Disclaimer: Still not mine :(

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Epilogue

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It was disgustingly filthy.

Unbearably noisy.

Mind-achingly chaotic.

And there was no where else on Earth he'd rather be.

With sand in his boots, a dribble of melted ice cream drying crustily down his shoulder, and two sticky hands clenched in his hair, Severus Snape trudged across the park toward his smiling, pink cheeked wife.

"You've been in the sun too long," he chided. "Atticus, tell Mummy she mustn't cook too long, or we shall be tempted to eat her."

"Severus," she scolded lightly, barely withholding her laugh, "that's barbaric. Don't teach him to say such things."

Her son giggled wickedly and bared his teeth as his father playfully thrust him toward her like a bird of prey.

Every day with her was a day in the sun, but these days were particularly joyous. Atticus could walk and talk now, and Severus practically burst with pride each time his son outshone the Weasley and Potter children. It was to be expected, of course, considering his parentage and theirs, but still, he couldn't help but grin as Atticus dug a mote for his sand castle while Hugo Weasley ate another fist full of sand out of his 'mud pie.'

How daft of Miss Brown to have stayed with the weasel and born him an heir. Hermione might have found it romantic to hear the retelling of how Ron had torn his divorce papers into a hundred pieces and sent them to Lavender with the words, "Always," "Forever," and "Yes," scrawled across the pieces. But, in Severus' opinion, Ronald Weasley was still an overgrown child who had hardly bettered his family's station or financial security in the past 3 years. Though, Severus suspected that having a fawning and submissive Molly Weasley nearly tripping over herself to remain in the good graces of her grandson's mother was something one couldn't quite put a price on.

The Potters faired even better. Beyond the security of Harry's rather sizable inheritance, he had finally grown into his mother's perspicacity even if he hadn't quite grown out of his fathers impetuousness. He often joked about the adventures of dodging paper cuts and owl droppings as a way to mock his position as Head Auror, but he didn't spend nearly as much time in the office as he'd have his wife believe.

Another wizard who didn't spend much time in office was Kingsley Shacklebolt. After the infamous run and repeal of the marriage law, he was veritably ousted from the magical world, though he never once looked ashamed or admitted any wrong doing. Some might remember him for a war hero and others a tyrant, but the fact that he could now count on there being a magical community well into the future to remember him at all made up for any incriminations in full.

Severus wasn't quite sure how he felt about Kingsley or the law or the state of the wizarding world. It was hard enough most days just getting his mind around the surprise of waking each morning to find himself alive, free, and the object of adoration of the most beautiful woman he'd ever laid eyes on.

It didn't seem quite right to attempt to outweigh the past with the future, the suffering with the joys. Each is unique and terrible and beautiful in its own way. He'd suffered tremendously before and after the war, before and after the law, and had really only found true happiness after the repeal; because of the repeal.

It could only ever mean something that way. It could only ever be satisfying and honest and indisputable if it were a choice.

And she chose this life, this future.

She chose him.

The distant chiming of bells signaled the closure of the park as the Snape's collected their belongings and trudged up the path toward the gates. Atticus' messy dark curls bounced in time with his toddling strides while Severus' fingers itched to attempt to tame them, and the smooth, round stone around Hermione's neck gleamed brilliantly in the last rays of the setting sun.

Yes, the future was bright indeed.

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-Fin-

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A/N: So, you might be wondering why it took me a year to finally come back to post this epilogue ... well, it sort of died inside of me when I reread the last chapters and found them terribly predictable and uninspired.

I understand that many of you liked them anyway, but, as the author, I've got to make me happy first. Horridly selfish, I know, but there you have it.

The reason I finally came back to this is because I did say all along that I would write an epilogue, and even though I thought everyone would figure I gave up on it, people kept putting this ridiculous story on their alerts list. Very kind of you all, btw. It's quite nice to get reviews, but for those who don't know what to say or are too shy or whatever, putting a story in your alerts or faves at least gives the author the signal that you didn't walk away with a bad taste in your mouth, because, you know, we can see how many hits we get.

I apologize for the long wait for this epilogue and for the fact that it isn't longer or better. And I'd like to give a very big and heart felt thanks to all who have supported me in this endeavor. ( ( ( squishes you all ) ) )