Severus and Harry appeared in an abandoned dilapidated manor entrance hall. Harry recognised it as Riddle Manor from his visions. He recast his 'Alex' glamour instantly.
The Potions Master suddenly realised what had happened, (What do you think you are doing? Voldemort will kill you! You're not ready!)
(I am ready, my love. Trust me and follow my lead. I will pretend to be a newly returned Alex, it will distract him long enough for me to implement the plan I told you of earlier.) Harry replied and gently placed the hated mask over his lover's face. Then he cast an invisibility charm over himself. It would not do to let Voldemort know he was there before he wanted him to.
(That plan has many things that could go wrong.) Severus argued, grabbing his mate's hand, the only sign of his unease but could easily be passed off as a method of keeping him beside him, and led the teen further into the manor to Voldemort's 'throne room'.
(It will work; I know it will. Besides I said that I wouldn't allow you to attend another meeting, you agreed. Since you decided to go back on that I had no choice but to accompany you. Voldemort's reign of terror is over for good this time.) Harry insisted firmly. He felt no fear as they entered the dark, dank room, only determination. They quickly joined the rest of the Death Eaters.
(I was not expecting him to call so soon. It was not a usual widespread summoning; only the Inner Circle. I felt their summoning hours ago but I was not included in the invitation. He called me specifically afterwards. It is not recommended to ignore it. ) Severus explained.
The fashioned 'throne room' most likely used to be a dinning room. It was large enough to hold the entire inner circle, twenty people or so, in a semi-circle surrounding the Dark Lord on his throne, a high backed chair. But they were not here this night. Severus felt understandably nervous. Why hadn't he been called with the rest of the inner circle? Did Voldemort know? Were the others in the house waiting? As Severus took his place he felt Harry stand behind him. After Severus had bowed respectfully Voldemort rose up and walked forward.
"You disssapoint me Ssseverusss. Luciusss here has received a letter from his ssson informing me of your liaissson with the Potter brat. What were you thinking?" The man's snake-like tongue hissed making his speech sound almost Parsletongue. It was nothing like when he or his mate spoke the snake language. This miserable excuse for a man sullied their gift with his evil.
Severus shielded his thoughts carefully as he bowed his head, "My Lord, I had hoped to bring Potter to you once I had him alone. I had slipped him a potion that would make him believe that I was his soulmate."
Voldemort reached out a scaly hand, and lifted Severus' head up and caressed the Potion Master's cheek almost lovingly. "And you thought that you would have a little fun with the brat firssst? Well Ssseverusss tell me. Where is Potter?"
"I do not know, my Lord. Dumbledore took him from Hogwarts before I could find him later that day. I have been attempting to find out his location but so far with no success." Severus faked a sorry tone.
(Sev, I'm going to appear in the room now. Act shocked.) Harry instructed his nervous mate. The Gryffindor/Ravenclaw heir created a loud bang and a bright light to disguise his removing the invisibility charm. To onlookers it would appear that he had just popped into the room like he had done last September.
Voldemort's snake eyes spotted him easily. He watched curiously as the intruder looked around. The green eyes locked onto the figure of the Potions Master and a small voice asked, "Sev?"
A gasp escaped his highly valued Potions Master, "Alex?"
The wizard who had once been Tom Riddle had immediately recognised the stranger, indeed how could he forget the boy he intended to make his consort. "I see you have returned, Alexander Frossst. It would appear that you were from the future after all. Ssseveruss you disspleassse me. I do not tolerate deception. Crucio." The snake-like man stated calmly. He lifted the curse after a few long seconds.
Severus had managed to stay on his feet; Alex had opened the bond fully so that the pain had been shared between them, diluting its effect.
The Dark Lord moved to stand in front of Alex now. Moving in close he asked softly, "Will you take your rightful place at my ssside, my consssort?" It was not a question but an ultimatum. Alex's life, and Severus' too, depended on his answer.
Alex just smirked at the powerful wizard, "Tsk tsk Tom, really asking a complete stranger to your bed and even offering to give them the world just after you met them. You do not even know who I am. I put up with your attentions twenty years ago because I had no other choice but I will not now. I would rather die a thousand deaths than be your consort." Alex answered hatred and disgust flowing freely from his mouth. While he had been speaking he relayed his, now fully formed, plan to Severus and wandlessly cast anti-apparation spells on the house. There were others in this dilapidated house, they could sense them. Severus reached out with his magic and bound them in place. Now at least they would not have any unwelcome interruptions.
Voldemort was livid; his usually pale face was a wonderful Gryffindor red Harry noted, "Impudent child! Do you not know who I am? I am Lord Voldemort!"
Alex laughed emotionlessly, "You are Lord of nothing. Your name is Tom Marvalo Riddle after your father, a muggle, which makes you a half-blood at best. Your mother was disowned by her father, Marvalo Gaunt, descendant of Salazar Slytherin's sister, when she married a muggle. You crusade for pure blood supremacy when by your own standards you, as a half blood, do not deserve to live. How hypocritical of you." He spat.
"Who are you?" The dark wizard demanded to know, probing the young wizard's mind openly now. He was shocked when he came up against an impenetrable wall. Who was this wizard who knew such things? No one knew! He had killed all who knew he was sure of it.
"You don't recognise me? Awwh Tom, I'm hurt I really am," Alex feigned heartbreak to Severus' amusement, "I am the one you have failed to kill since I was one year old. You have my stolen blood running through your veins. Surely you can not have forgotten me so easily." He dropped the glamour and with the reappearance of the infamous lightening bolt scar smirked as Voldemort realised just who he was.
"Potter!" He growled. How had the brat been Alexander? Was he really Alexander or just imitating the teen he had known? If he was truly the young man he had intended to make his consort then he must have time travelled.
"Well done, Tom. You get a gold star." The Boy Who Lived was baiting the most powerful dark wizard in England, probably the world.
Voldemort grasped his wand in his right hand and hissed, "Do not call me Tom. I am Lord Voldemort." He had read his mind! How was this possible?
"You are nothing but a child playing a dark wizard. You have killed too many people to be saved, Riddle, not that I would even try. I have been named your executioner by you and by destiny and I am here to send your soul to the darkest recess of hell." Without drawing his wand Harry flung the man across the room.
Shocked, Voldemort quickly climbed back to his feet and tried to distract his opponent by asking, "How did I name you my executioner?"
Harry wasn't fooled. While he answered the duel began in earnest. "Remember the prophecy? You only heard half of it. It said that the one with the power to defeat you would be born as the seventh month dies. Two children were born who fit that description. When you attacked me you named me the one. Now I must kill you for 'either must die at the hand of the other for neither can live while the other survives'. It also said that I would have the power the Dark Lord knows not and I do."
By this time spells were flying thought the air in all directions. Desperate to buy himself more time Voldemort questioned, "What power?"
"Severus. We're soulmates you see. It's over Tom. Goodbye." Harry raised both hands and let all his emotion flow through him. To Voldemort's everlasting astonishment raw magic burst out of Harry's hands, a bright white light, blinding in its intensity. It burnt his hands as it escaped, blood poured down his palms to the floor. It was not a spell in existence. It was the sheer strength of Harry's magic and emotions, his endless love for his soulmate and friends, his hate of Voldemort, his joy and his despair that destroyed the evil wizard. Harry knew that he would never be able to cast Avada Kedarva and refused to taint himself with the soul-splitting Unforgivable. The light approached Voldemort. The man was frozen by fear. The almost-immortal knew that this was the end, he could never survive this. As his magic began to wane he felt Severus feed him his own and accepted it gladly, increasing his attack on the Dark Lord.
Voldemort crumbled under the onslaught of magic with a scream of agony that reverberated throughout Harry's entire soul making it echo with a similar pain. His soul was banished to the deepest darkest depths of hell to remain there for all eternity. Harry felt his own energy give out. He was empty.
Severus caught his soulmate as he collapsed, careful not to touch his bleeding hands. He had taken over the anti-apperation ward once they had begun to duel. The Potions Master lowered the anti-apperation ward, keeping the Death Eaters in the rest of the house immobilised and called for the Aurors. Glancing down at his mate he caught sight of a faint smile and heard in his mind, (I did it! He's gone for good. I love you Sev. Never forget it.) Harry's mental voice was weak; Severus could feel his mate drifting away from him. As the first Aurors appeared Severus retreated into the place within his mind that was Harry. He fed his own magic into the younger man, determined to keep him alive. He could feel Harry slipping further and further away from him. Unknown to the man tears were flowing freely down his cheeks. He just held on even tighter to his newly returned lover. One tear fell onto Harry's face. It mingled with Harry's own tear and then continued its path downwards. Severus fought even harder to keep his soulmate here with him, feeding his magic. Forcing Harry to accept it, to come back to him. Finally Harry seemed receptive. A tendril of magic caressed his soul lovingly. Harry had come back to him! (Don't you dare leave me now, Frost!) Severus ordered.
(Not going anywhere, Snape.) Was the still faint but slightly stronger response. Harry's eyes were still closed though. His hands were still bleeding, the skin raw.
(I'm taking you home, love. Hold on.) With a glance around at the battle ravaged room Severus saw Albus Dumbledore arrive and take over. He had lowered the stunner on the Death Eaters as he fought to keep his love alive but none had escaped. After nodding to Dumbledore Severus stood up, "There are Death Eaters hiding in the other rooms." With Harry securely in his arms Severus apparated away.
He reappeared in their bedroom. Calling Tiffy he asked her to tell Lily and the others that they had returned and were alright. She nodded silently and disappeared. Tears were running down her face at the sight; they were back! But Master's mate was injured and weak. 'He will be alright,' Tiffy thought confidently, "Master Severus is caring for him.'
Back in the bedroom Severus was pouring burn salve on Harry hands and restorative drafts down his mate's throat. He healed the few other wounds Harry had obtained and then, after giving Harry a dose, took an anti-cruitacious potion. Voldemort had used that particular curse many times and both had felt its effects. Finally, exhausted from feeding Harry his magic both during and after the duel in order to keep his mate alive, Severus climbed into bed beside his fiancé and immediately fell asleep.
When Remus Lupin checked on them he found the soulmates fast asleep, Severus with his arms wrapped around Harry protectively. Smiling softly Remus closed the door silently and returned to the library, to the frantic portraits and Albus Dumbledore.
The headmaster had flooed in as soon as the Death Eaters had been taken to the Ministry. He happily told Harry's family that Voldemort was dead. Nothing remained but a rotting carcass which was to be burnt in a ceremony the following night.
"Dear Merlin, my son killed him. My little baby boy just saved the world." James murmured in awe. It was difficult to accept this man as the same little happy one year old he had left behind for death. His son had grown up while he was dead and now he didn't know him. He wanted to correct that and get to know this person without the prejudice he had, for any one in Slytherin, twenty years ago. James could see Alexander Frost in every action and word but it was a little more open, as though he was hiding his feelings when he was at Hogwarts. Suddenly a revelation hit the Gryffindor with the force of a speeding train; the Slytherins weren't all evil they just hid their emotions from the world. It was common knowledge that most had Death Eater parents so they were expected to act in a certain way or they would be killed. They were raised to believe in the Dark Lord's message: they didn't know anything else.
As though sensing his thoughts Albus looked at James' portrait and twinkled irritatingly. "We have asked so much of him. Of both of them. I wish it hadn't had to be that way." Albus lamented.
"I worried about him his third year, so much stress for one so young. Each year his eyes grew dimmer. The only thing that consoled me was remembering how happy he seemed when he was Alex. As though a weight had been lifted. The light is back. I think that as long as they are together Harry and Severus can handle anything life throws at them." Remus commented softly. Lily nodded her agreement, tears once again filling her eyes.
Tiffy popped back in and, in her high voice, said to the occupants, "Masters Severus and Harry is still sleeping but it is being dinnertime and Tiffy is wondering if you is hungry, Headmaster and Mr Lupin."
"We are fine, thank you Tiffy. If that is alright we will stay until Severus and Harry awake." Dumbledore replied to the house elf.
Tiffy bowed slightly, "Very well, Headmaster," and then disappeared with a quiet pop. The two men settled down into the library chairs expecting a long wait. The amount of magic Harry, and Severus, had used would take time to recover. Albus had been unaware that they possessed such power. Perhaps he souls ask them for a demonstration, it was recorded that soulmate couples were extraordinarily powerful.
A mere two hours later the library's occupants were surprised by the younger soulmate quietly entering the room. Immediately the portraits called out, "Harry!" while Remus jumped to his feet and embraced his pseudo-godson warmly but gently, Harry's hands were bandaged and he knew that the teen must be hurt elsewhere.
"Well done, dear boy. I knew you would prevail. The world owes you a great debt." Albus twinkled as he too rose from his seat. Harry, with his arms still around Remus, gave the headmaster a look which clearly said that Harry didn't care about the debt, all he wanted was to be left alone. The twinkle disappeared momentarily as Dumbledore nodded in understanding. However, both knew that would never be the case. Harry was now The Boy Who Lived To Defeat He Who Must Not Be Named, the public would never let him be.
The werewolf led Harry to one of the large armchairs and sat him down despite the young man's protests that he was fine.
Lily fully took in the sight of her almost fully grown son and burst out crying. James left his portrait and entering his wife's wrapped his arms tightly around her while looking around in confusion. Melissa Potter just smiled sadly, tears forming in her eyes.
'Emotional wreaks women. Thank Merlin I'm gay.' Harry thought to himself in amusement. The green eyed man turned to Remus Lupin and whispered, "Do portraits get PMS?"
The older man burst out laughing, a warm chuckle, like honey, that Harry had rarely heard since Sirius' death. By the time he had recovered Lily had stopped crying. "What did he say?" She asked suspiciously but the two men refused to tell her. Portrait or not an angry Lily Potter was scary.
Finally Albus told Harry that the Minister wanted to speak to him about Voldemort's defeat and that the newspapers had found out and would no doubt want an interview.
"What does that pompous twit want? If he thinks that being seen with me will bolster his rapidly declining reputation then he is sadly mistaken," Harry spat out in disgust, "Do you think Arthur would like the position?" He wondered aloud.
"I think Arthur would make a wonderful minister and if he had the Saviour's backing then he would not fail to be elevated." Albus replied with a hint of pride in his voice. It seemed that Harry had truly grown up and could see how his fame could be used for good.
"Were all the Death Eaters arrested?" Harry asked suddenly, his facial expression shifting to one of a military leader everyone noticed.
"All present but it was only the inner circle. Many were not in attendance." Albus replied reluctantly. "The Aurors will have their work cut out for them for some time I believe."
"I believe I can help with that." Harry offered. Severus' mark had not disappeared so Harry could manipulate the dark mark to reveal the hidden Death Eaters before he removed the blemish from his mate's skin forever.
Harry felt Severus wake up and felt his mild panic, (Harry? Where are you?)
(In the library, love. I'm coming back to bed now. I just had to see Albus and Remus.) Harry comforted his lover. "I'm going back to bed now. My magic is still returning and my injuries are not fully healed."
Albus and Remus rose to their feet at the same time as Harry, Albus spoke for them, "We will return to the Ministry and attempt to do some damage control with the reporters and our incompetent Minister."
"Let me know how it goes." Harry said before suppressing a yawn and walking out of the room. He got back into bed beside his mate, kissed him and then fell back to sleep.
Severus was the next to awaken a few hours after Harry's return. Years of suspicion meant that the ex-spy woke silently and quickly. The presence of his beloved reassured him that it was not a dream. Voldemort was dead; gone for good. Smiling softly the Slytherin tightened his trip on his soulmate. The feeling of his soulmate flush against him was arousing in itself. Severus grinned wickedly before he began teasing his slumbering fiancé. Harry hardened under his mate's ministrations but slept on.
He woke to the feeling of Severus' lips around his aching cock. Once he regained the power of speech he greeted his fiancé happily. After the warm greeting he told him everything they had spoken about while Severus was sleeping.
"I agree with you. Arthur would make a good minister. Much better than the bumbling idiot we have at present," Severus commented lightly.
When he told his mate about removing his mark the look of pure joy on Severus' face made Harry's heart break for the years Severus had been forced to wear the monster's brand. Finally Severus got a hold of his rampant emotions and suggested, "Shall we go down for dinner? I'm sure Albus and Remus would like to know we're still alive."
Harry laughed and cast a straightening and cleaning spell on his and Severus' rumpled robes.
The headmaster and Remus met them in the dining room, Tiffy had summoned them.
"It's good to see the both of you so well rested, my dear boys." Albus greeted them warmly.
"Nice to see you in the land of the living finally. You've been asleep for almost two days." Remus commented as thy all sat down.
"Can we please not talk about that until we have to? Albus, have you received any more owls?" Harry enquired.
"Just two. Both were delivered to Hogwarts but Minerva was kind enough to forward the letters along with her wish that you would wake up soon. One was from the Ministry informing us of an award giving ceremony that will be taking place tomorrow night and the other was from the delightful Rita Skeeter, no doubt the first of many interview requests." The twinkle turned on full blast.
Harry sighed, "I'll have to give at least one interview or they'll hound me forever. Maybe I should give an exclusive to The Quibbler, after all they are the only newspaper that has never published lies about me. I'll owl Luna later."
"How much are you going to tell them?" Severus asked curiously.
"As little as possible. If we made how powerful we are public knowledge they would most likely label us the next Dark Lords. I'll tell them that I cast Avada Kedarva while you held off the few Death Eaters in the room. Then we called in the Aurors who found his followers on the floor in pain in the Manor." Harry made up the story on the spot.
"How Slytherin of you." Severus commented, impressed. To many that would be an insult but Harry knew it was a compliment and he loved his Slytherin side.
"We have just got to get through this ceremony first. Oh no, I don't have any dress robes." The youngest man in the room complained loudly.
(Actually you do. Earlier this year I bought you a whole new wizarding wardrobe. I figured you wouldn't have many robs that weren't school ones and I remembered how much you hate shopping for yourself. Also it gave me something to focus on when I wasn't sure of my reception upon your return.) Severus confessed guiltily.
When Harry's head had turned to look at Severus in shock Albus and Remus could tell that the Potions Master had just said something telepathically to his soulmate.
(Really? Thank you Sev, you're the best. I was dreading having to go see Madam Malkin.) Harry beamed. He jumped up and gave Severus a quick kiss before going back to his own seat as though nothing had happened.
A cough drew the soulmates' attention to their captive audience. They had the decency to blush and Harry mumbled an apology.
"I take it we have just witnessed the telepathic ability Lily mentioned?" Albus asked in amusement.
Severus answered for them, "Yes, Albus. I was just telling Harry that he does have dress robes. It has become second nature for us to communicate this way. There are many things I would not wish to say aloud where anyone might hear."
Albus chuckled at that, "It's perfectly alright, dear boy. It is fascinating to watch your expressions change as though you are in a conversation while you are silent."
(Balmy old coot.) Severus said to Harry fondly.
Harry, who had been taking a swig of pumpkin juice at the time, spat out his drink at which Albus and Remus had just looked mildly confused. (Good job our Occlumency shields are so good, love. Besides our expressions don't always alter. Especially in company.) Harry replied smugly.
The conversation gradually came around to Hogwarts. Remus was telling Harry what was on the syllabus for each year when Harry suddenly smacked his hand against his forehead, "Ron and Hermione! Do they know what happened? Oh Merlin I'm so dead!" He jumped up, "Sorry Remmy!" He called behind him as he ran out of the room.
The werewolf turned to Severus for an explanation. All Severus said was, "He hasn't let them know he's safe yet."
That was all he needed to say. Albus laughed and Remus' eyes lit up with amusement. The Gryffindors were going to kill Harry for not contacting them sooner. It was only because there was no way to get into the manor without an invite that they weren't swarming with Weaselys already.
Harry rushed into the hall and fire-called the Burrow. As soon as the red-heads saw who it was in the fire he was yelled at, "Harry!" The Gryffindor felt hands grip his arms and a flash of fear ran through him before the dark haired young man was pulled into the Burrow living room. He landed with a thump but the fall was cushioned by a tall red head, Harry smirked down at him, "All you had to do was ask you know." He said mock-seductively.
Ron jumped up and blushed at the innuendo in Harry's statement but his anger quickly took over, "Harold James Potter, what in Merlin's name did you think you were doing?" He looked to his girlfriend to see that she was standing expectantly, hands on hips, surrounded by his family.
Still in Slytherin mode Harry replied, "My job."
"You know that's not what he meant, Harry. Why didn't you tell us?" Hermione spoke up angrily.
"There was nothing you could have done. It was sudden; I only had the plan outlined in my head when Sev was called," he missed the faintly surprised looks on the other redhead's faces at his shortening of the feared Potion Master's name, "I didn't want to worry you. I'm sorry I didn't let you know I was alright earlier but I spent most of yesterday asleep." He apologised, his best puppy dog eyes broke through Hermione's anger.
Se rushed over and hugged him tightly. A wave of relief flowed through the Gryffindor/Ravenclaw heir when Ron did the same, though less tightly.
(You survived then?) A sarcastic voice asked.
(Prat. Angry Weasleys are not something to be scoffed at.) His mate answered. His only answer was a feeling of agreement and an image of an angry Molly Weasley berating the twins.
Said Weasley matriarch moved next, wrapping her arms around the young man she had come to love like another son, "We're so glad you're safe, Harry. Albus told us that you had defeated You Know Who and were recovering. Thankfully you seem alright."
"I'm fine Mrs Weasley. Sev's potions work wonders." Harry replied, his words slightly muffled by Molly's shoulder. After another minute she let go.
"Well done, Harry." Charlie said, once he had found out that Harry was engaged and Voldemort was dead he had got the first portkey home from Romania to see everyone.
Another hug off Arthur this time and then Bill Weasley stepped forward, "Nice to see you again, Alexander Frost. Congratulations."
Harry smiled at the other red-head. The last time he had seen Bill he had been a second year Gryffindor, "It's good to see you again too. Though I must say you've changed a bit." He joked, holding out his hand.
"Wish I could say the same," Bill said through laughter. He ignored the outstretched hand and instead encased Harry in a Weasley bear hug.
"You could do…"
"It, Harry. Hope you gave..."
"The bastard what he…"
"Deserved." Harry's head moved from one twin to the other like a spectator at a tennis match.
"Language, Fred!" Molly cried.
"I'm George, mum!" Fred replied in a scandalised tone.
Harry laughed at the twin's antics; you could always count on them to break any tension. Only Ginny was left silent, Percy was still estranged from his family, and she smiled at him, "Thank you for getting rid of him, Harry. Never feel guilty about what you did, I've felt his soul – there was no humanity left within him." Harry nodded, she understood Voldemort as well, she had been possessed by him, "I wish you luck with your fiancé. I don't envy you a bit." She said with a rather wicked smile.
Hugging her he whispered, "Thanks, Gin. Are you and Smith still together?"
She shook her head, "No. I'm sure I'll find my match one day."
Pleasantries over with Molly finally set on Harry with, "You and Severus Snape?"
Harry spun around to face Ron, "You didn't tell her?"
A positively Slytherin smirk settled over the Gryffindor's features as he shrugged and replied, "I thought I'd let you have the honour of that conversation."
Sighing and with a death glare at Ron Harry sat down in an armchair and told his 'adoptive mother' how he and the snarky Potions Master came to fall in love.
When he had finished Molly was whipping tears from her eyes, "I remember how sad he seemed just after his seventh year. I heard him call out for Alex during a nightmare one day while I was assisting Poppy Pomfrey during His first reign. I asked her who he was and she told me that he must have meant Alexander Frost, a time traveller who had been sorted into Slytherin and stayed for a year before going back to his own time."
Harry's heart clenched, what had Severus gone through these past twenty years? Not knowing just who his soulmate was or when he would ever see him again. A warm feeling alerted him to his mate's presence in his mind, (You are back now. That doesn't matter anymore. Forget it, love. What's done is done. Leave the past be.) Severus whispered. (Bring them over if you want. I have increased the wards and spelled anything breakable so it should be safe.) Harry's quiet chuckle intrigued Molly Weasley. Seeing her curiosity Harry told her, "Severs told me that I should invite you all over. He has made the house prank-proof just in case."
Fred and George's eyes lit up. That sounded like a challenge to them. As Fred attempted to sneak away to get supplies he found himself glued to the spot. A voice rebounded in his head, (Tread carefully, Fred Weasley. I will not have my mate injured by your pranks, however innocently they are meant.) Harry warmed the twin. Feeling his understanding Harry released him. Severus had been at the end of too many Marauder pranks for his taste. Perhaps he was being a little over-protective, Severus could certainly defend himself; he just didn't want anything getting out of hand. He trusted the twins implicitly but they didn't know what the soulmates had been through.
The powerful wizard made a portkey to take them to his and Severus' home. Seconds later their guests were all gazing around the entrance hall. Harry had apparated - he still hated portkeys.
Severus came down to meet them. He greeted Molly and Arthur with a brief nod before reaching his soulmate and kissing him gently, "Perhaps you should take our guests into the library for a little while," He suggested quietly. (Your mother particularly wants to speak to Molly Weasley.)
Harry smiled goofily when his very private husband kissed him in front of his friends. "Alright. Will you be joining us?" When he saw the Potion Master hesitate Harry narrowed his eyes, a trait he had taken from his mother and Severus quickly agreed. Harry had inherited Lily's infamous temper along with her green eyes and caring nature. Careful to conceal his thoughts from his mate Severus discreetly checked his robe pocket; yes it was still there.
"Molly! Arthur! It's so good to see you again." Lily cried as the red-haired clan walked through the library doors.
"Hello Lily, James, Harold, Melissa. I've missed you all." Molly greeted the portraits of her dead friends happily. "I'm sorry I don't know you two." She said apologetically to the other two portraits.
"They're my parents, Molly. Robert and Helen Evans." Lily informed her old friend.
Molly nodded in understanding, "Ah. I've heard a lot about you. It is wonderful to finally meet you both."
The other portraits said their hellos and then Lily carried on talking, "I want to thank you, Molly. For being there for Harry when I couldn't."
"No problem, my dear. He has become like a seventh son to me." Molly reassured her friend. "You should be so proud of him, Lily."
Severus finished his conversation with Albus as Lily said, "I am," and appeared to make a decision. A soft cough drew everyone's attention to him, "As you all know Harry and I are soulmates. I proposed last week and Harry accepted. As you are all here and I am sure that this is everyone who would be on the main guest list I thought why not have the wedding now." (Is that alright, love? Do you want to postpone?)
A wave of joy accompanied the reply, (No. Now is wonderful. Everyone is here.)
(I have a surprise for you.) Severus teased his lover.
(If it's our wedding I'm afraid I already know.) Harry teased back.
When Severus sent a negative along the bond he raised an eyebrow, (What?)
(I thought you might want another guest at your wedding so I went to retrieve his portrait while the Weasleys interrogated you. I have to say he wasn't particularly pleased to see me but let's just say that you owe me one.)
Harry burst into tears. Everyone but Severus thought that it was over the wedding and began to worry until Harry ran into Severus' arms crying, "Thank you."
Severus took the shrunken portrait out of his robe pocket and re-enlarged it, revealing a disgruntled Sirius Black. Looking on the supposed convict's fact Severus suddenly realised that he had become a hypocrite at some point during the last three days. He had insisted that Black's portrait would never enter his house yet here it was. He had promised to ignore the next calling yet he had attended. The latter he could blame on simple habit but the former he could only blame on his love for Harry.
Sirius' face brightened on seeing his only godson, "Harry! You look…like someone I used to know..." His tone became pensive as he attempted to put a name to the familiar face.
"Alexander Frost?" Harry suggested quietly.
"Yes, of course. Frost!" A pause, "How do you know about him and what was that I heard about a wedding?" Anger now.
Harry bit his lip in anticipation of the imminent explosion, "I am Alexander Frost, Siri. I am Severus' soulmate and we are being formally bonded today."
"James, how could you let this happen? Snivellus and Harry? He obviously cast a spell on him!"
"I told you Black, not one word to hurt Harry or I'll banish your painted arse to Siberia." Severus hissed dangerously.
James hurried to inform his friend, "I've accepted it, Padfoot. You need to as well or you'll loose Harry."
"Yes, Siri. Everyone else can see that they are perfect for each other. You envied them in seventh year remember. They never hid their feelings for each other." Remus spoke to his ex-lover finally.
"Remmy? But it's Snape!" He whined petulantly.
"Yes, it is and they love each other, Sirius. Don't you dare spoil that." He threatened.
The portrait-man was taken aback. His gentle, timid Remus had just threatened him. Seeing that he was vastly outnumbered Sirius relented for the present.
"Ron, Hermione, will you be my witnesses?" Harry asked them excitedly.
"Of course." "We'd love to."
"Remus, will you be one of my witnesses?" Severus asked his old school companion.
Remus smiled softly, ignoring Sirius' spluttering, "I'd be honoured, Severus."
"Arthur, would you be my second witness?" The Potions Master asked the Weasley patriarch. Arthur Weasley was one of the few men Severus actually liked and who liked him in return.
"It would be an honour, Severus." The man answered in faint surprise. He had not believed that Severus thought so highly of him. To be a witness was one of the highest honours – you were a part of the ceremony. Only close friends or people you trusted were asked.
"We will all meet back here in an hour if that it acceptable to everyone," Severus said as he created a portkey to send the numerous Weasleys home, "Change to formal robes, please."
Remus and Albus went to the fireplace and flooed back to Hogwarts in a hurry.
"See you all soon," Harry said to the portraits before they left. Once Harry and Severus were alone in the hallway outside the library he Harry threw his arms around his mate and kissed him for all he was worth. Severus apparated them to the bedroom. When Harry opened his eyes and discovered where they were he just shook his head, "Lazy."
"No, just impatient. I'm sure we don't need an hour to put on dress robes, do we?" He asked his mate suggestively.
Harry's eyes lit up hungrily, "No, definitely not an hour." He agreed in a low tone of voice. Then he pounced on his fiancé, soon-to-be-husband.
Forty-five minutes later a very relaxed Harry Potter and Severus Snape helped each other into their dress robes. Both were made of the finest silk. Harry's was forest green and Severus' midnight blue, if you didn't look too closely it appeared to be black. After smoothing down ruffled hair and kissing for the last time as an engaged couple the Hogwarts' heirs made there way to the library again.
Predictably, they were the first to arrive. Albus entered a few short minutes later and Remus followed soon after. Minerva McGonagall had come through the floo along with Albus who told them, "Minerva, accosted me as I arrived back at Hogwarts. I'm afraid she insisted on accompanying me back here."
"I'm sorry Severus but there is no way you are keeping me from your wedding." The stern old woman chided her old colleague.
The Potions Master shook his head in amusement, "Impetuous Gryffindors. I'm glad you're here Minerva."
Harry smiled at the woman who had been his head of house for the past seven years baring his year in 1977 obviously. "It's wonderful to see you, Professor."
"Call me Minerva Harry. After all we are to be colleagues as well aren't we."
"Alright, Minerva." It was odd to call the forbidding woman by her given name. He just managed to stop himself from chocking over it.
(Just wait till you see her drunk.) Severus warned.
(Why?) Harry was curious now.
Severus simply sent him an image of the woman at Christmas staggering around belting out carols at the top of her voice. It seemed that alcohol increased her accent to a point where it was almost impossible to tell what she was saying. It took all of Harry's self control not to laugh out loud at the image. But he did smile a little as he looked at the Scottish witch.
The Weasley's portkey was not set to go off for another two minutes so the four waited patiently.
Albus asked them, "Do you have rings?" This had all happened so fast he had to check before it became a really big problem in the middle of the ceremony.
Harry nodded and Severus said, "Yes." At the same time they looked at their right hands where the Founder soulmate rings still resided. In unspoken agreement neither removed the ring. It would simply be transferred to their left hand during the ceremony.
"And your new surname?" Albus enquired curiously. Would they even want to change their names?
Severus spoke up instantly, "Potter-Snape."
Harry looked at his mate questioningly.
(I've had a year to think about this. We are both the only surviving members of our family. Our names must be passed down yet I wanted to bear your name and have you bare mine so this seemed to be the best option. I chose Potter-Snape because Snape-Potter just didn't sound right.) Severus explained. Out loud he said, "To continue both our lines.
"Alright then. Potter-Snape it is." Harry agreed easily.
"Wonderful," Lily spoke up for the first time since they entered the library, "You both look very handsome."
The two minutes was up, the Weasleys and Hermione all appeared back in the spacious library.
The girl looked from Harry to Severus curiously and then asked them, "Just how powerful are you two? Harry made what I'm pretty sure was an illegal portkey in a minute to bring us here and then Professor Snape made another one to take us back to the Burrow and then return us here."
"Intelligent girl. I've underestimated her it seems." Severus said dryly in his mate's ear.
Harry stifled a laugh as he bit his lip, thinking of a way to explain that he and Severus were the most powerful wizards alive without sounding egotistical. "Well…you see…we…erm…" He trailed off awkwardly.
Her brown eyes gazed at him levelly. If Harry was this tongue-tied he must be very powerful. Hermione waited patiently for Harry to speak.
(Help, Sev. She's as bad as my mum when it comes to new information!) Harry begged his soon-to-be-husband.
Severus blanched as he remembered how Lily had chosen to get some of his secrets out of him in the past. (Merlin help you then.) "Miss Granger, this is my wedding day. If you would please defer asking your questions till later I would be must obliged to you." It wasn't a request.
The Gryffindor girl blushed and looked contrite, "Of course. I'm sorry, sir."
"Where do you wish to conduct the ceremony?" Albus enquired softly.
"Outside in the garden I think." Harry decided. A wave of his hand had all the portraits off the walls in mid air, ready to follow the wizard outside.
Severus knew just the place. He led the party to the lake surrounded by trees and flowers. The sun was shining brilliantly, the rays reflected off the crystal clear water. It was beautiful.
(This is perfect, love.) Harry told his lover happily.
They all took their places. Albus stood with his back to the lake with Harry and Severus facing him. Ron and Hermione stationed themselves behind Harry and Remus and Arthur behind Severus. The rest of the Weasley's and the portraits surrounded them in a circle.
"We are gathered here today to celebrate the joining of two wizards, two friends. Severus, please take Harry's left hand in your right." Albus began.
The soulmates felt the usual spark at the contact and both smiled contentedly.
The headmaster conjured a golden ribbon with a flick of his wand. It wound around their arms, linking them together. Harry only knew what to expect from the wizarding bonding ceremony because he had accessed Severus' mind for information on it. Many of the books he had read had discussed it but never had he found the ceremony described fully.
"Repeat after me, Severus. I, Severus Salazar Snape, promise to love, honour and cherish you, Harry James Potter, for all eternity. Your joys will be my joys as will your pains in equal amount. I will dry your eyes and laugh with you. I will walk by your side in all the dark places in this world." Albus intoned.
Hiding a grimace at the sentimental words Severus locked his gaze with his mate's and repeated the traditional vows, meaning them with his entire being, he added his own vow to the end, "I promise to share with you everything I am and will ever be. I will give you the family you desire and raise our children with you. I will stay by your side until the end of time itself." He spoke quietly, only to Harry, but everyone heard. The women held back tears. Many of the men were shocked; they had never seen the feared Potions Master act so human. It was rather scary to see such emotions on his face. But no one in attendance contested the truth they could all see. Severus Snape loved Harry Potter with all his heart. Even Sirius had to admit that the greasy git cared for his godson. Even if he still didn't like it.
At the 'family' line tears formed unshed in Harry's eyes. He would have a family! Now it was his turn.
Albus invoked the next part of the ceremony, "Witnesses, do you accept that the couple have come here today of their own free will?"
"We speak for Severus Salazar Snape; he came of his own accord." Arthur and Remus intoned as tradition stated.
"We speak for Harry James Potter; he came freely." Ron and Hermione repeated.
Albus spoke again, "Repeat after me, Harry. I, Harry James Potter, promise to love, honour and cherish you, Severus Salazar Snape, for all eternity. Your joys will be my joys as will your pains in equal amount. I will dry your eyes and laugh with you. I will walk by your side in all the dark places in this world."
Harry repeated the words, keeping his eyes locked with the onyx eyes he loved so much. He too added his own vows, "I promise to share all I am and all I will ever be with you. You are the other half of my soul and I will never leave you. Not even death can tear us apart. Our love survived through time – now we have eternity together."
The green-eyed man could tell that his words had greatly affected his lover. He was glad, he hadn't had very long to come up with them so he had just spoken from the heart.
Dumbledore waved his wand again and the golden ribbon glowed brightly for a second before it vanished. "Do you have the rings?" He prompted them gently. He knew that the ribbon had already bound their souls even closer than before. The rings were just a formality, a sign for the rest of the world of their love.
Severus took Harry's soulmate ring off his right hand. He knew the words to say, one look to Albus kept the man silent. "Take this ring as a token of my love for it is as everlasting as the circle." He slid the ring onto the ring finger of Harry's left hand where it glowed briefly.
Harry then followed Severus' actions and removed the Slytherin ring from the graceful finger it had not left for the past twenty years. "Take this ring as a token of my love for it is as everlasting as the circle." He intoned. Then he slid the ring onto the ring finger of Severus' left hand where it too glowed before returning to its usual state. "I love you." Harry whispered.
(I love you.) Severus replied.
"I am happy to introduce Severus and Harry Potter-Snape. You may now kiss." Albus announced, twinkle on full blast.
Severus bent down to capture his husband's lips in a loving yet chaste kiss. As he pulled away he heard Harry mumbling that he would get a better kiss later. He stifled a smirk.
The newly weds turned around to their audience. Molly, Lily, Melissa, Helen and even Minerva were all crying and Sirius looked like someone had just made him drink an entire bottle of skele-grow. James, Henry and Robert were watching happily. It was a good match they all knew. They would be happy together.
Severus' face relaxed into a neutral expression which his students and indeed almost everyone who knew the man would not recognise. When they returned to the house Dobby and Tiffy appeared in front of them.
"Congratulations, Mr Harry Potter-Snape, sir." Donny bowed deeply and took off his bobble hat to them.
"Congratulations, Master Severus. There is being a bonding feast in the dinning room, sirs." Tiffy informed them whilst happily bouncing around.
(We can't do anything without them knowing can we?) Severus commented dryly.
(I doubt it.) Harry replied with a smile.
The ever-observant Hermione noticed the exchange and wondered if what she had read about soulmate couples was true. She would have to get Harry on his own and question him sometime soon.
The guests followed Harry and Severus to the dining room. The house-elves had outdone themselves. "You two have outdone yourselves. Thank you." Harry exclaimed as he look about the room. It was beautifully decorated, flowers places strategically around the room, wizarding confetti scattered and the table was groaning under the weight of the food covering it. Each seat had a name hovering above it so they all took their places.
Harry put the portraits onto the walls for the time being and sat down beside his husband. His husband! He smiled softly to himself. He had a husband. He had been blessed with a soulmate. A wonderful man who he loved more than life itself. Perhaps not the conventional figure of a handsome man Severus was the most beautiful creature on Earth to Harry because Severus loved him; Harry. Not The Boy Who Lived. As though sensing the direction of his thoughts one of his mate's graceful slender hands came to rest of his thigh. A feeling of curiosity and a desire to comfort hit Harry and he just reached down to hold the hand on his leg.
"It was beautifully done despite the lack of planning don't you think?" Molly asked the portrait of Lily.
"I expect they didn't want all the fuss. It was perfect for them I think. At least this way there was no chance of the media finding out." Lily replied thoughtfully.
"Yes, I guess that would be a good reason. Severus is looking very well isn't he? I have never seen him so happy." Molly commented.
Bill Weasley, who was seated next to his mother, spoke up, "I have. During my second year. I may have been a Gryffindor but everyone in the school either knew or suspected that Snape and Frost were together. Snape had always been so uptight; he was less harsh when Frost was around. He seemed lost when he left." The eldest Weasley son was more observant than people knew; he had to be for his job. Curses were notoriously hard to detect. By the time his brother Charlie had come to Hogwarts Severus Snape had become Professor Snape.
"I'm glad they found each other. They seem to be perfectly suited don't they?" Molly judged.
"Of course they're perfect for each other, mum. They're soulmates." Charlie was sat opposite his mother. Luckily they were at the end of the table so the quiet conversation was not overheard by the newly weds who were engaged in conversations of their own. His tone was stating the obvious. He had never known Harry that well; he was usually in Romania with his dragons but still cared for the green eyed boy as a younger brother of sorts. His mother had always included how Harry was doing as well as everyone else in the family in her letters. Even Snape had never been truly horrible to him. He had been quite good at Potions so had never been treated to the man's scorn. Charlie Weasley had felt nothing but shock when he had found out that Harry and Severus were engaged. He had come home to make sure that they were happy just before Harry had killed Voldemort.
Molly Weasley just huffed as she reached over for the potatoes.
At the other end of the table the newly weds and their witnesses were busy discussing the curriculum for DADA. Remus had finished his course notes while Harry was asleep after defeating Voldemort and he and Severus were telling Harry what to expect from his mastery exam.
"I'll start studying for it tomorrow. I only have six weeks before the start of term." Harry recalled with a bit of nervousness. He had just realised that he would be teaching people he had known as a student. Hell Ginny was a seventh year this time. He just hoped that she didn't forget that he was a junior faculty member now. Suddenly he understood another reason for Severus' harsh nature while teaching; he had only been gone for the summer before he came back to Hogwarts as a professor. He would have needed to be hard to keep the students under control.
"I have no doubt that you will pass, my boy." Albus reassured the young man, "The students will be lucky to have you as a professor."
Harry smiled gratefully, "Thanks Albus."
One glance at Hermione told Harry that the inquisitive witch was itching to ask him more questions. He decided to placate her, "You can come round tomorrow, 'Mione and I'll answer your questions. Ok?"
She smiled sheepishly, "That would be wonderful, Harry. You know what I'm like with a mystery." She laughed.
"Oh yeah. Dog and bone come to mind." Harry commented dryly.
"Will Professor Snape be there?" She asked quietly, voice barely above a whisper.
Harry looked confused briefly, "He doesn't have to be. Why?"
"He makes me feel like an impetuous school girl." Hermione blushed beet red as she confessed the reason for her reticence.
Harry burst out laughing. He couldn't help it. Everyone in the room turned to look at him. He waved them off, still laughing but trying to get it under control.
When he finally managed to stop his chuckles Severus asked him, (What was that about?)
(Nothing, Sev.) Harry didn't tell his husband that his best friend was a little afraid of him. It would please the man far too much.
"No he won't be there. I'll tell you what you want to know. Within reason of course." He amended quickly when he saw her face light up.
"Of course. Thank you, Harry. There is little to no information about soulmates in the library or any books in any shop I have been in. It's driving me insane." She hissed. Harry could well believe it. The bushy haired Gryffindor loved knowledge. The face that she did not know something would irritate her endlessly. Though he was not looking forward to the interrogation he was bound to face come morning. Speaking of interrogation, "Oh damn! The Ministry ball."
"Yes, unfortunately I do not believe you could miss it and not be noticed, Potter. You are, after all, the guest of honour." Sarcasm dripped from every syllable.
"Shut it, Snape." Harry snapped playfully.
The room went silent again. Harry looked down the table wondering what had happened this time. Fred and George decided to give him a hint, "You just told Snape to shut it, mate. We're waiting for you to be hexed into next week."
"Indeed, Messrs Weasley?" Severus' dulcet tones intruded in on the conversation. "Why would you presume that I would hex my husband 'into next week' as you so elegantly put it when there are so many other ways of getting retribution?" His smirk was wicked.
The red-headed twins blushed as the innuendo in that sentence became apparent. As did the teenage percentage of their guests as the speaker was one of their teachers. The adults, however, just laughed, knowing that the Potions Master was joking.
(Promises, promises.) Harry breathed in his mate's mind. "So, what time does this Ministry thing start anyway?" He asked.
"Eight o' clock and I believe that you need to attend till at least eleven, Harry. You are the Saviour of the Wizarding world – this entire ceremony is mainly for you. It would be rude if you left early." Remus informed him.
Harry just scowled in a manner eerily reminiscent of the Potions Master as he nodded his acknowledgement. Thankfully it was only two in the afternoon at the moment. Lots of time left.
Remus finally realised something, "Harry, how did the two of you actually end up together? You were already a couple when we became friends."
The portrait of Lily Potter burst out laughing and the soulmates pinked slightly. Harry coughed, "Erm…well…"
Lily cut her son off, "I can answer that, Remus. You see our boys had been developing feelings for each other ever since Alex had arrived in our time but neither was prepared to do anything. After listening to them moan for a week straight I locked them in the Room of Requirement to sort it out. When they finally emerged they had confessed their feelings and Severus had agreed to spy for the Light."
Neither of the men had told anyone about being locked up so Harry at least blushed bright red and some at of the suggestive looks from the twins.
"You got them together, Lily?" Sirius was livid.
Lily's stubborn nature reared its head, "Yes, I did, Sirius Orion Black and I'm glad. Both of them deserve all the happiness then can get."
"Snivellus can't make little Prongs happy!" He argued.
"Don't call him that!" Harry exploded in rage. "Tell me, Sirius, why did you stop being friends with Severus?"
"He was sorted into Slytherin." The answer was simply and obvious to the convict.
"And I guess all Slytherins are evil?" Harry asked sarcastically.
"I'm half Slytherin Sirius and I'm not evil. Peter Pettigrew was a Gryffindor and he betrayed my parents and resurrected Voldemort. House isn't everything Sirius. You need to grow up and fast. This is my wedding day. If you can not be civil to my husband, "Sirius flinched at the term, "then I will send you back to the Black Vault and I won't come back for you. Make your choice." Harry delivered his ultimatum emotionlessly. It was one thing he had found freeing as a Slytherin – not to have to share emotions or show them constantly. He was used to concealment, it suited him just fine.
Sirius looked torn between anger and horror. Where was his Harry? Where had the miniature James gone?
James Potter understood his best friend's plight. "He's not little Prongs anymore, Siri. He hasn't been since Lily and I died. My son has been through more in the past seventeen years than most will ever do in two hundred. Harry isn't pure Gryffindor, he's sly and cunning but he's still brave and faithful; a perfect blend of Gryffindor ideals and Slytherin characteristics. It is astounding. Everyone thinks that they are total opposites but we aren't. We're more alike than not. That is why we hate each other so much. You have no right to dictate how my son lives, who he loves. As much as I hate to say it Harry is an adult and able to make his own choices. I do not think that he has made a bad one but time will tell."
Everyone was shocked at this speech from the usually hot-headed and childish James Potter. His wife smiled proudly and kissed her husband happily with a little squeal. This was the man she had come to love.
Severus inclined his head to his new father-in-law. Merlin that was odd!
Sirius still wasn't convinced but grudgingly consented to a truce for now under threat of a silencing charm.
(I'm beginning to regret bringing your dogfather here. I can't even hex him in portrait form. It's not the same.) Severus complained to his husband. The he grew concerned at the pain he felt radiating off Harry, (Are you alright, love?)
(I just spent the last year being insulted and hexed at every opportunity by Sirius and now he thinks he can just dictate who I love. It may have been twenty years for him but for me it was practically yesterday. He really hasn't changed at all has he? He loves me but he doesn't know who I am. He is petty and arrogant. So narrow minded that he thinks only in terms of black and white where there is no such thing. There are only shades of grey.) Harry was heartbroken. Family was everything to him and, despite everything, Harry still thought of Sirius as his family. He had been hard pressed to keep seventeen year old Black separate in his mind from Sirius but he had managed it. Now those distinctions were dissolving.
Severus didn't know how to comfort his mate, especially in public. In the end he just sent loving and comforting waves down the bond and held his lover's hand underneath the table. (Give him time, love.) He couldn't believe he was actually defending Black. The world must have ended.
It took Harry a few hours to get back to his normal self. Not that anyone but Severus noticed the difference in attitude. His lover was unfortunately a wonderful actor. Sirius had been silenced and everyone went back to celebrating.
Eventually eight o'clock came and the party flooed to the Ministry ball reluctantly.
Harry, as usual, practically fell out of the floo. Only his husband's timely save rescued him from embarrassment. Standing beside his lover amongst the crowds Harry gazed around uninterestedly. Unfortunately people had witnessed his entrance and swarmed The Boy Who Lived and Defeated He Who Must Not Be Named - the Daily Prophet's latest title for a distinctly unimpressed Harry Potter-Snape.
(Merlin, could they come up with a longer name?) Harry complained to his lover telepathically as yet another star-struck fan asked for his autograph.
After five minutes of listening to the deranged fans Severus became more than a little irritated at the crowds and dragged a willing Harry Potter-Snape into the main room where everyone who had been invited was already gathered. As Severus handed his husband a glass of expensive, but still rather disgusting, champagne Harry thanked him for getting him out of there.
The Potions Master smirked wickedly and deliberately lowered his voice an octave, "No problem, Harry. Those psychopaths were irritating me. Always touching what is mine. Only I can do that. You're mine."
As always the voice had the desired effect on Harry, "Yes, yours." He agreed breathlessly.
They didn't remain alone for long, however. Cornelius Fudge caught sight of Harry and made a bee line for the young wizard.
"Ahh, Mr Potter. A pleasure to see you again. Congratulations on you victory." The politician simpered, completely ignoring Severus.
A rather Snape-like sneer appeared on The Boy Who Lived's face, "Minister, I do wish I could return the sentiment but alas the last time I saw you were accusing me of being a lying attention-seeker and even now you can not even address me by the correct name. Perhaps a change in management is needed?"
Fudge went a wonderful shade of purple. It reminded Harry strongly of his uncle. With a visible struggle he asked in a straight voice, "I was unaware of any name change."
"Indeed. Goodbye Minister." Harry cut the bumbling idiot off and quickly walked away. Eleven o'clock Remus had told him he could leave. Well it was half past eight now. 'Only two and a half hours left' he told himself mournfully. He could feel the amusement coming from his mate at his treatment of the leader of the wizarding government.
"You are a terrible diplomat, Mr Potter." Severus chided softly.
"No, I'm not. I just can't stand that power-seeking buffoon." Harry retorted. (That is no longer my name, love.)
(You'll always be Potter and Frost to me, Alex.) Severus often lapsed back into calling Harry Alex, especially when speaking telepathically, not that Harry minded of course. He had loved his time as Alexander Frost. Alex was the real Harry.
Just then they were interrupted yet again, this time by an older witch, rather plump and with blond hair in a elegant bun but a pleasant enough face, "Mr Potter, it is an honour to finally meet you. I am Candice Adams. I work with the department for the Improper Use of Magic. Fortunately we haven't had to contact you in years." She joked as she held out a manicured hand.
Harry took it politely, "Ms Adams, a pleasure. May I introduce Professor Severus Snape?"
"Professor Snape, you're reputation precedes you." She seemed friendly. 'She mustn't have met Severus before.' Harry thought.
"Indeed." Was Severus' brief response, "Please excuse me," And to Harry's utter disbelief his husband of only a few hours abandoned him to the older witch.
(Traitor!) He sent down the bond.
(It'll be suspicious if we don't move around separately. I thought you wanted to keep Fudge in the dark for a while)
(Suspicious? Severus you proposed in front of the entire school. Only Hermione's control of Skeeter stopped it being front page news! They know, trust me.) "I'm sorry, Ms Adams, you were saying?" Ooops Harry had missed the witch's last statement. He needed to pay more attention to his surroundings.
"I was asking you if the rumours were true." She repeated easily.
Harry smiled innocently, "Which rumours?"
"The one that you are engaged to Professor Snape." She answered, lowering her voice to a whisper.
"Engaged to Professor Snape? No, indeed. I can promise you that I am not engaged to that man." Harry answered honestly. Well he wasn't. He was married to him.
The saviour was forced to endure meaningless small talk and mind-numbing conversations with several more witches and wizards before Fudge took the stage to commence with the award giving.
First he handed out Order of Merlin Second Classes to everyone in the Order of the Phoenix, including the deceased Sirius Black who was cleared of all charges posthumously after Pettigrew's arrest and subsequent trial. Even Ron and Hermione were awarded the medal for bravery for all they had done to help Harry over the past seven years. Ron had blushed proudly as the medal was placed around his neck. They were applauded politely by the audience. Only the Order members clapped loudly. Especially the Weasleys.
"Now for our Order of Merlin First Class awards. Ladies and gentlemen, I am proud to introduce firstly Severus Snape. A man many of us know has taught at Hogwarts for twenty years now. But what we were unaware of was that he was also spying on You Know Who for the side of the Light…"
"Merlin, he's making me sound like self-sacrificing Gryffindor." Harry heard Severus mutter in disgust.
"…will Severus Snape please join me," Fudge looked around the hall for the reticent wizard. Snape, predictably, was in the shadows glaring at the Minister for the Gryffindor-esk comments. He made his way quickly to the podium and stood before the smaller man expectantly.
(You're being a bastard. It's brilliant. You look hot when you're radiating power.) Harry teased his mate.
Before Severus had a chance to respond to his husband's comment Fudge began to speak, "Professor Snape, you have been on the front line for twenty years. We will never know just how any lives you have saved. The Wizarding world is in your debt. Along with this award we are granting one boon. If it is within our power we will grant it." He said without conviction. Obviously he had been obliged to give the Potions Master the award. Dumbledore had told him that Harry refused to even attend unless Severus was given the Order of Merlin First Class too. Since the tall man refused to bow his head Fudge had to reach up on his tiptoes to place the medal over his head, much to the Minister's annoyance and Harry and Severus' amusement. The Potions Master fled the stage as quickly as possible; hating the attention he was not accustomed to receiving. 'So this was what it was like to be Harry? No wonder the boy liked it so much in the past.'
Next came Harry, "Now we come to our Saviour. Harry Potter, The Boy Who Lived, will you please join me on the stage."
Harry, who was stood in the middle of the room, surrounded by people walked towards the idiot they called Minister.
"Mr Potter, you have done the Wizarding world a great service. You've rid us of a great evil at great personal cost. For all that you have our everlasting gratitude and friendship. We owe you a great debt. As a token of our thanks the Wizengamot have granted you two boons. Merely ask and if it is within our power it will be done." It would appear that Fudge had a very good speech writer. Harry knew the man couldn't have made that up himself. The public lapped it up.
Harry allowed the medal to be placed around his neck whereupon the entire room burst into applause. It was almost deafening.
The band began to play and the Minister asked Harry and Severus, who was still at the bottom of the stage waiting for him, to lead the first dance.
(Our first dance as a married couple.) Harry said as Severus led him to the dance floor which was now surrounded by people as they all tried to catch a glimpse of their heroes.
No one who saw the men dance could doubt their familiarity; they seemed able to anticipate each others moves. It rekindled the rumour that there was a romantic relationship between them. Everyone had heard that Snape had proposed on the last day of term but there had been no formal announcement and no one who knew them personally would say anything. All they had was what the students had told them but it was possible that it had all been a practical joke or something of the sort.
The people they had arrived with watched on fondly as the soulmates danced. Then Ron asked Hermione to dance and gradually the floor began to fill.
Couples crowded onto the dance floor and when the next song started Harry and Severus found themselves dancing with people they didn't even know. Severus found himself leading a young pretty witch who kept trying to flirt with him to his endless amusement but it quickly became irritating when she wouldn't take no for an answer.
Harry, on the other hand, had been claimed by an older wizard, a much older wizard. The Gryffindor thought he recognised him from the Pensive memory of Crouch's trail. The man's opening comment made that clear.
"I must offer my congratulations to our dear saviour. A pity I have never had the pleasure of conversing with you previously. I witnessed your trial some years ago, Mr Potter."
"Thank you, sir." Harry replied with a slight emphasis on the 'sir'. He still didn't know the man's name.
"Ahh, forgive me. My name is Percival Wood." The elderly man bowed his head.
'Sounds more like a place to me.' Harry thought absently as he resigned himself to flattery, idiocy and innumerable questions for the rest of the night.
Thankfully, Albus cut in, saving him. As a result of the Order members and other friends Harry and Severus were only forced to dance with a handful of strangers.
Unfortunately, just before eleven Harry, who was dancing with Hermione, was interrupted by Fudge. He requested a dance from The Boy Who Lived and Defeated He Who Must Not Be Named. Etiquette demanded that Harry accept so he did, however reluctantly.
The ignorant politician placed one of his hands very low on Harry's waist, despite the angry look on Harry's face.
"So…tell me Mr Potter, Harry. What is the name change?" He purred.
The green-eyed man was disgusted though he didn't show it. "Minister, I can't say that is any of your business. All I will say is that all will be revealed before I leave tonight."
As Fudge's hand began to wander Harry stopped dancing and hissed angrily, "You will keep your hands to yourself, sir, or they will be permanently removed."
A silky voice behind him comforted Harry immensely. "Indeed and if not from him then I most certainly will."
Fudge jumped at the sudden appearance of the Potions Master. "Snape. What does this have to do with you?" He snipped.
Severus' face contorted in anger. "Everything, considering whom you are fondling."
Cornelius Fudge abruptly remembered all the rumours he had heard about an engagement and paled slightly. Severus Snape, while a spy for the Light, had once been a Death Eater and even now was not a man you wished to greatly irritate for fear of your life or other vital parts of your anatomy. "Then the rumours…they're true?" He asked in a quiet voice.
Harry stepped back to stand beside his mate. "No, Mr Fudge. They are not true. I am not engaged to Severus. I'm married to him and as this is my wedding night we will be leaving now. Goodbye." Defying all that should be possible Harry latched onto Severus and apparated back to their home.