Chapter 11 Epilogue 14 Years Later

Hermione pulled the Jeep into the driveway of the log cabin she and Severus had built two years ago. She got out of the SUV and moved up the walk to the front door. A quick alohamora gained her access into the foyer where she dropped her bag and shucked off her boots. She slipped out of her parka and hung it on the coat tree nearby. She looked into the foyer mirror to fix her hat-flattened hair. Time had been kind to her hair; no longer the rat's nest of curls, it hung longer and more manageable.

"Severus! I'm home!" Hermione picked up the mail from the foyer table and flipped through it. Bills, bills, bills, she thought and dropped the envelopes back down on the table.

Severus came around the corner into the foyer. "Hello, love, good day?"

Hermione looked at her husband and was still gobsmacked at how attractive he was. He kept his hair long, and only the temples showed any evidence of his age. He was still as lean and as fit as he was at the height of his spy days. "It was the best day because it was the last day!" Hermione smiled widely at her husband.

"Last day for the next two and a half months you mean," He patted her bulging belly. "I expect this one will be making her arrival before long. February is a cold month to have a baby."

Hermione wrapped her arms around Severus' neck kissing him at his pulse point. "I believe it won't be much longer until she is here," she sighed. "I love you Severus, have I told you lately?"

"I love you too, Know-it-all." The couple spent a few moments kissing and hugging before making their way to the warmer sitting room.

Once settled on the sofa Hermione spoke, "Where are Mason and Orin?"

"Mason is at the library, and Orin is at the Carter's," Severus replied as he pulled Hermione between his legs and began to rub her belly.

Hermione leaned into his chest as the day's tension was rubbed away by her husband of 16 years. "Mason's 11th birthday is in two months," she murmured. "He would be eligible for Hogwarts in September." Severus' chest rumbled against her back as he made a noncommittal noise to let her know he was listening. "I was thinking; should we move back to England so he can go to Hogwarts when the time comes?"

"I thought you liked it here."

"I do, but we know nothing about wizard schools here. And we loved Hogwarts."

"Well, you more than I did at any rate. I am not sure what it will be like for Mason at Hogwarts given what happened. We can find out where the wizarding schools here are; I know there's one in Salem, but surely there are others. America is much bigger than England and Scotland. St. John will have some information, I am sure."

"What if I wrote to someone? I think if I wrote to Ginny she would answer."

"If you feel strongly about this, then see what the possibilities are. We can make a decision after that. To be honest, I do not want to go back to England; you need to know that. I am happy and comfortable here. We've built a good life, have two great kids, another one coming," Severus rubbed her belly. "I enjoy our life here; I like the comfortable mix of wizard and muggle of the town we live in. We've many good friends. I enjoy my job and you were just promoted to head nurse of the trauma unit. I don't think I am willing to readily let all of that go."

"I am happy here too. I am only thinking of what's best for Mason."

Hermione wrote to Ginny later that evening but the letter was forgotten in the next week as Hermione delivered their daughter, Maddie on the last day of February (Hermione was pleased it was not a leap year; explaining that concept to her daughter was she grew older would not be fun). It wasn't until after Mason's birthday in April that she received a reply from Ginny. As she sat nursing Maddie, Severus brought her the letter.

Dear Hermione,

It was such a surprise to receive your letter after so many, many years. The big question on everyone's mind has been "What has happened to Severus and Hermione?" It is good to know that you are well and happy. Thank you for bringing me up to date about what happened after you and Snape left. It sounds like you've built a wonderful life.

I am well and married to Draco Malfoy, believe it or not. Harry and I tried to make our relationship work, but he became so obsessed with his position in society and at the Ministry that I left him. He and Luna are married and have a daughter, but it is rumored their marriage is not doing well. Ron is still single and playing Quidditch and is co-manager of the team.

I can hardly believe you have a child old enough for Hogwarts! My son, Scorpius will attend next September and Nareth, our daughter, will start in two years.

Now to explain why I am so long in responding to your letter. I wanted to be able to answer your questions so that you could make the best decision and so that I could give you the best advice. I have talked to many, many people about your concerns.

To answer your question about returning to England so Mason could go to school; I am afraid that would not be a good idea. While you two are hailed as heroes of the Vold War, what happened afterward overshadows your work. Your names are still not spoken of highly and each year on the anniversary of the end of the war, The Daily Prophet devotes several columns to your perceived downfall. I am afraid any child of yours would have a tough time of it. As well, I am afraid your reputations will make it tough for you to find employment.

I have tried to puzzle out why a relatively minor scandal such as yours has created such a continued furor. I've talked to my father and Kingsley and both give me the same answer; they feel it is fueled by the Head of the Board of Governors of Hogwarts, Busford, who holds a grudge against your husband and has continued to find ways to keep both your names sullied. Busford also seems to have Harry in his back pocket. It is so hard to believe that the Harry we knew from school has changed into the media hound he has.

Please don't be so long in writing again,


Severus and Hermione read the letter with sad hearts. Hermione spoke first. "I am glad I wrote to her. As much as I want Mason to go to Hogwarts, I cannot put him through any shame that might come as a result of what we did."

"Do you regret any of it Hermione?" He took Maddie from Hermione and placed the baby at his shoulder and patted her back softly.

Hermione looked at Severus reaching up to stroke his face. "No, love. I regret none of it, not a single day of it. I am saddened that people put their politics first before their humanity, but no, I wouldn't trade this life for anything."

Kissing Hermione's forehead and then Maddie's cheek, he replied, "Nor would I, love, nor would I."