AN: Here it is…the final chapter. This story has been my companion for nearly a year. Thanks for waiting so patiently for it. I hate to let this story go, but every good thing must end. Here be (mostly) Happy Endings. One last time…everything you recognize belongs to JKR. I just re-arrange things when she isn't looking.
His 'Welcome Speech' was familiar after so many years. The Great Hall was largely unchanged from when he had first entered as a scrawny eleven year old, or the first night he donned his teaching robes…or when he became headmaster…or rather either time he became headmaster. It showed a vision of the night sky, constellations winking brightly from the enchanted ceiling while the candles floated above the attentive students.
As his speech drew to a close, Severus caught Hermione's eye and she gave him a tiny smile of encouragement.
"Finally, on a personal note: Hogwarts has been home to many a young witch and wizard over the years, but few have spent as many years in these halls as I have." Bright eyes looked up from the familiar house tables. Severus gave the children a small smile. No would recognize him at the sneering potions master now.
"As I said, many, many years. And it gives me a great deal of pleasure to announce that after due consideration, and with the knowledge that our eldest great-great grandchild will begin Hogwarts next year…my wife and have decided that a quiet retirement is in order."
He waved off the noise of disappointed whispers. He motioned for quiet and the children obeyed.
"The board of Governors has already approved a familiar face to fill the position of headmaster…and I expect that you will show Professor Severus H. Malfoy the proper respect." Severus glanced at his namesake, his eldest grandson. The younger man resembled him (he had the Malfoy coloring from his father, but had inherited Hermione's curls and Severus' nose). The boy was much beloved by the students. He'd been the Defense teacher for fifteen years.
Severus beamed at the students as they clapped politely. "Enough talk of goodbyes. We have one last year of controlled chaos before we take our leave, and you have studies tomorrow. Of to bed…all of you."
The children grinned and exited the hall. The other professors were congratulating the future headmaster, and so Severus and Hermione took the opportunity to slip away unnoticed.
He held her hand as they climbed the stairs to their quarters.
She looked at him out of the corner of her eye. "You are going to miss it."
His wife still had bushy hair, snow-white now, and she was more delicate than she had once been. His own hair had turned the color of Christmas tinsel…something of a surprise, but Hermione claimed she liked it, and he couldn't care less what anyone else thought.
Severus kissed Hermione's hand as they walked onto the landing . "Sev will do well as headmaster, and he deserves his chance. He's older than I was when I became headmaster…at least the first time." He opened the door and she preceded him into the rooms.
Dumbledore and Minerva McGonagall's portraits waved from their frames as they passed through the office and through a faux-wall into their private quarters.
Severus stopped his wife and kissed her softly. "I will miss the castle, but I am taking the greatest treasure in it with me."
She batted at his chest and smiled up at him.
He didn't relent. "Even after all these years, you still take my breath away."
She dimpled. "Flatterer. Don't you have any propriety? I am someone's great-great grandmother."
Severus pulled her close and smelled the familiar scent of her hair. "Even after four children, twelve grandchildren, twenty-eight great-grandchildren, and six great-great grandchildren, you are still the most alluring creature on the planet."
She kissed him with a look that said she didn't quite believe him…but she knew he meant every word.
"We still have one last year at Hogwarts…let's make the most of it."
She kissed him softly. "We always do, love."
Ok since that little bit didn't entirely satisfy my curiosity, I'm going to write up something of what happened to certain characters.
Severus and Hermione Snape: Became the first co-headmasters of Hogwarts after Minerva McGonagall retired, had a large and extremely magical family that married into practically every magical line on the British Isles. Their four children, (Isobel, Eileen, Reginald, and Frederick) were wildly successful in their chosen fields, and they grew quite wealthy in the era of peace and prosperity that followed the two Voldemort wars. Severus and Hermione were the best-loved and most respected heads of Hogwarts that had ever filled that position. They left a legacy of peace and knowledge that was later known as the first Golden Age of the Wizarding World.
Harry and Ginny Potter lived a long and happy life together, and managed NOT to freak out when their only daughter Lily married Draco Malfoy's eldest son Scorpius. The same could not be said for Severus when his younger daughter Eileen married Septimus Malfoy.
James Potter fully realized the potential of being a genetic combination of the original James Potter and the Weasley Twins. Thankfully Ginny Potter took after her mother in parenting skills, so James survived Hogwarts. He became the finest chaser in the history of England while his younger brother Albus broke Victor Krum's record for consecutive Snitch catches…by over 29 games. England dominated the world cup for nearly two decades. Lilly Malfoy nee Potter became head of the Auror department after her father retired. She eventually became Chief Sorceress of the Wizengamot.
Draco Malfoy married a muggle barista named Katherine, and it was hard to say which trait his father found more distressing: the fact that she was a muggle or the fact that she'd grown up working for a living. The former Death Eater's attitude changed completely with the birth of six magically-gifted grandchildren, reinvigorating the Malfoy line.
Lucius became the leading advocate for Muggle/Wizard relations. Harry Potter arrested him twice for threatening Wizards for bullying half-bloods and Muggle-borns during the years his grandchildren were at Hogwarts. The irony was lost on no one.
Narcissa Malfoy frequently clashed with her muggle daughter-in-law, but once hexed a wizard's tongue off for being rude to her. When pressed about the issue she looked down her aristocratic nose and stated, "Katherine Malfoy might be a Muggle, but she's family."
Harry Potter let Narcissa off with a warning.
Ronald Weasley beat his addiction, won the Quidditch world cup three times as Captain of various teams, and opened the Weasley Place, a treatment facility for witches and wizards suffering from addiction and/or trauma. He invested heavily in Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes and retired a very wealthy wizard. He needed to be: Ron married French vela and had twelve daughters. Molly was ecstatic.
Neville Longbottom and Luna Lovegood married and had three children. Neville taught herbology at Hogwarts until Minerva McGonagall retired and then he opened a series of successful apothecaries. Luna ran the Quibbler until her father died, and then she sold it to her business partner, Dennis Creevy. She and Neville never found the Crumple-horned Snorkrack, but they enjoyed looking for it all over the world.
Dennis Creevy also bought the Daily Prophet. Readers everywhere rejoiced because the paper started printing actual news instead of blatant propaganda.
Rita Skeeter wrote biographies of both Harry Potter and Severus Snape that were met with near-total disgust by the entire Wizarding world. Blacklisted from any reputable work in the field of journalism, she moved to South America in disgrace and changed her name to Margarita Skeeter. When she tried to use her animagus powers in the jungles of Brazil however, she was devoured by a carnivorous plant.
Minerva eventually retired form Hogwarts and amused herself with spoiling her godchildren; Severus and Hermione's children were exceedingly fond of her. Three of the four eventually became animagi because of her influence, with one son preferring Severus' raven cloak. Poppy, Flitwick, and Minerva lived in a seaside cottage together once they retired. Minerva found it a bit stifling so she spent her time traveling and writing a tell-all biography of her years at Hogwarts. Former minister of Magic Cornelius Fudge had an apoplectic fit when he read his advance copy, and spent the rest of his life in St. Mungo's next to Gilderoy Lockhart.
Pansy Parkinson went into the Ministry as a low-level clerk and eventually became last head of the Department of Regulation Control of Magical Creatures before the department was disbanded. She married George Weasley and had three daughters: Violet, Wisteria, and Laurel, and a son they named Fred. Pansy retired when Freedom of Magic Act was passed in 2037, after lobbying relentlessly for the bill.
Wendell D. Hindenburg III: Choked on a pickled herring.
The Australian Minister of Magic could never prove that Severus Snape had cursed him…because Severus used an impotence potion unknown to any but the most accomplished Potion Masters. The Minister lost the next election, and soon found himself selling used brooms and illegal time turners in dodgy areas of Sidney. He was caught and sentenced to living as a muggle for three years in Los Angeles as punishment, where he found some small success in reality TV. He died on set after an overdose of Viagra.
If George Weasley DID have pictures of Kingsley in heels and pearls, said pictures were never recovered.
Arthur Weasley served three terms as Minister of Magic, but was forced to retire when he was hit by a limerick linguist's curse of uncertain origin. Molly was able to lift it, but in reality, Arthur was ready to spend his time tinkering in his shed full of illegal muggle technology and play with his grandchildren.
Yeti Uvula remained a Class 5 non-tradable substance until Harry Potter's first term as Minister of Magic.
St Mungo's never did get a treatment plan for PTSD.
Teddy Lupin married Victorie Weasley: All three of their children were Metamorphmagi. All three attended Hogwarts during Severus and Hermione's tenure as co-headmasters. Severus initiated a foreign exchange program with Durmstrang just to get the youngest Lupin out of Hogwarts for a year. Hermione firmly seconded the notion.
No word on what Durmstrang headmaster Viktor Krum thought once the little troublemaker arrived.
AN: There…I think I tied nearly everything up. Much love for those of you who stayed with me for the entire story. It's been great fun.