I know, I know…I've been remiss in posting this 'short' last chapter. I've had some personal issues going on which have affected me being able to finish. But I've finished now…I hope you have enjoyed. Since it's been awhile, let's recap just a bit before we wrap this up shall we?
Chapter 1 – Hermione loses her virginity to Draco and then finds herself pregnant.
Chapter 2 – Hermione brews a potion to dissolve the pregnancy, has serious complications and ends up in Severus' care.
Chapter 3 – Uncomfortable morning between the two before she visited Poppy to tell her what happened. Class was also uncomfortable causing Hermione to think maybe Severus had said something to Draco so she used truth serum on him to find out, running into Severus afterwards. In a heated discussion, she slapped him and he'd violently grabbed her.
Chapter 4 – Severus struggles with his thoughts and gives Hermione detention but apologizes for the incident in the staircase and gives her an "assignment" of the personal kind.
Chapter 5 – Hermione didn't go to Hogsmeade because she went to see Severus instead, sharing an erotic moment with him by the window.
Chapter 6 – Ginny caught Hermione in a lie about who she saw when everyone was at Hogsmeade. Draco is still after her. Hermione has another detention where they finally kiss but Severus retreats realizing he is beginning to feel for her.
Chapter 7 – Draco attacked Hermione in the hall and Severus comes to the rescue but ends up temporarily disrobing her out of his frustration. She follows him to give him a piece of her mind that ended up with them finally having sex. Ginny told her she'd used the map and saw she had been in Severus' chambers. Hermione told her later what was going on. Severus receives an owl from Lucius.
Chapter 8 – Severus warns Hermione of Lucius' visit to the castle. Lucius meets with Severus basically as a distraction so Draco can kidnap Hermione and leave a fake note. Lucius and Draco take advantage of her physically.
Chapter 9 – Draco tells Hermione that he and his father know of her and Severus and the abortion. Severus visit the Malfoy mansion to confirm Hermione is there. Severus had to tell Dumbledore of him and Hermione. She was returned to Hogwarts and met with Dumbledore and then Severus.
Chapter 10 – Hermione stayed with Severus in his chambers while everyone was gone for the holidays. During sex, he opened up his mind to her, but didn't tell her, and she heard him think "I love you". Dumbledore visited them to tell them Draco had been expelled.
Chapter 11 – Hermione tells Harry and Ron about what happened over the holidays. Severus and Hermione began to see each other. Frustration builds however with his insecurities and when the dance comes around, Hermione goes with a fellow Gryffindor, causing Severus to be jealous. She approached Severus after class one day and got in a huge fight, ending up going to see Dumbledore.
Chapter 12 – Hermione went to see Severus again and called him out on his feelings for her, causing him to break down emotionally. They decide to be serious about a relationship and consummate it with Severus allowing his mind to open again and telling her about it this time so they could share the experience.
I wrote and read and re wrote and re read this chapter…I kept feeling like I needed to add more…but I really couldn't without dragging it into more chapters…which I didn't want to do…I hope you like anyway…oddly enough…in my new story featuring Ginny and Remus (called Moonlight Healing) I'm sort of continuing this relationship with Severus and Hermione (with slight changes) even though the story isn't focused on them anymore…I didn't plan it that way…it just happened really…check it out…hope you enjoy this conclusion nonetheless…
Hogwarts students went about their daily lives, listening to transfiguring lessons, struggling with potions, cramming for tests, gossiping about who was dating who, fussing about the latest detention or extra roll of parchment required, oblivious to the fact that Hermione Granger, the famous brainy seventh year Gryffindor, was now involved in a relationship with the sneering, growling potions teacher and Slytherin head of house. Only Albus and Ginny noticed the quick glances, the slightest smirks and the hidden meanings behind the seemingly sarcastic comments thrown at the other. Hermione was still the first to raise her hand, and in his classes, he still rolled his eyes and looked for someone else to call on. Once in awhile, she would get a bit sassy, purposely earning herself detention, and would nearly skip all the way to the dungeons.
Seventh years talked non stop about what they would be doing after receiving their graduation order, some continuing their school, other working with the Ministry in various internships while many others were moving away, unsure of when they would see their friends again. Hermione had been so caught up in her happiness with Severus, she'd pushed aside whatever thoughts she'd entertained the year before. He tried a couple times to bring it up but she always changed the subject, insisting she had plenty of time to figure things out. When she was honest with herself, she couldn't imagine leaving him but dared not tell him that. At least not yet.
Hermione fought to hide the glow that tried to emanate from her body. She was teased endlessly by Ginny and even caught a wink from Albus periodically. She'd never been happier in her life. Even though her time was spent mainly in damp dungeons with a man definitely more 'dark' than 'light', her days still passed in a blur of giddiness as the sun shone every day and the birds were always singing, as far as she was concerned. There was no wrong in the world even though others certainly would have thought her world was completely wrong.
Severus had a more difficult time trying to keep his change in persona in check, as was to be expected. Unfortunately, he'd heard a few comments from students in that they did notice a difference, thinking that he'd somehow turned almost civil, sneering and yelling less than usual. He thought he would have a problem with his lack of scorn, but quickly realized each time Hermione would bounce into the classroom at night and flash her smile his way, that he didn't. He didn't miss causing students to look away from him in fear. He didn't miss barking out detentions and extra assignments to them. He didn't even miss berating Neville who hadn't brewed a correct potion in his life.
What he did miss was Hermione when she'd have to leave his chambers to return to her own dormitory. Every once in awhile, she'd take Harry's invisibility cloak and sneak down to spend most of the night with him, returning before everyone else woke, always reminding himself graduation was only a month away, thankful the cloak would no longer be needed then but also concerned with what would happen after. While he gave her most of his heart, as much as he could anyway, Severus kept a bit guarded, assuming she would leave after she graduated, a farewell he wished like hell he wouldn't have to say.
One evening as Severus watched Hermione walk into the bedroom from the bathroom, he frowned in concern and asked, "Are you feeling all right?" He'd noticed the past couple weeks that she'd looked stressed and tired and knew she'd been spreading herself thin between late nights in his chambers and late nights studying.
Guilty eyes meeting his, Hermione shook her head. "Not really," she answered truthfully, knowing she'd never get away with a lie. "I was sick."
"That explains why you're pale," he observed, turning down the cover for her as she laid beside him. "What did you eat for dinner?" He pressed his palm to her forehead, still frowning, but not feeling a temperature.
"Not much," she answered. "I'll be fine though. Just nervous about graduation I guess. You know how I am."
He studied her for a moment, thinking for the hundredth time that while it was odd to see her beside him, it also felt like the most natural thing in the world. "If it happens again, I will insist you see Poppy," he said in his best professor voice.
"Yes Sir," she said with a smile, turning towards him, snuggling her body against his, her arm across his body. "I'll be glad when I can wake up beside you again." She remembered how she had enjoyed greeting the morning in his arms the few days she stayed with him over the holidays.
He turned slightly to kiss the top of her head, inhaling the scent of her shampoo briefly, thinking he'd never enjoyed vanilla so much. "That would make two of us," he agreed, voice softer than his earlier questioning. "Not much longer." The statement that should have held nothing but happiness contained a bit of dread that he couldn't disguise.
As she glanced at the pages of the book in his hands, not really reading any of the words, Hermione wondered if this was the time to bring up what would happen after graduation. He'd tried to talk about it but she'd always put it off, because she really didn't have an answer yet, but she couldn't ignore the tone in his voice. As she toyed with the sleeve of his nightshirt, she said, "You know, we haven't really…talked…about graduation, although you have tried to broach the subject."
Severus' chest slowly rose and fell, exhaling a breath that he'd been suppressing for weeks it seemed. "Yes I have tried," he agreed. "I knew better than to push you." Although he knew the love they shared, he was truthfully expecting her to leave. After all, she was brilliant so why should she stay? For him? It was hardly the kind of person she was and he wouldn't allow it anyway.
"I haven't completely decided," Hermione said quietly, noticing his arm muscles tighten under her touch. "But I'm really leaning towards teaching."
"Teaching?" he repeated, closing his book and spelling it to the night table. "Why teaching?"
Hermione turned over to face him, her hand between her chin and his chest, as his arm slipped around her. "Because I think that's what I'd like to do," she answered, her eyes meeting his, feeling his fingers dance lightly on her back. "I want to make a difference with the students. There are so many here who have made a huge difference to me. I thought about teaching years ago."
His other hand combed through her brown locks, fanning them out over his body and her shoulder. "I, of course, will not tell you what to do or make any suggestions as I know you will do what you want anyway," he said with a smirk. "But I will ask that you make sure your ultimate decision has more to do with your goals and abilities than your feelings for me."
"How can you ask that?"
"Because of my feelings for you," he answered, touching her cheek with the fingertips that had just run through her soft hair. "Hermione, you're young and smart and beautiful. The possibilities of what you can do are endless. I'm twenty years older than you, and while we don't think it's an issue, the reality around us says it could be. Hogwarts is home to me. I highly doubt I will ever go anywhere or do anything any different. I don't really want to quite honestly. But you don't have to remain here. You can travel. You could go to any country you desire. The Ministry could…"
"Do you honestly think I want to work for them after what I've seen them do?" Hermione asked with a little more attitude than she meant. "I mean, I know they've straightened themselves out a bit but I really don't think that's the type of organization I want to work for."
He understood what she was saying. "I know," he said quietly. "But I also don't want you to have any…regrets…later. I couldn't bear it…not after…" Immediately, he felt soft lips on his, silencing him. He gently gripped her arms below her shoulders and pushed her from him, determined to finish his thoughts. "Promise me your decision will not be based on me."
"Promise me!" he growled, the tone of his voice and fierceness in his ebony eyes a ghostly reminder of his outbursts in the past.
"I promise!" she exclaimed instantly, startled by his aggressive action as she hadn't seen that side of him in a couple months. As his grip loosened slightly, their eyes locked in a battle of wills, she pressed her hands flat against his chest to brace herself, not wanting to discuss graduation any more. "Can we…I mean…I need to forget about it for now," she said, clenching the material of his nightshirt in her fists. "Just…please…make me forget…."
Severus saw the hunger dancing in her eyes, heard the pleading in her voice, quickly rolling her over and covering her body with his. As his mouth claimed hers in a wet kiss, hands roaming and squeezing, no more words were spoken of graduation.
"Miss Granger," Professor Dumbledore was saying. "Are you positive about this? I would love to have you as a professor, of course, but are you absolutely sure? With your level of intellect, you could have your choice among many professions."
"I'm positive," she answered. "I've never been more certain of anything. I just wanted…needed… your approval and blessing before I told Severus my decision."
Elderly eyes looked at the young girl atop his half moon shaped spectacles. "I know you've thought this through," he said. "So I will, of course, not question you but put faith in you instead, as I did with Severus so many years ago. Congratulations, my dear."
"Thank you so much, Professor," Hermione said, feeling a huge weight lift from her shoulders. Telling Albus wasn't as scary as she had anticipated but knew Severus could be another story.
"Come on, Hermione," Ron whined a couple weeks later as he sat with Harry, Ginny and her by the lake studying. "Tell us what your plans are. We've all told you what we're doing or at least what we're hoping to do."
Harry had a position waiting for him in the Ministry while Ron was going to work with Charlie for awhile, learning more about dragons. Ginny still had another year but was seriously considering being a medi witch and becoming an intern at Hogwarts to work with Poppy.
"I'm sorry but I just can't right now," Hermione told them. "Please try to understand I'm just not in a position to yet. I'm still working out some details that I'm not permitted to speak of."
"Is it some kind of secret mission?" Harry teased, giving her a small wink. "As long as it's not dangerous."
"It's not dangerous and it's not exactly a secret mission," she answered with a smile. "But it won't be long. I promise."
Graduation day came much too quickly for most. The graduating students had a special breakfast with their families, some having arrived by floo and others by the train, before Albus took them on a tour of Hogwarts, allowing the students time to prepare for the ceremony and the house elves to prepare the Great Hall.
Hermione listened to the chaos that seemed to ensue in the common room as her friends ran around, trying to find their robes and hats and shoes and whatever else they'd misplaced. She watched as they fussed with their make up and hair, realizing with a silent chuckle that had it not been for Severus and their future, she would be acting the same way. She was indeed the calmest one.
As Hermione walked into the Great Hall, she didn't fight tears like the others did. She flashed a quick smile towards Severus but listened intently as Albus and a few other professors delivered their speeches, knowing that she was not leaving this place that had grown to become her home. It wasn't an ending to her but a beginning.
After the ceremony was over, there was a huge crowd in the center of the Great Hall as the students joined their families, hugging and taking pictures. She found her parents chatting with the Weasleys, hugged them, but told them they'd have to wait a few minutes as there was something she needed to take care of first.
Pushing her way through the crowd, she found Severus ending a conversation with Minerva.
"Severus," she said, as her previous head of house walked away. "I've made my decision. I'm staying here with you and teaching. I've already talked to Albus and received his approval."
His eyes enlarged upon hearing her words. "Hermione, you promised me you would not make this decision based on me," he reminded her, trying to keep his voice quiet. "Please tell me you heeded my wish."
She smiled as her heart pounded inside her chest, ignoring those around her, not caring to be quiet or keep secrets any longer. "I didn't make it based on you," she told him truthfully. "Although you were involved."
"What are you saying?" he asked, still keeping his voice down, trying to ignore the people milling around the two of them, casting glances their direction. "How did you not make it based on me and have me still involved?"
"I made the decision based on something else," she answered with an excited smile. "Severus, I made the decision to stay based on…our child."
His eyes enlarged again. Did he hear her correctly? He glanced around nervously before allowing his eyes to meet hers in the unspoken question.
"I thought he or she would be better off with both parents together," she continued, waiting anxiously for his reaction.
"Our child?" he asked, eyes wide as saucers. "You…you're…"
Hermione was grinning and nodding. "Almost six weeks," she told him.
"A child," he said, more to himself than to her. "Our child? And you…you're…we're… keeping it?" A child was never something that he thought would be a part of his life and had given up entertaining the idea at this point. He almost couldn't believe it. A father. Him. Him?
"I want nothing more," she answered confidently, reaching for his hands, not caring who saw them as it didn't matter now anyway. "Are you happy? Severus, please tell me you're not mad."
"Mad?" he repeated. "I am certainly not mad. Surprised? Indeed." He squeezed her hands. "Are you positive? Hermione, this is a huge decision. I mean, a child? Us having a child? Maybe we should…I mean…with my past…"
"Severus," she said, oblivious to the stares they were now receiving. "I love you. I want to be here with you. I want to keep the child…if you do. If you don't, then I'll…"
"No!" he exclaimed instantly, remembering the circumstance that ironically brought them together in the first place. "I don't want that. I just want to make sure that you're positive about this decision." He pulled her close to him, his hands on her waist, ignoring the multitude of looks and whispers floating around them. "I love you as well and would love nothing more than for you to stay here. And a child? I…well…I just don't even know what to say, Hermione. I just never thougt after everything I've done…"
Hermione looked around as most of the noisy conversations had stopped, replaced instead with muffled whispers, almost all eyes on them. She grinned, blushing slightly and said, "We're being watched, dare I say we've been discovered."
Severus looked around as well and then back down at Hermione. "Let them stare," he told her, sliding both his hands up to her face, his thumbs grazing her cheeks. "I've never given a damn about their stares anyway." This girl…no this woman, pregnant with their child, would no longer be hidden. A feeling swept over him that he was almost certain he'd never experienced before. He was proud. There were still questions in his mind but they would talk more later in private. For now, he couldn't hide his smile.
"Me either," she said before his lips touched hers, both stifling a laugh as they heard quiet gasps around them, knowing there would be explaining to do later, but not caring in the slightest. They'd found happiness and that's all that mattered.
Albus looked over at them, catching their eyes, and winked, knowing Hogwarts would never been the same.