Resolution: Epilogue

Severus leaned back in the chair in his study, watching his sleeping wife with a sense of awe. His life had changed dramatically over the last six years. If Sibyll Trelawney had told him what lay in his future six years ago, he would have been more convinced than ever that she was a raging lunatic. He smirked as he thought back over the last six years. Voldemort had been defeated and somehow he had managed to survive the war. Two months later, he had bid his former student, Hermione Granger, farewell after she had been supposedly murdered by Death Eaters. Six months after that, the witch had broken through the wards of his potions storeroom, alive but definitely not well. The following months would prove both harrowing and heart wrenching for them both as Hermione struggled with her inner demons and the torture she had suffered at the hands of Lucius Malfoy, after he'd faked her death and abducted her. Still, in the end, the beautiful witch had found solace and security in him, Severus Snape, of all people. And, even more amazing, she had agreed to marry him.

Now, she lay on his couch, exhausted but happy, and as beautiful as ever. He longed to stroke her luxurious brown hair, kiss her soft lips, but he didn't dare wake her from the slumber she so desperately deserved. Instead, he admired her from afar. She had accomplished many things in the last six years: she had completed and published ground breaking research on a cure for the after effects of the Cruciatus curse, she had earned a double degree in Magical Plants and Potions from Worcester Witches' College, and she had accepted the position of Herbology professor at Hogwarts after Professor Sprout had unexpectedly fallen ill. Together, Mr. and Mrs. Snape had published numerous papers on their combined cutting-edge research. She was his intellectual equal, and her dedication and determination never ceased to amaze him.

Yet the accomplishment that amazed him most was the wondrous bundle of joy that lay sleeping in his arms as he rocked back and forth in the rocking chair that Hermione had picked out before Severus Junior was born. He still remembered the morning she had discovered she was pregnant.

He had awoken to the sound of her screaming. That, in itself, was not so unusual; she still had nightmares occasionally. They were intense enough for him to feel her emotions: fear and pain. Yet two things were out of place that morning. As he instinctively reached over to comfort her, she was not there. Stranger still was the odd feelings he was sensing through their link: anticipation and joy? He sat on the edge of the bed, the light from under the bathroom door the only indication that his wife was inside. He squinted at the bright light when the door finally opened. He was overwhelmed by his wife tackling him and found himself sprawled beneath her on the bed, tears streaming down her cheeks, a smile etched across her face. He couldn't imagine what had gotten into her. She kissed him fiercely for a brief moment before whispering in his ear, "How would you like to be a daddy?" The realization had sent shock waves through him for weeks: Severus Snape––a father. The two didn't seem to go together. He was both terrified and delighted over the prospect; terrified that he would never be good enough for their child, delighted that their love for one another had created a child––their child. And, best of all, he'd never seen his wife so happy. They had stopped using birth control after she graduated from college, letting whatever would happen, happen. Because of the abuse she had suffered at the hands of the Malfoys, her ability to bear children was uncertain. Yet, his wife was pregnant and in less than a year, he was to find himself where he sat today, rocking his sleeping infant son in his arms, at least until he woke up and demanded to be fed again. Hermione stirred on the couch but did not awaken. He only hoped his son would give her a few more minutes of rest.

As he stared into his son's face, the memory of his grand entrance into the world came rushing back to Severus. Hermione had been confined to bed for the last four weeks of her pregnancy due to premature labor. His son had been eager to come into this world, it seemed. Severus was teaching a seventh year Potions class when a sharp pain pierced his abdomen. Fortunately for him, his students were too busy brewing their potions to notice that their normally taciturn Potions Master was suddenly doubled over in pain, as well as fear and anticipation. He could feel Hermione's emotions as well: surprise and excitement. The baby was coming. He quickly Flooed Albus and had the headmaster take over his class so he could join Hermione in the Hospital Wing. With record speed, baby boy Snape was born. Severus had been thrilled for three reasons: his son was healthy and alive, his wife didn't have to suffer the long labor that most first time mothers did, and last, but not least, due to their link, he was unfortunate enough to have gone through the physical and emotional aspects of labor with her and was happy to feel them come to an end. They had all been exhausted after their journey. Studying his sleeping family now, there was no doubt in his mind that it had all been worth it.

The cascade of events that followed was now comfortingly familiar to him. The baby opened its eyes, looked towards his father, and began to cry. His father was good for many things, but feeding was not one of them. At the sound of the baby's cries, Hermione awoke, reached for her son, cradled the hungry infant to her breast, smiled at Severus, and closed her eyes. It wouldn't be long before they were both sleeping again. It was only nine in the morning, but she had been up feeding the baby all night. She didn't seem to mind, though. He wondered when the boy would be able to go more than two hours without eating. He suddenly had a new respect for Molly Weasley. How on earth had she managed twins? Surely they'd never wake up and eat at the same time. The poor woman mustn't have gotten any sleep at all.

As he made his wife lunch, an owl arrived with a package. It was addressed to Mrs. Hermione Snape. He walked back into the study with lunch and the parcel. He took his sleeping son and let her enjoy her well-deserved meal. He watched with amusement as she devoured everything he placed in front of her. He had thought pregnancy made her ravenous; breastfeeding seemed to do no less.

Next she turned her attention to the plain brown package. He had been amazed at the outpouring of well wishes and gifts they'd received when word spread that Hermione was expecting. At least once a week, another gift would arrive. He watched as Hermione eagerly read the enclosed letter, a fleeting look of surprise crossing her face. She looked at Severus with an amused expression on her face.

At the sight of his eyebrows raised in question, she said, "It's from Draco and his fiancée; his Muggle fiancée."

Setting down the parchment, she continued. "It seems he has decided to leave the Magical world, at least for now. He says that he and Andrea are planning to wed in a small Muggle ceremony this spring and that he plans to take her last name. He says that the Malfoys have done enough damage over the last century and it is up to him to make sure it stops with him."

Hermione looked at Severus, a sad smile on her face.

"What is it?" he asked, knowing his wife was much too sensitive for her own good.

"You know he's giving it all up because of me."

"Giving what up?"

"The name, the money, the prestige, the Wizarding ways, everything."

"Hermione, he gave that up a long time ago."

"Yes, and for me."

"You gave him his life, Hermione. And after what he did to you, whatever the circumstances, I hardly consider his sacrifice as anything more than the right thing to do."

"He can't change what happened any more than I can. I've already forgiven him."

"Yes, but he hasn't forgiven himself. I doubt he ever will."

She sighed. "Perhaps someday we will be teaching their children. They might even be the first Malfoy heirs not to be sorted into Slytherin."

Hermione laughed at the slighted look on Severus's face. She got up to kiss him before handing him the larger of the two packages. "You first," she said, watching as he clumsily unwrapped the rectangular box due to the baby nestled in the crook of one of his arms. He pulled out a miniature black robe trimmed in gold.

"Read the note," she requested.

Severus cleared his throat. "After telling Andrea all about Hogwarts and the different Houses, she thought it only fitting to fashion a robe for your child. In the spirit of both Slytherin and Gryffindor, we settled on black and gold. I vetoed red and green; fortunately, the child wasn't born at Christmas time or I think she would have won that battle."

Hermione eagerly unwrapped the second gift, which looked surprisingly like a Remembrall. She read the attached note aloud. "Instead of reminding you that you've forgotten something, this special Remembrall will show you things you want to remember. Have the baby hold it periodically and the moment will be magically captured. You will be able to look back at any time and see him or her at various ages." Scribbled below in Draco's scrawl was another note."It took me some time to get the charms worked out, as Charms was never my best subject, but I think I've managed. If it doesn't work right, let me know, and I'll make some adjustments to it."

Hermione set down the gifts and the letter and looked thoughtfully at her husband. "He's marrying a Muggle. Who would have ever guessed?"

Severus snorted. "Who would have ever guessed you'd marry me, your evil Potions professor?"

"Who would have thought my evil Potions Master was really a caring, kind, and considerate man hiding behind a façade of indifference?" she countered.

Severus placed the baby in the bassinet and slid behind his wife, wrapping his arms around her and pulling her against his chest. "And who would have thought that the insufferable, know-it-all Gryffindor would become my intellectual equal as well as my most beloved companion?" he said, pulling her hair back and placing soft kisses along her neck.

"Who would have ever thought," she whispered, lost in his touch, feeling his intense love for her through their link. "Who would have ever thought, indeed."