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When she was fourteen, Elinor asked Hermione, "Does daddy not love you?"

Hermione dropped her wand, as well as any thread of the spell she had been performing at the time. She paused, picked up the wand, and was about to have a rational conversation with her daughter when said 'daddy' barked, "Whatever do you mean by that Elinor Drake Snape-Granger?"

Elinor didn't even blink. She was used to all sides of her father's tongue. She looked at Dore who made a face but didn't shake her head. Elinor tended to check with Dore for when she might be being a bit impetuous. Given Dore's reaction, Hermione was forced to believe this was something that had been on both their minds for a while.

Elinor said, "The other girls at school, their mothers are all married. Unless their dads don't love their moms, or their moms don't love their dads, or, well, sometimes there are two dads or two moms, but it's the same there. Love or divorce. None of the kids believe me when I tell them you just don't like the institution. Most of them don't even know what an institution is, and once I finish explaining-- Well, it's sort of the way it is when you have to explain a joke."

Dore was pretending to read, which was as good a sign as any that she was listening as closely as her ears would allow.

Hermione didn't look to Severus for help. He didn’t deserve that, not when he had made the offer all those years ago, intent being beside the point.

She said, "You father loves me very much. He loves me enough to respect that I never wanted him to marry for the wrong reasons and when there were all the right reasons. . . I suppose we just both became too busy to think about it. There was the two of you and my books and his research and a wedding seemed like just another thing to be stressed out about."

After a thought-filled silence on all sides, Dore asked, "But you would marry him, if he wanted? And he would marry you, if you asked?"

Hermione caught Severus' gaze, and realized she hadn’t considered the question in nearly fifteen years. "Yes, I suppose I would."

Severus said, haughtily, "I have never been the problem."

Dore nodded and went back to her book. Elise said, "Well then. That's all right."

Hermione tried to remember what it was she had been doing when this all began.


Hermione asked him, "Is it possible that I am a bad mother in the way that I was once a bad social activist?"

Severus said, "I object to the basic principle of you as a bad mother. But I take it your question is regarding whether you have pre-empted your own beliefs upon the lives of others'--in this case, our daughters--and in thus doing so, made those lives worse?"

"Bloody hell, I am a bad mother."

"You are not. You never allowed me to consider myself a bad father, not even when I spelled the children to tell them apart, do the rules not apply to you?"

"I don't very well know. Do they? I'm the one who has spent my life living far enough outside them that my children are struggling to explain my ways to other children."

"That difference should be the worst of the tribulations our children come to know." Severus paused. "Do you wish to marry, Hermione?"

"Not because others expect it of me," she said honestly before she could stop herself, then buried her face in her hands.

"What would be a good reason? Would that I love you, that I would rather like to claim you, be claimed in that manner, would that be adequate?"

Hermione looked up at him, stunned momentarily into silence by the relative effusiveness of the statement. "Nothing is ever just adequate with you, Severus."

He smiled ironically, "Nor with you."

"That would be somewhat of a disappointment between us, would it not?"

"A drastic one, I'm sure."

"Perhaps it is time we performed the last rites of this narrative thread, Severus Snape."

"That suggests an end, a linear reality I am not sure I grant you."

She put her forehead to his, rocked up toward him. "Perhaps it is that I simply have never managed to think as far outside the lines imposed on me as I wish to believe."

"Far further than most will ever manage," he murmured.

"Is that enough?" she asked.

"For me?"

"You imagine anyone else matters?"

Sometimes he did, but she had ways of reminding him he was wrong. "You are enough."

"Marry me," she said.

"Inform me of the time and date, madam."


Hermione's father gave her away with an odd mixture of relief in her direction and menace in Severus'--despite having respected him wholly as a partner and father for fourteen years. Hermione's mother made a trifle, which the girls, Harry, and Ron hijacked almost before the actual ceremony was over.

Tonks performed the ceremony in its legal capacity in her role as head of MLE.

She kissed Hermione afterward and called her a traitor. Hermione smiled and owned up to the accusation.

Dore didn't stop smiling from the time she woke up to when she handed her mother the ring to when they finally managed to get her to bed that evening. Elinor said, "When I grow up, my boyfriend is going to wait for me to be ready, too."

In the privacy of their rooms, Severus kissed Hermione and asked, "Make any plans for our wedding night?"

Hermione pointed her wand at the drawer on their dresser they always kept warded. She could think off the cuff.

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Skin by egelantier, photo by microbophile