Final chapter! This felt slightly alike to Rosemary & Thyme, but even so, I had to end it on Christmas Eve. Because that is how it started :D


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True love will find you in the end

You'll find out just who was your friend

Don't be sad I know you will

Don't give up until

True love finds you in the end

~ Hannah Fury (covering Daniel Johnston)

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It was another December at the start of another winter, and Luna Lovegood was much warmer than she'd been a year previously. Christmas time found her and her brood back at Ginny Weasley's, celebrating the holidays with friends within the two family shelters in London. The two young women had spent the weeks beforehand decorating, hanging spruce and holly from every available surface, tacking up stockings, baking cookies, and spreading charmed snow over the Christmas trees and to fall from the ceiling, until both houses resembled a winter forest. The various children under Ginny's care went wild over the improvements.

Knowing that everyone would likely wish to spend their Christmas morning at home with their respective families (she herself was quite looking forward to watching her many foster children open their gifts), Ginny invited her dear ones over for a late lunch on Christmas Eve Day. Bill and Alicia and George were there, as well as Neville and Seamus and Hagrid, Megan and her family, Lee Jordan and his muggle girlfriend Enid, and scores more. Also there, of course, were the children and girls (and a few young men as well) to whom Ginny had opened up her home. Bianca and Andrei were present, the former having formed a bit of a bond with Orla's muggle brother Quentin. Sophie, the classmate of Harry's who'd been bitten by Fenrir Greyback and made to be his mate, had moved in as well. She was recovering well enough. Luna even caught her cracking smiles, though she shied away from most human contact, especially male.

And at everyone's feet the children scurried about, mostly sticking to the playrooms but often straying, to see if cookies were ready yet and asking, for the thousandth time, who exactly this Father Christmas fellow was and when, exactly, would he bring them their presents? Through it all, Ginny, Luna and Orla were laughing and joking with their friends and having a generally wonderful time. True, every now and then Ginny would pause, wishing Harry was there to see them all so free and happy, to see that he hadn't died for nothing. Orla would sniffle a little, making another pot of tea for them all that was dark and strong, the way Rabastan liked it, and she'd wonder how he was faring during his Christmas Eve all alone. And Luna would glance out the window at the heavy grey skies, remembering the way her father used to pull her out into the cold every year to catch the first snow just as it started to fall.

But those were brief moments, and ones that were quickly overcome with much joy.

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"Well looky here," Hestia Jones-Podmore said brightly upon finding Severus in one of the many parlors, a bit removed from the revelers. He was sitting in an armchair in the corner by the fire, leafing through one of the books Ginny Weasley had stocked the house shelves with. No doubt with Luna's help, judging from the eccentric and extremely varying titles. He glanced up at Hestia, eyebrows lifting. "If it isn't Mr. Sunshine & Daydreams himself!"

"I have no idea what you're talking about," Severus scoffed lightly, looking back down at his book…and then frowning, as a bit of charmed snow fell from the ceiling onto his shoulder, dissolving into nothingness. Hestia grinned.

"I seem to remember a certain Professor who wouldn't be caught dead at an Order holiday party, let alone a family event." She went on. Severus didn't miss a beat.

"And I seem to remember a certain widowed Healer who wouldn't let any man touch her with a ten foot pole," He replied, dryly, glancing back at her and her expanding waistline, "Dear me, where ever did she go?" Hestia laughed.

"Touché, Severus Snape," She lifted her glass of virgin eggnog to him in salute, patting her pregnant torso lightly as she did. "Sturgis bet me good money that you'd be the one in the Father Christmas suit tonight."

"So sorry to disappoint your husband," Severus smirked, "But that shall be Bill Weasley. I am merely here as a…supportive gesture, to my ethereal half."

"Ah," Hestia nodded, leaning against the mantle, smile never leaving her face. "Admit it, you enjoy being here as much as the rest of us."

"The social aspect is lost on me," Severus rolled his eyes, but paused, clearing his throat. "That said. It is rather pleasant to not be on one's own on such a day." Even though his eyes narrowed in consternation, as some small child or another chose that moment to run through the room, dragging a garland behind her. Hestia hardly noticed, she was far too intrigued by the subtle changes in her former fellow Order member, and current sort-of-friend. He noticed her watching him, and scowled. Hestia only shook her head, somewhat amazed.

"She's been good for you, Severus." She finally proclaimed, moving away from the hearth as she did, enjoying the mildly startled look on his face. "I mean it. You've gone from intolerable bastard to mildly tolerable bastard in just under a year, I'm so proud."

"You do know how to flatter a gentleman, Hestia." He attempted a glare, but it came across as half-hearted at best. Hestia only laughed, moving out of the room as she claimed she had a husband to find and inform that he'd lost their bet already. Severus did not allow himself a small smile, not until she was out of sight.

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An hour or so later and he was still in that parlor, though everyone else had gathered to reminisce around the dining room table. A meal was one thing, idle conversation quite another, and thus Severus hung back, instead moving to inspect the photographs that had been collected on the mantle above the fire. Clearly they had all been placed there by Ginny and her many housemates. There were old pictures of schoolchildren waving for the camera from the Hogwarts grounds, and family portraits, some muggle, some magical. He paused by one, his hand brushing the frame. It had been taken on a summer day, he guessed at The Burrow and he guessed by Hermione Granger, as she was not in the shot.

Ronald, Luna, Ginny, and Harry all sat under a large tree by the Otter River. Severus did not let himself linger too long on Harry, on Lily's eyes looking up at him, in the face of the presently carefree boy who'd been his thorn and his burden and his grief for years. Instead his attention was held by Luna. She couldn't have been more than fourteen then. Not so terribly long ago, but Severus was shocked by the difference six years had made. She was all elbows and knees, a sundress over patched jeans and mismatched plimsols, and a violently magenta jumper. But it was more than that. Her face was so very bright, so free of worry, so wistful and young, looking up at the camera, pushing unkempt hair out of her large eyes as she smiled her loony smile.

"I should find that jumper again, it was terribly comfy!" Luna grinned as Severus jumped slightly, having not heard her slip up behind him. He turned, to find that she had changed out of her robes and into a long red skirt and white tunic. She had a tray in her hands piled with coffee and pastries, which she set on the armchair for the time being. Resting atop her blonde head was a thin wreath of holly and spruce. Severus frowned.

"You do realize you've missed Saint Lucia Day by nearly two weeks, yes?" He asked, his voice drenched in sarcasm. Luna rolled her eyes, before leaning forward and kissing him lightly.

"What sort of Swede would I be if I did not?" She retorted, pulling her wand out of her sleeve and conjuring some flickering, transparent candles to rest in her hair. "Christmas dinner, solstice, Saint Lucia, we are doing everything at the wrong time today!" She grinned merrily once the candles were done, and Severus had to admit, she looked lovely with the charmed glow over her head. "Besides, my mother acted Lucia's part on Christmas Eve as well, 'til I was old enough to do so. My father was a firm believer in making one's own traditions out of the old."

"I am not surprised in the least." Severus noted fondly, bending to kiss her back. Luna smiled primly.

"Now go and sit with everyone else in the dark."

He did as he was told, as per usual finding the darkest, furthest corner of the dinner table, which happened to be by Hestia and Sturgis. Ginny Weasley noxed the lights once everyone was seated, and Luna waited only a few moments before entering the room with her tray, her spelled candles the only lights present. Everyone reacted appropriately at her greeting of Merry Christmas, laughing and clapping delightedly as she started serving out coffee to the adults in the room. For his part, Severus was simply transfixed by the picture she made, womanly in form but the smile on her face was completely that of the girl he'd seen in the photograph on the mantle. She was happy. She was contented. Looking up, she caught his eye over everyone else, and her smile widened. He hadn't darkened her at all, or repelled her, as he'd once feared he was doomed to always do to those he loved. Quite the opposite, in fact. Severus had somehow made her brighter. In spite of himself, he smiled back.

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In Ottery St. Catchpole that night, Luna tucked her children in to sleep with a bedtime story about a boy on a broom who outsmarted a dragon. Then she kissed them goodnight, with promises of gifts from Father Christmas in the morning. For once her toddlers were anxious for sleep, and she hardly heard a sound out of them for the rest of the evening. As she walked down the hall from their room, she passed by a window, and smiled. Snow was falling. Delighted, she tip-toed down the stairs and out the front door, grabbing her white cloak as she did.

From his place in her sitting room, where he'd lit a fire and was reading a bedtime story of his own (Hob's chapter of 101 Ways To Confuse One's Mother In Law), Severus listened for her return from the upstairs, but did not hear it. Not until the front door swung open and shut, and he looked up, out of the great window in the sitting room, to see his Dulcinea standing on the front lawn looking up at the sky. Setting his book aside, Severus rose and followed her.

"I might have known," He murmured, stepping outside and frowning as fresh snow fell and caught on his black robes. Luna turned, grinning at him under the falling whiteness, flakes clinging to her hair and eyelashes. "I am glad to see that you remembered a cloak this time."

"Always," She skipped over to him, throwing her arms around his shoulders dramatically and smiling quite wickedly, "Though, if you would still like to sweep me up into your arms and spend some time rubbing my feet, I'd not complain." Severus coughed.

"Well, perhaps, purely for nostalgic purposes of course."

"Of course," Luna nodded, drawing herself near to him, kissing him softly. "It's snowing." She whispered. Severus smirked.

"That it is," He whispered back, reaching up and brushing flakes from her hair. "We seem, my dear, to have come full circle."

"That we have." Luna pressed closer to him, resting her head on his shoulder and shutting her eyes. Severus, in turn, wrapped his arms around her, and the two of them stood in the quiet cold for a time. The only sound the wind carried was the distant gurgling of the Otter River, and the whisper of bare branches against each other in the falling snow. The smell of wood smoke was on the air, and all-in-all Severus could not contemplate a more idyllic little moment. He wondered what, exactly, completed the picture, and it didn't take him long to pin-point: There was nothing looming over him. For the first time in his life, there was no inevitable end to his contentment. No master lording over him, no debts to be paid. Severus looked down at the witch in his arms, knowing it had to be the same for her as well. No war to be fought. No monsters waiting in the shadows to take away what she'd finally been granted, aside from the relatively small, daily ones that everyone faced throughout their lives. There was still quite a lot to be rebuilt in their world, and quite a lot that had been lost along the way. But she was here, now, and so was he.

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"I do not think," He heard himself murmuring, "That I could ever bear standing through my own wedding." There was a small pause, before he felt Luna giggling against his shoulder.

"I've had a wedding," She pulled back just enough to meet his gaze, her eyes shining. "And aside from the ultimate outcome, they really are quite overrated. And far too traditional for my tastes."

"I would think so," Severus nodded, keeping his expression entirely dour, his tone business-like, even though the look in his eyes matched her own. "I also do not find the thought of fathering children at all appealing."

"I have children," Luna's grin widened, "And though I love them, I concur, I am not keen on having any more."

"I am a creature of habit as well," He went on, still dour, though his tone lightened, as he inspected the sky above absently, "I do adore your company, of course, but I do believe that I will always require my own living quarters. A cave for the great bat of Slytherin to escape to, so to speak."

"You'll likely get that again too, once Hogwarts is repaired," Luna kissed his cheek. "And I am very much the same. I need space to create, to expand, to let my offspring create…" She paused, tilting her head thoughtfully, "Though I daresay, I'd best not end up Mia Farrow to your Woody Allen…"

Severus knew better than to ask what she meant by that. Likely referencing some fictional figures. He only reached into the pocket of his robe, pulling out a rather small object, weighing it in his hand for a few moments before speaking again. "Well then, as long as we're in agreement on the three most importantly mundane aspects of life…" Severus held the flash of silver in front her, watching as her eyes widened. "Just a bit of shine, really." He cleared his throat in the cold air.

Luna took the ring in her fingers. It was a simple Celtic knot band, set with a small white stone. It wasn't a terribly ornate nor expensive-looking piece of jewelry, but she could tell that it had been a loved article to someone. "I like it…" She whispered, her breath a cloud around their heads. Severus cleared his throat again.

"My mother's," He said, off-handedly enough. "She did not leave much behind in this world, but what she did…" He trailed off, looking down at her again. Luna was looking up at him steadily, her eyes warm and bright in their paleness. "If you do not mind the insufferable man who comes along with it, I would like for you to keep it."

"I'd love to," Luna whispered, slipping the ring on her finger. She reached up, resting her hands on either side of his pale face, and kissed him softly. Severus kissed her back, clutching her closely, possessively. She grinned against his lips, resting her forehead against his. "Hopeless romantic, you are." Severus pulled back to glare at her.

"Would you rather I dropped to my knees and begged for your hand with a bloody sonnet?" He asked, an eyebrow raised with a bit of a sneer. Luna giggled, shaking her head.

"Never," She sighed, shutting her eyes again, letting the moment soak through her, into her blood and into her heart. "I love you."

Severus leaned forward, pressing a soft kiss to her forehead, "Barmy girl…"

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Author's Notes: Awww, it's over! But not really. There will be a collection of moments, ficlets, to follow. Moments between Luna and Snape, as well as moments concerning other characters in this 'verse. I really want to thank everyone who's reviewed, I hope you'll keep reading their adventures! And as I noted before, if you click on the homepage link in my profile, you can listen to all the music I used here (I have updated it since then, even).

I am madly in love with each and every one of you!