A New Prophecy
After Voldemort was defeated, they had to corral or kill, in some cases, the remaining Death Eaters. Most would stand trial and then be put in Azkaban, though the worst of these would receive a sentence of death or exile, with their wands snapped. The casualties among the Aurors were not as bad as had been expected, there were some dead, and James has sustained a bad injury and was rushed to St. Mungos, but otherwise the death toll was higher, for once, on the side of the law-breakers.
After scouring the castle for more Death Eaters and also any prisoners, Severus, Lily, and Regulus rushed back to the safe house to see their friends and families. They found the house had been attacked, but most the Death Eater cadre had been repulsed by the wards. Those few that had managed to get by had been defeated by Eileen, Walla, Cindy, and Annie. Dickon had helped as well, and thereby proved the worth of an Astronomy professor and the Witches Defense Society.
All of the missing children were safe, except for those that had died under the machine's cold helmet, and those that could were returned to their families by Dumbledore and the Aurors. Funerals were held for those who were gone. A memorial for the dead children was hung on the wall of the Hogwarts Great Hall, to remember those who had died.
Arthur found himself both hugged and scolded by his guardians once they came home.
"What you did was very brave, Art," began Lily, hugging him.
"And also damned foolish!" interjected Severus. "What were you thinking, rushing off against Death Eaters? Did you think you were some knight in shining armor like in a tale?"
"Um . . . well . . . I just wanted to help Professor Morhaven," Arthur said lamely. "And I did . . . sort of."
"You also sort of got yourself captured too!" Severus pointed out.
"Sev, you don't have to be so harsh—"
"Why not? He nearly cost me ten years of my life, Lily! What do you think I should do, pat him on the head and give him a piece of chocolate? Merlin help me!"
Severus whirled on him. "If you think it's so funny, you can scrub my dungeon for two weeks straight, Stephens!"
"Yes, sir. I'm sorry, sir. I'll never do it again, Severus."
"Good, because if you do, I'll kill you. Or beat you senseless whichever comes first," Severus said sourly. Then he hugged the boy. "Lily, get Grace. We're going home. I'm about to collapse from exhaustion."
Arthur, who had his face pressed against Severus' middle, grinned. He knew he was forgiven, and now he was safe, and going home. That was what mattered.
The Healers said James would recover from being burnt on one side, but he had lost the hearing in one ear, and would require a magical hearing aid for the rest of his life. His left finger was also crooked because of some nerve damage, but all in all, Petunia said it was a small price to pay for getting rid of the worst wizard ever to walk the wizarding world at last. She was very proud of her husband, and rightly so.
James, Sirius, Moody, Shacklebolt, and all the Aurors who had participated in the Final Battle were given commendations by the Auror Department for Bravery and Duty Above and Beyond the Call of Duty. They were given medals to hang on their uniforms and honored with a big dinner and a bonus in their paychecks. Their names were now legend in the Auror Department and all the new recruits looked up to them.
Severus, Lily, and Regulus were awarded the Order of Merlin, First Class, for their tireless and dangerous work as secret agents. They too were lauded in the press and with a large dinner with the Minister of Magic. Their names were now a byword for heroism and sacrifice to all the children of the wizarding world. They even had chocolate frog cards made.
Severus considered it a bloody nuisance, but was forced to accept the accolades as his due. He just hoped it wouldn't cause him problems as a professor.
Lily decided that she would take extra lessons as a Charms Mistress and when Grace was nursery school age, she would become the new Charms teacher at Hogwarts, since Flitwick wanted to retire soon.
But for now she was content to stay home and be with her daughter, who did indeed have her eyes and her dad's dark hair.
Two years later:
Severus watched with pride as his now two-year-old daughter celebrated her second birthday, playing chase with her cousin Harry, also two, Neville Longbottom, Draco Malfoy and Jess, who was now six and the "boss" of all the younger kids. A little bit away, Sirius' child, thirteen-month old Carrissima Atalanta Black, called Rissa for short, waded in the kiddie pool Eileen had set up in the backyard, along with her eighteen-month old cousin Orion Severus Black, who was Regulus and Cindy's son. They wore only nappies, since it was so hot, and were having the time of their lives splashing each other and getting soaked.
Petunia was sitting in the shade of a beech tree with a cold glass of water, cuddling with her husband, barely showing yet, though she was expecting her second child. She and James were hoping for a girl this time.
Arthur, Misty, Rhys, and Nate were hanging about the table with the food, as they were always starving, like typical teenagers.
Lily headed towards him with a piece of chocolate cake baked by Polly, ever the doting grandmother, plus a napkin and a cup of tea. "Sev, I brought you some cake. I figured I'd better snag a piece before Reg and Sirius ate it all." She handed the treat to her husband.
"Thanks, Lil. I was just watching the kids for a moment."
Lily put her arm about him. "They're growing up too fast."
"I know. Soon they'll be going to Hogwarts and Merlin help us all then! Me, dealing with a teenage daughter! Makes me want to off myself before anything bad happens."
"Oh, Sev! Why do you assume anything bad will happen? By that time I'll be a professor too, along with you, Dickon, and Remus as the Transfiguration professor. She won't have a chance in hell of getting away with anything."
"Uh huh. We'll see. Might I remind you she nearly flushed my bottle of dragon scales down the toilet last week? And her and Harry came in covered in mud from playing "dragons" just yesterday?" Severus reminded. "And I won't even get into the time she and Harry found Petunia's purse and ate her orange-flavored aspirin! Both of them needed to be rushed to St. Mungos and be given emetics and laxatives!"
"I know. That was not a fun experience. But Sev, they're children, and children do get into things. Tuney and I got into Mum's make-up one time and made an awful mess." Lily remembered.
"And Grace got into my quills and ink and wrecked your favorite carpet. Don't forget that!"
"I know, but at least it wasn't green paint, and Grace has never painted Kismet, like Harry has." Lily reminded him. "And Rissa peed all over her babysitter once and Orion threw up on the Minister."
"Don't remind me. Why do we all have hellions for children?"
"Because they're normal children, Sev. Just ask my mum or dad. Or yours." Lily laughed. "Someday we'll look back on all these escapades and we'll laugh."
"Sure, when we're senile. Yesterday Grace had the nerve to tell me no, she wasn't putting her shoes on and threw one at me. I had to give her a time out and I nearly gave her a good swat too. I don't ever remember me being so stubborn and mouthy."
"I'll bet you were, Sev. Just ask your mum. Grace is a lot like you . . . and Jess too."
Severus rolled his eyes heavenward. "Remus is lucky he doesn't have any kids."
"Yet. But Aurora Sinistra hasn't proposed to him yet. Who knows? Next year he could be married with a baby on the way."
"Is that a prediction, little oracle?" Severus teased, kissing her nose.
"No, but . . ." Suddenly Lily got a faraway look in her eyes and she went rigid in his arms.
"Lil? What is it?" Severus called, alarmed.
She looked up at him without seeing him, her eyes fixed on something only she could see, as her Sight showed her a possible future. Slowly, she began to speak.
"When next evil rears its ugly head
Followers of one now long dead,
Shall return with vengeance and hate in their hearts,
Then shall come ones who must stand apart,
A legacy of heroes shall mark them as able,
And powers long lost shall be their lot.
A green-eyed girl, a boy with a crooked smile,
A shaggy-haired prankster, a girl of the wild,
These shall unite and prove to the world,
That evil can die, once and for all,
Or else triumph and let the world fall."
Then she went limp and Severus had to hold her close to prevent her from falling.
"Lily! Wake up!" he called.
She stirred, blinked, and moaned, "Sev? What just happened?"
"You had a Vision, Lily."
"I did? What of?"
"A new prophecy. Concerning our children," Severus explained. He told her what she had said.
"Oh! Great Mother of Seers!" she exclaimed. "I had a vision of Grace, Orion, Harry, and Rissa?"
"You did, and also the return of the Death Eaters. At least that's what I think." Severus said solemnly.
"But Severus, I haven't had a Vision in over two years. Not since we killed Voldemort," Lily protested.
"You did now. And I remember every bit of it."
"Oh, bloody hell! The last thing I want is to have our children forced to fight a war like we did." Lily swore agitatedly.
Severus sighed. "Well, all we can do is wait and see. And hope the Death Eaters stay dead . . . or locked away in Azkaban for life."
"Yes. Maybe this prophecy will never come true." Lily said hopefully.
"But if not, forewarned is forearmed," said Severus practically. "I love you, Lily."
"And I love you, Sev. Now let's eat this cake before I drool all over."
"You want me to feed you a piece?" he offered, mischief sparkling in his eyes.
"Sure. If I can do the same to you?"
He smirked. "It'll be my pleasure, oracle mine."
Then he scooped up some cake on a fork and fed it to his starving Seer wife. Life was too precious to spend worrying about what might be, and Severus had learned long ago to listen to the irresistible chemistry of the heart, which had brought together eight unlikely people and shown them the way to a better future filled with love, laughter, and the promise of a new day.
A/N: At long last this story comes to an end! I hope you enjoyed the journey, this is my longest chaptered story yet and I can't believe I finally finished it! It's been a lobor of love and perseverance as many things happened in my life as I was writing it. A reviewer told me that if I put this in novel format it'd be longer than Gone With the Wind! All I can say is-wow! It is over 1100 pages double-spaced in Verdana 12 point. Thanks to all of my loyal readers and reviewers for sticking with me, may you continue to do so.