Just a quick note before we begin. Chapter 64 was posted just three days after 63, and some might have missed it, so please make sure you read the end of the story before reading the epilogue :D

Now on to the story

Hermione closed her eyes and tilted her head forward, letting the hot spray of the shower hit her back and shoulders. She found baths much more relaxing than showers, but there wasn't enough time for one, so the shower would have to do.

She had been feeling more and more nervous as the day of the ceremony grew closer. It was the first time she would see her friends in months, and she just couldn't help but wonder how they would take the changes in her life. She was happy with the way things were, mostly, but still she hoped they would understand, or at lest accept, her decisions.

She was so distracted by her thoughts that she only realized someone was in the bathroom when she heard the shower door open.

"I'll be right out," she said, shaking the thoughts away as she turned around and reached for the tap, but a hand on hers stopped her.

"No need to leave," a deep voice said, the voice that could still so easily turn her legs to jelly. "There is more than enough room for two."

"Are you sure?" she asked, leaning back against him as he stepped into the shower.

"Indeed," he said, leaning down to kiss her shoulder. "You are too tense," he whispered into her ear.

"Can't help it," she mumbled, closing her eyes to focus on the feeling of his skin against hers.

"Well, perhaps I can," he said, turning her around and leaning down to kiss her.

It was like magic, like he had bespelled her with just that one kiss. Suddenly everything else was forgotten as she wrapped her arms around him and her body melted into his.

She responded to his kiss eagerly, letting her hands trail down his body, her fingers tracing every scar on his flesh, stopping on the newest ones, the ones Voldemort's curse had left on him, when he had sacrificed himself to save her.

"Stop thinking," he said, as he had many times, reaching for her hands and pulling them away from him. He walked her back then, until her back hit the wall, the contrast between the cold tile and the hot water making her shiver.

She felt his hands moving up her thighs as he kissed her, felt his fingers move between her legs, teasing her in the most delicious way.

"Severus," she moaned against his lips, arching her body against his, silently begging for more contact.

She wrapped one of her arms around his neck, pulling him to her while her other hand reached between them. She heard him gasp when she wrapped her fingers around his erection, then moan softly as she started moving her hand up and down, feeling his fingers move inside of her with the same rhythm.

She could hear him breathing heavily against her neck, could feel his hips rhythmically pushing against her hand, ever so slightly, as he tried to keep control. He twisted his fingers inside her, searching for that magical spot inside her body, as if he wanted to make her lose control instead of losing it himself, as if it were some kind of competition. She couldn't say she minded, though, not one bit.

But then again, she had always been competitive, and she loved winning.

She tilted her head to the side, searching for his lips as she tightened her hold on his erection, squeezing just enough to make his breath catch and his hips jerk against her hold.

"Stop that, or I won't last," he moaned into her ear, his words pushing her even closer to the edge. She loved the fact that she could make him lose control. She didn't want to stop, but he wrapped one of his hands around hers, pulling it away from him while his other hand kept moving inside her, his thumb rubbing against her clit in a way he knew drove her wild.

Her body tensed as her orgasm built, and when he bit that sensitive spot on her neck she lost it. Her vision blurred as her body shook with pleasure. He tightened his hold on her as her knees gave way, held her as she rode her orgasm, his lips sealed on hers, drinking every sound, every moan, until her body finally calmed.

She rested her head back against the tiled wall as she tried to catch her breath, loving the look of desire in his eyes as he watched her, so raw, so primal. With a wicked smile she licked her lips and reached between them, wrapping her hand firmly around him, like she had before.

"I told you to stop that," he said, reaching down as well and pulling her hand away.

In a blur of motion he shoved her arm to the side, moving his free hand to her shoulder and turning her around, catching her around the waist before she lost balance, so that she was now facing the wall, her back to him.

"You have to learn some obedience, I believe," he whispered huskily against her ear, as he pulled her a step away from the wall, his erection pressed firmly against her back. "But now is not the time."

He pressed his hand against her back, making her lean forward and rest her hands against the tiles for balance, then pushed himself inside her without warning.

"Fuck," he rasped, giving her a moment to adjust before pulling back and pushing inside her again. She wondered for a moment how it could always feel so good to have him inside her, how sex with him could feel so amazing, every single time, but then his pace quickened, and all train of thought was lost.

One of his hands moved up her back, reaching for her hair and pulling her back for a deep kiss, while the other hand moved around her, cupping her breast, twisting her nipple just enough to make her cry out in pleasure.

"Fuck, witch, so fucking good," he cursed against her ear, thrusting deeper and faster, pulling her body back against him to meet his every thrust.

Before she knew it her body was tightening again, the sensations quickly building up, and his hips were moving faster, losing their rhythm. She was close, so very close, and he knew it.

He pinched her nipple as his other hand moved between her legs, stroking her clit with just the right amount of pressure to push her over the edge.

"Come for me, witch," he rasped against her ear, thrusting erratically into her as her muscles tightened around him, pulling him over with her.

She rested her forehead against the wall, giving her body time to calm down. Severus' chest was still pressed against her back, and she could feel his body rise and fall with every breath he took.

She was still feeling light-headed, and it took her a moment to realize his hands were roaming her body again, caressing her slowly, teasingly. He knew every sensitive spot on her body, and he used that knowledge every chance he got.

"Severus," she sighed, feeling him pull her hair to the side, and she tilted her head, giving him free access to her neck.

Her mind had started clearing, but his ministrations would quickly cloud it again. She only had a few moments to decide if she would stop him or let him continue. The second option was entirely too tempting, and she knew it, but they had to stop, at least for now. There would always be time for more later.

"If we don't hurry we'll be late for the Celebration," she whispered, but his hands kept teasing her body, his teeth kept nibbling on her neck, and she arched against him, her body wanting more of what he was giving her.

"There's more than enough time," he whispered back, turning her around and pulling her flush against him, and she knew his body would soon be ready for more.

"I don't want to be late," she said, kissing him one more time and then forcing herself to step away from him and out of the shower, missing his body as soon as the contact broke.

"I don't see why you are so eager to go," he said, following her into the bedroom. Water dripped to the floor as he walked, but he didn't seem to notice or care.

"You know why I want to go," she said, opening a drawer and pulling out some underwear. "I haven't seen my friends in almost five months, Severus."

"It wasn't safe for any of you, with Death Eaters still at large," he said, walking to her.

"I know, but we will be safe there. Everyone will be at the Ministry, and I need to be with them."

"No, you don't," he said, nuzzling her neck. "You could stay here, instead. I'll keep you entertained," he whispered into her ear, and she couldn't stop the smile that reached her lips.

He had been trying to convince her not to go to the Celebration ever since the invitations had arrived, and he wasn't above using dirty tactics.

"You don't have to come if you don't want to," she said, and felt him stiffen slightly behind her.

"Ashamed to be seen with me?" he asked, but there was no anger in his voice, he was too busy touching her, trying to distract her. Too bad that she was as hard-headed as he was.

"You know that's not why I said it."

"But they still don't know about us. How do you think they will take the news."

"It was your idea not to tell them, not mine, Severus."

"True, but if you go alone, how will you explain this?" he asked, splaying his hands over her swollen belly.

"I think it's rather self explanatory," she said with a small smile. "Not that I have to explain anything to them," she added, moving her hands on top of his and threading their fingers together.

To say the pregnancy had come as a surprise would be an understatement. They had both been so foolish to let it happen, him for assuming she was using some kind of birth control, her for assuming that, if he hadn't mentioned the subject, then he was probably taking care of it himself. It had been a foolish mistake, especially for two people as smart as they were, something neither of them should have let happen, but it had happened, and now she couldn't bring herself to regret it, and after the first shock at finding out, she knew he didn't regret it either.

That night was the six-month anniversary of Voldemort's defeat, and she was six months pregnant, to the day. Not everything that had happened that night had been bad.

But none of her friends knew about the pregnancy, they didn't even know she was with Severus, although some of them might suspect the last. Remus probably did, and perhaps Harry, too, but they had said nothing to the Order, and she was thankful for that. She wanted everyone to know, but she and Severus had decided against it, mostly because Severus feared if one of the Death Eaters still free found out about them they would try to get to him through her, and he wasn't willing to take that risk.

Rogue Death Eaters were, in fact, the reason why she hadn't been able to see any of her friends in over five months. A few weeks after the final battle a Death Eater found out Harry was planning to leave headquarters for a few hours to meet with her and decided to track him down and kill him. She and Harry had been lucky to escape alive and in one piece, and since then all she got were a few letters a month telling her the news.

Harry had tried to convince her to stay at headquarters with and a few other Order members more than once, but she had told him she wanted to spend some time with her parents. It wasn't entirely a lie, she really was spending some time with them, but she was living with Severus.

She couldn't wait to see Harry and the others again, but at the same time she couldn't help but fear their reaction when they found out where she had been the last few months, couldn't help but worry about what they might say or do when they found out she was living their hated Potions Master. And pregnant, don't forget the pregnant part.

Things were difficult enough as they were, without outsiders frowning upon them. She had never been in a real relationship before, and Severus was used to living alone, so it was a big change for the two of them. At first they had stayed at his house mostly for security reasons. He was sure she would be safe there.

The situation had changed so gradually she wasn't sure when exactly she had stopped staying there and started living in the house, thinking of it as home. They had never discussed it, it had just happened.

That was the way most things happened between them, right from the beginning. There was rarely need for words, and neither of them were good at speaking of their feelings anyway, so that was fine. They had never sat down to discuss their relationship, how they felt about each other, but why do that when actions spoke louder than words?

"You look worried," Severus whispered into her ear, bringing her mind back to the present.

"Maybe a little," she said, with a small smile.

"Why don't you stay and relax, then?"

"I can't."

"I could make you stay," he whispered huskily, pulling her back against his chest and turning them both around so they were facing the bed. "I could tie you to that bed and make you forget everything else," he whispered against her neck, his lips touching her most sensitive spots and making her moan softly.

"You could, but you won't," she said, enjoying the feeling of his body so close to hers. "Why don't you want us to go?"

"What do you think will happen when your dear friends see you with me?"

"It's none of their business who I'm with."

"They'll probably think I put you under the Imperius Curse."

"Probably," she said, laughing, "but they will be wrong."

"They will not accept this, and if they cannot make you change your mind, they will push you away."

"You don't know them like I do," she said, trying to sound more certain than she felt. She turned around and locked her eyes on his. "It might take them a little time to get over the shock, but they will understand. They will see I am happy, and accept it."

"And if they don't? I'm warning you, witch, I won't let you get away," he said, and she couldn't help but smile at his words. She leaned closer to him and kissed him softly for a moment.

"If they don't accept it, then that's their problem, and not mine. I am where I want to be," she said, against his lips. "You will not get rid of me so easily, Severus Snape."

She knew he wasn't worried about himself. He couldn't care less about what anyone thought of him. He was afraid for her, worried they would reject her for being with him, even if he could hardly stand any of her friends, and she loved him for it.

"Will you come with me to the Celebration?" she asked, and he nodded. "We better get dressed, then, or we'll be late for real," she said, giving him one last kiss before making her way to the closet.


They Apparated to the Ministry of Magic together. They were only a few minutes late, but the main hall was already deserted. There was only one wizard in the room, behind the security desk, so they walked towards him.

"How can I help you?" the security wizard asked in a bored voice.

"We are here for the Celebration. We-"

"Invitations," the wizard interrupted in the same tone, and she handed the small cards to him before Severus had time to make any comment. The security wizard was being rude, but being rude in return would get them nothing, so she just let it pass. There would probably be enough rudeness once they got to the Celebration.

The security wizard took the invitations, inspected them closely, and then looked up at her and Severus for a second, narrowing his eyes. "You are late," he finally said.

"And we will be even more so if you keep staring at those cards like an imbecile and do not let us through," Severus said briskly.

"Is there any problem with the invitations?" she asked quickly, trying to sound amiable while throwing Severus a dirty look.

The wizard looked at them for another moment, probably wondering if it would be wise to respond to Severus' insult. He seemed to decide against it, because after a few seconds he finally tapped each invitation with his wand once and returned them.

She quickly reached forward to take her invitation back, but the instant her fingers touched the card the room around her seemed to swirl, and suddenly she found herself surrounded by people. A second later, Severus appeared beside her, holding his own card but looking not the least bit surprised.

She blinked a few times, trying to adjust to the sudden light. They were still in the same hall, but now the entire place shone brightly, the ceiling charmed to look like the sky on a sunny day, the magic so good she could even feel the sun warming her skin.

There were a few hundred people standing in front of them, all of them facing towards the Fountain of Magical Brethren. The Minister for Magic stood next to the fountain, reading out loud the names of the witches and wizards that had died in the battle.

She felt Severus move to stand right next to her as the Minister read the last name. They shared a minute of silence in memory of those that had died, and then the Minister waved his wand towards the fountain. The statues that had been there moments before vanished, replaced by a large, golden column that reached all the way to the ceiling. She could see the column was engraved, but she couldn't make out the motif from where they were standing.

As the crowd began to disperse, small, round tables appeared around the room for everyone to sit, and a few long tables with drinks appeared by the wall. There was also a band now, in front of the fountain, playing soft music that barely carried over the voices.

"Ready?" she heard Severus ask, as the crowd started splitting into smaller groups around the hall, the voices quickly growing louder. She turned to him and saw he was looking at something to their left. She followed his gaze and saw Harry and Ginny walking towards them. "If they behave as the dunderheads they are, I will have no other choice but to curse them," he muttered, his face expressionless but his tone almost teasing.

Her gaze went back to Harry and Ginny, who were looking at her curiously. She moved her hand to the side, reaching for Severus', and he took it, but kept his expression cold as he watched her friends walk closer to them. It had always amazed her just how much he changed when he let his guard down, and the fact that she was probably the only person to see him like that made her feel special. She didn't care what others saw in him. What did it matter, if she knew what was really there?

She saw the expression on Harry's face change, his gaze falling to their joined hands, and he hesitated mid-step, but Ginny pulled him forward, oblivious to what was happening. Hermione wondered for a moment if perhaps she should have let Severus talk her into staying home, but she was a Gryffindor, after all; she would be brave. Besides, they would have to find out, sooner or later. The Ceremony seemed as good a time as any.

Harry's expression had gone from a broad smile to a frown when he had seen her holding Severus' hands, but when his eyes fell on her belly he froze on the spot, his expression so confused she almost fell sorry for him. The robes she was wearing fell rather loosely around her body, but not enough to hide the fact that she was pregnant.

She felt Severus squeeze her hand lightly, and she squeezed back. He leaned closer to her and whispered into her ear, "We can still leave, if you want," but she just shook her head and kept her eyes on Harry, wondering what was going through his mind.

"Hermione, hi," Ginny said, as she reached them. She had recovered faster from the shock than Harry had. "Professor Snape," she added, and he gave a curt nod. "It's good to see you, after so long." She was trying to sound casual, but Hermione could tell she had been as surprised as Harry.

"Yes, good to see you at last," Harry said, stepping next to the witch. "Looks like you've been busy," he added, his eyes going from Severus to her belly and then up to her face.

"Harry!" Ginny whispered, sounding appalled, but Harry didn't seem to hear her, or to care.

"It's good to see you, Harry," she said, doing her best to keep her tone even.

"I'm sorry," he said, after a moment, as if only just realizing what he had said before. "This is just a little sudden."

"I know."

"How did this…" he trailed off, as if not sure how to voice what he wanted to ask. Finally, he settled for, "Is everything all right?"

"Yes," she said, trying to put into that word how she really felt, trying to tell him she was fine, that she was happy.

He sighed, his gaze going back to her belly. "It's just a bit of a surprise. A big surprise, actually."

"I know," she said, unable to think of anything else she could say to make things easier.

"Boy or girl?" he asked suddenly, and she couldn't help but smile. He seemed to be taking it a lot better than she had expected.

"Don't know, yet."

"When will it be born?"

"I still have a little over three months to go."

Harry took a deep breath, then smiled. "I guess that means I still have a little time before I have to start looking for toy broomsticks."

"Oh, Harry," she said, closing the few steps that separated them almost at a run and throwing her arms around his waist, hugging him tightly. She felt him hesitate for a moment, but then he hugged her back.

"You should've told me sooner," he said into her ear.

"I wanted to, but I couldn't risk any Death Eater finding out."


"I know," she said.

"Are you sure it's Snape's?" he asked, and she pulled back to look at him. His face was expressionless, but she could see the teasing glint in his eyes. "What? I want to be sure, maybe there's still hope, and this is not as bad as it seems."

"Be nice," she said, only half teasing, and he nodded.

"Come on, everyone's been asking about you, they will want to see you," he said, turning around and walking to the other end of the hall with Ginny.

She turned back to Severus, smiled and reached her hand out to him. His expression was still blank, but she could tell he had relaxed. She waited until he took her hand, then whispered, "Hard part's over," as they both followed Harry across the room.

She stopped for a moment as they walked past the fountain, and she leaned closer to the golden column, trying to see what was engraved in it. Right there, in the main hall of Ministry of Magic, were the names of everyone lost in the battle, for the wizarding world to know and remember. Her eyes searched the surface for a moment, searching for all the familiar names she knew would be there, but then Severus pulled her forward and she followed. She didn't need to see the names to remember those that weren't there any more; she wouldn't forget even if she tried.

Harry and Ginny had stopped by a table near the wall, and everyone there had turned to her and Severus. By the look on their faces, Harry had already broken the news. They all stood up as she and Severus moved closer and greeted them warmly, congratulating them on the baby. Some still looked shocked, but they didn't seem angry, which was a lot more than she had expected.

They talked for a few minutes, the main subject her relationship with Severus and the pregnancy, but they thankfully kept their questions to a minimum. Slowly they began dispersing, moving on to talk to other people, until the only one left was Charlie, who couldn't really just walk away.

"I think I have suffered through enough pointless conversation for one day, I shall go get a drink. Would you like me to bring you something?"

"No, I'm all right," she said. She actually was a little thirsty, but one drop of any liquid and she would have to start making trips to the toilet. Oh, the wonders of pregnancy.

"Good to see you again," Charlie said, as she sat down next to him.

Charlie's legs had been badly hurt when the dragon had crushed him, and the magic in the dragon's blood had interfered with the healers' magic, so they'd been forced to let his legs heal the Muggle way, at least until the dragon's magic faded away.

"How are you doing?" she asked.

"They've finally taken the wheelchair and given me crutches, though they're not as easy to use as they look, I can barely move on my own, yet."

"I'm sorry."

"Why? If it weren't for you I wouldn't be moving at all," he said with a smile, then changed the topic before she could say anything else. "So, you and Snape, huh?"

"Yes," she said, not sure of why she was suddenly blushing slightly.

"So how's that going for you? Hard to imagine him in a relationship, but if you're good with it…" he said, with a shrug.

"I am."

"So, how did your parents take it? The Snape thing and the pregnancy? And congrats, by the way."

"Thanks. They took it quite well, actually. They were a bit shocked about the baby at first, but they got used to the idea quite fast. Now they're just delighted at the thought of being grandparents. As for Severus, well, can't say they minded. He saved their lives and mine, and they believe he'll take good care of me. In my mothers' eyes he can do no wrong," she said, with a small laugh. "I'm sorry," she added quickly, when she saw the pain flash through Charlie's eyes.

"No need to be," he said.

"How's your dad doing?"

"He misses Mum, we all do," he said sadly. She reached forward, taking his hand in hers.

"I'm so sorry."

"It's okay," he said. "Now that Bill and I are out of St Mungo's he spends all his time in Ron's room."

"Is there any news on him?"

"The healers say he's doing much better, but the healing is still slow. They are hoping he will wake up in a month or two."

"I wish I could go see him."

"It's not safe yet, especially in your condition, but you know we'll tell you if something changes," he said, squeezing her hand lightly.

"I know," she said.

"I think someone wants to talk to you," he said.

"What?" she asked, confused by the sudden change of topic. He motioned to the side with his head, and when she turned in that direction she saw Draco standing a few tables away, looking at her.

"I think I should-"

"It's all right, go," Charlie said. "He's been trying to contact you for days now."

"It's been good to see you," she said to Charlie, and he smiled in return.

"Go," he said, with a smile. She nodded and got up, slowly making her way to where Draco was standing.

"Hi," she said, as soon as she was close enough.


"I hadn't expected to see you here, I thought you were still at the hospital."

"I was. I am," he corrected. "I had my healer release me for tonight. I wanted to see you."

"Draco, if you're not well you shouldn't leave-"

"I'm just fine, see?" he said, spreading his arms to the sides.

He did look all right, but she knew he probably wasn't. There were no visible marks on him tonight, but she knew the truth. She had visited once at the hospital, a few days after the battle. She had seen the deep slashes across his chest and arms, the marks his father had left there when he had tried to kill him. She also knew those cuts weren't the worse of his wounds, but the magic that had been used to make them.

"I'm all right, I promise," he insisted, his face serious, and she nodded her head, deciding to drop the issue.

"I'm glad you're doing better," she said, the only thing that came to mind. She had thought facing Harry would be the worst she'd have to do tonight, but she hadn't expected to see Draco. She had no idea what to say, now.

"So, I can see things have changed since the last time I saw you," he said, his eyes flicking to her stomach.

"I guess they have," she found herself replying. What was she supposed to say?

"How far along are you?"

"Six months."

"Exactly six months?" he asked, and she knew he was thinking about what had happened exactly six months before.

"Yes," she replied. What else could she say? "I never got the chance to thank you for what you did that night."

"There's nothing to be thankful for."

"You saved many lives that night, Draco, including mine."

"I should have killed my father when I had the chance, but I didn't, and I almost got you and myself killed. There's nothing you need to thank me for."

She took a step forward and reached for his hand. "You saved my life. You saved more lives than I can count. Severus told me you destroyed the last Horcrux. Without that, we would never have defeated Him."

"And still it wasn't enough," he said softly. His free hand reached for her, but he stopped himself before he touched her belly. "We would have been so good together," he whispered, almost to himself.

"Maybe we were just not meant to be," she said, not sure how to make him feel better.

"Maybe," he said. "But why him?"

"I guess love knows no reason," she said, with a small smile. Merlin knew she hadn't expected to end up with Severus, but she couldn't think of a better life.

"You love him."

"I do."

He took a deep breath, but he wasn't surprised by her words. He knew how she felt about Severus; he was probably the only one besides the two of them that understood.

"Are you happy?"

"I am."

"Well, I guess in the end that's the only thing that matters."

He tightened his hold on her hand as his fingers moved to her cheek.

"Maybe next lifetime," he said, with a sad smile on his lips. Without another word he let go of her hand, turned around and left.

She watched him walk away, not sure what to do, trying to decide whether she should go after him or not, but what could she say to make him feel better?

"I think we have been here long enough, wouldn't you agree?" Severus' voice startled her, and she turned around to face him. He was looking over her shoulder, watching Draco walk away.

She had already seen her friends, and they already knew what she had come to tell them. They knew she was with Severus, they knew she was pregnant. There was nothing else keeping her there.

"I think you're right," she said, and his eyes darted to her, clearly surprised by her answer. "I think it's time to go."

"Are you sure?"

"I can think of a few things I'd rather be doing," she said suggestively, and saw the heat cross his eyes.

"Shall we?" he asked then, offering her his hand.


They started making their way away from the crowd, trying to find a safe spot to Apparate, when someone called her name. Severus groaned in frustration, but she turned around to find Remus walking hurriedly towards them.

"Hi," he said, when he reached them.

"We were just leaving, Lupin, so if you have nothing important to say…"

"I was hoping I'd get to talk to you tonight," Remus said, ignoring Severus' comment. "I haven't had a chance since the battle."

"You're right. How are you?"

"I'm fine, I actually-"

"Remus," someone called from the crowd, interrupting him.

"I'm here, Dora," he said, and after a moment they could see Tonks walking to them.

"I thought we were leaving," Severus said, but she just squeezed his hand and smiled at the witch.

"Wotcher, Hermione," said the witch, beaming at her.

"Hey Tonks, how've you- Oh, my God!" she gasped.

"What, you thought you were the only one?" the witch asked, her smile getting bigger, if possible, as she moved her hands to her own belly, that seemed just as big as Hermione's.

"I didn't know, I-"

"Of course you didn't, you haven't been around in a while," said the witch, taking Remus' hand and pulling him to her. Tonks saw the surprise on her face and laughed hard.

"I didn't even know the two of you were together."

"I could say the same thing."

"Well, congratulations, Nymphadora, Lupin. Let us hope the studies claiming Lycanthropy to be an hereditary condition are inaccurate," said Severus, smirking when he saw Remus pale. "Now, if you don't mind, we were just leaving," he added, pulling Hermione to him.

"Of course, well, I just wanted to thank you, Hermione, since I didn't have the chance until now."

"Thank me? For what?"

"If it weren't for you, Dora would have died that night."

"Yes, well, I could say the same to you," she said, glancing at Severus.

"I guess that makes us even," Remus replied, with a smile, as he pulled Tonks closer and rested his hand on her belly. "Thank you."

"Thank you," she said.

"If what you wanted was to thank her, Lupin, you could have sent a card," Severus said, in a tired tone, although she knew he was thankful, too. It had been his life, after all, that Remus had saved. He would just never say it out loud. "Now if that's all…"

"Yes, that's all. It's been good seeing you, Hermione. I hope we will have a chance to talk, soon," he said, in his usual gentle tone.

"Me, too," she replied, then watched them turn around and walk back into the crowd. "There was no need to be rude."

"I thought you said there were other things you would rather be doing than staying here," he told her, pulling her to him. His eyes searched the crowd for a moment, as if to make sure no one was looking, and then he leaned down to kiss her. She had expected a quick kiss, almost chaste, since they were in public, but instead he kissed her heatedly, pulling her flush against him and instantly making her forget everything but him. "I can think of a few of those things myself," he whispered against her lips. "Unless you have changed your mind and would rather stay here for a few more hours of incessant and pointless chatter."

There would be time to talk to all of them, time to catch up on what had happened in the last few months, but for now she had told them everything she needed to. She could think of nothing better than going back to the house and reminding Severus of his earlier offer to tie her to the bed and make her forget everything else.

"Let's go home," she whispered against his lips, kissing him again as he Apparated them both away.

Who would have thought that foolishly following Death Eaters one afternoon would lead to this? Who would have imagined Gryffindor's golden-girl would fall in love with the head of the Slytherin house, their dreaded Potions Master? Certainly not her.

Perhaps it wasn't how things usually happened; it was certainly nothing like what movies showed, but what did that matter? She loved Severus, and he loved her back. What else could she ever ask for? She had what she wanted, what she needed. Everything else was irrelevant.

AN: Yes, you can believe it, after over two years of hard work this story is finally and officially COMPLETE!

Well, it's been a really long ride, and I know I'll really miss both the story and the reviews (can't tell you how much I loved every one of them, even the not so good ones)

So again, I'd like to thank you all for sticking with me all this way, 65 chapters is a lot, and I'm glad you made it this far! And of course, a special thank you to every one of you who took the time to review and let me know what you thought of my story.

Last, but certainly not least, a HUGE thank you to Nicole, for her beta work, and to Lupinswolfie, for helping me so very much in every aspect of the story. Love you!!

I really hope you enjoyed the story, and the epilogue, and one last time, don't forget to leave a review and let me know what you thought!!

PD: Needless to say, you'll be hearing more from me, I'm working on quite a few stories, including another SSHG one I will be posting soon (I posted the first chapter in my lj - lilmisblack(dot)livejournal(dot)com - so if you want a sneak peak, you know where to go. It's a friends-only post, but if you want to read just friend me and I'll friend you back right away)