost a year of Hermiones patient cajoling to convince him he could, indeed, handle parenthood ... and another six months to assure him he would NOT turn out just as monstrous as his own father. It still rankled him a bit that, after years of despising children with every fiber of his being, hed changed his tune so quickly.

We could have done it when you came home,” she said, her shrewd grin far too annoying. You know what the calendar says as well as I do; the twenty-fourth is day three of ovulation. We would have had time.”

An unspoken admission had been dancing between them for the better part of three month: Severus had been feigning tacit complicity with the whole baby-making affair. In truth, he wanted to make a child with her more than anything in the world, wanted to see her bursting at the seams with their combined love. He wanted real-ness, a tangible manifestation of lifes eternal possibility. But he just couldnt admit hed done a complete one-eighty on the matter. Shed never let him live it down. The denial dance would have to continue.

Severus straightened his face and infused the the arch of one brow with his best affectation of scholarly logic. We would have had a few hours at best. Since when have you ever known me to leave an important assignment to the last minute?”

She nodded, playing along, her expression hilariously pedantic. “Yes, of course. How very practical of you.”

The corner of his mouth twitched in a reluctant half-smile, and he leaned in, his lips brushing hers. Or perhaps I couldnt bear the thought of not living between your legs for three days straight. My cock was getting ever so lonely at the hotel.”

Was he?” she asked in mock surprise. Her hand trailed down between them and curled around his erection, her fingers maddeningly inquisitive against his aching flesh.

Severus rocked into her touch. You know perfectly well we cant sleep without you.”

We?” she asked in amusement.

He glanced down. Little Severus and myself.”

Little?” she repeated, her tone dripping with horrified disbelief.

Severus smirked. Comparatively.”

To what,” she muttered, a Beater’s bat?”

Snorting, Severus shook his head. Hardly. But I appreciate the compliment.” He honestly did. When theyd first gotten together, hed been quite self-conscious about his appearance, but her continued, and rather physical, adoration of his body had slowly eroded his doubts down to the occasional critical niggle. Nuzzling her nose in a show of reciprocal appreciation, he kissed her once more, gently, closing his eyes as familiar warmth suffused his belly with a saccharine bliss that would have put Honeydukes to shame. I missed you, my love.”

Hermione smiled against his lips and deepened the kiss, murmuring her return I love you,” into his mouth. And he liked that about her, too, the way she could get so caught up in her passion she couldnt be bothered to speak before succumbing. No one had ever wanted him with such unadulterated fervency.

And the feeling was definitely mutual.

Severus rolled her over, unraveling her limbs from the bedsheets and covering her body with his own. He needed to be inside her, to feel her all around him, to be surrounded by her love as much as her sex. But really, what was the difference? Hermiones heart and pussy both flowed with generosity and unconditional acceptance; both throbbed to a beat of sweetness, so open and pure he could lose himself entirely in the soundless rhythm. Her pussy took him in and washed his soul clean, the crystalline streams of baptismal desire running down her thighs in waves of blessed atonement. His shriveled black heart hadnt stood a chance in the presence of such abundance.

Mmmm,” Hermione hummed, pulling back for a moment to speak coherently. You taste so good—like the darkest chocolate imaginable.”

He smirked and lightly drew the tip of his tongue across her bottom lip. And you, my dear, taste like cinnamon-vanilla fire.”

Her face went pink, and she slid her hand over her mouth as if embarrassed. Do I really? I had a few of those Cinnamon Sandmans George sent over last week. They made my eyes water like mad, but they were sooooo bloody amazing.” She moaned wantonly, her eyes fluttering as if tasting them again. I might have to go out tomorrow and get some more.”

Severus pulled her hand from her mouth and pinned it above her head, his frown disapproving. Go out? On day two of operation ovulation? I think not. I intend to keep you in this bed all day and night. Youre going to be so full of my seed you wont be able to walk without sloshing from side to side. A trip to Diagon Alley would be absolutely out of the question.”

Laughing loudly, her head thrown back in joyous agreement, Hermione nodded. Sounds lovely. Have you been saving it up for me?”

Severus growled and buried his face in her neck, his teeth on her pulse, tongue swirling over the salty heat of her skin. I thought my scrotum was going to burst halfway through the conference. I knew I had to get an earlier portkey when I woke up this morning dreaming of your ripe little cervix begging my balls for a good basting.”

Her giggle puffed against his temple as she hugged him close. Whatever it takes to get you home faster. It doesnt feel like Christmas without you here.”

Severus closed his eyes, a buzzy purr of happiness spreading through his chest. Ive been miserable without you. I …” Sinking his teeth into the sides of his tongue, he bit back the rush of emotion that threatened to bubble over. Now wasnt the time for soppy declarations; they had a baby to make. Besides, she knew he worshipped her; he didnt need to layer needless words atop the honesty of his love.

But he supposed a little demonstration never hurt.

Swallowing the lump in his throat, he nodded toward the window to distract her. And, youre right, just look how Christmas-y it is now that Im here.”

Out of sight, he drew one finger through the air and silently cast a wandless charm, pleased when the first snowflakes drifted down from the ceiling, making it appear as though theyd been encased in a giant snow globe.

Hermione turned, following his gaze, and her jaw dropped when she saw what hed done. Twisting around, she peered over the edge of the bed and laughed in delight as the flakes disappeared before hitting the hardwood floor. No pesky accumulation? Very impressive.” She stuck her hand out to test the temperature. Theyre cold!” she exclaimed, whipping back around to give him her most shocked expression. Its not just an illusion.”

Of course theyre cold,” he said smoothly, pulling her back in and dragging the blankets over them. Theyre the perfect excuse to keep you in bed where its warm.”

Hermione snickered and wrapped her legs around his hips as he rolled her to her back. Nice try, Severus, but I know under all that Slytherin cunning, youre a romantic at heart.” She tapped his chest with two fingers, filling the space between heartbeats with supernatural accuracy. Dont worry, I wont tell anyone how cuddly youve gotten. Your secrets safe with me.”

And I wont tell anyone what a minx Ive married,” he countered darkly, horrified at being outed. “Although I doubt theyd believe me. Whod ever guess the beloved and upstanding Hermione Granger begs her greasy old Potions master for his cock every single night ... and thered certainly be some raised eyebrows if they heard where you wanted me to put it.

Her face went pink, but her grin shone with shameless amusement. That reminds me, later you can leave some pressies round back. With all our baby-making efforts, my bums starting to feel left out.”

Oh fuck, his balls liked that idea a little too much. He had to stop moving for a moment to staunch the excited rise of his overeager scrotum. Wench,” he hissed in her ear. You cant suggest something like that to a man whos been celibate for two weeks. Its cruel. Besides, I have absolutely no intention of leaving my seed in any orifice that doesnt lead to your uterus. We cant waste the supplies.”

Hed made up his mind about that before leaving for his trip. The month before, her period had been a bit late, and theyd both gotten their hopes up. Prematurely. Painfully so. He couldnt bear to see the disappointment tear through her again, the cold weight of failure so heavy on her shoulders. His own shoulders none the lighter. For a moment, hed felt an elation unlike any other, the heady prospect of being a daddy outshining his usual pessimism, liberating him from a prison he hadnt realized hed been in. He wanted that back. And he wanted it to stay.

Hermione hooked one arm around his neck and nuzzled his throat. You promise youll fuck my arse once Im pregnant? You know how moody I get when youre not filling all my holes on a regular basis.”

Severus growled and raised his head, his frown reproachful. The first hole Im filling is your blasted mouth, woman! If you know whats good for you, youll stop saying such things and let me impregnate you in peace!”

Hermione threw back her head and laughed, the sound of it throaty and free, not a hint of repentance to be found. Very well,” she said, wiping at her eyes. Ill be good for now. But later ...”

Dont say it,” he warned in his sternest tone. I cant withstand any more of your bright ideas. Well get out the toys tomorrow if you want to be naughty. Although, I recommend you try to stay on the Nice Listuntil Christmas. Your friends will be suspicious if you cant sit down for dinner.”

Brown eyes brightening, she nodded excitedly and made a lip-zipping gesture, and Severus wondered if that meant shed decided against her devious plans or was simply waiting for a more opportune time to make them known. Sweet Merlin! He hoped she held out until Boxing Day. Hed need at least twenty-four hours of rest.

Good girl,” he purred, leaning back in and placing a small kiss to her plump lower lip. Now, where was I? Here perhaps?”

Severus meandered down to her neck, breathing her in as he drew his tongue along her carotid. She smelled of honey and vanilla—the lotion hed made obviously being put to good use—but the sweetness of her flesh couldnt be attributed to any mixture of mouthwatering ingredients; only one thing tasted that heavenly, and its source, as far as he could tell, wasnt of the earthly realm. Love itself had no particular flavor, but, to him, Hermione tasted of the most angelic ambrosia, and hed forever associate her aroma with the deepest sense of contentment.

She sighed softly, a hmmmm,” of happiness floating through the snowy air. Her fingers wove into his hair, and she scratched her nails over his scalp with delicious slowness, the sensation skittering along his spine like icy needles. He grunted and moved lower, his mouth on the swell of her bosom. Arching up, she offered him one nipple, but he detoured around it to nuzzle the plush weight of her breast with the tip of his nose.

Severus,” she giggle-moaned. I thought we werent teasing just now.”

Im not teasing,” he muttered into the warm underside, snaking out his tongue to tickle the sensitive crease against her ribs. Im enjoying myself. Happy Christmas to me.”

Her hips began to hop, and her soft bush tickled his abdomen. Please.”

Smiling to himself, Severus licked his way toward her nipple and met her eye before taking the stiff bud into his mouth and running the flat of his tongue over its sharp contours.

Mm!” she gasped, her brown eyes closed to savor the sensation. Yes.”

That last word came out as a whisper, a gentle plea, and Snapes cock began to weep, overcome by the beauty of her simple prayer. With a surge of suckling, he turned up the intensity and blessed them both with the gift of mindless pleasure. Her quiet moans blotted out all possible thought, and Severus drifted aimlessly in a swirling snowstorm of sensate bliss.

For an inordinate amount of time, he knew only succulent perfection, lost in a blanket of satin touch and the indescribable taste of honied heat and breathless hunger. He forgot himself, and, strangely, he forgot her, except that that couldn’t be possible, because all he knew was a blizzard of pleasure and that pleasure was Hermione whether he consciously named it as such or not.

When he did remember himself again, he found that self literally lost, unsure where he was or how it had gotten so dark. But wrapped in her scent, he knew only safety and peace; he just needed to sniff his way to a recognizable landmark to get his bearings. One scent in particular seemed to draw him in, its pull irresistible.

Unh! Severus!” Hermione tore aside the covers, and Snape realized hed burrowed so far under the blanket hed come face-to-face with her downy aperture, his nose only inches from her slit ... her rather juicy slit, by the smell of things.

He looked up from between her thighs and quirked one eyebrow. Legs apart, love. Let me see.”

Panting hard, her teeth straining out a needful hiss, she drew her legs toward her chest and spread them wide, her hands tucked behind her knees to increase the stretch.

Snapes eyes moved from her fiery gaze down to her heaving chest, past her curled belly to the wild vee of fur capping her mound. Dark, wet heat emanated from her core, and his head swam in the musky perfume of want that surrounded her sex. Closing his eyes to block out the dizzying spin of the room, Severus dipped down and touched his nose to the epicenter. Slowly, barely moving, he inhaled, his head rising as if floating on a slipstream of steam, her pussy so hot he couldve brewed a cup of hot cocoa on it ... and probably toasted some marshmallows to go with it.

When he reached the salty jewel at the top, he pulled back to get another look, and was rather amused to find a slick string of her cream clinging to the tip of his nose. He wished he could lick it away, but, alas, his tongue lacked the length. Hed have to go straight to the source.

Using the flat of his thumb, Severus drew one slick labium to the side and got a firsthand assessment of her excitement. He would have commented, making sure she knew exactly how wet she was for him—and how much he liked it—but his mouth had other plans, lapping up her honey and swiping at her pulsing entrance, her inner muscles already hungry for something to hold onto.

He fucked her with his tongue, scooping up as much of her cream as he could, and she cried out, a sound with no words, yet the communication lacked no clarity. Her hips began to grind, and she rode his face with utter abandon, short, breathy whimpers of encouragement falling from her lips like the conjured snow, soft and quick, ceaseless in their multitude.

Severus groaned, the ache in his groin so great, he could scarcely breathe—yet, the prospect of stopping for air seemed unthinkable. Even if he drank her dry, it wouldnt be enough. Hed just go on devouring her until he drowned in her release, his body overflowing with her essence, all the darkness finally washed away by her light.

He settled for giving the mattress a good grind; the sheets would be stiff with his precum the next day, but he reasoned that thats what cleaning spells were for. Better to release some of the pent up tension rather than risk a painful explosion before hed even got inside. Normally, he wouldnt have spared the move a second thought, but he knew he was losing some sperm in that smattering of pre-ejaculate, and, with his luck, his most eager swimmers were being set adrift in an empty sea of flannel, no egg-y island in sight. Poor buggers.

Hermione let one leg fall to the side and used her free hand to tug at his hair, the dull pull steering his attention back to her slippery opening. Her toes curled against his shoulder, and Severus growled into her flesh when she used him for leverage and painted his face with a stripe of wet desire. He had to throw an arm over her pelvis to hold her down, which caused her to buck in retaliation, but Severus knew how much she enjoyed the restraint.

He glanced up, meeting her eye as he suckled her clit, and her jaw dropped, her lower lip trembling as he ticked his tongue back and forth over the engorged bud. Her entire pussy pulsed against his face, a heartbeat of sexual need. Salty ambrosia trickled over his taste buds, and she momentarily stilled, on the brink of something magical.

Nownownow,” she hissed, her grip on his hair suddenly frantic. Fuck me, Severus! Im ...”

Before she could finish her request, he had replaced his mouth with his cock, deftly guiding his bulging glans past the tight barrel of muscle ringing her introitus. A rather tight pinch, but if Santa could do it then so could the Grinch.

He held his breath, his eyes on her face, watching as a look of sheer ecstasy stole across her fulsome features, her pouty mouth slack with shock, her big brown eyes flooding to black, lashes fluttering as they drooped lower, shuttering her hungry gaze. A fortnight apart had left them both unbearably sensitive, every inch of skin pulsating with overactive sensation, a frisson that electrified as well as overwhelmed, obliterated as well as enveloped. The sudden union felt like a melding, a disintegration, neither one of them surviving the impact. What remained, the SeverusHermione being, seemed a whole new thing—or perhaps just wholeness itself. Never had he felt so complete. Content.

Loved.

Her legs slipped around his hips, drawing him closer, folding him into her body, and she gripped his forearm with a strength that belied her small stature.

Please,” she whispered, the word no more than a warm exhale.

Licking his lips, Severus nodded and leaned down until they were chest to chest, her hands on his back to press him closer. Her spiked nipples scored his pecs, and they both gasped, the sensation like lightning between them. He braced himself on the bed, the fingers of his left hand tangled in her hair, his other hand flexed in a fist of denial. He wanted to wait, to feel her coming around him, before he gave up his seed. Her orgasm would have no effect on their chances of insemination, but he knew the ancient power that lay in a womans body, the magic that pleasure held in the creative process. Her desire was the spark that made his world go round.

In!” she whimpered, and, butting his bum with her heels, she forced him as deep as he could go.

Severus grunted when his cock hit her cervix, his heart skipping a beat as a thrill of primal energy surged through his body. The sound she made in response might have been one of pain, but her thighs tightened around his hips, and she locked him in place as her body convulsed, every muscle contracting and releasing, riding him from below with an animal savagery. Her eyelids dropped lower, but, somehow, she maintained eye contact, and Severus might have come from the intensity of that connection if he hadnt been so utterly mesmerized.

Bloody hell,” Hermione wheezed, her body shuddering as the orgasm began to ebb. Yes, sir. More of that please.”

Severus smirked and gave her a small thrust. Something like that? Or more like this?” He ground his pelvis into her clit and gave it a good polish.

Growling in frustration, Hermione lifted her head and latched onto his mouth, her tongue meeting his, demanding more intimacy, her penetration so thorough he could practically feel her licking his heart. His bollocks throbbed once in warning, and Severus made a semi-anxious noise to alert her to the issue. Of course the goal was ejaculation, so it wasnt as if he needed to hold off, but he had a feeling she had a bit more petrol in the tank, so to speak.

With a growl of delight, Hermione smiled against his lips. Actually,” she murmured, what I had in mind was something more like this.”

Flinging her body to the right, she rolled him with only a modicum of effort. Although surprised, Severus did nothing to impede her momentum. If she wanted to be on top, he didnt intend to argue.

Thighs astride his hips, his cock still firmly rooted inside her, Hermione sat up and smiled down at him, her hair like a brunette bramble bush around her head. From his position, the fairy lights appeared to twinkle between her locks, both illuminating and silhouetting her at the same time, the effect etheric and strangely sexy. His naughty Christmas angel.

Her hand went to her breast, and she drew her thumb over the point of one pink nipple. Smile growing, she closed her eyes and circled her hips, stirring his cock through her channel and painting the slippery curve of her cervix with his leaking knob. Severus grunted and grabbed hold of her hips.

Her hands covered his, and she held onto him as he held onto her. Rising, she lifted herself slowly up his length, a needy moan creeping past her lips as each inch slipped free. Severus glanced down, not surprised to see his flesh gleaming brightly, coated in her juices. Her cream clung to his pubic hair like frosted snow berries, and he grinned at the unintentional holiday decoration.

What?” Hermione asked, spotting his smirk.

He glanced up and shook his head dismissively. Nothing, my love. Just looking forward to a white Christmas.” Hed show her how she made the treetops glisten later, when he wasnt on the verge of explosion. I am curious as to whether this is my present, though. To what do I owe the honor of being sat upon so sweetly?”

Shaking with suppressed laughter, Hermione attempted to give him her most incredulous expression, but it came out half exasperated and too amused to argue. Dont be daft. This is how it works. If youve been a good girl, you sit on Santas knee and tell him what you want.”

Thats not my knee,” he informed her with a straight face.

Snickering, she swiveled her hips. Maybe I havent been a hundred percent good this year. What do you think?”

Well, you put up with my snarky arse on a daily basis and havent attempted to murder me, so I suspect you might be canonized later this century. But for the sake of speeding up this ride before my scrotum bursts, Im going to say youve been a very naughty little girl, and Father Christmas already knows what you want ... and hes left a bundle of switches in your stocking.”

Her cheeks went pink, but her pussy fluttered around him, obviously pleased by the promise of detentions yet to be served. Sliding her hands down to his sides, she traced the bottom rung of his ribcage, her fingers skating over his belly and stroking the patch of hair below his navel. Mmmm, you know what I like, Santa.”

Yes, I do,” Severus affirmed, and caught her nipple between his thumb and forefinger to prove his point. But I know what you want most of all, and were getting no closer to that goal at this rate.”

Hermione braced her hands lightly on his chest, and he detected a sneaky spark in her brown eyes. I havent asked you what you want for Christmas yet,” she said in an unfathomably conversational tone.

Severus growled, the pent up energy in his balls agitating his entire lower body. Dont play coy with me, Hermione. You know what I want.”

Ive no idea,” she said with a blithe smile.

At this particular moment, I just want to come,” he snapped. Or did you miss the note of urgency in my request earlier?”

I did notice,” she confirmed, and sank down fully, seating him snugly against her womb. But I know youre not short on orgasms this year, so what could be so urgent about this one?”

Oh, you wicked little ...” Severus bit off the rest of that thought, and glared at her accusingly. Is this your plan, to string me along, torture me until I tell you I ...?”

Her face lit, and she leaned in, turning one ear toward him. Until you tell me what? I know you want to say it, Severus.”

He rolled his eyes and shook his head. Damn know-it-alls and their sexual interrogation tactics. His Slytherin-ness had rubbed off on her in the worst ways possible. Hed known he was in over his head when it came to her stubbornness, but hed hadnt foreseen how treacherous that would become once she learned the power of devious persuasion. Hed taught her well.

Fine,” Severus grumbled. You win.” Thered be no peace in their house until he fully surrendered. Hed concede the battle this one time. I want to … to haveababywithyou.”

Hermione smiled softly. Youre not just doing it because its what I want?”

Snape huffed out a sigh and looked her in the eye. No, of course not. I couldnt bring a child into this world just to silence your incessant talk of infants and parenthood. What kind of man do you take me for?”

Her smile pulled wide. A stubborn one ... who needs a bit of incentive to tell the truth sometimes.”

Touché. If youre quite done making your little point, could we please finish what we started so very long ago. I believe my bollocks have progressed from discomfort to outright pain.”

She had the decency to look a bit guilty. I do apologize, but”—she leaned down to give him a gentle peck on the lips—“I had to make sure you really wanted to be a daddy. Babys arent returnable.”

Just hearing her call him that made the desire all the more real; his heart expanded painfully in his chest, possibly preparing for the influx of love a child would bring. I want it,” he whispered against her lips. I want it more than I can say.”

Hermione kissed him again, her lips curling with happiness. I know. Me too. Now stop talking and give me whats mine, Santa Semen. Im not waiting for Christmas morning for you to fill my stocking.”

He pulled a face, fighting the urge to emit a petulant snort. The things that come out of your mouth sometimes. Its like being married to a sailor.”

Glancing down at her naked chest, she flashed him a doubtful look.

Severus smirked. Point taken. A bawdy bar wench, then.”

Rising to her full height, her hands trailing up to cup her breasts, Hermione peered down at him with an all too Slytherin smirk. I prefer the designation you usually give me,” she informed him.

A bit distracted by the view, it took Severus a moment to ask, And that would be?”

God,” Hermione answered with a devilish smile and plunged down, her pussy swallowing and, somehow, strangling him in one fell swoop. Severus almost sat straight up, a shudder of rapturous pleasure wracking his body, his mouth open to gasp in the breath shed knocked loose.

Pausing only long enough for a sweet sigh, Hermione began to ride him, bouncing up and down with gusto, a drawn out moan of delicate contentment echoing through the room. It took Snape a full minute to work out the mechanics of respiration and pretend he still possessed basic human faculties. Luckily, she wasnt a Legillimens and would never know how impossible it was for him to think with her bobbing about on his cock like that.

Not totally in control of his actions, but aware of the movement of his hands, he watched in mild fascination as his left danced along her thigh then settled just above the base of his cock, apparently providing a helpful protrusion for her clit to kiss with each touchdown. Her moans grew louder, and her upper lip curled in small snarl, her teeth visible as she hissed for more.

Her pussy trembled around him, a strange vibrating wobble, and Snape closed his eyes as the tension in his groin gathered into a rolling avalanche of tension—bigger and bigger, gaining momentum and size as he hurdled toward the peak. And then he was soaring, free falling, starkly exposed in mid-air, a brief moment of blinding, all-encompassing sensation that obliterated him like a snowball smashed to twinkly dust. His eyes snapped open, seeing everything yet seeing nothing, the room disappearing, the lights dimming, the angel above him so radiant he could perceive only the glow of her heart, which wasnt so much a vision as a feeling. A knowing.

The same way he knew home when he felt it.

His bollocks drew tight, and a jumble of sensations and sounds overflowed inside him, outside him, all around him. He might have been shouting her name, or perhaps he was, indeed, declaring the presence of God. He couldnt be sure. Not being a religious man, he didnt didnt tend to invoke any deity, but he could have been speaking in tongues for all he knew, the sound of his own voice falling away and regrouping before he could comprehend what had been said.

The room seemed to materialize around him piece by piece as he came back down to earth. Hermione. Bed. Lights. Magic snow. Nice. He shivered and sucked in a deep breath, lungs filling with cool air and the sweetly musky scent of sex. Hermione grinned down at him, cheeks flushed with triumph, but her hips continued to gently churn, inadvertently milking the last of his seed from the depths of his cock. She hadnt come again, and her body, primed for another go, idled atop him like a purring engine.

Severus couldnt waste such a willing gift.

Growling low in his throat, he grabbed her around the waist and toppled her in one smooth roll. A squeak of shock erupted from somewhere behind the wall of hair that fell across her face.

Severus,” she giggled, spitting the strands from her mouth with several snickering puffs. What are doing? Are you seriously trying to ... oh ... mmmmmm! Fuck! Yes!”

Still hard, but unsure how long he had, Severus pushed past the post-sex sensitivity and gave it to her hard and fast. Come for me,” he murmured. I know youre close.”

Her nails sank into his back, and she groaned, her teeth worrying at her lower lip. Mm!”

They locked eyes, undeterred by the jostle and jolts. Severus arched one eyebrow, prepared to wait her out; if his cock went completely soft, hed use his fingers and tongue to get the job done. Leaving her unsatisfied wasnt an option; hed come to relish the honor of being everything she needed. Of course there were times when he drew out the denial and made her wait, but unless they were both so physically exhausted that further action proved impossible, he preferred to provide more than was asked of him, her passion completely spent and her body drained. It didnt take that much effort, and he found a certain amount of peace in being sure she required no fantasies to meet her needs. Imagination added spice to their marriage; it didnt fill in for a lack of any key ingredient. And he appreciated the flavor of her clever kinkiness, their sex life anything but bland.

Have you missed this ...” he asked, voice more rumble than sound. ... spreading your legs for me ... your pussy soaking the sheets?”

She grunted and threw a leg around his hip.

Severus couldnt help smirking at her heated expression. Do you hear what I hear?” he continued, his lips teasing her fevered cheek. My favorite little pussy sounds awfully excited. Did it miss me while I was away?”

Yes,” she breathed, her exhale a whine of desperation.

Leaning on one arm, Severus held her gaze as he lifted his free hand and slipped his middle finger into his mouth, slicking the digit until it shone like melted ice. Youve been such a good girl,” he purred. I think youve earned yourself an early Christmas present.” His hand disappeared beneath her arse, and she inhaled sharply through her nose when he prodded at her crevice. Is this what you wanted, my finger in your naughty little bottom, stretching you open while I fuck your creaming pussy?”

Unh! Please!” she begged, her back arching to invite the wiggling digit inside.

Severus gave her just the tip, to the first knuckle, and then pressed toward her pussy, literally stretching her open, as advertised. Have you been playing with this when I wasnt here? You know youre not supposed to open any presents without me. This is mine, little princess.”

He only called her princess when he took her arse. Shed complained when the tabloids dubbed her the Gryffindor Princess, but she wet herself with excitement when he uttered the moniker in the privacy of their bedroom, possibly due to a Pavlovian association involving her anus and his tongue, but he suspected she simply got off on being his, belonging to him, no longer needing to prove herself, perfection attainted.

He used the term of endearment often, sometimes murmuring it in her ear when they were out, amidst her colleagues or slogging through some interminable ministry function, but those were promises of pleasures to come. He never teased her without delivering the goods. Tonight, however, he seemed to be flirting with his first possible failure. It was late, and he couldnt be certain of a repeat performance. He knew shed be more than willing to wait till morning for her anal fix, but his cautious side hesitated at the thought of risking any viable semen. Hed meant what he said about wanting that baby more than anything, and that included her luscious arse.

Although … the harder her sphincter twitched around his finger, the more his resolve wavered.

Feel how tight you are,” he said appreciatively, a smile sneaking through his carefully honed sex voice. My cock would look so nice in here ... nice and snug ... splitting your pink-striped cheeks and ... oh, you didnt think I was joking about the switches, did you? I cant bugger this sweet little bottom until Ive given you a proper punishment. I think twelve, dont you? One for each day of Christmas? We have to make sure you keep being a good girl ... and I know how much you love being bent over the furniture with your bum in the air. Every day is Christmas when youre begging for more licks, isnt it, love?”

Oh, god! Please, Severus!” Her arms tensed around him, her thighs quivering.

What do you need?” he whispered against her ear. Tell me. Say it.”

Fingers,” she gasped. Deep. Please!”

This finger?” he asked innocently, wiggling a bit further inside.

More! Oh gods ... Im ...”

Severus plunged in all the way, the knuckle of his index finger massaging her perineum. His pinky extended along her dark fissure, and he tickled the top of her crack, just at the spot that made her keen and jerk with electric pleasure.

Aaaaahhh!” Her body spasmed in a violent whiplash, and the pressure of her velvet channel closed around his softening prick with almost manic strength.

Snape grunted in surprise, and blinked several times in an attempt to clear his vision. He hadnt been expecting such an intense finale; usually subsequent orgasms presented with less ferocity. Not that he was complaining.

Fuck!” she panted, shivering as the last spams ripped through her limp body. Youd better not have just been saying all that just to make me come.”

Severus raised his head, his eyes on hers. Well see.”

Hermione gave him a look, almost threatening. Almost. Her smirk spoiled the effect. Tease.”

Perhaps,” he said enigmatically.

Shaking her head, she lifted up and kissed him. That was bloody fabulous. Were you trying to make up for two weeks of no sex in one go, or were you just feeling particularly magnanimous at this festive time of year?”

He smirked and kissed her in return. That was the first of many orgasmic gifts I have planned for you this season.” He curled the finger in her arse to emphasize his meaning.

Hermione grinned and reached back to gently ease his hand away. Sounds delightful. I have some gifts of a similar nature for you as well ... but also quite a few in sparkly boxes. In fact, I have one for you to unwrap tonight, if you like.”

Snape quirked a brow, intrigued. An early present. Might it pertain to our amorous itinerary over the next few days?” Hed seen the owl order form shed filled out weeks earlier, a slew of sex toys listed and totaled up. He hadnt looked at the specifics, preferring to be surprised.

Hermione shrugged, a little smile at the corner of her mouth. Perhaps,” she replied in a deft impression of his laconic drawl.

Shimmying her hips, she worked his prick free, and he rolled to one side so she could move. After rummaging about in the nightstand for several seconds, she flipped back over and set a small box on the bed next to him, the wrapping paper a deep forest green, the satin ribbon a soft cream.

Severus trailed one finger over the ribbon and glanced over at the bookshelf along the opposite wall. I might have a present for you to open as well. If you like.” Hed been debating whether to give it to her at all.

Hermione clapped her hands excitedly and curled up next to him. Of course I like.”

Snape cast a quick non-verbal spell on his fingers, cleaning himself up before handling any gifts, but he left her juices on his cock, making sure she saw just how much shed enjoyed herself. She might even taste it later if they had another go before falling asleep.

Turning his hand toward the shelves, Severus summoned the gift hed hidden behind the books; it flew over, a streak of red in the semi-darkness, and landed softly on the bed next to the green box.You go first,” he told her. Im not even sure I should be giving you this.”

Her brow furrowed, but her lips wobbled, obviously not sure what to make of that statement. Well, youve certainly piqued my curiosity.”

She rolled to her back and, bending her knees, tucked her toes beneath the covers. She turned the present over in her hands several times, her expression thoughtful, then ran her nail under one spellotaped edge and popped apart the wrapping. Beneath the paper she found a simple white cardboard box and, with an amused smirk, lifted the lid. She glanced up at him when she discovered what appeared to be a thin block of smooth black wood. Severus nodded at her to continue, his stomach coiling into a neat little knot. Perhaps this had been a bad idea. He never liked to count his chickens before they were hatched.

Hermione tipped out the black wood, which measured about the length of her outstretched hand, and found the small metal latch on the side, two hinges on the other. She sat up to get a better handle on it. Sliding her thumbnail beneath the antiqued catch, she opened the halves and when she saw what was inside, her hand flew to her mouth, her eyes overly bright.

She looked up at him again, blinking several times, her face pinched. Whats all this?” she whispered.

I thought it rather obvious.”

Did you make this?”

I collected the pictures,” he confirmed, but the picture frame is store-bought.”

Ive never seen a picture of you so young.” She looked down at the photo again. How old are you here?”

Id guess about two.”

She touched the other photo, the one of herself, and smiled. I think they took this one in the maternity ward. Did you get this from my parents’ house?”

He tipped his head in semi-confirmation. Get sounded nicer than stole.

This is the sweetest gift anyone has ever given me, Severus.” Leaning down, she kissed his nose, the liquid shine in her eyes on the verge of overflow. I love it. But why on earth would you be hesitant about giving me this? Its absolutely perfect.”

He reached over and ran his finger over the empty square beneath their two faded photographs. Because,” he said slowly, not sure he wanted to explain, we dont have this photo yet. Its for ... you know ...”

Our future baby,” she whispered, tears spilling down her cheeks.

He nodded. But ... after last month ... I felt like I was tempting fate, like I was jinxing us. I know thats utter nonsense, but ...”

But it was hard,” she confirmed. Sorta scary and sad at the same time. When I saw that blood, it felt like my heart was breaking.”

Severus rested his hand against the warmth of her lower abdomen, her womb beneath his palm. I didnt want to remind you of that. But, Hermione, no matter what happens—or doesnt happen—nothing can change how I feel about you. You know that, dont you?”

Rubbing at her cheeks with the back of her hand, Hermione nodded, a calm smile softening her expression. She sank down next to him and curled into his chest, the picture frame and the green, unopened present wedged into the small space between them. I love you so much, Severus. And even if the pregnancy thing doesnt work out for us, for whatever reason, Id still like to have a child with you. Would you be okay with adoption if thats what it came to?”

Severus studied her deep brown eyes, grateful to see the limitless possibility they contained, the unconditional love, the welcoming openness. Of course Id be okay with adoption. Id love to have a piece of you and me walking the planet, but I choose happiness over genetics any day. We dont need matching DNA to have a family.”

Beaming from ear to ear, Hermione grabbed his face and kissed him, her lips fierce and warm against his. When she pulled back, the room seemed to spin in the periphery, the snow and lights swirling together in a rainbow of crystalline glitter.

You open mine now,” she whispered. I think youre going to like it.”

He glanced down at the little green box and raised an eyebrow. Im sure I will. Youre quite good at picking out things I like.”

Her grin widened.

Severus lifted the box and gave it small shake. Its very light. Have you bought me the powered unicorn horn I was after last summer?”

She shrugged with faux innocence. Youll just have to open it and find out.”

Shifting around to free his arm, Severus slid off the ribbon then ripped the paper with a quick jerk and tossed it aside. The small white box fit in his palm, and he carefully lifted the lid with his thumb and forefinger. Inside he found a flat white card, totally plain, not even a smidge of holly to indicate the season. He arched an eyebrow at her. A gift card, perhaps? Flourish and Blotts or Devlins Whip Emporium?”

Would you just open it!” she blurted out, her impatience palpable.

He nodded calmly, purposely taking his time pulling out the card. Touching one stiff corner with the tip of his finger, he slowly drew it open. And froze. Not breathing.

When he finally managed to speak, he could scarcely hear his own voice. Is this a ...”

Hermione snuggled up closer, peering at the little photo, her finger extending to trace the murky image. Yes, it is. The Mediwitch took a photo of the internal spell-scan for me. Say hello to the newest Snape.”

But ... how?”

Turns out that last period I had wasnt a period. The specialist I talked to at St. Mungos said it was probably just implantation bleeding. She said lots of witches mistake it for a light period.”

You ... youre pregnant?” he said, just to make sure. The whole scene seemed a bit hallucinatory.

Hermione pressed a hand to her still-flat belly. Yep—a little under a month along.”

He looked down at her body in wonder. Would she be showing soon? He wanted solid proof that his wish had come true, that hed get the opportunity to leave behind a legacy of life rather than death. He wanted to see their love literally growing inside her, the promise of a second chance taking shape before his eyes. Almost a month,” he muttered to himself. Less than nine months away. We have to start getting ready.”

Hermione laughed brightly, the sound like a choir of angles surrounding him in joy. We have plenty of time,” she said, and punctuated the reassurance with a soft kiss. But I like your enthusiasm.”

We can start clearing out the extra bedroom to turn it into a nursery. And tomorrow Ill ...” He paused, realizing what shed just told him. Wait—how long have you known about this?”

I went to see the mediwitch a week ago.

And you just let me suffer all that time, worry and waiting, not coming for a fucking fortnight!”

Were you really worried?” she asked, her expression pinched with genuine concern.

He sank back, unable to find any real anger. No, I suppose not. Just a bit tense. I didnt want to let you down again.”

She shook her head and rested against his shoulder with sigh. Youve never let me down, Severus. Ever.”

Placing a kiss to her curly crown, Snape wrapped an arm around her and pulled her closer. I am relieved, but dont think for a second that Ive forgotten about the two weeks I just spent in blue ball hell. Why on earth didnt you tell me you were pregnant as soon as I came home? Merlin, Hermione, you could have sent me an owl and let me blow off some steam in the hotel room seven days ago!”

Hm,” she murmured lightly. Nope.”

Nope,” he repeated, stunned by her easy dismissal. Nope? Thats all you have to say to me. Nope?”

She looked up at him, her expression devoid of any remorse. I wanted to get an amazing fuck out of you first.”

He just stared at her for a few seconds, shocked by her brazen lack of repentance.

She burst out laughing before he could speak. Oh gods, I was just kidding, Severus! But that look on your face was beyond priceless.”

He squinted down at her. You werent using me for my body, then?”

That made her laugh even harder. Severus, I wasnt expecting you until Christmas Eve! I had this whole big reveal planned for when you got home, fancy candlelight dinner and everything. Instead, you come home two days early and decide to wake me from a dead sleep with your extremely hard cock, demanding that we have sex that very instant ... and for the next three days straight. You did catch me a little unawares.”

Slightly chagrined, he glanced down at her come-coated slit. I might have been a bit focused on one particular outcome.”

Oh, Im not complaining,” she murmured, her fingers skimming over his belly, down to his half-soft cock. You werent the only one hard up for it. And I do apologize for the unnecessary wank-free week, but the state of your bollocks wasnt exactly at the forefront of my mind. Ive been a teensy bit preoccupied.”

Severus snorted. Yes, I’d imagine so.” Leaning back, he rubbed at his face and heaved out a great sigh. Well, at least I dont have to spend the next three days downing revitalization potions and applying salve to my overwrought genitals. I guess our days of marathon fucking are over. It was fun while it lasted.”

Hermione ran a finger along his length, tracing the smooth skin of his glans with a thoughtful hum. I seem to recall you promising me three semen-filled days of sex, and if I was a good girl, all the anal I could handle.”

I did not say all the anal you could handle,” he sputtered indignantly. That arse of yours is insatiable.”

Is it?” she asked ponderously. I wonder who could have trained it to respond in such a manner.”

He tipped up her chin with one finger, unable to keep from smiling. I cant think of a more apt pupil. You always were keen to broaden your horizons.”

And I cant think of a better man to teach our child about the strength of love.” She pressed her lips to his, and Severus opened up to her, pouring all the things he could never say into the brush of his tongue along hers, the caress of one hungry mouth against another.

When they finally pulled apart, Hermione looked drugged and sleepy, a contented grin on her swollen lips that made Snapes heart trip over a beat and stumble into the warm pool that had insidiously swamped his gut.

Im so happy to have you home, Severus. I missed you,” she whispered. Happy Christmas Eve eve. Eve? Ive no idea what time it is.”

Its time for bed,” he replied. Happy Christmas to you, too, my love.”

Snape slipped his hand between their naked bodies and stroked the soft skin of her lower belly, skating over the small dip where her pelvis and abdomen met, the space that would soon be stretched taut and full of living magic. Or should I say happy Christmas, my loves?”

Hermiones mouth widened in a cat-like yawn, and after a few stretchy seconds, she snapped it closed and rubbed at her eyes. Nope.”

No?” he repeated, blinking. Too soon?”

She smiled. Never. Its just that you cant divvy up love. When the baby comes, the love you feel wont split itself into pieces; itll just ... sort of ... express itself in a new way.”

Speechless, Severus could only lie there, too wrapped up in his exploration of her assertion to comment. Hed never thought of love in such a limitless fashion before, especially not his own love, but he couldnt argue with her logic. How could something with no physical boundaries be two? She was right: pluralizing love was unnecessarily superfluous. Inaccurate. He rubbed his head, sure his mind had been blown—and might never be put to right.

How did a witch as bright as you ever get sorted into Gryffindor?” he pondered under his breath.

Hermione gave his nipple a halfhearted pinch of reproach, too tired to chastise.

He brushed her hand away, suddenly struck by a much more important realization. That would mean love is my home.”

Lifting her head, she gave him a funny look, half confused and half sentimental. Im not sure I follow.”

I couldnt wait to get back to you tonight,” he explained slowly, thinking out loud, to get back home. But theres not really any difference, is there? Hermione and home are just different names Ive given love ... an unnecessary compartmentalization. Theyre synonyms ... referencing the exact same thing ... something thats not an actual thing. Theyre ... what did you call it? Expressions? Youre the expression that the formless has taken for me, the undefinable sense of home. Of love.”

Hermiones eyes slowly filled with tears, and she didnt bother to wipe them away. Reaching up, she touched his cheek. I understand exactly what you mean.” She pecked his chin. Youre home.” And with that, she smiled and curled back into his embrace, contentment and calm radiating from her like a sleepy fire.

Severus didnt know if she was acknowledging that he had, indeed, returned to her love, or whether she was declaring him her own expression of home. Although, if he took his own ponderings on the inseparability of home, love, and Hermione to their full extent, she could have been calling him love itself, a possibility hed posited about her only moments before.

He looked down at her riotous hair and smirked softly, post-coital exhaustion settling over him like a drowsy veil. If he was love and she was love, was there really a they? Didnt that just leave the wholeness of love, just as shed stated, the not divvied up-ness?

His thoughts began to swirl as he drifted toward dreamland, and the rational side of his mind gave up trying to combine what was never inseparable. Relief took hold, and his body relaxed.

Severus fell asleep that night certain of nothing but loving, and in that certainty he could find only peace.

The peace of being home.