Eight years later... July 15, 2025...
"Hogwarts," Dinah smiled, tightening her grip on her husband's hand as they stood in the middle of the spacious grounds of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry on a bright, sunny day in mid-July. The grounds were quiet in the middle of the summer and the air was warm as a light breeze blew past them, ruffling their now-grey hair and sending rippling waves through the green grass, which flashed rows of silver as the blades bent and revealed their lighter-colored backs in the wind.
"Indeed," Severus agreed, turning to smile at her for a moment before his gaze drifted back out over the vast grounds, "How long has it been?"
"Quite a while," she admitted. "I'm glad we came now, when it's nice and quiet and we can just sort of… take everything in. Where should we go first?" she asked with a smile.
"Just wandering about is fine, in my opinion," he agreed, smiling back. "After all, it's what we used to do so often…"
"Indeed," she murmured, tugging on his hand a little as they began walking forward. It did not take long for their steps to guide them slowly in the direction of a little spot surrounded by trees, down from a gently sloping hill. They stopped and just stared down at the spot for awhile, and Dinah did not have to look at Severus to know he was still smiling.
She took a deep breath and stepped forward a little, inhaling the fresh summer air and taking in their surroundings. Smiling down at the little spot, she reaced out and ran her fingers over a shiny green leaf on a nearby tree as reminiscent memories flooded back to her, "It never changes, does it?" she asked softly. "No matter how many years go by."
"It does not," he agreed, "Which is probably much of the reason why Hogwarts is so precious to so many people."
"It is to us," Dinah smiled, plucking the single leaf and letting the breeze carry it from her hand, watching it's jewel-like green form as it tumbled in the wind, flying out across that little spot where she and Severus had gotten married so long ago, until she could no longer see where it went.
"Yes," her husband was saying beside her, "It is to us."
With a sigh of contentment, Dinah sat down on the hill overlooking the spot, folding her arms around her knees as Severus sat beside her, and for a while they just rested together, enjoying each other's company even without words, as the breeze caressed them and they just experienced being at Hogwarts again for the first time in so long. She nodded off into the distance after a while, looking out at the place beyond their old wedding site, "The other hill beyond… where Tommy finally came back to himself and everything came together so neatly… and you proposed."
He chuckled, "Did I 'propose' or did I make a vague comment about it being time to get married?"
"Both," she whispered, hugging her knees and smiling. "It was both."
"We've come a long way since then," Severus said, leaning back a little and resting his hands in the grass on either side of him, looking up into the blue sky for a moment before turning to her, "So much has happened, but I don't think either of us has a single regret."
"No. Never," she agreed, smiling, "But we have come such a long journey, haven't we? Look where we are now. Two beautiful children starting their own lives, family and friends…" she grinned, "You even finally came around and conceded to associate with Harry Potter and his group again. That's a tremendous achievement."
Severus smirked, "Yes, well, when the children began to marry it was inevitable. And now that we've had a chance to build our own life so perfectly, I have no problem including them in it again. And with Rose and Scorpius apparently poised to get married as well…"
Dinah had to laugh, "Yes, that relationship was a surprise. I still don't think Ron knows what to think about the whole thing. Though apparently he predicted it right from the beginning, though not on purpose. Hermione always finds that so amusing."
"Mm," Severus was still smirking. Even though he had started to associate with the group from time to time, he still wasn't quite as social with them as Dinah was, as per his normal nature. He actually still called them Granger and Weasley even though Hermione consistently pointed out that she should now be 'Weasley' too. But Severus was Severus.
"Tommy and Adara's wedding last year… now that was a phenomenon. The Blacks, the Lupins, the Potters, and the Weasleys, and the Smyths and Lympshams on Adara's side, and us and the Malfoys and the Speasys and our Muggle family and friends on his…" she shook her head, "Who would have imagined it would go as smoothly as it did? It was just wonderful, really."
"And such fuel for your idealistic mind," Severus teased, "But yes. It went surprisingly well. And the fact that Al and Lily and Scorpius were all in the wedding party," he shook his head, "Fascinating really. Though thankfully that Marauder kept well out of it."
Dinah giggled, "Well, Tom and James don't really mesh well, personality-wise."
"It's because our son takes after you so much," she said softly, inching over so that their bodies were pressed up against each other and leaning against her husband of twenty-six long, wonderful years. She smiled as his arms wrapped around her.
"And you as well, my idealist," he murmured, "Both of our children have taken our traits in the most interesting combinations, and have done such unique and extraordinary things with them."
"They have, haven't they?" she smiled. "It's nice to not have to worry about them… they're both so happy and so capable. And occasional association with larger groups of people has done nothing to upset our beautiful, quiet life in the least."
"I didn't really believe it would," Severus smiled. "Not after years with those infernal, ridiculous Blacks never managed to."
"You love Lucy and Sirius," Dinah laughed at her husband. "And Aunt Mildred too, of course."
He snorted, "Our Aunt Mildred never loses her energy, does she, no matter how old she gets? I believe she must have a wizard's lifespan."
She giggled, "Is that possible?"
"Oh, highly. Let us presume, for instance, that you do have wizards or squibs in your history. They are definitely from her side of the family. Somehow, the lifespan and energy gene has been isolated from the magical one and showed up in her. I'm sure you can figure out a way to investigate it."
His serious approach to the matter was too hilarious for Dinah to stop laughing, "Oh, Severus, stop that. I am certain it doesn't work that way. Besides, what would our family be like without her? And we've still got Mum and Dad and Uncle Winston and Larry and Ava to keep her in check. I believe the latter two have no children just for that reason."
"She is their child?" Severus suggested.
More laughter. He was on a roll today, apparently, "Well, maybe in a way. I'm just glad our family is still so happy and healthy."
"It is a good thing," he smiled, "I'll admit."
Smiling back, she nodded, "It's just amazing how much has happened these past twenty-seven years, really… and yet here Hogwarts is… practically unchanged."
"As always," he agreed. "No matter how many years go by, it is always just like this. But we add new memories to it. Good ones, bad ones… 'unique' ones," he rolled his eyes and Dinah just laughed. They had had all sorts of experiences on these Hogwarts grounds, that was certain.
"So many loose ends have been tied up from that first year, it's true," she murmured, "The Speasys' and Professor Binns's research into most of those unique phenomena, our textooks, my surveys… running into Petunia Dursley of all people. We even managed to run into Dylan in the supermarket once," she grinned.
Severus rolled his eyes, "And you behaved like you had been so anxious to run into him all that time."
"I was just so proud to show you off as my husband… I still am, you know. Proud of being your wife."
He smiled at her, "As I am proud to have you as my wife. To be your husband…" they took a moment to quietly indulge in each other's company again before he continued, "It's true. Everything is so… settled, right now. And yet," a slight smile tugged at his lips, "that doesn't mean we don't still have a world of things to look forward to."
"Yes. We always have things to look forward to," she agreed with a happy sigh. "We'll likely be grandparents soon. May and Seth waited a while, which is perfectly legitimate as young as they are, but now that they say they're ready to start trying I envision more little ones within the year," she smiled, "It will be so nice to have little ones around again."
"Yes," Severus agreed, looking quite pleased at the prospect, "It will. And meanwhile, there is Oliver. And Jacob and Eliza's approaching arrival."
"Yes," she repeated, smiling. Lucy and Sirius's eldest son Owen and his wife, Remus and Tonks's daughter Anne, had a young son named Oliver that they always loved to visit with. Another sweet child running around calling them 'Auntie Didi' and 'Uncle Sev'. It was… so nice. And Rosa and Luke's son Jacob and his wife Eliza were also expecting a child very soon. Another little 'niece' or 'nephew' to do the same. "I also have a feeling it won't be long before Tom and Adara start having children. I can't see them waiting as long as Seth and Maylene wanted to… especially as Adara probably wishes to have a litter like Lucy."
Severus chuckled, "Well, her animagus is a rabbit, if that means anything. I don't see May and Seth having more than two, but Tom and Adara… you're right. I can envision a great deal of children there. It shall be… interesting to see how our son copes with that."
"Yes. And!" she teased, staring him down with a determined grin, "Speaking of Animagi, I am still going to get you to transform into that fruit bat one of these days."
"Oh, are you now?" he raised a teasing eyebrow, defiant as usual whenever this subject came up.
"Oh, come now, Severus! Isn't it high time you gave in to me? I'm just going to keep nagging. You've held me off for eight years but I'm sure you're getting tired of it. Besides, I finally mastered my snake transformation. It's your turn."
"Oh, I'm sure I'll take the form eventually," he said casually, looking out over the grounds instead of meeting her gaze, "When I choose to do it is a different matter entirely, though. You'll just have to be patient. Even if it takes another eight years. Or maybe sixteen."
"Oh, please, you are most definitely weakening, I can see it every time we have this discussion."
"Really now?" he smiled slightly, but still didn't meet her gaze.
Watching her husband, Dinah couldn't help but feel warm. She had a feeling he already had an idea of when he was going to transform, but was just not telling her about it. "You're going to surprise me, aren't you?"
"'Perhaps'," she repeated, laughing. "All right, I'll be a little bit more patient. But I'm just desperate to see it, you know."
"Yes, you've told me. You do realize that there is a self-preservation factor involved here, though, correct? I assume that bat wings are quite delicate. I have a feeling that when I do finally make the transformation you might crush my small form in your enthusiasm."
"It is a risk, I'll admit," she said with a laugh, "But since you love me, you'll take that risk."
"I don't see what those two things have to do with each other."
"And you know I'm not going to crush you."
"It is a legitimate fear."
"Is that so?" she laughed again.
He laughed as well, softly, that warm gentle rumbling unchanged even after so many years, and finally he turned back to look at her again. As their gazes met his smile softened and she considered how much had changed in his appearance now that they were both sixty-five years old. His greasy hair had transformed from black to grey, like her own had changed from dark blonde to grey, but the length and texure were unchanged. The smooth grey curtains still framed his face as they always had, and fell just onto his shoulders, soft and fluffy after being washed in the evenings but lank and greasy and… utterly beautiful no more than two hours later. The lines on his face had become more prominent and his face and frame had thickened somewhat but… he was still, unequivocally, her precious, handsome Severus Snape.
"Severus," she murmured as his warm fingers reached out to gently touch her cheek. She placed her hand over his, closing her eyes for a brief moment to indulge in their contact.
"I'm glad we came here," he said, standing and pulling her with him, "We should continue. There is another place I'd like to visit."
"Mm," she agreed, squeezing his hand and following him as he pulled her back towards the castle a bit. As they walked she tried to imagine that they were back in the old days, wandering around at lunch, debating about this or that as they got to know each other. Or even that they were the child Dinah and Severus, sixteen years old again and learning how to love and care for each other as they tried to solve a mystery at Hogwarts and ultimately learn to embrace a new life together. And then, the next thing she knew that's where they were. In a single, unimpressive spot in the middle of the grounds somewhat close to one of the castle walls, not far from the hill where they got married.
They stopped walking and Dinah closed her eyes, remembering. "The flayed baby was everywhere, throwing spells out haphazardly and we didn't even realize that that behavior was an indication of its true nature." She opened her eyes and smiled at her husband.
He smiled back, "Well, we did not have Mae and Andrew's expertise on the matter in those days. We were starting from scratch."
"The world stopped, you know," Dinah whispered, unable to stop smiling as she remembered that day, in this place, "It was like… it was like everything else was gone and it was just you and I standing here. When you told me that. When you said those three words. We were the only people in the universe."
"I know," he agreed, his voice and smile filled with love, "I felt it too. It was only us. It was a perfect feeling."
"Dinah," his smile was still that smile that he reserved only for her. The one with the pure, overwhelming love that filled her soul with nothing less than the deepest joy. A joy that was utterly indescribable in words, "I love you."
"I love you," she responded, smiling gently as she tilted her head up to receive his equally gentle kiss, a feeling that never changed no matter how old they grew. Her arms wound around his waist and when they finished she rested her head on his shoulder, enveloped in her beloved husband as he leaned his head against hers and they held each other in their precious, special place from so long ago. Indulging in the purest form of contentment that was reserved for when they were in each other's arms like this.
He leaned back, his hair brushing against her cheek, and softly kissed her lips once more, "There is much more to see," he said, his eyes shining with love for her and looking forward to the rest of their time visiting Hogwarts.
"Indeed," she agreed, and knew that her gaze was shining with just as much love and happiness as his, "And we have all the time in the world."
"The grounds are empty for the summer," he nodded, smiling, "It is… only our universe again."
Flushed with happiness, she smiled and reached up to gently tuck a strand of that precious hair behind his ear as he briefly closed his eyes to indulge in the contact. Even now, he still adored it when she touched his hair and accepted it and his nose. And her stoic-snarky fetish was still firmly in place and she still adored it when he teased her about her idealism and incessant appetite. And he still called her his miracle. And she called him hers. Yes, things had changed, certainly, but so many things had stayed the same.
"Shall we visit the lake? The castle? The Quidditch Pitch? The Forbidden Forest?" Dinah asked, looking so forward to every bit of their journey today.
"All that and more, my love. But I don't think we need to rush."
She grinned, "When we're finished here we can always burst in on Lucy and Sirius in Hogsmeade."
"Please. Let's knock first. Those two still do not know the meaning of discretion."
Dinah laughed, "With Ayla and Rhys still there for the summers I certainly hope they're being somewhat discreet."
"The children can easily be sent off somewhere."
"True," she smiled, looping her arm into his, "Rosa and Luke will want to know all about our trip when we get back. We'll have to have them over for dragon steak soon."
Severus rolled his eyes, "Luke and his dragon steak. And they keep nagging us to bring them back to Hogwarts. Do they even comprehend the complexity of doing that, especially with Minerva no longer headmistress?"
"Oh, probably not. It doesn't help that Jacob and Eliza haven't gotten to visit yet and Maylene keeps telling them things about the place. I'm starting to think they want to have the baby here."
"I think your Muggle friends are incorrigible."
"And I think you love them, too," she teased, making him smile and shake his head. Her Severus of sixty-five years had embraced the Muggle world much more than she could ever have imagined when they were both only thirty-eight and first getting to know one another. He still liked to complain about it, but ultimately they had both made both worlds their home.
"Our life together has been full of surprises, hasn't it?" he asked, reading her thoughts.
"Indeed it has," she agreed, "And they are far from over. I want to have more surprises and exciting experiences with you. As many as possible."
"And we will," he agreed, "As always, we have so much to look forward to."
"And we could always eat lots of Aero Mint chocolate and you could make snarky comments at me," she laughed, reciting the old line that had made them realize that they were a perfect match for each other. A realization that only hit them again and again as they continued on their long, wonderful life's journey.
"Yes," he laughed along with her, "Indeed we could."
And they smiled at each other under the clear blue sky. Sixty-five years old, married twenty-six years, and still with so much to look forward to at every moment. And it would always be like this. Talking together, laughing together, and loving each other for the rest of their days and into eternity.
A/N: And that's it! At least, that's the extent of my involvement, but Dinah and Severus will live on happily forever! :D
Thank you SO MUCH to every single person who has read, favorited, alerted, or reviewed this story! It has been a truly amazing journey and I am so grateful to everyone for your interest and your comments and for just everything! THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU! :) I would try to name every reviewer individually but I don't want to leave anybody out by mistake so I'll just say thank you so much everyone who has reviewed, once or many times, anonymous or signed. I appreciate your interest and am so glad that you all enjoyed this story as much as I enjoyed writing it! I can't believe it hasn't even been a year since the first post!
Please stay tuned as there will be supplementary materials published in the future on both mine and CommanderValeria's profiles, including a "sequel", set between epilogues 8 and 9 which I will begin posting probably around Monday and which I will try to update weekly :) and it will also have a very strong presence of Lucy and Sirius, and I think that Mae Yates and Andrew Speasy are going to pretty much be co-main characters, since I have grown very attached to them and would like to tell a bit of their tale as well. But no worries! Chronologically, the above epilogue is going to be the last time that I visit Dinah and Severus's POV, although it is possible that an "older" Dinah and Severus might still appear in some of CommanderValeria's work. But Dinah and Severus most definitely live happily ever after! :)
I will also, of course, continue to work on "His View of Things", and right now CommanderValeria and I are posting, on her profile, "Carry On", her sequel to "Don't Leave Me" which chronicles Lucy and Sirius and Dinah and Severus's first year of marriage, and Lucy and Dinah's first pregnancies, and the Triwizard Tournament, so please check it out and leave a review or two! :) I write the Dinah and Severus parts. Please also keep us both on your author alerts, if you like, for any other little shorts or one-shots we may choose to publish at some point :) There are a lot of adventures in-between the epilogues that could potentially be written :D
Sorry for the long A/N, LOL, but it has been a very long journey and there are so many things to say!
Incidentally, Severus in this scene is the same age as Alan Rickman is in real life so I imagine that he looks exactly as he does in the movies here, except with grey hair XD – and no, that wasn't really intentional, I just envisioned my last visit with them to take place about a year after Tommy got married and that's where it ended up :D
Also, I do envision that Severus relents and transforms into the fruit bat eventually, and so snake Dinah and fruit bat Severus can play and cuddle together. I fully intend to draw a picture of that and post it on my deviantART… eventually :) If you would like to see my other Dinah and Severus artwork my screen name on the site is "sakuralum52", and anyone else is welcome to draw them as well, just please credit me and let me know so I can see :D
Once again, thank you so much everyone! It has truly been an exciting and wonderful experience! :)