Disclaimer:- My plot is mine, however, I neither own nor earn anything from this story.Harry Potter and his world are the intellectual property of J.K. Rowling and her affiliates.
A/N:- Well, here we are again at the final instalment of this re-posted story, it will well and truly be put to rest after this chapter. I hope you enjoy…
Chapter 35 – Moving On
Tomorrow was Severus' birthday and Hermione was determined to make it special. Last night Harry, Draco and Ginny had returned from France, and Hermione had asked Harry if he still had Severus' old Potions book.
He told her he'd stashed it in the Room Of Forgotten Things when the Potions master had become suspicious of his success the year that Slughorn was teaching Potions.
"Do you think you could find it?" she asked him.
"Do you think you could stop him from killing me when he finds out I lied to him and he was right about the book?"
"I'll see what I can do," Hermione promised.
Harry looked at her dubiously, but eventually gave in. "Okay I'll get Dray and Gin to help me look."
"Thanks Harry, you're a legend," Hermione hugged him.
"All right, sis, as long as you remember that you must protect legends from fire-breathing Potions masters."
"I'll remember, see you later," she called as she scurried off before he could change his mind. Besides, she had to floo call the manor to make. Lucius had offered to host the party and she needed to make sure he knew what food she wanted. She was planning Devil's Food cake for dessert, because she knew it was Severus' favourite, and even though he'd told her he'd never eat it in public, this was hardly public. The only people invited were people Severus was comfortable with, well except for Harry and Ginny, and he was getting better about them.
She reflected while she was walking back to Severus' quarters, which was now their shared home that Lucius had been very quiet the last few days. In fact, they hadn't seen him much at all. He had resigned his position at Hogwarts because old Binns had unexpectedly floated out of the woodwork once Dumbledore had died, and she suspected that the blond Slytherin had seen this as his opportunity to leave; especially now Draco had finished and there were no threats against either of them. Teaching had never really been his forte anyway, so he was happy to hand the reins back to the ghost.
Hermione knelt in front of their fireplace and made the call. "Princess," she heard as he answered. "Come through, and we can discuss the arrangements."
As she walked through into Malfoy Manor, Hermione was trying to remember more of what Severus had told her in the letters they had exchanged at the beginning of their friendship. It seemed like such a long time ago now, but it was all still relevant, and she had a plan.
Perhaps she couldn't fit the star gazing in this time, but the fuss she had promised was organised, and they were also going out to a symphony concert, just the two of them, the night after next. She had chosen a concert that featured their favourite Schubert Piano Trio.
Hermione and Lucius sat down with tea and biscuits, and it didn't take long for them to discuss everything that was needed for dinner the following evening. It was at this point that Lucius became uncommonly fidgety. Hermione had never seen him like this. "Is there something wrong, Lucius?"
"Oh… no, what would make you think that?" he asked.
Then she knew something was definitely amiss. "You're positively vibrating nervous energy, what is it?"
His steel grey eyes glanced at her. "Well, I was just wondering… may I invite someone tomorrow night?" he finished in a rush.
"Oh… is it someone Severus knows?"
"Well, actually yes," he responded to her questioning look, and started explaining. "Just after I returned home, I was tidying up the last of Narcissa's affairs, and I had cause to visit her sister Andromeda." He paused and studied the bookshelves for a moment, before he seemed to stop talking and grimaced. "Severus knows about Dromeda, he will tell you what happened," he eyes took on a far away aspect, and then he sighed. "Well it's never too late to right a wrong, I suppose, is it?"
Uncertain if it had been a rhetorical question, Hermione just nodded. "I'm sure it will be fine if she comes," she assured him. She couldn't wait to get the whole story from Severus. "We'll see you tomorrow night," she said excitedly, giving him a quick peck on the cheek, as was her custom, and she was heading back to the floo.
That night when they were sitting together reading, Hermione broached the subject. "I found out today why we haven't seen Lucius lately."
Severus rested his book shut and arched an inquiring eyebrow. "Yes?"
"What do you know about Andromeda, he said you would tell me," her eyes were sparkling with questions.
Severus had just opened his mouth to speak but there was a knock on the door. Sighing, he rose as Hermione moved off his lap and he went to answer it.
Opening the door, he discovered Harry. "Mister Potter, to what do we owe this pleasure?" Harry looked distinctly nervous, and Severus soon heard Hermione racing to the door. Severus especially noticed that she'd guarded her mind, and his eyebrow lowered in question.
"Harry," she said, with more than a little apprehension.
Severus was now seeing red and Hermione could sense it, she knew this was going to sour really quickly if she didn't quantify what was going on.
"You have something for me?" she prompted, seeing Harry appeared to have frozen in place.
"Oh, err… yeah," he glanced nervously at Severus, "we found it."
"Good," Hermione enthused, clapping her hands.
"What in blazes is going on here?" Severus suddenly asked.
"Well I suppose you need to get back to Draco and Ginny," Hermione prompted again, hoping she didn't sound too hurried, and that Harry would just give her the book and leave.
But of course this was Harry Potter, finesse and timing were not his strong points, and he dropped her right in it. "I can't give it to you with…" he didn't say the words, but his glance at Severus was pointed enough for the raven-haired wizard to know he was not wanted.
Hermione was opening her mouth to say that it didn't matter, when Severus suddenly snapped, "Well that's easily solved. Good night." He span on his heel, and in three of his long strides she heard his office door slam.
"Damn," she cursed under her breath. "Thank you for finding it, Harry," she said to her visitor, and held out her hand for the book.
Harry handed the book to her, and then glanced nervously at the closed office door. "Sorry," he muttered, "will you be all right?"
"Yes, Harry, I'll be fine." She couldn't help sounding a little irritated with him. "Thank you again, and good night."
"Night, sis," and he rushed away like the devil was behind him.
Clutching the tattered book in both hands in front of her, Hermione cautiously approached the office door. She had almost reeled when Severus had slammed his formidable shields up against her as he'd walked away. She shivered, not able to sense his mind at all.
Hermione knocked lightly, then realised when there was no answer that he may have cast a silencing spell. Sighing, she knocked again, louder this time.
On the other side of the door, Severus heard her knock and felt her mind; he sensed confusion and hurt, although she was keeping her actual thoughts hidden. He suspected this was because she was angry with him. He sighed and wandlessly opened the door; one glance told him he was right.
Hermione stalked into the room, she somehow insinuated herself between him and his desk. His gaze slowly panned up from the approximate middle of her stomach to her stormy eyes, but he gasped, and they zipped back down to her hands holding the book.
Her still angry eyes followed. She wasn't that upset with Severus, more with Harry for his lack of tact, but it hadn't helped that Severus had stormed off at the first sign of unease, and it certainly had ruined the surprise. She had more presents for him, but this one was special. Hopefully giving it to him would clear up any problems. "Back when we first started to become friends, you told me that you'd had another Advanced Potions book, but it had been lost."
Hermione thrust it forward. "I suspected that I knew where it was, but in order to get it I promised the person involved that I would not let you kill him when you found out that he'd lied to you about having it."
Glancing down at his face, she saw something she'd never expected; tears. Sensing her gaze on him, he spoke in a roughened voice. "Somehow I can't bring myself to be upset you, now I see what you've returned to me. Potter on the other hand, he's know he's alive for the rest of the year." He wiped his eyes and reverently extracted the book from her failing grip. "I suspected he had it, due to Slughorn's bragging about Potter's idea to crush the Sopohorous beans with the blade of the knife. It was Mum's book and I was devastated when I realised my mistake. It had been accidentally collected up with some other copies of the text when I was cleaning up before Slughorn took over for that year. By the time I'd noticed it was missing, it was gone completely."
It had been late when Harry had come to the door, and Hermione heard the clock in the sitting room chime midnight. She stepped forward and drew him to her. "Happy birthday, my love," she whispered, kissing his head. "I have a wonderful weekend planned for you, starting with dinner tonight at the manor."
Severus' arms snaked around her drawing her closer. "I love you," he whispered, as he kissed her jumper clad stomach.
"I love you too," she replied. She heard him place the book on the desk and his hands snuck up under her jumper searching for bare skin. Soon he became frustrated with her clothes and banished them. She snickered softly at him as the cool air hit her and she stood in front of him naked, her soft laughter turned into a moan of desire when she felt his tongue dipping into her navel. Her legs instinctively moved so she was standing astride and she leaned back against his desk.
Severus knew an invitation when he saw one, and his mouth worked its way lower, delivering hot open mouthed kisses until he reached his goal. "Sit on the edge of the desk," he ordered.
Hermione wiggled up so her bottom was perched on the desk, she knew what he wanted and happily obliged, settling her feet on the arms on his chair. She groaned in delight when she then felt his hands push her thighs further open.
After some moments, her panting and mewling little squeals signalled to him that she was nearing her climax, and as soon as she did he stood and buried himself in her.
She squealed in delight, moving her legs so they were wrapped around him. Severus worked like a man possessed. As much as he wanted the moment to last, he knew he would burst from want if it did, and with that thought, Hermione shuddered with a deep guttural groan and he followed.
Dinner the next night was a complete success. Even Harry relaxed to a certain extent when he found that Severus wasn't going to immediately jump over the table at him, although he was chastened when the guest of honour raised an eyebrow and made it clear that the deed would not be forgotten when lessons resumed.
Andromeda was an interesting combination of her two sisters. She was blonde with blue eyes, like Narcissa, but with Bella's curvaceous body, curly hair and hooded eyes. It was obvious to all though that Draco was far from happy about his father's added guest, and especially the attention he was lavishing on her.
Everyone knew why Draco was so put out, he was still grieving for his mother, whom he had shared such a close bond with. His grieve had not yet lost its raw edge, and he saw Andromeda as a ready replacement, which didn't sit well with him. His pout and surliness were the only blemishes on the evening. Hermione wondered if he would ever be comfortable with anyone his father chose, but she hoped he'd eventually see past the hurt and know his father needed someone too.
After their passion filled encounter on his desk last night, Severus had eventually explained to her what had happened between Lucius and Andromeda while they were all at school. She looked at the pair now and shivered at the desolation they must have felt. Hermione couldn't think of anything worse than being denied the one you loved, knowing that his marriage to Narcissa was already arranged and there was nothing he could do.
It appeared that marriage contracts made between the old pure-blood families on behalf of infants were binding, unless irreconcilable differences were found, and love was not such a difference.
Hermione thought back to Severus' exact words. "Andromeda was the youngest daughter (1), and she had been a passionate girl, perhaps not so well suited to Slytherin house," he'd reflected. "It was simple, Lucius and Andromeda fell in love," he shook his head. "It was tragic in a way, to the few of us who knew, they looked to be the perfect couple.
Unfortunately, eventually Narcissa noticed his preference and confided in Bella, who as the oldest, instantly informed their father."
Severus had paused at this point, so Hermione prompted him. "So what happened?"
"Oh yes," he seemed to snap back to the story. "Unbeknown to her family she'd been keeping company with a Ravenclaw muggle-born witch at school, as well as Lucius. Her father summoned her home and told her that Lucius was already taken and she was to marry Arcturus Nott. She was a shell of a girl after that, she even had to endure being a bridesmaid for Narcissa; her family were ruthless with her.
As soon as she could, upon graduating Hogwarts she fled, and when it was discovered that she had escaped into Muggle London with her Ravenclaw friend, her family disowned her, thereby dissolving the marriage contract between her and Nott."
Severus had been very quiet for a while after he'd related all that. Hermione was relaxed against him in the bath, considering how horrible some pure-blood customs were. Fancy having to attend to the witch who was marrying the wizard you loved. It was incredibly sad.
Finally Severus sighed. "I hope they can find what they once had," he'd murmured quietly, and pulled Hermione tighter.
Hermione was pulled from her reveres by the arrival of the cake at the dinner table. All-in-all they had had a wonderful evening. She got up and came around behind Severus, wrapping her arms around him as he had his first experience at blowing out candles. Leaning down she whispered in his ear, "I know you like this cake served with cream, but is it all right if we have the cream in private, later?"
Severus felt his trousers tighten at her suggestion. He had wondered what she was planning with the cans of muggle whipped cream she'd purchased that day. He turned his head and captured her lips. "Certainly," he murmured, attempting to hide his smug smile.
By the time they got home, Severus had many thoughts on how he could enjoy the cream. He'd even swiped a good portion of chocolate frosting to add to his feast, and he made all the arrangement for their encounter. Hermione stood leaning against the door to the bedroom, watching him chuckle as he cast Impervious on the bed. She was so pleased he'd had a good birthday.
Then he was collecting her and undressing her. Hermione showed him how the cans of cream worked by making a sundae of his manhood, before she set about cleaning him. This was all the encouragement he needed, she lay there patiently while he carefully covered her in cream and chocolate frosting. He was very thorough and it tickled, and then it started melting with the heat of her skin. But it was wonderful, the cold of the cream meeting the heat of her skin, then the warm wetness of his tongue collecting the treat.
It wasn't long and she was squealing, panting and groaning in delight. His enthusiasm for the game was wonderful, and she noticed as his tongue swept her body, pausing everywhere he knew she loved his attention and that he had actually made a path on her with the sticky treats.
Eventually they were laughing riotously, and so sticky that they had to settle into a bath, where they finally sated themselves completely after so much fun.
Once term started the months flew quickly. The Easter holidays came and went and Harry and Ginny completed their exams and graduated. Then it was the summer holidays and Lucius whisked them all away to the continent.
Hermione had six months of her apprenticeship under her belt, and Minerva was moving her into the teaching position the next academic year, and merely guiding her progress. After all, she'd had all that tortuous teaching experience in Potions, she knew how a classroom worked and she was sufficiently experienced to only require assistance with the NEWT level classes.
This prompted Severus to ask her a question. They were sitting in a small café in Paris having some alone time, when Severus suddenly went down on one knee. "Hermione you are dearer to me than anything, and my most cherished wish is that you would be my wife. I love you with everything that I am; will you do me that great honour and consent to marry me?"
Hermione was gobsmacked, even though she knew this was the next step for them, never had she expected such a passionate speech, and in public, although granted it was late, and there were few patrons left. She smiled, "Yes Severus, yes, it is also my dearest wish."
She wasn't certain how he managed it, but she suddenly realised she was on this lap and he was sitting where she had been, and they were kissing heatedly in the shadow of the hedge that surrounded the café proper.
Neither of them wanted a big fuss or a fake wedding with lots of hangers on. The only person missing from their closest friends was Minerva, so the next weekend they invited her and Grandma Isobel over for the weekend. Lucius knew of a small chapel near the Malfoy estate, and made inquiry of a minister to perform the ceremony.
It was a glorious summer day, Hermione and Ginny wore simple ankle length dresses, Hermione's was a floaty white pin-tucked cotton and lace dress and Ginny's was similar but a darker champagne colour. They wove summer flowers through their hair and Hermione carried a bouquet of pink cabbage roses with lily-of-the-valley and bluebells.
It was a simple service given by the elderly minister. Harry gave the bride away and afterwards the whole party took open carriages to a sumptuous picnic, feast on the private grounds of Villa Malfoy.
Severus then whisked his bride to Prague, among other things he wanted to show her the Clementinum he loved to visit. He knew that it and the other libraries on the continent would appeal to her bibliophile heart, so they spent ten days exploring library, art galleries, museums and hiding in their hotel rooms exploring each other.
So Hermione returned to Hogwarts for the new academic year with her husband, as assistant Professor Hermione Granger-Snape.
Somewhere within the next year, Hermione finally got Severus and Harry to bury the hatchet completely, and they started to become closer. Of course, this came with many questions from Harry and much apprehension from Severus.
The first time had come with support from Hermione. "Would you like privacy or would you prefer me to be with you?" she inquired, knowing it would be difficult for her very private husband.
"Actually, I'd feel more at ease if you sat in. I have nothing to hide from you," and Severus let out the breath he'd been holding at the thought of meeting Harry alone. "It's one thing to have silently protected someone without them being aware, but it's entirely different having him know and want to question you about it."
Hermione's hand arrived on Severus' thigh, and rubbed soothingly. "I'm here for you, love," she glanced up at his eyes, "always."
So this is how Hermione found herself sitting next to Severus, with Harry on the other lounge. Severus sighed, "So what is it you wish to know, Mr. P-p, err, Harry?"
Harry swallowed nervously. "How long did you know, my mum?"
Severus arched an eyebrow. "I met Lily when I was nine; she lived in the next street."
"Would you show me… err one day?"
"Certainly, but it wasn't a nice neighbourhood. Especially once the textiles mill went out of production. Although, your grandfather found a new job, and his family kept going." He wasn't about to tell James Potter's son what had happened to his own family. As if sensing some tension, he felt Hermione's hand seek out his and squeeze. Damn, I love this witch, she's so intuitive, he thought, as he answered the next question.
This general line of questioning went on for about half an hour, and finally seemed to have broken the ice with them. Eventually, Harry walked around the coffee table as he was leaving, and held his hand out to the Potions master. "Thank you, sir. I'm sorry I made it so hard for you… we all made it hard, and for that I apologise. I'm sure mum's so proud of what you've done for me. Good night, sir, sis."
During this time Lucius and Andromeda enjoyed a quiet courtship, and Draco eventually came around to supporting his father. This was what Lucius had been waiting for, and when the Snape's had been married for almost three years, it was a very pregnant Hermione who witnessed their marriage.
In fact their baby was in such a hurry to see the world, Hermione and Severus didn't make it all the way through the reception. Their daughter Adela came into the world, the same night as Lucius and Andromeda's wedding. She was overdue and had been supposed to have been born by the wedding, but obviously had plans of her own.
It became a comical antidote when the same thing happened to Lucius and Andromeda at Harry, Ginny and Draco's bonding ceremony. Their daughter Priscilla Narcissa Malfoy arrived even before the dinner had been served at the reception. Lucius arrived back in time to give both the birth announcement and his speech as father of one of the groom's, and to tell Draco his half-sister and her mother were both fine.
Now, five years later Hogwarts is thriving, enrolments are expected to soar in the next seven years due to the post war baby boom. Minerva McGonagall is still headmistress, and her niece and favourite cub Hermione Granger-Snape is now sole Transfiguration professor. Hermione's husband Severus, still teaches Potions, and continues to complain endlessly about idiot children trying to blow him up, and or knock him senseless with their cauldrons.
This morning as usual, their two year old daughter, Adela who has a wild mop of raven curls and huge midnight coloured eyes, was sitting in her high-chair between them at Head Table. Their trusted elf, Lotti now has baby-sitting duties as well while Hermione and Severus teach, and Hermione absently patted her slightly distended stomach, thinking that Lotti really will have her hands full in four more months.
Draco is now Lucius' second in command at the multi-national, Malfoy Industries. Fatherhood the second time around suits Lucius, and he is happily teaching his Draco how everything works, so he can take over as CEO when the time is right.
Lucius, Severus and Hermione can still communicate with one another's minds, but there has never been another reason for them to use their extraordinary powers. Although sometimes at boring ministry functions the three of them can be caught laughing merrily about things that no one else can see.
Harry Potter graduated from his magical law degree last year, after marrying his sweethearts. He, Ginny and Draco are now expecting twins next month. The boy-who-lived-twice is now Kingsley Shacklebolt's full time assistant, and Kingsley is planning to endorse him as his choice for replacement minister when the next elections occur in five years time.
It was also about this time, at a Hogwarts function that Ron finally grew up and apologised to Hermione for his treatment of her back in their seventh year, although he scurried quicker than a rat up a drain pipe when he saw Severus heading his direction after he'd spoken to her.
Perhaps he'd thought that she would be more amenable because of her pregnancy hormones, he was very wrong. It actually made her more unpredictable, and she hexed him soundly as he retreated, telling him to get well and truly lost before her husband decided to divvy him up for potions ingredients.
In fact, she was still laughing about Ron's unmanly squeak when he saw the erstwhile death eater—Hermione's loving husband—coming in his direction, right up until little Sebastian Snape entered the world four and a half months later.
Notes:- (1) a fact I made up, according to Wiki she was the eldest of the three girls
Well, there we have it, thank you to everyone for reading, I have loved your comments and kudos on the way through.