Author's Notes: We're here people! It's the end! The final chapter...feels kind of sad actually. Anyway I am finishing this and then will be continuing one or more of my other unfinished stories so if you've read/are reading any of my other HP stories or twilight ones then keep checking back or join my group on facebook groups/523665654314569/

It's 'astarte lydianna fanfiction page'. I've been putting up trailers for some of my stories as well as banners for them and info on updates and ideas etc. So it's worth checking out.

Disclaimer: I own nothing except my spelling mistakes J

A special note of thanks goes out to my beta JenJenSon for all her help and support throughout this story.

What Happens Now?

Chapter Twenty-Two/Epilogue

"Daddy, Daddy! You have to wake up, it's Christmas!" shouted the hyperactive three year old. Rosie was almost the spitting of her mother with her deep brown eyes and chestnut curls bouncing around her as she flung herself onto the large bed to wake her father, who groaned but didn't open his eyes.

"Rose! Stop bouncing up and down or Dad will kick us off the bed completely!" Fionnlagh told her, perching on the bottom of the bed.

"Who says I won't do that anyway?" their father grumbled, as he was forced awake.

"Daddy you can't be mean it's Christmas! Mummy said so!" Rosie protested, climbing into the bed next to her father, not fazed by his morning grumbles in the least.

"I said he shouldn't be mean on Christmas not that he couldn't." Hermione spoke up coming into the bedroom and handing Severus a cup of tea. "Happy Christmas." She smiled and then went and climbed into the bed on her side.

"Better than Minerva's Christmas wake up, but only marginally." He grunted, sipping his tea.

"You say that every year." Hermione smiled, wrapping her arms around their daughter and kissing the crown of her head. "Once you've had that tea we'll go and open presents."

"Presents!" Rosie squealed excitedly. "I saw a really big one!"

"Can't be yours." Fionnlagh snorted, tossing his dark hair from his eyes.

"Why?" the three year old demanded.

"Because you need to be good to get presents and you're just a pain in the-"

"Fionnlagh! Be nice!" Hermione chided, at seven Fionnlagh was tall for his age and slim; his skin not quite as pale as his father's; he had the same dark hair and dark eyes and even though his nose and chin were his mother's he looked much more like his father.

Hermione had taken over as Charms Mistress the September after she had had Fionnlagh. Luna and Ron's son Tristan and Fionnlagh both spent most weekdays at the Burrow with Molly Weasley or sometimes Ginny and the twins, so that Hermione and Luna could work and then just floo to retrieve them in the evenings. After a few years of teaching during which time Ginny had another two pregnancies which gave them one boy and one girl and Luna having had another son also Hermione began to long for another. She had that broody feeling and started to think about babies all the time and it wouldn't go away.

She had never asked for another since after the way the ministry instructed them to have their first she hadn't wanted to make Severus feel obligated into having another but eventually she gave in and talked to him about it. He had agreed that one more would be nice and so the following year Hermione had given birth to Rosie.

Rosie had brought her an almost symptom and trouble free pregnancy the entire way through but a more stressful labour to make up for it, nearly resulting in a caesarean section but fortunately she had arrived safely in the end at the last minute. Due to the stressful birth however, they had both agreed not to try for any more children and that two would be enough for them, while Ginny following after her mother was on pregnancy number four and child number five at the time and Luna and Ron had just decided to try once more to see if they would end up with a girl. Unfortunately for Luna it was another boy, not that she didn't love him as he was but a girl would have been nice.

They had officially moved into their new house the Summer after Fionnlagh had been born and had happily lived there since. The library seemed to be more like the family room than the actual living room since Hermione and Severus preferred to sit in there to read and so the children had followed suit. Hermione had to wonder where Rosie's sheer energy came from though, Fionnlagh had always been quite a quiet child and very much like his father and herself but Rosie seemed to act more like she would have expected a three year old Fred or George Weasley to act. It was exhausting!

Fionnlagh also seemed to inherit his parent's intelligence, he had already read most of the books he would require for his first year of Hogwarts and had a pure thirst for knowledge.

Hermione had become settled in her life, she had worried at first about the fact that she loved her husband so much when he had clearly told her he would never feel the same but as time passed and they continued to act just like any other couple she knew the words became less important. Even now he had never told her that he loved her although she suspected that he in fact did love her at least a bit, she felt loved at any rate. He didn't tell the children that he loved them either, not that she had heard anyway, but they knew that he did love them and that he would do anything for them; he just wasn't very good with expressing emotion in words directly.

That was what she found so surprising when given his gift this year. It was a simple gift; a pretty potions bottle containing a nice new bath soak that he had made for her but the thing that caught her attention was the fact that it had a tag on it. She couldn't recall ever actually having a tag on a gift from him before, there was a card on some flowers once but it simply said 'see you tonight, Severus' on it. This card said 'Hermione, Love Severus' on it. It wasn't an outright I love you but it was more than he had ever written or said before, it caused her heart to skip a beat and her stomach to flutter at the thought.

"Is something wrong?" he asked, causing her to blink and look up at him.

"You put 'love Severus' on it." She said quietly, pleading internally with herself not to cry over something so small that he probably hadn't even thought about writing at the time.

"Was I not supposed to?" he chuckled.

"Well...you've never, we never-" Hermione fumbled around for words for a moment before lowering her voice so that only he could hear her. "I didn't expect you to write something like that, it's not a word we use in our...situation." When she dared to meet her husband's gaze it was one of sheer surprise and perhaps a little angry... He looked at the children happily playing with their Christmas gifts on the floor before tugging her towards to kitchen.

"What kind of arrangement do you think we have?" he demanded quietly as soon as they were alone.

"I didn't mean it to sound like that, it's just we've never really talked about our relationship since before we had Fionnlagh." She replied. Now she felt embarrassed; something small that he probably hadn't given a thought too had been such a big deal to her that she had caused a scene over it.

"You think this is still some kind of ministry arrangement? Do you not think that if that were the case we would have divorced when the law was repealed two years ago?" he asked her.

"I don't think that, that's not what I meant." She replied. "I'm sorry that I even mentioned it now, it's just you've never written 'love' on anything before."

"You think I don't love you?" he asked softly.

"How could I not think that when you specifically told me that you could never love me?" she whispered turning away from him before he saw her tears.

"Oh Hermione," he murmured, wrapping his arms tightly around her and pulling her into his chest. "we've been married eight years and you've spent the whole time thinking that I don't love you?" The only response he got was a slight sob as his wife gave in to her tears. "Of course I love you, how could I not love you? You've been my best friend, my lover, my...Hermione you've given me two children that I thought I'd never have not to mention made me happier than I thought I deserved, of course I love you."

"I love you too." She sobbed, clinging to his knitted Weasley jumper. She stopped and stepped back slightly eying the green and black stripy knitted jumper with a deep concentrated look on her face. "When did you decide you loved me, why didn't you say something?"

"You silly little witch, I didn't decide to love you it happened completely against my will, I assure you I was quite content being a lonesome grouch that didn't give a damn about anyone else but alas it would seem the fates and the ministry had other plans." He replied. "If you mean when did I realise I loved you then it was when I saw you in labour...you were in so much pain and there was absolutely nothing I could do to stop the pain for you...it hurt to watch you like that and I realised that it was because I loved you."

"When I told you I loved you..." she nodded.

"I didn't think it was the right time to discuss it and then it just never came up, I assumed you knew that we were no longer just a ministry arrangement." He sighed, rubbing her back gently with his hands.

"I should have..." she murmured, and then she laughed aloud. "I should have known you loved me when you wore that Weasley jumper at Christmas because I told you to...and you've done it every year since without me even asking, even though you do complain about it...you still wear the hideous jumpers just because I asked you to."

"You think I'd wear them of my own free will for any lesser reason?" he asked, quirking an eyebrow at her.

"You know this whole thing could have been avoided if you'd just be more open about your feelings..." Hermione chided him.

"This whole thing could have been avoided if you'd have just asked me." He snorted in response.

He was still the Snarky Potions Professor, she was still a stubborn Gryfindor that wasn't afraid to get on his nerves; some things never change.