Chapter 10 : Epilogue
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Paige did not smile again for a long time after her final day as a Hogwarts student.
The funeral was traumatic for her. Paige held herself together in the days before it happened, calmly choosing a casket and headstone, and making sure to specify that white lilies be placed all around the grave. The morning of the event, she took the time to pick out the black dress her father loved the most, the one left behind long ago by her mother, and she managed to brush her hair out and apply her makeup without ruining it all with tears. She wore the necklace that had once been owned by her grandmother, a testament to the fact that she was the last remaining member of the Snape family, at least until Snape replaced Victoria as her middle name.
She watched a lot of bodies being lowered into the ground that day, and she remained standing and steady for almost all of them, but when it was her father’s turn she turned into her fiancé’s arms, her heart-wrenching grief echoing loudly for all to hear. Narcissa wept quietly behind her, mourning the loss of their family friend, but also grieving for the way it was destroying an otherwise happy, beautiful young girl before their very eyes. Lucius and Draco remained neutral, as usual, though neither of them hesitated to offer some measure of comfort to the two women.
When the heroes of the battle of Hogwarts had been laid to rest, it was time to bury a villain. Though the injury to her side still ached a bit, Paige put on another black dress and accompanied Draco to his aunt’s funeral. It was ironic, in a way. Hogwarts had footed the bill for her father’s funeral, an event she would not otherwise have been able to afford. But now, when it was Bellatrix’s turn, the resources were exceedingly ample but the service was simple and attended by only a few people. The Malfoys and Paige expected to find themselves there alone, and they were shocked to see Bellatrix’s other sister Andromeda turn up with her grandson.
The photos made the paper, although they were shuffled to the back page.
Snape had kept only a few possessions, but they all passed to his daughter in his will. She got the house in Spinner’s End and the few Galleons left in his Gringotts vault, most of his money having gone to either her Hogwarts tuition or his private supply of ingredients. Draco offered to help her sell the home, but she refused, not wanting to let go of a place where half of her memories with her father had been made. He used Malfoy money to pay off the rest of the mortgage for her instead, not seeming to care whether it just stood there or came to know a new purpose in the future. Still, even when he presented her with the deed, she did not smile.
He became a real prince charming the day she decided it needed to be cleaned up. Day after day, they wiped away dust and dirt with their wands and made decisions about what should be left out for the resident who would never come home and what should be packed away and forgotten for a while. Lucius and Narcissa were not particularly surprised when Draco elected to stay overnight there with Paige, and he held her and let her cry each evening after they finished making love. Sometimes she held him, though, when the dreams came. He writhed in his sleep, the burning of his arm so frighteningly tangible, never knowing if the screams were memories in his head or blood-curdling cries from his own mouth. Even she couldn’t stop it once it started.
When they were done with the house, Draco went in her place to collect the few things that remained at the school. Paige couldn’t set foot in the place, not yet. Flitwick, Sprout and McGonagall handed them over, fresh tears emerging in their eyes. As they watched him go, dutifully carrying the remnants of Paige’s father home to her, they found that they were impressed with how much he had changed over the months. He was so in love with her.
To Narcissa’s delight, the end of Paige’s work on the house meant that she was willing to begin wedding planning at last. Paige chose a beautiful gown with forest green accents at the bust and on the end of the short train. Marcus and Adrian, who often stopped Draco on his trips into town to ask about their old friend, both offered to walk her down the aisle, but in the end, she wanted to go it alone. Blaise, Theo, Pansy and Daphne completed the modestly sized wedding party.
The ceremony was held in Malfoy Manor, giving Narcissa an excuse to re-decorate and thus rid the home of the unpleasant memories it had hosted for so long. Paige walked down the aisle with white lilies in her hands, the precious jewels from Narcissa’s cabinet completing her bridal look. Anyone who didn’t know would hardly believe that she was the same girl who’d lost her father only six months prior. Her former professors and friends from all four houses attended, and though all congratulated her heartily, none seemed quite as enamored with her as the young man with fair hair and blue-gray eyes who awaited her at the end of her long walk down the aisle.
That day, her smile returned. It shone brighter than anything else on the front page.
After a quiet honeymoon at the Malfoys’ vacation home in Norway, Draco began work at the Ministry, leaving Paige alone in the empty expanse of Malfoy Manor. Lucius and his wife moved to a smaller home nearby, and though they came to visit often, Draco’s new bride still found herself with a lot of spare time on her hands. She had no shortage of money, but shopping trips with Pansy and Daphne only held their novelty for so long. At last, she gathered the courage to knock on the door of the Apothecary in Diagon Alley. Slug had passed away, and Jiggers was reluctant to take her on, considering the way his Slytherin apprentices had come to misuse their craft in the past. When he discovered her relation to his most talented former pupil, however, he agreed finally to give her the apprenticeship. Thanks to the advanced lessons her father had given her for so many years, she was able to finish the training in a mere ten months, and she contented herself with working a few hours a week at the shop until she could plan out her next steps.
She was only slightly surprised the day that McGonagall and Flitwick showed up at the door of Malfoy Manor, asking to come in and talk over tea and scones. They wasted no time in revealing the true nature of the visit; Slughorn was retiring at last, and he and Snape had both communicated their desire that Paige be offered the position of Potions Master at Hogwarts once her apprenticeship was complete. Paige in turn wasted no time in accepting the appointment.
True to her expectations, Draco did not protest his wife’s decision. Rather, he immediately took her down to a part of the basement that had been locked since they had moved into Spinner’s End temporarily. When she opened her eyes, Paige saw that Draco had been slowly and painstakingly assembling a complete potions laboratory and exhaustive ingredient supply for her personal use. He had finished it the week before her old professors visited, waiting for the right time to reveal all of his hard work to her. It was, in truth, a somewhat belated wedding present.
Her husband offered to come with her on her first day of work, but Paige insisted that she needed to do it on her own. She almost regretted this decision when she found herself alone in her father’s old office, every corner and crevice an aching reminder of the fact that he was gone. She shed a few tears, but she moved in her extensive collection of textbooks, complete with her personal edits in the margins, and replaced the diminished supply of ingredients at the same time. The first day of class, she cried once more, mostly because a few students had dared to ask her about her past allegiance to the Death Eaters but also because she was convinced she would never be as commanding or effective as her father had been. Over time, however, she realized that the students loved her classes, and she found some camaraderie with Neville and Harry.
At the age of twenty-five, Paige was surprised and frightened to find herself with child. Narcissa was over the moon, and Draco became especially attentive towards his wife and their baby, coming home early from work most afternoons and inspecting every corner of the nursery as the house elves worked on it. The pair decided on Scorpius as a first name, and each of the child’s grandfathers contributed a middle name to him as well. He was mostly the spitting image of his father, though he received his mother’s stunning green eyes, intelligence and reserved nature.
Paige had been routinely leaving lilies at Mrs. Potter’s grave in Godric’s Hollow for several months when she saw Harry again for the first time since the wedding. He quietly approached her, pleasantly surprised to see who had been replacing the flowers with such diligence. She hesitantly joined Harry and his wife for tea, discovering that Ginny was pregnant with her second child. Although she visited often over the next few weeks, Paige was still shocked to receive the owl that beckoned her to St. Mungo’s, where Harry promptly asked if she was interested in being the boy’s godmother. She gently refused several times, and then he told her the baby’s name.
The sight and sound of Scorpius and Albus tinkering together in her laboratory finally returned Paige’s smile as a regular fixture upon her face. Years of mourning had taken their toll on her, but she loved teaching simple solutions to the little boys even more than she enjoyed working with the students at Hogwarts. She anxiously awaited the day they would both join her there.
The summer sun beat down upon the many families gathered at King’s Cross station, as if the weather was not willing to recognize that it was September already. Excited chatter filled the air as older children offered advice to their younger siblings about which house was best. Parents casually discussed Quidditch scores, rising prices on school supplies in Diagon Alley, and the many problems that stemmed from their children’s purchases from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes.
A few of the adults gathered near Platform 9 ¾ shot furtive glances at the couple dressed in black who approached the barrier, both of them holding the hand of a small boy with blond hair. Draco felt every moment of his thirty-seven years as he avoided the looks of disdain, not looking forward to having to return to Malfoy Manor alone when his son boarded the train. Of course, his wife would not usually accompany him; she normally had to be at Hogwarts a week or so before the students arrived for staff meetings and organizational endeavors. Paige, however, had insisted on helping her husband see Scorpius, who was nervous as could be, off to school.
“Mum, you’ll be there when we arrive, right?” Scorpius asked nervously, hugging his mother’s legs.
“Of course, darling.” Paige bent down, tucking her dark hair behind her ears. “You’ll have to be sorted, of course, but Hagrid and Deputy Headmaster Flitwick will take care of that, and they’re both very good friends of mine, so don’t worry about a thing. By then, you’ll be so busy eating and making new friends that you’ll forget all about me.”
Draco cracked a small smile, impressed at how much motherhood had softened his wife.
“I could never forget about you.” Scorpius said, still holding her tightly.
“Paige!” A voice called from her left, and she turned her head to see Harry and Ginny approaching with their children. She waved briefly to Ron and Hermione, who stood not far behind them. Draco shrank back instinctively, busying himself with checking to make sure his son’s supplies had all been packed. It was the fifth time that day for this behavior.
“Albus, your godmother will be there, don’t worry.” Harry said, gently urging his son forward.
“Oh, please, dear, think of me as a very eccentric aunt.” Paige corrected, not wanting the term godmother used unless very unfortunate circumstances, Merlin forbid, called for it.
Albus smiled slightly, giving Paige a hug and moving over to greet his best friend, Scorpius.
“They grow up fast, don’t they?” Harry mused.
“A bit too fast for my liking.” Paige sighed. “Makes me feel old.”
“Tell me about it.” Harry scoffed, sticking his hands in his pockets. “So, you think this year’s crop of first years will be any easier with some familiar faces in your classes?”
“I doubt it.” Paige glanced down. “First years never have any respect for what I do. And need I remind you, your eldest gives me enough hell for two. He’s crap at Potions, like his old man.”
“Unfortunately, Quidditch seems to be his strong suit.” Harry smirked.
“Quidditch and lunch, the way I hear it. But hey, maybe he will bring some fame to the Potter name.” Paige met his eyes. “You lot don’t know anything about that, right?” She kidded.
Harry gave her an annoyed look, glancing back at James. “Well, hopefully Albus will give you something to work with.”
“Yes, he’s quite talented in my field. In most, actually.” Paige folded her arms, watching her son and godson interact. “They’re both good, though I think Albus has a greater measure of patience with the subject.” She looked back at Harry. “I’m just glad Scorpius has made a friend already.”
“Yeah, me too, even if he is a Malfoy.” Harry said teasingly, earning an eye roll from her.
Paige gave him a forgiving smile, noticing that Draco seemed to be growing ever more uncomfortable as their conversation endured. “Well, I’d better be getting on my way. I’ve still got to finish up my inventory and draw up task sheets for my new prefects before the feast.”
“I’ll be in later in the fall to give my usual guest lecture.” Harry said. “How about you and I see if Hagrid wants to have lunch? I’m sure he’d love these two, and we could invite Neville.”
“That sounds great.” Paige said, moving a stray piece of hair out of her eyes. “I’ll see you then, Harry.” She gave him a friendly hug, waving at Scorpius and Albus as they boarded the train.
Harry watched her go for a few minutes, Draco’s arm draped protectively around her, and suddenly a thought occurred to him. “Paige!” He cried after her, and she paused to look at him.
“I’ve always wondered… about your father… how long did you know—?”
Paige gave him the warmest smile she’d used in years, and they turned and left without a word.
Author’s Note: To my lovely readers and reviewers, thanks again for all of the time and effort you spent on making it worthwhile for me to share this story with the fanfiction world. I am incredibly indebted to you, and I assure you, I have plans to write more of this pairing in the future, so don’t fret. I hope you have enjoyed reading A Tale of Two Princes!