Disclaimer:  Anything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR.  Anyone who didn't realize that should check themselves into St. Mungo's immediately (and please send my regards to Gilderoy).  Lovingly dedicated to Mel, Terry, Taber and the late Badie…friends who disguised themselves as teachers and always encouraged me to keep striving.   Short and sweet with just a touch of snark. The title is German for 'And the Greatest Gift is Love'.  Thanks to everyone who gave me the translation.

Und Das Größte Geschenk ist Liebe
 

Hermione had never been so nervous in her life.   She peeked through the curtain and stole a glance at the dark-haired man pacing nervously in front of a most amused Albus Dumbledore.  Every so often, the man would run a hand through his black hair and shake his head, obviously mumbling something under his breath.  He never could get used to being singled out…especially now that he was getting married.

She closed the curtain again and needlessly looked over her own bouquet as if to see if there was anything wrong with it.  She looked around and smiled at the others…the weather had cooperated and it was a beautiful fall morning.  The courtyard was in full bloom and the very air seemed perfumed with a variety of floral scents.

The music began and Hermione could hear the soft chatter of many voices suddenly diminish and she knew that the time had finally come.  The curtain was drawn back and she stepped forward, walking slowly and gracefully to the melody.  She could see the nervous groom as he straightened his dress robes again and again.  His eyes finally brightened as he caught sight of the woman he loved and his nervousness seemed to melt away as he stood, enraptured, by the vision of beauty that was coming to him.

Hermione smiled as she reached the small raised dais where he was standing and winked at him.   As she walked past him, she whispered, "About bloody time, Harry.  I thought Ginny would have to use an Unforgiveable to get you to marry her."

Harry grinned as she took her place as witness to the union of Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley.  Her eyes misted as she watched her friends pledge their lives to each other in undying bonds of love.  Ron was the other witness and he helped Hermione drape a length of raw silk over the joined hands of the nervous bride and groom.

Dumbledore placed his right hand over the joined hands of the smiling couple.  He gazed at each of them with deep affection and began the final pronouncement.

"Where there were two hearts beating alone, now there is one heart united in love.  Where there were two lives lived in solitude, now there is one life which is complete.  Where there were two souls floating aimlessly, now there is one with a purpose.  Through the greater gifts that we hold to be higher than all others, your marriage will thrive.  Through hope in all things, you will endure.  Through faith in your love, you will persevere.  Through charity in your heart, you will be rewarded many times over.  But it is through your love for each other that you will receive the greatest happiness.  Only through love for it is, without a doubt, the greatest of all these gifts.  May you always be as happy as you are today and may each day bring you a new memory to treasure.  You are husband and wife.  Be good to one another."

Harry produced a plain gold band from his pocket and placed it on Ginny's finger.

"I am yours, forever," he said quietly.  "And you are mine."

"I am yours, forever," Ginny replied, placing her other hand over his.  "And you are mine."

Harry leaned down and kissed his new wife softly on the lips.  Hermione felt tears pricking at the back of her eyes and looked away from her friends towards a dark figure who was standing near the back of the group.  He smirked and, with a surreptitious wave of his wand, she found herself with a handkerchief in her hand.

She smiled at Severus…appreciating the kind gesture even if it didn't sit well with his whole notion of silly wand waving.  He always had a way of settling her and his wry sense of humour, grossly under-appreciated by most people, had been a saving grace over the last few months of preparing for the wedding. 

Really, a snarky man had his merits.  And Severus could be very, very snarky.

The ceremony was now complete and the guests were coming forward to offer their congratulations.   Hermione, glad that she was no longer needed, stole away to a more secluded area.  She set her bouquet on a stone bench and walked over to a rosebush full of luscious red blooms.

"You should have them in your hair," a low voice spoke behind her.  She turned around and smiled as she saw Severus with a single red rose in his hand.

"I never thought you could be, dare I say it, romantic?" she accepted the rose, twirling it in her fingers.

"I blame it on daily exposure to Gryffindor know-it-alls," he replied with a smirk.

She giggled as she embraced him and kissed him, quite soundly, on the lips.

"You are, my dear Potions Master, the snarkiest of men and I quite love you for it," she whispered.

"Do you believe in what our lemon-drop aficionado said about love?" he asked, his eyes intently searching hers.

"Yes, I do," she replied.

"You do know that I love you, Hermione?"

"Yes, Severus.  I do."

He leaned down to kiss her again, holding her tightly.

"I have one more question, Hermione," he whispered into her ear.  "Would you answer it the same way?  Would you say 'I do'?"

She looked at him, eyes sparkling.

"You might want to take a closer look at your rose," he gently kissed her cheek.

She released him from their close embrace and immediately realized that she was no longer holding the rose.

"Oh bloody hell!" she shouted, causing a few guests to look in her direction.  "I dropped it!"  She began looking down at the pathway and along the manicured lawns.

Severus laughed and took her hand.  "Don't lose your head like a frantic Hufflepuff.  It's here."

Puzzled, she looked at her hand and gasped.  There, on her ring finger was…

"It was my aunt's engagement ring…one of the few members of my family who truly did marry for love," Severus explained.

"Are you interested in marrying for love?" Hermione asked.

"I thought it was *my* duty to propose marriage," he teased, tapping her on the nose.

"Well, if that is the case, you might want to hurry it up a bit.  The photographer is glaring at me," she smiled.

Notwithstanding the glaring photographer, Severus kneeled in front of her.

"Marry me, Hermione" he said. 

"Oh, get up you overbearing bat, people are staring," she giggled.

"Not until you answer me…and there is only one answer I want to hear."

"Ah, well it is a convenient thing that the answer you want to hear is the only answer I would give you.  Yes, Severus, I do believe I will marry you…now get up before you fall over."

He stood and kissed her.

"I love you, Hermione."

"I love you as well, Severus.  Don't ever forget that."

"I may need periodic…reminding?" he raised an eyebrow.

She smiled.  "Insufferable man."

"Correction, Hermione," he kissed her hand.  "Insufferable fiancé."

A/N:  The title is German for "And the greatest gift is love".  Thanks to everyone who answered my request for the translation.