The usual disclaimers apply.
Before we start the Epilogue: Some people did not understand the Emma Thompson reference. Now - if you go and watch Sense and Sensibility (which I would recommend you do!), there's Emma Thompson (amongst other - brilliant - actors and actresses (hint: Alan Rickman: hint). It's a minimal spoiler here (sorry!): A guy proposes to her - and she is so taken back by it that all she can do is making those kind of chocking noises (I think The Vicar of Dibley made fun of that as well...oh my - those are connections there - no, let's not go there...) to which I referred in the last chapter. I hope this cleared this up!
Now - onto the Epilogue:
"Severus! There's a letter from Ryan!", Hermione yelled down the stairs. The house was, no doubt, lovely (it had been expensive enough – up on Gianicolo - , but the echo from the stone stairs down to her significant other's lab was horrible.
"Excuse me?", he yelled back.
"A letter from your son!", she shouted again and within seconds, he was by her side.
"A letter? Already? School only started yesterday", he stated but pulled the parchment out of her hands and opened the seal eagerly.
Dear mum and dad,
"It's typical", he mumbled. "Always you first. If he get an O in Potions again, it'll not be due to you but to me."
"You gave him good genes", she winked and pushed him onto the love-seat, snuggling to him on his lap.
Hogwarts is beautiful as ever.
Severus harrumphed but said nothing. Of course Hogwarts was beautiful. Even though he hadn't seen in in about 15 years. Something like that anyway.
I don't know if Lillian's written you but my little sister got sorted into Slytherin as well!
"I honestly have no idea why both of them had to be Slytherin", Hermione complained.
"Jack's in Gryffindor. And Mattia is. Imagine that. Lucius Mal..."
"You promised never to speak that name again", she admonished. "It's Mattia Weasley. And every Weasley for the last twelve generations or so got sorted into Gryffindor."
"And why is my son friends with him?"
She looked up at him lovingly. "Your son?"
"Yours and mine. Our oldest son", he grinned. "But of course he had to end up in Gryffindor. Jack always was too brave for his own good."
She sighed dramatically. "Just because you always bought him brooms that were too advanced for his age."
"Can you shut up and keep on reading?"
I went to see Luca yesterday. He's almost as tall as Lillian already and he can't wait to go to Hogwarts. Uncle George said that he will be a Gryffindor but I don't want that. I don't want to drag myself all the way up to Gryffindor Tower just because I want to see my nephew. Did I tell you that people here already found it weird that I'm Luca's Uncle?
"I would have guessed so", Hermione shrugged. "Comes from having an older sister like that."
Severus shook his head. "It's still odd though. My eldest son in seventh year, my daughter in second year and my grandson a first year."
"And your eldest daughter, thanks to an ingenious potion by you, the Muggle Studies teacher", Hermione laughed. "But who said we were ever conventional?"
"Conventional? Us? Hermione, I'm not even alive", he chuckled. It was still a long standing joke between them – technically – Severus was still dead. Technically, only a few people knew about him. Minerva – the Headmistress, the children – Letitia, Jack, Ryan and Lillian, George – the son-in-law (grumblingly – the son-in-law) and no one else. To everyone else, he was the anti-social long-term boyfriend who had never dared to make Hermione his wife – the one who never took part in social gathering – the one who left his wife alone to bring them to Kings Cross (which wasn't true – he had been there every year – under a different disguise).
"You could change that, you know", she said softly. The same joke over and over again. They both knew that they never wanted to do that. It was perfect the way it was.
"I know. And Pomona is still Minister of Magic, so I really could", he sneered. "But I don't want to. Torrance's Potion's going well – you see my clients, I make the potions, I don't have to let people know I'm alive. It's all..."
"Perfect the way it is", she ended the sentence for him.
Anyway, the Headmistress already invited me for tea. I swear she gets dottier every year! But she tells me to let you know that she'd quite like to come see you sometime before Christmas and if you're available. I told her that she had to owl (or mail) you herself as I wouldn't know what your plans are.
"What are our plans without any children left at home?", Hermione asked with a cheeky grin.
"No plans. Just breathing freely for once", he bent down and kissed her earlobe before he spoke softly into it, "and making love in every room in the house."
She merely laughed and pulled the parchment back up again to continue reading.
I have Potions with Merridale next. He's a total bore, dad. I think I'll ask him if I can brew Felix Felicis just for fun. See what he makes of it.
"Your son the potion's prodigy."
"Your son", he whispered back.
Mum, dad, I miss you already. I miss home, it's so cold here in England. Couldn't you have sent us to school somewhere in Italy? No, I'm only joking. I know it's the best school for witches and wizards there is.
Oh, and did I tell you that I'm trying out for Quidditich? Dad, thanks again so much for the new Bolt. It's brilliant and accelerates like wow!
"Did you send him a broom?", Hermione asked, an eyebrow raised disapprovingly.
He shook his head, grinning slyly. "No, I gave it to him just before he left."
Mum, don't worry, please, I'll be careful! I'm going for Chaser anyway and that's not too dangerous.
"Not too dangerous? Not too dangerous? Is the boy insane?", she muttered under her breath but felt two strong arms holding her tighter.
"He's not. He just likes flying. Like his older brother..."
"And like his father", she shook her head.
Anyway, must dash but I'll write soon!
I love you mum and dad!
Severus was silent and looked at his almost-wife. She had misty eyes and when she noticed him seeing them, she quickly averted her eyes – then, as that didn't help, buried her face in his shirt.
"There, love", he whispered, "it's only a few months until Christmas and you'll have them all home again."
She nodded meekly. "But with Lillian gone as well..."
"I miss them too", he confessed. "But on the other hand", he began, carded his fingers through her hair and pressed his lips on top of her head quickly, "I'm glad to have you for myself for the first time since we met."
"Mh", she looked up, "you're right. There was always a child around."
He smiled lovingly. "Yes. And now I got you all for myself, my life, my love, I'll have my way with you."
Hermione Granger squeaked when her long-term boyfriend, partner, significant other, love of her life, picked her up and carried her up the stairs. That was the life, more or less, she had dreamed of. And she knew – that that he felt the same way.
That they were truly made for each other. Not more and not less. Just that. The two of them – their family. Together.