Disclosure: JK Rowling created and rightfully owns Harry Potter. I simply aim to give you a few happy minutes when you need a break from real life, as we imagine our favorite book characters living on past Deathly Hallows.
Epilogue: September's Transformation
"You look like shit," Lauren said. She leaned on Samuel as they walked slowly toward Hermione and Severus.
"Well, that's an improvement over your first opinion of me," Hermione said, as she smiled at Lauren.
Severus shook Samuel's hand and then hugged Lauren. "How are you?" Severus asked as they sat down at a table in the Portkey Office.
"Miserable. We're glad to be back, though," Lauren replied, looking at Samuel, who nodded. She then looked at Hermione. "I'm the one who was crucioed. Why do you look as bad as I do?"
"Be nice," Severus chided. "She's been up all night brewing for you."
"For me?" Lauren asked, looking at the dark circles under Hermione's eyes.
"Yes," Hermione answered, reaching into the pocket of her robe and drawing out a small purple vial. "This is a potion to help with the cruciatus spasms."
"They make her sick," Samuel explained when Lauren shook her head.
"I know," Hermione replied. "It seems that the normal potion works well for wizards, but it makes witches horribly nauseous. Yes?" she asked kindly.
Lauren nodded. "And you made a potion for witches?" When Hermione nodded and smiled proudly, Lauren turned to Severus. "Did you help, Severus?"
"No. The old potion works fine," he deadpanned, which received glaring looks from both Hermione and Lauren.
Lauren took the vial from Hermione and swallowed it. After a moment, Lauren visibly relaxed. "Much better. Thank you, Granger."
"Granger?" Hermione asked, incredulous. She laughed and looked at Severus. "You did tell her in your letters that I am a nice person, right?"
"Those must have been the letters she never received," Severus teased. "Trust me, that's the nicest name for you yet!"
They all laughed.
"Yes, well," Lauren began, "I promised Severus that I would be nice to you, seeing as you two are tying the knot in three months."
Hermione laughed. "I also expanded our flat and put in a second bathroom, complete with a huge sunken bathtub," Hermione teasingly bribed Lauren.
"Oh, Merlin, Severus! You even taught her to raise just one eyebrow. I guess it's love," Lauren said in a voice of mock disgust.
Severus chuckled. "At this moment, I'm glad you and Samuel only need to stay with us for one week. I'm not sure I can handle two strong-willed females in one house. Samuel, we are severely outnumbered."
Samuel groaned playfully, and Hermione rolled her eyes at Severus.
"Are we even going to see you this week?" Lauren asked. "Or are you two still brewing around the clock?"
"No," Hermione began, "things are much better at St. Mungo's. We're even going to take a day off while you and Samuel are here."
Lauren raised her eyebrows in surprise. "How? Did you hire new village idiots?"
Severus laughed. "No; no village idiots this time. Hermione and I talked to the Chief Healer and in June, we started a medicinal potions program for students just out of school, or people who wanted to change careers. We had six people sign up. Five made it through the program and were hired, so we're almost fully staffed."
"And," Hermione added, "they are grateful to have a job, and don't hate us, so that's a first!"
"It also helps that Minister Shaklebolt's nephew went through the program. For some unknown reason," Severus said innocently, "Hermione and I aren't very interesting to the Daily Prophet anymore and they are leaving us alone."
"That's wonderful," Samuel said solemnly. He then turned to look at Lauren and then back at Severus. "Your brewers aren't the only people that are grateful for your help."
Severus tensed slightly, still unaccustomed to being thanked for his generosity. Hermione squeezed his hand under the table in reassurance.
"Are you two ready to go home?" Hermione asked brightly.
Everyone stood from the table and Severus helped steady Lauren as she rose from her chair. When Hermione was out of earshot, she conspiratorially whispered to Severus, "Damn you, Severus!"
"What?" he asked darkly, chuckling.
"I like her," Lauren replied, scowling, taking Severus' arm for support.
Hermione and Samuel walked ahead to the apparition point in the Portkey Office as Hermione told Samuel that she would take him to the flat via side-along apparition, and Severus would bring Lauren.
Severus looked fondly at Hermione as he walked slowly, supporting Lauren. "Me, too."
Severus and Lauren watched as Hermione and Samuel waved back at them and disapparated with a loud crack.
Just as Severus was about to twist them into nothingness, he looked at Lauren and smiled, "And to think, I have you to thank for Hermione."
The people at the Portkey Office looked to one another in confusion when Lauren's loud exclamation of "Shit!" replaced the usual crack of apparition as Severus and Lauren vanished.
Author's Note: Thank you for reading my story. Thanks for the fun, encouraging, "KISS HER, DAMMIT", insightful, generous reviews that let me know that you're out there having fun right along with me!