Warning: HP/SS slash! Post Hogwarts.
Chapter 1: Wedding Bells Are Ringing
"So what was this, a goodbye fuck?" Severus hissed angrily, never prying his eyes away form his lover, who was hastily dressing himself in the dark.
It had been nearly two years since they'd entered their clandestine relationship. In fact, it had begun just after Potter graduated from Hogwarts. The arrogant young man had returned to school over the summer to seduce his old potions professor.
Severus did not jump into Harry's bed quickly. It had taken him several weeks to accept that the young man was sincere in his efforts followed by several more weeks for him to admit his own fascination and attraction towards the brat.
But over the past twenty months they'd eased into a satisfying, secure relationship that began with physical attraction and mutual curiosity but grew into a deep friendship, which was eventually followed by great intimacy and trust.
That is why Severus could not, for the life of him, comprehend what had caused Harry to inform him it was over.
If anything, he'd expected their relationship to deepen and possibly even become public knowledge, now that Harry had finally fulfilled the prophecy by disposing, once and for all, of the Dark Lord. They hadn't really spoken about it, but Severus was under the impression they would now be able to plan their future together.
Feeling rather vulnerable lying in bed naked, Severus slipped on his black satin pajama pants and walked out to the living room. He sauntered over to the liquor cabinet, poured himself a glass of cognac and sat in his favorite worn out black leather armchair. He massaged his temple as a strand of inky black hair dangled over his eye.
"I'm sorry, Severus. I never planned it this way. I…I don't want to hurt you" Harry stammered, standing at the doorway, still doing up the top buttons of his now wrinkled robe.
Severus raised his weary head, gazed at the young man, and replied, in a defeated tone:
"Why, Harry? What's changed?"
Harry winced visibly and made to move towards Severus, but his feet remained locked in their place. He wanted to run into Sev's arms and make the hurt go away, but he couldn't. There was no other choice. So with a loud sigh, the young wizard sat down in the armchair across the room, and explained:
"She lost Ron in the war."
"What's Hermione Granger got to do with this?" Severus spat, annoyance evident on his face.
Harry's expression became pensive and sad, as if he were recollecting past memories, which caused him endless sorrow and grief.
"She needs me now. I'm the only one left."
Severus shook his had, obviously not following Harry's logic.
"You're not making any sense."
Harry knew he was being ambiguous, but the idea of what he had to do was tearing him up inside. He knew explaining it to Severus would be as bad as stabbing the man in the back. And he loved the man. He loved him so much, he couldn't bear it.
But he was a Gryffindor. A good, honest, noble Gryffindor who stood by his friends in their hour of need, even if the price was his own happiness.
So Harry rose to his feet, gazed intently into his lover's eyes, and stated:
"I'm marrying Hermione, Sev.
"I'm so sorry."
The young man turned around and walked out the door, never looking back.
Had he turned around, he might have seen Severus Snape wearing an expression never seen before. The normally reserved, non-expressive, aloof wizard's eyes were wide with surprise, as his eyebrows arched upwards and his mouth formed an O shape. This display lasted a short moment before his features slumped to a hurt expression. This disappointed, betrayed look was not new to the potions master's face.
So Harry Potter is just another beautiful thing the brooding wizard was allowed to enjoy for a short while only. He will, no doubt, in the future cast it aside as yet another disappointment. Another illusion. Another joke of which he was the butt.
The Hogwarts staff members were seated in their usual seats at the head table, as the morning post arrived. Owls swooped down by every last professor, except for Ashby Leighton, the new Defense Against Dark Arts teacher. Identical envelopes were offered to Professors Dumbledore, McGonagall, Snape, Vector, Trelawney, Sprout, Flitwick, and Hagrid. The ornate Gryffindor red envelopes with lovely gold writing held within them lovely wedding invitations, which once opened, were accompanied by an elaborate symphonic rendition of the Wedding March.
Parents of the Bride: Adoptive Parents of the Groom:
George and Emma Granger Arthur and Molly Weasley
We are pleased to announce the upcoming marriage of our children, Hermione Eve Granger and Harry James Potter.
You are invited to celebrate this joyous occasion with us.
The ceremony will take place at "The Burrow" on Saturday, April 1st and will be followed by a reception.
Please RSVP by owl, no later than March 15th.
The Hogwarts professors seemed elated by the news, as they smiled warmly upon receiving their invitations and immediately began discussing possible gifts they'd purchase for the happy couple. Albus Dumbledore's eyes twinkled merrily before they shifted over to the end of the table, where a gloomy potions master fiddled with the invitation in his hand.
A moment later Severus finished his breakfast and swept out of the Great Hall, his black robes billowing behind.
Once he was in the hallway Snape grabbed the wall for support, in an attempt to regain his composure. It wouldn't do to allow this wedding to get to him. After all, he knew about it in advance. And yet, receiving the invitation seemed so final and real. It would most definitely force him to cease his nightly fantasizing sessions about Harry returning to his arms…
Smelling smoke, Severus' worried gaze searched the area for the source, only to find the lavish invitation burning in his hand.
He cast a quick sprinkling charm and put out the fire.
"You can't fool your own magic, can you my boy?"
Severus turned around to find Albus standing in front of him, a sad knowing smile on his face.
"I'm sure I have no clue as to what that means, Albus."
The headmaster took the remains of the invitation from the black-haired wizard's hand and tutted softly.
"It's a shame none of us ever taught Harry that even Gryffindor nobility must have its limits."
And with that enigmatic declaration, the aged wizard left Severus to his first class of the day.
"Hold still, Harry! I can't tie it with you fidgeting around like a madman!" Bill Weasley's good-natured reprimand finally got Harry to stop moving.
He was in the Weasley's bedroom, putting the final touches on his formal attire, moments before walking down the aisle.
This is it, he thought. There's no turning back after this.
"Last chance to run away!" Fred or George chuckled merrily, as they entered the room. One of them (he couldn't concentrate on which was which at the moment) pat him on the back while the other was displaying an assortment of 'specially crafted' Weasley Wizard Wheezes items they'd created in his and Hermione's honor.
"This one's called the Orgasmic Orange. It'll make your nighttime recreation more enjoyable, if you will" the twins guffawed loudly. "And this here is a Long-Lasting Lizard".
Upon Harry's quizzical look the twin explained, chuckling as he went along: "It's a horrible name, I know, but it will make you last a whole lot longer for that lustful bride of yours!"
Harry rolled his eyes at the twins, as he stashed the confectionary in his robe pocket. He knew he was supposed to be happy. After all, Hermione was his closest friend. She was beautiful and intelligent, funny and reliable. A wizard could do a whole lot worse!
But she was Ron's girl, not his. Ron was supposed to be walking down the aisle with her today. Ron was the one who should have been going on a month long romantic honeymoon in Greece. Ron. Not Harry.
But Ron was dead. He had lost his life fighting for the side of the Light in the final battle. Harry may have been the victor in the final showdown, but the price their side paid had been so dear. They'd lost so many others in the process. Ron, Seamus, Remus, Kingsley, Colin: just to name a few.
And here he was…the great hero of the wizarding world. It had been a year since they'd buried Ron, and Harry was taking his place at Hermione's side.
After all, she'd come running to Harry, weeping, grieving, hurting. What could he have done but comfort the girl? He had willingly offered her his friendship, his warmth, and his love. But she wanted more; all that he could give, in fact. She wanted a replacement for the love she'd lost.
So Harry, being the noble Gryffindor (with a hero complex) that he was could do nothing but agree to give it to her. Every last bit.
Even if it meant giving up on Severus. Giving up on everything he'd ever wanted. Giving up on love.
Harry forced himself out of his melancholic reverie and took one last look in the mirror. "Smile, honey! You look like a man condemned!" the mirror teased, causing Harry to flinch.
He then turned around and marched downstairs.
He had a wedding to get to.
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