Epilogue: Nineteen Years Later

She sat bolt upright, breaths coming out fast, hands pressed to her chest. Severus leapt out of bed, bare skin suddenly freezing in the cool morning air, fingers already snapping, his wand already wriggling out from under the pillow to re-join his hand.

"What is it?" he demanded, staring into the dark corners of the room. "Did you hear something?"

Hermione met his eyes, chagrin overcoming the panic on her features.

"Oh, Severus… I'm sorry." She smiled sheepishly. "I've just been so on edge, and today is, well… the first of so many things and I – "

"And you," he finished for her, "are lucky I didn't hex you, woman."

A flick of the wand illuminated the dim room, and Severus beheld precisely what he expected: his wife glaring up at him, her hair a bushy nest around her head, her mouth already open to issue a scathing retort.

"You're one to talk!" she snapped. "You wake me up like this at least once a week." Severus walked around the bed to sit beside her, grinning as she went on, "Half the time I think you're undergoing some kind of demonic possession. The other half of the time you –"

Severus leaned forward and kissed her full on the mouth, cutting off her tirade. Hermione responded at once, weaving her fingers into his hair, and pulling at him until he was on top of her in the bed. He deepened the kiss, thrilling at the moan that escaped her, at the way she twined her legs with his, already wriggling against him. He pulled back to grin down at her.

"Now, this is the correct way to begin the day."

Hermione returned his grin, and then frowned just as quickly.

"I'm sorry for waking you like that. But it is a big day, Severus, and not just for me. The children will be –"

"The children," he interrupted firmly, "will be fine. They're not ickle firsties anymore. And you read Hagrid's owl last night, just as I did. The Start-of-Term Feast went well, they're fine, they're settled, and –"

"I know the children are fine, but… I guess I just want to be sure that I've prepared enough for my end of things, that I haven't missed anything, that I –"

"It's your first day on the job." She stared up at him, her eyes awash in uncertainty, a flush rising in her cheeks. He allowed himself a gentle smile, and watched as her eyes – tired and lined with the cares of the past few months – softened. "And you will be magnificent." He leaned down to kiss her frown. "You always are, Miss Granger."

"That's Minister Granger to you, sir."

Her stern voice mismatched her dancing eyes.

"Ah, of course," Severus shifted, slipping between her thighs to press himself against the heat of her core. "How could I forget. Minister for Magic Hermione Granger."

Her brilliant brown eyes went out of focus as he rocked against her, as her chest started to rise and fall in heavy pants.

"I…" she trailed off, already clutching at his shoulders, already throwing her head back in invitation. "I should get up now, Severus. I should try to be early."

He laughed. He had laughed more in the past 19 years than he had in his first 38 years of life combined.

"Hermione." He stared at her, placing a hand on her cheek, tilting her head so that she had to meet his eyes. "It's three o'clock in the morning."

She frowned in puzzlement before glancing at the bedside table, where the clock read 3:03. Her eyes were positively seductive when she turned back to look at him. An answering heat ignited within him, as it always did. As it always would.

"Well then, Professor Snape," her strong thighs constricted around him, drawing him closer, "you may do whatever you would like with me."

"Oh, believe me, Minister Granger, I intend to."

The morning stretched out before them, and the professor and the minister took full advantage of it.

Final Author's Note

Thank you. Every single one of you. Together, you have done what two university degrees couldn't do: you've turned me into a writer. I wasn't kidding when I said in my first A/N that I was doing this for educational purposes. You excellent people have stuck with me throughout the massive undertaking of writing a novel-length fic. And now I've got everything I've learned throughout these years to apply to my own creative work. Thank you for reading. Thank you for reviewing. Thank you for PMing me during the long waits in between chapters. Thank you for everything, my dear readers. I couldn't have done this without you.



PS: I know, I know. Hermione doesn't technically become MfM until a few years after the DH epilogue. My justification for this flagrant disregard of canon: Marriage and children with Snape instead of Ron would've abso-fucken-lutely got her there a few years sooner.

PPS: More fics might be coming soon. Keep in touch, in the meantime, everyone. Keep faith. Love to you all.