A/N: This is sort of an epilogue to my whole saga about Severus Snape and his family (Master of Potions, Under a False Name, The Headmaster's Children and The Three Houses), but it stands as an independent one-shot. AU premise is, Severus Snape doesn't die at the end of DH but is saved at the last moment, finds love, gets married and has three children.
Severus Snape descended downstairs to behold a beautifully set table under a heavy cloth of peach satin, with a centerpiece of tea roses and four pristine dining sets of white china, a napkin folded in the shape of a swan resting on top of each. A chilled bottle of sparkling white wine rested in a bucket of ice, delicious smells wafted from the direction of the kitchen, and his wife, Celena, was wearing elegant midnight blue robes with the set of pearls that was reserved for special occasions.
Upon hearing his footsteps, Celena took off her apron and smiled at him. She looked excited, her cheeks rosy pink. Her sleek knot of hair was still chestnut, while his hair had turned mostly to grey, and shone in the candlelight. Even after so many years together, there was something about her that always took his breath away, that made him stop and think for the thousandth time that he is the luckiest man in the world.
"Are we celebrating something?" he asked.
"Anna and James are coming over for dinner," his wife said, "have you forgotten?"
"Of course I haven't," he said, "but Anna and James come over for dinner nearly every weekend." Anna, their middle child, a trainee healer at St. Mungo's, lived in London now, but rarely a day passed without a note or a call from her via the Floo Network. Of their three children, Anna was the one most attached to her family.
"Well, I've got a feeling," Celena went on, her voice quivering with suppressed excitement, "that this isn't going to be a dinner like any other. From hints Anna had let drop, I expect we're up to some special news tonight."
"You can't be serious," Severus frowned, "Anna is too prudent to rush into marriage. They are both too young."
"Twenty," Celena reminded him, "they have known each other their whole lives, Sev, and they started going out two years ago. I really don't see what there is to wait for, and Harry and Ginny agree. It is the dearest wish of us all."
"Do not get me wrong," said Severus, "I know how fond they are of each other, but…"
"Fond?" his wife laughed, "Severus, James has been crazy about Anna since they were about thirteen. For the past two years, they have been inseparable. They are perfect together."
"I'm not saying they are not. But this is a decision that will influence her for the rest of her life. It is better not to hurry…"
"Said the man whose courtship lasted, what, two months?" Celena's smile was mischievous, and he, grudging as he still was with his smiles, could not help but return this one. She had him there. Once the vigor of youth and life was returned to him in her graceful form, their romance has been conducted at lightning speed, followed up by over twenty years of bliss together. "I wasn't much older than Anna, too," his wife added. "And Fiona was nineteen," she added as an afterthought.
Against this, Severus had nothing to say either. His eldest daughter, Fiona, chose to turn their lives upside down when, at the age of sixteen, she was caught in a scandalous romance with her own teacher. Three years later, however, it was followed by a wedding, and a recent letter informed him and Celena that they would soon become grandparents, a thought that was both exhilarating and unnerving. Fiona and her husband, Jeremy, worked on the research of magical creatures in New Zealand.
"Well, it is vain to dispute this, anyway," said Severus, "as the decision doesn't rest with us."
He wasn't at all sure his wife heard him, because at that precise moment, a doorbell rang and Celena hurried forward, trilling, "It must be them!"
Sure enough, his daughter Anna walked forward through the door and hugged her mother, then progressed to give him a kiss on the cheek. James Potter, her boyfriend, smiled and thrust out his hand, saying "Professor Snape" a little awkwardly. Two years since he's been done with school, but the young man never called him anything but "Professor Snape", despite the fact that they had seen each other on many informal occasions, starting from when James was born.
When Severus Snape shared his sacred, secret memories with Harry Potter, he only did so because he was convinced he was dying. This, however, was followed by a last-minute rescue, a reconciliation, and an invitation to stand as best man when Harry married Ginny. It was largely thanks to their wives, Celena and Ginny, that Harry and Severus developed a long-standing friendship, albeit always set in tones of respect and reserve. The next logical step was for them to become related. Severus had long since given up trying to wrap his mind around the idea that his daughter was seeing the grandson of his school arch-enemy and rival.
It was a chilly November evening, but apparently, more than cold was making Anna linger with her hands in the pockets of her coat. Finally, with a mischievous smile spreading over her face, she slowly pulled her hands out, and her mother muffled a very girlish squeal upon seeing the gleam of a diamond on Anna's left ring finger.
"Oh, Anna! I knew it, I knew it! Close the door and come on in, I want to hear everything. How did James ask you? When do you think of having the wedding? Ooh, this is a gorgeous ring. Sev, would you uncork the champagne and pour us all a glass?"
Now there was nothing to be done but feel happy and excited, so Severus wrung James's hand and kissed his daughter's cheek, and muttered his congratulations. Thankfully, all the assembled knew his character, and no one expected emotional effusions from him. He was feeling slightly dazed, in need to be alone, to think, to meditate, but that would have to wait. For the time being, he concentrated on the pouring of champagne, the clinking of glasses, the toasts, and the flow of details that was already pouring forth at the warm encouragement of Celena.
"So when do you plan to set the date, dear?" she asked, looking at her daughter fondly.
"Oh, sometime in spring, I don't think we could bear to wait for summer," Anna smiled, "Fiona and Lily are to be maids of honor – hoping Fiona will agree to do this, of course."
"Of course she will be thrilled, but that will need some planning ahead, you know, dear, because Fiona is likely to get pretty big by the time spring rolls on. She and Jeremy are coming over for Christmas, and then we can discuss all the details."
"Septimus will stand as my best man," said James, "Al said he doesn't relish the prospect," he added with a grin.
Septimus, the third Snape child, was currently in his final year at Hogwarts.
"So," Celena beamed, staring from her daughter to her future son-in-law, "we are going to have a nice big get-together with Harry and Ginny and celebrate this properly. We are like family already, I have felt this way for years, but now we are going to be officially related, isn't this exciting?"
Anna and James exchanged looks. "Make this doubly related, Mom," Anna said slyly.
Severus cocked an eyebrow. "I beg your pardon?"
"This is just speculating, sir," James said hastily.
"A very good bit of speculating," Anna corrected him, "Septimus and Lily are seeing each other," she said with a giggle.
"About time," said Celena with deep satisfaction.
"Wh-what?" spluttered Severus, and took a long gulp of champagne to steady himself.
"Oh, don't look all surprised, Daddy," Anna gave him a friendly pat on the arm. "Lily has been pining for Sep ever since she was twelve, don't tell me you haven't noticed."
He hadn't, as a matter of fact, but this hardly mattered now. Those were his children, living their adult, independent lives. They were happy, confident young adults, as different from him at their age as can possibly be, and for that, he was deeply grateful.
"You are pleased, aren't you, Sev?" his wife asked uncertainly.
"Of course," he said, smiling and reaching for the bottle of champagne once more, "I think this merits another toast." He drank in silence, though, and in his heart of hearts it was James Potter he toasted, the grandfather of the young man who was now about to marry his daughter. See, Potter? He longed to say. We are reconciled after all. Life has come full circle.