BACK IN TIME by Jayne d'Arcy
Epilogue – Eleven Years Later
written between 4-9-08 to 2-9-09 ~~ Revised 7-1-12 ~~ Disclaimer: With the exception of the plot, the place, and the OCs, the rest belongs to JKR.
Eowyn Alexandria Snape was a petite, graceful eleven-year old girl who would one day grow up to be an exceptional beauty. She had the fine, delicate bone structure that gave her father, Severus Snape, his angular, sharp features. Her hair was as black as her father's hair and just as fine, soft, and straight. Eowyn liked to let it hang loose to the middle of her back with two thin braids to frame her face. The final complement to her features were her pale green eyes. Those eyes often had the appearance of looking right through a person and many people who had them aimed their way learned quickly that Eowyn was a child one never lied to.
As many of the adults said, but never to her, Eowyn was her father's daughter, through and through. She had a quiet, studious nature that sometimes bordered on withdrawn. Her temper, though kept well hidden, was tamed by her kind and generous heart. What Eowyn did not inherit was her father's acid-tipped tongue.
A few days before Eowyn had received her Hogwarts letter. This day her mother had taken her and her two little sister to busy Diagon Alley to get all her school supplies. It had been a noisy and stressful time, not least due to the fact that youngest sister Arwen had thrown a temper tantrum when Lyrica would not allow her into Weasleys Wizard Wheezes, and Guinevere had fussed over the fact that Eowyn was getting everything and she was getting nothing.
While her mother took care of her unruly sisters- they'll probably be over daddy's knee by the end of the day since they were just awful!- Eowyn headed down the interior stairs to her parents Potions Lab on the first floor of Billeghdonn Manor. She knocked upon the heavy oaken door and waited until it appeared to open on its own accord, allowing her into the lab.
Two years after Eowyn's birth, Guinevere arrived. Her birth settled the question at last of what Severus and Lyrica wanted to do beyond Hogwarts. They made their farewells to the castle and the staff, the settled into their Owl Order Potions business.
The lab had been magically expanded, and a larger storage area had been added. A section had also been put aside where Snape and Lyrica could take tea. Over the years desks had been added for the girls to study at and a small library of their daughters favourite books had sprouted over two bookshelves that occupied the corner. Two leather chairs were accompanied by three, smaller, tapestry chairs.
Since her father was busy with a potion, Eowyn went over to the chair her father favoured and curled up in it to wait until he could turn away from the potion he was working on. She quietly read a new book on Charms for Teens her mother had bought her. It wasn't quite what she had hoped for, finding that most of the charms dealt with things like styling one's hair and doing makeup. Eowyn decided to keep the book for Guinevere who liked playing with hair and often begged her mother to teach her makeup spells.
After several minutes, the spectre in black that was her beloved father sat down in Lyrica's chair and summoned tea. Eowyn smiled.
"You look tired, my girl," he observed. "Did you have fun?"
Eowyn shrugged, an immediate sign that something wasn't entirely right. Eowyn had learned very early on that her father's questions were to always be answered with words, not gestures. Snape poured the tea and handed his eldest daughter a cup. The old trick he had used on both Harry and Hermione to 'wait them out' until neither could bear the silence, worked well only on Eowyn. He was perfectly silent, waiting for his child to speak up.
"It wasn't bad," she finally answered. "I rather liked Mr. Ollivander." With a shy smile upon her lips, she took out her wand and showed it to her father.
Snape's hand froze as he'd been bringing the cup of hot tea to his lips upon seeing the wand. Slowly he put down the cup since he was close to dropping it. "Dragon scale?" he asked.
Eowyn nodded. "Hebridean Black. Mr. Ollivander said it is daughter to the dragon that gave up a scale for yours."
Eowyn's wand could have been a twin to his except that her wand had a carving of a dragon wrapped around its base. Snape knew that Ollivander hated working with dragon scales. Dragon scales were compatible with only two woods, Ironwood and Ebony. In addition to the scale being very hard to craft into a wand core, the woods were no easy material to work with either. Snape remembered the lecture he'd gotten from Ollivander about taking good care of his wand as it was one that was not easily replaced.
The wand, just as his was, was a powerful one. I shouldn't be so surprised since Eowyn has the affinity for the Old Magic her mother has, he thought to himself.
"It's a good wand, isn't it, daddy?" she asked.
"It is very good, Eowyn. I expect you to understand the significance of dragon scale in wands, so take very good care of it."
"I shall." She smiled, a bit more relaxed now that her father approved of the wand.
Sipping his tea, he studied Eowyn's body language. She'd never been a chatty child, but her body language spoke volumes. She twisted a finger in one of her braids and blinked a bit too fast. To him it was an obvious sign that something more than just her sisters usual behaviour was bothering her. Eowyn had been quiet, moreso than she usually was, since she'd received her Hogwarts letter. The wizard deduced her concern had to do with Hogwarts itself.
"I expect you will be pleased to see the Bloody Baron again," he mused. His little girl had a talent of endearing most of the more cantankerous inhabitants of Hogwarts to her. The Bloody Baron, who preferred frightening students, including his Slytherins, rarely spoke to anyone. In the two years of Eowyn's life that they'd lived in the castle, the toddler and the ghost had practically been inseparable companions; a situation Snape had been only too happy about since the little girl had a disturbing knack of slipping out of their dungeon home and wandering around the castle. The Bloody Baron had also taught the two year old how to deal with Peeves the Poltergeist.
"Do you think he'll remember me?" she asked.
"Most certainly. Ghosts have very long memories."
"Do you think Remus will let me talk to Phineas? I loved his stories."
Snape was still amazed that Remus Lupin was now Headmaster of Hogwarts. Albus had chosen the young werewolf to follow in his footsteps, despite the protestations of many on the Board of Governors of Hogwarts. Now in his eighth year, the position suited him well.
Albus had indulged Eowyn, before his retirement by allowing her into the Headmaster's office where she often spoke to the portraits. Phineas Nigellus Black, of all the portraits, though, was her favourite. An association Snape and Lyrica had both been unsure of, but it seemed the portrait was able to temper his more disagreeable politics and entertain the little girl with inventive stories from the past. If anything, Eowyn had brought to the fore, a much more pleasant side of the old bastard.
"Remus has already told your mother that he'd like you to visit him for tea now and again. Quite possibly when your brother Harry visits once a month."
Eowyn's posture relaxed noticeably. She seemed finally ready to voice what was truly on her mind. "I know there's lots of adults at Hogwarts that I know, but what if I don't make any friends my age? What if I get sorted into the wrong house? Draco and Harry both told me the Hat tried to sort them in different houses. What if it's awful there?" She had blurted all of that out so quickly, she had to take a few deep breaths to refill her lungs.
"Calm yourself, my girl. Hermione and Draco are living at the castle during the term. No doubt they could also use an extra hand with the twins. I know they've already made a room for you." Hermione was the Transfiguration teacher and Draco had taught Potions. Both had been there since his father had retired. He also had taken on the enormous additional duties of Head of Slytherin House. Draco and Hermione lived in the old Potions Master's quarters where Eowyn had lived her first two years.
The cottage in Wales, that was the last property belonging to Lucius Malfoy, had suited neither Hermione nor Draco and so it had been sold. Draco had refused to go through the business of 'house hunting' but there were no properties either could agree upon. The couple stayed at Billeghdonn Cove, back in the early days of their marriage and the housing situation had been a volatile point that often set Snape's teeth on edge. Lyrica had surprised the couple, on their first year anniversary, with the deed to Ashmere. Harry had turned down the offer of the old Arcahnum manse after he elected to live in Yorkshire during his veterinarian apprenticeship.
Snape took a long look at Eowyn. The child had her mother's beauty, but for good or ill, Eowyn was a withdrawn child who seemed to have more in common with adults than youngsters her age. She adored her sisters, but those two often trampled their older sister's last nerve with their antics, releasing her anger. The child preferred the quiet, and was unfortunately awkward around children her age. He felt rather stupid as he realised for the first time that Eowyn did not have any friends her age that she associated with on a regular basis. She either had her little sisters, her older siblings, the ghost Henry, or her dull parents, or her cousins – Draco and Hermione's twins were far too young to play with. There were no children from Ron and Millicent Bulstrode Weasley.
"It's just so noisy, daddy," she sighed plaintively. "Couldn't I stay home?"
This was where it hurt to be a parent. Snape cringed inwardly. He wanted nothing more than to wrap Eowyn in his arms and allow her to pursue her studies in her beloved books. Eowyn had been more sheltered than her sisters, mostly because everyone was still recovering from the end of the war when she was born and it was still a dangerous time, especially for Harry Potter, Snape and his family. He and Lyrica didn't really relax until Guinevere came along. Then when Arwen arrived... well, Snape found himself more worried over a daughter whose idols were Fred and George Weasely, than worrying about Dark Wizards.
"Come here, Eowyn," he opened his arms and allowed Eowyn to climb onto his lap. She leaned her head against his chest and picked up a portion of his robes and began twisting her fingers into the wool cloth.
"You're going to tell me I have to go, aren't you, daddy," she sighed softly.
"You know you must, Eowyn." He brushed a few strands of her fine hair off her forehead. "I no more fancy being around strangers than you do, child, but we all must bear many things we do not like in order to attain that which we desire."
Eowyn gave her father a cheeky smirk. "Is this going to become a story about how you wound up with six children?"
He gave her his best 'scary Potions professor' glare and Eowyn giggled. He sighed and tapped the end of her nose. His scowls, frowns, and dark looks worked on Guinevere and Arwen, but not on Eowyn.
"I am afraid your mother and I have allowed you to become too isolated, my girl. Friends can be very important, especially during school years. I know you do not look forward to leaving behind your family, but Hogwarts is the doorway to an adventure I do not believe you should summarily dismiss because you are afraid. All first years are afraid."
"No they're not," she asserted stubbornly. "Harry says I should be all excited, but I'm not." Her brow furrowed as she pressed back against Snape's chest. "Daddy, am I a... a freak?"
Snape stiffened. Harry had been called 'freak' by his ridiculous excuse for a family. He recalled, from their horrid Occlumency lessons, the memories that had hurt Harry the most had been when they called him a freak. He wondered, angrily, where his beloved little girl had heard such an insult and why she even thought it referred to her.
"Who called you a freak?" he asked.
"Me," she whispered, as she felt her father's anger emanating from him like a beam of light.
"You?" Taking her chin between thumb and forefinger, he urged Eowyn to look into his eyes. "Whyever would you think you are a... such a thing?"
His anger had drained rapidly, to be replaced by a much older ache from the days when not only had the distasteful epithet been given him by his own father, but when he had believed it of himself as well. To think that Eowyn, who was so much like himself, thought she was a freak, struck him deeply.
Taking her father's hand in hers, she began tracing the bones in his fingers and hand the way she'd done when she was much younger. She concentrated on the invisible lines she drew.
"Because my brothers, and Elydree, and everyone else has so many friends. They talk about Quidditch, or girl things, or pranks, and they fly... I know I hate flying, but sometimes I wish I understood what Harry means when he talks about flying. All I do is read about things. I know I'm dead smart, but I'm not interesting." Eowyn's voice which had been rattling on rapidly began to slow down, reflecting her frustration at expressing herself. "I just don't... I don't want to be different, or weird, or a... a... freak."
Eowyn was shivering from the emotion, so Snape drew a portion of his robe over his daughter. She snuggled under the comfort of robe, arms, and daddy, her head laid against his chest.
"First of all, my beloved girl, you are in no way whatsoever a freak," he spoke gently and the tone thrummed like another hug from his chest. "You are different, though, and you may not appreciate that this moment, but you will sooner than you think. All of us are different." He tucked a thin braid behind her ear and smoothed his hand over Eowyn's warm cheek.
"I will not lie to you and tell you that Hogwarts is going to be absolutely perfect. It is not. I do believe, though, that you will find a place there where you shall meet other girls and boys who love books as much as you do. They will enjoy chess, and King's Table, and talking about the things you read." He wrapped his arms around his daughter, gave her a hug and kissed her cheek.
"Eowyn, promise me this. When you are feeling unsure go visit with your sister-in-law. Try not to after curfew, but if you must, go straight to the dungeon. Hermione has been where you are. After all, she was a wretched bookworm..."
"And an insufferable know-it-all!"
"Hmph. Heard this before, have you?" He scowled and Eowyn giggled. He gave her a squeeze that made her yelp and giggle more.
"As I was saying, you rude, interrupting, idiot child," he brushed a kiss to Eowyn's forehead. "Speak to Hermione. She was very fortunate to have made friends with Ronald and Harry and eventually Draco. If you have ever noticed, Hermione is still shy in unfamiliar situations, but she is a Gryffindor and she weathers through it. I know you can, too."
"Do you want me to be in Slytherin?" she asked, suddenly timid. Eowyn knew how much both her parents valued Slytherin, despite its once dark reputation.
"It honestly does not matter to me which house you are sorted in. What matters is that you are happy." Snape had a very strong suspicion that Eowyn would wind up in Ravenclaw. She was incredibly intelligent, hence her love of books. She would do well in Slytherin, but her quiet nature could be a hindrance. As for Gryffindor, Eowyn did have a spark of the lioness in her where it concerned her younger sisters. She had gotten in rather a few playground fights with bullies that had menaced her siblings growing up. Of course, he had to admit to himself, Eowyn also had a very strong thread of loyalty; she could easily wind up in Hufflepuff.
Eowyn pulled her father's face down so she could kiss his cheek. "Thank you, daddy."
"Better?" She nodded. "Good. Why do you not help me with Headmaster Lupin's batch of Wolfsbane Potion?"
She brightened and slid off Snape's lap. "Can I deliver it to him?"
"You can, but not in the Great Hall." He and Eowyn sat down beside the potion and he removed the stasis spell. "Will you dice the Aconite?" He stirred the potion while Eowyn began to carefully dice the toxic plant.
"So I should go to the Headmaster's office?" she asked.
"Only after you have been sorted and then speak to your Head of House." Oh good Merlin, he gasped inwardly. If she's sorted into Ravenclaw, that means the Mutt will be her Head of House!
After Filius Flitwick lost his life in the final battle, the Battle at Hogwarts, the Board of Governors had offered the position of Head of Ravenclaw to Sirius Black. There had been no qualifying Ravenclaw alumni for the position.
"Daddy, doesn't the Headmaster's office have a password?"
He was still thinking of Sirius Black. Surprisingly, Black had remained, happily enough, in the position of Charms instructor at Hogwarts. Snape always grudgingly admitted the man was a good teacher, but he thought the wizard had an attention deficit disorder that would have him running off around the world or seeking other employment within the year.
Black managed to fall in love with a bookworm that worked at Flourish & Blott's- Mikelina Rickman- and married the lovely woman. Snape rather liked her better than her husband. He and Black still clashed from time to time, but Mikelina- who liked to be called Mikee- was a snarky witch that could engage Snape in verbal discourse that actually had him laughing out loud- to his embarrassment- from time to time. Mikelina, though, balanced Black and brought out his better qualities- that was according to Lyrica. Snape refused to admit that Black had any better qualities, except for the fact he didn't have fleas!
"You have one minute to put in the crushed Bloodroot."
"Oh! Thank you, my girl." He put in the needed ingredient, watched as the potion went from a gray sludge to brilliant turquoise and then turned down the flame. "Did you ask me another question?"
"I did. Does Headmaster Lupin's office have a password?"
"Your Head of House will give it to you if it is needed," he replied.
"Eowyn! Are you down there with your father?" Lyrica called down the stairs from the second floor of Billeghdonn Manor.
"Yes, mum!" she called back.
Lyrica was soon at the door to the lab. She smiled at her husband then gave her daughter a slightly severe look. "Harry and Draco are here to see you. I thought I asked you to wait in the sitting room for your guests," she scolded lightly.
"I had to talk to daddy and he needed help with Remus' Wolfsbane Potion."
Lyrica glanced knowingly at Snape and he nodded in acknowledgement. Lyrica had also been worried for Eowyn and hoped that at some point their daughter might go and speak to him.
"Severus, is the potion almost through?" she asked.
"I just need to add the Aconite my assistant," he gave Eowyn a quick wink and she grinned in reply, "is finishing up and then I need to set it to simmer overnight. We'll be up..."
There was a loud bang from somewhere upstairs followed by a squeal and laughter. Without a word, Lyrica Apparated to the disturbance. Father and daughter glanced at each other and both said at the same time, "Arwen!"
Arwen Minerva Snape was a coal-eyed, auburn-haired, hellion. She was, in her father's words, 'a cherubic menace'. In her short seven years she had broken almost every breakable in Billeghdonn Manor with the exception of the stain glass front door that led to the second floor of the oddly constructed manor. Snape had put a breakable/repairable duplicate in its place and had carefully hidden away the fragile, expensive door at Ashmere.
There were many things that Snape let his youngest get away with, but her pranks often stretched the limits of his patience and out of his three daughters with Lyrica, Arwen had gone over her father and mother's knee more than Eowyn or Guinevere ever had. The little monster had also been the only child to receive a three swat spanking from King Henry for flying her broom around the chandelier in the foyer of Ashmere. This stunt she performed only after someone (Ron Weasley) had told her the story of what happened to the original chandelier.
Arwen was now over her mother's knee getting five sharp smacks, and right in front of her big brothers. One brother, Harry, was covered with a sticky, greenish glop that Luna, while laughing, was Scourgifying from her husband.
"Apologise," her mother ordered sternly.
Arwen sniffled unhappily and rubbed her sore bottom through her white pinafore and blue dress. "I'm sorry you were attacked by my flying Glop Ball, Harry." She then grinned cheekily. "It was s'posed to attack Draco!"
"Arwen!" snapped Lyrica. With the laughter of her adult sons and daughters-in-law, Lyrica gave up trying to punish her youngest any further.
Draco sniggered. "I should have known from that smell it was a Glop Ball. I've confiscated a few of those in Potions class."
Hermione was on the sofa holding a small bundle. Beside her was the Snapes middle daughter, Guinevere. Gwenny, as she was nicknamed, held a second, small bundle. Guinevere looked the most, of all three daughters, like her mother. Her hair was slightly wavy and was a darker auburn than Arwen's. Her eyes were also a very dark green. Her height, which made her half a foot taller than Eowyn, she had inherited from her father.
"My," asked Draco, "didn't you set one of those Glop Balls on Sirius last term?"
Lyrica's eyes widened. "Did you really do that?"
Hermione chuckled. "I did! It was during the Halloween Ball and Mikee was trying to get him to dance with her."
Harry interrupted, "Oh, he's a terrible dancer."
Hermione agreed. "He truly is, but he honestly owed Mikee the Midnight dance and he was being such an immature prat, that I just had to do it."
"What did Mikee do?" asked Lyrica with interest.
Harry, Draco, and Luna all laughed. Hermione replied, "Siri was all covered in orange glop and Mikee dragged him out onto the floor, danced with him..."
Harry finished, "And then she kissed him so hard, he was left in the middle of the dance floor. A kiss-dazed, drunken, Glop-splattered wizard."
In the midst of all the laughter, a deep baritone intruded, "No doubt it was a great improvement on the Mutt's looks." Snape was greeted by his sons and then Hermione and Luna.
He made his way over to Hermione and leaned over, "There are my beautiful grandchildren!" he glanced meaningfully back at Luna and Harry, who had not begun work on their family.
Hermione handed her son, Galahad, to his grandfather. Snape carefully brushed his fingers over the small head of pale gold curls. Galahad's tiny fist curled tightly around his grandfather's index finger. "Very strong grip he has," marvelled Snape.
Draco moved to stand beside his father and look down upon his son. "He and Gemma have finally begun to sleep through the night."
Snape glanced at Draco and smirked, "You are looking much better rested. I have the recipe for the Teething Salve I used on the girls put aside for you. It won't be long before you need that."
Draco chuckled and took his son. "Thank you, father! At least the twins are free of colic. I don't think either of us could have survived it."
Snape then turned to pick up his granddaughter. "Let me have Gemma, Guinevere," he said softly to his daughter. Guinevere kissed the tiny baby and then let her father take her. As he stroked the soft, warm cheek, Gemma's eyes opened and Snape shook his head. "Gold eyes," he murmured. "I think it's been decades since any witch or wizard has had golden eyes."
"Make that centuries, my boy," came a cheerful, but old voice.
"Grandpa!" crowed Arwen. "Mummy spanked me!" The little miscreant ran over to her grandfather, hugged him, and then took his free hand.
"Did she now?" Dumbledore laid his hand on the little girl's head.
Arwen giggled. "I glopped Harry."
Albus chuckled. He used an ivory cane to help support himself these days. In moments he was greeted by granddaughters, grandsons, and daughters-in-law.
Harry helped the old ex-Headmaster to a chair. Once Albus was seated he found himself crowded by his favourite grandchild, Minerva McGonagall's namesake.
"Arwen Minerva Snape," growled her father. A squeak answered him and Arwen moved closer to Albus. "Get upstairs to your room and get rid of every single Weasley's product you have. If I find even one Ton-Tongue Toffee, or Glop Ball in this house I'll add ten swats to what you've already had."
"Yes, daddy!" Hands protecting her backside, the little girl sprinted and disappeared up the stairs.
"Albus," interjected Hermione, "you said it had been centuries since a witch or wizard had gold eyes. Who was it?"
Albus motioned to Snape to hand him Gemma. Snape did so, reluctantly. "Perenelle Flamel had gold eyes. It's said that a witch or wizard with golden eyes is destined for great things." Snape snorted and Albus gave the wizard a slightly narrowed, yet still twinkling gaze. "Scoff all you wish, my boy, but the Houses of Hogwarts are finally united because of Hermione and Draco's union."
"Not just theirs," added Draco. "There's Harry and Luna, Neville and Pansy, Vincent Crabbe and Lavender Brown, and..."
Snape held up his hand, "If I don't stop you now, child, you'll recite the whole marriage registry for the last eleven years." A small hand slipped into his and he looked down at Eowyn. He marvelled at how the young girl had already mastered her father's skill at being a shadow. Her step was as silent as she decided it ought to be.
"Daddy, Elly's owl just delivered a letter for you." She handed him the scroll.
At that moment Dobby popped into the sitting room. He clapped his hands together authoritatively. "Wizards, witches! Dobby has dinner ready so yous eat now!" Dobby trotted over to Dumbledore and then glanced down at little Gemma. "Hullo, little Mistress!" Gemma's hand grabbed the elf's long finger and a large teardrop fell from his bulbous eyes.
"Let me take her, Dobby," interrupted Draco. Hermione had his son, so he divested Albus of Gemma.
Once the baby was in her father's arms, Dobby laced his arm over Albus' and popped him away to the dining room.
Once dinner was finished, they all retired to the sitting room. Snape sat in his old, favourite leather chair by the fire with Arwen snoozing in his arms as he read the letter from Elydree. Hermione and Eowyn were quietly discussing some Transfiguration theory while Luna was weaving a new story for the entertainment of Albus and Guinevere, the latter who was curled up against her side. Harry and Draco were at the game table playing chess. Harry had a sleepy Gemma in his arms.
Draco smiled at his brother cradling his daughter. "When are you and Luna going to start your family, Harry?"
Harry kissed Gemma's tiny forehead. "Soon, I think. My veterinarian business is going well. Your suggestion of setting up office in Diagon Alley was a good one. I've just recently contracted with Eyelops Owl Emporium to keep all their owls certified healthy."
"Are you still taking care of the Gringotts Albino Boarhounds?"
Harry nodded. "And their vault dragon, Hepzibah. The goblins are rather good clients. Glinglut, the manager, has a glowing salamander he's entirely soppy over."
"A soppy goblin?" chuckled Draco.
"It's called Pinky." Both young men laughed. Gemma yawned at the slight disturbance.
"Harry, let me put Gemma down with her brother." Lyrica took her granddaughter from Harry's arms and put the baby into a cradle nearby Hermione. She then returned to her sons.
"Mother," Draco began as Lyrica sat down beside him, "I've been meaning to ask you if you'd speak to Hermione about a Nanny Elf. Every time I bring one home for her to meet, she finds something wrong about it. We have a week before term starts and I can't let her drop them on Madame Pomfrey."
"Don't worry any more about it, Draco. I'll have a Nanny Elf bonded to the twins in two days," she promised.
"Thank you, Mother."
"I thought Madame Pomfrey was retiring this year," asked Harry.
"Oh, she is," explained Draco. "Poppy will be at Hogwarts, though, for the first three months to oversee Pansy. You know, make sure she settles in well."
"I'm so very glad that Pansy decided to go for her Healer's license," remarked Lyrica. "I know she enjoyed being a nurse, but she was assuredly more skilled than that. I expect Neville is pleased that his wife chose to take the position?"
"He is," agreed Draco. "I think they've finally decided to adopt, too."
"That's great," said Harry. "I know Pansy was heartbroken when she found out they couldn't have children last year."
"Neville, too, Harry," added Draco.
At that moment there was a knock upon the door. Draco got up to open the distant front door of the crazy house, and escorted Ron Weasley, with his wife Milli on one arm and his always present lute in the other.
"Hey, everybody!" Ron greeted affably. "Sorry about not making it to dinner but Milli had a late appointment... with her midwife!" Milli blushed as Ron kissed her cheek and they were both instantly surrounded by adults congratulating them.
After they were all settled, and Ron had perched in one of the window seats to begin strumming his lute, Milli was ensconced on a magically widened sofa with Lyrica, Hermione, and Luna monopolising her attention. Draco and Harry returned to their chess game and Snape had settled back into his favourite chair beside Albus. Arwen had not once awakened from her slumber, and now filled her father's lap.
"I am so happy for you, Milli!" gushed Lyrica.
"I thought the Healers were sure you couldn't have children after that curse they found," asked Hermione gently.
Milli replied, "Oh, the Healers were sure of it, but Ron's brother Bill told him about a Healer in Switzerland that is an expert in curse-breaking."
"I knew Ron didn't have just a concert!" laughed Luna. "So you were both up to something else in Switzerland."
Milli's laughter followed that of the other women. "Ron did play in Switzerland. Some Muggle ski resort. They quite liked him and offered him a job at the resort for the entire skiing season."
"Is he going to take it?" asked Lyrica, worriedly thinking of all the snow.
Milli beamed. "It's really quite beautiful and Ron would have the spring and summer to spend with me and the new baby."
The women continued to chatter as both Snape and Albus began to quietly snooze.
After several minutes Snape quickly woke as he felt the weight of Arwen leaving his lap. His wife had picked the little lump up. Lyrica spoke quietly, "I'll put her to bed while you talk to Harry, my dear."
Snape nodded, pulled himself from the very comfortable chair, and indicated with a wave of his hand that Harry was to follow him. Before vanishing with his son, he handed Draco a parchment scroll. "Draco, you might want to read Elydree's letter."
"Is she all right?" he asked. Elydree lived in Giverney, France where she had her painter's studio.
"She's fine. She just accepted her first apprentice."
"Brilliant!" Draco opened the letter and smiled at his sisters elegant hand and the purple ink she preferred. He did not see Harry and his father leave the sitting room.
My dearest family,
Six months in Giverney and already I am thinking I might wish to stay forever. The Muggle side of Giverney is beautiful, but the wizarding side is a true, hidden jewel. I sometimes feel bad that the Muggles cannot see it. They do have Monet's home and his gardens to enjoy, so I suppose that is compensation enough.
I hope Eowyn forgives me for not coming to her Hogwarts party, but I promise to visit at the end of September. I've written to Headmaster Lupin in regards to speaking to the NEWT level students about the Guild of Artists. Although I understand the secrecy required behind many of the moving painting techniques, especially towards portraiture, I still find it shocking that our number is so small. The magic aside, the wizarding world is in need of more artists! My Mentor, Tisania who argued with me at length, as I'm sure you remember father, has now decided to support me. My dream of having an art school is much closer to being a reality.
All of that aside, I do have an exciting announcement to make; I have been permitted to accept my first apprentice! This is truly an honour as I am now considered the youngest Guild Artist to be allowed to take on an apprentice. She is an exceptionally gifted young girl who attends Beauxbaton. Juliet Ontveen.
By the by, have you ever heard of the Tri-Wizard Tournament? Her older brother, Carlyle, is a governor on the Board of Beauxbaton and is making waves at the moment in an attempt to revive this old game. I read some history about it and it seems a horrid, barbaric sport. I cannot believe that children as young as thirteen were allowed to participate. As Carlyle is considering soliciting the cooperation of other schools, I'm inclined to write to Remus and encouraging him to...
Draco glanced up from the letter and scowled. He looked about for his father, but didn't see him. "Hermione? How old's Lupin?"
"Forty-six," she replied promptly. Hermione knew everyones birthday, age, anniversary, and favourite colour. "Why do you ask?"
"Have you noticed that Elydree's last couple of letters she kept slipping up and calling the Headmaster by his first name. She's also writing to him a bit too much," he groused, staring down at his sister's letter.
Hermione smiled cheekily. "You don't think she still has a crush on him, do you?"
"Still?" he asked in outrage. "When did she ever have a crush on the werewolf?"
"What girl didn't?" asked Luna. "He always looked so sweet in his tweed robes."
"Sweet, my eye. Elydree better not EVER have had a crush on him," he asserted through gritted teeth.
Hermione gave him a warning look. "You had better not be saying that because he's a werewolf, Draco."
Draco's jaw dropped in shock. "What? No! No, Hermione, I didn't mean to imply that. What I'm concerned about is the fact that he's over 20 years older than Elydree!"
"Considering the fact that Elydree is of age, love, it's none of your business whom she has affection for," Hermione said. "Besides, I thought Remus rather had a fancy for the DADA instructor."
"Harry?" Harry followed his father out of the sitting room and into the parlour. "Do you have the surprise for Eowyn ready?"
"Sure, dad. I put it down in the lab. Let me go get it and then when mum gets back, we'll present it to her."
"Perfect." Snape suddenly put a hand on his son's shoulder. "This is going to mean a lot to Eowyn."
Harry smiled. "She's been worried, hasn't she?"
Snape sighed and nodded. "I worry about her. Eowyn is so much like me when I was her age..."
Over the years, Harry had learned more about Snape's rough childhood under the harsh hand of his father, Tobias Snape. With Harry's encouragement, Snape had reconciled with the last of the Marauders. Remus Lupin had become someone Snape was able to call friend. Snape and Sirius though, did much better at tolerating each other, but they could still manage to get into spectacular shouting matches full of creative insults. More important, though, was that any hard feelings Snape once had towards the teenage James Potter he finally let go.
Harry squeezed his father's forearm. "Eowyn's a lot stronger than she looks, dad. She'll be all right. And, she does have Draco, Hermione, Neville, Pansy, Sirius, and even Remus to watch over her, not to mention the ghosts and practically all the portraits."
Snape's hand cupped son's cheek affectionately. "Thank you, Harry."
"I'll be back in a few minutes, dad." He turned away, towards the lab and Snape went back into the sitting room.
A few minutes later, Harry returned to the sitting room carrying a white soapstone box with jade hinges. Snape cleared his throat to get everyone's attention. When all eyes were on him, Harry spoke.
"Eowyn, dad and I talked a few weeks ago, just after you received your Hogwarts letter. I think this is going to help ease a lot of your worries." He held out the box towards the girl.
Hermione nudged Eowyn off the sofa and the child walked towards her brother, her pale green eyes full of curiosity. Carefully lifting the lid, she looked into the box and let out a gasp of surprise.
"What is it?" asked Draco.
Harry waved his hand so the box was now floating in mid-air. A moment later he then lifted out a serpent about twelve inches in length. It was black with an opalescent pearl underside and eyes that were deep, cobalt blue.
Eowyn took the serpent. "Is it Kalima's baby?" she asked softly.
Harry nodded. "He doesn't have a name, yet, so you'll have to find a suitable one for him."
"Eowyn, do you remember what I taught you about Nagas?" asked Snape.
"They give their owners the gift of Parseltongue and will protect them with magic." She smiled at Harry and then her father. "He's beautiful, daddy. Thank you, Harry. Will you thank Kalima for me? And let her know, I'll take very good care of her son."
"I will, Eowyn. The box has a built in warming charm, but if you want him to sleep with you at night, it's up to you." Harry handed the box over to his little sister. The little girl put the Naga back into its box. Her head was already filling with possible names for the serpent.
"Put him by the fireplace, Eowyn," directed her father. "I think there are more surprises ahead."
Eowyn did so and then looked around at everyone. Hermione stood up, unshrunk a prettily wrapped gift, and gave it to the little girl. "From Draco and I."
Her eyes shining, she quickly opened the gift to find a beautiful, hand-tooled leather bound journal. "Oh thank you!" She went and hugged Hermione tightly and then ran over to Draco and hugged him as well. As she went back over to her father, she wrapped her arms around Harry's waist and gave him a squeeze. "I should hug you, too."
Harry laughed. "You're welcome, sis."
"Come over here, Eowyn," beckoned Luna. She held out a slim, long box of shiny blue to the little girl. "When Hermione told me what she and Draco were having made for you, I went and spoke to a friend of mine and had this made for you to go with your journal."
Snape's daughter excitedly opened the box to reveal a phoenix feather quill pen with a gold nib.
"Luna!" gasped Harry astonished by the gift.
Snape also gasped. "Is that from Fawkes?" He glanced over at Albus.
"I knew nothing about that, my boy," smiled Albus. "That cantankerous old bird must have a soft spot for you, my dear Luna."
"Oh Albus! Fawkes is a sweet bird," asserted Luna. She was interrupted by a strong hug from Eowyn.
"Thank you, Luna!" Luna kissed Eowyn's forehead and smoothed her hair. The pale woman waved her hand over Eowyn's head and tiny, silvery blue pixies grasped handfuls of the little girl's hair and darted about weaving the strands into a beautiful cap of braided hair. They vanished once finished and the little girl giggled.
"Those weren't Dour Pixies, Luna!"
"Mmm, no, I'm fairly certain they weren't." Luna tapped her lower lip. "Maybe they were Eowyn Pixies."
Eowyn leaned against her sister-in-law. "Will you teach me that someday?"
Luna touched her forehead to the little girl's and smiled dreamily, "Someday... is today. Ready?" Eowyn's eyes sparkled as she nodded. "Close your eyes... now touch the Old Magic... there you go... put all your joy of this day into your fingertips..."
"They tingle," Eowyn whispered. "Now what?"
"Open your eyes, and wherever you want the pixies, wave your hands."
Eowyn drew in a deep breath, smiled at her father, and then waved her hands towards him. A flurry of shiny, blue-black pixies swirled around Snape and vanished before he had a chance to swat at them.
"Luna!" he snapped. He'd been in conversation with Lyrica and Draco. "I've asked you before not to set those blasted pixies on me!" He scowled at his daughter-in-law who only smiled enigmatically at him.
"I did it, daddy! Those are Daddy Pixies!" Eowyn trotted over and jumped up into his arms. Her father caught her. "Luna taught me."
Snape smiled at his daughter and then rolled his eyes at Luna. "Thank you, my dear, Luna."
"My pleasure, Severus." Luna broke into a gale of laughter.
Milli then motioned Eowyn over to her and Ron, now both seated in his preferred window seat. Eowyn went over and Ron handed her a rather large box wrapped in silvery green paper. They both watched as Eowyn sat down on the floor and quickly ripped the paper off and took off the lid to reveal a wooden box of white pine polished to a bright and smooth sheen. She lifted the lid to reveal a funny little thing that looked like a polished, enamelled black potato with holes in it. Eowyn held it up, frowned at it, and then followed it as it rose from her hand and up into the air. Everyone was watching as the little black potato flew leisurely about the sitting room until it stopped in mid-air. A beautiful, haunting tune began to play from it. Eowyn was thoroughly enchanted.
"An ocarina! Oh, Uncle Ron, Auntie Milli!" Eowyn hugged them both and when King Henry popped into sudden, solid form, the ocarina in his hand and at his mouth, she hugged the royal ghost.
"Eowyn, would you mind if Harry makes a little announcement?" asked Luna.
"Is it good news?" asked the little girl who now had the ocarina in her hands as she now was seated in her father's lap.
Harry went to sit beside Luna. He had a rather smug smile on his face as his father eyed him critically. "I hope it's good news." Harry glanced at Luna and she nudged him lovingly. "Luna's pregnant."
The sitting room, which had been hushed, exploded with the noise of congratulations from everyone. Eowyn scrambled to a corner before she was squashed by some errant well wisher.
Eowyn walked into the Great Hall with the other first years. She'd seen the Great Hall many times before, but somehow it seemed to be more brilliant than ever it was. When she finally stopped gawking at all the floating candles and the millions of stars reflected upon the enchanted ceiling, she looked up towards the staff table.
Headmaster Remus Lupin, his sandy brown hair much greyer than it once was, sat in a tall, Arthurian throne, resplendent in maroon coloured, velvet robes. To his left sat Sirius Black, who taught Charms and was also the Head of Ravenclaw. There was white peppering his black, shoulder length hair, but still he grinned at all the first years, clearly remembering his own first year at Hogwarts. Beside him sat his wife, who nudged him and discretely pointed out Eowyn. They both smiled at her. Next to the Blacks were the Malfoys, Hermione and Draco. Hagrid sat at the left end of the table beside Hermione and was doing a fair imitation of being a sophisticated professor- until he knocked over Hermione's water glass.
Seated to the Headmaster's right were the Longbottoms, Neville and Pansy. Neville taught Herbology and Pansy, now a Healer, would soon be taking charge of the Hogwarts Infirmary.
There were a couple more teachers, but Eowyn didn't recognise them. She also wasn't familiar with the Deputy Headmistress, a witch of average height and coffee coloured skin. The little girl wondered if this was the witch that had taken over Defence Against the Dark Arts three years ago. Eowyn sort of hoped so. All the adults she knew talked highly of the DADA teacher who was as competent, if not better than, Lupin.
Someone pushed Eowyn forward towards the filthy Sorting Hat. She walked like a condemned person approaching the hangman's noose. She stopped at the tall stool.
"Up on the stool, Miss Snape!" whispered the Deputy Headmistress. She gave the little girl an encouraging smile.
Eowyn climbed up, a bit awkwardly, onto the stool and was immediately plunged into musty darkness.
"Ahh, a Snape," purred the Hat. "I've been waiting to sort you."
Eowyn shivered. "Why?"
"The Snapes are a complicated sort; rather an interesting challenge. I still wonder if I shouldn't have put your father in Gryffindor instead of Slytherin."
"What? He would have hated that!"
"It was one possibility, child. As was Ravenclaw. If anything, you're rather more of a challenge than dear old dad, aren't you? Loyal, clever, studious, courageous. You'd do well in any House, I daresay."
For an uncomfortably long breath, the Hat was silent except for intermittent humming. Eowyn was gripping the edge of the stool so hard with her hands that they were beginning to cramp. Finally, the Hat seemed to come to a decision.
"Well, then, Eowyn Snape. I've decided to do with you what I did with Severus Snape..."
"What was that?" she asked timorously.
"The decision is yours, child. Choose wisely, for it is a decision once made that cannot be unmade."
Eowyn felt her heart leap into her throat. She desperately wanted to throw off the stupid hat and run away home. She couldn't do that, though. Taking a deep breath, she whispered her choice to the Hat.
Within moments, the Sorting Hat shouted, "Ravenclaw!"
The light was back as the Hat was lifted off her head. Eowyn felt a little dazed, but at the welcoming applause from the Ravenclaw table, she smiled and slid off the stool and over to the students who smiled back, greeted her, and enfolded her warmly. In her heart, she knew she'd made the perfect decision. She couldn't wait to owl her parents.
Dear Mummy and Daddy,
I know I should have written the night I arrived at Hogwarts, but there was just so much going on, that I forgot. I am in Ravenclaw and I really do like it here. The common room is so peaceful and they have their own library and study chamber beneath the tower. It once belonged to Rowena Ravenclaw and was her workroom.
I have made two friends, Danice MacGregor and Elena Mimbrose. They are two of the girls that share a dorm with me. The other girl, Annie, is really, really shy and cries a lot. I talk to her a lot and I think she'll become my friend, too.
The Deputy Headmistress is the Defence Against the Dark Arts teacher and she is brilliant! Her name is Professor Manisha Kapoor. I think Headmaster Lupin might like her. He smiles at her an awful lot. Just the same way grandpa smiled at grandma Minerva. Maybe you shouldn't tell Elydree about that.
Daddy, don't worry about Professor Black being my Head of House. He's really quite good. He's had tea with all the first years, including me, though we got a little silly since he's known me since I was a baby. He makes all the students in his house get physicals. There are two first years I think don't have such nice home lives. He said he got the idea of the physicals and the tea interviews from you. Pansy... I mean Madame Longbottom, is really great! She's strict, but she's nice, too. A little nicer than I think Madame Pomfrey is, but don't let her know I said that.
Professor Black is really good at Charms, too. He can be a little odd in class, but I've heard some of the older students say that he's as weird as Professor Flitwick used to be.
One thing I don't like, and I can't believe it's me saying this, but he's brutal about essays! I can do them, but I think he uses more red ink than ever you did, daddy!
Hermione is terrific. She's really smart in Transfiguration and she gets everyone involved in discussions. I think I'm going to do well in her class. She knows how to explain things so they make sense.
Here's my other... hm, dislike. Draco's just like YOU, daddy. He's called the 'pale snake of the dungeons'. And that's one of the nicer ones I've heard. He can be real mean, sometimes. He shouts. And he definitely uses some of your insults. I saw a little book on his desk one day called Death By Snape. Have you ever heard of it? Draco wouldn't let me see it when I visited on the weekend, the prat.
Oh. I'm sure Draco's already told you about my only point loss for Ravenclaw so far. I called him a prat in class. I swear though, mum and daddy, that it was by accident! I just got mad at the way he was treating this one Hufflepuff. The little boy is scared of Draco. Maybe you ought to say something to him?
The good thing is that Draco does answer questions and he helps us with problems with our potions. So, maybe I want to kick his shins once in awhile, but I'll do well in his class, too.
Remus, I mean Headmaster Lupin, let me into his office to see all the portraits and I was so happy that Phineas still remembered me! Remus gave me a small frame that I have on my bedside table so Phineas can visit me. Also, the Bloody Baron asked how you and mum were doing, daddy. He says Hogwarts just isn't right without you. He told me that he and King Henry play chess regularly. I never knew that! Did either of you? Peeves is running away from me. ha ha!
Oh! Daddy, Remus asked me to make sure I let you know he thanks you for the Wolfsbane Potion. He's going to send you his journal on the elixir you had him testing.
Grandpa Albus, I really miss you. Will you let Grandma Minerva's portrait know I'm all right and miss her, too? I'll write you a letter separately. You ought to have it in a day or two.
I hope Arwen hasn't blown up anything and is behaving as much as she can. Give her kisses for me. Kisses, too, for Gwenny. My sisters are loud, but I love them and I miss them.
I can't wait to see you in a couple of weeks. I wish it were for longer than lunch, but it will be fun to show you my room and everything. I'm really glad Remus created Parents Day.
Phineas is telling me to go to bed. Can he do that? Anyway, I guess I am a little tired, so I'll say goodnight.
All my love,
Snape looked down in bemusement at his wife as he heard a small sniffle. "Lyrica, are you crying?"
"Our little girl is growing up too fast, Severus," she sighed.
He drew his wife closer to his side and kissed her forehead. "I know. Soon, she's going to be too big to curl up in my lap. Do you think she might stop hugging me?"
Lyrica smiled reassuringly. "Little girls never stop hugging their fathers, so you don't need to worry about that. However, she might not let you hug her in front of her friends, so don't get offended if that happens."
"I shall keep that in mind. I suppose Eowyn will go through the same teenage angst that Elydree went through?" he asked with a grimace.
"Get used to it, husband. You've two more daughters who will be teenagers far too soon."
He rolled his eyes. "Merlin save me!"
"If I recall, Severus, you decreed that daughters were much better than boys. Be careful what you wish for." She laughed.
"Indeed." Her drew Lyrica closer and began to kiss her. She wrapped her arms around him giving in most willingly to this wizard she loved so much. Had they been allowed, they would have stayed on the sofa kissing forever, but two, very awake and rambunctious little girls attacked them both, and soon the sofa was the site of an impromptu tickling fest.
With an armful of daughter, Guinevere this time, Snape let out a deep thrum of laughter accompanied by a smile he never thought he'd be able to show anyone. Free from the darkness of his past, the fears and doubts, and finally broken away from the cold façade that kept him alive amidst evil for so long, Severus Snape was blessed more ways than he could number. He had his happy ending, all due to a detention and a trip back in time.