disclaimer: nope, don't own Harry Potter, don't make any money off of the series, and even if I did, would I tell you?
this chapter is dedicated to . . . KK Duke (who I believe now has the record for most dedications)
Here we are, the last chapter. Private message me if you want an epilogue and/ or a sequel (neither of which I am ruling out!)
Interestingly enough, this is only the second fanfic I've finished. I have quite a few in progress and pre-production at this point, but I am never too busy to go back and do a sequel/ parody/ whatever for my readers. I know this ended kind of quickly, but isn't that what epilogues and sequels are for?
Chapter 20: Waking Up is Hard To Do
For a straight week, Phantasma laid in a bed in the Hospital wing, with either Wally or Hermione by her side almost twenty-four hours a day. Severus spent a good deal of time there, hiding behind the fact that he was the girl's head of house. Hermione read to the child from muggle books she'd brought with her from her home. Wally told her about classes she'd missed, promising to help her get up to speed as soon as she woke up, if she would only wake up and make fun of him, like she used to. Oliver and Tobin came down to visit her as well, as soon as they arrived back from their wedding, having eloped without even knowing about what had been going on at the school. Remus and Tonks came back to tell her that Zabini would never hurt her again, and that she was free to find her own boyfriend.
"Phantasma, come on, now. You've slept for a week! No-one teases me the way you do. You'll fall out of practice if you keep this up," Wally pleaded late one night. Poppy was shooing him out when Hermione arrived with Severus. "Please, 'Mione, tell her I can stay. I think she's gonna wake up soon, and I don't want to not be here when she does!"
Hermione looked at Severus, who, of course, offered no help. Hermione shook her head at her lover and turned to her student.
"I can't help but feel the same way. Poppy, I have no problem if he stays, if you don't," Hermione said, giving Wally a warm smile. Poppy threw her hands up and let the boy stay.
Hermione took a chair at one side of Phantasma's bed, taking her hand in her own. Wally sat in another chair, and Severus stood behind Hermione.
"We miss you, Phantasma, but if you don't wake up soon, they'll send you to St. Mungo's, and we won't be able to visit you like this. Come on, sweetheart, wake up and we can all forget about what he did to you," Hermione pleaded. "I'll read to you again, if you like, once you wake up, and you're getting ready to go back to class."
Without opening her eyes, Phantasma whispered something. Hermione looked at Wally before she leaned down to Phantasma's face.
"I couldn't hear you, love," Hermione said, trying not to cry. The girl had been a thorn in Hermione's side, but they had so much in common. She wanted to help Phantasma. The girl whispered again Hermione smiled broadly. "That one's called 'Sleeping Beauty'. I understand."
Wally looked from Phantasma to Hermione and back again. "What? What'd she say?"
"Wally, you need to be strong and do something for me, for Phantasma, really. Can you do that for me?"
Wally nodded. Hermione smiled and leaned over the bed, whispering to Wally, whose face turned bright red. Severus smiled to himself, remembering his lover's penchant for fairy tales. Wally nodded and leaned down, brushing first a faint peck, then a chaste kiss across Phantasma's lips. Her arms came up and around his neck, pulling him down for a deeper kiss, and he had to practically fight her off.
"Tas!" Wally shouted, and Phantasma giggled at him. He blushed, and Hermione knew he was well and truly caught.
"Thanks, Lover," Phantasma said, stretching her arms and turning to look at Hermione. "Thanks, Professor."
"Was all I could do," Hermione smiled, wrapping her arms around Phantasma.
Severus leaned down and placed a kiss on Phantasma's head, drawing her attention away from Hermione and Wally. He cleared his throat, and Phantasma gave him her full attention, fearing the retribution for her involvement in Hermione's problems.
"It has come to my attention that you are now lacking not only betrothal but complete guardianship. What am I to do with you, now, child?" Severus said, a smile playing on his lips. Phantasma was beginning to catch on, and she was more than willing to play along.
"I can stay here, sir. I'll work quite hard, and I promise not to do anything to deserve going to an orphanage," Phantasma said, trying to put fear in her voice. She was actually trying not to laugh, not unlike her head of House. "Please, I don't want to leave Hogwart's, or Wally or-- or Hermione, sir."
"Very well. You leave me no choice. Miss Granger?"
Hermione smiled, knowing what he'd planned all along.
"Will you be this girl's guardian, fulfilling the role of friend, confidant, and . . . mother?"
Hermione looked at Phantasma and thought about where the girl had come from, who had birthed her, and their own brief history, and there was only one option. No matter what Ron had said, or how she'd 'let down' the Weasleys in their quest for her as their daughter-in-law, there was only one option.
Phantasma looked at Hermione and couldn't believe what she was hearing. She shook her head and turned to Wally, who was nodding. She squealed in delight, and Hermione threw her arms around her new 'daughter'. Phantasma pretended to gag, and Wally laughed while Hermione finally released Phantasma.
"I think she's grown attached to you, love," Wally said in a bad stage whisper.
"Eew. But it wouldn't be too bad, except that last name screams 'Look at me, adopted by a muggle!' What do you think, Severus Snape?" Phantasma said, and Severus sighed and nodded his head. Hermione looked from her lover to her daughter, and had to fight back the tears she felt burning behind her eyelids. She couldn't believe what she was hearing! Damned purebloods and their fucking names! And to have Severus agreeing with Phantasma!
"Yes, I am afraid that people would look at you oddly, my dear child, and I find that I myself have grown attached to you this past term. Perhaps we could share guardianship?" he asked, and Phantasma looked thoughtful with Wally while Hermione watched. Phantasma shook her head. "Ah, yes, it wouldn't do for you to look illegitimate, either, would it? You are probably the most honorable Black or Lestrange in decades, wouldn't want to betray that. Perhaps I should adopt you?"
Phantasma gave him a mock-sad look and a great sigh.
"I fear that leaves us one last resort, my child. We shall both have to be adopted by my Miss Granger."
"But the name!"
"Insightful you are, aren't you? Very well, I shall adopt the both of you!"
Phantasma gave him a droll stare.
"No? What do you propose?"
Wally and Phantasma shared a look before giving Severus a baleful glare.
"I understand," Severus said, and he kneeled down in front of Hermione, taking her small hands in his large ones. A smile and a frown battled on her face. She definitely should have seen this one coming.
"I fear that the children have decided your fate, my love, and that is for you to be unequivocally and forever mine, through the bonds of marriage. Agreeable, my dear?" Severus said, and Hermione couldn't stand it anymore. She cracked up, laughing so hard tears came down. "Would that be a yes? Because this definitely isn't how I pictured this happening."
"If you can present me with a ring that I deem appropriate, then it is a yes. If not, you'll have to try harder next time," Hermione laughed. "And my, nothing seems to garner the reaction you expect, does it?"
Severus sighed and made a face, slipping a hand into his robes and producing a small velvet box. "Clichés are us, my dear, but if I had thought this would saddle me with you. . ."
He snapped the box open, revealing a modest, round-cut ruby set in white gold. Tiny yellow diamonds flanked the jewel, and Hermione looked from the ring to his eyes before putting her hand out so he could slip the ring onto her finger. As Phantasma and Wally looked on, Hermione sealed her own engagement with a kiss.
"Finally!" came Minerva MacGonagall's voice came from the corner, and the four looked up at her. She had the grace to blush before she bustled out of the hospital wing.
The kiss broke and Hermione and Severus turned their attention back to Phantasma and Wally.
"We'll be the best family you could ask for, darling," Hermione said, and Phantasma felt tears begin to well.
"And I'll be your worst nightmare if you hurt my daughter," Severus said blithely to Wally, who swallowed hard.
"That's all well and good, but can I be the maid of honor, too?"
The four talked long into the night, discussing when the paperwork would be settled, and where Phantasma and Hermione would live, when Wally could visit when school was out, and other sundry things that families have to sort out before they can be families. By the time the sun was rising, Hermione and Severus were tucking Phantasma and Wally into separate yet close beds. Even in sleep, they were holding hands. Hermione laid a gentle kiss on her daughter's -- her daughter's!-- brow and patted Wally's cheek before Severus led her out of the infirmary and down to his quarters for a bit of rest before the day began.
"Severus, I can't believe how all this happened, and so quickly. And to think, this entire thing, well--" Hermione said, but Severus caught her mouth in a searing kiss before she could finish her sentence.
"Yes, my dear. It started with a dance."