Epilogue

The students clattered into the Potions lab, talking quietly and keeping a nervous eye out for their teacher. Severus Snape was the strictest teacher in the school, though Potions had the potential to kill you a lot quicker than a mis-fired Charm.

The bell went, and the first years quietened, waiting for the door to slam open and Snape to stalk in, robes billowing in a typical entrance.

Nothing.

The door to the man's office was ajar, and that simple threat was enough to keep the students in line as they waited. Some of the more studious opened their books, some of the more cunning began their homework from their last class, and the more daring of the group played quiet games on a spare bit of parchment or chatted with a neighbour.

"Someone should get a teacher," a Ravenclaw spoke up nervously after ten minutes of waiting, but it was another five minutes before a Hufflepuff actually went and to the nearest classroom and reported their missing teacher. The Headmaster came down and sent them all to the Library before drawing his wand and cautiously approaching the open office door. The last student to leave watched him edge inside the feared room and wished the man luck.

By lunch it was all over the castle that the Potions Master and Head of Slytherin was missing. The first years had built their story into a tale of daring and strife by that time, and the Headmaster no longer stepped quietly into the office, rather he threw himself in dramatically, cursing everything in sight. The man was the recipient of several awed looks, despite the fact that he was trying to get his three year old to eat her carrots and losing the battle.

There was a shrill scream from the Slytherin table, and the entire House erupted in chaos , leaping up onto the table and benches, their wands in hand. A large Eqyptian Cobra slithered out from beneath it, one of the deadliest snakes in the world, and some of the less panicked students began firing spells at it in an attempt to kill it as the rest of the Houses also clambered up off the floor and drew their wands.

The Headmaster leapt to his feet and threw his hand out, forming a very powerful shield around the snake, at the same time raising his voice effortlessly over the noise.

"Cease and desist!"

Like a switch being thrown the Hall fell silent and wands were lowered. The entire school watch with avid gazes as the Headmaster passed his daughter to the redhaired Defence teacher, who tickled her lightly and kissed her cheek. The Headmaster sighed in a put upon way when she obediently ate the carrot offered her.

"Sure, you'll eat carrots for Daddy," he muttered on the way past. The school was used to such domestic utterances and thought nothing of it. Far more disturbing was the switch from English to Parseltongue as he neared the now still serpent.

"I hate it when he does that," Professor McGonagall muttered into her water goblet and the Headmaster turned to shoot her a crooked grin, his green eyes twinkling.

"I hate it when he does that," Professor Weasley replied, "It's like dealing with Albus again."

"Grandpa!" the three year old in his lap piped, "He's in Greece this week," she informed McGonagall who beamed and patted her hand. The hissing stopped and Headmaster Potter took the shield down with a laugh.

There was a pause, then the snake reared up and became Professor Snape. Weasley and Potter immediately clapped in appreciation.

"Well done Severus," Weasley called, "The King of Snakes is a fitting animagus form for you!"

"Well I never!" McGonagall gasped, and the Potions Master smirked at her, "Severus, you finally did it!"

By now the Hall had joined in with the applause, even the three year old was clapping. Severus gave them a mocking bow and then swept up to the staff table, sitting in his place beside the Headmaster and downing a goblet of water in a hurry, muttering something about the taste of mice.

"Now you know how I felt all those years ago," the Headmaster snorted, "Ron, I'm going up to check on the baby."

"I'll take Serena," Snape said, putting out his arms for the girl, "Apparently an interfering Headmaster cancelled my classes for the day. She could use the brewing time."

"You know we only named her after you, you don't have to turn her into a potions master before she begins school," Weasley handed the child over equably, and she beamed up at the Head of Slytherin fearlessly.

"Make her eat some carrots, Severus," the Headmaster sighed, and headed out of the Hall, "And do try not to have too much fun."

"I make no promises."

0o0o0o0

AN – Now you see why I don't do epilogues.