AN: I want to thank everyone for reading. This story has garnered so much positive attention (despite my frequent grammatical errors and the occasional evil homophone). I really took my time with the Epilogue; I wanted it to be just right. Oh and there's a bit of chocolate in there, just for heartmom for her wonderful support and inspiration (and her availability as a sounding board). This story is better for her comments and advice.
On another note, I'll have something sweet up soon…keep an eye out for it, ok? If you liked this chapter you'll love the little one-shot I'm working on.
One year later:
Hermione rolled her eyes as Draco smirked at her.
"Back as scheduled. Really Draco, your Godfather and I are adults. We are completely capable of coming home from our honeymoon when we said we would."
Draco snickered and tried to look mournful. "I bet Potter we wouldn't see either of you for at least a month. Looks like I owe him and his red-head a night of babysitting." Hermione sighed. Draco never got tired of making references to the fact that she and Severus had a sex life.
"I can't believe Harry and Ginny would let you keep James over-night."
"Me either. They know I'm just going to spoil him rotten and feed him cake for breakfast."
"You'll stop that the first time he throws up on you."
"Uncle Draco is the greatest, and fixing messes is what wands are for. I may see if I can pick up Teddy too and make it a boy's night."
She rolled her eyes, secretly pleased that he and Harry had mended their relationship. Being around Harry's family was good for Draco. He even brought his mother around occasionally. That relationship was still strained, but things were moving along.
She rifled through the stack of folders. The research was going well, but it looked like Severus had been correct...the potion was going to be the better option. They were nearly ready to take the research the next level and begin applying for patents.
She stood up. "If you have the weeklies I'll take them home with me."
Draco sighed. "I'm never going to see him again if you pick up his paperwork." He handed the slim files over.
"You might just have to drop in for dinner sometime soon. You know you're always welcome."
"And deal with the newlyweds making goo-goo eyes at each other? What kind of bachelor does that willingly?"
She smirked. "A happy, well-fed one?"
"Fine. Tell Severus to keep his hands to himself though."
"If I tell him that you know he'll just paw me at dinner and smack you on your head for impudence."
Draco laughed and waved as she walked out of the office.
She stuck her head back through the door. "Draco? Is Thursday alright for dinner?"
Draco smiled at the woman who had made his godfather happy. "Thursday is perfect. See both of you then."
She walked into their home, straight down to the potions lab. Severus was stirring with one hand as he made notes with the other. If it had been her, she'd have set the quill on fire.
"Do you need any help?"
His face lit up.
"You are awfully light on your feet Mrs. Snape. I didn't hear you come in."
He finished his note with a flourish and cast a lazy stasis spell on the cauldron.
Then he pulled her into a searing kiss. "As a matter of fact, wife of mine, I do need some help with a project …let me take you upstairs and we'll study anatomy until dinner."
She tossed her head back and laughed. "And I just tried to convince your godson that we don't go at it like a pair of kneezels in heat!"
He stopped her mouth with a kiss. She let him.
She pulled him up the stairs and into their bedroom. He followed, laughing.
He kissed her throat.
"I love you."
"I never get tired of hearing that Mr. Snape."
His tongue flicked the crease in her elbow (she didn't even know that was an erogenous zone before her husband had decided to spend an entire weekend 'tasting' her skin).
Her breath stilled as he kissed his way along the sensitive skin of her inner arm.
She leaned down and kissed his mouth, surprising him.
"Have I told you today how much I love you?'
He chuckled and his voice was like dark chocolate.
He pressed a kiss to the pulse point on her wrist.
"Today? Let's see. You told me you loved me when I surprised you in the shower this morning, when I passed the orange juice at breakfast, when you left for your meeting with Draco, and just now."
He ran his nose along her neck as she held his body close.
"I just want you to know."
He kissed her slowly, nipping at her plump bottom lip and taking his time devouring her mouth.
"I know. And I know why you need to make sure I know."
They'd both lived through a war, and the Greengrasss incident. They'd made it through the publicity from the trial. (The media had a terrible time trying to come up with a way to merge their names in true celebrity fashion…Snanger just wasn't cute enough to sell papers, and nobody liked Harpe). They had laughed at the various hate mail from their respective 'fan clubs'. He held her hand as she testified and offered up her memories for examination under oath. She, Molly, and Ginny had been relieved when Greengrass was sentenced to life. Severus had grumbled that it wasn't nearly enough. Draco and Harry had made snide comments about sending him various mail order hexes. Hermione was almost certain that Draco at least had backed up those conversations with a few anonymous owls. In fact, her husband might have sent a jinx or two through the mail as well.
It had taken nearly a year before Severus proposed, but he didn't give her time to change her mind (not that she would have.) As soon as she said yes, they'd apparated to a beach where their closest friends and family were waiting. She'd never wanted a long engagement, but twenty-seven minutes had to be some sort of a record.
He'd allowed two hours for the reception, cake, and a first dance and then he'd whisked her away for a two-week honeymoon after the ceremony. After they made love for hours he looked at her almost shyly.
"Did you mind…?"
He grinned, sensing that she really wasn't upset.
"Well, Potter mentioned that most brides want to have something to do with planning the wedding..,"
Hermione snorted. "It was a lovely surprise and it proves that you know me. You'd never pull something that high-handed in our research; you always consult me on every little detail in the lab. I would have never imagined that you would have done this, but I thought it was romantic. You knew I'd marry you in a heartbeat. After all, you gave me the opportunity to leave once, and I didn't do it."
He'd kissed her until she was breathless.
"I didn't want to wait to make you really, truly mine. We could always do it again if you wanted a big wedding."
"Not for all the gold In Gringotts. It was perfect."
She kissed him again as he unbuttoned her blouse. No, her husband wasn't just anyone's cup of tea. He was high-handed, possessive, and intense. When they fought, neither yelled, but their words were often sharp. He loved her, gloried in her accomplishments as much as she did in his, and he liked nothing better than to spend an evening by the fire with a glass of wine, discussing their work, or history, or his latest potions project.
They finished undressing each other and he slid his fingers into her. The man had the nerve to smirk when his finger came back wet.
"I love that you always want me."
She cocked an eyebrow and traced his erection with a feathery touch that made it jump.
"Likewise husband of mine."
She guided him to her opening and sighed as he slid inside her…it was like coming home.
Of course, a short time later she was arching off the bed, nearly sobbing with the force of her orgasm. He came as she did, setting off another round of delicious pleasure inside her. There were times when he held off and they made love for hours, but he knew she loved it when they came together. She kissed his sweaty brow and he grinned back at her.
He held her for a bit, but she sat up when she felt herself dozing.
"I need to get up love."
"I'm hungry so I'd better cook something."
Severus gave her a dark look and reached for his wand without letting her out of his arms.
Within moments a box of chocolates came zooming into the room.
"I'll take you out for dinner later, for now…"
"You're a terrible influence."
"I'm totally committed to keeping you right here, in my arms."
He kissed the tip of her nose as she unwrapped the gold-foil box.
She took a small bite of the chocolate covered strawberry inside and offered him the next bite.
"These are good."
He sighed as he held her close. "I knew you liked them so I had them delivered."
She should have known. The man didn't leave the house except when he had to.
"That reminds me…Draco is coming to dinner Thursday."
Her husband pretended to groan but she knew he was pleased. Draco was really the only family he had.
He held her. "You make a wonderful bed-warmer."
She kissed him. "Are you purloining my person for your own uses again?"
"Only for the rest of my days."
"Oh, well, if that's all…"
He kissed her hair and smoothed the curls with his long, clever fingers.
He finally decided to ask. They talked about everything else like rational adults. They could discuss this as well.
"You know, in all the excitement of the last year, there are a few things we didn't get a chance to discuss before the wedding."
She smiled as she took another sweet strawberry into her mouth. It was distracting. But her honey-colored eyes encouraged him to go on.
He closed his eyes and buried his head in her hair, relishing the scent. "I love you, and I won't push, but I did wonder…how you feel about children."
If she hadn't been snuggled close to his chest she wouldn't have felt the increase in his heartbeat.
No, this wasn't something they had discussed.
"Do you want children Severus?"
"I love you. For myself, I never considered it. When I was younger I was afraid that I might replicate my home life, which no child should endure..."
She kissed his cheek softly.
He cleared his throat. "I want you, always. But if you would like children, I would love them as well."
He was never this stiff unless he was truly nervous, but she couldn't tell if it was because he desperately wanted children or if he was absolutely terrified of the idea.
She sighed. She would tell him the truth and see where it led.
"I would love to have your children Severus, if you feel ready for them, but I'd like to wait three months before I get off the potion so that we can finish up the latest research…"
"I wouldn't expect you to give up your work!"
She smiled at him. God, she loved this man.
"I'm not planning to, but I don't fancy writing patents amid fatigue and morning sickness. This project is important and I want to do everything in my power to finish off the project the right way. You know my temper is always short enough when dealing with the press without adding baby hormones to the mix."
Severus snorted. "Let Draco deal with the press."
"You don't want to wait three months?"
He bit her playfully.
"We will wait until you are ready my love." His voice rumbled in her ear, awaking all sorts of lovely feelings inside her.
"Three months is all the time I need. But I think we'll need to practice before I get off the potion…you know, just as a precautionary measure."
"Trial runs are an important step in any well-planned undertaking…"
"Hmmm…yes, and we both know that when it comes to trials, you are extremely diligent, and you never give them less than your undivided attention…"
"I do have a reputation to maintain."
Twenty years later:
She could smell the ocean through the double doors of the little bungalow. The moonlight caressed the ocean less than a hundred yards away from the master suite.
"Come back to bed love."
She turned and examined her husband of twenty years as he grinned at her from the bed. "Do I have to bribe you to come back to bed Mrs. Snape?"
She giggled and practically danced back into his arms. She snuggled into his bare chest and reached over to snag one of the chocolate covered strawberries that they hadn't gotten around to eating earlier in the evening.
Her husband watched as she nibbled the fruit with an intensity that would have once made her blush…and now made her purr.
He kissed her again, tasting of the wine they'd sipped at dinner. His mouth was even better than the chocolate.
The years had done nothing to decrease his appeal, at least in her mind. He was still long and lean, though somewhat less pale since they'd bought this little get a way five years ago. The silver that was finally appearing in his hair only made him sexier.
Without warning, he pinned her to the bed. "Your mind was wandering love. I can't have that. Right now it's just you and me."
"I was thinking about you ."
He kissed her neck, nipping the sensitive flesh as he chuckled.
"So you weren't thinking about Jeanette's OWLs, Percival's Quidditch match, or Eileen's first year at Hogwarts?"
She nuzzled his neck. "No. Nor was I thinking about patents, problems, or potions. Nothing but you and me and how perfect this moment is." He kissed her deeply.
He growled. "That's as it should be, my lovely witch. Because the only thing I was thinking about was how much I wanted to remove that little robe you are prancing about in…"
She laughed. Her face was beginning to show tiny lines because she spent so much time doing just this sort of thing…laughing and teasing with the love of her life, not to mention with their children, family, and friends.
She kissed him harder, and he responded, exactly as he always did, by kissing her breathless.
AN: Thanks for reading!