Seven Years Later…
Only the strong, enticing smell of coffee was able to get Tonks to poke her head from underneath the covers. Severus was sitting on the edge of the bed, holding two steaming mugs in his hand.
Tonks sat up, taking one of the cups gratefully. Her eyes narrowed when she realized what day it was. 'You're not supposed to see me until later.'
'Nymphadora, we stayed up well past midnight last night. I've already seen you today,' said Severus, taking a sip from his own cup. Tonks couldn't help but thinking by the slightly smug expression on his face that he had just silently added the word 'naked' to the end of the sentence.
'Right,' said Tonks seriously, leaning back on the headboard. She glanced at the clock on the bedside table and saw that they had to be ready in three hours. Which seemed like plenty of time, but with three young children, in reality was no time at all.
'Suppose I should get up now,' sighed Tonks. Her eyes lingered over the sky blue dress that was hanging on the closet door. Her wedding dress. She smiled, looking at the dress that took so long to find. 'When I was little, I always wanted to have a white wedding dress.'
He looked to where her gaze was and took her hand. 'Nymphadora, as I'm sure you're well aware, white represents virginity,' he said with a smirk. 'Considering you and I are the parents of not one, not two but three children, if I don't think anyone would believe you if you wore white.'
Tonks put her hand over her mouth quickly to keep herself from laughing and spitting out coffee. Once the painful swallow went down, she shook her head. 'Why are we doing this again?' laughed Tonks.
Severus' face turned serious and he squeezed her hand. 'You know why,' he said roughly.
Her other hand rested on his cheek as she looked at him, her eyes trying to convey what words could not. 'I trust you, Severus,' said Tonks as honestly as she could, with as much love as she could. 'I let you leave when you needed to because I trusted you to come back to me. To all of us.'
A silence settled over the pair and Tonks thought back to that horrible time five years ago, when Severus had left her alone with three year old Alex and three month old Alba.
Surviving the war with Voldemort had caused Severus more scars than Tonks could have ever imagined.
She had thought that being given the chance to start over would have helped heal his wounds. However, as they tried to build their new life together, his guilt of the crime of being alive seemed to overwhelm them both.
For so long Severus believed that he would be killed during the war that he wasn't prepared for a life afterwards. And he felt guilty for simply being alive. The worst guilt he felt was in regards to Harry Potter. Severus tried to explain to Tonks that he had promised Albus that he would do everything in his power to keep Harry safe. Yet the battle was fought, Voldemort destroyed and it was Harry who died and Severus who lived. That fact caused him a great deal of anguish.
He had started picking fights over the littlest of issues. Stupid issues. There were times when Tonks thought he was treating her like a disobedient seventh year. She would tell him so and he would say then she needed to stop acting like one.
Severus sunk deep into a depression, much like the one Tonks had been in the year before they were together. Tonks tried to do exactly what he had done for her. She tried to force him to admit to his depression, to want to fight it. But Severus seemed determined to embrace it.
During the time before he left, they were extremely careful to make sure that the children didn't hear their fights, which occurred often. Severus insisted, remembering his own childhood. He started threatening to leave, telling her moodily that he didn't want to drag her and the children down with him.
It had reminded her so much of Remus and what he had put her through that finally in a fit of anger she told him to leave. To leave and not come back until he was ready to accept that he, just like everyone who fought Voldemort, deserved to live, deserved a life. To not come back until he was ready to truly be a member of their family, not just watch from the sidelines.
So he left.
Tonks missed him every single day that he was gone. Poor Alex was old enough to know that his father was gone, and it broke Tonks' heart every time he asked when Daddy would be back. Because every single time, Tonks had to answer that she didn't know.
During that time, she tried to remind herself of all the good things in her life. Tonks absolutely adored being a mother, which is something she never expected upon learning of her pregnancy with Alex almost four years ago. Alex and Alba were the dearest children in the world.
After living in Stonewall, in Manitoba, for a year, Tonks and Severus both realized they disliked living in such a small town, even one that had their own professional Quidditch team. Tonks specifically didn't like the feeling that she was on display. Everyone knew them and wanted their life story, being the outsiders that they were.
That was part of the stress they shared. When they first arrived in town, they debated whether or not to use fake names. Both decided against it. However, Severus had made one concession. He was no longer Severus Snape. He was Severus Prince, using his mother's maiden name.
The questions were never ending from the occupants of the small town. How did they end up here? How did they meet? Why did they arrive in town at different times? The eyes of the town gossips missed nothing.
It had been maddening.
Leaving the town was easy. Neither one had a real job in Stonewall. They simply gave notice to the landlord of the small apartment they rented and left.
After weeks of debate, they finally decided to move to Ottawa in Ontario. It was a much larger city, almost a million Muggles, with the Wizarding population mixed throughout, unlike Stonewall, which was a completely separate town from the Muggles. It would be easy to blend in and to be left alone.
So when Severus had left, they had been in the same apartment complex for close to a year. Tonks had made friends with two other witches in the building, all with young children. She doesn't want to think how she would have handled the situation without her friends.
He was gone for close to a year. Tonks almost got to the point when she wondered if she would ever see him again, when one day Severus was waiting for them outside their apartment building as they walked home from the park.
Tonks would never forget the look on Alex's face when he realized that his beloved Daddy was back. Alex practically wouldn't let Severus out of his sight the next few days. Alba was wary of the man who held her in his arms. She was, after all, now fifteen months old and quite possibly didn't remember him at all.
That night, when they had put Alex and Alba to bed, Tonks and Severus talked. Really talked as they had not when she first arrived in Canada. They talked as they should have then.
They discussed their relationship when he was undercover. She never knew that he hated himself then for feeling so weak for wanting to be with her. Tonks revealed how angry she had been with him when she let herself believe that she was going to raise Alex by herself.
They discussed the guilt they both felt over leaving Britain in its time of need. Tonks still communicated with Molly and Savage, though neither one of them knew she was with Severus. From them, she learned that the Wizarding World in Britain was having a hard time adjusting post-Voldemort.
When Severus said Voldemort's name for the first time in his adult life, Tonks knew that he was finally ready to be healed. And she knew that she wanted to be there to help him, every step of the way.
It took time, for both of them. It took time for Tonks to believe that he wouldn't threaten to leave again every time they had an argument. It took time for Alex to stop being so clingy towards Severus; his departure affected the boy more then they both realized. It took time for Alba to warm up to him.
It did take time, but Tonks knew that they were stronger because of the break. They had given each other a choice, and in the end, they choose each other.
Tonks glanced at the ring on her left hand. She didn't need an engagement ring, she hadn't really wanted one, but the thought that Severus had put into the ring touched her.
It was a thin silver band, with a peridot set in the center and a small diamond on either side. He chose the peridot because its color always seemed to change, depending on the light. Sometimes it looked green, sometimes blue, sometimes clear.
There was a knock on the door. 'Come in,' said Tonks, loud enough so the culprit on the other side could hear.
To her surprise, all three of their children bounded in the room. Five year old Alba, followed by eight year old Alex, who was holding eighteen month old Brianna's hand. Finally Alex just picked her up and all five family members were sitting on the bed.
'Are you all ready to become Princes?' asked Tonks with a smile. Right now, in order to avoid confusion, Alex, Alba and Brianna all had the surname Tonks. But after the ceremony today, all of them, Tonks included, would have the surname Prince.
'Mummy, stop it!' ordered Alba, the most vocal of the three children. 'Brianna and I are Princesses. Alex is the Prince.'
'Alba Princess,' said Severus, ruffling the little girl's light brown hair. 'That seems about right.'
'And Brianna Princess. Alex Prince. Mummy Queen and Daddy King,' said Alba proudly, pointing to each one in turn.
'Got it in one,' laughed Tonks as little Brianna crawled into her arms. Both Alba and Brianna were named after Albus Dumbledore. Severus had wanted that and Tonks was more than happy to oblige.
Alex and Brianna resembled each other, both having black hair and grey eyes. The looks of the Black family were strong in both. Sometimes Tonks couldn't help but see a young version of Sirius Black in Alex.
Alba was a different matter. She had Tonks' brown hair. Her eyes were a light blue and neither Tonks nor Snape could figure out where they could have come from.
If Tonks was asked to sort her children into Hogwarts' Houses, it would be easy. Alex would be a Ravenclaw. He extremely curious and loved reading. Alba just might possibly be a Slytherin. She had a knack of getting out of trouble that was worthy of any Slytherin. Little Brianna would be a Hufflepuff. Tonks loved the way Brianna would concentrate so hard when she was playing with her blocks or other toys.
But the School of Magic they would go to in the coming years was different. The magic of the Algonquins, a tribe of the Aboriginal Peoples in Canada,still played a major part in the education system. There were no Houses at the Kizis Institute. That seemed like a lovely thought to both Tonks and Severus.
Alex was leaning back against Severus. He could still be very clingy towards his father, even after all this time. Tonks couldn't help but hope that with she and Severus making their relationship more permanent in Alex's eyes that he might start to let go a bit.
'Come, Royalty, let's give Mum some room so she can get ready,' said Severus, standing up. He shepherded the kids out of the bedroom as Tonks blew him a kiss.
Tonks stretched her arms over her head, hardly believing that this day was actually here. To be honest, she never expected them to marry. She had been content with what they had, but she knew how important this was to Severus, to show her, not just tell her that he wanted them to spend the rest of their lives together.
As she headed into the bathroom, she took down her ponytail. Tonks rarely morphed anymore. Then again, she rarely told any one that she was Metamorphmagus. Sometimes, when she did morph, for the kid's amusement, it felt like she was summoning a ghost from her past.
Two hours later, Tonks was dressed in her sky blue dress. The dress fell just past her knees, with a scooped neck and sleeves that brushed her fingertips. There was a knock on the door, and her two good friends, Matilda and Grace came inside the room. They assured her that she wasn't to leave the room until she was called for; that they had everything under control downstairs.
The wedding party was going to be small. Their life revolved around their home, family and the few friends they had made. The actual ceremony and reception was to take place outside in a common area of the complex.
'Mummy!' yelled Alba from downstairs. 'Time to start.'
Smiling, Tonks placed the small wreath of flowers on her head, feeling the blue and white ribbons trailing down her back, knowing that it was time. With a deep breath, Tonks started down the stairs that led into the living room. It was only the family; everyone else was outside, ready for the ceremony.
She was suddenly nervous as any new bride would be as her eyes locked with the man who was to be her husband. Then she looked at her children. Her beautiful, amazing children. Alex looked serious as ever, holding little Brianna in his arms. And then always smiling Alba, who had accessorized her pink flower girl outfit with a sparkly plastic tiara.
Severus took her hand and kissed it softly. 'I love you, Nymphadora,' he whispered.
Without warning, Tonks leaned in and kissed Severus hard on the lips, causing Alex to roll his eyes and Alba to make kissy noises at them.
'I love you,' Tonks said softly back.
Then Tonks took Alba's hand and Severus, Alex's. Together, they walked outside, all still holding hands.
They were ready to celebrate the day.
As a family.
A/N – Kizis is 'sun' in the Algonquin language.
That's it folks! Again, thank you so much for all of your support and encouragement throughout this story. I can't tell you how much it has meant to me.
I've posted the first chapter of my next chaptered story. It's called 'Independent Thinker,' and it stars Millicent Bulstrode. Why not check it out?