A few stray beams of light were breaking through the heavy, dark green curtains of his bedroom window. He no longer had that look of peace and innocence gracing his face, so she knew he was awake. Staring down at his closed eyes and silky black hair, she couldn't push down the love she felt for him. He could give her something that no one else could: a sense of peace and protection. When she is wrapped in his arms, nothing else matters. For those few stolen nights, she is able to forget everything. The war, the people who lost their lives, her demanding job, and her husband.
Marrying Ron was the biggest mistake of her life. She couldn't bring herself to regret her two beautiful children that came of them, though. Rose and Hugo were once what she thought would bring the love back into her marriage. They weren't planned, but she was very excited when she found out she was expecting. She thought they would be able to make Ron stay at home in their bed each night, make them love each other again. Oh, how wrong she had been. He stayed at home more often to keep up appearances at first. However, that didn't last long. He took to Apparating from inside their bedroom to wherever he was going, leaving the children none the wiser to his departure. In a few years, Hugo would join his sister at Hogwarts and the house would be empty almost perminately, she was sure.
When that happened, Ron would surely spend his time with whichever war groupie had caught his eye that night, and she would spend hers with Severus. A much better arrangement than she had now. She was often required to stay home since she couldn't leave Hugo alone in the house for an entire night. As of now, her nights with Severus were few and far between.
Staring at the troubled lines on his face, she knew he was thinking. After two years together, she was pretty sure she knew about what. The last time she had left his bed she had to publicly welcome home her husband from an Auror mission abroad. There had been several reporters there since Ron was still very much in the public eye.
She had thrown herself into his arms, kissing him, in what must have seemed a passionate manner. With every camera flash she knew she was hurting Severus, as the pictures would be in every newspaper and magazine come morning. Still, it was something that had to be done. She couldn't risk losing her children in a custody battle due to sympathy for the public's favorite red-headed war hero. It was ridiculous how the newspapers loved to play up his Auror career as a continuation of his fight during the war, never mind that Voldemort had been defeated more than fifteen years ago. It was even more ridiculous how much he loved the attention.
Severus always pretended to sleep through her morning departure. It must be easier that way for him. He didn't have to watch her collect her clothes scattered around his house, dress to return to the loveless man at home, or say another good-bye.
She placed a soft kiss on his forehead before pulling herself from his bed. Hating that she was once again leaving the love of her life behind, she dressed as quickly as possible before Apparting home.
He was lying in their marriage bed, of course: she couldn't have gone if he hadn't decided to stay home for Hugo.
Each one of those nights with Severus was the most passionate of her life. She knew that with every kiss and every touch, he was telling her what he could not say out loud. She also knew that every morning that she left him to go home to her husband, she broke his heart just a little bit more.
She climbed onto the covers, facing away from Ron, as she thought about how much more Severus deserved. She wondered if one day he would stop accepting her.
She knew that history was repeating itself. Rose told her how horribly he treated her in class. How awful it must be for him to be forced to be around the children of the women he loved but could never fully have. First Lily and now herself. She had broken his heart the way Lily had, by marrying another man, someone she couldn't leave because of those very children.
"I wish you would shower before coming to bed. Wouldn't want to get the covers greasy."
Sighing, she climbed from the bed and headed to the bathroom. She dreaded each step, knowing soon she wouldn't even have his scent to help her through the day.