"Mr. Malfoy, do you honestly expect us to believe that you have been working with Miss Granger, as a spy for the Order, since she was taken last summer?" Minister Barrows asked with such sarcasm that it dripped from the walls like marmalade.
"I expect that you gave me Vertiserum to ensure truth in my testimony," he said firmly. "I have been helping since the first day she was taken, yes."
"Did you know she was a spy for the Order?" the Minister asked.
"Yes," he said firmly. "When she was summoned the second time, she made me aware of such facts."
"Did He Who Shall Not Be Named know this as well?" he asked.
"Of course," he said firmly. "But Miss Granger did well to play off her role as being abandoned by the Order, and willing to serve our Lord's needs."
"Were you witness to this?" the Minister said almost shocked.
"Everytime except her last, when I was supposedly dead," he answered smoothly.
"Miss Granger, why did you chose to take up the role of spy?" the Minister asked.
"I did not choose such a fate," she said with a tearful eye, letting the tears come. "I was told that if I did not do it, I would go to Azkaban because it proved I was on the Dark Lord's side because I had survived my attack."
"And who told you this?" the Minister said offering his handkerchief. She took it thankfully with a small smile and wiped her eyes. "Alastar Moody, and yourself sir."
"Do you think we were wrong to do so?" he said his chin up in a firm arrogance.
"Yes sir," she said softly. "I lost my parents in that attack, I was never allowed to mourn them, I wasn't allowed to settle their affairs, I was forced to be raped over and over again by countless men just to get information for you."
"Why did you not stop when Snape was returned?" the Minister said incredulously trying to discredit her story.
"Moody told me that if I did, both Snape and I would go to Azkaban," she said quietly. "And we would both get the Kiss for being Death Eaters."
"Were you ever a Death Eater, Miss Granger?" he asked.
"No sir," she said quietly.
"Tell me, how many muggles died at your hands Miss Granger, as you partook of the activities of Death Eaters?" the Minister said incredulously.
"None sir," she said quietly. "I never killed anyone until the confrontation at Hogwarts."
"None? I have numerous reports of you being sighted at Death Eater rallies and revels," he smirked at the Wizengamot.
"I never killed anyone sir until the final confrontation. You gave me Vertiserum, and I cannot be lying to you!" she said getting indignant. "I never killed a muggle! I am a Muggle Born Witch!"
"More like a whore," the Minister muttered.
"Objection!" one of the Barristers said firmly.
"Retracted!" Minister Barrows said firmly.
"What is your relationship with Lucius Malfoy," he said firmly.
"He helped me," she said softly. "He made sure that the others didn't get to me all the time. He never hurt me, except once, pulling my hair to get me away from Vincent Crabbe Sr., he had to make it look like he had first dibs on me. But he never did anything inappropriate to me. He made sure I got home safely after I was punished by the Dark Lord."
"And what did these punishments include?" the Minister asked. She could see where this was going. If he couldn't attack her testimony, he was going to attack her character.
"The Cruciatus Curse, numerous times, sometimes breaking my fingers, sometimes rape," she said softly.
"And did you go to the Dark Lord's bed willingly?" he said sneering at her.
"No, I mean, yes, but no. I was never willing, Moody kept making me go back," she said softly. "If anything, you and Moody were the ones doing the raping, the Dark Lord was just the one doing the act. You knew he would!"
"Do you not see why we had to do this!" the Minister had to save face now.
"Yes sir, but my life is ruined now," she said softly. "I will never marry, I will never have a loving family with children, all because you needed information that was utterly useless to you in the end. You weren't even there for the final battle! You hid here! You are a coward on high!"
"Miss Granger!" the Minister said firmly.
"I am. Not sorry! It is the Vertiserum, I cannot help it!" she said tears pouring from her eyes. "You are a snake, no better than Moody or the Dark Lord in the way you used me! Now I will pay for all time with the scars of the Dark Mark on my back because they can never be taken away now!"
"It is the decision of the High Court of the Wizengamot that Lucius Malfoy, having partaken his role in the defeat of He Who Shall Not Be Named, be pardoned for all past crimes associated with his role as a Death Eater. One quarter of his total assets and lands shall be taken by this Court to recompense his victims."
"It is also this Courts decision that Minister Barrows, Alastar Moody and Assistant Carols be held accountable for the crimes against Hermione Jane Granger. All assets of Minister Barrows shall be donated post haste to Hermione Jane Granger, along with all assets of The Zabini Family and all assets of the Goyle and Crabbe Families. Minister Barrows, Alastar Moody, and Assistant Carols will all be taken immediately to Azkaban Prison to await trial."
"The Court also finds that Severus Snape has acted completely within the terms of his arrangement with the Wizengamot, and his pardon still stands. All Snape lands and properties shall be henceforth reinstated. Also he shall be given all lands and assets of the Parkinson family, the Winslow family, and the Bullstrode Family as recompense for the years served to defeat the menace to all Wizarding Society."
"The Court also finds that Draco Malfoy has acted completely within the terms of his arrangement with the Wizengamot, and his pardon still stands."
"The Court has deemed that Elliot Ollivander, Vincent Crabbe Senior, Sean Goyle Senior, Bellatrix Black Lestrange, Rodolphus Lestrange, David Parkinson, Diana Blackroot Parkinson, Andrea Shiligot," and so many more names, I am going to fall asleep if this keeps going…Hermione thought to herself. "are guilty as charged of his involvement with the Death Eaters and He Who Shall Not Be Named. They will be remanded to Azkaban for the rest of their natural life, or until another sentence shall be imposed by this Court."
"The Court also forgives all person fighting on the side of the Order of the Phoenix for any Unforgivable Curses that were required during the final battle."
"That is all on this day of March, 15th, nineteen hundred and ninety nine, so say I so say us all!" the resounding cheer from the room made the growls of Minister Barrows, Mad Eye and Carols unheard as they were taken into custody.
Lucius grabbed Hermione around the waist and swung her around tightly. It overall, was a victory for him. He was free, Narcissa was vindicated, and his son was free. When he put her down, he kissed her soundly on each cheek before Harry and the rest of her classmates hugged her tightly. It had taken over a year to get to court; Lucius and Severus had been on "house arrest" at Hogwarts in Severus' chambers.
Neville walked forward, and looked at Hermione with shy eyes.
"Thank you," he said quietly. "For everything."
"Do not thank me Neville," she said with a smile. "You did it. You made it happen."
"I cannot thank you enough for everything you did, the potion worked. My parents are still in Saint Mungo's, but they get better every day," he said softly.
"Then why are you still here?" she said with a smile. "Go on!"
Neville didn't need to hear that twice, he ran out of the room in a hurry.
"May I have a word, Miss Granger?" the silken voice of Severus came up behind her. The celebration downstairs in the Grand Ballroom had proven too much for Hermione. Too many people, too crowded, and not her cup of tea, she just had to get away from it all. So here he found her on the balcony overlooking Lucius' lands.
"Of course, Professor," she said without turning around. "By all means, but if any of the gaggle from downstairs followed you, I swear I will jump," she said with an amused laugh.
"Not that I would blame you," he said moving to the railing. "I have a simple question. Why?"
"That could pertain to a great many things, Professor," she said quietly as she sipped from her flute of champagne. "It tastes so much better without the contraceptive in it." She smirked.
"Yes, it does," he said looking at the lands. "Why did you not let Moody kill me? I made it clear I had no wish to live."
"No, you made it clear that I reminded you of Lily," she said quietly. "Plus, you called me your Lioness again, I was not about to let you die without getting my peace in on that matter."
"Did I say that?" he said raising a brow. "I must have truly been delirious in my pain."
"Surely," she said with a smirk. She felt a hand on her shoulder and her whole body stiffened.
"It is over Hermione," he said softly. "You were vindicated today."
"I was given pity today," she said softly. "You were vindicated."
"It was not your fault," he said sternly. "You must be able to move on with your life now. Many men will seek you out now that you hold so much title and lands."
"Pity," she said quietly. "I do not want someone who seeks my fortunes."
"You are an ungrateful know it all, you know that?" he said removing his hand stiffly.
"And you are a snarky git, but that is alright, I will wait," she said sipping her flute again.
"What are you waiting for Hermione?" he said looking at her. She set the flute down on the railing and turned to him.
"Someone who understands my scars are part of me, not something to get over. Someone that understands I have a mind and I am going to use it, not just be a house witch. Someone that understands that I am an insufferable Know It All, and knows the War was not just a page in a history book. Someone that sees me just the way I am, not this trussed up woman who suffered at the hands of the Dark Lord," she said with a smile. "Someone that sees that I am more than my scars and my past."
"Miss Granger," he said sternly. "You should know by now there are no happy endings."
"I know that," she said. "Nothing will change the past, but I have a say now on my future. And if you cannot see past the criteria I have listed, then I shall just have to wait and see if there is anyone else who possibly could."
He stopped short, as if all the air had been compressed out of his person, and he could not get his lungs to respond. He watched as she slowly turned and looked up to his eyes. Her eyes were wide and open for his interpretations of her words. A soft smile crept across her lips.
"I am not a man any woman should want, Miss Granger. Surely you have had too much champagne. I shall escort you…"
"Severus stop it," she said firmly. "Stop running away from me."
"You do not know what you are asking," he said firmly. "I am not a kind man, and I will never be gentile. I suggest you take up Lucius' offer."
"Lucius is only looking for public favor. He does not care for me at all. He will not seek to protect me from the scrutiny and pity of others. And I do not want the public eye that comes with him. I most certainly do not wish to marry him," she said rolling her eyes. "He knows that. I know it, we already discussed it."
"And what would you want with me?" he said sternly.
"Intelligent conversation, a man who is ten times better than I am with potions, someone to ensnare my mind, bewitch my senses, bottle my fame, and put a stopper in my own death that is eating me from the inside out," she said softly. "What would you want of me?"
He did not answer, just setting down his glass he walked to her, tucking a finger under her chin and lifting it, he lowered his head to hers and gently brushed his lips over hers. Feeling her arms slide over his shoulders, he leaned down further and wrapped his arms about her waist, lifting her into a searing kiss. His tongue plunging into the depths of her mouth as he pressed her full body against his own. She was so warm, so welcoming. Her tongue challenged his to a private duel that elicited a slight whimper of pleasure from her body.
Slowly he pulled away and looked deep into her eyes. She allowed him to see whatever he wished, but he did not push into her mind. Both of them had been jaded to the ways of the body, their minds were really all they had left. They would enjoy each other's company more than any elderly married couple would. Their fights would be fierce, but that would make it always a challenge.
"I do not know how to be a tender man," he said firmly. "I have never known…"
"Stop telling me what you are not," she said softly. "Tell me what you are."
"I am a git, a rude man, who adores his privacy, who does not share well, and does not take well to the company of many," he said firmly. "I will never like Harry Potter, I will never like the Weasleys and I will never like the trappings of the wealthy."
"Good," she said with a soft smile. "Take me home, Severus."
Lucius sat on the portico, watching the woman he had proposed to kissing the man she wanted. His little ploy had worked. Severus could not stand to watch his last opportunity at happiness get taken away again. James Potter had taken Lily away. Hermione Granger had longed for her Potions Teacher since long before Dumbledore died. Even Draco had commented on how hard she worked for her grades in his class.
"Father?" he heard from behind him, Lucius turned to face his now graduated son, with a smile. Draco looked up to the balcony then smirked and looked at his father.
"They will be good for each other," Draco said softly. "Though I think I shall wait until they have their children before I start having my own."
"Why?" Lucius said perplexed.
"A mind like what will come of the two of them is likely to run Hogwarts far better than any child of mine will. I don't want him or her to have competition," he laughed quietly.
"Hmm, had enough competing with the Granger girl did you?" Lucius said with a smirk.
"Father, I know you had no intentions on marrying her. Why did you propose?" he said rolling his eyes.
"Because boy, Severus never worked well unless he was under a little pressure. Severus would have just allowed her to go away and marry whomever she wanted unless it was I. He knew she would be absolutely miserable with me," he said softly. "Thusly, he would at least try to talk her out of it. Even if he made no move of his own, but Miss Granger is quite smitten with the dark, brooding man."
"He really is your friend," he said softly.
"He always has been," the elder Malfoy said quietly. "And he deserved better than anything I ever did for him."
"And now what of you Father?" Draco asked. "What will you expect of me?"
"I expect you to find happiness that she provided for you," he said firmly. "We owe everything to that Muggle Born and that Half Blood up there."
"Father, do not forget to include yourself in that equation. You made sure that Neville could deliver the final blow. My happiness will come in time but what if it is with a half blood, or muggle born?" he questioned.
"Even if," Lucius said. "Though you know my preference."
"We shall see Father," he said shaking his head. "Many of them died that day."
"Yes, many did," he said softly. "You will find your way Draco. After all, we are the two most sought after wizards right now. Hermione's rejection was more than expected. She told me tonight before the party she could not accept. I already knew she would. I just wanted to put the fire under Severus' arse."
"Well from the fact they just apparated together out of here, I would say you succeeded," he said with a smirk.
"And when do I not?" Lucius said in retort.
"Well, there was that incident with a certain book…"
"Oh do shut it Draco!"
"Yes Father," he said with a derisive snort.
Hermione Jane Granger was married to Severus Snape on the fifth of June in 2001. Hermione's work on the Cruciatus Curse Reversal Potion was published with Severus Snape's name on the testing portion of the potion. Cleared for use by Saint Mungo's in March of 2000 after numerous beneficial uses with patients on the fourth floor, including the parents of the war hero, Neville Longbottom.
Mr. And Mrs. Snape did not return to Hogwarts the following year. With expressed consent and blessing from the Ministry, they prepared a lab that was once the home of the Parkinson family. There they worked diligently on a restorative draught that would assist in the regenerating of tissues the same way Skele-Gro did on bones. It took them a full year of constant testing and research before the concoction won them the third Order of Merlin they had received. The first had been a First Class for their war efforts and sacrifices. The second had been for Hermione's curative potion for the curses. The potion they named "Narcissa's Restorative Potion" was the answer for many Pureblood families that had lost the ability to breed due to inbreeding. It restored the ability to breed and cleared many of the Pureblood lines to breed again. It also had the qualities of purifying Half Blood lines to read as purebloods in the Ministry's tests.
Mr. And Mrs. Snape refused the potion for themselves. Their refusal was the topic of many news articles and interviews, mainly done by Mrs. Snape as Mr. Snape was an extremely private man, according to Mrs. Snape.
On October 30th, 2003 Alexander Hadrian Snape was born. According to public document, he was born at home without assistance of mediwitches with her husband and Mrs. Molly Weasley. The only comment received by Mrs. Weasley was that he was a 6 pound 4 oz child, healthy in all ways and mother and son were resting comfortably.
"Severus," she said quietly to the grey haired man laying quietly upon the pillows. He had turned grey only a few years after the fall of Voldemort, but the years of service had taken their toll on the sagely wizard. His breathing was shallow, sweat lined his brow. He opened his eyes, and looked upon the woman sitting at his side, holding his hand.
"There is nothing to stop it this time, Hermione," he said quietly.
"I know, but I am not leaving you," she said quietly. "You spent your whole life alone. You won't do this alone."
She pushed a stray hair out of his face. He lifted his arm, and lifted the blankets. She crawled into the bed and curled her head onto his chest as she had done every night since they had left Malfoy Manor. Every night listening to the cadence of his heart thrumming against her ear, it brought her peace.
They slept, and somewhere in the night, Severus Snape slipped away. He escaped one last time from the clutches of the pain Voldemort had left him with. The restorative draught that Hermione had created had given his pain-wracked body a few more years, but in all, the damage that Voldemort had done in his extensive tortures had taken their toll on the Potion Master.OBITUARY
Potion Master, Order of Merlin First, and twice over Third Class Wizard, and War Hero Severus Snape was laid to rest in the family plot at Prince Manor in the city of Cornwall on January 1st, 2004. His wife, Hermione Jane Snape and son, Alexander Hadrian Snape, survive him. Official cause of death is listed as massive organ failure due to severe trauma resulting in magical failure to regenerate. The damage, listed by the Department of Justice, is from years of abuse taken by the Mr. Snape during his years as a Death Eater in service of the Order of the Phoenix. For a man who was considered to be one of the least favored Professors ever of Hogwarts, the attendance for his funeral was staggering. Over three thousand witches and wizards made their way past the casket of the former professor. Each were given a small stone to place into the casket, each one a point that had been given by the Professor in his years as a teacher at Hogwarts.
In attendance were his wife, Hermione Jane Snape, Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy, Lucius Malfoy, all Ministers of the Ministry, and several other friends that wished to remain anonymous.
The door to the office slammed open, an in a flurry of black robes she entered. Dark brown eyes, cold and empty and made you think of dark tunnels stared over the class. "You are here to learn, the exact art of Potions making," she began. She spoke barely a whisper, but they caught every word. Like her predacessor, she had the gift of keeping the class silent without effort.
"As there is little foolish wand waving here, many of you will hardly believe this is magic. I don't expect you will really understand the beauty of the softly simmering cauldron with it's shining fumes, the delicate power of liquids that creep through human veins, bewitching the mind, ensnaring the senses… I can teach you how to bottle fame, brew glory, even put a stopper in death—if you aren't as big a bunch of dunderheads as I usually have to teach." More silence followed this little speech.
"Malfoy! What would happen if I added powdered root of asphodel to an infusion of wormwood?" she barked.
The child sat there, looking at her as if she were stupid.
"Professor, it makes a sleeping potion called the Draught of Living Death, Ma'am," he said with a dry snort.
"Very good Mr. Malfoy, 5 points to Ravenclaw," she said crossing her arms and looking over the class.
"Potter! Where would look if I told you to find me a bezoar?"
"Ma'am, I do not know?" the child said dumbfounded. Another child's hand in the back of the class shot into the air. She ignored it.
"Weasley! What is the difference between Monkshood and Wolfsbane?" she said tapping her wand expectantly on the desk.
"Umm… one is good for getting rid of werewolves?" the boy guessed rather futile.
"Did no one except Mr. Malfoy read anything on potions before attending my class!" she said angrily.
"Yeah… that's just because it's her son," Potter snorted to his red headed friend.
"Mr. Potter! Something you wish to share with the rest of the class?" she said loudly. "5 points from Slytherin for talking in class. Not a good way to start the year Mr. Potter! Now A bezoar…."
"Damn, Professor Malfoy is a royal git, isn't she?" James Potter said quietly to his friend David Weasley.
"Hey! Watch it, that's my mom your talking about. She only caught you because you didn't study anything. Man, how can your father be THE Harry Potter and not know anything about bezoars?" Damien rolled his eyes. "James really, you should know how my mom is about potions by now!"
"Yeah, but did she have to purposefully avoid calling on me?" Jarvis Lupin said quietly with his arms wrapped around six books that had nothing to do with the classes he was taking.
"Do you have to be such a Know It All?" Damien Malfoy said with a smirk.
"How did your dad take you getting sorted into Ravenclaw, Damien?" James said ribbing him with an elbow.
"About as well as your dad did with you getting into Slytherin," he snorted.
"Is it true your mom was married to Severus Snape?" David Weasley said with eyes wide.
"Ask him," Damien pointed as the Head Boy walked up.
"Are you guys lost?" the boy said with a smirk. His long black hair fell over his shoulders, he was very tall, at least a head above Professor Malfoy.
"Umm no, we're going to the library," he said.
"Damien, mum wants to know if you are coming to quarters for dinner tonight," he said smoothly. His black eyes seemed to be boring into the stormy grey of his apparent brother.
"No Alex, I am going to eat in the Great Hall tonight," he said with a nod. "Tell mum, maybe tomorrow."
"She'll be rather wounded, but I will let her know," he said with a look down his long aquiline nose before walking down into the dungeons.
"Is that your brother?" Weasley said, again wide eyed.
"Half brother," he said rolling his eyes. "Alexander Snape."
"He's tall, dark and seems to be pretty arrogant," Potter said under his breath to Malfoy.
"He's still my brother," he said. "Even if he only like a quarter blood, not even half," the stormy eyed boy rolled his eyes. "You would never know it though, he's got more power in that wand of his than mum and dad put together."
All parties shivered before heading into the library.