Disclaimer: The characters in this story (except Julius) and the universe in which they exist are the property of JK Rowling. I am just playing with Snape's head a bit. I will use a memory charm on him when I am done!

Chapter 24 - Mistakes and Making Up

Julius stood silently as Professor Snape escorted Lucius Malfoy from the room and out into the hall, his head spinning from all that had just happened. He still couldn't believe that it was over.

Professor Snape closed the door quietly behind Lucius and leaned against it, closing his eyes, a large weight lifted from his chest, his right hand reaching up to rub the inner corners of his eyes in relief. After a few minutes he stepped further into the classroom, suddenly remembering the presence of another. He turned his attention towards the tall boy across from him, concern in his shadowy eyes. "Are you alright?"

Julius nodded silently, too afraid to utter a sound lest he wake up from this pleasant dream to discover the nightmare still in play.

"That was very brave, what you just did, standing up to Lucius like that. I have known many wizards who would have stood there, helpless, and let him walk all over them," Snape confided with welling pride, offering his son a slight smile.

"What happens now?" Julius inquired, his own dark eyes glancing imploringly at his father, looking for some glimmer of hope.

Severus sighed and approached the boy, weariness finally setting in after so much excitement. "You mean with Lucius Malfoy?"

Julius nodded, and glanced down to his hand, realising he still held his wand tightly within his grip. Carefully, he slipped it back into his pocket.

"Lucius will not speak out; he cares too much for his family," Snape began, making his way towards his desk. "I am sure he is telling Draco to hold his tongue right now. You will have nothing to worry about from him, I think."

"So that is it then?" Julius replied wide-eyed. Were all of their troubles over?

Snape gave a dark half-laugh at the boy's question, and shook his head slowly. "No. The Dark Lord has other spies, Julius. Our secret must remain just that… a secret." He looked appraisingly over towards his son, seeing so much of himself in him now, though through subtle nuances of behaviour he still saw his wife. How could he have ever let this boy out of his life? "Why were you outside my office door at this time of night?"

Julius had forgotten all about his other problems, and his father's question brought back the heartache that had temporarily vanished in light of other circumstances. "I… I needed to talk to you. I needed your advice."

The professor lifted his chin and his eyebrow at the boy's admission, and spoke softly, "You would ask the advice of a failure who made so many misjudgements in his life?"

Julius took a step forward, gazing up into the older man's eyes and replied steadily, "We all make mistakes, sir."

"What about?" the potions master replied, gazing back curiously, wondering when his son had become so wise.

"I told Hermione that we couldn't see each other any longer," Julius began, allowing his gaze to drift to the floor.

Professor Snape narrowed his eyes slightly. He had been sure the boy cared quite deeply for the girl, know-it-all that she was, and even though he looked upon her House unfavourably, he could not deny they made a good match. "Why did you do that?" he asked gently.

"I didn't want You-Know-Who to harm her if he did come after me," Julius responded. "I just wanted to protect her from all that could have gone wrong."

"I see," Snape replied, approaching his son, and turning to lean against the wall beside him, his robes enfolded about him as he crossed his arms, gazing at the floor.

"Did I do the right thing?" Julius queried, turning his head to glance up at the slightly taller man beside him.

The potions professor thought on that question for a long moment, remembering how he handled a certain similar situation in his past. "Let me tell you something about Miss Granger, Julius, though I am sure you have probably already figured some of this out." Lifting his eyes to his son, he continued. "Miss Granger is perhaps the most clever witch I have ever had the opportunity to teach, and she has had her own run in with the Dark Lord along with her friends Mssrs. Potter and Weasley. Each time she has shown herself to be both resourceful and courageous, like the lion that symbolises her House of Gryffindor. She is a good friend to have on your side in dark times and places.

"I had a friend from Gryffindor House once. Her name was Lily Evans, who eventually became Lily Potter, Mr. Potter's mother. I only wish I had taken the advice she gave to me before I joined the Death Eaters. Do you care for Miss Granger, Julius?"

Julius nodded his head slowly, gazing down at his feet. "Yes, sir, very much."

Snape thought as much, and leaned towards his son to whisper a bit of advice. "Then do not make the same mistakes that I have made, Julius."

Julius glanced up at the man beside him at the melancholy sound of his voice. There was a sadness in his the older man's eyes that spoke of the many years of pain he had suffered for those errors in judgement. As his father spoke his next words, Julius swore there were tears forming in the corners of those lightless eyes.

"Protect those you love as best you can," he whispered, "but never… never let them go."

Snape straightened then, and stepped away from the wall towards his desk. "It is late, Mr. DeVere," he spoke authoritatively, donning the mask of indifference once more in an attempt to cut off his emotions. "Best if you get yourself to bed."

Julius watched the professor silently for a moment, wanting more than that cold farewell, but answered quietly, "Yes, sir."

Turning to the door, he strode across the room and placed his hand upon the knob to open the barrier, but something inside him made him pause. Don't make the same mistakes I did, he heard his father's words echo in his mind.

He turned then, and quickly strode across the room towards the black-clad man, wrapping his arms about the potions master's waist, hugging him tightly, fiercely.

The suddenness of this event took Severus Snape by surprise and the professor looked as if he did not know what he should do, part of him wanting to return the gesture and the other fearful of the contact.

"I just want you to know," Julius began, whispering tearfully into the folds of the professor's robes, his arms clasped desperately about the teacher, "that I am glad and so proud that you are my father."

Something broke loose inside of Snape at those words, as if the last barrier that had been hanging by a thread suddenly snapped. The potions master closed his eyes, and wrapped his own arms about the boy, holding him tightly against him, his head resting lightly upon his son's as he stood there shaking tremulously, his own tears welling within his eyes and streaking down his sallow cheeks.

The next morning as Professor Snape perused the many shelves of the Hogwarts Library, he spied two students speaking quietly in a corner, a red rose held within his son's grasp, extended towards Miss Granger. He could not hear their words at first, but strode down a neighbouring aisle in time to peek through an empty space between two books. The Gryffindor had accepted the rose, and as Julius leaned in close to the girl, he whispered, "Je t'aime, Hermione."

"What does that mean?" the girl whispered quietly, the light that had been missing from her eyes the last twenty-four hours sparkling once again.

"I love you"

The End

A/N: Well, this is it. I hope you enjoyed the story!

::steps up to the podium, and clears her throat, unfolding a small piece of paper:: I would like to take a moment and thank all my readers for putting up with my cliff-hangers and I would like to especially thank:





Vanyaria Darkshadow

Sage and Snape


The Silent Planet

Padfoot the Evil Elf




And all my other reviewers for your wonderful words of encouragement. They have meant more than you can know. This was my first Fanfic ever and I needed all of the encouragement I could get.

(Readers… Please, please review all the fanfics you read, even if it is just a little blurb. Reviews are chicken soup for the authors' souls!!)

Future plans:

Prequel - I have been toying with the idea of doing a prequel to this story next, set around Snape's seventh year at Hogwarts up until he says goodbye to his wife, Alessandre.

Sequel - always a possibility, I wouldn't count it out. I have left myself a pretty wide opening for one.

Original Fiction - I have two original fantasy universes of my own that I have been working on for the past two years. I may write on them under FictionPress.net once I get HP out of my system.

::steps down off of podium in tears, can't believe that it is over::

{{Group Hug}} I love you guys!!!!