I want to thank all of my faithful readers who have followed my little story. You've been kind with your reviews and patience as time went on. This is the final chapter, and my goal is complete; to tell a story of Hermione and Severus in letter format from start to end; a life complete.

JK Rowling is very kind to allow us to manipulate her characters into all sorts of situations, and I am thankful she does. I do not own anything she has written or created….just this little story.

Chapter 16

I Never Dreamed This Could Exist

9 January 2091

My Dearest Hermione:

All is finally quiet, and I am in my study, relaxing. Soon, I shall join you in our bed. Thank you for gathering all of our children for my birthday. To watch and listen to Silas, Varina, and Honour, their children and our great-grandchildren laugh, argue, and play was a most precious gift for me.

Pet, my time is short. We both know it; surely you've noticed the signs as well as I, and while I am 'compos mentis', I wish to write you one last time and tell you how much I have loved you.

I wrote you a letter many years ago that I was sure would be burnt to a cinder before you read completely. How was I to know that it would lead to 88 years of joy, sadness, and a contentment I never dreamt could exist?

I remember when Silas and Varina were little, and we spent a Christmas at your parents. They were watching a Muggle program about a Grinch whose heart grew when he learned the meaning of Christmas. I know what that felt like, Hermione. When we married and then when each of our children were born… I swear I never knew a person could have or be given that much love.

Or how much that love would be so painful. When young Struan died; I know I need not describe that pain, you felt it too. The days and nights over the next many months were endless. Our love was tested and nearly broken, but our bond kept us together, and we healed and moved on.

The birth of Honour was a gift beyond words for us. We chose her name aptly; Honour that we never true to our vows during the most difficult time of our lives and Reprieve for the grace she gave us from our grief (as well as being a very special anniversary gift). I still miss Struan. Honour's birth would never replace him. She just made it easier to put his memory in the proper place.

But you, Hermione; you made my whole life worth something. I took advantage of your ability to always see the good in people so that I might learn to be a happy bastard. Was I to know then that you would be the making of me? No. Would I have dared dream that I would be here now, married to a woman who is still so beautiful and loving, and the mother of children I thought I would never see? You complete me. My soul and yours are forever bound, and I find that the most difficult thing to fathom even after all this time. I who was evil and you who were pure…

I will go across the veil knowing that I had a life beyond my expectations. I will see friends and little Struan again. While it may be distressing to know that my death will be the beginning of yours, I am filled with joy to know that you will soon be with me. Please don't be sad for too long, little one. You are happy by nature, and I would not want you to be lost. You will be with me soon; please hold onto that.

It is time for bed. I will come to you and, as we have since the day we married, wrap ourselves together and sleep. It will comfort me and help me be ready for the end.

Always, my love, always,


Hermione folded the letter and returned it to its envelope. She retrieved her wand and performed the spell that sealed the box from prying eyes. Breathing in deeply, she turned to Glennis and began, "We had noticed he was slowing down and was becoming forgetful. You must remember when your great grandfather was a spy he always sharp and noticed every detail around him, and he continued to be that way all throughout his life. To see him begin to decline was so painful for me, but I never let him know I saw it.

"Of course, he knew it too. He might have lived longer, but he suffered so many curses during his years as a spy. In mid-February, he caught a Wizard version of the Muggle flu. He was in no pain, but he never quite recovered. We spent our days in bed together reading, talking, and snogging. Oh, your great granddad loved to kiss and was very good at it!" Hermione's eyes twinkled at the memory.

"The day before he died, he was particularly adamant that I spend the day in bed with him. His mind seemed as good as ever. We read and talked and looked at all the old photos we had. That night, he held me a bit tighter in his arms than usual. Looking back, I should have known what was about to happen." Tears spilled from Hermione's eyes, and she stopped speaking for a moment. "In the morning, I woke up, and we had drifted apart during the night. He was lying on his back, and he looked so peaceful. When I touched his face, I knew. He was across the veil."

Silence reigned for a few moments, and Glennis quietly sniffed and wiped her nose. Hermione patted the box gently. "I am going to burn these soon, I think. No one needs to see them. Silas, Varina, and Honour know our story. They will pass the stories down to their children and so on. But these letters, while I am willing to share some of them with you, are Severus' and my story only. No one else will read them."

After many hugs and tears, Glennis left the house. Hermione puttered about cleaning up the tea things and then finished clearing the wardrobe of Severus' clothes, a job she started days ago that was interrupted when she and Glennis opened the box of letters. All his robes still smelled of sandalwood and potions ingredients because even though he had retired almost thirty years ago, he still visited the apothecary weekly. He was loathe to leave it in the hands of 'dunderheads', however competent his own son was!

Hermione was tired after her chores were completed and decided a bath would be in order. As the water ran into the tub, she thought about the past few days she spent with Glennis, reliving the long life she shared with Severus. It was good to remember how it began and what happened after that first letter. Hermione sunk down into the water. But oh, how she missed that dungeon bat. She lay in the water and cried. After a while, when the water had cooled, she got out and ran a quick drying charm over herself. She slipped on her nightdress and returned to her bedroom. She wrapped one of Severus' cloaks around her and lay down. Inhaling his lingering scent deeply, she fell asleep.

Hermione noticed as the spring advanced little things about herself were changing. Her magic wasn't working quite as well as it used to, and it was a bit more difficult to get around the house. She spent much of her time reading and doing little things around the house to keep things tidy. She set aside one day to do as she told Glennis she would; she built a fire and slowly burned a lifetime of letters, her heart breaking a little as each one curled into ashes.

She had visits from family and friends often. Her children visited her at least every other day. Lifelong friends dropped in for tea at the weekends; Harry and his partner Philip; Ron and Lavender as well as Luna and Neville, Ginny and Draco. She knew why; she was soul bonded to her wizard and knew that her time was finite. Regardless, it comforted her to have her family and friends around her to keep her from thinking too much.

One morning in June, Hermione was devastated to find Poe, Severus' trusty raven, dead in his nest. She cradled his fragile body in her hands as she lay the raven in the same box that held all the letters he had delivered. She covered the box securely and went outside. Her magic seemed to cooperate with her today, allowing her to magically dig a hole next to Crooks' grave, place the box in it and cover it again. She stood facing the sun afterward thinking of the little bird.

Poe brought her the very first letter. He delivered all the letters that spoke of promises, learning, loving, children, and overwhelming grief. He had made one final deliver in January of this year and then 'retired'.

Hermione chuckled when she thought of the indignity the bird suffered as her children's pet owls pestered the poor bird. And Crookshanks….oh the rivalry between those two! The raven saw the whole story of her life from sky and perch. A secret keeper of sorts.

August came and Glennis was worried that she hadn't heard from Great Gran in a few days. She pestered her father, Severus, to check on his grandmother. He contacted his own mother, Varina, and the three adults went to Hermione's home.

As they approached the cottage, they realized the wards were down, and moved more quickly toward the front door. Wards only fall when the witch or wizard who set them cancels them or dies. Entering the house and not finding Hermione in the sitting room or kitchen, the little contingent moved to the bedroom. There they found Hermione, wrapped in Severus' cloak, her hands holding a piece of parchment.

"She's gone," Varina spoke, her voice cracking with emotion.

"What's that in her hands?" Severus asked, reaching over and removing the paper from Hermione's hand.

Glennis gasped. "It's a letter! I thought she burned them all! She told me she was going to. Let me see it." Glennis drew off the ribbon around the fragile parchment. Tears came to her eyes as she read,

21 September 1998

Dear Miss Granger,

You are probably quite surprised to find this handwriting on this letter to you…

Schmaltzy ending, I know, but there you are. All done.

I will be posting this story, along with all my others, including She Was His Student (an MA story I took down during the recent purge) over at The Maple Bookshelf. I will still post stories here, but in order to comply with FF's TOA, any MA stories will be at TMB. A girl's gotta indulge in naughty now and again!