Characters: the Blake family, others
Word Count: 1470
Summary: Severus is troubled by that which one loves more than life and fears more than death or mortal strife, by what the poor have, the rich require, and what the contented do so desire, which is to say, nothing.
Disclaimer: This work of fan fiction is based on characters and situations created by J. K. Rowling and owned by J. K. Rowling and various publishers, including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books, Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made from (and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended by) the posting of this fan work.
Author's Note: This fic follows A Thoroughly Inappropriate Question. Thank you, arynwy, for beta'ing. I could write oodles more in this universe and probably will, but right now, having met my goal of getting Severus and Daphne together within canonical constraints, I'm going to leave it for a while.
In the end, it turned out that Everett Blake had every hope where Daphne Greengrass was concerned. Blake's income, background, and bloodline meant nothing to Daphne, who had, at all of thirteen-years-old, determined that he was precisely the man she would marry—regardless of any impediment. There had been many, not least, Severus, himself, as he struggled to deal with the effects of having lived so close and careful a life for so long, but Daphne's calm stubbornness in the face of his fears had never wavered, and nineteen years after she'd pulled him back from death, the bond between them remained unbroken.
At fifty-seven and still in the prime of his life, as Daphne frequently and vigorously reminded him, Everett was a happy man: he was a mentor and researcher in Potioneering at the Spellcraftres Guild; he held several patents which earned him an income above his remuneration from the Guild; his "White Ticket" had taken the Allium category of the Society of Magical Horticulturalists' annual gardening competition for the previous seven consecutive years; his library was the envy of his friends; his accomplished, beautiful, charming wife made him the envy of many; and the pride and joy he took in his family was palpable to everyone, but most importantly, to himself.
"Everett Blake"—the name and reputation of the man had been easy to adopt, and as he'd grown used to making a life for himself under that name, he'd gradually been able to forget his old life—so much so that his children knew nothing about the man their father had once been. That said, they did know a great deal about Severus Snape because Daphne had been telling them about "Slytherin's greatest hero" since they were quite young. The mysteries of his missing body and portrait had never been solved, but there was a memorial to him on the school's grounds. Potter had arranged it. The simple obsidian marker merely bore his name, the dates of his Headship, and the epitaph, "In memory of a brave man who, for lost love and in loyalty to this school, did more to protect Hogwarts and its students than will ever be known."
Lilies bloomed in a circle around the monument all year long, Severus knew, because he'd visited it with Daphne during a charity event sponsored by the Board of Governors.
"I should change those to onions," he'd told her, at the time.
"Don't be ungrateful. Potter did a lovely job," she'd said, continuing in a whisper, "and so did you. . . . Besides, the lilies are appropriate."
"Why?" he'd asked her, moving farther away from the other guests.
That's when Daphne had finally told him that the woman who'd led her to her garden, the place she'd gone to when Between, had been, she was certain, his Lily.
"How can that be?"
"I don't know how she knew to come for me, Everett, but it was she, and she told me . . . she told me to thank you for everything you'd done for her son."
"Is that all she said?" he'd asked. Daphne had looked away from him, but not before he'd caught the expression of fear on her face. He'd embraced her and whispered into her hair, "Is that all she said, my heart?"
That simple reassurance was all that Daphne had needed. "She said, 'Tell Severus that I never stopped loving him, even when he lost his way. I just couldn't follow him'."
Hearing that had been akin to absolution for Severus, and he'd understood why Daphne had been afraid to tell him about her conversation with his "lost love." He'd pledged in that moment to let his old life go and become the man he wanted to be . . . for himself, and for Daphne. Since then, he'd never once wondered what Lily Evans might have made of Everett Blake, and today, as he stood in the brisk autumnal air on Platform Nine and Three Quarters with Daphne, Eileen, and Roger, he had no cause to regret any of the choices he'd made as that man. He was a good one, a good husband and father, and all was well.
"I don't exist unless you cut me—"
Well, perhaps not all, Everett thought, watching his son present his backside to his sister, who was kneeling to check the lock of her trunk. "Roger, what are you—"
The fog was thick on the platform, and Everett momentarily lost sight of Roger, if not hearing of him.
"—but if you stab me I won't bleed. I hate no one yet am abhorred—"
"Don't you dare!" Daphne, who'd turned away from her conversation with Astoria, warned, but it was too late.
"—by all. What am I?"
"A fart, you idiot. Everyone knows—"
"Oh, you disgusting beast!" Eileen exclaimed, as the fog parted to reveal her flicking her fingers in the direction her brother had fled.
"Ow! Hey, you're not supposed to do magic outside of school!" Roger complained indignantly, rubbing his bum.
"You got what you deserved, Rog," Daphne told him, laying an arm over Eileen's shoulders, "and we're not in the presence of Muggles, so Eileen has nothing to worry about."
Everett cleared his throat and looked at Roger expectantly.
"I'm sorry, sis," he replied at once.
"Just for that, I'm not sitting with you on the train."
"You can sit with me," Scorpius said to Eileen, poking his head out of the fog.
"Civilised company, I accept."
"But only if Rog can sit with us."
"Oh, Scorpius. Must you be nice to everyone?"
Draco and Astoria appeared, and Everett, laughing, nodded to them both while the children negotiated the terms of the seating arrangements. Even after all these years, they didn't know him, and that suited him very well. The charm he employed to hide his features only needed to be renewed once a month, and he didn't appear so very different than he had, but his personality had become so altered that sometimes, he wondered why he bothered with the charm.
"All right, Mr Blake," Daphne said, "it's time to put our little darlings on the train. Are you ready?"
"To have the house to ourselves?" he asked, raising a suggestive eyebrow at her.
"Public place," Draco replied crisply.
Astoria leaned up and whispered something to him.
"We'll see you two for dinner," Daphne told Draco and Astoria, as they left them to say their goodbyes to Scorpius.
"Yes, next week," Everett added quickly.
"You see?" Astoria said, as they lost her in the fog. "They're planning to enjoy themselves, too."
Eileen and Roger joined them, dragging their trunks and familiars' cages behind them.
"Will you miss us through all the snogging?" Roger asked.
"Not a bit, my son," Everett replied, as Daphne giggled and he thought, only every moment.
"Bye, Papa," Eileen told him, leaning up for a kiss. "I love you."
"You know," he told her, kneeling down to gather her and Roger to him, "and so do you."
"Well, of course I do," replied Roger, "but must we speak of it now?"
Everett laughed and replied, "Remember what we discussed."
"Forget what you discussed," Daphne insisted, leaning down to hug Roger and Eileen in turn. "I'm certain that Professor Longbottom is a lovely, patient man, but pranking a professor is—stop winking at them, Everett!"
The train whistled, and so did Everett as Eileen and Roger left them. Clasping Daphne around the waist, he walked the platform until he saw his children and nephew leaning out of the train to wave at them.
"They're so excited," said Daphne, as she waved back. "They'll have so many adventures at school."
"I hope not."
"Oh, Everett, they'll be all right, you know they will be. Everything's all right, now."
The train began to pull away, and Everett wistfully watched it go . . . until someone bumped into him.
"I beg your pardon."
"That's quite all right." Everett smiled at the little girl, and then he nodded at her parents as they appeared through the fog. "Mrs Potter. . . . Mr Potter."
"Master Blake! Healer, er, Governor Blake! It's lovely to see you again. Get your kids on the train all right, did you?"
"We did, indeed," Daphne told Potter, adding, as he and his family began to move away, "and we're very much looking forward to their first letters home!"
The Potters laughed and waved, and Everett turned his gaze upon Daphne. "You're right."
"I frequently am," she replied, winking at him, "but about what, specifically?"
"Everything is all right now. Everything's been right for years."
Daphne leaned up to kiss him, and then murmured against his mouth, "Everything will be better when you get me home."
Everett grinned and embraced her, feeling, as he so often did when holding Daphne, that life was only just beginning. "So it will be, my heart."