AN: I hope everyone is staying safe and healthy! Things actually got more hectic for me once the quarantines started. I work more online than I did in person. Such is life, but if updating is sporadic that's why. Still I am finding time to write more chapters, so the story will go on!
As always thank you so much for all the support! It really, truly means a lot!
"Are you certain you aren't overexerting yourself?" Victor asked.
"I swear if you ask that one more time," Hermione muttered.
"I just watched you almost die. Forgive me if I'm still a bit nervous."
"I know, but right now I'm fine," Hermione arranged the presents on her tray table into a pyramid.
"If at any point you feel as if you've overexerted yourself…"
"I overexerted myself when I gave birth to you. I am doing more than fine at the moment."
"I am glad to hear it," Severus helped her stack the smallest present on the top of the tower.
"Now where did Violet run off to?" Hermione sat stretched. "It could not have taken that long to fetch some paper plates."
"Perhaps she decided to sneak a candy bar and is eating it before any of us can catch wind of it."
"That does sound like her anyway."
There was a knock on the door. "Is this a bad time?"
Hermione gasped. "Ginny?"
"I didn't expect to see you here."
"That makes us even." Ginny stepped closer to her. "How are you feeling?"
"There was a small bump in the road but," Hermione coughed. "I am quite well now."
Ginny ran over and embraced her friend. "Please don't scare us like that again."
"Yes." Violet emerged from the hallway with the paper plates, silverware, and napkins. "I would really love to go a few decades before I worry about losing my mum again."
Hermione released her friend. "I promise not to almost die so long as you promise to stop worrying about me and go to the university you want to attend."
Violet gulped. "So Dad told you about the College of the Appalachians."
She glanced at her father.
"Did you turn in that application yet?"
"I have it ready, but Hagrid said I should wait on one more project to be completed before I send it."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "What project would that be?"
"I apologize for my tardiness." Rose rushed into the room holding the cake. "The bakery was short staffed, so it took them longer than any of us had planned."
"Do not worry about it." Hermione pointed to a nearby stand. "Could you expand that Severus so we have room for the cake?"
"Isn't that against hospital regulations?" Victor asked.
"We will return it to its previous condition before they even notice it was altered," Severus pulled out his wand. After muttering a spell, the table grew.
"So long as nobody catches you I suppose there's no problem," Victor mused.
Violet jabbed his side. "Don't be such a Gryffindor spoiled sport."
"I'm not a Gryffindor spoiled sport," Victor rubbed the spot she'd hit him.
"Of course you are," Rose set down the cake. "But we love you because of it."
Victor couldn't help but grin.
"Now that we have the cake…"
"We need to wait for a few more people!"
Everyone glanced at Ginny.
"I need to find Draco and Carina before we can even think about cutting the cake."
Victor's heart fluttered at the sound of Carina's name.
"Ginny, please don't feel pressured to bring Draco here," Hermione began. "We know he must be busy, and he probably does not have time for a birthday party."
"No, Draco is his uncle, and Carina is his friend." She winked at Victor. "They would both love to be here."
"It's the day before the election though," Severus protested. "We do not want to bother them."
"Victor is our favorite nephew. We have to wish him a happy birthday."
Severus exhaled. "What do you think, son?"
"I do not want to interrupt them if they're doing anything important," Victor cut in. "But I would love nothing more than to see Uncle Draco and Carina, assuming they can come."
"Trust me," Ginevra put a hand on his shoulder. "They can come."
Before anyone could launch a protest, Ginevra skipped out of the room.
"Does this mean we have to wait to cut the cake?" Violet asked.
"We will wait ten minutes," Severus replied. "If they are not there by then we will dig into the cake."
"Are you sure Carina will be able to make it in ten minutes?" Rose asked. "I fear Victor will not allow us to have any kind of party without her."
"What do you think, Victor?" Hermione asked. "Would you like us to wait for the Malfoys?"
Victor gave a sheepish smile. "I mean, if none of you mind, I wouldn't mind saving Carina some cake."
"I'll bet he wants to give her the best corner piece too," Violet smirked.
"I mean, she deserves only the best."
"You deserve only the best too," Hermione replied. "Don't you ever forget that."
"I won't," Victor promised. "I won't ever forget that."
"Good," Hermione grasped Severus' hand a squeezed it. "Now, while we're waiting do you want to finish looking at your adolescence pictures?"
"Must we show those now?" Victor groaned.
She burst out laughing. "Of course I must. What kind of mother would I be if I did not embarrass my son a little with his adorable Hogwarts pictures?"
"Not a very good one I suppose," Victor admitted, knowing that Hermione could never be accused of being a bad mum to him.
"So how exactly are we going to do this?"
Bill gripped the frigid, iron bars. He couldn't hear any better than when he was against the cell wall, but being closer to the voices made him feel like he was at least somewhat in on the conversation.
"It's a weird case," a man in a three piece suit admitted. "So far the amnesiacs have attacked as part of a mob. It hasn't been an individual attack like this."
In the back of the cell, Charlie scratched brick wall. Bill gave him a dirty look before returning his attention to the officials.
"I'm not quite sure if we're going to prosecute them, or if they should still be in the cell," the man continued.
A witch in a gray pencil skirt and white blouse scratched her chin. "True, but before I can even begin to decide what to do with this case, I need a statement from Severus and Hermione Snape."
"Hermione should be easy enough to get a statement from, but Severus doesn't remember a thing," the auror replied.
"I know," the witch tapped her foot. "We can only get a statement from him if he's amnesiac, which is a tall order."
"Is it fair to ask someone to go through that again?"
"Do we have much of a choice?"
"No, I suppose not, but that doesn't mean I like it."
The witch sighed. "I like it about as much as you do, but I don't see any other way to get to the bottom of this."
"No, there really isn't another way," the wizard admitted.
The witch twisted her lips. "So, when do you want to break the news to Severus Snape that he's going to spend the night in the station without a clue of what's going on?"
The witch covered her mouth and stifled a laugh.
"Still it is probably better to get this done and over with sooner rather than later."
He threw back his shoulders. "Wish me luck."
The man strolled down the hallway.
Bill cleared his throat. "Excuse me, Ms…."
The witch turned around and frowned.
"I'm sorry to bother you, but we would really like to know where our mum is."
Charlie looked up.
"I'm afraid I cannot disclose that information," she answered.
"I know, but please just give us some clue of what happened to her, we're really worried."
"The same way she was worried about you when she convinced you to go up against the Snapes?"
"I'm sure it was nothing more than a misunderstanding."
"Sure," she drawled.
"Please, just tell us if she's okay," Bill pleaded.
"She is somewhere she cannot harm anyone else. That is all I am allowed to disclose to you."
Bill opened his mouth, but she walked away before he could say another word. He exhaled and rested his head against the bars.
What has Mum gotten us into?