Disclaimer the last: I'm not going to whip off my cloak and proclaim myself to be J. K. Rowling, entertaining as that might be (query—do authors ever post fanfiction-esque pieces based on their own published work?), so for the last time in this story: I don't get any money out of this, characters, world, etc are property of JKR.
Chapter 32: Epilogue: Two Years Later
Hermione met with Ginny for coffee at her favourite coffee shop in London. She'd been to Diagon Alley that day, going shopping, but she'd shrunk what she'd purchased and stuffed it into her bag.
She hugged Ginny. "Good to see you," she said. "How is it?"
"Well, I've left Harry home alone with James for the first time," said Ginny. "I'm a tad nervous, but I really needed to get out."
"He's only a few months old," said Hermione. "They can't possibly cause that much havoc together. I hear once they start walking, it gets really scary."
Ginny rolled her eyes as she stepped up to the counter. "You sound like Severus—reassuring with one breath and terrifying with the next." They placed their orders—a latte for Ginny, who was still so grateful to have caffeine back in her life that she consumed it at every opportunity, and a peppermint tea for Hermione.
"How are you coping with this year's classes?" Ginny asked, once they got settled. "We haven't talked much lately, and Millie said you seemed a little stressed."
"Oh, the classes are fine," said Hermione. She grinned. "Severus finally let me take the seventh-years, you know. I'm busy putting the fear of God into them about their NEWTs this year, and that's been great fun. I enjoy it. The work is good."
"Glad to hear it," said Ginny. "You do look like you've lost a little weight, though. Are you sure you're okay?"
"I am," said Hermione. "I'll be gaining weight back quite rapidly." She paused, and set her cup down. "Can you keep what I'm about to tell you quiet?"
"Of course," said Ginny. "What is it?"
Hermione smiled happily. "Severus and I have news. We're expecting."
"You're pregnant?" Ginny exclaimed. "Since when?"
"Since about three months ago," said Hermione. "Right after James was born. We'd been trying for about six months, and it finally took. I'm just past all the morning sickness and Poppy says it's a girl."
"A girl," said Ginny. "That's lovely. How's Severus about it?"
"Alternately thrilled and terrified," she replied. "He fusses about me no end. You can tell Harry about it if you'd like, but no one else please. So far it's just us, my parents, Poppy, Minerva, and Millie and Charlie. Oh, and I think Severus is telling Remus today. And we just wrote to his aunt about it."
"So it's still the smaller group of people who know. Did you do the 'wait three months' thing?"
Hermione nodded. "Other than Poppy, no one knew until last week. We've already named her, and Severus is reading to my stomach every night. It's interesting. I know she's supposed to be able to hear, but it's just odd. I'm barely showing, and there he is, talking to her and reading her fairy tales."
Ginny laughed. "She is going to have him wrapped around her little finger, isn't she?"
"She already does," said Hermione, rolling her eyes.
"So, what's the name?"
"Harriet," said Hermione.
Ginny smiled broadly. "Oh, Harry's going to be so touched."
"Why?" said Hermione, baffled.
"You said 'Harriet,' didn't you?" Ginny asked.
"Well, yes," said Hermione. "Why would Harry be touched about that name?"
Ginny sighed, exasperated. "Harr-i-et," she articulated slowly. "Sound similar to someone's name?"
"Oh," said Hermione. "I hadn't thought of that. It's after a favourite character in these books Severus and I like. If we have a boy next, he'll be Peter, after the other character."
Ginny shook her head. "Typical. Well, you may not be naming her after Harry, but he'll still be delighted." Her face lit up suddenly. "We'll have children at Hogwarts at the same time!"
"Oh, gods," Hermione groaned. "That could be horrific."
"Or good," Ginny protested.
"Time will tell," said Hermione.
And it did.
Author's Note: Hermione's mistake is actually my own: when I was planning this story and I told a friend about my plan for Severus and Hermione to have a baby and name her Harriet, she had Ginny's reaction. And I had Hermione's. Took me a moment to realize what I'd done.
So, this is the end. Thank you, readers and reviewers! I've really appreciated the feedback, and knowing that people are reading what I've been writing has been absolutely unbelievable. Amazing. I've got another story on its way, once I plan out the ending for it (beginning and middle are drafted, ending is not).
I'm leaving the door open for a sequel here, since I'd like to see what happens in eleven years with the kids, but I'm not guaranteeing one. Time is against me, particularly since I'm currently working on getting my first novel onto Amazon as an e-book. I'm at the revision and cover design stage right now, and it's scary-exciting, but exhilarating. There'll be something on my profile about it eventually. This place is a really fun and safe writing outlet, but I'm looking to start taking more risks with my writing. Should be an adventure.
See you at the next story!