Harry ran his hands over his green wedding-robes, smoothing out non-existent wrinkles. Ron settled Harry's collar, and Hermione fluffed up his fringe with a hairbrush.
"Brilliant," Ron said, patting Harry's shoulder. He looked very proud – Harry had asked him to be his best man, and although Ron was still overwhelmed and somewhat dubious about Harry's future spouse, he had agreed enthusiastically enough. Fred and George had turned up at Hogwarts before the ceremony, armed with an enormous crate of fireworks.
"Made for only the two of you – a unique set," they had announced.
"Ready, mate?" Ron asked. Harry grinned widely.
"Yeah. All set."
Hermione glanced at her watch.
"Twenty minutes more," she said.
Harry and Severus had discussed about a quiet and private ceremony, with only family (i.e. the Weasleys) and close friends attending, but an overenthusiastic Dumbledore had overridden their hesitant plans, stating that the wedding would take place at Hogwarts in the presence of all the students and staff – after all, they were both considered heroes of the wizarding world. As so often, Dumbledore naturally had his way, and the couple agreed, half amused, half exasperated. Their wedding was scheduled two weeks before Christmas. It was a splendid December day when the special date arrived; a duvet of snow lay on the grounds. The wizarding world was still celebrating, but it was also mourning the lives which had been lost in the battle. On the night Voldemort had finally met his end, armies consisting of Dark Wizards and predatory creatures had attacked many places in Britain simultaneously. Dumbledore had anticipated this move, sending several allies to the key spots, such as the Ministry, Diagon Alley and Muggle villages which (unknowingly) adjoined magical communities. Aurors had fallen, others had been severely wounded, and two others were in a coma which gave even the outstanding staff of St. Mungo's little hope. No one Harry knew personally was among the victims, but it nevertheless underscored the consequences of the war and the suffering which had been endured throughout Voldemort's lifetime.
In the meantime, Severus was glaring at himself in the mirror critically while Dumbledore hovered at his elbow.
"Child, you look splendid, and you know it," he murmured soothingly.
"You are flattering me, and you know it," was the terse answer. Dumbledore smiled in his beard.
"I should have worn black," Severus grumbled.
"Severus dear, dove grey suits you wonderfully, although plum violet would not have been a bad choice, either."
"Plum violet? Merlin, Albus!" Severus spluttered, checking his collar with narrowed eyes before running a long-fingered hand through his hair.
"I had better tie my hair-"
"You will do nothing of the sort. It is fashionable to wear it loose," Dumbledore said austerely.
"You spend too much time reading all those fashion magazines-"
"A man of my age has to keep up with the latest fashions," Dumbledore replied wisely. "Turn around."
"Marvellous, absolutely marvellous," Dumbledore praised him. Severus gazed at him.
"Thank you, Albus. For trusting me when no else did. Thank you for everything. For this marriage."
"Severus, child, it is Harry you have to thank. You would not be having a marriage without him," Dumbledore chuckled, embracing his Potions Master. Severus rested his cheek against his best man's shoulder.
"Well then, Severus dear, are you ready for a wonderful life?"
Severus drew back, and the smile on his lips made his whole face glow.
There was a sharp crack and Dobby, arrayed in all the colours of the rainbow, a tower of tea cosies balanced on his head and defying the laws of gravity by means of a fastening spell, appeared, announcing that Harry was ready. Severus turned his back on the mirror and took a deep breath. A slight flush tinged his pale cheeks as he strode out of his quarters with Dumbledore at his side. At the same time, Harry and his friends were leaving Gryffindor Tower – they had relocated to the place in order to let Severus and Dumbledore have the run of the dungeons before the ceremony – and, of course, to prevent the two wizards from seeing each other beforehand.
"Ready, Harry?" Hermione said, beaming. She seemed as excited about Harry's wedding as if it she herself was getting married. Harry had the feeling that Ron was going to pop the question anytime soon.
"Oh yeah!" Harry said, feeling wonderfully nervous as they headed for the Great Hall, which had been elaborately decorated by the Hogwarts staff and the couple's friends.
"I do hope Dumbledore has not forgotten the rings-"
"Of course he hasn't, Harry!" Hermione said.
"Well, mate, you never know, at his age-"
"Shut up, Ron!" Hermione hissed, prodding her boyfriend sharply in the ribs, "you're making Harry nervous!"
"He is already nervous," Ron pointed out.
"I suppose there's always the Summoning Charm in case he has forgotten the rings," Harry said pensively.
The doors of the Great Hall opened to admit Severus and Dumbledore. The wedding guests – a large group of red-haired heads indicated a more than strong Weasley-ian presence – cheered loudly. Journalists and all those who had not received an invitation were, of course, banned from the wedding. Magic spells which had been cast on the door ensured that no unwelcome intruders could make a nuisance of themselves. A minute later, Harry and Ron and Hermione stepped into the Hall. Hermione gave Harry a radiant smile, patted his back and went towards the Weasley family. Harry spotted Hagrid dressed in his best hairy suit. A lump rose in his throat as he gazed at the many faces surrounding him, and when his eyes met the black ones of the Potions Master, he wanted to weep with joy.
Filius Flitwick, who was in charge of the Hogwarts choir, raised his wand; the group of students started to sing. Ron and Dumbledore led Harry and Severus to each other; they took the left hands of the bridegrooms and joined them so that they were holding hands. Harry smiled and squeezed Severus's hand gently. Severus rubbed Harry's knuckles with his long fingers in response. Both Molly and Arthur Weasley were in tears. Tonks's hair was an overjoyed neon pink shade. Remus and his new boyfriend were beaming, and even Marius Rivers looked content.
The two bridegrooms marched regally towards the female priest, who was smiling at them. Dumbledore walked gracefully behind them in his turquoise robes, from which he extracted a small box containing the wedding rings of the grooms. As the priestess spoke and the couple exchanged vows, the box left the Headmaster's fingers, gliding towards Severus and Harry; its lid opened, and the rings flew out of it, hovering expectantly near their solemn faces. At the priestess' concluding words, they shared a soft kiss which made the hall explode into uproarious applause.
"Everyone, follow me outside into the grounds!" Dumbledore called, casting the Sonorus Charm on his throat. Curious and delighted, the crowd followed, the students babbling and giggling madly as everyone marched into the cold night. The Weasley twins bobbed to the front of the crowd and moved towards the crate, which was lying peacefully on the lawn. They pointed their wands at it, uttered a spell simultaneously, and the crate began to crackle loudly. Severus's mouth quirked and Harry squeezed his hand as the firework display started with three deafening bangs and a series of red snitches and green cauldrons. They collided and melted to a picture of a lion doing the tango with a serpent, twirling and pacing together rhythmically. Severus snorted while his husband roared with laughter.
"Don't forget we've still got to dance after this show," Harry reminded him, chortling. Severus draped his arm around Harry's waist, whispering into his ear:
"I assure you, Mr Potter-Snape, that my memory is excellent."
The wedding went on till two o'clock in the morning; students in their first, second and third years were shepherded back to their dormitories at around midnight by the prefects and, in cases where disobedience was attempted, by a very strict Minerva McGonagall. Severus and Harry were happily exhausted when they finally re-entered the dungeons, which were sporting wedding decorations en masse. Best of all, some prankster or the other – Harry strongly suspected Fred and George Weasley – had modified the painting of Apollo and Hyacinthus. The latter was very much alive and on top of his partner as they engaged in heated activities. A combination of Christmas tinsel and white roses adorned the frame.
"A not so subtle hint concerning our immediate future," was Severus's dry observation. Harry grinned as they reached the doors of their rooms.
"I hope the drawing stays the way it is," he said mischievously.
Gifts were neatly stacked in a large pile near Severus's desk. Hedwig was sitting on the piece of furniture, surrounded by letters and cards.
"I suggest that we open all this tomorrow and make a list of all the people whom we have to thank. Now is our wedding night," Severus said gravely, kissing his new husband all over his face. He brushed back Harry's fringe. The scar was still there – but now it was what it was: only a scar, the same as the faded mark on his forearm. Harry beamed at him, locking his arms firmly around Severus's neck.
"Uh-huh. So it is," he said innocently. Severus's dark eyes seemed to catch fire. Harry inclined his face for a kiss and received a sizzling one. Half an hour later, he was entangled in the sheets with Severus, whose legs were hooked around Harry's waist as they consummated their marriage, hot liquid spreading between their stomachs as Severus bucked convulsively. Harry slumped forwards with a drawn-out moan, burying his head against Severus's shoulder.
"I love you, Harry," Severus breathed into his husband's ear. Harry raised his head and looked into Severus's eyes. It was the very first time Severus had uttered the words which, as he had once told Harry, he considered routine, clichéd and banal.
"And I love you, Sev," Harry replied, his face flushed, sweaty and radiant – like Severus's.
When Severus woke up in the morning, he discovered that Harry was already awake, stretching happily against him. Since he had started sharing his life with Harry, Severus looked forward to each day. Harry was always chirrupy as a sparrow at six o'clock in the morning. He ate his meals with a young man's healthy appetite, thus managing to improve Severus's spare diet as well. Severus was finally one very happy wizard. When he and Harry got into arguments – as was bound to happen with two headstrong wizards – there was always an amusing element in their snippy conversations. It was not surprising that Harry would suddenly start laughing halfway through their verbal disagreement, saying that they were being ridiculous. And now…they were married. Married. Severus repeated the word several times in his head.
"Gooood moooorning," Harry sang out. Severus rolled over onto his side and wrapped his arm around his husband's chest. He did love to cuddle Harry, and Harry did love to tease him about it. Harry's hand slipped over his, and as their fingers twined, their wedding rings met and clinked together softly. Sometimes, Severus decided, the best things came to those who went through the worst things.
"Breakfast?" Harry yawned.
"Oh yes," Severus purred, eyeing his husband hungrily.
Dear all, thanks a trillion for following this story and submitting so much feedback! As always, I feel a bit mournful after finishing a long story. On the other hand, Snarry story number five is waiting for all of us. The plot combines the plots from Beyond Words and Union of Doom: Severus is forced to marry a mute Harry. This story, too, will have chapters, but I can't say how long it will be. I'll probably start posting in another two weeks or so; you can check my Snarry blog (cf. profile page) for more info. Thanks again! :-D