A Snape Hermione fic.
Disclaimer: Still don't own Harry Potter ... *goes to weep in the corner*.
A/N: Well, here we are. Finally at the end. Can't believe it's been almost two years since I started this story! It's been one hell of a ride.
Thank you everyone who reviewed, you're awesome!
Special Thanks to: Embodied Frustration, for being my first reviewer on this story; to lucyferr, for your blunt and honest feedback; to notwritten, Readerforlife, CeliaEquus, Ell/Skyegirl, Glykera, sweet-tang-honney, Riiiceballe, , thinkb4uact, and Hermionefan21 for leaving the most reviews on my story; to Sampdoria for leaving some of my favorite reviews; and to everyone who has stuck with this story from the very beginning. Thanks for all the wonderful and touching reviews, you guys are the best muse I could ever have. Thanks to everyone who put this story on their favorites and alert lists, and to those who added this story to their Communities. You're awesome!
Also, thanks to everyone who read but didn't review, I'm glad you still kept coming back for more!
Alrighty, here goes the epilogue. It's a tad mushy, but I guess I just get sappy at endings.
I hope you guys like this one, I know I'll love writing it.
As always, please read and review, I live for feedback!
This was to be the most magical Christmas Hogwarts had ever seen. Hagrid had brought in the largest evergreens he could find, enlisting the help of some of the more cheery House Elves to help decorate them. It seemed as though everywhere one looked, the only colors that could be seen were red, green, and some silver. The ghosts were caroling up and down the corridors, Peeves cackling madly as he followed unsuspecting students around with a bundle of enchanted mistletoe. The portraits were traveling to and from each other's frames, recalling past celebrations with wide smiles and gossiping tales. The castle was emptied of most of its students, the majority having gone home for the holidays.
Hermione smiled up at her six-year old daughter, who was sitting atop a pair of broad shoulders with a wide grin on her face. Stretching just a little bit further, she set the star on the top of the tree. "Well done," Hermione congratulated her daughter, loving the look of pure joy on the young girl's face.
Samantha grinned toothily, but then paused as the felt herself being lowered down. "Oh, Daddy, I don't want to go down yet!" she complained.
Severus craned his neck and tilted his head up to get a look at her. "Well, your mother wanted a picture of us all in front of the tree."
"Can't we take the picture like this?" Samantha pleaded, gaining far too much enjoyment from being taller than everyone for a change.
Hermione smiled softly at her daughter, knowing that Severus wouldn't be able to say no to her.
"Alright, you can stay up there for the picture, but then I must go finish dinner," he agreed, straightening his head and meeting Hermione's eyes.
Hermione summoned the camera with a flick of her wand, levitating it nonverbally and situating it where it would get a decent shot of them and the tree. "Everyone ready?" she asked them.
With one hand on Samantha's leg to secure her, Severus reached around Hermione's side with the other, his hand coming to rest on her swelling belly. "I am ready," he informed her, rubbing his fingers soothingly over her belly, and the life growing within it.
"I'm ready!" Samantha stated excitedly, holding onto Severus's dark hair and smiling at the camera.
Hermione brought her free hand up to rest on her stomach, smiling pleasantly as she flicked her wand towards the camera one last time. The flash of the camera shone brightly, causing the ring on her left hand to sparkle magically.
The atmosphere of Hogwarts changed drastically the next day. Witches and wizards were hustling and bustling about, putting finishing touches on the castle and grounds for the ceremony that was about to begin in less than an hour. It was not a Christmas celebration, even though it was the morning of Christmas Eve. No, everyone in attendance was there to celebrate the union and marriage of Hermione Granger to Severus Snape.
Hermione smoothed out her daughter's white and pink dress, careful not to disrupt Ginny's fixing of a few stray beaded flowers.
"I don't see why everyone's making such a fuss about it," Samantha commented, trying not to itch at the white tiara sitting atop her head. "You and Daddy have been together practically forever."
Ginny smiled at that, fitting the last flower back into place. "There we are," she stated, standing upright once more. "All fixed."
"Thanks Auntie Ginny," Samantha replied, twirling around and smiling at the way her dress poufed out.
Hermione chuckled, remembering how the dress had gotten snagged in the first place. "Be careful, Sweetie."
"I know, Mummy," Samantha replied, eyeing the coffee table that she'd bumped into last time, and steering clear of it.
With her daughter's dress fixed, Hermione turned her attention back to the mirror, taking in her own appearance.
"You look gorgeous, Hermione," Ginny told her, stepping beside her and gazing into the mirror.
Hermione's dress like nothing she'd ever imagined. They were pure white, and made of the softest fabric she'd ever touched. It was similar to muggle wedding attire, in the fact that the dress had a long train, and a veil that settled atop her head. The dress had several pieces to it, the last of which she was settling over her shoulders now. First, she slid on the white skirt, feeling it mold to her skin. Next, she'd gotten Ginny's help to do up the corset-like top, ensuring that it wasn't too tight on her pregnant belly. She was only four months along, and with the dress all put together, one could hardly tell there was a baby underneath all that fabric. Not that she was trying to hide it ... she was very proud of the unborn son or daughter that Severus had given her. After the corset was in place, a second top was settled over top of it. A half-dress of sorts: two-inch-wide straps covered her shoulders, connecting to another layer of white over her upper torso. It covered her front to her waist, leaving her skirt exposed with its open sides. The train of the dress flowed down the back, one long layer with a shorter one on top. Finally, the last piece was put on. It was like a shawl, covering her shoulders and arms as it wrapped around her, only it was thicker, and less flimsy. The dressmaker had truly gone all-out for this wedding dress. Completing the look was the locket around her neck that Severus had given her three years ago.
Hermione hitched the bottom of her dress up slightly, sliding on her shoes and gaining half-an-inch of height. "You're sure it looks okay?" Hermione asked Ginny, who was holding out her veil for her.
"Not even Severus Snape will be able to hide his awe when you walk down the aisle," Ginny predicted, reaching up to clip the veil into her hair, careful not to mess up the curls.
Hermione had grown her hair out, and it now rested just below her middle back. Ginny and Fleur had pulled the sides of her hair into a soft braid, weaving a string of decorative flowers into it. The rest of her hair hung in curls down her back. Hermione adjusted her veil in the mirror as Ginny fanned out the back, making sure it didn't get caught on anything.
As Hermione looked at her bridal visage in the large mirror, she thought back to the night that had led to this magical day.
~ Hermione was exhausted, but happy. She'd just completed a three-hour examination to complete her Potions Apprenticeship. She wished she could have done it with Severus, but given their relationship, Minerva had suggested another invigilator. She would know in a day's time if she had passed, and whether she would finally be a Potions Mistress. It had been a long two years.
She opened her mouth to announce her presence, but stopped when she heard an excited giggling coming from the living room. "Samantha, if you can not contain yourself, I will summon Dobby to watch you in your room."
"Okay, okay, Daddy," Samantha's voice replied back, though Hermione could still hear the hidden laughter bubbling behind the faux calm voice. Her daughter had recently started calling Severus 'Daddy', sneaking it into conversations and then acting as though it were a slip of the tongue. Hermione found it utterly adorable.
"What are you two doing in here?" Hermione wondered, walking into the room. She was greeted by the sight of Severus and her five-year old daughter dressed in their finest robes, Samantha holding a smaller version on the bouquet of white roses that Severus held in his own hand. "What's this?" she wondered, her heart speeding up.
"Severus has a question for you!" Samantha told her excitedly.
"Samantha ..." Severus sighed, looking down at her.
Samantha pressed her lips together dramatically, taking a few steps backwards to give them space.
Hermione's eyes fell solely on Severus, her lips parting with a shallow intake of breath. She watched him pull a small box out of his pocket. "Severus ..." Hermione breathed out, dropping her Potions bag onto the floor.
"Hermione, I -" Severus began, but then hesitated. "I want to ... would you ..." He looked down at his feet, unbearably nervous. "Oh, sod it," he stated a couple seconds later, moving swiftly across the room until he was inches in front of her.
Before Hermione could utter so much as a syllable, Severus curved a hand around the back of her head, pulling her into a fast, deep kiss. When he pulled away moments later, he asked her, "Will you marry me?"
Hermione gazed back at him with heavy eyes, nodding her head for her lack of ability to articulate herself.
Severus smiled - a real, full smile - and opened the box to present a lovely, diamond ring. It was an exquisite cut, sparkling up at her.
Hermione threw her arms around him, a stray tear leaking from her eye. "I love you," she told him in a whispered voice.
Severus returned the embrace, kissing the nape of her neck. "I love you as well, Hermione."
Samantha could no longer contain her glee, and shrieked madly from the other side of the room. Tearing towards them, she caught Severus around his middle when he turned to look at her. "Now you really are my Daddy!"
Hermione chuckled at her daughter's antics, smiling even wider when Severus plucked the girl up from the ground, allowing her to wrap her small arms around his sturdy frame. ~
The girls were interrupted from their thoughts by a knock at the door. "Can the groomsmen enter?" Harry's voice wondered from outside the door. Severus had chosen him as a groomsman to keep the numbers even.
"Come on in," Hermione replied.
The door opened a second later, and Harry and Remus stepped through, followed shortly by Fleur, who had come to get Samantha to prepare her for her Flower Girl duties. Her son, Daniel, followed behind her, his brilliant red hair standing out against his dark robes. Next to Daniel was Lily, dressed similar to Samantha in her own Flower Girl outfit.
Harry walked forward, giving her a careful hug. "You look beautiful," he told her.
Hermione smiled. "Thank you, Harry. You look rather dashing yourself." She eyed Harry and Remus's dress robes, and their matching green scarves tucked into their robes - Severus's contribution to the event. Hermione knew he must be getting some pleasure from seeing two devout Gryffindors sporting Slytherin-green on such a ceremonial day.
Remus stepped forward and placed a gentle kiss on her cheek, grinning down at her. "You make an exquisite bride, Hermione. Severus won't know what hit him."
"Thank you," Hermione replied, blushing at the outpouring of compliments. "How much longer?" she wondered.
"The Hall is all set up, they're just seating the guests now. Should be about twenty minutes or so," Remus answered.
Hermione turned her attention to the younger children in the room. "You all look so good in your wedding clothes. Are you excited to be a Flower Girl?" she asked Lily, brushing a hand through her soft, red hair.
Lily nodded, smiling up at her godmother. "We're gonna put flowers all over the place!"
Hermione smiled. "You sure are." She smiled down at Danny, resisting the urge to ruffle his hair. "You make a charming ring bearer, Danny."
The small boy grinned toothily back up at her, puffing out his chest proudly.
They all chatted together in the classroom that had been converted into a bride ready-room, until there was another knock on the door. Molly Weasley poked her head through the door. "Alright, you lot, time to take your places, we're about to begin."
Remus and Harry left first after saying their goodbyes, moving to the great hall to take their places beside the groom. Ginny and Fleur, Matron of Honor and Bridesmaid, took the girls and Danny out of the room to get them into position. Once they were all out of the room, Molly and Arthur Weasley stepped inside, followed slowly by Jean Granger.
~"I'm getting married," Hermione told her mother, sitting in a cafe with her and Samantha.
Jean's eyes widened, nearly choking on her tea. "Let me see it!" she practically shrieked, diving for Hermione's hand.
Hermione held her left hand up so that her mother could see the engagement ring. "That's gorgeous! Severus must do quite well for himself."
Hermione shrugged. "Family money," she brushed off. "That's not why I'm marrying him."
Jean's eyes softened, looking ashamed. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean -"
Hermione shook her head. "It's okay." Even after almost two years of meeting with her mother so that she could visit her granddaughter, Hermione still hadn't gotten the hang of small-talk.
"When is the wedding?" Jean asked, not wanting to flat-out ask if she was going to be invited.
"Christmas Eve," Hermione answered. "We'll be having the ceremony at Hogwarts, in the Great Hall.
Jean nodded, trying to hide her disappointment. It would be a magical ceremony then ... no room for 'muggles'.
Hermione took pity on her mother, letting her out of her misery sooner rather than later. "I've asked Minerva to allow you entrance to the castle so that you can be there for the ceremony."
Jean blinked rapidly, staring back at her daughter. "You're not joking?"
Hermione shook her head.
Samantha watched her grandmother's eyes begin to water, scrunching her nose in curiosity and confusion as the older woman fanned her face. "Oh, Hermione ... thank you so much."
"The invitation is only for you, though," Hermione clarified. "I don't want Paul there."
Samantha stiffened at the sound of his name being spoken, subconsciously remembering how much she disliked the man.
"That's ... that'll be fine," Jean assured her. She reached across the table, taking Hermione's hand in her own. "I can't believe my little girl is getting married." ~
Jean wore a simple, brown dress that came down just below her knees, smiling brightly at her daughter. "You look wonderful."
Hermione smiled back at her. "Thanks."
Molly walked forward, wrapping her arms around the bride. She was content to be pleasant to Mrs. Granger during the ceremony, but she would rather not spend a second longer with her than was necessary. "Are you happy?" Molly asked her seriously, looking into her warm, brown eyes.
Hermione gazed back into the face that had brought her such solace, warmth, security and compassion. She nodded her head, trying to force down the lump in her throat. "I am ... he makes me happy."
Molly smiled. "Then I wish you the best that marriage has to offer, and may you be blessed with many more of these beautiful creatures," Molly replied, patting her belly affectionately.
Hermione chuckled at that, thinking that the one growing in her belly was quite enough for now. "Thank you ... for everything."
Molly nodded, clearing her throat. "We should be getting to our seats."
Before she could leave, Hermione placed a hand on her arm, pulling her gently towards her. She wrapped her arms around the older woman, trying to pour all of her gratefulness and sincerity into the motion. With a soft voice, she whispered in the older woman's ear, "I love you, Mum."
Molly Weasley choked back a sob at that, squeezing Hermione tightly before pulling back, not wanting to wrinkle her robes. "I love you too, dear," she said back, attempting to control her tears of joy. She turned back towards the doorway. "Come, Jean, we should get to our seats."
Finally, Hermione and Arthur were alone.
"Getting to be that time," Arthur commented.
Hermione dipped her head, walking over to him and kissing him on the cheek. "Thank you for doing this," she told him.
"I wouldn't have it any other way," he replied with a brilliant smile, offering her his arm.
~ Hermione approached the Weasleys as they were cleaning up the table after Thanksgiving Feast.
"You don't need to help out, Hermione, dear. We've got everything in hand," Molly told her, glancing over her shoulder as she set the pots about cleaning themselves.
"Actually I was hoping I could talk to Arthur about something," Hermione stated.
"What is it, dear?" Arthur wondered, walking over to her. Molly followed suit, flicking her wand towards the dishes to send them into the sink. "Is it Samantha?"
Hermione shook her head. "No, it's nothing bad. I wanted to ask you a ... favor."
Their expressions relaxed almost immediately, and Molly motioned for them all to sit at the table. "What's on your mind, dear?" the older woman wondered.
Hermione pursed her lips, wondering where to begin. "You both have a been a godsend to myself and Samantha. You took me in when my own family wouldn't ... gave me a home, made me a part of your family. You made me feel loved, and treated me as though I were your own daughter ..." Hermione faltered briefly, drawing in a breath to contain herself so that she wouldn't start to tear up. She turned her eyes to the man she so admired, grateful for his bright, beaming face. "Arthur, you've been more of a father than I ever could have hoped for, so I was wondering if you would ... if you would do me the honor of giving me away at my wedding?"
Molly put a hand to her heart at that, looking at Hermione adoringly.
Arthur beamed with pride, responding to Hermione, "Are you certain?"
Hermione nodded her head vigorously. "Absolutely."
"Then it would be my honor," Arthur told her, settling a warm hand over hers on the table. ~
They approached the doors to the Great Hall, coming to a stop several feet behind Fleur. At Arthur's nod, the doors were charmed open. Samantha and Lily walked through first, scattering rose petals all over the long, silver aisle. Once they made it halfway up the aisle, Ginny gave young Daniel a pat to send him on his way. The small, red-haired boy walked proudly up the long aisle, holding the little ring pillow in his hands in front of him. Once they all made it to the front, Molly retrieved them from the aisle and got them into their seats. Next, Ginny began walking up the aisle, her red dress a stark contrast against the silver strip of carpet she was walking on. Fleur followed shortly after her, joining Ginny across from Remus, the Best Man, and Harry.
"Ready, my dear?" Arthur asked Hermione.
She nodded her head softly, and the two began their slow march up the aisle.
Everyone stood from their seats as the bride and her escort came through the doors, several reporters and photographers snapping photos. Hermione smiled at each person as she passed, noting their looks of excitement, awe, and even a little envy.
Her eyes fell on Severus when they drew nearer to the alter, and she found herself unable to look away.
His hands were folded respectfully in front of him, his stance appearing that of someone who was poised and professional. But, if you dared to look up into his face - his hair pulled back into a neat braid so his face could be seen - you would see the lips of a man who was in awe, the eyebrows of a man who very much liked what he was looking at, and the eyes on a man who was in love.
Ginny had been right ... Severus couldn't the emotion on his face, not today.
They passed acquaintances, students, friends and colleagues, ghosts and house elves, and finally family, each one smiling at her in turn. Once they reached the point where Arthur were place her hand in Severus's, Hermione stopped and turned to face him. "Thank you, Arthur."
"Be well, Hermione," he replied, unable to say much more. He carefully lifted the veil over her head, revealing her beautiful, smiling face. Turning to Severus, he brought Hermione's hand up and placed it gently into Severus's palm. "Treat her well."
Severus nodded. "I will."
Hermione smiled at them both, clutching Severus's hand as she walked the last few steps up to the alter. Arthur took his seat next to his wife, everyone else following his lead and sitting down.
Minerva stood in front of them, having happily agreed to perform the ceremony for them. "We are here to celebrate the union of two very special people ..." the older woman began.
Hermione looked over at Severus while Minerva spoke, thinking of everything that had led them to this day.
~ "Hello, Severus. My name is Samantha," she told him, holding her arm out for him to shake.
Snape flicked his eyes to Hermione's, almost seeming to ask permission, and when she shrugged, he reached down and grasped the tiny hand in his calloused, much bigger one."
Finally, she was ready for bed, and she hurried over to give Snape a goodnight hug.
He crouched down, patting her back awkwardly while she hugged him and then gave him a kiss on the nose. Hermione bit her lip and fought the urge to laugh at the shocked look on his face, and put Samantha to bed.
"I like him, Mummy," Samantha told her as she tucked her in."
"So, you're the only one allowed to stick his nose in other people's business? That's hardly fair. I'm sure Minerva wouldn't condone you sneaking into my rooms, hiding in my bedroom while I changed. Perhaps I'll just ask her."
"You play dirty, Miss Granger," he informed her, then walked around her, taking a seat.
Hermione smiled as she resumed her seat, missing the amused grin on Minerva's face.
For the first time, Hermione noticed just how close she'd come to him. She could feel his both breath on her skin, wondered how she'd never noticed before just how tall he really was. She could feel her body covering itself with goose bumps, and a slight shiver coursed through her. "Um, sorry about that," she said sheepishly, but couldn't make herself move.
He tilted his head a fraction of an inch, almost whispering, "It's understandable. Just don't let it happen again.
She nodded slowly, her eyes moving of their own accord to trace the defined features of his face, from his nose which Ron used to mock ruthlessly, to the soft curve of his lips.
"You know, if you weren't so glum all the time, you'd be a lot more attractive," she informed him with a hiccup.
He raised his eyebrows at that. "Is that so?"
Hermione nodded matter-of-factly. "Although, I suppose half of your thrall comes from your sour disposition."
He almost snickered. "I have a thrall now, do I?"
She tripped over her feet, nearly landing face first, but he managed to catch her and pull her back, standing her upright.
Snape worked very hard not to choke on the food in his mouth. It wasn't easy, but he managed it. "Excuse me?" he wondered, after he swallowed.
"Are you married? Uncle Remus is married to Auntie Tonks, Uncle Harry is married to Auntie Ginny, Uncle Bill is married to Auntie Fleur, Uncle Arthur is married to Auntie Molly ... but my mommy isn't married, and I don't know if you are."
Hermione was flabbergasted. "I can't believe that actually worked." She glanced over at Snape, waiting for him to share in her disbelief, but he wasn't looking at her in confusion or surprise. He looked ... transfixed. She found herself caught in his gaze, and couldn't bring herself to look away as his eyes seemed to penetrate into her very soul. Her body seemed to heat up despite the cool temperature around them, and she felt tingles moving up her neck until Samantha patted her knee.
"Mommy, he's going away, let's sing another song!" she exclaimed.
Hermione finally had her breathing completely under control, and felt a sense of calm after committing to going after the men who'd attacked her. Along with the calm, she suddenly became aware of the sensations all over her body. The first being that her knees were getting sore. His carpet was nice to the touch, but too thin. The next thing she noticed was that her fingers were locked around his hand, and that his fingers had bent to cover hers. Third, she noticed that his calloused - but not unpleasant to the touch - hand was still holding her chin softly. Finally, she realized that for some strange reason, she had yet to move away from his touch.
Her eyes locked onto his as her breath hitched in her throat, and she felt her skin growing hot. All of a sudden, she had too much saliva in her mouth, and the resulting swallow felt too much like a gulp. She felt like she did when he'd pulled her out of the hall and into an empty classroom, and she'd gotten into his face while ranting about her mother. She felt like she had when he brought her home after going out for drinks, and she'd hit him for looking at her memories without permission ... when she'd pushed herself up on her tip-toes so she could reach his ...
Samantha slid off Ron's shoulders, jumping down the last little bit so she could run and play with the toys. She waved at the squid playing in the water and ran to the back of the room to pick up a toy, then went over to the pool to give the toy to the squid. From there, she ran to the corner with the long, stuffed snake and picked it up, tucking the "neck" under her arm so she could pat the head while she walked, dragging the rest behind her. She circled around the giant music box a couple of times, smiling up at the two figures dancing happily to the music. Oblivious to the stares of the two adults in the room, Samantha climbed up on the music box and swayed back and forth with the large figurines, draping the snake over their arms and trying to wrap her hands around their arms so she could dance with them.
"He was always so dour when I was in school. But he's completely different around Samantha. It's nice."
Her mother smiled at her daughter's innocent. "I was referring to the 'something' being you and him. I didn't know there was something there."
Hermione whipped her head back to look at her mother. "What! No," she whispered. "He's just a friend ... a colleague."
Jean Granger nodded her head in false belief. "Sure. That's why he's spending the evening with you and your daughter instead of doing something else for the holiday."
Hermione blushed just as Snape looked back over at them, and she felt her heart jump slightly."
Before she could answer, something bumped into Snape's legs, bending his knees forward and forcing him to step forwards to compensate and not fall over. His arms shot out to prevent himself from landing on Hermione, and he ended up boxing her in, pressing her back against the fireplace. Crookshanks wandered out of the room after bumping into Snape, leaving the two standing against each other, their eyes locked and their breathing halted.
Hermione's right hand shot up of its own accord, gripping Snape's arm from the outside as she looked up at him. she didn't know what to say, and the first thing that came to her mind blurted out of her mouth. "I'm sorry if you don't want me to call you Severus."
Snape blinked, looking down at her as though seeing her for the first time. "It's quite alright, Miss Granger," he stated smoothly.
Feeling a little braver, Hermione spoke, "Call me Hermione." Her heart was pounding an uneven beat as he tilted his head, looking at her curiously.
"Very well," he replied softly. "Hermione."
Hermione's tongue darted out to wet her lips and his eyes glued themselves to her mouth as he watched the action.
After a moment's hesitation, Hermione raised her hand to his face, cupping his stubbled cheek and making him look at her. "I've grown a little fond of you myself," she added. "And I'm no child."
Snape shook his head to the side a little, but Hermione left her hand in place. "If you knew what you were saying -"
Hermione moved so that she was standing on the bottom step of the Astronomy Tower, standing beside him and at his eye level. "I know what I'm saying," she told him. "And I know what I'm doing." Before he could react, she pressed her lips against his, moving her hand slowly from his cheek to his neck and letting her fingers run through the bottom of his hair.
Hermione chuckled, wiping her eyes on the back of her free hand. "Look, I don't think either of us knows where this is going, and I'm not suggesting we get married or anything, but we could try -"
She didn't get to finish. Her vision clouded with wisps of black hair and pale skin before she realized that he was kissing her, and she pressed herself up on her toes, leaning into him and pressing her right hand against his chest while the other wandered its way up his shoulder and onto his neck. It was a brief but powerful kiss, leaving Hermione a little dazed when he pulled away.
"It's too much," Severus announced.
Hermione shook her head, gripping the material of his vest against his waist and leaning against him. "It's beautiful ..."
He let her rest against him, taking the necklace out of the box and placing the packaging on the table. He flicked open the locket, showing an enchanted center which held visages of her and Samantha, and then the pictures would fade to reveal a serpent on one half of the locket, and a lion on the other.
Hermione smiled, asking him to help her put it on. She held her hair out of the way, shivering as his fingers brushed against her skin while he worked the clasp.
"I've been having dinner with Severus Snape for a couple of months now."
Harry nodded, his face not portraying any negative emotion. "Okay."
Hermione stared at him. "Okay?"
Harry shrugged. "Would you rather I scream at the top of my lungs what a horrible mistake I think you're making?"
She shook her head.
Harry smiled, glancing at his wife. "Good, 'cause I'm not going to."
"He's changed you, too."
Hermione replied, "I don't know what you mean."
Molly smiled, patting Hermione's hand. "Oh, dear ... don't you realize. You're falling in love with him."
Minerva placed a hand on Hermione's arm. "What happened with you two?"
Hermione felt odd talking about this with her old teacher, but she answered the question. "He got freaked out," she said honestly. "I mean, I can't blame him. Me and Samantha are a pretty big package deal, I wouldn't expect him to want to take that on."
"Don't tell me you're giving up?" Minerva asked.
"Minerva said you'd talked to her about it before, and you approved me then," Hermione reminded him. "She said that your verbal 'okay' was all the consent she needed. I guess that means you're stuck with me."
Severus looked from her to the paper, and back again. "Why are you doing this?"
Hermione gave him the academic reason, skipping right over the other one. "Because you were right when you said that I could do so much more than teach Muggle Studies. While I don't plan on giving up that position, I've decided to make a proactive move, and further my education."
Hermione glanced at his remaining shirt. It was similar to a muggle t-shirt, and since it had no buttons, Hermione knew she couldn't remove it without causing him more pain. Unless she used magic. Hermione pulled her want out once more, pointing it at his shirt. His eyes were wary, and Hermione willed herself to be accurate, and not remove ALL of his clothing. "Divesto," she whispered, and a second later his shirt was gone.
She was pleased to note that she'd only removed what she'd intended, but the rest of her was frozen at the sight of his bare chest. She'd seen his arms before, but never anything like this. Hermione had to bite back a gasp, taking in the mixture of muscles and scars. There were many of both.
Severus cleared his throat, breaking Hermione out of her trance.
"It's been my experience that when a 'love' potion doesn't affect two people, it's because, well ... they're already 'in love'."
Hermione blinked, feeling her body sag and her eyes glaze over.
"Your 'staying away' is what's hurting her, you insufferable, stubborn arse!" she announced furiously. Another slap echoed against his face, as her anger and frustration spurred her on. Hermione wasn't sure how many more hits he would endure before he reacted. "For someone so brilliant, you can be incredibly daft sometimes. I don't want you to climb atop the highest tower and scream your love for us at the top of your lungs! I don't even need you to say it! I just need you to stop pulling away from us for caring about you."
Still he said nothing, just stared down at her.
Hermione nearly snarled in frustration, smacking his sturdy chest with her now fisted hands. 'Just say something, dammit!"
Severus allowed her to pound on him for a short while before he stopped her, his hands coming up to grab her wrists.
Once he was at eye-level, Samantha gripped his robes with one hand, clenching her tiny fist around the material tightly. "You did hurt me," she told him, sniffing once for emphasis. "You made me very sad."
Severus nodded apologetically, opening his mouth to voice his regrets, but she silenced him with her next words.
"But, since I love you too, I forgive you," she informed him. Not missing a beat, she leaned forward and pulled him closer at the same time, planting a soft kiss on his cheek.
"So, what should I ask?" he wondered aloud.
Hermione shrugged. "What do you want to know?"
The smallest traces of a grin could be seen on Severus's face, if you knew where to look. "Everything."
"I was wondering if you would like to accompany me to dinner this evening."
"Oh," Hermione muttered quietly. A small part of her mind was screaming, 'finally!'. "I'm free," she replied.
"I'd like you to show me to your bedroom, if you wouldn't mind." Hermione managed to speak, forcing away the blush that crept up her delicate neck.
"Are you sure," he asked her.
Hermione pursed her lips together, knowing what walking into that room would entail. After a moment, she nodded her head purposefully. She pushed her body away from the door, bringing her hands away from his chest and grabbing his left hand with her right.
Repeating her own words, Severus brought a finger to her chin and made her look at him. "Don't hide yourself from me, Hermione."
She pursed her lips, her fingers digging softly into the blanket clutched to her chest. Hermione blinked a couple of times, looking down at the blanket as she steadied her breathing.
Severus brought his hand up to the blanket, curving his fingers over hers.
Without closing his own eyes, Severus lowered his mouth to hers, kissing her softly on her parted lips and stealing the breath from her. "I learned to know you as a mother, a colleague, a friend, a partner ... and now, a lover."
Hermione moved her hands to his back, her muscles tensing as the friction, and purely glorious feeling of him within her, stirred a heat within her that she'd never known.
"Life has given us both scars that we would rather hide, or wish away. But right here, right now ... I wouldn't have you any other way. To me ... you are perfection."
"I would quite enjoy spending the rest of my life doing this with you, my clever little witch," he spoke in a silky drawl before stealing a kiss from her lips.
A smile had formed on Hermione's lips before the kiss was through, her happiness seeping off of her in waves. ~
When she'd come back to Hogwarts, she'd never expected to find the love of her life, become a Potions Mistress, get married, and have another baby on the way. If someone had told her that would be the result of Minerva's owl, she would have labeled them as certifiable and shipped them off to St. Mungo's.
Now, she couldn't imagine her life without him.
Hermione squeezed Severus's hand gently, pulling herself away from her thoughts and enjoying the wondrous moment.
When Minerva asked the perfunctory, "If anyone can show just cause for why these two should not be united here today, speak now or forever hold your peace," Hermione half-expected Ron to run into the Great Hall like a madman, desperate to stop the affair.
He didn't come, though. Hermione hadn't spoken to him in years, he'd become estranged from his family after his behavior at Christmas. The last Hermione heard, he'd been dismissed from the Chudley Cannons for showing up drunk and/or hung-over one too many times.
She rid all thoughts of Ronald Weasley from her mind, focusing instead on the silence resounding in the Great Hall. Hermione smiled at Severus, knowing that everyone in that room - they included - wanted this wedding to happen.
With a smile, Minerva continued, calling for the rings.
"Come on, Samantha, it's nearly your bedtime," Hermione reminded her daughter, attempting to get her to go to bed so she could have some alone time with her husband.
Husband, Hermione thought with a smile. I could get used to that.
"But, Daddy promised me a dance," Samantha complained, slipping off her dress shoes. "I'll go to bed after that."
Hermione turned to glance at her husband, who was pulling his wedding robes off to reveal a dark shirt and vest, and matching dark pants. "Well, you did promise," Hermione stated. With a grin, she summoned an old music player she'd found in his private library a couple years ago. Flicking her wand, Hermione set it about playing a soft, pleasant tune.
Samantha held her hands out to Severus expectantly, grinning widely.
Severus sighed in defeat, walking over towards his - now official - daughter. Scooping her up, he began to move around the room in a slow motion, silently hoping that the rocking motion would put her to sleep.
Hermione pulled off her tiara and veil, unhooking the top layer of her dress and setting all the items on the chair in her and Severus's living room. Walking back over to the dancing pair in the middle, Hermione was suddenly struck with one last trip down memory lane.
~ When the door opened, Hermione expected everything to be as it had been before, but she didn't take into account that their circumstances had changed since they had last been in the room.
There were still an extraordinary amount of toys for her daughter to play with, and the miniature giant squid had reappeared, but the giant music box in the middle of the room had changed. Instead of it having the man and woman dancing together on the turning floor, there was a third character on the box ... a little girl who was smiling happily as she danced with the tall, dark-haired man - who suddenly had a face, and looked remarkably like Severus - and the woman who looked too much like Hermione had one hand on the man's shoulder while the other held her swollen belly. ~
Hermione's breath caught in her throat, looking at the two of them with wonder and happiness. The first thought that struck her mind, as she brought her hand up to Severus's shoulder and squeezed gently, was that Samantha had finally gotten her perfect dream come true. The second thought that quickly followed that one, was that she had, too.
Looking around the rooms that she and Samantha had moved into, thinking of the family that they had finally become, Hermione Granger-Snape knew that she was finally home.
Wow ... I can't believe it's over. I'm actually kind of sad. Can't wait to get started on the sequel. Once again, thanks for all the amazing review so far!
Well, what did you guys think of this one? Like it, hate it?
It's definitely longer than I intended it to be, but hopefully it worked out.
Reviews are appreciated, flame if you must, but constructive criticism is much more useful.
Until next time ...!