Disclaimer: It ain't mine, I just enjoy messing up their lives.
A/N: Hello, it's nice to see you all don't hate me too much for leaving that cliffy in the last chapter. As always, thanks so much for the reviews, you know how much I love 'em! Now, for a sad bit of news: this is the final chapter of Take Time to Smell the Roses. There will be no separate epilogue since you'll see that it made more sense for me to include it in this chapter. I would like to take a moment to thank everyone who has been with this story since the first pitiful chapter, encouraging me to continue writing it through this one. Without your support, as well as everyone who reviewed, this never would have done as well as it has, and thus encouraged me. It's been a fun journey I think, and I hope you enjoyed it too. So without further ado or sentimentality, the final chapter!
Take Time to Smell the Roses
Chapter Twenty Eight
Severus felt his breath catch as he laid eyes upon his soon-to-be-wife. He was suddenly glad they had decided not to write their own vows, as the sight of her made him speechless. No words would have been able to do her justice anyways. As she continued to seemingly float down the aisle on her father's arm, Severus couldn't help but smile broadly.
Hermione couldn't help but smile broadly as she laid eyes upon her soon-to-be husband. He was dressed in a black three button tuxedo with simple silver cummerbund and bowtie. His hair was left loose around his shoulders, but two strands in the front had been braided back, effectively keeping it out of his face. As she came to stop in front of Albus, she smiled again at Severus before turning her attention to the Headmaster.
"Who brings this woman to be wed to this man?" Albus began the ceremony as everyone took their seats.
"Her mother and I do," Marius said formally, and turned to face his daughter. Leaning forward, he gently kissed her forehead before taking her hands and placing them in Severus' large ones. He quickly took his seat next to Helen who already had a handkerchief out and was dabbing at the corners of her eyes. Albus smiled at both of them, eyes twinkling with glee, and then turned and looked out over all their friends and family before beginning.
"This is the time that you have chosen to become husband and wife," Albus began. "We are here, not only to witness your commitment to each other, but also to wish you both every happiness in your future life together. Within its framework of commitment and loyalty marriage enables the establishment of a home, where through trust, patience, and respect the love and affection which you have for each other may develop into a deep and lasting relationship. We who are witnessing your marriage hope that despite the stresses inevitable in any life, your respect for each other, your trust and understanding of each other, and most of all your love for each other, will increase your contentment and heighten your joy in living."
Hermione and Severus shared another smile at the mention of love for each other.
"Corinthians chapter one, verses one through thirteen states, 'Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited, it is never rude or selfish, it does not take offense and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's faults, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope. It is always ready to endure whatever comes. True love does not come to an end.' " Albus paused a moment to let the meaning of the words really sink in. "Everyday you live, learn how to receive love with as much understanding as you give. Find things within yourself, then you can share them with one another. Do not fear this love either. Have an open heart and a sincere mind. Be sincerely interested in each other's happiness. Be constant and consistent in your love. From this comes security and strength. All that we love deeply becomes a part of us on this day of your marriage and you commit yourselves fully and freely to each other."
Many women were now using a tissue to dab at their eyes, and Hermione felt a tear run down her cheek also.
"Marriage is togetherness if two are caring as they share life's hopes and fears, and if the music of laughter outweighs sadness and tears. Marriage is freedom if both derive pleasure from the mere presence of each other, yet when parted, no jealousies restrict, worry, or smother. Marriage is respect if achievements mean more when they benefit two and consideration is shown with each point of view. And if togetherness, freedom, and respect are combined with a joy that words can never fully define, then marriage is love," Albus smiled again. "Before you, Severus and Hermione, are joined in holy matrimony in my presence and the presence of your family and friends, I am to remind you of the serious and binding nature of the relationship you are now about to enter. I will now ask you to make your marriage vows to one another."
Hermione and Severus turned to face each other, and Severus took both her hands in his while looking deeply into her eyes.
"Do you Severus Augustus Snape, take Hermione Marie Granger, to be your lawfully wedded wife, to love, honour, and cherish, to keep in sickness and health, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?" Albus directed his question to Severus.
"And do you Hermione Marie Granger, take Severus Augustus Snape, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to love, honour, and cherish, to keep in sickness and health, forsaking all others, as long as you both shall live?" Albus directed his question to Hermione now.
"Now if I may have the rings?" Albus took them from the pillow and held them up. "So as the rings are round with no break, so may your marriage also be. Severus, please take the ring and place it on Hermione's finger as you say with this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed," Severus slid the delicate gold band with small inlaid diamonds on either side of a rather large emerald cut diamond solitaire, onto Hermione's ring finger.
"Hermione, if you would please take the ring, and place it on Severus' finger as you say with this ring, I thee wed."
"With this ring, I thee wed," Hermione smiled as she slid the simple white gold band onto Severus' ring finger.
"As you have consented together to be bound to one another in lawful marriage, you have made special oaths to each other which have been symbolised by the joining of hands, taking of vows, and by the giving and receiving of rings. By the authority vested in me, according to the laws of the Wizengamot, I now pronounce you to be husband and wife. You may now kiss the bride."
Severus took a step closer to Hermione, taking one of her hand and holding to his heart while placing the other on the small of her back. Hermione took her free hand and rested it gently on Severus' cheek as they simply took a second to enjoy the moment. Severus smiled at her, and slowly lowered his head to gently meet her lips. As they did, an almost unearthly gold glow surrounded them as their union was completed, showing that their love was one of the purest a couple could have.
"It is my very happy privilege to introduce to you, Lord and Lady Severus Snape," Albus exclaimed once they ended the kiss, and cheers and applause broke out from the guests as they walked down the aisle, followed by the bridesmaids and groomsmen, and the flower girl and ring bearer.
As everyone began to stand up and go congratulate the bride and groom, the chairs moved themselves to surround tables which had suddenly appeared on one side of the room, while a fully stocked bar and a large buffet table laden with food appeared on the other. At one end of the room a D.J. booth had appeared, and light music began to filter through the room as the guests situated themselves while the wedding party went to take pictures in the room of requirement which turned itself into a large rose garden.
"Ladies and gentlemen, in their first official debut, Lord and Lady Snape!" Lee Jordan announced over the microphone as Hermione and Severus filed in after the rest of the wedding party had been announced and seated. "And now for the first dance."
"I love you," Severus kissed her palm as he led her to the middle of the floor and pulled her close.
"I love you," Hermione sighed happily. "You know Severus; I thank God every day for bringing you into my life. I honestly thought my life was fine the way it was. I was so sure that I didn't need love. You proved me wrong. I needed love, but more importantly I needed you."
Severus simply smiled at her, something that was so natural for him now it was almost scary. However, he was finding that he didn't mind smiling, as it was Hermione that was the cause of each and every single one of them. They finished out the dance in silence, and then separated as another song came on to begin dancing with friends. The dancing and celebrating continued for the next hour and a half before it was time to cut the cake.
"All right everyone, if you'll gather around please? My fiancée and I would like to make our toasts to the bride and groom," Blaise called out once the music was paused. Everyone gathered around him, Ginny, and Hermione and Severus who were standing next to the gorgeous five tier French vanilla cake with raspberry topping. "Thank you. Okay, first off I should say that I'm not very good at the whole speech thing, but as I am the best man, I'll do my best to leave some words of wisdom with you all."
There was a smattering of laughs at Blaise's playful tone and humorous remarks, and he smiled cheekily at them all before turning serious again.
"Someone once said that love isn't as easy as it seems. It's good in theory, but theories are always beautiful in thoughts or on paper. Actually testing them and putting them to good use is something altogether different," Blaise turned to Hermione and Severus. "Every time that I see you two together, it gives me hope that I too will be able to put the theory of love to good use. Please join me and raise your glasses to my Uncle and Aunt. To Severus and Hermione."
"To Severus and Hermione," the rest of the guests joined in, lifting their glasses and taking a sip.
"Well I guess this means that it's my turn," Ginny smiled nervously, looking around at all the people who had their attention focused on her. "His is a tough act to follow."
Again there was a light smattering of laughs, and Blaise moved to plaace an arm around her waist to reassure her.
"When I first met Hermione, I only knew her as my brother's friend, a bookworm, and a lover of the book Hogwarts: A History," Ginny paused while everyone had a short laugh at that, appreciating the short yet apt description of Hermione. "And the only things I had ever heard about Severus were from my brothers. I'm happy to say now that I know neither of those descriptions to be true anymore. Hermione and Severus, you two have become treasured friends that hold many spots in some of my treasured memories. I can only hope that you two go on to have just as many treasured memories of each other, as I have of the two of you together. To Hermione and Severus, may you both live happily ever after."
"And they lived happily ever after, right daddy?" Tatiana Snape asked her father who was tucking her into bed.
"Tee, you've heard that story so many times, you know it by heart," Dominic Snape drawled from the doorway. "I don't think it's going to change tonight."
"Still," she gave him a look that mirrored her mother's so much it was scary. "Just because you're eleven years old, that doesn't mean you know everything."
"And just because you're six, that doesn't mean you know everything either," Dominic retorted. "You just think you do."
"Quiet you two, your mother's sleeping," Severus scolded. "You know she's been trying to get more sleep lately, especially with Maitlyn waking her up during the night. And me too for that matter."
"Your father's right, you two should be quiet," Hermione appeared in the doorway with the four month old in question. She moved next to Dominic and laid a hand on top of his dark brown, hair, smoothing it down. "Especially since you start school tomorrow young man."
"All right," Dominic rolled his eyes. "Goodnight mum, goodnight dad."
"Goodnight dear," Hermione kissed him on top of the head, smiling as he growled at her and swatted at her hand as he left the room. "And you miss, it's past your bedtime."
"But mum, I-I-I'm not…sleepy…yet," she rubbed a fist over her eyes while trying to stifle a yawn.
"Well maybe you could just lay here and relax for me, see if you get sleepy?" Severus used a hand to push black curls out of her face and pressed a kiss to her forehead after she nodded. "Goodnight sweetheart."
"Goodnight daddy, I love you," she trailed off, asleep before she even heard him respond.
Severus smiled as he followed Hermione out of the bedroom and into the living room. Severus wrapped an arm around Hermione's shoulder as he sat down next to her on the couch with their youngest daughter in her arms.
"How's the little one," he whispered, since she was apparently asleep.
"Doing good," Hermione whispered back. "I think she'll sleep for the next few hours anyways."
"She's beautiful, just like her mother," Severus studied Maitlyn's face, something he could be found doing on many occasions since he was so enamored with her, just like he had been with the other two when they were little.
"And she has your eyes and chin," Hermione ran a finger over the baby's already strong chin.
"Thankfully not my nose," he laughed lightly, and Hermione joined him.
"How did we get so lucky?" Hermione rested her head on his shoulder, sighing with contentment.
"Fate decided to deal us a winning hand," Severus kissed her and then rested his head on hers.
"And we lived happily ever after," she said with a smile.
"No?" Hermione questioned him.
"No," he smiled. "We're living happily ever after."
A/N: And that my friends, is the last part of the story. Finished, completed, the end. I'm sorry to see it end, but I think I've dragged it out enough, lol. Well, thanks to everyone for reading it, I hope you've enjoyed reading it as much as I've enjoyed writing it. And before you ask, there will be no sequel. I rather like where I've left it, although someday I might do a little companion piece of what happens with Ginny and Blaise after Severus and Hermione's wedding, but I'm not sure. So thank you once again, and I bid you farewell.