AN: Many thanks to Yen for helping to add a much-needed scene, polishing things up, and all in all helping me finish this tale when real life wanted my complete and undivided attention.
Lizzy0305, I hope you have enjoyed!
Surprises and Answers
Severus stood stock-still, his eyes glazed over slightly as he stared out his kitchen window. The view wasn't much to look at. A small patch of green, mainly filled with his vertical gardens – one side was his kitchen patch holding herbs and other simples, the other two sides were for potions. In the centre was a small patch of grass, just big enough for two grown men to stand in and turn around. He didn't see any of it. Not even the sun glinting off the glazed pots Harry had helped him design during the boy's second year at Hogwarts.
Instead, he was reliving different meetings over the past week since he and Harry had returned from the Shetland Islands.
They left Hogwarts and he had to keep his distance from Harry. Part of him was breaking, screaming, wanting to destroy everything near him all because he knew what he had to do and he didn't want to. Harry and he had survived Harry's sixth year, but it had been an ugly time. He had been meaner, grumpier, and far crueler than he had ever been before. Harry had retaliated in kind, and it was very fortunate that at the time neither could walk out on the other since Harry was lodged inside of him. Now they were facing the same thing again, but this time one of them could leave.
Want, desire, need, and desperation rushed through him when he felt the hand on his arm. He couldn't move away. He couldn't move forward either so he turned his head.
"Do we have to keep the purity status the same?"
Green eyes were pleading with him, pulling him in. He looked away so he could do what was needed. He said something, the same things he said every day the last time they were in this situation, but with a new addition. He truly had no clue why the purity test showed that neither of them had done anything except maybe a kiss. Given what happened in the kitchen just the other morning was more than that, knowing what they had been doing inside his head or heart for the last four years, he was amazed. The purity test should have shown the marriage status as consummated.
When they had made it to the Ministry, he immediately went to the department that handled bonds. The old man sitting behind the front desk looked up at him after filling in the form sitting in front of him. Severus knew the waiting game well, so didn't let this tactic bother him.
"What can I do fer ya, Mr Snape?" The man's voice croaked out.
Severus answered as blandly as possible, "I need to have a bond tested."
The faded blue eyes darted to his left arm, before their owner flipped open a book. "Sometime after the New Year?"
Severus shook his head. "This week, or before Christmas at the very latest."
Pages ruffled as they turned to the next available slot. The man glanced at a name and huffed slightly. "We have one who can check for bonds, but she mightn't be able to deal with breaking them."
"Wednesday at four o'clock. Last appointment before Christmas Holidays."
Severus held back a sigh. He could wait a week. It was much shorter than the year from last time. "I'll take that one."
He watched as his name appeared in the empty slot.
"Don't be late." The man closed the book and returned to his pile of parchment.
The sound of the kettle boiling pulled Severus back to the present. It took but a minute to have a pot of tea started before looking in the fridge to decide what he was going to make for breakfast. He took a couple of eggs out along with butter, milk, and cheese. Setting them on the counter, he heard the water of Harry's shower.
Turning his thoughts quickly from a nude husband – he could call him that now – he started making omelettes, his thoughts turning to yesterday afternoon instead.
Severus finished teaching all the techniques he thought the group of Brewing Masters could handle at one time. He had taught most of them at one time or another and had a fair gauge of how much they could take in.
Cleaning up his work station, he hoped that Maverick faired all right with the Board. He knew it was not the … most acceptable thing to do when he cast his muffling charm around him and his students, but he almost didn't care.
Master Stephens' voice pulled him out of staring at one of the Brewing Masters who had not taken his class. The little blond was hiding the best he could behind the cauldron he was working in, but Severus recognised him anyway.
"What's Jerome Stilton doing here? Surely he should be in one of the research teams." Severus shot a questioning look at the Head of the Research and Development.
"He asked not to be, and I didn't know if he was truly capable of it." Stephens gestured for him to follow.
Severus growled slightly. "He's as capable as the top researchers here – with the right amount of training he could be taking your place when you decide to retire. He's hiding here, playing it safe instead of showing his abilities."
"I'll look into it later," Stephens started down the hall. "Mr Maverick wants you to come to his office."
Severus bit back a sigh. The Board probably won and he was now out of a job. While he was there being told that, he would ask Maverick about those contracts he mentioned before.
"It's not bad, Snape. I did a very Slytherin thing and convinced the Board you were worth keeping around." The former Hufflepuff looked right pleased with himself. "Maverick wants you to sign your new contract in front of them."
Severus raised an eyebrow. "And just how did you do that?"
He enjoyed the tale that followed, and did agree with Stephens – it was a very Slytherin thing to do.
The looks on the Board's faces were a mixture of disbelief and awe as he crossed the office to Maverick's desk.
"Read over it, please." Maverick pushed the parchment towards him and then set a quill next to it.
Reading it word for word, Severus couldn't help but be amazed. Everything Maverick had said was added to it was there, and more pay was an unexpected bonus. Picking up the quill, he signed the bottom.
Even as the ink dried, the Board walked quietly out the door.
"I've got to run to the Ministry," was all Stephens said before he flooed away.
Severus looked about the empty room before returning his attention to the man who had fought for him as hard as Albus had. "Thank you."
A smile was Maverick's only response.
Harry entered the dining room just as he was setting breakfast down.
"Are you coming into the Ministry today?" Harry brushed his fingers across the back of Severus' hand as he sat down.
Severus refrained from both jerking his hand back and grabbing Harry's. "I need to set up my new lab at Maverick's. If I go in today, then I won't need to be there until just before the New Year. I was planning on stopping by the Brewing Room and teaching Mattson and the others a few more techniques as well."
He placed a glass of juice at each place before he sat across the table from Harry. "I'll be there tomorrow."
Harry sighed and drank some of the apple juice. "Did Mr Weasley get back to you about being there? Minerva said she would be and was considering bringing Aberforth as he is the last Dumbledore."
Severus frowned. "I don't know why Aberforth would need to be there, but if he comes, then he needs to know just what is going on. Yes, Arthur will be there. Molly might as well."
Both quietly ate breakfast, and longing looks, though partially hidden on Severus' side, were cast as they headed out to their separate destinations.
Harry felt giddy as he walked through the department's door. It was Wednesday. A quick glance showed the Potions Lab door closed tight. He knew Severus was just behind it, the Potions Master left so early that morning to runs some tests for Draco and Terry's new case that Harry wasn't positive the man hadn't had to break into the Ministry like he did during his fifth year.
Setting that thought aside, his eyes met Ron's as the door closed behind him. A quick shift of his gaze to Draco and Terry was all he hoped Ron needed to let his best friend know he was going to tell them.
"Good morning," Harry beamed at them, he couldn't help it.
Draco glanced between the closed lab door and Harry. "What's going on, Potter? Snape is grumpier than normal and you are happier than normal."
Terry nodded and swallowed the biscuit he was eating. "And that is not a good thing." He tapped the top of the biscuit box sitting in next to his elbow. "I don't want this to be the last of these biscuits, I still can't read the logo on the box."
"Go ahead and tell them, Harry." Ron leant back in his chair, a smile curling his lips. "Dad said it would be okay. The secret will be out this afternoon anyway."
Terry and Draco looked between the two, their expressions demanding to be let in on said secret.
Harry quickly checked the privacy wards on the room and then, with his back pressed against the lab door – which glowed red around him – he spoke quietly. "Severus and I are going to have our betrothal bond confirmed today."
A quill could have been heard hitting the floor. Grey and brown eyes searched him before both narrowed. Draco's took on a calculating look while Terry looked at Ron, horrified.
Terry leant across the table, his face accusing. "Your sister dated Harry!"
Draco's voice cut across the accusations. "You gave him permission to tell. You knew – your family knew – your family holds Guardianship."
The softly spoken words stopped Terry's rant and he looked between Ron and Harry. "Why?"
"The war," Harry said just as softly. "Couldn't have the supporters of either side knowing, at least not those who didn't know everyone's true allegiance."
Draco frowned slightly, his eyes raking over Harry's apparel. "Tell me you are changing before the ceremony."
Harry shook his head side to side. Severus didn't say anything about being dressed up. "No, I didn't know this was that important. Severus didn't mention anything."
Draco rolled his eyes. "No, he wouldn't. He would dress in his normal black and not care one way or the other. He doesn't care about the form of things as long as it's done." He turned towards Ron. "You know better, don't you?"
Ron gave a sharp nod. "Dad and I both have new dress robes here to change into. Mum is going to be coming later."
Draco turned to Terry. "Take Harry and get him ready. I'll tackle Snape." He looked back at Ron. "You wait on your Mum, and watch the office." He turned back to Harry. "When is the ceremony?"
"We are supposed to be there by four." The door he was leaning against shifted from yellow to green.
"We've barely enough time." Terry jumped up from the table, pushing the biscuit box away. "Ron, where is the after celebration occurring?"
Draco shook his head. "That would be Snape's responsibility. Harry, do you know?"
'There's supposed to be a celebration?' Harry shook his head.
"I'll find out from Snape while I pry him out of the lab and make sure he's ready." Draco gestured for Harry to move away from the door. "Terry, you two need to head out. Ron,"
Ron cut him off. "I'll double check that Mum and Dad are dressed appropriately, and be prepared to meet them and Professor McGonagall, Snape's Guardian."
Before Harry had completely understood what was happening, Terry bustled him out of the door and into the shopping district of London's Diagon Alley.
The morning became a whirlwind of clothes shopping, with stops at the cobbler's, hairdresser's, and Terry's house to get cleaned up. Lunch was eaten sometime in there, but Harry couldn't honestly say when or where or even what it was.
Severus knew what was about to happen when Draco opened the door. He and Harry had discussed last night about telling the other two in the office, and he had a feeling that something like this would occur.
"Snape," Draco leant against the door jamb, showing the empty room behind him. "You do have appropriate robes to wear to your ceremony this afternoon, don't you?"
Severus looked down at the black robe slightly stained with potions and ingredients. What he wore didn't matter to him. What matter was that he and Harry were both there, and both agreed to keep the bond.
"Mum and Dad are right – you don't care about appearances unless it is the entire reason to be there." Draco pushed of the jamb. "Come on, we've got to get you appropriate clothes. Do you have an after celebration location chosen?"
"After celebration? Draco, this is just the recognition of a Betrothal Bond, not a wedding." Severus snapped.
Draco snorted. "And it gets its own party. Now, since Harry says your Guardian is Professor McGonagall."
Severus frowned. "It was Dumbledore, Minerva is just standing in his stead."
Draco gave a short nod before continuing, "I wish to offer you the services of Malfoy Manor and our elves for the after celebration since Hogwarts wouldn't be a good place with all the students. It will take me but a moment to fire call Mum, and she can arrange it all. The party will be a dinner celebration, and maybe some dancing if she can work it out. So close to Christmas, I don't know, but I think a lot of your guests can make it on such short notice."
Severus closed his eyes and sighed. This had to happen, especially now that Draco was involved. Harry deserved the full treatment, and he didn't want the boy to face the criticisms if he didn't have them. Tapping his wand to a piece of parchment, he produced a list of names. Not long, Narcissa would mostly likely add more, but these were the few people he and Harry would want there. "This is our list of guests."
Draco took the parchment and turned to leave, calling back over his shoulder. "I'll be just a moment, be ready to leave. We're going shopping."
"Mum," Draco leant further into the floo, handing the parchment through. It had taken a full three minutes after he alerted the house elf for her to get there. He was afraid Snape was going to start on another potion, one that couldn't be stopped.
Narcissa knelt down and took the parchment, concern filling her face. "What is it, Draco?"
Draco talked quickly, knowing his mum would be shocked, but could handle it. "Snape and Harry are having their Betrothal Recognition Ceremony today. Yes, Severus Snape and Harry Potter. I just found out. Snape is ..."
Blue eyes widened. "Severus and Harry? How? When?"
Draco shook his head. "Harry said they didn't spread it about due to the war, so maybe it was an early betrothal. He did date the Chang daughter during his fifth year, it could have been a testing, or before it was set. I don't know. All I know is that neither are prepared, not even dress robes to wear for the ceremony."
A slightly aggravated sigh escaped his lips. He needed to hurry – Terry had been right about the time restraint.
Narcissa shook her head, her surprise visible only for a second before her planning expression dominated. "Being true to form. Your Father and I will set up the party. You get them looking right. I doubt Severus told Harry just how big of a deal this is."
Narcissa tipped her head to one side, "Are there any Guardianships involved? They may have planned the celebration."
"The entire Weasley family for Harry and Albus Dumbledore – Professor McGonagall is standing in his stead – for Snape. There are no plans, Snape would have said something when I offered our home."
"They might bring in Aberforth as well. If not, he needs to be invited." She stood up, "Go, Draco, we've both have a lot of things to do. Bring Severus here to get cleaned up. Lucius will double check that he's ready."
Draco pulled out of the fireplace. Time to get cracking.
Severus understood what he did by allowing the Malfoys to host the celebration dinner, a dinner he was positive was going to be far more than that as Narcissa and Lucius were equally aware of what this would do. The Malfoys' social status would rise once again, some of the dents and dings it had taken would be polished out. Just the same as the Weasleys' social status would be repaired by the Guardianship. The two families working together, albeit unwittingly, would do truly shake up the Wizarding World politics.
Dressed to Draco and Lucius' standards, with Draco at his side, Severus waited in the Ministry Atrium for Minerva and the rest of their party to arrive. As he waited his thoughts returned to his day. He has convinced Draco by refusing everything else to allow him to remain in black. The dark robes were made of the highest quality wool available with silver buttons adorning it and the new outfit beneath them. The coat was a dark charcoal grey as were the trousers. His waistcoat was the same as his robes, and his white shirt could have come from his own wardrobe, but actually was made up quickly by Lucius' own house elves. He had found nothing that suited his taste while out shopping and had succeeded in convincing Draco that it would be alright to have one old object on his person. Lucius had put paid to that idea as he was getting ready. The memory of that conversation captured his attention.
"Severus," Lucius closed the door of the bedroom that Severus was using, "how long have you been betrothed?"
Severus raised an eyebrow, before brushing his wand down his shirt, causing the wrinkles to be fall out. "Lily betrothed us." He would let Lucius come up with his own answer.
The blond nodded. "Good, a family blessed betrothal will be hard for others to … argue about. It was the Potters' wish, so it will be respected. Now, about the after celebration -" He stopped when Severus slipped the new waistcoat over his old shirt. "What, pray tell, are you doing?"
"Getting dressed." Severus raised an eyebrow as Lucius' frown.
"You're not wearing that shirt. Not one stitch of old clothing is allowed. You know that." Lucius pulled a bell rope and spoke to the house elf that appeared. "Mandy, Severus requires a new shirt. Take his measurements and have it ready in half an hour. You may alter one of my new shirts to fit him if possible."
Lucius turned back to Severus. "Everything else is new – sock and smalls?" When Severus nodded, he continued with his earlier conversation. "As I was saying, in the after celebration your familial coats of arms will be displayed. Is there a chance, considering the age of the betrothal bond, that it might have matured into a marriage one?"
"A slim chance, but even if it did, we both know the likelihood of the Ministry recognising it."
Lucius nodded. "We will prepare the joined coats just in case. Send a quick message if they do."
"Of course," Severus sat on the bed to wait for his shirt. "Thank you for bringing this together so quickly. I don't see the necessity of it, but Harry will enjoy it."
Lucius' eyes rolled. "Only you, Severus. Narcissa has succeeded in getting a band, and the elves have prepared the ballroom. There will be a light repast offered -mainly tea things – and then dinner will be served later. We've called in the elves from the other Malfoy holdings, and are using their kitchens to prepare the food as we speak. Narcissa is planning a large cake just in case." He settled on one of the chairs and continued to fill Severus in on the plans while they waited on the shirt.
Pulling gently on his cuffs, Severus returned to the present. A glance to his side showed Draco, dressed in rich grey robes with silver trim, was still on his left and Arthur, in dark green, and Ron, in a deep blue, were on his right.
Searching the Atrium once again for Harry, he finally spotted him and Terry coming towards them. The rich green of Harry's robe wouldn't be too bright against his black, but offered a lovely contrast. He wore a dark suit but from this distance, Severus couldn't tell if it was dark grey or black. Terry was in a rust red colour that suited him more that Severus had thought it could. Just as Harry made it to them, Minerva, dressed in her tartan, and Molly, who was wearing rich copper brown, did as well.
"Aberforth said he would meet us at the celebration dinner," Minerva said as they turned to walk towards the wand weighing station. "Most of the staff will be there tonight, Severus. Thank goodness it's the Holidays."
Severus refrained from rolling his eyes and handed over his wand to be weighed. Once that formality was done, the party fell into the traditional escort. Arthur and Minerva stood between him and Harry, Molly and Ron flanked Harry's other side. Draco and Terry flanked him.
People moved out of their way, their eyes wide and stuttered well wishes falling from their lips. Reporters were snapping pictures but not one dared to stop them. It wasn't done, but he could hear the speculations buzzing behind them as they made it to the old man's desk.
Faded blue eyes blinked, looked back at the appointment book, and then back at them. Standing up, he brushed at the wrinkles in his robes causing them to fall out, leaving the robes looking worthy of being on their herald. "This way, Mr Snape."
He walked them to a set of double doors, tapped the handle twice with his wand, and then flung them open. Stepping aside, he gestured for them to enter. "I'll let your Bonder know of your arrival."
He walked off and Severus had a feeling it wasn't to get the originally scheduled Bonder. He was proven right as one young lady entered obviously still straightening her dress robes with an older man, probably a few years older than Minerva, who ran a final smoothing hand down his own mahogany robes.
The older Bonder's eyes scanned over the assembled group and then bowed his head slightly towards them. "I am Bryan Jerkin, Master Bonder. This is Nicole Carroway, Master Bonder – she will be assisting me in this ceremony."
He crossed the room to stand near a podium that held a small book and several stacks of parchment, Carroway followed him, her cornflower blue eyes darting between each of their party, but mostly resting on Severus and Harry. Jerkin turned about, his robes flowing around him, to face the group after a quick glance at the book. "We have come here to test a bond. Will the Guardians present those they protect?"
Arthur stepped from between Harry and Minerva. "I am Arthur Weasley, Head of the branch of the Weasley Family that holds the Guardianship of the Betrothal between Harry Potter and Severus Snape."
Severus gave mental points to Jerkin – he didn't react at all to Arthur's announcement. Carroway did – her eyes big and a soft gasp escaping her slack jaw. Jerkin didn't even react to that, he just quietly reminded her to write the information onto a parchment near the book as Arthur continued.
"Molly Weasley is here as my partner in holding the Guardianship. We present Harry Potter."
Molly moved slightly closer to Harry's side as Arthur stepped back to his original place.
Minerva moved forward. "I am Minerva McGonagall, standing in the stead of Albus Dumbledore as the Guardian of the Betrothal between Severus Snape and Harry Potter. I present to you Severus Snape."
She moved back to her place and Jenkins called for the witnesses to present themselves.
Draco stepped forward. "I am Draco Malfoy, Heir to the Head of the Malfoy Family. I stand as witness for the Malfoy Family to the Betrothal of Severus Snape and Harry Potter."
Ron and Terry both followed Draco, stating the same things but for their family.
Jerkin moved to stand in one circle engraved in the floor. "Mr and Mrs Weasley, Headmistress McGonagall, please escort your charges to their respective places."
Arthur and Molly lead Harry to the circle on Jerkin's right and Minerva took Severus to one on the left.
"We are here today to confirm the betrothal between Severus Snape and Harry Potter." He turned slightly in Severus' direction. "Master Snape, who arranged this betrothal, and what form did it take?"
Severus centred himself, holding back his normal snark. "This betrothal was arranged by Lily Potter neè Evans before her passing. The form was a potion for strength and longevity."
Jerkin turned to Harry and asked, "Mr Potter, you, knowing you were betrothed, dated two girls during your time at Hogwarts?"
Severus narrowed his eyes. He knew it was going to be broached, but he didn't expect the Bonder to mention it or even know of Harry's dating history.
"I did, sir." Harry's voice sounded calm, which partially reassured Severus. "Miss Cho Chang was my allowed test, confirming my gender preference. Miss Ginevra Weasley acted as such to be a Guardian of my Betrothal since it could not be announced due to the circumstances of the time."
Jerkin shifted his gaze to Minerva and Arthur. "Was this unusual way of Guarding agreed upon and monitored?"
Both answered 'yes' at the same time, and Severus knew it would hold up under Vertiserum as long as the phrasing of the question was not changed. It was monitored at the time by every living and non-living soul in Hogwarts as well as Molly, herself, at the Burrow. It was agreed upon much later.
Jerkin signalled for Carroway to place a piece of parchment onto the small table between Harry and Severus. "Guardians, please leave your charges and join the witnesses."
Molly, Arthur, and Minerva moved to stand near the others. Jerkin then raised his wand and cast the same spell Minerva had almost a week ago. Severus watched as brilliant blue ink flowed across the foolscap. From here he couldn't see the words, and was worried as the ink colour changed between here and Hogwarts. As the words continued to form, that became a difference as well, when they ended half the page was filled.
"Mr Potter, please step up to the table." Jerkin crossed the room and arrived at the table the same time Harry did. "Your left hand, sir."
Harry shot a quick look at Severus but held his hand out to Jerkin who pricked his ring finger and directed three drops of blood onto the lower corner of the parchment.
"You may return to your circle, Mr Potter." Jerkin released Harry's hand. "Master Snape, please step up to the table."
Severus crossed to the table and offered his left hand when requested. As he did, he quickly scanned the foolscap, trying to find out what else was written. 'Everything from Minerva's is on there. It also shows that the betrothal was not registered before, the potion type is listed as a Bythesea potion,' He filed the name away to research later as he continued to read. 'then it goes on to list Harry's two relationships and then date ranges of our interactions, and my connection to Voldemort and it's ending.' The glaring lack of relationships for him he knew would be considered a positive.
His blood touched the parchment, and Jerkin sent him back to his circle. The Bonder stood at the table, waiting for the purity test to complete. His face gave nothing away as he walked back to his circle and faced them once again.
"Severus Snape, Harry Potter, your Betrothal Bond has matured into a Marriage Bond. It did this on the first of August of 1997. According to the Purity Test, this marriage has yet to be consummated." He looked between Severus and Harry and then towards the Guardians. "Neither of the two have breached their Betrothal Bond nor the Marriage Bond.
"As the Bonds have been upheld and the marriage has not been consummated, the two joined may decide if they wish to continue this joining." Jerkin straightened his back slightly, his head high as he turned to Harry. "Mr Potter, as you entered into this betrothal at such a young age, and at your Mother's behest, you are granted the ability to remove yourself from this relationship and bond with no penalty for breach of contract.
"What is your decision?"
Severus felt his heart clench with fear at the thoughtful look on Harry's face. Harry knew him inside and out – literally. He knew he wasn't good, nice, or easy to deal with. If Harry decided to break the bond, there would be no chance of having his Harry back, and his world would be bleaker than ever. Severus forced his face to remain calm and impassive, though he was anything but.
Harry's green eyes rested on him, searching his face and eyes, before dropping to the potion stained hands he had clenched into slight fists. A small smile – a mischievous one he had seen too many times for his own heart's good – flashed his way before Harry asked Jerkin a question.
"This is a Potions Bond. Are you sure there would be no repercussions in breaking it? Can you break it?"
Jerkin's lips compressed slightly, the only indication of his disapproval or disappointment. "The bond is a Bythesea type. They are harder to break, and can leave the member of the bond who is unwilling to let it go scarred mentally, emotionally, and or physically, but it can be done."
Even as Severus resigned himself to all of the scars Jerkin mentioned – he knew he could never willingly let Harry go, he had been with the boy for too long – a niggling sense of hope kept him from locking his heart completely away from the bond connected to it.
"Don't doubt me, Severus." Harry's words caused his gaze to fly up from their contemplation of the stone floor. "I've told you that many times, it's time for you to believe me."
Severus felt his heart unclench at those words, the same words the eleven year old told him when he first disbelieved that the boy wanted to be in his heart and mind, and then repeated many times until Severus gave up doubting his Harry. It was that belief that had kept him from completely doubting the younger man now. He narrowed his gaze, letting a light glare tell Harry to get on with this, and that he never liked to be teased.
Green eyes continued to look directly into his as Harry spoke to Jerkin. "I have wanted this connection since I learned about it. I didn't understand why I did, but I knew I never wanted to be separated from Severus Snape, and that still holds to this day."
A flash of warmth in those green eyes sent a spiral of heat through Severus, making his heart race, demanding that he cross the room and kiss Harry senseless. Jerkin's next question stopped him.
"Severus Snape, though you entered this bond as an adult at the behest of Harry Potter's family, you are granted a chance to end this relationship and bond. You shall be charged a monetary fine for breach of contract. The amount will depend on the resulting scarring of your husband, Harry Potter. Do you wish to?"
Severus mentally scoffed at the idea that a fifteen year old was considered an adult, but had no desire to let the world know that this betrothal began long before the other partner had even been thought of, much less born. He didn't break eye contact with Harry as he snapped out his answer. "No."
The flash of amusement in Harry's eyes told him his Imp appreciated his shortness. Severus did keep the sharp tone out of his voice at least.
"As neither of you wish to deny the other, and the bond shows you to have been married for over four years, today's date shall be entered as your official wedding date. Your bond maturation date shall be recorded as the alternative date. You may use either on your records. Congratulations, gentlemen."
Severus felt himself freeze. They were officially married. Happiness flooded through him. Some of it was because they wouldn't have to plan an elaborate ceremony, but most was because Harry was truly his to have and hold for the rest of their lives.
Severus and Harry stood side by side in one of the front parlours at the Malfoy's house. Their escort was with them except Draco who had gone on ahead to let his parents know they were wed. Severus glanced down at his left hand. A gold wedding band rested on his ring finger, its duplicate adorning Harry's. Minerva had done a wonderful job with them. As they were preparing to leave the ceremony room, she had plucked a few hairs from each of their heads and then transfigured the rings. Her reasoning had been that they didn't have time to buy any before the Celebration Dinner, and they needed to wear them to show their new status. Neither Severus nor Harry objected at the moment, and Severus looking at the simple ring – gold with fine etchings all over the surface that reminded him of their hair, though he knew the transfiguration was not messed up – knew they would compare every set they looked at to these. He would head out to the stores tomorrow morning, braving the Christmas Eve rush, lto start the search. Minerva's work would last that long.
The Malfoys entered the room, small smiles on their faces.
"Severus, Harry, let us congratulate you on your nuptials, though from what Draco says, it's late in coming." said Lucius, his smile broadening.
Severus nodded slightly. "Thank you. It was a surprise to both of us that the bond had changed on its own."
All the Malfoys nodded.
"We and the rest of the Wizarding World, can understand the need for secrecy during the War, " Narcissa turned towards the door, "but there is no reason now. Let's introduce you to the world and celebrate this happy event."
Severus noticed Harry's amusement and leant close to the younger man. "What, Imp?"
"Not one scolding about the short notice. She has an entire party planned – dancing, dinner, more dancing – in less than twelve hours, and she doesn't even seem to want us to acknowledge that we caused them any issues."
Severus flashed Harry a smile before whispering, "We will hear about it later. Right now, we are the guests of honour and are being treated as such."
With that, they left the room, their Ministry escorts, who were now their entourage, beside them.
Narcissa and Lucius opened the ballroom's door, and Severus could see the decorations that covered the walls. He knew magic and elves could help with a lot, but the room was still stunning. Scattered about were an abundance of hot house flowers most likely from one of the Malfoy's estates, silk hangings in a multitude of colours creating a soft warm look to the room. He stopped surveying the room when the hanging on the back wall caught his attention. They were the family crests showing the family trees of both his and Harry's heritage culminating in a joined crest for them. He studied his and Harry's new crest – now that it was displayed they wouldn't be able to change it – and decided he like it. It had elements of the Black – a tree, Potter – a dog, and Prince – a wyvern – crest in it along with a black snake curled around the edges of the gold shield all displayed on a maroon background. He knew the snake was to represent himself as there were no symbol for the Snape line.
"Honoured guests," Lucius spoke into the silent and mostly crowded room, "it's an honour and privilege of the Malfoy family to host the celebration of the joining of two notable wizards. We're pleased that you could join us to celebrate the nuptials of Severus Snape and Harry Potter."
Here he and Narcissa moved out of the way, allowing Severus and Harry along with their entourage to enter the room. Clapping filled the room briefly, before they quieted and Narcissa stepped up to Severus' shoulder.
"Come, greet your guests." She and Lucius escorted them along with Terry and Arthur to meet all the people the Malfoys had brought together under such short notice.
It took Severus only a moment to realise every major pure blood family was represented and most of those from the Light. The introductions were going to take quite a while.
After the last person was greeted, the band, which had been playing softly in the background, fell silent at Lucius' signal. The elder Malfoy looked over the gathered guests, his eyes landing on Severus and Harry. With an autocratic gesture, he waved them forward.
Severus took Harry's hand and let his husband on to the dance floor.
Lucius signalled for the band to begin the first dance.
Severus held Harry as close as decency allowed as they moved about the floor alone. Gazing deep into his Imp's green eyes, he let his happiness show.
Severus was glad when the celebration finally finished. Well-wishers toasted him and Harry away. Lucius assured him that Draco would bring their family crest to them later. Severus and Harry both thanked their hosts, and then left, returning to Spinner's End.
Reaching out, he brushed a lock of Harry's hair behind his ear and let his fingers trace the edge of his jaw. "Are you ready?"
Harry raised an eyebrow, proving to Severus that the younger man didn't remember the line, but he hoped that his Imp would remember the next ones.
"I'm ready. More than ready."
Severus smiled. Harry had joined him in quoting themselves. Those were the words spoken on their last wedding day according to the parchment.
Tipping Harry's chin up, he kissed those soft pink lips. Pleasure rushed through him, bright and hot. Tongues stroked each other, hands roamed about, and Severus had to pull away.
"What?" Harry panted lightly trying to get back into Severus' arms.
"Not here in the hall, nor on the sofa, not yet. Upstairs, Imp. We've a bed to break in."
Laughing, Harry darted up the steps, Severus on his heels. Harry dashed through his room's door and made it to the bed as Severus was walking through the door.
"I can be here now! No glares, no grumps, no fussing!" Harry fell back onto the bed, before turning over and smiled at Severus. "And you can be here with me."
The smile turned into an invitation. "So, come on."
"Get your shoes off," Severus crossed the room, draping his robe over a chair, his coat and waistcoat following. "You know the rules."
His Imp grinned. "No shoes on the bed, and no clothes on the Harry."
Severus rolled his eyes as he undid his shirt. "No clothes on the Harry when I am about to devour him alive. You are, of course, permitted to wear nightclothes."
Harry's gaze burned over his skin as he sent his shirt to join the rest of his clothes. Severus stopped next to the bed, his eyebrow raised. "You can quote the rules well enough, now obey them."
Laughing loudly, Harry stripped, dropping his clothes on the floor near the bed. Severus shook his head and banished them to the chair that was holding his. "I am positive we've held a conversation about that as well."
Harry shrugged and pulled Severus onto the bed, working his trousers loose and pushing them down. "I would have picked them up in the morning. I'm just so happy about being here."
Severus clasped their left hands together, bringing the rings on their fingers together. "We will be here for as long as Fate permits."
He ran a hand down Harry's chest and settled it on his hips, pulling the younger man to him. A groan erupted from both of them as their skin touched. Harry's fingers began brushing over him gently, slowly adding more pressure until it was his entire hand sweeping over Severus' back and thighs. Severus did the same, learning the body pressed close to his while his mind tried to determine if there were any differences between the outside Harry and the inner one.
Finding none, Severus let his hand wrap around the thick cock rubbing against his thigh and stroked.
"Sev – Severus!" Harry panted out the name, his eyes closing in pleasure. "I won't last if you keep on."
Severus kissed Harry's neck and continued down his chest, trailing kisses as he did. "We have plenty of time to continue later if you don't."
He nuzzled Harry's thighs, helping them part. His hand left the straining cock and dipped between the thighs to play with the sac hanging there and the soft skin behind that. Lifting his head, he watched Harry writhe on the bed, lost in pleasure. Blowing gently over the wet soft head of the cock just in front of him, he let his tongue slip out and run up the underside of it.
Harry gasped and held still. Severus knew Harry was hoping for more, so he gave it. With his lips, mouth, and tongue he brought his husband to completion.
Harry slumped into the bed, his pants sounding loud in the quiet room. After a minute, green eyes fluttered open, and focused on Severus. "Thank you."
Severus smiled. "You're welcome."
Another ritual completed – Harry always thanked him for making him come, and he always answered the same. It started the first time they had made love, and it still continued even into the outside world.
Harry sat up and got onto his knees, cupping Severus' face with his hands.
"I love you, Severus," he whispered. He ran a hand through the long black hair and down the lean chest, finally pushing Severus onto his back.
"I love you, Harry," Severus replied.
Smiling, Harry traced the path of every muscle in Severus' body he could reach with his lips and tongue. He finally ended up at Severus' cock which was straining and weeping. There, he repaid Severus in kind, making the Potions Master moan, plead, and demand until he was coming, arched away from the bed, his fingers wrapped tight in Harry's hair, clutching his head.
Sinking down onto the bed, Severus let out a shuddering breath. Harry wormed his way back up, bringing the covers with him.
Both of their eyes began to drift shut, exhausted after the long day. Severus pulled Harry to him, spooning himself around the younger man.
All was right now, Harry was in his arms, where he belonged.
Harry rolled out of bed, his attention caught by the sight of Severus barely tucked under the covers. Decency was being honoured but that was about all. One long leg was draped over the cover and the other foot peeked out as well. There wasn't a stitch of cover any higher than the man's hipbones, one corner of the sheet was barely tucked around his side. It was a sight Harry would love to sit and stare at, but he didn't have time. He had to be in the office early while Severus could report into Maverick's anytime today.
Running a hand over his face, he headed for the shower. As he stepped into the pounding hot water, he knew he didn't regret last night. He would never regret enticing Severus to leave his books, quills, and parchment not to mentions his ingredients and cauldrons.
Not that he minded Severus' research abilities – it was his tenacity that helped them discover that the potion his Mum had given Severus all those years ago was one lost to the Wizarding World. One lost on purpose. They were a prime example as to why it was banished from all books, scrolls, and any place else Severus had looked for it at. The only place it might be left in the Wizarding World was the Department of Mysteries. It took him, Hermione, Ron, and Severus to find the book Lily had used in the local library. It had been tucked deep into the recesses of the stacks with a concealment charm on it as well as a repellent charm. Severus had checked it out and then returned a different book – one that was disguised to look like the other one.
Harry had watched as Hermione flipped through the book to find the potion, and all four of them read the descriptive paragraph that matched what Severus said Lily had told him. Severus then turned back to the beginning of the book where all the warnings were and learned that the Perfect Match Potion was a highly potent bonding potion to be used with the utmost caution.
Harry shook his head at the memory of all the colourful words Severus had chosen to pronounce about Gryffindors and their need to rush into things.
The gold ring on his hand shone through the soap bubbles as he lathered himself down. He had always known that Minerva liked Severus and the saga of the rings had just reinforced it. Christmas Eve shopping turned out to be fruitless. That evening, at Hogwarts, the Headmistress transfigured their rings for them again, and then every morning after that a new pair came in the post. That finally ended on Valentine's day when a pair of solid gold rings made to look exactly like the ones Minerva transfigured, arrived in the post instead. The note said Filius, Pomona, and a few of the other staff members had worked together to find a jeweller to make them to Minerva's exacting requirements and then all of them had worked to charm them. Severus and Harry were very gratef, to say the least – the charms, wards, and the runes hidden in them were far more complex and highly potent than any other ring or adornment on the market. Pomfrey had even worked in a number of simple healing charms to keep them alive just in case. Terry, Draco, and Ron had almost drooled over them.
Sighing, Harry focused back on scrubbing. He knew he had to get into the office to let Ron and Terry know the information that Severus discovered for their case. It struck the Potions Master late last night while he was researching something for his potions, and was jotting a note when Harry had distracted him completely.
A small, content smile curled his lips. Harry loved just how easily he could distract Severus from whatever he was doing. A brush, a word said in just the right tone, a gust of breath across the right spot, and Severus was mush in his hands. Well, not mush, but hot and desirous. It was something he was very glad didn't change now that he was wholly outside of his love's body.
Leaving the shower, Harry quickly dried off and dressed, all without looking at Severus. He knew he would give into the tempting sight if he did, and he did owe it to his husband to deliver his finding. That, and let him get his research done in peace.
With one last look at his Love, he shut their bedroom door and slipped out. He would pick up breakfast on the way in.