Disclaimer: don't own.
A/N: This is the epilogue. Thanks for reading my story. Enjoy the last chapter:
That's what happened in chapter 19:
Hermione just felt his arms around her; she felt safe and warm and happy; she felt HOME. "I know." she croaked.
Tom looked deeply into her eyes and kissed her senseless. "I love you."
"I love you too."
After what felt like ages, they broke apart. "So how come I haven't found you? What were you doing?" Tom enquired, raising a perfect eyebrow.
Hermione stopped. Ugh, she hadn't thought that through. Not yet, though. Shit, what should she answer?
On with the story:
"I accompanied them to the gates, Tom. They had to leave in a hurry." Hermione lied. She vowed that Tom would never find out that she was from the future. Little did she know that she would have to break her promise soon.
"Why?" Tom frowned; his face was still nestling in her hair.
"I don't know. They wouldn't tell me." Hermione leaned into his warmth.
"Does Dippett know?"
"No." Hermione shook her head tiredly. "If they didn't even tell me, why would they tell Dippett then?"
"So what do you think they were doing?"
"Like I said: I don't know. Not even in the slightest." Hermione pretended to yawn. "And to be honest: I don't even care."
Okay, the last part was a lie, but Tom wasn't yet as skilled in legilimency as the future version. And it wouldn't do any good if she told him how much she missed them, especially Draco. It would only make him angry.
And making the Dark Lord angry was one of the last things you wanted to do.
When: 12 years later
Where: Platform 9 ¾
"My little girl is going to Hogwarts." Hermione sniffled, hugging her daughter closer to her. "I will miss you soooo much, Leah."
"Mum…" the girl said embarrassed, struggling to get free. "Everything will be fine. Besides, I've got my brother here. I'm sure he'll show me around and everything. But don't worry, I can already take care of myself."
"Such over confidence and recklessness." Hermione murmured broodingly, half-glaring at her husband. "Of course; you've got that from your father."
Tom chose to ignore her comment. "Well Leah, going to Hogwarts is actually a big step, at least your brother Marvolo can take care of you. Especially when you are in the same house." Tom said imperiously. "Don't forget to tell the hat that you want to be in Slytherin! Your whole family has been in Slytherin." Tom quirked his lips in Hermione's direction for a short grin. "At least in this time period."
"Mum! Mum!" Another voice shouted excitedly. "I've found my friends." Marvolo, Leah's older brother, who looked like a spitting image of his father, dragged her over to a group of Slytherin second-years.
"Mum, this is Lucius Malfoy, Theodore Nott and Bellatrix Black, my three best friends from Slytherin." Marvolo pointed to the timid second years and Hermione almost did a double-take.
Whoa. Death eaters from the future. She tried not to glare at Lucius and Bellatrix, who all looked at her rather shyly and respectfully.
"Good morning, Madam Riddle." 12 year old Lucius said, recovering first, kissing her hand.
Another whoa. "Hello, Lucius." Hermione tried to smile. She wasn't sure, if she succeeded.
"Yes, Lucius is always the perfect gentleman." a male voice said full of laughter. "Just like me."
Hermione swiftly turned around and almost gasped.
"Abraxas. I haven't seen you for years." Hermione smiled in earnest this time. "So Lucius is your son?"
"How many other Malfoys do you know?" Abraxas asked smirking. His hair was still white blonde and gelled back, but slightly receding and he looked older. Worn.
"So your son and my son are in class together. I didn't know." Hermione said, gesturing to the small knot of Slytherin second-years who were now talking excitedly about their holidays and laughing loudly.
"Obviously. And I see your daughter will be joining this year?" Abraxas motioned with his head to where Riddle and Leah were talking to each other, both of their pale faces concerned.
"Yes. She is already really excited." Hermione practically dragged Abraxas over to her husband and daughter and Tom looked surprised at his former classmate.
"Abraxas." Riddle greeted him coolly. "Where have you been all these years?"
"In France, in our family mansion in the Bretagne." Abraxas answered not without pride in his voice. "I've got a really nice position as a wizarding hotel manager there."
"Impressive." Hermione smiled at him.
"Thank you, Hermione. And what do you do, Riddle?"
"I was actually offered the position of the minister several days ago." Riddle smirked. "I declined. I love my post of Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher too much to give it away for a job I do not want. Not at Hogwarts, of course, I'm actually giving private lessons to especially gifted students who are training to be Aurors."
"I never thought I would see the day, when YOU would teach DEFENCE AGAINST the DARK arts." Abraxas laughed. "And you wanted to be the DARK lord. Now you teach soon-to-be-Aurors."
"Shhhh." Tom said, but smiled. "I was young and stupid, wasn't I?"
"Crazy." Abraxas confirmed. "But I liked your ideas. Wizards ARE superior to Muggles after all."
"But halfbloods are superior to purebloods." Tom grinned. "Seeing as Hermione and I are both halfbloods."
"You are?" Abraxas asked wide-eyed looking from Hermione to Tom and back. "I didn't know. You always preached that purebloods… well…. "
"That's the train, daddy." Leah suddenly squealed who was holding Tom's hand in a vice-like grip. "It's so pretty."
A huge scarlet steam engine train arrived noisily. It looked just like the Hogwarts train from the future and Hermione remembered her Hogwarts days with a sense of longing.
When she looked at the big clock, it was already 10 to 11. She would have to head over to the potions department soon – she was almost finished with a new creation of hers. Brand new. Top secret. If it did work, then Tom and she would celebrate tonight.
She was so sad and anxious, that the children had to leave – she would miss them terribly; especially since BOTH of them were off to Hogwarts, and it was going to be really quiet at home now, but at least, she would have more time for Tom.
"Good-bye sweetheart." Hermione hugged her son and gave him a kiss, which he wiped away with the palm of his hand when he thought his mother wasn't looking. "Write to us, please. And behave. Oh and say hi to professor Slughorn."
"Bye mum, bye dad." Marvolo gave them a swift kiss on the cheek, climbing into the carriage with his friends.
"Oy, and take care of your sister, will you?" Tom shouted after him and after a good-bye hug, shoved his daughter towards Marvolo.
"Bye darling. I'll miss you" Hermione kissed her daughter good-bye too and smiled when Marvolo rolled his eyes and took his sister's hand to help her into the carriage. They could be really sweet to each other, although they were most certainly Slytherin – Hermione had no doubt, that Leah would follow in father's footsteps as well.
"You'd better be in Slytherin." Tom called out to her. "Or we'll disinherit you."
"Oh, shush, Tom." Hermione reprimanded him and turned to her daughter who leaned out of the window with wide, slightly fearful eyes. "Even if you are in Hufflepuff, we'll still love you. Don't you worry."
"I am the heir of Slytherins, so my children are the heirs of Slytherin as well, why would they be in any other house?" Tom asked her, shaking his head.
"Because they are half me – and I was in Gryffindor."
"Only in the future."
"We still need to add two lacewing flies." Hermione said to her assistant at the potions lab. When she bent down to sniff at the white potion, she was satisfied. "I think, it's going to work out. This will be the potion, everyone has been waiting for."
"Two lacewing flies." Charles Potter said doubtfully, adding them, and watched with undisguised astonishment as the potion turned palest pink.
"Wow!" Hermione cheered, letting out a relieved breath. "It seems to have worked."
"We don't know until we tried it." Charles reasoned his face sour.
"Let's drink it then."
"Let's do it? Mrs. Riddle… I don't know – we shouldn't test an unknown potion on ourselves. What are houseelves here for?"
That was the wrong thing to say.
"How dare you! You ignorant little good-for-nothing wizard." Hermione yelled. "House elves aren't here for slavery, that's for sure. Wizards shouldn't misuse them. They also need wages, sick leave and holidays. They are beings with feelings."
Charles burst out laughing. "You can't be serious. They LIKE to work."
"I can give you names of house elves who would rather be free elves." Hermione said through gritted teeth.
"There are odd ones out everywhere."
"If we can't find any common ground on this topic – oh and believe me, Potter, this is important for me – I might just have to dismiss you." Hermione said seriously.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Riddle." Charles said immediately. "We were brought up differently. Let me apologize for my behavior."
"Okay." Hermione waved it off.
"But still… I can't see how in the world you ended up in Slytherin." Charles shook his head. "Not only are you good to your employees and assistants, but also to your children and other creatures such as houseelves."
"Honestly, Mr Potter? I can't see it either."
"It worked out." Hermione cried excitedly, when she saw Tom lounging on their sofa, his feet up. Although he looked tired and worn, he smiled at his wife.
"Yes. It's now officially declared as safe and working."
"Congrats, Hermione. So what are you going to call it?"
"Simple. Anti-Age-potion. The simpler, the better. And it describes exactly what the potion can do – stop ageing from outside and inside." Hermione smiled proudly. "I will lose some of my wrinkles – "
"You don't have any."
"And some of your grey hairs will turn black again."
"I don't have any."
Hermione laughed. "I was kidding. But we should still take some of the potion – it's ministry-approved."
"Well, my dear, after all, when has the ministry ever been faulty?" Tom gave her a kiss and accioed a bottle of champagne from the fridge. "Thirsty?"
Hermione grinned. "Unbearably."
"Why don't we take this to our bedroom?" Tom raised one eyebrow – oh, how Hermione loved that.
She grinned cockily. "And why's that?"
"We have this house-" Tom gave her another kiss "to ourselves, Hermione." he gave her another. "And I think, we shouldn't – " another one "let this opportunity go to waste." Another big kiss. "Don't you agree?"
Hermione smiled, her cheeks pink. "Alright."
"Yes." Tom took her in his arms and carried her – bridal style – into their bedroom.
"After all, we've got a few things to celebrate."
When: decades later
Where: Dumbledore's office
"I have to say… congratulations, Hermione and of course, you are welcome to get the post of Defence Against the Dark Arts." Dumbledore said beaming. "By the way, I remember when you were still Hermione Granger. Yes, I'm not talking about the time when you were Hermione Delacour, but Hermione Granger. And I do remember Voldemort. You did a great job."
"Thank you." Hermione grinned. "It wasn't easy… we landed in the wrong future."
"I remember." Dumbledore said wisely.
At that moment, it knocked on the door.
"Come in." Dumbledore said, his grin getting wider.
"Oh." a black-haired boy, wearing round glasses, gazed at Hermione.
"Oh." a white-blonde head nudged the first boy in his ribs and he too, stared at her.
Hermione didn't need to ask their names; she remembered Harry and Draco as if it were yesterday. What surprised her though was, why did they come here together? Like FRIENDS? And they were BOTH wearing Slytherin robes.
"This is Hermione Riddle." Dumbledore explained and turned to the surprised looking Harry and Draco who seemed to be in sixth year or something. "She'll be your new Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher since Professor Karkaroff will be retiring this summer."
Ah. Both boys turned to her.
"Good afternoon, Mrs. Riddle." Harry said friendlily, shaking Hermione's hand.
"Nice to meet you." Hermione mumbled. It made her incredibly sad that Harry had "forgotten" her. After all, they used to be best friends.
"Good afternoon." Draco grinned saucily at her. "How old are you?"
"What would you guess, Mister - ?"
"Draco Malfoy." Draco said proudly. "Hm, I would guess like 25 or so?"
Hermione and Dumbledore laughed totgether. "Well, actually no. Give me about 50 more years…"
"50 years?" Harry asked wide-eyed. "But you look so young."
Hermione nodded proudly. "I AM young. In fact, I am the inventor of the Anti-Age potion."
Harry's and Draco's eyes were wide. "WOW, so you are THE Hermione Riddle?"
"Yes, I am, Mister -?"
"Oh sorry, where are my manners? My name is Harry Snape."
"Ah ok. Nice to meet you." Hermione murmured, caught off guard.
"My father – well my stepfather actually – teaches potion here. So I think you'll get along very well – you two." Harry smiled.
It obviously didn't bother him that Snape was his stepfather. What had happened to James? She couldn't possibly ask.
Dumbledore must have read her mind.
"And Harry, why don't you tell her about James – he was a very successful Auror." Dumbledore said.
"James is a right foul git." Harry said broodingly. "He left my mother because he preferred his career; I don't care how successful an auror he was, professor, I hate him."
That's a bit strong. And that used to be the Harry Potter who was so fond of his father? What a strange future. But Hermione was happy. She had succeeded. And she was more than glad; after all, she had her family, her children and grandchildren, friends and a wonderful job and a loving husband.
All was well.