Author's note: I know everyone's forgotten what happened in the story, but I have been totally blocked and unable to write anything for over a year now (real life issues, argh), so am delighted to finally to have got this written and posted. I can never resist an epilogue. Thanks for reading.
"This is your idea of a few close friends, is it?" whispered Snape, nervously fingering the lightning-bolt scar on his cheek.
"I don't know why you're blaming me," Malfoy hissed back. "You're a public figure, word got around."
"There's hundreds of them!"
"The chamber only holds fifty," Lucius tried to reassure him.
"What about all of those waiting outside?"
"Thank you, gentlemen," said the registrar. "Now, if your first witness would like to sign here? Would you mind trying not to get the book wet, sir, this is an official document."
Hagrid blew his nose with an ear-splitting hoot and mopped up his tears with a huge handkerchief before taking the quill and writing his name as neatly as he could. Snape smiled to himself. The letter Hagrid had written the day after they questioned him about Eileen had been so touching that Snape had read and re-read it countless times, revelling in the idea that someone was proud of him and his achievements. I know I'm not your father and you don't need one either but if you ever did…
Hagrid hadn't exactly walked him down the aisle, but he had been the first person to spring to mind when Severus was told that the Civil Partnership ceremony required two witnesses. Judging by the murmur now circulating around the room, it was an unexpected choice but Snape didn't care. There had been few people in his life who had taken an interest in him. If Hagrid wanted to be kind and avuncular now, he was going to be encouraged.
"Second witness, please. Mrs Shacklebolt?" prompted the registrar. Tonks handed the baby to Kingsley, tripped over the toy train another of their brood had left on the floor, clutched onto Arthur to stop herself falling, who then stumbled against Narcissa, knocking her huge flowery hat off. As everyone righted themselves, a little Shacklebolt shouted, "silly Mummy!", Tonks said "Sorry, Auntie Cissa, I've crushed your chrysanthemums," and one of the Weasleys said "Ouch, sounds painful."
"Why Tonks?" mouthed Snape to Lucius, who grinned and whispered into his ear;
"Solidarity. We politicians' other halves need to stick together. Besides, I can't forget she kept us out of prison when the DNA thing first came to light. She's on our side."
The registrar said a few more words and suddenly, before either of them had chance to reflect on the whirlwind of the morning, they were married and walking out of the chamber arm in arm, to great applause.
"Oh, Merlin," said Snape, as the doors opened and the crowd waiting outside clapped and stared and took photographs.
"Stop scowling," Lucius nudged him, unable to suppress his own delight. An unknown tall woman in a blue satin dress threw confetti over them and Colin Creevey blinded them with his camera flash and shouted:
"How about a kiss for the cover of the Daily Prophet?"
"How about a cauliflower instead of a head?" Snape snarled back, as Lucius pulled him into a hug so tight he couldn't pull his wand on the unfortunate photographer.
The reception had to be moved from the small salon they had booked at the Ministry into the grandeur of the Barnabus Ballroom, as apparently half the witches and wizards of Britain had turned up to gawp at the newlyweds. The free champagne was not exactly encouraging them to leave, either. Lucius had to remind himself that although many people they knew had come wished them well, a surprisingly large number, most of the strangers were curious to be part of the landmark event. He was an ex-felon, ex-Death Eater and infamous scoundrel, Severus was a war hero and powerful head of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement. Since they were only the third same-sex magical couple to have tied the knot and the first celebrities to ever do so, there had been considerable interest ever since the publishing of the banns two weeks previously. Thankfully, there had been only a few negative comments and these had been pushed out of his mind by warm words of congratulation from people who mattered. The young woman who had thrown confetti was making her way towards him. She was tall and slim with pretty light brown hair and although there was something familiar about her, Lucius was on his guard just in case this stranger had come to attack him.
"Hi, Dad," she said.
The face was definitely Draco's, but subtly beautified with make-up and framed by delicate curls, which somehow took away any trace of masculinity from his jaw. His satin dress was flatteringly cut and although his shoes were flat to prevent him being excessively tall, they were pointed and very elegant. Under this scrutiny, Draco had begun to fiddle nervously with his perfectly-matched clutch bag and Lucius realised he was required to speak.
"You look nice," he tried.
Draco smiled shyly and exhaled a breath he had obviously been holding for some time.
"Do you think so?" he looked into his father's eyes as though the response was desperately important.
"Of course," said Lucius, not quite recovered from the shock of seeing his son dressed as a woman. "Um. I didn't recognise you earlier. I thought you hadn't come."
"Sorry I was late. I got cold feet as I was leaving and by the time I got to the hall it was full and I had to wait outside with the gawkers. I was worried you might be upset about me choosing your wedding as my first public appearance, er, like this," he looked at his manicured fingernails for a moment. "Are you?"
"No!" said Lucius a fraction louder than was necessary. "No. Not at all. I just had no idea that you are…that you do…you like to…"
"I've been doing this at home for about a year now," Draco explained. "After everything that's happened to our family and to the world I grew up in, I've spent a long time trying to figure out who I am and I…well, I think I've finally found out."
"I had no idea," Lucius repeated, voice thick with emotion. The disgrace and disaster of the Malfoy family had clearly had an impact on Draco. Having raised him to arrogantly flaunt his name and believe that he would be wealthy and successful forever without having to try, Lucius had then destroyed everything and left Draco penniless and ashamed of his existence. However, the boy had shown surprising courage in choosing to support the opposite side during the war because he believed in their cause; had trained as a healer in order to earn his own living while doing something worthwhile. Now it appeared that he had looked deep within himself and had found the confidence to express what he had discovered. Lucius felt like weeping. Fortunately, before he did so, Severus appeared and assessed the situation in less than a second.
"You look charming today, Draco," he said smoothly. "Certainly more glamorous than any St Mungo's staff I've ever met, although that's not much of a compliment."
"Thank you," Draco bowed his head, smiling.
"It seems you've inherited your mother's fine sense of style."
"Actually, she helped my choose the dress."
A few glasses of good champagne later, the room was blurring pleasantly. Draco, Lucius concluded, was looking radiant, confident and all sorts of other positive things he hadn't looked for years, laughing heartily with his friends the rock stars while channelling the poise and grace of his mother. If Gregory, Vincent and Millicent were at all surprised by his new-found transvestism, they weren't showing it. But then, they were all displaying a startling uniform of make-up, hairspray and skin-tight leather so weren't terribly well placed to make adverse comments. Their manager, that irrepressible busybody, Granger, appeared to be locked in deadly verbal combat with the ugliest Weasley, while Potter stood just out of range of stray hexes, looking not unlike a dyspeptic owl. Lucius followed his baleful stare to the Weasley girl, apparently back from her sporting convalescence in America, restored to health and possibly stuck with sticking potion to a huge, muscular, tanned Quodpot player with a square head and vacant expression.
"We're getting married in the National Quod Bowl next Fall," she gushed. The glass in Potter's hand shattered. "We've gotten special permission as Brad is the most popular player the Comets have ever had! He has more sponsorship deals than anyone else in the league right now." The glass in Potter's spectacles shattered.
"Harry shouldn't worry," murmured a Scottish voice behind Lucius. "The so-called Blazin' Bradley will fly straight back across the Atlantic once he's met the twins. Congratulations on your marriage," said McGonagall, without warmth. "Break Severus' heart and I shall transfigure you into a flobberworm. Very. Very. Slowly." Lucius swallowed at the mental image. "Do we understand each other?"
"Good." McGonagall turned to go but he stopped her.
"Wait. I never worked out how you knew that Dobby had information about Eileen Snape last year. It was through Dumbledore, I suppose. Were you working for the Order back then too?"
"No. I knew she was often at Malfoy Manor around that time, that's all," she peered at him over her pince-nez. "Matilda McGonagall's portrait told me."
Minerva smirked. "Our mutual ancestor, Mr Malfoy. Matilda McGonagall, who married Sir Hugo de Malfoy. There's not much remaining from the time when my family's home was the grandest building in Scotland aside from Hogwarts, we've been on the slow slide for centuries, but I do still have her portrait. She didn't occupy it much until Malfoy Manor was destroyed; now she's there permanently and complains all day about being in reduced circumstances unless I cover her with a blanket."
"Matilda escaped the attack!"
"She was an intelligent woman. Once she saw the place was coming down she fled from the portrait in your home to the one in mine."
"So not all the family's history perished," he murmured, remembering the miserable sight of the weed-covered rubble which was all that remained of the ancestral seat.
"Take her if you wish. She might like hanging on the wall of your Ministry accommodation better than my cottage."
"I'd love to, if you're sure…?"
"Certainly. Call it a wedding present." Minerva turned to go. "Oh, before I forget. When are you coming to completely redesign my décor?"
"What?" Lucius blinked.
"The kitchen looks so beautiful after you jazzed it up, it makes the rest of the house look shabby. Very cunning business sense, you wretched Slytherin. Well, when? After the honeymoon?"
"Severus' job means there isn't time for a honeymoon."
"Excellent. In that case I'll expect you on Monday morning.
Mad-eye Moody was working, but nevertheless found the time to stump down to the ballroom, shake Snape's hand and glare suspiciously at Lucius. Other MLE personnel made brief appearances, those who were on duty, Severus noticed, inventing a number of interesting ways to sneak glasses of champagne while they thought he wasn't looking. He asked Cho if she wouldn't mind asking Supplies to send a batch of sobering potion to the MLA offices in case of emergency and was informed, with a withering look, that it had been taken care of the previous day.
"That was good forward planning, Cho. Thank you."
"It's what I'm paid to do," she said tightly, stalking off after nodding to Kingsley, who had drifted over to them holding a sleeping child.
"This isn't a good time for what I'm about to say and I apologise," said Kingsley quietly, "I wanted you and Arthur to be the first to know."
"Please don't tell me Tonks is pregnant again," Snape rolled his eyes.
"Actually, we've decided four is enough thank you," Kingsley chuckled then grew serious. "This does concern the family, though. The huge responsibility of being Minister of Magic means I'm missing out on too much of the children's lives and I don't want it to continue. I feel like a bad father."
Throat suddenly dry, Snape drained his glass.
"And Arthur and I need to know this because...?"
"I'll be announcing my resignation tomorrow afternoon."
"You can't!" Snape was scandalised. "You're the best minister we've had for decades and the best person for the job. It would be terrible to lose you so soon."
"The decision is made," he said firmly. "Whatever nonsense they print in the Prophet, the election of my replacement is going to be a two-horse race between you and Weasley, so if I were you I'd begin quietly canvassing support here and now, while you have a friendly and not to mention a tipsy audience."
"Have you made the same suggestion to him?" asked Severus, curling his lip.
"No. Nymphadora pointed out that he's not a leader, for all that he's a nice bloke. We believe he would struggle with the hard decisions a politician is sometimes called upon to make for the Greater Good and might cause long-term problems by being too soft. You can distance yourself in order to get the job done. He is a popular man but we'll be voting for you and we won't be the only ones."
"He's a well-respected family man. I just married a..," he looked around and lowered his voice, "I'm married to a convicted ex-Death Eater. I was a Death Eater myself. Lucius and I have killed people."
"Well, you can mention that in your campaign if you like," Kingsley smiled, raising an eyebrow. "But if I were you I'd concentrate on your heroic war record and Malfoy's being a reformed sinner. Get lots of photos taken clearly showing your scar and him looking handsome and penitent. You could even mention your biological father. That has to be worth a few votes."
The baby in Shacklebolt's arms woke up and began to wail.
"Time for a feed, I think. Excuse us," he smiled and glided off serenely through the crowd, as though he hadn't just turned Snape's life completely upside down.
"But…" Snape said again, to no one this time. Being Minister of Magic was an impossible job - trying to keep the complicated affairs of country running in the face of incessant criticism, lobbying, whingeing, cost-cutting and the occasional bout of national hysteria, all within a fiddly bureaucratic framework dating back over a thousand years. The positive side was that Snape would finally be in charge of his world and be able, to an extent, at least, right some of the wrongs and tackle the issues which those in charge had been screwing up for centuries. He had already made great progress with the department of Law Enforcement, so why not the whole Ministry? If Shacklebolt had done the job and honestly thought him, Snape, capable of it, then he should at least try to be elected. For the Greater Good? Perhaps. As long as Cho Chang came with him, of course, without her ruthless and ill-tempered efficiency he wouldn't last two hours.
Lucius spotted his new husband standing alone for the first time that day and hurried over, giving him a kiss.
"What a day!" he exclaimed. "Merlin, it's been one thing after another!"
"Are you all right?" Severus recovered from his musings and noticed Lucius' flushed face and hectic eyes.
"Wonderful, thank you," he beamed. "I'm very happy."
"Good," said Snape.
"Yes, it's so exciting, finally being married to you! I'm in a bit of a daze, though. I'll be glad when everything quietens down and goes back to normal. Have you given any thought to my suggestion of reducing your hours at work? Perhaps delegating some of your responsibility? Wouldn't it be nice to spend more time together? Neither of us are getting any younger, you know."
Tracing the raised flesh of his scar, Severus tried to smile reassuringly. He needed to discuss Shacklebolt's words with Lucius in private, although, knowing him as well as he did, the discussion would not need to be long. Lucius would be unable to resist the possibility of wielding such great power, even at the cost of their private life.
"Ugh, look at Weasley," said Lucius with distaste.
"Arthur. He's got his hand on Narcissa's bottom. I'm not allowed to touch your bottom in public and it's our wedding day."
"I imagine," began Severus carefully, "That you wouldn't mind having an opportunity to, ah, shall we say, fight Weasley. Have a bit of a contest with him, try to defeat him in some way?"
"Merlin, yes. That man irritated me for years even before he began shagging my wife while I was in prison. I nearly punched his lights out in Flourish and Blott's once. I'd love to have another go at him," Lucius realised he was clutching his wand and stopped. "Why do you ask?"
"I'll tell you later." Snape smiled a dangerous smile and, in the black depths of his eyes, something twinkled.
Really The End.