Chapter 32 -Perfect Tranquility
The English countryside was green and growing, rolling out flat and hilled around the manor, with forests on the edge of the property, and plenty of grass fields in which to explore.
After their return from Spain for the first month of the summer, the growing Snape family relocated to one of Severus' many properties in the United Kingdom. This one just happened to be located twenty or so miles outside of Devon. It was not exactly the smallest residence that had been bequeathed to him on the death of the majority of his family members, but it was certainly one of the loveliest ones. The townhouse that he had bought in London five years beforehand was going to be an idea location for when the summer was drawing to a close, so that they could be close by to Diagon Alley.
That afternoon at the Manor, Megan had gone for a walk around the grounds with Harry and Ginny, who were guests of theirs at the present moment in time. Lily was taking a nap in the guest nursery, and Hermione was in the private upstairs study napping on the couch. Severus had contemplated what he was going to do all afternoon with one of his ladies gone on walks, and the other sleeping. Frowning, he realized that the picture was not an ideal one and he Apparated upstairs to the study and walked in through the door, striding over to his lightly slumbering wife.
Kneeling down in front of the lounge she was resting on, he rested a hand on her hip, rubbing a small circle there, before moving down the fabric of her summer dress to her knee, and then working the hand back up under the dress. Smiling deviously when he reached the cotton of her knickers, he pressed his lips to hers. Hers eyes flickered open at both the kiss and the feeling of his hand fondling below, grinning wickedly before tugging his head back to hers for another kiss.
After warding and locking the door, the pair of them wasted no time in getting undressed and getting down to business on first the lounge, and then the floor, followed finally by the desk. If Hermione had had any doubts about her husband's virility, which she most certainly had not, they would have been answered then. His exhaustion only overtook him after the third round in two hours. They had both been glad that the charm on Lily's room to alert them as to whether or not she was awake had not gone off.
'You, husband of mine, are the most insatiable man in both the Wizarding and Muggle worlds,' Hermione said breathlessly, laying flat on her back on Severus' desk, still nude, with Severus resting on top of her, still slotted between her legs.
Severus let out a tired chuckle, pulling himself away from his lovely pregnant wife and falling into the chair at the desk. 'I have to get my fill while I can,' he retorted with a smug grin. 'After all, soon this will all be an activity of the past.'
Hermione sat up and smiled. 'Not if I have anything to say about it,' she said, slipping off the desk and wandlessly summoning her dress and undergarments back to her.
Slipping them back on, she blew him a kiss and left the room, locking the door again as she left. It would not do for anyone to walk in on Severus sitting naked at his desk after all. Grinning at the thought, she walked down a flight of stairs, her movements only a little hindered by her growing roundness. She arrived at Lily's room, and on entering, found the girl to be still sleeping. She walked over to the crib more closely, and touched her little nose. The move apparently woke her, and she blinked up at Hermione, before breaking into a cute grin.
'Hello there, Lil,' she said, lifting the girl out of the bed and up into her arms. 'Are you feeling hungry now? I sure am.'
'Hungy!' Lily agreed vocally, hugging Hermione around the neck.
Laughing softly, she carried the girl down the stairs with her, thinking that it would be lovely if all babies were like Lily had been. They arrived in the kitchens, and the two house elves in there suddenly halted in their work as they usually did when the "Mistress" of the house entered the room. Both she and Severus had been requesting that they just get on with their work and not go out of their way to do special things, but in the end it was a house elf's nature to strive to please.
'Can I please have some apple sauce for Lily?' she asked the one nearest them, who beamed, pleased at having a task to do.
Hermione did not know many of the elves by name there, as the sheer number of them had amazed her when Severus had first brought them to the manor. She had already had over half of them sent to work at Hogwarts instead, and still there were around twelve lingering around the house as though it was their sanctuary. She sat and plopped Lily into the highchair beside her, a small bowl of the requested toddler food appearing there the moment she was seated. Gurgling with pleasure, the little red-haired cherub began to feed herself, while Hermione asked them to make her a sandwich.
'Better make that five sandwiches,' Severus said as he joined them in the kitchen, once more fully dressed in his trousers, white linen button-down, and a black waistcoat. His dress was still as formal as ever when there was company.
No sooner had he joined them at the table, the sandwiches arrived on a small platter, and both husband and wife immediately dug in. About an hour later, when the couple had retired to the downstairs sitting room, Megan entered the room and immediately flung herself at Severus, being mindful not to crash into Hermione in the meantime, and launched into a grand story about their explorations that day. Harry and Ginny laughed, sitting on the lounge across, while Lily sat on a rug on the floor playing with her stuffed animal collection.
If anyone had looked in on this scene about two years before hand, they would have thought that it would have been impossible. Such domesticity and acceptance from Severus Snape was an unimaginable prospect at that time and all the years before. In an alternate universe, Hermione might not have ever gone to College, and might have actually married Ron Weasley and gave birth to all of his children. But it was not to be. She was the wife that never was to him, and that coupled with the horrors of the war had messed with his mind.
Hermione smiled, watching as her charming adoptive daughter was perched on the arm of the lounge, her legs hanging sideways over Severus' as she talked to him animatedly, waving around the rare beetles that she had collected on their walk. She noticed how Megan loved to learn, and how Severus responded to that eagerness with a pride that even he would have had a hard time trying to conceal if he wanted to. But lately, when it was just her, Megan and their close group of friends, he didn't feel the need to be so formal and cool or reserved.
His affection came more easily, and words of love being murmured into her ear were an all night, all day, and everyday occurrence. A year ago, Hermione and Severus had only just started calling each other by their given names. And now, they were often coming up with new, sappier endearments to call each other, while making love, or simply talking, or even as a thank you, just for being there. She was so pleased that she had come to know and fall in love with him.
'Hermione?' asked Ginny from the other lounge. 'Do you want to come up and help me give Lily and bath and change?'
Hermione nodded and stood, leaning into Severus momentarily to give him a kiss on the cheek which seemed to make him pause as he was talking for a moment, capturing her hand with his and kissing it briefly, before letting her go and getting back to talking with Megan about bugs. Laughing inwardly, she got up and followed Ginny with Lily out of the sitting room and up the stairs to the guest suite's bathroom. She filled the tub up halfway with warm water, while Ginny undressed the girl, before sitting her in the water, which she immediately began to splash in.
'Come now you, hold still a bit for mummy and let me wash you, and then you can play,' Ginny reasoned firmly, showing Hermione just how it was done. Her ease with playing the part of a mother came naturally to the red-head.
'Have you heard from Julia and Bill lately?' Hermione asked Ginny.
'Actually, we got a latter this morning, but I forgot all about it when Megan dragged us out on the little adventure of hers for the day,' Ginny replied with a laugh. 'Bill moved Julia into his house in London where he and Fleur used to live together, and now that all of her stuff is out of the apartment, they've put it up for rent. It looks like they are in it for the long haul.'
Hermione smiled at this news. 'I certainly hope so,' she admitted. 'They have both suffered enough in the past few years, and they are so good together – I'm surprised we never saw it before! It was just lucky that the two of them saw it themselves and grabbed a hold of the opportunity before it slipped right past them.'
Ginny nodded in agreement. 'I am happy for them too,' she said as they watched Lily splash around with her bath duck.
A few minutes later Lily was plucked from the water and dried with a spell, before she was re-dressed in a little yellow dress and white tights, and taken back down to the sitting room to join the men before Dinner. That night, after their meal had been eaten, and the guests were happily ensconced in their own bedchambers, and Megan had gone to her bedroom and was tucked into bed reading before she would go to sleep, Hermione and Severus finally went to their own rooms. They bathed together, and dressed for bed, before climbing in under the covers and cuddling, extinguishing the light.
'I got a letter from Arthur today,' Severus murmured into her ear softly, his voice heavily laden with tiredness.
'What did he have to say?' Hermione asked curiously, rolling over so that she was facing him instead of spooning with him. 'It must be something of importance or you wouldn't have mentioned it to me, now spill.'
'Ronald's trial has been put on hold until after he has had a full psychological analysis,' Severus said with a heavy sigh, pulling her close to him. 'He did everything that he could to make it unnecessary, but apparently some of Molly's cousins – the Prewett's, had something to say about it to the Ministry on her behalf, and now the trial may not even go ahead as it should.'
'But that's not even fair,' Hermione huffed. Certainly, Ron had been her friend at one point in her life – but things had changed a lot since then.
'Life is rarely ever fair, however, I am sure that the afterlife is far more just, so worry not about him never receiving retribution for his crimes,' Severus said soothingly. 'It will come back to bit him on the arse eventually, pet.'
'So, how on earth did this come about?' she asked curiously.
'Arthur forgot about Molly's relatives and the possibility of her contacting them about what was going on,' he explained with a wry smile. 'Poor Arthur. Needless to say, her mail is being very thoroughly scanned now, so there most likely wont be any other problems caused by her so to speak.'
'And you've told Harry already?' she asked, to which he replied with a nod. She closed her eyes, breathing in the clean, masculine scent of him deeply. 'I hope that everything works out soon. This feels to me like next year at Hogwarts is going to be a little more hectic than we anticipated.'
Severus leaned in and kissed her soundly. 'Whatever it is, my darling, we shall get through it together now, won't we?' he murmured.
His only reply was another of those sweet kisses that he could never get enough of.
A/N - Well now, we have come to the end of this story. I hadn't planned to end it here when I first began the story, but I feel that this is the right place to finish for now, and I will most definately be back with a follow-up in the near future that will shed more light on the Ron issue, Molly, and the twins. This story was basically the one that would bring Hermione and Severus together, which I feel that it has done so adequately for me to end it. Stay tuned for the sequel which will go by "Woes of a Headmaster" although that is also subject to change. Thanks for following and please remember to review! xo.