A/N: Final Chapter in this story. A sequel is written; let me know if you want me to post it. Also, I apologize to all of you who hate occ Snape, but there was no way around it in parts of this chapter. Thanks to all my reviewers for the encouragement.

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Part 6

"Good evening, gentlemen. I believe you may find that which you were seeking earlier this morning,' said the Headmaster to Draco, Harry, and Ron. "However, given the current circumstances, I advise you to proceed with caution. What you find may come as quite a shock," he finished with a twinkle in his eyes.

"Thank you, Professor Dumbledore," Harry replied politely. "Is that all?"

"Harry, I believe you already know. Mr. Weasley, here, on the other hand, as well as Mr. Malfoy, may need to see with their own eyes."

"Thanks," Harry replied with a smile. "Come on, Ron. Hermione's got something to tell us. Draco, I'd watch my mouth if I were you." Malfoy just stopped whatever he was going to say and glared at the back of Harry and Ron's heads as he followed them to the dungeon, arms crossed. He would have a word with Snape and see if he could get a few points taken away from Gryffindor later. There was always some reason. He just had to find it.

All three stopped before the office door moments later. Dumbledore was right. It was once again visible.

Harry stopped Malfoy, as he was about to open the door. "Let's wait a few more minutes. Give them time," he said.

"Time for what?" spat Draco. "It's not like they're snogging in there!" Harry just smiled knowingly. Hermione had confided in him earlier in the year about her crush on Snape. He knew she went to get the truth out of him. Harry had also caught sight of the curse she was looking at that morning at breakfast. He'd put it all together during then, but thought it wise not to say anything. Ron just would not understand, but he would come around in time. Malfoy was just a bonus. Harry could not wait to see his reaction. "Come on, pansies," Malfoy snarled as he opened the door.

"Hermione!" Ron shrieked covering his eyes and feeling betrayed. "I'm scarred for life," Harry heard as the red head ran from the dungeon. As Harry turned to Malfoy, he could not help snickering. The tall, lanky blonde looked disgusted. He quite visually disapproved of Snape's choice of woman. Harry just stood and watched as Draco ran to pull Snape and Hermione apart.

"Professor, she's used magic on you. There's no other explanation. I demand you expel her!" he tried reasoning with the professor.

Hermione had a goofy smile on her face as she noticed Harry. She waved to him and he nodded his recognition. Harry knew Hermione had placed a lot of trust in him. He hated the idea of her and Snape at first, but part of him could not help recognizing the reality of the match. Hermione was providing the same challenge she was receiving. There was something right about it.

Professor Snape, on the other hand, was having noticeably more trouble. "Draco, I'm not under the influence of magic," he said glaring at the boy for his insolence. "You will have to put your grudge aside because I am not afraid of punishing you for your inappropriate behavior. Your father is powerless here. Get out of my sight before you do anything you will regret!" snarled the furious professor. Draco, for the first time in his life, was seriously afraid of Snape. He had looked up to the professor as a father since his own was never really there for him. But this was unforgivable. A Slytherin and a Gryffindor, it could not happen. Especially these two. The combination of Hermione Granger and Severus Snape was just wrong. But Draco knew he was powerless. He could do nothing because Snape would ultimately have final say. Dumbledore had been anything but discreet about his mistrust in Draco of late. Snape was highly trusted amongst the staff, and, most importantly, the Headmaster. Draco gave up and left in a fit.

Snape watched sadly as Draco left. He really hoped the boy would understand, but he was always a bit hung up on house loyalties. He turned back to Hermione. His features darkened for a moment at the sight of Harry, but Hermione grabbed his hand and gave him a reassuring squeeze. "Potter, don't think this means I'm going any easier on you," he finally said with, what Harry thought, was a hint of respect. He knew Snape would never truly see him as Harry and not James Potter's son.

"Oh, no, sir. I wouldn't expect that," came Harry's reply. "I wish to be the first to congratulate you," he said, turning to Snape to see if he would accept.

"Thank you, Mr. Potter," came the Professor's response with a small smile. Harry had never seen him actually smile before and he thought Snape should do that more often. His thoughts were Hermione's thoughts at that moment.

Harry gave Hermione a hug before saying, "I better check on Ron. He's having a little trouble with this."

"Don't worry, Harry. He'll come around. You did. I'll talk to him later if he'll talk to me," said Hermione. With that, Harry left.

Hermione turned back to Snape. "Severus, I love you."

Her use of his first name sent shivers down his spine. "I love you too, Hermione." They stared at each other for a while before he finally spoke again. He had let doubt creep into his mind. "How can you love me, knowing my past, what I am? I . . . I don't deserve you."

"But, Severus," there it was, his first name again, "you do. You deserve the best," she said with tears in her eyes. He put a hand to her cheek. "You've put your life on the line too many times to count. No matter what you say or do, you will not get rid of me, Severus Snape."

"Then I'm the luckiest man in the world. From this day forth I will be yours if you'll have me, Hermione Granger." The words were no sooner out of his mouth before she was kissing him again. They broke apart after a few minutes.

"So, Professor Snape," she began properly, "what about my marks. Have I earned them yet?'

"Now wait a minute, Miss Granger," he began, playing along and using his best Professor voice. "You need to earn them. Don't think you can just try to kiss me senseless to get them. I have my integrity. Just because I love you doesn't mean I will just give you perfect marks. If you do the work up to and beyond my expectations, then that is a different matter," he finished before pulling her in for another searing kiss.

In his office, Albus Dumbledore gave a chuckle before saying to Fawkes, "It's about time." The phoenix squawked his agreement. "Time for bed my friend. We'll need a good nights sleep to sort out the mess in the morning." With that, all around the castle lights went out as everyone went to sleep. Hermione and Severus would undoubtedly dream of each other; Ron would dream of beating up Snape; Draco would dream of cursing Hermione; and Harry would dream about catching the snitch. Everything, it seemed, was as it should be as Dumbledore drifted off to a peaceful slumber.

The End, or is it?

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A/N: Did you like it or was it total crap? Be honest. A sequel is on the way shortly if you want it. Please let me know.