Chapter Thirty

Time of Celebration

Pumpkin pies, muffins, cakes and juice filled the tables of the Great Hall along with a large assortment of Mediterranean and Cretan foods as faculty both old and new as well as Jennifer and Severus' wedding party sat down for the anniversary meal hardly an hour after all the students were packed on trains and sent away for the summer. Rolanda and Anna were already getting heavy into the Anise wine, but everyone in general was having a good time, and even Severus seemed to be in a mood tolerable to the social occasion.

It wasn't all that surprising when Dumbledore stood to speak as they were picking and choosing which deserts would all fit on their plates. He smiled and idly spun the top of his tankard.

"It seems to be my week for making speeches, doesn't it?" Dumbledore joked. "First end of term and now this. Although it does look as if Severus is finally recovering from the shock of losing the cup to Gryffindor," he said, as Minerva smirked and raised her cup to Severus who favored her with a slightly annoyed look. "I am sorry, Severus, but it was worth giving Rose twenty points for finding a cure for the Whomping Willow. I happen to be very fond of that tree. But let's move on to other things.

"I suppose we all know we're here to celebrate the Pumpkin Anniversary of these two," Dumbledore said, gesturing towards Jennifer and Severus. "Some of your friends had doubts that you would make it this far, you know. And for those at the table who are concerned, you can pay me after the meal," he added, mischievously looking towards Sirius and Rolanda who both looked chagrined. "It has been thirteen years since they married. Thirteen years, goodness, where did the time go? I can still remember writing the letter that brought Jennifer to this school, and I'm sure everyone here is glad that I did so. Besides, you should have seen whom the Ministry had lined up for the position if I hadn't found someone," Dumbledore chuckled to himself. "And although some of us may not look older," he said, pointedly looking at Jennifer, "we have all grown in many ways, especially these two. They have had to live with a headstrong mate on a daily basis, not to mention raise four equally headstrong children and keep up with their careers… they set lofty goals for themselves, and goals that they will continue to work to try to improve on for the rest of their lives. So these first thirteen years have been but one step in a chain of steps, and I hope those steps will lead them and their family to even greater closeness and happiness than they have already achieved. May you grow in both love and understanding, and may Hogwarts benefit from those achievements as well in the years to come," he said, tipping his glass, everyone else at the table following enthusiastically.

"Had to put in a little plug for the school did you?" Rolanda teased as he sat down.

"I am the Headmaster, after all," Dumbledore smiled, everyone chuckling in response.

Gifts shortly followed, (and not one included diamonds). Severus quietly slipped on his gloves before handling anything, meeting Jennifer's gaze, who then winked at him knowingly. They were halfway through them when they were distracted by someone entering, and Jennifer looked up in surprise to see Corey enter with his guitar in hand, Doug and Taylor following behind him. Danny leapt up to take her place in the band.

"Oh, no. You're not actually intending to play, are you?" Severus scowled, having remembered all too well what they used to sound like.

"Don't worry Dad, we're not students now. We took a healthy dose of Inspiration first," Corey said cheerfully, everyone breaking out into laughter.

As the rest of the party went to listen, Jennifer stepped over to the side and Severus followed, shaking his head at Corey and the others.

"I hope you don't mind, but my gift isn't something that can fit on the table," Jennifer joked. "I've been writing to Carol and Lupin and talking to Arthur, and I took it on myself to arrange a sort of second honeymoon. They're going to lend us a boat for a couple of weeks, as well as a cabin they have off the coast of Ireland. I thought it might be good if we could get away from work and home and just talk for awhile," she said, gazing at him and waiting for a response.

"Have I ever told you that I think you are as brilliant as you are beautiful?" Severus said expressionlessly.

"Not recently," Jennifer said wryly.

"Yes," Severus agreed softly, putting on his gloves. "I suppose working some things out is the best way to start our fourteenth year. Ironic, your gift is for the future, and mine is from the past."

"Oh?" Jennifer said curiously. Severus took out a serpentine chain of gold, twisting around thirteen tiny crystal spheres, each one containing a silvery strand.

"Be careful touching the spheres with your hand," Severus said quietly as he clasped it around her neck. "In each one is a single memory, one from every year we've been married. When you touch them, it will send you there briefly, rather like a Pensieve. So that if there ever comes a time when I get rather preoccupied as I do from time to time, perhaps you will look at these and know exactly how I feel." Jennifer looked up at him lovingly, not knowing what to say. "No matter what our future holds, I don't want you to forget me."

"Oh, Severus," Jennifer sighed happily, shaking her head at him. "How could I possibly ever forget you? Oh, I suppose when we're old an grey and five hundred and ten years old the mind may start to slip," she chuckled, "but the heart never forgets, Severus, never. And my love for you lasts forever."

"Well if that's true, then I suppose we don't have to worry about the end of time anymore, then do we?" Severus mused.

Jennifer smiled and kissed him.

The End

Book 1 Series 3

A/N Thanks for reading Diamonds of Time! In the next book, Jennifer Craw and the Princess of Gold, Aurelius finally comes to Hogwarts, and an ancient mystery comes to light, involving everything from Fomorians to Goblins, so I hope you keep reading! Aurelius happens to be one of my favorite characters of the series, and I hope you'll come to like him as much as I do.