Author's Note: Here's my epilogue for the story. It's in the future and contains no time jumps. It's just a short sweet little bit that I hope you like.
Let me know what you think!
10 Years in the Future
"And it is my pleasure to introduce the Valedictorian of this graduating class, a wizard who has just received his Masters in Potions, The Horace Slughorn Scholarship, The Faith Picoult Scholarship, and has accepted a Masters of Potions fellowship at the Australian University of Wizarding Studies, Theodore Snape."
"Quite the introduction," Severus mumbled to Hermione.
"He deserves it," Hermione said with a smile as they watched their son take the stage. "He's nervous, no one else will see it though."
"With Grace due any day now, I was hoping he'd accept the fellowship in Scotland," Severus whispered. "Maybe he's nervous about going so far away."
"They want their own start," Hermione said softly as they watched Theo look out onto the crowd. "Wait until you hear his speech."
"You've heard it?" Severus whispered.
"We all have," Miranda whispered back from his other side.
"I haven't," Severus said, slightly perturbed.
"Shhh!" Grace said from the other side of Hermione.
"Anyone who knows my father, will not be surprised at my choice of specialization, but anyone who knows me, will be taken aback. Like all the graduates before you here today we have many people to thank for getting us to where we are. We have parents who believed in us, siblings who we competed with, friends who cheered us on, and even spouses who put their faith in someone without a definite career plan."
The audience laughed at his last line and Theo winked at Grace. Hermione reached out and took Grace's hand in hers and smiled.
Theo went on to talk about different fellows at the university, some groundbreaking work his fellow graduates have done, and the many mishaps that nearly cost some of the graduates their lives along the way. The audience chuckled at his jokes, listened solemnly to the triumphs, and nodded as different professors were revered.
"But, putting all the work aside, all the late hours, all the essays and tests, all the triumphs and disappointments, all the explosions..."
There was a general snickering in the audience.
"It all comes down to what you love. And, like every other graduate here, I love Potions. I love the artistry of it, the science, the magic. I love that I can create potions that can help others, that can change our world, that can just be a thing of beauty. And my father taught me that. No offence to the wonderful fellows at this university, but my father's love of potions, family, and wizardry is what has made me who I am today."
"What?" Severus asked surprised.
"Surprise!" Hermione said softly as she placed a hand over his heart.
"And, as I embark on a new part of my life, as we all do, I have to thank the man who made me who I am. We should all be thanking those who encouraged us, pushed us and loved us, because without them, who would we be? So thank you to my family whose love has always given me a place of acceptance, and to my father who has shown me the kind of man, the kind of husband, and the kind of father, I want to be."
Severus wiped at a few stray tears and felt Miranda and Hermione lean into him on both sides. Hermione kissed the side of his face and Miranda reached out and held his hand.
"I knew that line would make you cry," Miranda whispered to her father.
Severus couldn't peel his eyes off his son as he went on to talk about where his fellow graduates were going to study and what miraculous leaps forward in the study of potions he expected them all to take. He confidently talked about how this institution was world renowned and how, with this graduating class, it had become all the more prestigious. He ended his speech with a Latin quotation indicating the world was now theirs to discover.
The crowd cheered and Severus found himself, with his wife, daughter, and daughter-in-law, standing to acknowledge his son's wonderful achievement.
"That's our boy," Hermione said as a smile from ear to ear. "But, more than anything Severus, he's your son. Your amazing son."
Severus turned to his wife and kissed her softly on the lips before he continued to clap. Theo bowed to the crowd and started to walk back towards his seat.
"He's wonderful!" Grace said exuberantly.
"That he is," Severus said as he looked toward the woman that was carrying his first grandchild.
Severus felt as if his life had all come to this point of pure joy. Through the trauma of his childhood, the stressful years spying, the taxing years teaching, the years of his secret relationship with Hermione, their children, their wonderful life, her cancer, their decision to semi-retire, and now their successful children...it all was...wonderful. He held his daughter's hand in his and thought of her leaving tomorrow to go back to her studies in Spain where she lived in their apartment and they stayed together a few times a year. He thought of Grace and Theo embarking on an adventure in Australia and as new parents, prepared to forge their own path. And, he thought of Hermione, whose steadfast love saved him from himself a long time ago, and whose continued love gave him a life he had never dreamed was possible. In that moment, Severus Snape was grateful for all of it; every single day.