Voldemort's Assassin - Chapter 42

The Real Epilogue - 5 years later, 2006

Severus Snape's Apothecary

"Jillian Amaranth Snape!" Severus bellowed as he glared in study at his Apothecary workbench. "Where is my moonstone?!" A small giggle came from beyond the interior of the shop towards the shop proper. Severus smirked as he spied a touch of yellow over white crinoline on the other side of open doorway. His five year old daughter, the product of one indiscreet, but wholly satisfying night in his lab at Malfoy Manor, was crouched down as if to hide herself beyond the open doorway.

Severus tapped his chin as if in deep thought. He spoke musingly aloud, "I wonder, wherever could that child of mine be hiding? I know she snatched my moonstone since she is such a devious little witch..." With absolute silence, and cunning, Severus had silently Apparated right behind his little girl; her hair of burnished curls bouncing airily over her yellow pinafore, and white crinoline dress. Upon Jillian's feet were delicate black slippers of dyed dragon-hide.

"Thief!" shouted Severus as he grabbed Jillian up into his arms around her waist. Jillian let out an excited shriek, quickly wiggled around, and hugged her father tightly about his neck.

"Papa! I's no fief!"

"Will you deny the evidence of powdered moonstone glittering upon your terribly guilty hands, child?" he demanded gruffly.

Jillian held out her small hands that were already showing that she would grow to possess her father's delicate, yet strong build. She pouted at the dust that glittered like star-shine tellingly on her hands and fingers. "Ohhh, I fink there was dust on the floor, Papa." She held his hands before his eyes to show her proof.

"Aye, so it appears. However, dear Jillian, my eyes caught you as you were hovering near my workbench planning your daring heist." He glared darkly, and Jillian's lower lip trembled as her crocodile tears welled up in her deep, copper eyes. "Ohh shush, sweet child," he crooned as he kissed her cheeks, and then her forehead. "Powdered moonstone is not expensive, and I truly am not angry with you, but what has papa been trying to teach his darling Jillian?"

Jillian sighed, and leaned her cheek against her father's chest. "I'se not apposed to touch papa's potions stuff." She lowered her voice as if to mimic him, "There are a lot of 'spensive and dangerous 'gredients Jillian so you'se not apposed to touch!"

"Correct!" Severus smiled, but then he grimaced as he put his daughter down upon her feet. "Your pronunciation, though, is terrible. You are spending far too much time around Pratty."

Jillian slipped her tiny hand into her papa's large hand. "Pratty's my bestest friend next to Belle'Belle!"

Belle'Belle, was the daughter of Lucius and Julia Malfoy. Her full name was Annabel Aurora, but she had been called 'Belle' when she began talking.

Severus returned to his workbench and lifted Jillian onto a tall stool, with a short backrest that was the perfect size for her. He stuck her to the stool with a Sticking Charm, and then gently ordered, "Sit on your hands, Jillian." Obediently the five-year old tucked her hands under her baby-fat thighs, and then listened attentively as her father began to teach her about the Calming Potion he was brewing.

Plucking a new moonstone from a jar of the opalescent stones, he dropped it into a mortar and began to crush it. "Crushing the moonstone begins the process of the brewer channeling his magical energy into the potion. Will I require my wand, Miss Snape?" he asked as he tested the dustiness of the moonstone powder.

"No foo'ish wand waving, Papa," Jillian replied with utmost severity.

"Good girl, Miss Snape." With the moonstone properly crushed he poured a cup of the powder into the water in the cauldron that had steadily been boiling. As he stirred the ingredient. "Notice that the powder of the moonstone resists my stirring, and appears as an oil slick of a dull rainbow upon the surface of the water. Concentrating upon sending more of my energy into my process the moonstone powder loses the fight, and dissolves. It now appears as if there is nothing but boiling water in my cauldron. What ingredient is next, Miss Snape?"

Jillian looked away from the cauldron and down at the ingredients that Severus had set out upon his workbench. "Ginner root," she pointed.

Severus picked up the gnarled root. "Gin-ger, Miss Snape. Please repeat. Gin-ger."

Jillian looked up into his eyes, "Gin... ger. Can I smell it, Papa. Me likes Ginner root."

With a quick roll of his eyes, he sliced off a tiny piece at the end, skinned it, and gave it to his daughter who inhaled its fresh aroma, and then she popped it in her mouth, and chewed it. "You have one, too, Papa," the child directed.

Dutifully, Severus removed, and skinned a small piece for himself, and he popped it into his mouth, and chewed. He then began skinning the root, then chopping it. "Do you recall what I taught you about skinning the ginger root before cutting it into square pieces, Miss Snape?"

Jillian tapped her chin thoughtfully. "You said is better because the gin... ger smell floats around and grabs magic to make potion lots better!" To emphasise her triumphant point she clapped her hands together twice.

"I do not recall saying it quite like that, Miss Snape," Severus smirked. "But, you have the right of it my brilliant, little girl."

Severus continued to lecture and finished the Calming Potion right as a beaming Hermione walked through the open door from the front of the shop to the lab in the back.

Walking around the end of the workbench Severus kissed Hermione chastely, and then looked down upon her hopefully. "You are radiating good news, wife. What did the Healer have to say?"

She nodded happily, and clasped his hands in hers. Impossibly her smile brightened as she gasped, "We're going to have another baby, Severus!"

Happy beyond belief Severus drew his wife up into his arms and lifted her right off the floor. He kissed her soundly, and Jillian, who rarely saw her parents express such open affection for each other, squealed her approval, and clapped her small hands together.

Letting his wife down Hermione bounded towards her daughter. "Jilli! How's my sweet girl been?"

Jillian sighed, and pouted, "I'se not perfect, Mumma. Me took papa's dusty stone as a 'ha-ha' but I'se think he not happy." Jillian pouted, and Severus glared at her as he crossed his arms over his chest. Jillian then giggled at him.

Hermione kissed Jillian's forehead and expressed her disapproval, "Ohh, you devious child. You know better than to mess with papa's ingredients."

"I shall deduct the cost from her apprenticeship savings," Severus dead-panned.

"Likely you will," teased Hermione with a small mutter.

Jillian jiggled and tried to remove herself from the stool. The Sticking Charm was infallible, and after several minutes, as her parents spoke softly, Jillian cried, "PAPA! DOWN!"

Severus removed the charm, and watched as his daughter went to her play-area in the lab. He then turned his attention to his wife. "Are you certain you want another, Wife?"

Hermione slipped her arms around his waist, and smiled cheekily up at him. "Ohhh, I want an entire Quidditch team of brats, Severus," she drawled. When Severus blanched in obvious horror of such a thought, Hermione laughed, and hugged her husband tightly. After a moment, his arms dropped over her shoulders.

"A Quidditch team," he echoed helplessly. He then nodded. For Hermione, he would give to her the world.

"Well," said Hermione as she kissed his cheek. "Perhaps just one more? I've always liked the number three."

As Severus looked down into his wife's pretty amber eyes, he recalled the friendship that had meant so much in her youth, and had been torn asunder by a cruel madman. "Three brats is much more acceptable, my dear, however... none of them will be named... Harry."

"Perhaps Harry's middle name?" she asked hopefully.

Severus was genuinely puzzled. "A middle name. Did he really have a second name?"

Hermione rose up on her tip-toes and whispered the name into his ear. Severus smiled in evident approval. "How remarkable," he said softly, and then, just to be sure she knew that he meant her, Severus kissed Hermione until she was dizzy.

Which was a very, very long time.