AN: Only one more to go after this!
Thank you for all the support! It is very deeply appreciated!
Severus sat on the edge of his bed, a vial of fuchsia liquid in his right hand. "Children, you do not need to be here for this. Your mother and I are quite capable of taking our own potions."
"Actually, we do," Rose replied.
Victor and Violet nodded.
"No," Hermione gripped her vial of teal liquid tighter. "You need to continue on with your lives and allow your father and me to deal with whatever comes."
"How can I leave you two to your own devices when you are consuming my potions? Shouldn't a good researcher at least be somewhat curious as to how her potion is affecting her subjects?"
"Excellent points," Severus mused.
"You have performed tests before where you were not present," Hermione continued.
"Those tests were performed at highly respectable research facilities. Also, none of those subjects were my patients," Rose ran her hand along the edge of her cape.
Severus glanced at his wife. "I find it difficult to disagree with that logic."
"Yes, but I would argue that the fact we are her parents makes it even more imperative that she stays at home and allows things to play themselves out."
"Why would you not want me near you?" Rose asked.
"I have every confidence in your potion, I truly do," Hermione continued. "Yet if something were to occur, if your father or I were to have a bad reaction, I do not want you to be present. You would never forgive yourself if you saw either of us in agony. I would never want you to be haunted by us."
"That is a great point," Victor cut in. "This means that Rose will need someone rational to help her tend to one or both of you. I am the perfect child for the job."
"No, you should be asleep and preparing for your new job as Draco's full time speech writer."
"He has already given me the night off."
Hermione's frown deepened. "Of course he did."
"If something were to happen to Victor, then he would need backup," Violet folded her hands. "That's where I come in."
Severus pointed to his youngest daughter. "You should be in school studying for your N.E.W.T.S."
Violet huffed. "Why? Several magizoology programs have contacted me, practically begging me to attend."
"Was College of the Appalachians one of them?" Severus asked.
Violet reached into her pants pocket and pulled out a parchment. She handed it to him.
Severus unfurled it. As his eyes trailed along the words, his lips curled up. Hermione slid closer to him. Her eyes grew. "That is quite the scholarship they are offering."
"I told you finding and subduing Fawkes would look good on an application."
"Returning Fawkes to Hogwarts was quite the achievement," Severus set the letter to his other side. "You more than deserve that full ride scholarship."
She blushed. "Thank you Dad."
"That being said," the light in Severus' eyes died. "You need to get some sleep and focus on the last of your schoolwork."
"I need to be with my parents as they take their life saving potions."
Severus stared at his children before exhaling and turning to his wife. "I would continue to argue with them, but I fear they have inherited our stubbornness."
Hermione sighed. "You're right."
Her children all give her the most innocent expressions they could.
"And I love them all for who are they are," Hermione continued.
"As do I," Severus added.
Silence engulfed the room.
"The sun has almost set," Rose began.
"Indeed," Hermione swallowed.
Severus took his wife's free hand. She turned and gazed into his eyes.
Severus' voice was soft. "Regardless of what occurs tonight, I want you to know that I love you more than I ever thought it was possible to love a woman. You are the woman who makes me happy beyond reason, the one with whom I wish to spend an eternity. If somehow I forget that, if somehow my calculations were wrong and I return to my amnesiac state, please always remember my love for you. Please remember the joy we shared and the life we created together. Know deep in my heart, I will always remember and love you, my beloved wife."
"I will, provided you remember this," Hermione's eyes watered. "Remember that I did not understand happiness until you approached me in that coffee shop attempting to seduce me for your fortune. You were the one who taught me what it was like to be an equal partner, what it was like to be loved for who I was. Not a moment has gone by in the marriage where I did not feel cherished beyond all reason, and yes I include the time before you first said, 'I love you.' Even then I knew how deeply your sentiments ran, even if I did not believe I was worthy of them."
"Not a day in this marriage has gone by where I did not know I had married the most amazing woman in the Wizarding World" Severus whispered.
"There isn't a moment that has gone by where I did not know I was married to the most amazing man in the Wizarding World," Hermione continued. "My greatest wish is that you know how loved you are. Whatever happens tonight, whatever happens in the future, always remember that I love you with all my heart, mind, and soul."
"I will remember that provided that you remember my love for you as well."
In that moment, the children had faded into the background. There was no potion in their hands, no setting sun. Their entire focus was on each other and the love they shared.
"Kiss for good luck?" Hermione whispered.
"Love, you never have to ask," Severus captured her lips. Hermione returned the kiss with just as much ardor.
When they broke away, he took one last look at his wife and raised his vial. "To us and our children."
Hermione raised hers as well. "To us and our children."
At the same time, they popped the stopper off of their vials. Then they gulped them down.
For one suffocating moment, silence reigned. Violet shifted her feet while Rose twirled her cape around her fingers. Victor's full focus was on his lengthening shadow, until the room was only lit by the full moon.
Hermione rolled up her left sleeve and began to scratch her arm. Severus' stomach dropped as his throat constricted.
"It, it may take some time to work," Rose began.
"No, I don't feel," Hermione stopped scratching.
"You do not feel what?" Rose released her cape.
Hermione reached her wand and intoned, "lumos."
She held her illuminated wand up to her hand. Violet's mouth hung open while Victor gasped. Rose felt a tear trickle down her cheek.
"Is it, is it…?" Severus closed his mouth, as if saying the words would not make it so.
"Yes," Hermione choked. "The scar is gone."
"And your magic?"
"It isn't crackling anymore."
He grabbed his wife and pressed her against his body. Tears streamed down Hermione's face. "It's gone! It's finally gone!"
"You're going to live," Severus sobbed. "You're going to live!"
"And you remember me," Hermione choked.
"For the moment, yes, I remember everything about our marriage," Severus cried.
"You two are going to live!" Violet raced over and embraced her parents.
"It worked!" Victor embraced Rose. "You did it! You finally did it!"
"We all did it!" Rose cheered. "As a family, we did it!"
"Yes! We did!" Violet shouted.
"We should not get our hopes up too high," Severus pulled away from his wife. "I still have not made it through the night amnesia free."
"I know," Rose replied as Victor freed her from his grasp. "Which is why we plan to monitor you all night."
Hermione opened her mouth.
"You can't talk us out of it," Violet began. "We held a sibling meeting, and we all agreed to stay with you."
Severus chuckled. "I suppose it is two against three then."
"Exactly," Victor replied.
"Well, if we are to stay up all night, then we will need something to do," Hermione began.
"That is true," Rose replied.
Hermione stood. "Then I propose a round of Mountain Dew and a family chess tournament."
Violet groaned. "Must we watch Dad defeat everyone again?"
"Do you have any better ideas?" Hermione asked.
"Gobstones," she answered. "I can actually win that game."
"How about we have a gobstones tournament, and then a chess tournament?" Severus suggested.
"That sounds agreeable," Rose replied.
"I am on board with that," Victor answered.
"I still do not want to play chess though," Violet protested.
Hermione turned to her youngest daughter and smirked. "Too bad. You are outnumbered four to one."
"Fine, but I play the first round of gobstones," Violet replied.
"I will play Violet," Rose raised her hand.
"Then the winner will play me," Victor suggested.
"Deal," Rose replied.
Even Violet's full attention was on the chess game before her.
Severus rubbed his chin as he placed his hand on the king. After a moment of contemplation he moved it forward one square.
Rose hummed as she tapped the board. She picked up her queen, yet set it down. There was a trap somewhere, but where?
Hermione took a sip of Mountain Dew. She had lost to Severus, and Victor had lost to Rose. The winners had been playing for over two hours, but if Rose could end it all with one move.
Rose slid her queen across the board. "Check."
Severus deflated and moved his king one more space.
Rose's throat dried as her eyes grew. The word was on her tongue, but she dared not utter it. Something had to be incorrect. She wasn't reading the situation correctly.
"Are you going to say it, or should I?" Severus grinned.
"Checkmate," her eyes lit up. "Checkmate!"
"Indeed," Severus' eyes were agleam. "You have defeated me."
"I won!" Rose stood and threw up her hands. "I won! I won! After twenty-two years I won!"
Severus laughed. "You did!"
Rose knocked over the chess pieces and hugged her father. "I love you Daddy, but I still cannot believe it! I won!"
"You did," he wrapped his arms around her. "You finally bested me in Wizarding chess."
The family watched the two celebrate, unaware of the first ray of sun sneaking in through the window.