Epilogue

                                                                         Filch Finds Love in All The Wrong Places: A Hogwarts Honeymoon

Author's note:  I tried to make this chapter more light hearted and humorous than most of the previous story.  After staying with me through the gloom and doom, I thought everyone might enjoy a little amusement.  I hope that's indeed the case, and you all enjoy this peek into the enchanted honeymoon of the new Mr. And Mrs. Snape. :)    Be sure to let me know what you think, and thank you all so very much for reading.  I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed hearing from all of you.

                                                                                                                   ~#*#~

Severus Snape kicked open the door to the large suite at the top of the east tower and carried his bride over the threshold.   Ignoring the beautiful main room of the suite, he kicked the door closed behind him and headed straight for the bedroom.  Evangeline kept her arms entwined around his neck and smiled to herself at his single-mindedness.   There would be an entire summer to appreciate the beauty of their surroundings, after all.  All that either of them was truly interested in at the moment was tearing each other's clothes off and consummating this marriage as soon as possible.   What else is a honeymoon for?

It was a bit disappointing to find themselves confined to Hogwarts castle by difficult circumstances and external threats.  A true wedding trip would have been wonderful, but it just wasn't possible at the moment.  On the other hand, having a whole enchanted castle almost to themselves for an entire summer was hardly a bad thing.  This beautiful suite of rooms was a fine example.  Almost no one had had a use for the "Honeymoon Suite" in uncounted years.  How useful would such a thing be in a school anyhow?  Yet that was how Albus had referred to it when he'd offered it to them before the wedding.

Now, as Severus laid her gently on the enormous bed in the charming bedroom, she had to admit it certainly fit the description perfectly.  The room was glowingly lit with dozens of sparkling white candles in gold and silver holders.  The domed ceiling was enchanted to show the beautiful colors of twilight with its blossoming stars.  She laid on a bed that was bigger by far than any king size bed she'd ever seen before. It easily dwarfed their bed in the dungeon, and that was saying something.  A canopy of a gauzy white material covered the top of the bed suspended by the twisted mahogany posts at its corners.  Curtains of the same material shrouded all four sides so that when they were inside it, they'd be suspended in a world of hazy whiteness, cocooned safely from the intrusion of the outside world.

The floor was a delicate, white-veined, rose-colored marble, and the walls were a pale gold, which gleamed faintly in the reflected glow of the dazzling candles.  There was an enormous white marble fireplace with a crystal bowl of red roses on the mantle, and elegant French doors that led to a large ornate balcony with a spectacular view of the countryside far below.  They ignored all of it.

Severus stared down at his beautiful wife and bent to kiss her passionately.  It had taken hours to finally escape from the clinging clutches of the wedding guests.  People simply would not take a hint.  He'd practically had to resort to threatening them to their faces before they'd let them go!   What was the matter with the idiots anyway?  Couldn't they tell that the bride and groom had much better things to do with their time than eat and drink and…dance?  That was the problem when most of the guests were themselves, unmarried.  No sense of priorities!

As he drew back from her enticing lips he sighed in satisfaction.  "I thought we'd never get out of there, and I'd be forced to resort to murder." 

With a blissful sigh of contentment, Evangeline smiled happily up at her new husband.  "I doubt if that would have been necessary, Severus.  Once you'd maimed one or two, the rest of them would have gotten the message, I'm sure."

His eyes gleamed, and he smirked down at her.  "I suppose you're right.  They aren't total fools after all."  Then he paused and his expression turned serious.  "Are you happy, Evangeline?  You don't have any regrets about marrying me today, do you?"

She lifted a hand and lightly traced the planes of his face with a soft finger, pausing to gently outline his desirable lips with her touch.  "Oh, Severus, how can you ask me that?  Being your wife is all I've thought about for months.  Even before you asked me…it was my deepest desire, something that I never expected to become reality.  It sounds terribly trite, but today is truly the happiest day of my life.  I love you more than I ever thought possible."  Her eyes sparkled with desire as she smiled happily at him, and he smiled back.

Then pure mischief overtook her expression.   She grinned wickedly up at him and began to unfasten his clothes with anxious fingers.  "Now, stop talking and get undressed so I can make love to you!  It's way past time for this honeymoon to begin."

In the interests of speeding things up, Snape pulled back and stood up.  With a slow smile on his lips, he withdrew his wand from his sleeve and waved it once murmuring a very useful spell.  In the blink of an eye their clothes vanished from their bodies to reappear neatly folded over the back of a nearby chair.

"As you can see, I found something else worth practicing for the wedding night."  He smirked.

Eagerly, Evangeline slid her body back on the silky pale green sheets and gestured for him to join her.  "Well, it's time to stop practicing, Severus.  The moment of truth is finally at hand."

Placing his wand carefully on the bedside table he crawled onto the bed and leaned over his now naked wife.  With wonder in his eyes, he gazed down at her and marveled that all this beauty was his.  His to admire, his to touch, his to caress lovingly and passionately from now until the end of time, or at least until some foolish cretin with a death wish interrupted them again!

While he was considering where to begin, Evangeline took matters into her own capable hands and reached up and pulled him down on top of her.  The shock of their two bodies coming together so abruptly sent electric shivers up and down his spine. Her touch on his body always had an almost intoxicating effect on him.  To his utter delight, she writhed enticingly beneath him and pressed her mouth hungrily to his, exploring deeply with her tongue and inviting him to explore her in return.  Wanting her even closer, he wrapped his arms tightly around her and crushed her warm willing body against his.  Slowly he rolled over placing her on top of him as he deliberately ran his hands down her torso, thoroughly enjoying the feeling of the curves and planes of her silky backside.

His wife raised her body up from his, and he took the opportunity to grasp her firm breast with his questing lips and suckle hungrily at the delicate orb of flesh as it dangled so enticingly in front of his nose.  She moaned in delight and arched her back as strands of hot desire shot through her at the speed of light.

Severus rolled once more to imprison her again beneath the weight of his body, as he moved from one sweet breast to the other while his mouth worked its magic on her strongly aroused flesh.  Slowly he worked his way up her throat with passionate kisses as his hand buried itself in her soft tresses and his knee prodded her legs to open for him.

Evangeline's hands slid smoothly down over the skin of his strong back, savoring the feel of him in her arms.  Then her right hand ducked beneath his body to lightly caress the satin skin of his manhood.  This enticing maneuver tore soft moans from his throat as his mouth was working its way along the delicate line of her jaw on its way to once more capture her lips in passionate desire.

Impatience suddenly overtook both of them as Evangeline spread her legs wide to receive him, and he joyously complied with her invitation by thrusting himself firmly up inside her body's warm embrace.  His lips and body boldly claimed hers for all time as they both gave themselves up to the other in a dance of desire that sent their souls spiraling up through the enchanted ceiling to entwine with the stars in the sky above their heads. 

               ************************************************************************************************************

Argus Filch sat in his chair in his cramped little office in the lower levels of Hogwarts castle and scowled at the reams of parchment that threatened to bury his desk.  Summer could be almost as frustrating a time as the school year in some ways.  Yes, he no longer had to put up with the unbearable annoyance of those pesky students, but there was always so much to do to get ready for the next term, that it almost didn't matter.

Every room had to be cleaned and fixed up.  All supplies had to be inventoried and replenished.  Any special requests by the professors had to be processed and attended to as well.  Even with a full staff of annoyingly agreeable house elves, there was still so much to do, that he sometimes felt as if he had to wait for the school year to resume before he got any time off.

Then this year…there was the extra complication that he wasn't the only human left in the castle.  He snorted to himself at how he'd foolishly assumed that the presence of the honeymooning couple wouldn't mean any problems for him.  After all what do couples do on their honeymoon anyway?  Not that he knew from personal experience mind you, but he'd always assumed that they'd confine themselves to the east tower and copulate like bunnies for the entire summer.  Other than having the house elves provide them with meals and perhaps fresh linens and towels, he assumed they'd be no trouble.  Boy, was he wrong!

Oh yes, that had been true for about two weeks.  Then they'd apparently gotten bored with their surroundings.  After all, if you have an entire castle at your fingertips, why settle for a single tower, even if it is lovely and comfortable and outfitted for your every need!  Filch sighed as he thought about the "Honeymoon Suite", as Professor Dumbledore had referred to it when he first took Filch up there and asked him to get it ready for the use of Professor Snape and his bride.  It had required a lot of work to get it ready.  No one had used it in uncounted decades as far as he knew, but when they'd finished with it, it had been the most beautiful spot in the castle. 

If anyone had given it to him for the summer and asked him to share it with a lovely woman like Miss Evangeline, he'd have been more than happy to stay there, out of the way, just enjoying himself and not making any more work for other already overworked people. You'd think that'd be true of Professor Snape, too, but oh no, some people just can't be satisfied, can they? 

He shook his head in disgust.  Love makes fools out of even the most rational and reasonable of adults.   Now, he'd always thought of Professor Snape as rational and reasonable.  Certainly the Potions Master had always behaved so to him, and that was what counted, after all.  He'd seemed like the very last person to foolishly fall in love.  The castle caretaker didn't even think the word was in Snape's vocabulary much less his emotional repertoire. 

Oh yes, Miss Evangeline was a very nice lady, very pretty and kind and well-mannered…but it never would've occurred to him in a million years that Snape would think so!  Really, who in his right mind would've ever predicted that cold, intimidating, shrewd, calculating Professor Snape would fall in love…and that the woman in question would actually love him back!

Filch sighed.  He'd known he was wrong though when Evangeline had been injured in that fall.  There she was sprawled out in the corridor with blood everywhere, looking like a casualty of war.  When Snape and Pomfrey had run up to help and Filch had taken one look at the absolute anguish on Snape's face as he'd looked at her and no doubt thought her dead, well Filch had known right then that Snape wasn't immune to love after all. 

He'd been even more sure when he'd seen the look of intense relief on Snape's face when he'd discovered that she wasn't dead and seen the gentleness with which he'd turned her over and picked her up in his arms.  Oh, yes, he might as well have stood up and proclaimed his feelings to the world as far as Filch was concerned.  The unthinkable had happened…Professor Snape had fallen in love, and now look where it'd gotten Filch!  Up to his elbows in extra work, that's where!

Suddenly there was a shiver in the air.  The sort of shiver that always preceded the arrival of a house elf.  Sure enough, when Filch dragged his eyes off his inventory lists and peeked over the side of his desk, he saw a house elf standing there twisting his tea towel between his nimble little fingers.

With a heavy sigh of foreboding, Filch addressed the elf.  "What now, Blinky?  Have our "Happy Honeymooners" been at it again?"

The elf nodded reluctantly.  "Blinky is sorry to say, yes, Mr. Argus Filch, sir.  Yes, it seems as if Professor Snapes and Missy Evangeline is been having way too much fun in the prefect's bathroom on the fifth floor near the Arithmancy classrooms, sir.  I is very sorry to have to be mentioning this, sir.  Very, very sorry."

Filch dropped his head into his hand and groaned.  "Not that bathroom!" 

Of all the bathrooms in the castle, why did they have to pick that one?  Okay…he knew why.  It was the only one with the warm massage oil dispenser, and the old fashioned soda fountain, but damn it, he'd just gotten it drained and cleaned in preparation for being repainted!  They'd spent the last two days getting it ready to be worked on, and now they'd no doubt have to start all over!

Muttering to himself about inconsiderate children masquerading as adults, Filch hauled himself to his feet and followed the elf out the door to inspect this new mess left by the lovers in places they should be leaving well enough alone!

       ********************************************************************************************************************

Severus Snape raised his head from his wife's body and gazed down at her in satisfaction.  Her eyes were half closed in satiation, her smooth skin was flushed beautifully and covered with a thin film of perspiration, and her lovely hair was tousled wildly.  Obviously he'd done his job well…very well indeed.  The sight of her made him long to do it all again, but twice in the span of 40 minutes or so was his limit at the moment. A short break was in order.  He smirked to himself, besides what was the rush anyway?  The entire summer was at their disposal, after all.  So far it had exceeded all expectations.  The connection created through the binding magic made everything sweeter, more intense, and more intimate than he'd ever thought possible.  Marriage was turning out to be even better than he'd dreamed!

Evangeline opened her eyes fully and gazed up at the balcony that circled the room.  The figures in the moving paintings along the walls were all grinning widely down at them.  A few were whistling wildly and calling for an encore.  She blushed and looked back at her husband who was staring intently at her with a Mona Lisa smile on his slightly flushed face as he caressed her thighs softly with his hand.

"Severus, perhaps this wasn't the best place to have chosen to make love, after all.  You know the paintings are going to tell Albus about this."

Snape sat up and smirked knowingly down at her.  "I imagine so, Evangeline.  Is this a problem?"

With a toss of her head, she raised her body up on her elbows and grinned back.  "Well, I suppose if you aren't concerned, I shouldn't be, but really I doubt if this is a use he envisioned for his office desk."

Snape snorted.  "I wouldn't be too sure of that.  I imagine he's put it to use in this manner himself at one time or another."

Evangeline found herself blushing madly as she tried to picture Albus Dumbledore making love to someone on the top of his office desk.  "There's an image I can't quite wrap my mind around," she murmured softly.

Snape bent and kissed his alluring wife again then got up off the desk and helped Evangeline to her feet.  Once she was standing he slid his arms back around her and began to lavish soft kisses avidly up the side of her neck to nibble softly at her earlobe.  She sighed and tilted her head back nestling her body up against his.  Amazed as always at how well they fit together.  "It didn't take you long to learn all of my most sensitive spots, Professor Snape," she whispered contentedly as she enjoyed the sensations of his hands sliding smoothly down her back to caress her derriere.

"I'm a quick study," he murmured back, completely absorbed in the enjoyable pursuit of committing to memory every inch of her anatomy.

"Shouldn't you transfigure Albus' desk back to normal, Severus?  It's far too comfortably padded for him to be able to use it to get any work done, at the moment."

A sly smile drifted over his face as he raised his head and looked at her.  "Albus has no need of the desk at the moment, and I wanted to be very sure that we were finished with it.  Now, there's a very comfortable looking couch in Albus' sitting room in front of the fireplace that I thought we might try out before luncheon.  What do you think?"

She grinned conspiratorially at him.  "Severus, you know this castle is simply too big for us to make love in all of its rooms before the students and staff return for the next school term."

He shrugged.  "Perhaps.  But then I've always enjoyed a challenge, and this is by far the most enjoyable one I've taken up in many many years."  With a wicked grin he scooped her up into his arms and headed for the next room.

           ****************************************************************************************************************

Filch stepped into the Gryffindor common room, and his jaw practically hit the floor.  Apparently simply messing things up wasn't enough for his pair of troublemaking lovebirds!  Oh, no, now they had to add redecorating to their résumé.   There was evidence that they'd graced the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw common rooms as well, but it appeared that they'd saved the best for Gryffindor.

The huge room was filled with green and silver streamers and balloons.  The curtains were now a lovely shade of emerald, as was the magical fire burning merrily in the grate.  The couches and chairs were all upholstered in black with charming silver accents, and the big oriental rug on the floor that used to be done in cheerful shades of red, was now boasting the same Slytherin color scheme as everything else in the room.

Filch sank into a chair and just stared at the room.  Mrs. Norris jumped up on his lap and tried to comfort him by rubbing the top of her head affectionately against his chest.  Absently he began to pet her as his gaze roamed the room in stunned amazement.  Suddenly he found himself overwhelmed by an intense desire to laugh out loud as he found himself picturing the look on Professor McGonagall's face if she should see the room looking like this.  It really was a shame he couldn't leave it like this for her to see…could he?

           ****************************************************************************************************************

Evangeline lay contentedly in her husband's arms on a very soft rug in front of the currently empty fireplace in the Slytherin common room.    She sighed and looked up at him mischievously while caressing his chest lightly with her fingertips.  "Well, that's all the common rooms taken care of, plus the library, the armory, the trophy room, most of the extra large bath tubs, the Great Hall, the bowling alley, an assortment of classrooms, the Quidditch pitch, the Astronomy tower roof, the green houses, and Albus' office and sitting room.  I'd say we've certainly hit the highlights.   What's next?"

A gleam came into her husband's eye.  "I've always enjoyed an element of danger, how about Filch's office?"

Evangeline sat up.  "Severus.  We're giving the poor man fits as it is!  That would be cruel."

Snape sighed and grumbled, "Oh, all right.  If you say so.  There are a rather nice assortment of gardens and courtyards if you feel in the mood for some fresh air.  Then there's always the lake."

Evangeline laughed.  "I'm afraid I couldn't hold my breath that long."

"Don't worry, I have a full stock of gillyweed."

She looked doubtful.  "I've never tried that, but it doesn't sound particularly appetizing.  How would it affect the baby?"

He frowned.  "I'm not sure.  Perhaps we'd better not risk it.  There's the infirmary left to do."

Evangeline smiled.  "Oh, good.  Actual beds.  Let's go."

As they got up from in front of the fireplace, and reached for their clothes, something caught Evangeline's eye.  Once she'd slipped her gown over her head, she walked into the fireplace to get a better look.  "Severus, what's this?"

She extended a hand to a brick on the lower back of the fireplace wall, though she was careful not to touch what it contained.  On the brick was a tiny silver snake, rather coated with soot, enough to make it almost invisible against the darkness of the wall.

Severus finished pulling on his trousers, then walked into the fireplace to join her.  He crouched down and examined the tiny snake.  "I have no idea.  This has never been here before." 

She looked at him in surprise.  "How can you be sure?  Have you examined the inside of the fireplace before?"

He frowned at her impatiently.  "As a matter of fact, I have.  I assure you if this snake had been here then, I wouldn't have missed it.  One of my Slytherin students disappointed me greatly… and publicly, and I was annoyed enough to give the little miscreant detention.  I had him scrub the fireplace with his toothbrush.  When I inspected his work, I couldn't have failed to have noticed this if it was here at the time."

Evangeline smothered a smile with her hand.  "Oh, dear.  Whatever he did must've been bad for you to have required such a harsh punishment."

He sighed.  "Yes, well, I am much more careful to account for each and every batch of hair removal potion whenever we make that particular substance in class now, you can be sure.  However, my point is that that incident took place only a few years ago.  This simply wasn't here then."

He reached out a hand and touched the small snake.  As soon as he did, the back wall of the fireplace dissolved into nothing, and they found themselves facing a long black tunnel.

Evangeline glanced at Severus in surprise, but he looked as stunned as she felt.

"Well, well, what have we here?" he murmured as he drew his wand out of the pocket of his trousers and held it high.  "Lumos," he stated quietly as he straightened up.  "Wait here, Evangeline.  Let me check this out."  He started forward.

She stood up and stepped in right after him.  "Oh, no, if you go, I go.  Remember, I'm supposed to be watching your back.  And if I may say so, it's a very nice back indeed."

He turned and frowned at her.  "Now is not the time for jokes, Evangeline.  This tunnel is unknown to me.  It could be dangerous.  I don't want to take a chance that anything might happen to you.  Please, wait for me here."

She placed her hands on her hips.  "I've read that book, too, Severus.  The hero goes off and leaves the heroine alone, and while he's gone the monster sneaks in and eats her for dinner and then finishes him off as a midnight snack.  We're better off sticking together.  I'm coming along.  Do you want to waste time arguing or shall we see where this tunnel goes?"

With a sigh, he turned around and started down the tunnel.  "Oh, all right, but please be careful and watch your step."

"Certainly, my lord and master," she murmured teasingly as she followed her husband down the dark tunnel.  His only reaction was to roll his eyes and continue onward.

The tunnel was fairly long and rather chilly.  As they were both lightly clothed, they were a trifle uncomfortable when they reached the end point and found themselves facing a rather ornate door with a spectacular carving of a serpent in its center.

Snape checked the door for wards and traps, but it appeared to be oddly unenchanted.  With a frown on his face, he twisted the crystal knob and opened the door wide.  They both gasped at the beautiful room that was on the other side.

It appeared to be a study.  Two of the walls were substantially covered with floor to ceiling barrister bookcases.  Many old volumes of all sizes could be seen through their glass fronts. A huge impressive desk filled much of the third wall that they could see.  The room was lit by the warm light of many candles glowing from silver candelabras in the form of twisting serpents.  In one corner, there was a large globe containing a moving model of the heavens suspended in a beautifully carved wooden stand.

There were large windows made of many diamond shaped panes of leaded glass topped with stain glass friezes of colorful snakes.  The curtains were a rich emerald velvet and the glossy hardwood floor was covered by a beautiful oriental rug. A large black couch furnished with many soft looking pillows stood in front of an enormous green and white marble fireplace.  They stared into the room in awe.  How could a room like this be down here in the dungeon?  And why would you enter it through a fireplace?  Not the most practical of entryways.

When they stepped into the room, they felt a shiver in the air as if they'd passed through some sort of invisible barrier.  Nothing else seemed to happen, though.  The tunnel stretched off behind them, and if they looked carefully they could see the distant light spot that was the Slytherin common room.

Evangeline stared at the windows with a puzzled expression on her face.  "Severus, how could there be full length windows like this?  We're below ground here…aren't we?"

Snape strode over to the closest window and looked out.  The glass was obviously very old and rather wavy.  It wasn't really possible to see clearly through it, but the impression he got was that of looking down from a height into a garden full of dazzling flowers.  He shook his head.  "Apparently this room is not below ground.  Whatever barrier we walked through must mean that this room is oriented in space differently than its surroundings.  It's obviously highly enchanted."

They wandered around and looked at the furnishings.  The desk contained a lot of papers and scrolls covered in a very forceful distinctive handwriting that didn't look familiar to Evangeline, but seemed to strike a chord with Severus.  With a puzzled expression on his face he reached out to touch one of the scrolls on the desk.  When his finger came into contact with it, though, he received a strong shock that caused him to pull back rather suddenly and hiss sharply. Then he shook his hand, which had momentarily gone numb.

"Severus, are you all right?"  Evangeline grabbed his injured hand and began to try to rub some feeling back into it.

He nodded.  "Yes, I'm fine, Evangeline.  The room seems to have a look but don't touch policy."

Her eyes narrowed as she caught the look on his face.  "You know what this room is, don't you?"

With a serious expression on his face, he glanced at her and nodded thoughtfully.  "I believe so.  I think this is the private study of Salazar Slytherin."

"It can't be.  It looks as if the occupant of the room just got up and left a moment ago.  If this room hasn't been used in a thousand years, then it would be covered in dust, and the furnishings wouldn't be in this pristine condition."

"It may be magically preserved.  That barrier means something.  Perhaps it's a temporal barrier as well as a spatial one.  The handwriting on the parchments on the desk is definitely Slytherin's.  I've seen it before many times.  The décor is clearly done to his taste as well.  I think this is really his private study."

Evangeline gazed appreciatively around the room.  "Well, it's certainly beautiful.  Think Albus knows it's here?"

Severus smiled.  "Perhaps not.  He is a Gryffindor, after all. We may have been admitted so easily because we're both members of his house.  That sort of thing would matter strongly to Slytherin."

A thought struck Evangeline.  "If that barrier was temporal…do you think it's possible that we could have traveled back in time to Slytherin's day?  Perhaps he could walk in at any moment and find us here."

Severus smiled.  "Perhaps, but unlikely.  The barrier is more likely a protection for the room.  As Slytherins we aren't considered a threat so we were allowed in, but because we aren't Slytherin himself, we aren't allowed to actually touch any of the more personal objects in the room."  He paused for a moment, then added purposefully.  "The couch looks comfortable, though."

Evangeline's mouth dropped open.  "Here?  You want to make love here?"

He raised an eyebrow as he gently drew her across the room.  "Where else would be more appropriate?  If this is truly Slytherin's private sanctum, then this is the very heart of his domain.   After all, I am the head of Slytherin House here in the castle."

She smiled up at him.  "So you are.  Well, I suppose you're right.  Perhaps it would be a shame not to take advantage of this opportunity.  It might even be why this room was revealed to us now.  After all, you said that that little snake hadn't been in the fireplace before, perhaps Slytherin is somehow aware of your little challenge and wanted to be sure that his study made it onto our list."

Snape snorted in amusement. "Perhaps…stranger things have been known to happen."

"This honeymoon is turning out to have more surprises in it than I thought it would. I wonder what other wonders are in store for us here?" Evangeline mused thoughtfully.

"Hogwarts is after all, an enchanted castle.  The possibilities are endless.  And fortunately for us, we have an entire summer in which to explore it."  His dark eyes smiled warmly into her green ones.

Eagerly, she grasped his head and pulled it down to her own.  "Then let's get started.  We do waste far too much time talking," she murmured against his smiling lips as they both dropped down onto the comfortable couch in Salazar Slytherin's study and continued to make the most of their enchanted honeymoon.

                         **************************************************************************************************