A/N: I'm afraid the end is really the end with this one.
I know many of you are disappointed I didn't show Harry and Ron's reaction and what happens next. I did consider writing further, but decided, for the integrity and overall arc of the story, it was best to end it where I did. It is called "In His Rooms," after all. If enough of you ask, I might consider writing a sequel or series of extra scenes to show what happens next, or parts from Severus's perspective. For now, though, I leave you with the epilogue, and a heartfelt thanks for all your reviews, faves and follows left until now and in the future. I knew I had something decent here, but I never expected such an overwhelmingly positive response. Once again, thank you!
A big thank you also goes to my beta, AdelaideArcher, for bashing my mistakes into submission each chapter. As always, any errors are my own.
Epilogue: In Our House
15 Years Later
Our large white house sits in a clearing surrounded by forest, the trees warped and windswept from the sea gales that whip up the cliffs at the edge of the property. The smell of the sea is constant here, the fresh salt air a balm to the lungs in every season.
To the south of the house lies a large garden, filled with all manner of ingredients for both food and potions. Next to it stands a red-painted swing. The chains are getting rusty now, the seats well worn from use by our two young children, a boy and a girl, who scream and laugh and beg for their father to push them higher.
The kitchen overlooks the garden, its tall windows letting in light all day. It is the heart of the home, filled with food and love and endless chatter that sends my husband grumbling for peace; yet his bitter words are always softened by a smile and an affectionate sparkle in his depthless black eyes.
This is not my favourite room in our house by the sea, however. That title belong to the study, its walls painted white just as we'd dreamed, rimmed with towering bookcases filled with every sort of tome. Next to a fireplace stands a long sofa and two green velvet chairs, the old portrait of Phineas Nigellus Black hanging handsomely over the mantel.
As has always been our custom, every evening Severus and I come together for tea in this room. In the early years it was after supper, and once the children came after we put them to bed. It is a ritual that has served us well, then and now. Our evenings in front of the fire will always be our time.
When I spun back through time all those years ago, I never imagined the effect it would have on my life. It never occurred to me that I might fall in love, nearly lose my mind to grief, and then give my heart to save a man and ensure our future together. To this day, Severus and I celebrate September 2, the day I arrived in his rooms—"the luckiest day of my life," according to Severus. I think, perhaps, it was the luckiest of mine as well.
For that reason I can't be mad at Dumbledore. He was always the wizard with the plans, placing us like chess pieces in a complicated war. There are those that are bitter—Severus is still of two minds—but in the end Dumbledore was the one that guided us together, ensured our seclusion for eight months, and for that I can only have endless gratitude.
Our lives slowly became easier once the the war was over, but no less complex. Instead of life and death we consider the raising of our children, jobs and finances, birthdays and holidays, meals and health.
But we will always have each other, as bound together and in love as the day we left the Headmaster's Tower hand-in-hand.
It was hard, at first; there were those who could not fathom our love, a Ministry and Hogwarts to rebuild, and Death Eaters to send to Azkaban. We were hounded by the press when all we wanted was privacy; heroes, we were called, though we never felt that way. It was an easy decision to escape to Australia for a month to find my parents, who Severus correctly surmised did forgive me, though they did not return with us to Britain.
Severus decided not to return to Hogwarts, choosing instead to open an Apothecary. The long-acting Blood-Replenishing Potion we invented ended up being a top seller, with St. Mungo's and various infirmaries and clinics requesting it by the crate. I worked at the Ministry for eight years, and then started a consulting company so I could work from home and look after our children.
Severus, despite his insecurities, is a good father and a good husband: loyal, affectionate, and kind. Our life isn't perfect, but we found peace and happiness together, and our love has never wavered.
Every evening in front of the fire, we sit with tea and tomes.
"I love you," I tell him with a smile.
"I love you," he says in return.
Before I turn to reading, I take a moment to watch his long fingers as he caresses his book.
It is my favourite time of day: when the room glows orange by fire or sunset, steam curls from the spout of our silver tea pot, and my love sits next to me in our white-walled study in our house by the sea.
It is everything we ever dreamed of while in his rooms.