And here is the very last chapter... I hope you enjoy!
Ten years later
The door bell chimed as Taylor peeled carrots at the kitchen sink. "Greg! Can you get that?"
"Sure." The Hufflepuff called as he came out of the den and headed down the hall towards the front door. He had been watching the football game on the tele while he was lighting the fireplace. Their house, that they had bought after they got married, was a muggle built two story with all the conveniences of the muggle world. Though the wards surrounding the house with anti- apparation and muggle repelling charms were very magical.
"Harry! Ginny! How are you! Come in!" Greg greeted as he opened the door to see his brother-in-law and sister-in-law standing there with their two little boys.
"Good. Though with Harry's driving it's a miracle we even got here!" Ginny griped as she stepped into the house and, after returning the hug from the tall Hufflepuff, set her youngest down on the floor to take off her heavy cloak.
Harry gave his eyes a slight roll at the taller wizard as he shook his hand muttering, "You know how slow muggles like to drive."
"Auntie Tay-wor!" squealed James as he raced down the hall.
Taylor bent down to scoop the three year old up into her arms and give him a hug. "Hi James! And how is my favorite little munchkin doing today?"
"Oh just great! If you don't count him grabbing his father's wand and setting fire to the sofa before we came!" Ginny griped as she picked up her youngest and balanced Albus on her hip.
It was all Taylor could do to keep the grin off her face, as she shot a look at her brother. "Yes well… You know wand safety should be added to all prenatal classes. Though a refresher in broom storage wouldn't hurt either! Seeing as how Greg let his son get a hold of his Nimbus the other day and he almost flew off out of the yard with it!"
Harry sent the accused Hufflepuff a grin before he ducked his head. "Well I'm sure it was an accident."
Taylor rolled her eyes as she gave Ginny a one armed hug before turning and doing the same to her brother, as she still had his oldest son balanced easily on her hip.
Ginny gave a humph before heading down the hall towards the kitchen.
Shooting a quick grin at the two wizards Taylor headed after her sister-in-law, asking how she was making out.
"So I take it the mood swings have started again?" Greg asked as he slowly led the shorter wizard into the den where the fire was merrily burning in the fireplace and a huge Christmas tree glowed from the corner.
Harry glanced at the football game that was still playing on the television set before he sighed and said "Yeah they sure have. Though this time I swear they are worse! But don't tell Ginny I said that!" shooting a quick glance out towards the kitchen where he could see his wife and sister were chatting.
Greg chuckled and, clapping a hand on his brother-in-laws back, just shook his head.
"So have you been to see the pre-natal Healer yet?" Taylor asked as she put James in the large play pen with the toys and his year and a half old brother Albus. The play pen was in a corner of the kitchen and contained all the things a little wizard could want to play with; play wands that squeaked or made a puff of smoke. Toy cauldrons that glowed on the bottom as if they had a real fire under them, as well as more muggle things like large building blocks and a toy telephone. Along with an anti-climb charm to keep the rambunctious toddlers in the pen.
Ginny sighed as she leaned back against the countertop and rubbed her burgeoning belly. "Yeah I was there earlier this week. I have five more months to go! Where is Daniel? Still down for his nap?"
Taylor smiled at her friend as she put the carrots on the stove and went back to peeling potatoes. "Yeah. He is just getting over a cold so he hasn't been sleeping very well lately. So how is your mother and father doing? Harry said they went to Romania over the holidays to see Charlie and his newest baby?"
Ginny smiled and told about her parents and how they had gone to visit her brother.
When the door bell rang again a faint cry could be heard from upstairs.
"Greg! Grab the door, I'll go get Daniel." Taylor called as she headed up the stairs to get their four year old son. "Hey there young man, how are you doing?" She asked as she opened the light blue door and entered an equally pale blue room decorated with stencils of broom sticks and snitches. Picking up the little boy with messy black hair and blue eyes she headed back down the stairs.
"Hey Taylor! And how are you doing Daniel? Just waking up from a nap?" Hermione asked as she finished taking off her cloak and stretched out her hand to rub the little boy's back as he clung to his mother's neck.
"Hi Hermione, and Rose how are you doing?" Taylor asked as she looked at the little girl held securely in her father's arms.
"So what! No greeting for me?" Ron asked as he gave his best mate's sister a quick one armed hug with his daughter in his other arm.
"Oh yeah! Hey chopped liver!" Taylor grinned as she turned to the other couple that had arrived at the same time.
"And here I thought you had grown up finally!" Ron griped but he ruined the seriousness of his voice by making a face at her.
"I see things never change." Lupin said hugging his godson Daniel and best friend's daughter together.
"Hi Remus. Hi Tonks. Hey Teddy! My! Aren't you growing!" Taylor grinned as she greeted the eight year old with bright purple hair standing beside his father. As Greg greeted the newcomers as well, taking their cloaks.
It wasn't long before the witches had all migrated to the kitchen and Hermione helped finish peeling potatoes as Taylor checked the large turkey that was roasting in the oven, while Ginny and Tonks watched the four children in the pen to make sure they weren't misbehaving.
"I wish we had of had one of these when Teddy was little." Tonks said as she flicked her wand and levitated the wooden block James had just thrown at his cousin Daniel safely down to the floor.
"Yeah it's great for when I have to cook or am busy brewing a potion I don't have to worry about Daniel getting into anything. Though it's a little small for the four of them!" Taylor laughed as she put the turkey back in the oven.
"I'm going to get Harry to put one in our living room. I'll need it especially when the new baby comes along." Ginny said as she shook her head at James as he tried to take the fake wand from his other cousin Rose.
In the living room the four adults had given up the football game for some Christmas cartoons that were on that Teddy wanted to watch. The door bell rang once more and Greg went to greet his parents, his mother going to the kitchen where the rest of the witches were and his father joining the wizards by the tree.
"So how does Ginny like being a stay at home mom?" Dan, Greg's father, asked as the conversation about quidditch died down.
"She likes it just fine. She really loves being with the boys. It was hard at first but now that I'm not off playing anymore it's better." Harry replied. He had given up playing professional quidditch just after James was born. He didn't want to be gone all the time and miss his son growing up. Ginny had decided she would give it up as well when she had first gotten pregnant and they had discussed her returning to the Harpies but Ginny had said that she'd had enough and it was time for her to raise her family.
"So how is the job coming? I heard Moody is going to retire?" Remus asked his best friend's son. The older werewolf had had a few reservations about Harry becoming an auror but he'd heard from Alastor that Harry was very good at it, something that at least the last remaining Marauder could take heart in.
"Yeah, he is finally going to retire. Well he has only been doing it part time now for almost a year. Morison is a good head auror, Kingsley knew what he was doing when he appointed the job to him. We have worked together fairly often and he has taught me a lot." Harry said with a smile, he was enjoying his new career. He was glad that he had taken some time and played quidditch for a few years but with the prospect of having kids he wanted to do something that he had wanted to do ever since career discussions at Hogwarts in fifth year. Plus it kept him closer to home and most days, with the wizarding world still enjoying its freedom, he was home by 5:30.
"You must be getting close to retirement as well, Dan?" Ron asked.
"Yeah one more year and then I'm going to call it quits. Though working with Hermione has been a lot of fun. She really knows her stuff!" Dan answered with a chuckle. He was still working in the Department of Mysteries and even though the brilliant muggle-born witch usually worked in the Magical Creature Welfare Department, she had been invited to come down to the Mysteries Department a few weeks ago to help out with a new artifact that had been discovered. Dan had quickly come to appreciate the witch's genius.
"Yeah Hermione has been practically vibrating when she comes home at night!" Ron laughed as he thought how his wife had been so excited to get the chance to work on the new artifact. He hadn't seen her that excited since Hogwarts. Ron was happy with his job as well. He had gone to work for his brothers, Fred and George, a year after graduating when they had offered him a chance to open a Weasley`s Wizard Wheezes branch in Hogsmeade. They had started out small but now had one of the larger stores in Hogsmeade and Ron was really enjoying himself. It was something he was a little surprised to discover that he was really good at.
"How is your new job coming, Remus?" Harry asked.
"Good! I am really enjoying it! Thanks to Hermione and the new law that she got passed last year! The hours are good and I really enjoy helping people find the books they are looking for. Of course it doesn't hurt that I get to read any of the books I want." Remus said with a smile. He had started to work for Flourish and Blotts a couple of weeks ago, the pro werewolf law making it possible for werewolves to get jobs and making it illegal to not hire someone based on their lycanthropy status. Of course having a wife who was an auror helped too, as he remembered one customer saying something and Tonks setting him straight right away.
"I thought you might like it there." Harry said with a smile. He was glad to see the happiness in his friend. "So how is your job coming, Greg? I thought I might get down to see you last week but something came up at the last minute."
"It's good… I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it at first but now I find it fascinating! I thoroughly enjoy the research aspect of it and my uncle Ben is really great to work for. The hours are good… and I don't have to take muggle transit anymore!" Greg said with a bit of a laugh as he told them more about his research job at the Ministry in the Magical Healing Department.
"So Taylor finally let you start apparating to work did she?" Ron joked.
"Yeah, well you know my wife! Adamant that we can do it the muggle way! Though after the third near accident in the car she relented." Greg grinned as he answered.
"That's Taylor! How is she making out with her muggle job anyway? She still enjoying it?" Harry asked wondering how his sister was making out with her part time job at the muggle post office that she had taken, even though he had tried to talk her into taking the job at the Ministry that he had found for her.
"Yeah she likes it… her boss gives her a hard time sometimes but she never complains. It's easy enough for her to get to work, as it's close enough to walk and Daniel is now in preschool." Greg told them.
Taylor placed the large pot of potatoes on the stove and checked the rest of the vegetables cooking away.
"So Taylor, how is your potion making going? I heard Severus now has a small shop just off Diagon Alley… you still making potions for him?" Hermione asked as she waved her wand and levitated a giggling Rose away from Albus who was trying to play with the toy cauldron.
"Good, it's going good! I finally convinced Sev to open the store and he has been really busy ever since!" Taylor said with a fond smile. When she had lost her magic she had never thought that she would be able to make a living making potions, and while she wasn't there yet, she was still very busy making potions for Severus to sell in his store, when she wasn`t working at the post office just down the lane.
It was over a year after she had graduated when Sev had come to her and asked if she would like to help him make potions to sell. He had been asked by different people to make potions for them and had started to do it as a side business. Nothing illegal, but a surprising number of wizards and witches were inept at making potions. Well not so surprising to the former Potions Master, but still surprising that they would pay for him to make them. Many requests came from werewolves for Wolfsbane Potion. Hence he had turned to Taylor to help him, working out of his house for years until finally taking the plunge and opening the small shop off Diagon Alley.
The table was set and Taylor was just finished making the gravy, when she heard a knock on the back door. Knowing who it was, she quickly asked Ginny to pour the gravy and headed out through the mud room to the door at the back of their house. Peeking through the curtain she opened the door with a wide smile.
"Hi Sev! Come in!"
"Taylor, no, that's fine. I know you have company. I just wanted to drop off the orders for the next week."
It might have been over ten years since the ex-Potions Master had been cleared but still he remained alone, much preferring his solitude to company. The one exception was the red haired, bespectacled witch before him.
"Hi Severus," Greg said with a warm smile as he joined his wife at the door. His senses keen, as the full moon was only four days away, alerting him to the visitor. He had grown rather fond of the wizard who had helped Taylor so much not only with her potions making but becoming, if not a father figure, then most definitely a doting uncle. He had come to read the man and knew much of his surliness was just a mask kept in place to hide his true feelings. "Would you like to join us?"
"No, thank you Greg. I really must be going." The ex-Potion Master said, his normally snarky tone conspicuously absent in his sincerity.
"Are you sure? There is plenty of room and lots of food." Taylor knew that the private wizard wasn't likely to join them. He never did. Though he often came to visit her when she was alone, or just the young werewolf and their son were home. The tension between her brother and the man who had loved their mother so much had lessened a great deal over the years to the point where the two were even civil to one another.
Severus passed the scroll with the potions that had been ordered for the following week to the young witch who stood in the door. Her red hair, now long and tied up in a ponytail, reminded him so much of her mother that even now after all these years his heart ached. It was bitter sweet though as he tried to spend as much time as he could with the bespectacled witch and her family, taking solace in the fact that he watched over her and kept her safe.
"Thank you but no…"
Taylor was just about to ask Greg to grab the package that she had gotten for the Potions Master when with a quick grin and a wink her werewolf husband passed it to her. "Well if you are sure. Then here, and Happy Christmas Sev."
Taylor saw a tinge of red color the usually pale checks and caught just a glimpse of twinkling eyes as the black robbed figure turned, the usual brisk good bye tinted with an almost happy sound. Greg`s arm came around her shoulders as they watched the Potions Master go out through their little white picket fence and she could have sworn there was a smile on his face as he turned and Apparated away. Turning the happy couple went back into their house that was filled with the sound of friends, family and laughter.
A/N When I started to write this story 6 years ago I NEVER imagined that it would evolve into this. I thought 20 maybe 25 chapters would do it... well I was wrong but what it became is so much better(in my oppinion anyway!;) And I have to say that I am pleased with how things turned out. Taylor, Greg and Harry will always be there in my mind... ready to point out something that they should of done or should do I am sure but I think I have left them in a place in this story that they are happy. I know I am! :D
THANK YOU so much for reading! You have no idea HOW MUCH it has meant to me that people took the time to read this story! This is the First story that I have ever wrote(and while I have wrote several before I finished this one!) The Curse of the Seventh Horcrux will ALWAYS have a very speacial place in my heart! So to know that others have enjoyed it as well... well words can't express how much that means... So I hope a simple THANK YOU will do.
I also would like to say hi to a great story supporter, harrypotter4lifeand4eva and her dad who has a birthday soon! Happy B'day and hope you enjoyed this last chapter!
I have to say one last time THANK YOU to my wonderful, patient, beta barbc. Without her encouragement, prodding and support plus talking her ear off about this story almost ceaselessly on car rides to the rink! This story wouldn't be what it is today! So THANK YOU! You are the best!
Well I can't give my usual farwell seeing as this IS the last chapter so I will just say THANK YOU! Your humble author, cytpotter.