Severus received the letter the following day. His shock was evident to the whole party in the breakfast room. The raven-haired man jumped to his feet, and breaking out in a smile, rushed out of the room muttering something about having to write a letter.
Adrianna and Salazar looked at each other in surprise and confusion. Neither knew why Severus had practically ran out of the room after getting his letter, correspondence in general was not common for Severus, he had few friends and even fewer who wrote to him.
Alexandra also looked at the husband in surprise. She did not know her brother-in-law very well but his behaviour was very unusual. Was he quite alright?
Adrianna finished her breakfast before going to locate her dear son. As predicted he was in the library, writing a letter.
She took a seat next to him, knowing not to disturb him, and simply examined her son. His face was delicate, without the severeness of this father's. She could see her own features in him, he had her hands, apart from the almost constant stain of the potion ingredients he meddled with. Not conventionally handsome but a striking figure. He had presence, yet the ability to shrink into the background at times. Adriana would never forget the day Septimus had first brought a suitor home for their youngest son. Shocked and angry, Severus had spent the first part of the night in silence. In the latter part the suitor made the unfortunate mistake of attempting to converse with him. He said something which obviously offended Severus and in return the younger man had made a cutting reply. When she had asked what was wrong with him, later that night, the suitor had not lasted much longer after that, Severus had responded that, "Nothing could induce me to marry him."
Finally, he completed his letter and turned to his mother. Adriana could almost see the happiness radiating from his face.
"What is it son?"
"Mr Potter has proposed that we move the wedding to October the fifteenth. I have capitulated." He was now to be married in a mere five week's time.
Five weeks! There was so much to be done. "The wedding clothes must be ordered. The parson to be contacted about having the church…" Adriana swept out of the room in a flurry.
Severus just chuckled at the empty doorway. Looking at the letter again he flushed slightly. It read:
I have come to feel more than I ever though possible for you when I was first informed of our engagement. As a result I hesitate to delay until December. I would marry you tomorrow if possible though I suppose our respective mothers would never agree to that so I would ask if you would instead do me the honour of marrying me on the fifteenth of October.
This is our decision to make, not our parents though they brought us together. Please do not allow me to force you into agreement. Should you wish to wait until the 15th of December I will be patient however sorely tempted.
I had never thought to want to marry this much. It would give me the greatest pleasure to lead you to the alter.
Severus supposed it was not the most romantic proposal or even letter in the world but it suited them just fine. He had written directly that the fifteenth of October would be more than acceptable. For his heart he had allowed himself to pen a small sentence stating that he would also be glad of the diminished wait.
The following weeks flew by in a constant flurry of activity and Harry and Severus could not find any time to be alone. It almost seemed as though their families were conspiring to keep them apart until the wedding.
Harry decided that he really hated being fitted for new clothes; it had never been as bad as this before. Mr Malkin, the tailor, had him stood still for hours while his mother looked at and made him try on what seemed like endless numbers of wedding clothes. 'For Merlin's sake, why is it this difficult? Just pick some white robes already.' He chanted in his head.
In the end it was the reappearance of his father that forced his mother into making a decision. James saw that Harry's patience was quickly coming to its end and hurried his wife along. A nice white robe with silver and green trim was chosen. Harry was positive that it was one of the first he had tried on.
During the journey back home he was silent. Lily took this as nerves. After all, the wedding was next week.
She sought to comfort him, "Don't worry my dear. Everyone gets nervous before their wedding."
Harry looked up incredulously, he was not worried, he was in love with Severus, "I am not nervous, mother."
"Then why are you so silent?"
"Because you kept me in that infernal shop for four hours. I am irritated and annoyed, not in the best of moods so please forgive me if I am not conversing as you would wish." Harry's infamous temper boiled over.
James had to stifle a laugh at his wife's face. Lily looked flabbergasted.
After a few moments she smiled and snorted under her breath. "I'm sorry, Harry. I know it is tiresome but it had to be done." She had remembered her own visit to the dressmaker with her mother for her wedding robe. Her mother had kept her there for six hours. By the end of it she too was rather cranky. "I shall send one of the servants to pick the robes up in a few days and then all you need do after that is wear them, love."
Harry nodded and made a pointed effort to be more sociable. He was going to see Severus tonight. Though more than likely, they would be kept apart. Last time the Snapes had dined with them Harry and been placed at the other end of the table to his betrothed.
As they pulled up to their London town house Harry felt the urge to return to his own manor in the country. When he had turned twenty-one he had acquired his own home in Derbyshire, a lovely manor with large woods, a river and a man-made lake. He had fallen in love with the property on sight and bought it on impulse. Harry could not wait to take Severus there; it would be their residence for at least the first few months of marriage. He longed to walk those hills and trees again. He was sure that Severus would grow as fond of the park as he had.
To ensure Severus would be as happy as possible in his new home Harry, as a wedding gift, had a state of the art potions laboratory installed in the cellar, an improvement on the basic laboratory previously present. He had already bought all the most expensive and rare potion ingredients and had them sent to the house to await their new master. All that remained was to show his soon to be lover. Harry was quite confident that Severus would like the laboratory, he would finally be allowed to tinker and experiment with his dear potions to his heart's content. Harry would never prevent his love from doing what he loved, in fact, he was determined to encourage him in his art. The world would surely benefit from Severus' inventions, from what Hermione said, they were much better than the ordinary run-of-the-mill potions you bought from the apothecaries. She took one of his anti-nausea potions for her morning sickness – normally she was forced to endure it as there hadn't been an option safe for pregnant women. He was a master of his art, as the slight staining on his fingers attested.
The next time Severus saw his betrothed was at the wedding. His father walked him up the isle to Harry Potter, his role was that of a female which he bristled at but accepted.
Harry was stood before the priest, his best man, Ronald Weasley beside him. His first glimpse of his intended and his heart beat faster.
They locked eyes. Nothing existed outside of the world they created in their gaze. All sound was melted out; the wedding march, the whispers of the guests, everything. As Severus drew level Harry took his hand and refused to relinquish it.
Severus took comfort in the firm grasp. Everyone was looking at them and he did not like it. He hated being the centre of attention. Then the ceremony began and he forgot everything but the words and the presence of his nearly husband.
Harry only came back to awareness when he was asked to repeat his vows.
Then it was Severus' turn. "Do you, Severus Tobias Snape, take Harold James Potter to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold from this day forward, for better for worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, till death do you part."
"Then in the eyes of God and in front of this congregation gathered here today I now pronounce you husband and husband. You may kiss." The priest gazed fondly at the couple. It was rare that you saw such love between a couple, especially with an arranged marriage.
Harry grinned and gently kissed Severus on the lips. Not as passionately as he had done previously because they were in church.
As they pulled back the guests clapped. Severus blushed. Harry laughed softly.
An age seemed to pass until they bade farewell to the last of their guests that night. It had been a most enjoyable evening, full of laughter, dancing and general merriment. Even Severus had been brought out of his shell for a few hours at least though Harry had hopes of banishing that shell forever soon enough.
The newly married couple gave their goodnights to Harry's parents, for that was where they had held the wedding party, and made their way to the fireplace. Harry threw in a handful of floo powder and, after picking up his husband, strode purposefully into the flames, calling out, "Potter Place."
Severus was stunned into stillness. Harry had picked him up! He was carrying him like a bride! And to his dismay, he liked it. He loved the sound of his husband's heartbeat so close to his ear. The smell, that wonderful, earthy scent made him never want to let go.
Harry carried his husband straight to the bedroom; he would give Severus the tour tomorrow, for now he wanted to get to know his husband better.
From what Severus saw of it before he was gently placed on the bed and the curtains drawn, Harry's bedroom - their bedroom, was very handsome and well furnished. After that he could only determine that his bed was large and very comfortable before Harry kissed him and he couldn't think of anything anymore.
The older man wanted his husband to enjoy his first time. His own had been…fun. He had been good friends with the other man but there hadn't been any strong emotions involved. Harry knew that he was at the least very close to being in love with Severus and was pretty sure that Severus felt the same. He wanted this to be memorable for both of them.
With that in mind he gently stripped his lover of the ceremonial wedding robes. As each new area of pale flesh was revealed to his eyes Harry kissed and worshipped it in turn. Eventually there was nothing left on his mate but his skin. He banished his own robes with a thought and a flick of the wrist; he did not want to move from his current position to remove them manually.
Severus gasped as certain parts of their anatomy touched for the first time without robes between them. He felt himself grow even harder at the feel of Harry's own hardness against his thigh. His hips bucked up instinctively for more of the delicious friction. To his embarrassment a soft moan escaped his lips.
Harry loved the little sounds his new lover was making. He was so responsive. With a gentle smile Harry once again captured the recalcitrant lips, kneading the bottom lip hungrily as they ground their groins together, Severus moaned again.
Harry grinned into the kiss, summoning the lubricant with his free hand. The lotion bottle flew into his open hand with a small smack. The sound made Severus pause for a second. He had to admit, if only to himself at this time, that he wanted this, wanted Harry with all his being. More than anything at that moment he wanted to feel his lover inside him.
Harry broke away from the tempting lips on offer. He had something else in mind. With a wicked grin he poured a good amount of the lotion onto his palm and then wrapped it around his husband's aching erection. The reaction was instantaneous; Severus' eyes flew wide open and he arched into the caress. The older man continued to work his younger lover until he climaxed explosively. Kissing Severus tenderly Harry hoped to show him how much he meant to him.
Severus, on the other hand, was once again confused. Why did Harry always make him feel like this? Why had he done that?
From his position above his lover, Harry saw the expression of his beloved's face change to show confusion. It was so adorable, his innocence. Harry found it surprisingly refreshing; he would be the one to show Severus all the pleasures of the flesh, only him. "It will be easier if you are as relaxed as possible." He explained to the confused gaze.
There was that delightful blush again.
Severus watched in awe as the hand that had so expertly given him pleasure now moved lower, between his legs. He moved his legs further apart to accommodate his lover. An oiled finger brushed the entrance to his most secret place. As it breached the virgin passage Harry recaptured Severus' lips, to give him something else to concentrate on. It almost worked; however, Severus was acutely aware of every movement of that finger, of the others that eventually joined it, widening him, stretching him to accept the much larger object that was to follow.
A curled finger found that raised nub and Severus saw stars. When he regained the ability to speak he asked, "What was that?"
A soft chuckle answered, "That would be your prostrate, dearest. I'll make sure to re-acquaint you soon."
Harry showed his skill as a host soon enough. Severus was incredibly glad to meet his prostrate and hoped that it and his husband's cock would become great friends. The initial entry had burned, Harry had gone slowly as he could and allowed Severus time to adjust to the intrusion before beginning to thrust.
The erection that had begun to flag at the pain of entry soon regained its steam and Harry's hand snaked between them to see to its needs. The dual stimulation was more than Severus could bear. He came again.
The pulsating walls around his cock quickly brought Harry to the edge and over it. For a minute he did not move while he came back to himself.
Underneath him Severus wiggled slightly and to his surprise Harry felt himself harden again. He held still, cock still inside his mate, unknowing what to do. Severus was a virgin. 'Well had been a virgin,' a smug voice in the back of his head piped up. Would he be up for a second go or was he sore?
Severus felt his husband's erection grow inside of him as he moved and experimentally wriggled again. Harry groaned.
The second round was slower than the first, as is to be expected. It took longer for them to reach their climax this time. Their lips had joined at some point in the proceedings and only when oxygen became a problem did they break apart.
Severus was the one to break the silence. "Did I please you?"
If Harry hadn't just come so hard that he didn't think he would be able to come again for a week then that question along with the soft blush of his husband would have him rock hard again, as it was, it merely gave a small twitch still inside the warm cavern before giving up. Rolling over off his husband Harry drew Severus up to his chest and held him there. "You pleased me greatly, husband mine. I hope I gave you as much pleasure as I received."
Severus was glad that his husband could not see his blush. That he could still blush after what they had just done! "Indeed."
Harry's arm tightened its hold for a second, a soft kiss was pressed to Severus' shoulder. In response Severus leaned back into the warm embrace.
Just as he was falling asleep he thought he heard a whisper in his ear, "I love you." His heart leapt as he passed into slumber.
The elder bridegroom remained awake for another hour before submitting to Morpheus' call, simply staring at his beautiful husband. He thanked the gods for sending such a being to him. He grudgingly thanked his father as well for arranging the match. It had turned out much better than he could ever have imagined. He had a husband that he loved and who, if not already then would, love him back.
Happier than he had been since that fateful evening in August Harry finally fell asleep.
He awoke the next morning as Severus shifted in his embrace. Opening his eyes he saw that his husband had rolled over to face him.
"Good morning, dearest." He murmured sleepily.
"Good morning, husband." Severus replied with a small smile.
Harry kissed him on the lips lightly, "Are you well this morning?"
Severus, feeling the slight burn in his bum, blushed slightly but nodded, "Nothing a mild pain potion will not cure."
The elder man couldn't help it. He laughed. His blush was simply adorable. Harry recalled his own soreness after he had lost his virginity, it had been well worth it, though sitting had been uncomfortable the following day. No doubt Severus had brought his potions with him so he would at least be spared that.
He slid out of bed after kissing Severus soundly. Chuckling at the dazed expression on his husband's face he held out his hand. "Care for a bath, dearest?"
As Harry and Severus were eating in the breakfast room Severus tilted his head to one side in thought, "I did not see Mr Riddle yesterday. That is exceedingly strange; he had previously said that he would be in attendance." In truth he had actually told Severus that he would not miss it for the world and was going to give him a special wedding present that he would never forget. Severus had been more than relieved that he had not run into the man at the time but now it seemed a bit odd.
Harry could not contain his grin, he picked up his teacup to hide it.
His attempt failed. Onyx eyes narrowed. "What have you done?"
His husband put on an innocent face and insisted, "I have done nothing, dearest. But I did hear a rumour that it is quite unlikely that anyone will be seeing Mr Riddle for quite some time as he is believed to have fled the country. Gambling debts and even the interest of the police in his person persuaded him that his presence in London was no longer necessary or wanted."
Severus threw his head back and laughed. He knew that this was his husband's doing and was touched that Harry cared enough to do this for him and also rather amused. "He is gone. Thank the gods." No doubt his husband would prevent Mr Riddle from ever coming near him again, plus his station as a married man would deter Riddle's lust.
It was at that moment that Harry knew without a shadow of a doubt that this marriage would work, would flourish.