The usual disclaimers apply. Don't own any of the characters you might recognise (though Ophelia is mine!) and don't make money with this!
She was excited and as soon as the sleep was rubbed from her eyes, nothing, absolutely nothing could hold her in bed. She knew that Daddy was alone in bed. Hermione had left the night before and had said she would return in the morning.
Some days ago, she had just skipped into Daddy's bedroom and she had been there, too. And Daddy had looked weird and both him and Hermione had not worn any clothes! That was just weird. And they were probably cold, too. And Daddy had told her to go and get dressed.
So, frankly, she was happy that on that morning, she was alone with Daddy.
Oh, Christmas was wonderful! Christmas was lovely, even though Daddy had been a little grumpy when she had decorated the tree with Mary. But the tree was wonderful and it smelled really good, too! Especially when Daddy had lit the candles with his wand the night before and she had snuggled up to him, while Hermione had sat on his other side, snuggling a little with him too. It was so cute to see Daddy when his ears turned a little pink.
They did that a lot, honestly, when Hermione was around. And Ophelia didn't mind. As long as she didn't see them naked sleeping again. Because in the mornings, she wanted to cuddle with Daddy. And she couldn't do that when he was completely naked with Hermione.
But yes, she picked up Skippy real quick and skidded into the next room, the tortoise under her arm. She had the most wonderful present for Daddy. And she had only needed a bit of help from Mary. He would be so, so, so extra-happy about the new Potions journal she had had made for Daddy. His name was inscribed on the green, soft leather cover and Mary had told her to do something she had called, 'inscribe'. So she had. On the inside of the cover. She had kept it very simple. It just said:
I love you,
your little witch Ophelia.
She couldn't think of more. But it was really pretty and smelled good as well. And was now, wrapped (Mary had done it) under the tree.
She stopped just in front of his door and pushed it open. And grinned. He was still sleeping. On his back, snoring. Carefully, she sat Skippy on the floor and on tiptoes, as quietly as she could, she moved to Daddy's bed and lifted his covers a little, and just slid in. It was Christmas, yes, and she was very, very excited, especially since he promised she would get a present again, but Mary had explained that Christmas was all about love and being with the people you loved. And she loved Daddy the most. That's why she wanted to hug him a bit. Because she loved her Daddy more than anything.
And that was why Hermione and Rosie and Hugo came over for a big lunch later with Hugo's grandparents and why Mary was there as well. Because, Rosie had explained, she had heard Daddy tell her Mummy that she loved her and she had, apparently, sniffled a little and had told Daddy that she loved him, too. Maybe, Mary had said something like that, they would all move in together soon. And Daddy would marry Hermione soon. She said it was quite clear.
But Ophelia knew one thing. Even if they were married, she would have to tell them not to sleep naked, because you got cold then and she needed her cuddle sometimes in the mornings. And she was sure that Hugo and Rose did too.
"Your feet are very cold, Ophelia," Daddy suddenly grumbled tiredly but at the same time, he pulled her closer and let her push her feet between his knees and locked them afterwards again, letting her warm her feet. He always did that. And she never wanted to miss this in her life. They could get married all they wanted but Daddy was her feet-warmer. And he would stay her feet-warmer.
She giggled though, and kissed his stubbly cheek quickly before she snuggled in his arms. "Daddy, it's Christmas today!"
He groaned, but nevertheless kissed the top of her head. "Yes."
"I have a present for you," she said just before he smushed her face in his sleep-t-shirt and silenced her.
But it was Christmas and she really wanted to see the look on Daddy's face and she knew just how to get him up. Wriggling her toes for the longest time while they were wedged between his knees. He truly, truly hated that.
"Ophelia, be a good little witch," he groaned. "And sleep a bit more."
"Nu-uh," she replied and wriggled her toes a little more. "I'm not tired any more. And it's your own fault that you went to bed late."
She knew he had gone to bed late. Because he had heard Hermione take Rosie and Hugo from her bedroom when she had gone home. And that was really, really late. They should really get married. And move in. Or move together somewhere. As long as she was guaranteed her cuddling time.
But what she said – that made him open his eyes and he tried to glare at her. But it never worked. Never, and especially not early in the mornings. He was much to kind for that. To her anyway. And his glares never worked at her.
So, he saw it wasn't working and he groaned again, and sat upright, with her on his lap, suddenly and she grinned slyly and clung to his neck and wrapped her legs around his body, and so slowly, so very slowly, he got up and carried her with him.
Breakfast was all there, probably Mary had been up already but she had said that she needed some time alone. Probably had to do with her dead family. Daddy said that sometimes, she was still really sad not to have them any more. But breakfast was there and she knew that Daddy would make her eat before she could him unwrap his present. Even though she had only spent one Christmas with him, yes, she knew that he was very strict about those things. Eating always came first with Daddy. And he had gained some weight as well.
Maybe it was because he went out together with Hermione so often.
Sometimes, or rather often, she thought how nice it would be to have Hermione as another Mummy for her. But always in clothes, please. And not taking her feet-warmer from her. The place between Daddy's knees was solely for her little feet!
"Ophelia?" he asked after a while, when he had gulped down two cups of coffee and she had began to spoon her porridge and was drinking her milk.
"I have to ask you something before we you unwrap your presents."
She looked at him puzzled but nodded slowly. She could be very patient when she wanted to be and if Daddy said something like that, it had to be important. It just had to be.
He lifted his wand and there came a little, tiny, rectangular box sailed through the air. "Ophelia, I think I want to give this to Hermione for Christmas. Do you think she'll like it?"
She smiled at him and he opened the box for her. It had taken him a long time to find just the appropriate thing. And he had thought about it for a long, long, long, long time. But he wouldn't do anything without Ophelia being okay with it. Ophelia had to agree, otherwise he would not ask Hermione.
Would not ask her.
"It's very pretty," she said almost breathlessly (women were all the same even when they were girls when it came to jewellery, he discovered). "Real pretty, Daddy."
"Do you know what it is?" he asked, a frown on his brow. This was important. Mustn't screw it up now. Had to let Ophelia describe without pressuring her.
"It's a ring, Daddy," she replied and with a questioning glance, and after receiving a nod from him, she picked the ring, white gold, a solitaire in the middle, simple, elegant, up and looked at it more closely before she put it on her own finger. It was, of course, too large but she admired it and beamed at him. "It's beautiful."
"It's an engagement ring, little witch. Do you know what that means?"
She wrinkled her little forehead and after a moment, nodded slowly. "Does it mean you marry Hermione?"
He sighed. "I don't know if she'll say yes, but yes, that was the general idea. But I will only do it if you agree. If you don't want me to marry her, I won't."
Ophelia shook her head vehemently. "Don't be silly, Daddy. But..." she looked down at her food.
"But what?" he asked gently and put his finger underneath her chin and made her look up at him again.
"But, please tell her that in the mornings, I need sometimes a little cuddle and that I can't do it when you're naked and I want to warm my feet between your legs and that she is not allowed to laugh at me because of that and that I'm not a baby because I do it but because I have cold feet and that I don't want her to forbid me to put my feet between your knees," she said rapidly and looked down again. Against his finger.
And yes, it was amusing. Hermione and himself had been so embarrassed themselves when she had walked in that morning and they had decided on clothes. Or a locked door. They had only been happy, to be honest, that she had not caught them while being at it. Fifteen minutes earlier and – no, he didn't even want to think about it. And yet, Severus kept his face very straight and bent his head down to be able to look in her eyes. "I will tell her."
"Then please marry her," she said quietly. "I think she would be a neat Mummy."
He smiled and was by her side in a second, picked her up, hugged her, held her, careful of the ring she was still wearing on her finger, and kissed her.
A family. He would have a family. A complete family. Wife, children, mother figure, parents-in-law. Complete.
She smiled shyly up at her Daddy and she was, yes, very happy when he stared at the gift, traced the leather and his name on the cover with his finger and hugged her. Again! That was the third time that morning. Within probably half an hour. And it was wonderful because he had told her that he would ask Hermione to be his wife. Later. And her job was to make sure that neither Hugo's grandparents nor Mary, nor either of them, not Rosie, not Hugo, not herself, interrupted him when he did.
He said, he would take her down to the apothecary, though Ophelia didn't think it was very nice. But that was the way Daddy worked. He always acted so grumpily but then he said the nicest things and did the most amazing things.
Ophelia was sure Hermione would say yes. And she would get another Mummy and a brother and a sister and maybe, they'll even get a baby some time and she'd get more grandparents!
Daddy had said nothing for a long time. He had just looked at the journal and had looked at her unwrapping the most brilliant presents in the world – a cauldron, her first own cauldron, a new set of paints, new shoes with snakes on them and her first own quill! But the cauldron was the best and she had hauled it up on the small coffee table and had sat on Daddy's lap and touched it all the time. Just like Daddy was touching the Potions journal. And from time to time, she leant back against her Daddy and sighed happily.
And they still sat there, when there was a knock on the door, and Daddy suddenly jumped up with her in his arms and with a quick wave of his wand, they were both dressed.
It would be Hermione and Hugo and Rosie and their grandparents. And hopefully, Mary, too. She wanted to give all of them their presents as well!
To say that he was nervous was an understatement. He had received a wonderful present from Ophelia, an amazing Potions journal, both of Hermione's children had drawn something for him, he had received two books from Hermione's parents, a cookbook from Mary Kelly (he would strangle the woman) and Hermione had not given him anything yet. He supposed what he got was underneath that dress she was wearing. Something more private.
And it was time. It was time to give her her present. Yes, it wasn't very romantic. He had thought about the wining and dining thing. Taking her out and taking her out in a carriage with four white horses in front of it – but that just wasn't him. It just wasn't him.
The apothecary – where it had basically all started – that was him. And on Christmas, because, well, it just seemed the right time. Yes, yes, they hadn't been together for long but he was so sure. He had never been more sure of anything, probably. Every time, she looked at him, every time she blinked and her eyelashes batted against her skin, every time she spoke with him, and every time they made love, he knew. He just knew.
"Hermione?" he asked quietly and luckily, the children were playing with the tortoise, Hermione's parents and Mary were talking over a cup of coffee after that ridiculously delicious meal and she sat next to him on the couch, her hand in his.
"Hm?" she asked, looking at him, and smiling.
"I, erm," he suddenly felt even more nervous, "I have your present down in the shop," she said quickly and Hermione still smiled and suddenly Ophelia looked up and he winked (he had told her he would. And she would keep the other people with all her force up there) and she winked back and he put his hand on Hermione's back and guided her out of the flat. He knew they were all, by now, looking at them, but he didn't care.
He wanted to ask the woman he loved to marry him.
"Severus," she said gently on the stairs and stood still, turning around, flinging her arms around her neck and kissing him soundly.
"That's not your gift," he grumbled and touching her lip softly, he nodded towards the apothecary.
"Maybe it was mine," she winked but suddenly stood against the counter and waited with a smile on her face. His fingers trembled when he pulled the box from the folds of his robes.
"I'm not good with declaring my feelings, Hermione," he said and bit his lip for a moment, "I love you. And even telling you that is difficult, though I know with all my heart that I do."
"Severus?" she asked, and, her fingers were trembling as well, took the box from his hand and, slowly, opened it. Her eyes went huge and her mouth fell open and she stared alternately from him to the ring sitting beautifully in the box.
"Will you consent to being my wife?" he asked and he knew he sounded throaty but she didn't seem to fare any better. "Even though, before you answer that, my daughter has told me to tell you that she wants you as her new Mummy but only if you don't laugh at her because she still needs her cuddles in the morning and she wants me to tell you, that she wants her feet warmed between my knees and...."
She shook her head with a big smile on her face and tears brimming in her eyes. "I'll marry you, Severus. I'll let Ophelia warm her feet any time she wants and she can come cuddle with you whenever she wants. But I'll marry you."
He sighed happily and found his arms full of curly-head witch and held her tightly to him and kissed her, kissed her, kissed her. She would marry him. She would make his dream come true.
They came back up and she immediately knew that she had said yes. Hermione would be her new Mummy! And she looked so happy! And Daddy grinned so smugly.
Ophelia couldn't help herself. She squealed and jump up and over Skippy and into the arms of Daddy and leant over to kiss Hermione's cheek, then Daddy's cheek and she didn't mind that all the other people there stared at her as if she was insane. She could only squeal and laugh and kiss them because Daddy married Hermione. And Hermione would be her new Mummy and she would get siblings and that was just – wonderful. Wonderful!
She sighed happily and while Daddy held her on his arm, she hugged Hermione and Daddy at the same time and knew that she had a complete family now!
Sorry – sap for Christmas!
Happy Christmas, people! And for those of you not celebrating Christmas – Happy Holidays!
Don't forget about my two other stories – Innocence Lost, and my new HGSS: Dismantle the Sun!