Ladies, and Gentlemen, the Captain asks you to stay in your seats until the plane has come to a complete stop. Use caution when opening the overhead compartments, as some luggage may have gone crazy during flight. We want you to know that neither the Captain, nor myself made any money off of this flight.
Four Years Later…
Severus Snape sat out on the front porch of his house enjoying the afternoon sun and the potions journal in his lap. It was late Autumn, milder in these parts, but chilly enough to cast warming charms every so often. He was rereading his wife's latest article in Ars Alchemica, not that he hadn't been there each and every step of the way as she wrote it, but seeing her work in print never got old. Nor did scribbling notes in the margins to annoy her when she found them later. He stretched out a long leg and crossed it over the other, checking the shine on his dragon hide boot as he did so. A gentle breeze blew a strand of lank, black hair into his face, and it caught on his large, sharp nose. He lifted an elegant hand and pulled it away.
Beside him, in a much smaller chair, Thaddeus Snape sat reading the magical pop-up book about clowns that had been given to him recently by his godfather, Draco. The boy stretched out a short leg and crossed it over the other, checking the shine on his little dragon hide boots and straightening the little black buttons at his trouser cuff. Another gentle breeze blew his long, lank, ginger hair into his face and it tickled his tiny freckled nose. He raised his incredibly pale hand up and pulled it out of his way. He turned and looked at his father with coal-black eyes.
"Ces clowns sont incroyablement idiots, Papa"
"Oui, je l'ai toujours pensé aussi", came the reply.
"Ne le dis pas à parrain mais il doit penser que je suis stupide."
"Draco doesn't think you are stupid, Thaddeus. He just wants you to have everything, and when he was a child he liked clowns."
"He must have been a very strange child, Papa."
"You have no idea," Snape replied. "Your Uncle Ron will be here soon to take you to the bonfire. You know what to do."
Snape watched out of the corner of his eye as his son carefully closed his book and shut his eyes. After a few moments the boy's hair started to turn black and lengthened down to his shoulders. Snape smirked as the freckles disappeared, and his nose started to grow into a smaller, yet still prodigious copy of his own. He turned and gave his father a questioning look, his eyes dancing with mischief. Snape gave him a proud nod.
There was a shout from up the slope. Ron had appeared and beside him his youngest son jumped up and down and waved.
"Reynaldo!" Thaddeus shouted as he jumped up and ran to his brother. There had been a bit of debate on just how to term the two boys, but they had decided the issue themselves. They were brothers as far as they were concerned. If anyone doubted, well, they both had the ability to make themselves look identical on demand. Snape smirked again as he saw Reynaldo's wheat-blonde hair start to turn black and heard Weasley's exaggerated groan.
Snape stood up, and with a wave to Weasley, went inside where he found Hugo and Rose. They had never returned to Hogwarts, preferring to continue their education under private tutors. Hugo had grown into a tall, handsome boy who looked to be serious about a future in Potions. Rose was quite a beauty, even if she'd only recently realized that fact. She had taken a few days off from her training to be an Auror with her Uncle Harry.
"Severus! Think fast!" He barely turned his head as he plucked the thrown knife out of the air.
"Not in the house, young lady. You've been told that too many times. Your father is here. Gather your things." Snape reached down and picked up the small suitcase he had packed that morning for his son. "Hugo, do you have the shopping list?"
"What list? How hard is it to remember Jammie Dodgers and tea?"
"Obviously it is a little more difficult to remember books."
"Oh! I'm sorry, I forgot you wanted the Cat in the Hat books!"
"Not just the--"
"Right, all of them by Seuss. I won't forget. Again, that is."
"Thank you. And Rose, did you remember to remove the pastries from your sock drawer before you mother finds them this time?"
"Damn!" She raced out of the room just as Ron appeared in the doorway with the smaller boys. Hugo let out a guffaw at the sight of the two mini-Snapes. Thaddeus was a perfect copy, but Reynaldo was still too cute to call a success.
"You did this to drive me nuts, didn't you Snape? Admit it. You actually do have a sense of humor!"
Snape handed him the boy's overnight bag. "Practical jokes can hardly be blamed on my genes, Weasley. How is Miss Brown?"
"She's lovely, thanks. We've been thinking of making it all official next spring sometime."
"You said that last year, pardon me if I don't hold my breath for the invitation," Snape said, as he leaned down and changed the parting in Reynaldo's hair with a quick flick of his fingers. He gave the boy a pleased nod and watched as the two metamorphmagi danced around in excitement. "I read that your team is doing well this season. That must make you happy."
"Yeah, I think Braddock is going to keep his clean sheet next week. He's been training hard, but he's on his own until after the Christmas break. Estella agreed to let me keep Rey that long." An unspoken understanding passed between the two men. Estella had a new man and seemed to have lost interest in her son. Weasley was planning on going for primary custody. Draco had been tailing her and keeping records of her increasingly scandalous behavior. It had taken time to build up a case and the odds still didn't look in their favor because of the circumstances involved in Reynaldo's conception. If he could get the woman to agree to relinquish primary custody on her own, it would be a lot easier on the boy.
He nodded to Ron in understanding and then turned to Hugo and Rose, who had returned from her impromptu house cleaning and was hugging her father while brushing crumbs from her mouth. "Behave yourselves. Watch your brother, and don't come back until tomorrow afternoon on pain of death." Hugo took the suitcase from his dad and shrank it down and stuffed it in his robes.
Thaddeus broke away and ran over and threw his arms around his father's legs.
"Je t'aime, Papa." Snape leaned down and kissed the top of his son's head.
"Je t'aime aussi, Thaddeus. J'aime ton nez. Gardes-le jusqu'à demain." Hugo snorted and Rose let out a giggle.
"What did he just tell him?" asked Ron. "He told him to keep that nose didn't he?" Thaddeus just gave Ron a blank look and then raised one eyebrow. Ron shuddered exaggeratedly and then scooped the boy up. "Come on, you. Let's go creep out your Uncle George." He scooped up his son Reynaldo with his other arm, and the boys squealed and giggled. "Can you make your skin a little sicklier? Sort of greenish? Oh, that's brilliant! What about you, Rey? Oh lovely. Now for nose hair. Can you fellas make it look like you have bug legs coming out of your nose? Oh, that's just perfect!"
Snape scowled after him, but leaned down as Rose pecked him on the cheek.
"You did ask for that, you know," she said with a laugh. "Have a nice weekend."
She scampered out the door and ran after her father. Hugo patted him sympathetically on the shoulder.
"Tell Mum congratulations, Severus," he said.
"I shall. Enjoy yourself, Hugo," Snape replied, squeezing his stepson on the shoulder. He watched them until they were all inside the mansion where they would Floo back to England and partake in the silly Guy Fawkes nonsense that had indeed turned into a Weasley tradition. Sans deadly Quidditch games.
Snape closed the door and headed to the kitchen.
"What can Winky do for the sir?"
"Do you have everything you need for the dinner I asked for?"
"Oh, yes sir! Winky has all the special foods you asked for, and the wine is already open like you asked."
"Thank you," he said. He turned back and headed to the bedroom, closing the children's doors along the way. He plumped pillows and lit candles, showered and changed clothes quickly, and as he was brushing his teeth, he inspected his nose hairs.
Hermione had been gone overnight at a conference to present the latest joint effort between her and Chatwurth. She had also won the prestigious Jigger Award for Excellence in Healing Potions. They had been unaware of the award when Snape had declined to go. Chatwurth had figured out who Simon Shilling was, and although he had taken an oath of secrecy, he still tended to make Snape's life as irritating as possible. Whenever he saw him, he constantly pestered him with questions about his research. When she sent the message telling of her new honor, Snape had felt dreadful for not being there in her moment.
He was determined to make up for it tonight. It was an added bonus that Ron wanted to take all the children to the bonfire.
He tied a fresh cravat and dragged a comb through his hair before hurrying down the stairs while he slipped his arms into a fresh coat.
He saw her coming down the slope through the front windows and took a moment to admire her beauty anew. She was as trim and curvy as ever. But these days she had an extra glow about her as her career gained ever more prestige, and she was called upon to consult in more areas. She had a confidence and a graceful poise that always seemed to make him vibrate when he was around her. He still woke up at night in a panic that everything had been a delusion, and he was still in Azkaban or at Hogwarts. But she always woke up as well and pulled him into her arms, proving he really was this lucky finally.
He opened the door before she reached it and casually slouched against the frame. She saw him, and her face broke out into the sort of smile that filled him full of riches.
"Hugo says congratulations," he drawled lazily.
"I know. I caught them at the floo. And Draco as well. It seems he's going this year."
"That's no surprise."
"Then you've seen the looks Rose has been giving him lately?"
"No, I saw the looks he's been giving her for the last year."
"How do you feel about that?"
"What do you want me to feel about that?"
"Happy, I think."
"It will be hard for her," he said. "As it was for you. Draco could compromise her career as an Auror."
"Ron thinks she will pursue Defense anyway. She seems to prefer theory to stake-outs."
"She is a blend of both of you. That would not be a surprise either."
She smiled and then gave him a once over.
"You look dreadfully handsome. Are you going to let me in?"
"That depends. Are you going to kiss me hello?"
She giggled and lifted up on her toes and kissed him. The pleasure rolled through them both, and without any children around, they let it build. He pulled her into his arms and stepped back into the house, kicking the door closed before pressing her against it. Her hands tangled in his still damp hair, and he let slip the slightest moan.
"I missed you, witch," he said against her lips.
"Not as much as I missed you," she whispered back.
He kissed her with abandon and when she let out a deep, throaty moan, he lost his restraint and started to drag her skirts up her legs. She reciprocated by untying his cravat and tearing at his buttons until she had bared his chest to her satisfaction. When she latched onto one of his nipples with her mouth, he threw his head back and shuddered as he worked his hand into her knickers.
"Oh gods, woman. You're so wet for me."
"I need you, Severus. I've missed you so much."
He pulled her knickers down far enough that gravity did the rest, and then he started to unbutton the placket of his trousers while her greedy hands reached in and caressed him. He shifted his hold to her waist and lifted her up and pinned her against the door as she locked her legs around his waist. He kissed her deeply again and then positioned himself and drove inside. They both moaned at the sensation. He thought, as he had every time since the first time, that he might just die from the pleasure. In the end, it was quick, hard, and needy with little elegance and no grace. They ended up sprawled on the floor in the entryway with him looming over her and rhythmically driving their desire to something close to insanity. He opened his eyes and saw her half-lidded, amber gaze locked on his. He saw the love and lust in her eyes, and his control broke away. Her eyes fluttered closed in response, and he groaned and came deep inside of her as she moaned and cried out from her own climax. He collapsed on top of her, barely shifting enough to allow her to breathe.
"Why is it we hardly ever make it past doorways?" she asked breathlessly.
He rolled onto his back.
"Because you are a demanding, needy little thing, and it's my job to oblige you." He chuckled as she playfully swatted at him. "That, and the fact that with Thaddeus given to walking in on us at all hours of the night, we are usually incredibly desperate when we do get the chance."
She heartily concurred with that assessment.
"Which reminds me, did you put Thaddeus up to changing into you to drive Ron nuts? There's a vicious rumor going around that you have a sense of humor."
"No, I would never do any such thing."
Hermione pushed herself up onto one elbow. "Severus! You just lied to me!"
He pulled her down on top of his chest and kissed her. "Yes, but I knew you would be able to tell, so it doesn't count."
She scowled at him, but kissed his nose and shifted back to collect herself. Snape sat up and started to adjust his own clothing.
"Severus? How would you feel if I said I wanted another baby?"
He stopped what he was doing and looked at her solemnly. "I would say that I need another ten years before I could stand to see you in so much pain again."
Hermione bit her lip and looked down. "What would you say if I told you it was a moot point?"
"I would say I've been waiting a week for you to tell me."
"You have? You knew? When you didn't react, I thought it was the bond being slightly blocked again! Why didn't you say something?"
"It was the bond being slightly blocked again that let me know, love. I figured you had your reasons for waiting to tell me."
"I was just scared."
"I didn't plan it."
"Neither did I, Hermione. What has ever been planned with us besides potions?"
"Are you happy?" she asked timidly.
"More 'terrified in a pleasant way' than happy. Is it a boy or a girl?"
"Oh, good then. We needed more of those. Come. Dinner awaits." He scrambled up off the floor and helped her up. "As does the future, my love."
Thank you to all my wonderful readers. You make writing so much fun and so worthwhile! Thank you to all who reviewed, all who put the story on alert and all who marked it as a favorite. I am truly humbled. Special thank yous to all the ladies who helped bring this hectic, chaotic Soap Opera to you as flawlessly as they could: Hebe GB, Dressagegrrl, and also to Whitehound.
Thank you, for flying Angst Airways and have a nice day.