Author's note: Well, folks. This is it. I apologise to all of you for the long waits in between chapters, and I am so glad that those of you who kept up all this time will finally be able to finish. Here's a drawing I did for another fic, and I thought I'd post it here as well, as it's mostly generic.

And this is why I've been so behind on getting a post up. I got a new kitten!

Please comment! I'm eager to hear from all of you! -Iphy

"Dr. Snape? Are you in here?"

A student was cautiously making his way through the maze of musical instruments that cluttered the Hall of Sound. His footsteps were cautious and barely audible over the low and ringing tones of her cello. She glanced up at him from the dias at the center of the room, where she bent over her instrument, and noticed that it was Lawrence Tate, her pupil on the saxaphone, and from what Professor Korin had said, a marvel with the magical properties of paint and ink.

Good.

She smiled. He was a friend of Artie's. He must have been sent to fetch her. She paused at her bowing, and the slight, swirling mist that had been concentrated in the space in front of her began to dissapate.

"Yes, Tate. I'm here. Is it starting?"

The division of arts and musics within the school had been established with the aid of a great deal of funding and support from parents and faculty alike, but mostly it was attributed to the work of the Snapes. Eventually, the school had become known for it's magnificent additions in recent years. The Hall of Sound alone was enough to create for Hogwarts a new reputation among it's competitors.

The other schools of witchcraft and wizardry had yet explored the amazing new field of magics that were associated with creativity. Dr. Hermione Snape had begun the research in her graduate years, and now the studies were making leaps and bounds, and the newest form of magic discovered was attributed to her foundations.

"Yes! It's nearly beginning! Arturo's due on any minute!" Tate was beside himself. The boy had come in five years ago, and thus shared his year with Artie. He was an enthusiastic pupil, expectedly so, considering the fact that his house was Ravenclaw, and Hermione had taken a liking to him straight away, due to his single-mindedness when it came to the exploration of the magic that she specialized in, and because of the easy way he had made friends with her quiet, serious son. Of course, it had a little to do with the fact that he was also muggle-born.

She sighed, leaning her cello up against the grand piano nearby, and rising to meet him in the jumble of instruments of all persuasions. Tate was carefully examining an ancient witch's instrument from the middle ages that was said to have healing properties. She carefully took it from him, "May I?" and plucked one of the thick metal bars.

The note that resounded from it was high and deafening, but filled the both of them with a feeling of goodwill. He grinned up at her, and she smiled in return. "Come on, then, Tate. You can tell me about this latest painting of yours while we walk."

They soon arrived at the grand performance hall, built only a year ago and modelled after the Vienna Opera House, the newest addition to Hogwarts offered a cultural outlet that added to the school tremendously.

Upon entering, Hermione made a brief, almost automatic scan of the assembled group for Severus, but he was not among the crowd. He had, two months ago, taken the advanced sound-magics class, a group of one fifth year and four seventh years and the only class in her department that he taught, on a tour of the world's musical meccas. It was somewhat of a pilgrimage and somewhat of a research study. They intended to perform and to test the cathedrals and theaters for residual magics from the time when wizards were unaware of the magics that their music created.

But they were due back today, and the welcome-home performance was about to start.

She found a seat among the faculty in the front row, and tried to steady herself for seeing her son and husband for the first time in two months. The calm, studious head of the creative magics department at Hogwarts School was not often seen with her nerves so wrought. Her anticipation had been the reason that she had retired to the hall of sound in order to play away her impatience.

Her son was the first to enter the great hall, serious and dark. His black hair curled tidily over his forehead like a roman emporer, he clutched his umber classical guitar by the neck, and his eyes saught her own. They exchanged a brief and exhuberant smile, and she softened at the sight of her husband's grin upon the face of her lanky son.

She recalled her pregnancy more vividly than any other time in her life. His feet kicking energetically against the back of her cello where it rested against her swollen stomach. It had been difficult for her to play during her pregnancy, due to the ever decreasing space at her front in which her cello rested. She recalled Severus' hands on her abdomen, and how a simple sight like his fingers splayed with obvious glee against their unborn child, their Arturo, could evoke in her more powerful emotions than any concerto, any crescendo of masterful song that she had ever been privilege to hear.

When he was born, dark of hair and eye, and serious as the both of them combined, he had become their world. An only child, he was gifted at almost any instrument that he touched, and by age four, he had begun to perform piano pieces that were frankly evidence of genius. Severus had laughed, at the time, and told her, "And you expected any less from a son of ours, my love?"

She recalled his eager interest in the dark and more fanciful stories that his parents concocted for his pleasure. He delighted in the tale of the evil wizard Melotromaut, who had mastered his musical arts, but had lost it all when his blindness and violent ways resulted in his stumbling upon one highly reactionary witch during a particularly grand performance, and thus his life ended in madness.

Hermione had hinted only slightly to her involvement, but little escaped the boy's notice, and it was likely he already knew the extent of her doings. Now, at age sixteen, still as serious and intelligent as ever, he stood on the stage of the grand hall, and winked at his mother in the audience.

Hermione tore her eyes away to find the familiar, tall figure of her husband, as he glided onstage, similarly seeking out her sight. He looked tired, she thought, as his eyes roved over the crowd in search of her. Gorgeous, dramatic and like balm to her nerves, but still, tired.

The other members of the class, all seventh years other than the fifth-year Arturo, lifted their instruments as the applause died down. They looked to Severus, who's eyes still roamed the crowd, and then he bent to whisper to Arturo, who pointed towards her seat, and then his eyes finally fell upon Hermione, who's face broke into a relieved and lovestruck smile.

Smiling crookedly in return, he lifted his own violin, and broke their gaze to direct his leadership to his small sextet. What followed next was the culmination of an extended study of the traditional musics of the world, and the history and culture behind each definition of such. The piece was constructed excellently, and Hermione could sense some of Severus's own touch threading throughout.

As always, he looked positively edible while he played, especially after such a long drought of the sight of him. Artie was seated, his eyes closed as his fingers, long and elegant like his fathers, saught out the exact placement upon the fretboard and plucked over the soundhole with precision.

As the piece continued, Hermione let her eyes drift over to the tall, shapely girl seated next to Artie, who, like herself, played the cello. Miranda. She was a seventh year Slytherin, and it hadn't taken long for Hermione to notice her son's interest in the girl. And why not? She was pretty, intelligent and talented. Severus had muttered his approval, in hushed tones to Artie, but Hermione was still reluctant to allow the girl her trust. Arturo was, after all, her only son.

The piece came to an end, and the applause from the great hall flowed over her. She stood before the others could and moved swiftly through the crowd to greet the musicians as they stepped from the stage. Many of them had been her pupils from their first year, and she found herself swelling with pride as they beamed at her as she shook their hands while they descended.

Artie was smiling his warm, familiar smile, and she gathered him to her. His hug was clumsily one-handed, still clutching the neck of his guitar, but his grip was firm.

"I missed you, Mom."

"I missed you too. You sounded positively brilliant up there. I see you've been working on that finger-style that I was trying to teach you."

He smiled again. "Yeah. It came in use after all... Mom, can we have dinner at home tonight? I'm not feeling quite up to the great hall..."

She laughed, "Of course. And you two can tell me everything about the trip."

An exasperated voice burst from slightly above them on the staircase. "Yes, you can tell her every little detail, but if you don't move aside this second, Artie, I'm going to send you back to Bavaria by yourself!"

Severus Snape was standing on the top stair from the stage, where his path to his wife was effectively blocked by his son, who, at the moment, was looking quite intrigued at the possibility of a trip to Bavaria without adult supervision.

"Hey! Artie!" It was Tate, waving his hand, who lured away their son into the fray of classmates and teachers.

Hermione was soon enveloped in Severus' familiar scent, and her arms wound around his neck as if they had been there all along. She breathed in the hot air off of his skin, and felt like everything had fallen back into place.

Well, not everything. "You know, Artie want's to eat in tonight." She muttered into the side of his neck. Her comment was met by an irritated groan.

"He would. He threatened to babysit us with the way we behave, and told me that he enjoyed being an only child a great deal."

"Oh, and here I was just thinking he missed our little family dinners," she teased him.

"I'm serious," he said, "He persisted in teasing me incessantly on the trip about my doleful state. I'm afraid to say that he caught me at one of my weaker moments. I was buying you this."

He pulled from his inner pocket a beautiful, antique bow, with the tips guilded with silver. "I'll never hear the end from that boy. He actually had the audacity to tell that Miranda Morgen that I was 'mooning about like a lovesick cow.' I told him that it was thanks to that mooning that he had ever been concieved in the first place. Shut him up nicely. Do you like it?" He asked unnecisarily, as she fingered the bow, awestruck.

"An actual Domenico Montagnana bow. It's gorgeous. How on earth did you find it?"

Severus looked inordainately pleased with himself. "In a tiny shop in venice. He was, after all, known as 'the mighty venician.' Does it please?"

"It does," She responded, kissing him lightly.

"Are you sure we can't convince Artie that it would be better to eat with his friends?" He growled, letting his tongue glance off her ear. She gasped in response.

"mmm. I'll do my best, but at this point we may want to relocate our reunion. You sulked for weeks after that little episode on Valentine's day, not to mention Atrie's response..."

The previous valentine's had been a slight disaster when, after a week apart due to her conference in America, three troublemaking students had discovered the two of them, disheveled and making out like teenagers, in the hall outside their quarters, unable to make it all the way inside before descending upon one another.

The news had spread like wildfire that the straightlaced music professor and the strict professor of potions had been discovered in such a state, and Artie had refused to speak to either of them for a week. Severus hadn't been as cantankerous since they were newlyweds and were discovered mid- coitus in the library by The-Boy-Who-Lived, who had come to inquire as to whether Hermione might join him over tea to discuss his latest partner.

Severus had remarked, at the time, that it had been foolish of him to expect that his newlywed friend be at his beck and call, and had soon recovered from his mortification. At present, though, Severus was tempted to forgo any embaressment he might feel, and take his gorgeous wife right there on the stage steps. It had, after all, been the longest they had been apart, well, ever.

With a wistful brush of his thumb over her pulsepoint at her wrist, slightly glassy-eyed they rejoined the throng of students who were making their way towards the great hall for dinner. Severus scanned the tops of the heads of students, picking out his own son's dark, curly head and tapping him lightly on the shoulder to indicate that they would meet him in their quarters after he had recieved his congradulations from his friends. Arturo nodded solemnly, exchanging a similarly serious smile with his father, before turning back to his housemates.

Hermione was standing at the top of the steps to the hall of instruments, smiling and holding her new bow. "Care to try it out with me?" she asked, fingering the silver leafing on the wooden bow.

"I'd be delighted."

They wound though the maze of brass, percussion, string, reed, and all others ever concieved by wizard or man, and arrived at the dias, where Hermione had laid her cello previously. Severus still held the case to his violin from where he had taken it from the stage, and he joined Hermione, poised with bow arm raised over his strings, and, for a moment, admired the way her pale neck was framed with loose curls, before they began, in synch as always.

And as her antique bow slid across her strings, she watched her husband, with his pale, solemn grace, as he flicked his eyes to hers over the bowing of his violin. It had been so long since they had first played this way. It was hard to believe that they had begun this symphony from opposite sides of a thick, stone wall. As the movement drew to a close, their last note subtly hung in the air between them, tangible and sharp.

At the final note, a tawny owl glided into the hall through the grand, arched doorway and skimmed over the tops of the instruments to where it alighted on Severus' shoulder. He untied a small note, and smiled as he read it aloud.

"Mother and Father, I have spoken with Miranda, and she mentioned that I should probably allow you two some time to become, as she put it, "reaquainted." And so, I have changed my mind and decided that it would be best that I dine in the great hall this evening with my classmates. The members of the music expedition are dining at their own table, and Miranda wishes to further discuss the cathedrals we discovered in Venice. I hope you both aren't TOO dissapointed, though I'm sure you'll think of something to occupy your time... Tell mother that I shall have tea with her tomorrow to tell her all about how Father and I missed her so terribly. Goodnight. Love, Arturo Ps: Father, is it possible to do a sabbatical in another school house starting halfway through the year? Slytherin, perhaps?"

"Our son has picked up a few bad habits, I see. I take it that the trip may have tried your nerves a bit? I've never seen him this glib." Hermione smirked as she rose from her seat and began to walk towards him.

"You're just upset because this proves that I was correct about him being right for Slytherin." Severus was handing a treat to the owl, which flew off and out the door again.

She wrapped her arms around his neck, "Just because he fancies a girl enough to want to temporarily switch houses, doesn't mean he belongs in Slytherin, although, I must say that I finally approve of his fascination with the girl. She's obviously another brilliant mind."

"Yes, I must agree. We must remember to send her a thank-you note. Her persuasion skills could come in handy more often." Severus was grinning now, his hands wandering lower on her back.

"Sweet boy. I wonder if it's genetic that he be attracted to an older Slytherin..." Hermione mused.

"Well, if he took after his father, he'd be switching into a Griffyndor first year's bedroom. I think that his tastes, and your's, aren't the worst we could have had to contend with."

Her laughter echoed through the enhanced acoustics of the hall. They walked out the archway hand in hand, and hastened to their quarters to do as their son suggested and "get reaquianted."

End