Still my heart and hold my tongue, I feel my time
My time has come, let me in
Unlock the door, I never felt this way before
And the wheel just keeps on turning, the drummer begins to drum
I don't know which way I'm going, I don't know which way I've come
Hold my head inside your hands, I need someone who understands
I need someone, someone who hears, for you I've waited all these years
For you I'd wait 'til kingdom come
Until my day, my day is done
And say you'll come and set me free
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me
In your tears and in your blood, in your fire and in your flood
I hear you laugh, I heard you sing, I wouldn't change a single thing
And the wheels just keep on turning, the drummers begin to drum
I don't know which way I'm going, I don't know what I've become
For you I'd wait 'til kingdom come
Until my days, my days are done
And say you'll come and set me free
Just say you'll wait, you'll wait for me
Till Kingdom Come
Hermione watched as Ron and Lavender got their two kids onto the train, Iris, age fourteen and Summer, age twelve. Harry and Ginny were further down, talking to Draco and Luna, who were dropping off Lucia, their oldest at fifteen, and the twins, Damon and Deric, both eleven, all three of them blonde haired angels. Lucius stood in the background, saying goodbye to his grandsons as they started their first year at school.
Hermione watched in fondness, having no kids of her own, let alone a significant other.
But she was happy.
She had her job at the Archives, the wizarding equivalent of a national library, and she loved every minute of it.
She watched as Harry handed Albus over to his wife to say goodbye to him before he got onto the train. There were tears, of course, but she completely understood that. It was the first time that Albus was leaving home, and she was a little bit teary over it as well. She loved being his only aunt, and tended to spoil him, but was thrilled that he was going to Hogwarts.
The train whistle went off, and everyone ran to the doors, quickly getting on before it left the station.
Soon enough, the Hogwarts Express had pulled out and she joined Harry and Ron in walking through the barrier back into the London station, which was so much more noisy, but without the sounds of owls in their cages.
Hermione stared as the nearest train started to pull out of the station…and then her eye caught some movement in the peripheral of her vision.
She turned, thinking that it was Harry coming to say goodbye, but then found herself frozen on the spot at what she saw…
A familiar face was walking towards her, an uncharacteristic twinkle in his dark eyes as he approached. There were no dark billowing robes announcing his arrival, and neither was there long, lank, dark hair framing his face…but it was still him.
Her heart suddenly sounded a million times louder with every step he took towards her.
He was…he was…
Suddenly, he was right in front of her, and she stared in awe and amazement at the man before her.
In place of billowing robes, was a very familiar outfit. Worn out jeans, an old blue worn out oxford shirt. Over his right arm was an old, well-worn leather trench coat. But he wore the same dragonhide boots that he'd always worn.
She couldn't breathe. There was no air.
She saw him move his coat to his left arm and then lift his right hand…and then he gently placed it on her neck, his thumb brushing against her jaw.
That touch, light as it was, brought her crashing back down. It was real. It was really real. He was here.
In a strangled sound, caught somewhere between a gasp, a laugh, and tears, her voice finally made a decision for her, and suddenly she was crying, and he lifted his fingers from her neck to her cheek, gently drying the hot, salty wetness from beneath her eyes.
"I told you I'd find you…"
At hearing his voice, she felt her insides melt and somehow finally found strength enough to say…
"I thought I'd never see you again."
He let out a low chuckle that went straight through her and gave her a look that she felt could turn her blood to fire.
"I made a promise…and I never break my promises."
Finally realizing that everything that was happening was real, she slowly lifted her hands to his shoulders, her fingers brushing against the soft short locks at the back of his neck, amazed by the transformation that he'd made.
His hair was short…well, shorter, and it was a beautiful, soft brown. His skin was no longer sallow, but had a healthy glow to it, as though he'd been someplace with sun.
He was entirely different…but he was still the same.
"You're-you're…you're here! You're real! I-I can't believe you're here! You're alive! Even after all these years..."
He chuckled yet again, causing another thrill to go through her, and then his hands slid around her waist, pulling her closer, and from the corner of her eye, Hermione saw Harry and Ron approaching, and she quickly warned them off with a pointed glare. From where they were, they could not recognize him, but they could still see him.
She could imagine what was going on in both of their heads, the confusion at seeing their friend with a strange man, embracing him.
But she moved them from her mind, instead focusing on the man in front of her, focusing on the feel of his arms around her, grounding her to reality.
In a surge of emotion, she acted on impulse: tightening her arms around his neck, she stepped up to her tiptoes and pulled him down into a kiss…
…and it was just as good as before. Better than, even.
It was a million times better because she knew that he was staying, that he wasn't leaving her side. Tears once more began to fall, but this time they were of pure joy, not a single taste of sadness in them, her heart swollen.
Soon, their tongues were tasting each other avidly and they were both drowning in the sensations.
She felt his arms wrap even more tightly around her waist, holding her up as they kissed and she silently marveled at his strength.
After all these years, though she hated to admit it, she had thought it might have not been real, everything that had happened on the day…but she'd always had a tiny ray of hope in the back of her mind that it had been real, and that he would find her.
And the entire time, she'd never let herself become attached to anyone, in silent hope that one day she'd turn around and he'd be there…
…and, apparently, this was the day.
Slowly, the kiss faded until it was just a pleasant sliding warmth that settled in her stomach and in the center of her chest.
Ignoring the incredulous looks coming from Harry, Ginny, Ron and Lavender, she slowly pulled away from him just far enough so that she could look into his eyes once more and she drank in the delicious sight of him before her.
She was vaguely aware that Draco and Luna were also there, but both of them had the same enigmatic smile on their lips, as though they…as though they knew.
Letting out a small laugh, she hesitatingly broke eye contact, dropping her head to his chest and then murmured into his jacket, "I think we have an audience."
He chuckled as well, and said, "Oh, yes…I've been well aware of that for some time, now." He motioned his head towards where his godson and fair-haired wife were standing and then whispered into her ear, "They know, Hermione…"
At that, her eyes snapped up, anger flashing in them for a brief moment.
"You told them before you saw me? You told-"
He cut her off, placing his fingers on her lips, quieting her.
"No, Hermione…remember, Draco was my godson and Miss Lovegood, well, Mrs. Malfoy, now, has never been an idiot. Off in another world perhaps, but next to you she was my best student." He gave her a look, a familiar eyebrow arched. "Your other friends, however, shall remain in the dark…they don't need to know who I am, and I trust my godson and his wife to not say a word."
She gave him a look, and he returned it.
"Trust me, Hermione. I don't want attention from anyone…except for you," he added, moving his fingers from his lips down to her chin, holding her gaze on his.
She slowly nodded.
"Alright, fair enough." But then her brow furrowed and she asked, "But how am I to introduce you?"
He chuckled and gave her a slightly devious smile.
"As Alexander Hadrian, a professor of psychology at Oxford University." She looked at him in shock and let out another small chuckle and pressed a soft kiss to her lips. "I wanted to be ready for you, Hermione…and, knowing you, I've bet you been to a lecture or two there."
He arched his eyebrow, giving her a look, and a wry smile appeared on her lips.
"So," she said, drawing out the syllable, placing her hands on his chest. "I'm supposed to have met you there?"
He gave her another look.
"We met seven years ago, while you were attending a lecture that I was giving, and you approached me afterwards and we talked…talking led to dinner and dinner led to something more. We saw each other off and on over the year, until I was unfortunately transferred to the States to visit teach at Harvard, after which I was sent to Berlin. Neither of us could afford to visit on our meager salaries, and I've only just returned…"
She looked at him in awe and then asked,
"How do you do that?"
Shaking her head, she simply said, "Never mind." and then pulled out of his embrace completely and then, gently grasping his hand in her own, pulled him along behind her as she walked over to where Harry, Ron, and their wives stood.
"Harry…Ron…this is Alexander Hadrian. He's a professor of psychology at Oxford. Alex, these are my friends that I've told you about," she said, motioning to the group before him.
Seeing the whole exchange between the two of them, Harry was the first to step forward, his hand outstretched.
"Pleased to meet you, Mr. Hadrian…"
He shook his head. "Please, that's for my students and my students alone…call me Alex."
Harry just nodded and was surprised at the older man's grip as he shook Harry's hand. Bottle green eyes met black ones, and Harry had a faint feeling of familiarity but brushed it aside, knowing that it was an impossibility, as he'd never set foot on the grounds at Oxford.
They let go, and Harry gave him a nod, and then Ron stepped forward and shook his hand as well, giving the man a calculating look.
"Pleased to meet you, Alex," he said, his voice low and non-threatening.
Hermione, thrilled that things were going well, tucked herself into his side, sliding her right arm around his left, grasping his hand tightly. She saw Ginny and Lavender's eyes drop down to look and then each of them gave her an approving look as they looked the man up and down.
"So," said Lavender, "You know Hermione from Oxford, then? No surprise, there, really, she's always been the intellectual of the group," she finished, a pleasantly teasing tone in her voice.
They all chuckled, and then Ginny asked, "So, how'd you two meet?"
Looking slightly embarrassed, Hermione ducked her head, and then told them what he'd told her to say.
"Well, a few years ago…seven years ago, actually, I went to a series of lectures at Oxford and he was the main speaker. I, well," she said, looking at him with a playful glint in her eye, "I accosted him afterwards with questions, and then he…he asked me to dinner."
At this, she sent him a look, and he saw the question in her eyes…Ask me to dinner?
He gave her a look and then finished her story for her.
"That one dinner led to us seeing each other off and on for nearly a year, before I was transferred to the states, Harvard, and we were unable to visit each other. She a librarian, I, a mere professor, we couldn't exactly afford to see each other…" He gave her a longing look, and heard both Ginny and Lavender sigh. "I was transferred to Berlin three years ago…and now I'm back."
He silently gave her a look that said…Tonight? She nodded.
Hermione ducked her head in further embarrassment as Harry asked,
"You're back for good then, and don't plan on breaking her heart a second time?"
He glared at the young man, and for some reason Harry felt that he'd been on the receiving end of that look before. Finally, the tension was broken as he took the arm that she'd locked her arm around and placed it around her shoulders, letting her arm drop to wrap around his waist.
He then looked down at her, a loving smile on his lips.
"I'm back for good."
At that, a huge smile broke across her face and more fully embraced him. Draco and Luna were still lingering nearby, and he watched as Luna gently led her husband over to where the rest of the group was standing and then reached out her hand, which he gently shook.
The enigmatic smile still on her lips, she said…
"I'm glad Hermione found someone who understands her and cares for her."
And then, surprising everyone else in the group, save for him and Hermione, Draco came forward and shook his hand as well, the enigmatic smile on his lips turning soft as he met the eyes of his godfather, eyes he never thought that he'd see again.
"Take good care of her," was all he said, before turning and leading his wife out of the station.
Harry glanced back briefly and then looked back to the man he knew as Alexander Hadrian and the girl he knew as his best friend.
"Uhm…I guess we'll be seeing you around then," he said, and then gave his friend a look just before asking, "You'll find your own way home?" Hermione nodded, and the two couples left the station, leaving her alone with him.
Finally, she said…
"Severus…my god, you're really staying!"
He gave her a look and then said, "Haven't you wondered where I've been staying all these years?"
She looked confused, obviously thinking that he'd been staying exactly where he'd told her, London, the States, and Berlin, but then he gave her another look and then pulled her tightly to him just before whispering into her ear, "Hold on," and she felt the faint pressure of Apparition and the next thing she knew they were in Ireland.
She slowly pulled back and looked around, trying to figure out why everything seemed so familiar…and then she realized.
"This…this is…." Hermione whirled, staring at Severus in shock, and he nodded.
Running at him, she leaped into his arms and he just managed to catch her, surprised by the vehemence of her actions. Her legs wrapped around his waist and her arms around his neck. After a few moments, she calmed and slowly dropped back down to the ground.
He answered her stuttered and implied question.
"Legilimency. I saw it in your mind when you were in the kitchen, before you knew I was awake…and it seemed so peaceful, so far away from everything, but still so close to you, that I couldn't resist. I had to," he finished, brushing his hand against her hair.
Tears were leaking from her eyes once more, so she quickly brushed them off with the back of her hand.
He then said something that had here feeling as though she had stepped into a dream…
"It's ours, if you want it. I understand if certain memories are, uhm, too painful," he said, mindful of what she'd had to do to keep her parents safe, but was surprised when she firmly pressed her lips to his and then pulled back to give him the most beautiful smile he'd ever seen.
"Yes, Severus…I want it."
He smiled and wrapped his arms around her, his chest against her back, and looked towards the small house just a ways from where they were standing.
"Your job…?" he asked, but she shook her head.
"It was something to do, I didn't do it for the money. Actually, the money from the Ministry that they gave me for my services in the war is enough to have me set for two lifetimes…" she said, and then she turned her head slightly. "Or two people for one lifetime…"
He smiled and gently kissed her lips.
"By the way," she asked, "How'd you know I was a librarian?"
He gave her a look, an eyebrow lifted, as though insulted that she'd asked him such a ridiculous question. "Hermione…how long did I teach you?" She just chuckled and tucked herself closer to his body, relishing the feel of his body warm against her own.
She then said…
"I would have waited another seventeen years, just so you know…I would have waited forever…"
At hearing this, he felt his heart swell with emotion, and he gently tightened his arms around her waist.
"But I'm here now, love…I'm here now…"
She smiled, content.
Lyrics by Coldplay