The Ending Begins
"I believe that we have some unfinished business," Severus spoke evenly as he slowly removed his coat and began to roll up his shirt sleeves. "I have to admit that I am going to enjoy this. You, however, are not."
"You wouldn't hurt an unarmed man," The voice spoke from the dirt covered floor. "Besides, if it wasn't for me, you would've been dead years ago."
"If it weren't for you, I wouldn't've gotten involved in the first place."
"You're blaming me for your own stupidity?" Lucius snorted.
"I'm blaming you for everything," Severus returned. He reached down and grabbed the man by the collar of his robe and pulled him to his knees. "You are the main reason I have nothing to show for myself. I lost my mind, and my dreams, many times over due to you and your supreme idealisms."
"I gave you just as much as you lost." Lucius glared up at the angry man. "You can't deny that."
"You gave me nothing but pain and, for that, I am repaying you. Pain for pain."
"You're going to beat me up?" Lucius snorted in disbelief.
"I'm going to cause you the same amount of pain that you caused many others. Only mine will be physically administered." Severus pulled the man fully to his feet so that they stared at each other eye for eye. "The only difference between those times and now is I am going to give you a fighting chance."
"I'm no match for you physically, Severus." Lucius' hands reached into his robe, searching for his wand, only to find it snatched from his groping fingers.
"Oh no, my friend. This will be hand to hand. No magic. I want to personally beat you senseless."
"Why all this anger, Snape?" Lucius raised a corner of his lips in a sneer.
"I have a debt to settle. You remember Miss Granger, don't you?"
"The Mudblood? The little slut that bore Potter's brat?"
"Wrong," Severus snarled angrily.
"The young lady that bore my son."
"Your…" Lucius stared at Snape for a long moment before he started to laugh. "Oh, this is priceless. You are going to punish me for giving you what you wanted?"
"I'm going to beat the shit out of you for forcing me into raping her. I'm not, however, going to kill you. I am going to spare your life for one reason only."
"And that is?"
"For giving me my family." Snape smirked and pulled back a fist. A solid, satisfying crunch followed the connection of fist to nose.
Barely was there a space of floor that hadn't been paced over in the last two hours. The Room of Requirement had, of its own accord, made up several small chambers in which loved ones could go and be alone or simply to cry. The few that remained behind from the battle couldn't seem able to muster up the courage to ask what was going on outside of the protected room. Protected by strong wards that had been cast from outside, to protect the occupants from any outside dangers. The wards were discovered, unfortunately, when Ginny had tried to leave, attempting to gather information about the battle. Her hair was still a bit singed at the ends and her fingers still tingled.
In one chamber, Hermione, Ginny, Pansy and Susan sat huddled before a fireplace and simply stared into the flickering flames. Coming from the chambers all around them were whispering of prayers. All praying to whatever God or Goddess that may be listening, to bring back their loved ones.
Suddenly, as if answering their prayers, Nanny appeared with a broad smile.
"Nanny!" Hermione cried as she ran and swept up the elf into a bruising hug.
"Hello, Mistress. Ouch! I's can not breath!"
Hermione quickly released the elf and took a step back. "What happened? Where is Severus? Harry…Ron?"
Nanny smiled brilliantly. "They's alive, Mistress."
"Yes, Mistress. They's alive. Really."
Hermione took a deep, shuddering breath and collapsed onto her knees, tears starting to pour down her face in relief.
"Mistress?" Nanny placed her hand on Hermione's arm and whispered softly. "Don't be crying, Mistress, We dids it."
"I'm…Thank you, Nanny…Thank you."
Nanny looked at the crib and cocked her head towards it. "I's go and takes Sebastian back home now."
Hermione only nodded, wiping her eyes with the back of her sleeve. "All right, Nanny. Thank you again."
She watched the diminutive creature walk across the floor and gently lift the baby from the crib. With a slight popping sound she disappeared, leaving a group of stunned women behind.
"When will they be back?" Pansy whispered as she turned her eyes towards the door, willing Ron to walk through.
"Soon, I hope," Ginny sighed and took her seat once. Her eyes, too, settled on the closed doorway. "Do you think it's still warded?"
"Probably," Pansy returned not volunteering to go and check for herself.
Nearly four hours later, an exhausted group of ladies roused from an un-relaxing sleep when an alarm rang over their heads. Hermione was the first to jump to her feet with wand in hand before she realized that it was she that set the alarm to wake them. In case the others returned from the fight. She turned towards the door just as it opened and a stream of laughter floated in along with a sea of bodies. She held her breath as, one by one, she attempted to identify those that entered but her eyes only searched for one man.
"There's Harry!" Ginny screeched, hurtling herself towards the disheveled man. Hermione watched as she flung herself into his arms and began kissing his face everywhere before finally finding his lips. She felt shocked and curious eyes on her as she couldn't stop the smile from her face at the scene. Of course everyone still thought she was married to Harry and that she should have been the one showering kisses on her husband. Well, that could be explained away later. Right now, she wanted a particular man to enter.
A squeal to Hermione's right had her nearly jumping as Pansy ran into the open arms of Ronald Weasley. She felt a lump in her throat as Ron encircled her waist and planted a huge kiss on the young woman's mouth. She was so happy that things were working out for her best friends. Now if only…
She turned her gaze back to the doorway, realizing that she had missed some people entering. Her eyes scanned the crowd, searching for Severus. Leaving Susan to search for Draco, she started to move about the room, her heart beating heavily against her ribcage. He had to be here. Nanny said that everyone survived. She stopped in mid step, remembering Nanny's exact words.
"They's alive." Hermione echoed the elf's words. Not they were all right. She had already started towards the door when a hand settled on her shoulder. Impatiently, she started to shrug the hand off so she could rush to the infirmary when a voice tickled her ear.
"I thought you would be more happy to see me back."
Her breath was knocked from her and she felt her legs give way. His quick reflexes caught her just as she was to hit the hard floor and he swept her into his arms, pulling her against his hard chest. His words of comfort whispered into her hair.
"Where were you?" She hissed and brought her hand back to slug into his shoulder. Her near faint already subsided after the relief had left.
"Ow. Kindly stop hitting me. I am not accustomed to being struck by a female."
"You scared me, Severus. I didn't see you…enter…I was…afraid…" She couldn't continue as tears started to fall down her face. Immediately, she ducked her head against his frock coat, hiding her face from view.
"I told you I would always come back to you," Severus whispered softly as he gently lowered her back to her feet. His grip tightened around her waist until he was sure that she could stand on her own. "Where's Sebastian?"
"Nanny came and got him," Hermione spoke, her face still buried within his dark coat.
"She said that you were all alive…but I was still…"
"I'm here, my love. Voldemort's gone."
"He's dead?" Hermione's head shot up.
"Well, not exactly…"
"Oh no! You mean after all of this, it's not yet over?"
"Well, not exactly that either." Severus cocked his head to his right and Hermione turned to see Draco with Susan. Susan was examining a small snake that had itself wrapped around the man's wrist.
Hermione's eyes widened, immediately knowing the truth. "That's…"
A loud laugh escaped and she whipped a hand up to cover her mouth. "Morty?"
"Draco's idea. He's volunteered to care for the now Green Lord, in his current state."
"No one told me of this part of the plan." Hermione frowned.
"It seems that Nanny had her own ideas on how to stop the madness."
"We are going to have to find some way to thank Nanny properly after all of this."
"I think I have already figured out something."
"I think that we should have her come live with us permanently after we marry. That way she can nanny all of our children."
"Other children?" Hermione smiled up at him.
"Indeed." Severus stood tall and gazed down into her brown eyes. "I wish to have more, if that is agreeable to you."
"Indeed," Hermione echoed happily.
"If you will excuse me? I need to talk to Nanny, then find someone to treat these." He held out his badly bruised hands.
"What happened?" Hermione gasped, taking his hand gently into hers.
Seven months later
Hermione stood at the entrance to the Quidditch Pitch, looking in at the gathering. This was her day. Her wedding to Severus Snape. As she let her eyes wander over the guests she couldn't help but remember the days leading up to this point.
The months following the final battle had been hectic for many of the survivors. Draco and Susan had married immediately the following week. Once Draco's returned, Susan hadn't been willing to leave anything to chance. Nor had Draco. Since the mysterious disappearance of his father, Draco had been named as head of the Malfoy family. Draco had been determined that their child wouldn't be born under the stigma of illegitimacy or impropriety. And now their baby was to be the next heir, in line for the Malfoy fortune. At eight months of pregnancy, Susan glowed in the lavender colored bridesmaid dress. To others however, she was a mere seven months along. As far as anyone knew, the baby was just big. Only their closest friends knew the truth.
It had taken a while to convince Pansy's mother to let her marry Ronald Weasley. In fact, it had taken the whole of the Weasley pack to convince Mrs. Parkinson to allow the marriage. Albus had sent Order members over to question her on her own dealings along side that of her husband. The Aurors had happily used subtle threats in regards to her own work and some extremely strong advice, especially if she didn't want them checking into her 'charity' work. Within several weeks, Mrs. Parkinson had finally given in and gave her approval for the marriage.
Due to the incarceration of Pansy's father, no one else had been able to deny her the marriage and Pansy and Ron had been married two months from the date of the battle. At first, Pansy had wanted to wait until the baby was born to marry, but Ron'd fought that. He'd been determined to have the baby born after their marriage so that he could claim the baby as his.
Daisy Weasley had been born five months after the final battle and Ron couldn't be more proud of his daughter. Daisy even had a shockingly amount of reddish blond hair. A true strawberry blond color. Her eyes, bluer than the Caribbean seas, seemed to see things that weren't there. Trelawney proclaimed that she would be a true seer one day. Who knew what the future would hold for her?
Percy Weasley, being proved only a minor miscreant of the Dark Lord and championed by both Draco and Severus, had been sentenced to Azkaban for three months. After his release, he'd moved back into the Burrow with his parents. He had also started to see Penelope Clearwater once more. Suffice to say that Molly was really impressed with Penny, since she was very strict with Percy and kept him on a very short leash.
Harry and Ginny were still developing their relationship. They hadn't gotten engaged yet but everyone was expecting it soon. They weren't in any hurry and were enjoying traipsing around the globe. Enjoying their travels and each other. A nice long letter arrived from them, dutifully, every Saturday night. Explaining and describing everything that they'd seen and done. They did seem extremely happy. Although, Hermione wouldn't doubt it if they had already been married and just hadn't broken it to her parents yet.
Sebastian was crawling around, enjoying the attentions of all of his adopted relations. His first birthday was coming up fast and he was, of course, 'extremely intelligent and far above other children his age'. This according to his proud father. Nanny the Elf was only to happy to continue on her service to the Snapes. She eagerly looked forward to the next arrival of the Snape family in eight more months. The Mistress had no idea yet, of course. Humans couldn't tell these things at such an early time.
No one knew what had happened to Lucius Malfoy. The Aurors had made a public statement that the Head of the Malfoys had disappeared. Neither hide, nor blond hair, had been seen since the evening of the battle. There had been arguments as to what could've happened. The Aurors that had been at the battle just assumed that Snape had killed the man after a great duel. Some others, true to their personality, thought that Snape had let the man go due to Slytherin sentimentality and favoritism. Only Severus and Nanny knew the real truth.
Mucking out the Thestral's stalls and cleaning up after a herd of Hippogriffs were tasks assigned to the newest addition to Hagrid's staff. A house elf with tufts of blond hair. He was an odd one, however. He didn't seem to be able to do much magic. His extent only seemed to be on level with a simple first year's magical ability. Hence, he was forced to work manually with Hagrid in the care of the magical creatures. He went by the name of Lucy. Poor thing.
As the music started, Hermione shook the cobwebs from her head and smiled. Today, she was marrying the man that she loved. Today, her life was starting over. She took a step on to the Quidditch pitch and smiled at the man standing along with Albus. Dressed head to toe in white, he was a vision of decadent innocence. She smirked as she started up the aisle on the arm of Arthur Weasley. Her surrogate father. Her true parents sat in the back row. Thanks to Albus and Minerva, a thin thread of association had been bridged between them. It was thin, but growing stronger in the few months since they'd gotten the news of their daughter and her impending wedding. Sebastian had yet to figure them out and vice versa. Still, it was a start.
Hermione came to a stop next to Severus. She leaned over to kiss Arthur on the cheek then took Severus' hand, both turning to Albus.
And what a better way to end a story.
A/N: Well. There you go. The end of a very long ride. I hope everyone enjoyed it and continue to read my other fics as I decide to write them. I am going to go and finish one of my other SS/OC stories, called 'To Love and To Lose' It's pretty close to an end too, but abandoned until I finished this story. Now I can concentrate on that one. Blessed be to all my readers. I love you all!