Chapter Seven - May 2, 2003
Hermione sat at her vanity as the hairdresser styled her hair. Eileen had spared no expense when it came to their wedding. She was anxious to become the newest member of the Snape family, but knew she wouldn't be the newest for long. She placed a hand on her abdomen and could faintly detect the life growing inside of her. She smiled in remembrance at the way Severus had greeted her upon her return from her journey through time. He had fallen upon her like he hadn't seen her for years, when in reality less than a day had passed. That night, he had finally asked her to marry him and she had agreed.
She felt a hand on her shoulder and looked to see Eileen standing behind her. She smiled at the expression on her future mother-in-law's face as she could feel the life growing inside of Hermione. Both witches magic had been entwined ever since Hermione had cured Eileen's cancer all those years ago. Eileen met her gaze and asked, "Does he know yet?"
Hermione smiled at her and said, "I was going to tell him after the ceremony. He would be all out of sorts and I have to have him in my clutches just in case he decides to bolt."
Eileen laughed. "I don't think you have to worry about that. He's been waiting for this day since before you were born."
"Alright, Hermione, it's time to push."
Hermione growled at the midwife standing in position to catch her child. Part of her wished she hadn't lied to Severus, but this was her first delivery and she was scared. She stared up at the ceiling and tried to make a pattern in the cracks as she tried to gather her strength to push. To her right she could hear her husband laughing at her under his breath. She looked at him and said, "If you want sex ever again, you will quit laughing now."
Severus smiled at her and gripped her hand to help her get into position. "I'm not laughing at you, love. I'm so excited to see our child that I can't contain it." He kissed her forehead and said, "Let's bring our child into the world, love."
After two hours of pushing, Rachel Eileen Snape finally joined her parents. Hermione was tired and sweaty as she checked her daughter over to see if she had all of her fingers and toes. She looked up at Severus and said, "She's perfect, Severus. Absolutely perfect."
Severus picked up his daughter and was awed that this beautiful creature was part him. He lowered his voice and began telling her about all the trouble those Longbottom boys would try to get her into and to stay away from them at all costs.
Hermione just laughed.
"Miss Granger, I seem to be in need of your assistance."
Hermione stood from where she was sitting. She had become Professor Snape's assistant when he had been released from the hospital all those years ago. When he expressed a desire to get away from the school and open an apothecary, Hermione had joined him. When Ron expressed a disbelief in her chosen profession, she broke off their tentative relationship and told him to mind his own business. After Ron had gotten back with Lavender, his relationship with Hermione returned to the easy-going friendship it had been before the kiss.
As she went back to where Severus was gathering ingredients for a potion, she tried to figure out why he allowed her to become his friend. In the beginning stages of his recovery, she had bullied him into getting better, forcing potions down his throat when he wouldn't let Poppy near him, and listened when he lost his temper with the process. He had given her access to his stores when he found out that he would have difficulties reaching things when he would be confined to a wheelchair. Now, nearly four years since he had ditched the wheelchair, he still had her around to help him.
She entered the storeroom and saw Severus playing with a sheet of paper. It was yellowed with time and had permanent creases across the surface. He motioned for her to stand in front of him. As she did so, he cleared his throat and seemed to be searching for the right things to say. He kept his eyes on the paper as he quietly began to speak. "I have admired you for quite some time, Hermione, but I wanted you to grow up a little before I asked you this question."
Hermione closed the distance between them. She touched his hand and said, "No matter what my answer is, you will always be my friend, Severus."
He shifted his gaze to their hands and let out the breath he had been holding. "Would you let me court you?"
He had said it so quietly that it took Hermione a moment before she was able to process what it was he had said. She kissed his hand and answered, "I would be honored." She gazed up into his face and saw hope shining in his eyes. She brushed her lips softly against his to seal their agreement.
As Severus reached for her, the paper slipped out of his hands and landed on the floor. Forgotten until much later, its message of hope had stayed with Severus throughout the years he had been alone.
I had never realized how deep my love was for him until he had died. If he had lived, he would have known how loved he was. I gave myself six days to change his life, only to have mine changed in return.
AN: This is the end. I enjoyed writing this and I hoped you enjoyed reading it.