Happily Ever After

"What's this about?" Ginny scowled at her brother.

At first, it seemed like a joke when George had woken them all up at four in the morning, telling them to get dressed in their ceremonial, crimson robes, but the look in her brother's eyes was unusually serious and calm. Now, here they all stood, dressed and hair done up at their mother's insistence. The sun wasn't even up yet, and she was tired and hungry.

Hermione linked her fingers through Ginny's. They'd become close the last couple weeks as she took tutoring at Hogwarts, so that she could take the NEWTs. She'd been coming with Ginny every Friday to spend the weekend at the Burrow, usually to talk about Ron. The family had waited a longtime to hear the stories Hermione could tell.

"Something's going to happen. Can't you feel it?" she asked Gin, flushed and excited.

"It's time," George interrupted. He held his hand forward. Sitting in his palm was an apple-sized gold figuring of a roaring lion.

Molly immediately placed her hand on the portkey, eyes trusting as they rested on her son. Arthur, Bill, and the pregnant Fleur followed her example. Ginny sighed, nerves strung tight, as Hermione lifted their linked hands so they were also touching her brother's offering. George's solemn facade cracked, and he grinned devilishly. Before anyone could yank their fingers away, there was a sharp tug and they all disappeared.

xXxXxXx

"The angel's awake, isn't he?" Marissa demanded breathlessly as Aunt Tonks did her hair, entwining a dark blue ribbon in the curls. It was the color of the House of Black. "My mark's been warm, and lately it throbs and tickles. It's the angel, isn't it?"

"Yes, sweetheart. The angel is awake." Tonks laughed. "All right. Let's go."

She took the recently turned seven-year-old's hand and led her toward the stairs. At the bottom stood Sirius in full regalia. Dark blue robes with intricate silver trim, silver circlet around his brow, marking him as Lord Black. Rings of sapphire and platinum glittered on his fingers. A pendant of a three-headed manticore rested on his breast, while his eyes were made more striking, surrounded by dark make-up.

Remus stood at his side, also in fine blue robes, the inside of the long, bell sleeves flashing silver. She'd asked him to marry her, making him a Black. Teddy was in his arms, wearing child robes, silver manitcores embroidered around the hem and collar. He must have sensed the seriousness of the situation. His hair was black, his eyes blue, matching his Uncle Sirius. Tonks and Marissa wore identical female robes. They were dark blue, a silver belt wrapped twice around their waists. Marissa had an additional silver circlet around her brow, marking her as Heir.

"Hurry," Sirius said quickly. He held a lion figuring. "It's almost time."

Tonks and Remus shared a smile. Sirius may look like an adult and Lord of the family, but he'd never stop acting like the child he was inside. They all took the portkey, and at exactly 6:01am they disappeared.

xXxXxXx

Luna felt the universe singing loudly, so loudly she thought it'd be impossible to hear anything else. Just before she clapped her hands to her ears, everything fell silent. The hush was electrified, expectant.

"Are you okay?" Miles Bletchy-Harper asked. He, his husband, and wife all wore the gorgeous pure white robes with the dark purple embroidery of the majestic archer on their backs; the symbol of the Harper family. Amethyst was beaded through their hair and sparkled in the starlight.

"It's time," she answered, practically floating in her extreme excitement. She wore the pale blue robes of the Lovegood line, a Pegasus in flight swooping down from one shoulder in red. A braided rope hung low around her hips in the same bold color.

"For what exactly, Miss…" Minerva stopped abruptly in mid-sentence as the tall oak tree in the center of the courtyard began to shrink into the form of a person.

"Neville!" Filius Flitwick cried out, holding tight to his sister, Madigan's, hand. They shared happy smiles, long worried about this boy.

Neville bowed. He looked splendid in his brown robes with gold trim. "Thank you for being ready. If you would…" He held out what was obviously a portkey.

"Us, too?" Dobby squeaked. Winky trembled at his side with wide disbelieving eyes.

"Yes. You are invited. Omi, of the Snape Household, is waiting to explain."

"Will we get an explanation?" Minerva demanded. She looked like a queen in her heavy, trailing blood red robes. A silver sphinx was embroidered, curled around her stomach. For once, her hair was down in an intricate braid that was threaded through with silver ribbon and pearls.

"You will. Now hurry." Neville again extended the gold lion.

Miles was the first to touch it, followed quickly by his spouses. The others brought their hands to the gold figuring, and a moment later they all disappeared.

xXxXxXx

Severus appeared on a hill without warning. The two men eyeing each other warily snapped to attention, wands drawn. Then their mouths fell open. Their former teacher had on a rich green ceremonial tunic with a rearing stallion in black across his lean chest, black slacks, shinning boots, and a circlet around his brow. He looked impressive despite it obviously being Muggle attire. It was a shock to the system, seeing Professor Snape in anything but black Wizarding robes, but the arched eyebrow and glinting glare was very familiar.

"Sir?" Blaise Zabini choked. His wife would never believe him when he got home.

"I hope you will not disparage the guest rights bestowed to you in such a manner once we arrive," Severus responded lowly. Both hastily lowered their wands.

"I am honored by this prestigious invitation," Cory Fenwick said quickly. He had a suspicion what this was about and was desperate to be allowed further.

"You both are." Severus scowled. He hadn't approved of the last two invites, but Blaise was a childhood friend of Draco's and had tried to stop the other Slytherins at the final battle from betraying Hogwarts. As for Fenwick, Cory had made an impression on Shadow, and his son had requested his presence. "Should either of you cause even the smallest problem, I will make it my problem. Is that clear?"

"Understood," Blaise rasped, face deathly pale. He knew how Severus handled problems.

Without another word, Severus extended the roaring lion. The two men touched it with a single finger, and then they were gone.

xXxXxXx

Twenty-seven figures appeared simultaneously in the dark meadow. The smell of the sea twinned with the scent of the luxurious grass forming a thick carpet under their feet. Severus stepped in front of the shocked group. George and Neville moved up to stand at his shoulders.

"Thank you for your patience," Severus began. His dark eyes sparkled in the dim light, the sky above them turning the distinct shade of pre-dawn: a gentle grey-blue. "You've been called here to bear witness to a sacred joining. This morn a worthy young man enters the Snape family. I ask those who come to this glade with doubts in their heart over the union of Draco Black and Shadow Potter-Snape to speak now or forever hold your peace."

A murmur spread through the group as those who didn't know Shadow was also Harry Potter discovered who had already known. Still, no one spoke above a whisper in fear of Severus thinking they were speaking a protest. The dark-eyed man let the excited whispers continue for a few minutes before continuing.

"If you would please follow young Longbottom and George Weasley to your places, we shall begin."

He then gestured to Sirius. Lord Black stepped up beside him. Both struck elegant poses as the sky began to lighten by degrees with every passing moment. The fevered whispers became louder even as Neville and George separated the crowd into two groups.

"Did you know?"

"A wedding!"

"Why didn't he tell us sooner?"

"Oh, this is incredible!"

Sirius glanced at the man at his side. Once they'd been enemies. "Are you ready? In a few minutes, we'll be family."

"As long as that's the last time you say so, then yes," Severus answered wryly.

Sirius laughed and clasped his shoulder.

The Weasleys – Arthur, Molly, Bill, Fleur, their unborn child, Ginny, and George – Hermione Granger, and the Harpers – Rogan, Lillian, and Miles – stood on one side of a golden rope hanging between two five-feet tall quartz crystals that were placed fifteen feet apart. Two more crystals mirrored these, creating an aisle five feet wide. Luna Lovegood, the three elves – Omi, Dobby, and Winky – Minerva McGonagall, Filius and Madigan Flitwick, and the Blacks – Marissa, Remus, Tonks, and Teddy – stood on this side, making the two groups an even eleven on each side.

Severus moved down the aisle toward Neville Longbottom who stood just past an archway that became visible as the sky brightened with gold light. The arch was a perfect carving of clear, unblemished quartz that stood eight feet tall, was four inches thick, with sides a one foot wide sheet clear as glass.

Within it, diamonds took fire gloriously, echoing the sky. They were of all sizes and colors, and as the light hit them the quartz refined and scattered the beautiful fiery light into hundreds of gorgeous rainbows. The witnesses drew breath as one, speechless at the sight. Severus took up position to the right of the arch just as Shadow dropped the veil hiding him from sight. Soft sounds of awe escaped the crowd.

The eighteen-year-old stood tall, his curls were oiled and tamed, a dozen small emeralds shimmering like beads throughout. A thin golden circlet sat comfortably on his brow. Long black lashes were darkened with eyeliner, making the two-colored eyes practically glow in his beautiful face. Around his slender shoulders sat a thick cloak. White on the outside with a large golden Griffin emblazoned on the back, the inside shimmered with a delicate geometric pattern embroidered with golden thread.

Underneath the glorious cloak, he wore Muggle pants, boots, and a dark green tunic that matched his father's. Shadow's was sleeveless, however, while Severus' was long-sleeved. The tunic reached mid-thigh, and a wide black leather belt fit his waist perfectly. On each wrist, beautiful golden gauntlets shone brightly with the Potter Griffin etched into the metal.

Full lips twitched up in a shy smile as one blue eye and one green stared intently down the aisle. Everyone turned to look at what had his attention.

Draco Black stood beside Sirius, both men smiling, pride radiating off them. The sky blushed with delicate pinks and orange as the two men moved toward the sparkling arch. Grey eyes glowed as they held Shadow's gaze without once looking away. He looked as amazing as his soon to be husband, putting everyone else to shame.

Draco's white blond hair was braided into a short queue at the back of his neck, dew-drop sapphires hung from his ears. Wizarding robes of dark blue clung tight to his chest and waist before loosening at his hips to fall in elegant drapes that swept the ground gently. On his biceps, two silver arm bands glittered against the silken, long sleeves. Matching silver rings flashed on each long finger. The Black manticore blazed silver across his back.

Sirius took up position to the left, mirroring Severus on the other side, as Draco stepped under the glorious archway and faced Shadow. The crowd held their breath in eager anticipation.

Neville lifted both broad hands to the sky and then to the Earth. He took Draco's hand with his right, Shadow's with his left. "We are gathered here today in the presence of the elements and magic, of friends and family, to witness the marriage of these two souls. Shadow Potter-Snape, do you still stand by your request for Draco's hand in the holiest of partnerships?"

"I do," Shadow answered steadily.

"For how long do you swear this oath to Draco Black?"

"Until death and beyond. I pledge myself to him forever." A flush of excitement stained his cheeks, and his hand tightened reflexively around Neville's.

"And you, Draco Black, do you stand by your acceptance of Shadow as your life-partner?"

"I do." Draco smiled lovingly at the man who held his heart.

"For how long do you swear this oath to Shadow Potter-Snape?"

"Until death and beyond," he answered with utter certainty. "I pledge myself to him forever."

The sun crested the horizon, and the two men released Neville, their hands holding tight to each other without prompting. Neville grinned, unable to contain his own emotions.

"Who do you appoint as honor guards of this vow, to warn you if you begin to wander away from the side of the partner you've chosen of your own free will?"

"I ask Lord Black to guard my faithfulness," Draco answered.

"I ask Lord Snape to guard my faithfulness," Shadow echoed.

"Lord Black, Lord Snape." Neville glanced at the two men. "Do you accept this position, come hard times or difficulties, and do you swear to do all in your power to see this union remain true?"

"I swear to uphold this duty as guardian and to never falter, no matter the obstacles," Sirius swore proudly.

"I swear to uphold this duty as guardian and to never falter, no matter the obstacles," Severus intoned.

"Then watch, Guardians, as your charges become one." Neville turned to Shadow. "Do you have a token to symbolize your commitment?"

The sun was now perfectly cut in half, a smoldering red orb on the horizon. Shadow released Draco's hands to cup his own. He summoned a chestnut-sized diamond polished into a perfect sphere. A delicate cage of gold attached it to a long chain. Draco bowed his head as Shadow slipped it around his neck. The diamond lay directly above his heart.

Gently, Shadow cupped it in one palm. "Your love for me has been tested a thousand times and was proven a thousand times. I can think of nothing to give you of equal worth, but I give you my breath."

He blew on the precious stone with a single long exhale.

"I give you my blood."

Shadow pricked his finger and allowed a single drop to touch the pendant, which became ruby-red as the blood absorbed fully.

"I give you my heart."

He let the necklace fall back against Draco's chest and covered it with his hand. It grew warm. Nothing would ever cool it.

"From this day forth, Draco, I am yours."

Draco practically glowed, his face filled with so much emotion. Tears slid down his cheeks, sparkling in the light of dawn. Taking a deep breath of his own, he lifted Shadow's hands and kissed the backs of both.

"Your offering has been accepted," Neville said unnecessarily. "Draco, do you have a token to symbolize your commitment?"

He nodded, throat too tight to speak yet, and lifted his hands. Gently, he removed all the rings from his right hand and placed the precious platinum bands on Shadow's left fingers. Then he did the same with their other hands. He did it slowly, deliberately. The gesture obviously significant, and those watching held their breath waiting to be told what it meant.

"I give you these rings to remind you that my hands are yours, their only purpose to build your happiness, the only source of mine. Shadow, my everything, I will love you with all that I am for an eternity and more."

Tears and choked cries came from the crowd, all touched by the beautiful tokens from both. Even Severus' eyes were suspiciously bright. Shadow bit his lip as he stared at the ten rings he'd been gifted with. Trembling slightly, he lifted Draco's hands and kissed the backs.

Neville, grinning broadly, clasped the couple's shoulders. "I pronounce you married, husband and husband, partners, Shadow and Draco Potter-Snape for as long as your vows last."

Simultaneously, Shadow flung his arms around his husband's neck and Draco stepped forward to wrap his arms around his husband's waist. Then they were kissing passionately, the sun rising fully into the sky and flooding the glade with the full light of day. Carried along, the crowd cried out ecstatically with cheers and catcalls.

Neville laughed and reached with his magic. Wildflowers of every hue exploded into bloom, perfuming the air. George cast a wind charm that sent hundreds of loose petals soaring into the air as beautiful confetti. Severus conjured a matching Potter cape and settled it about the oblivious Draco's shoulders, while Sirius dissolved the silver manticore on the blond's robes, making the thread move to the front to outline the rearing Snape black stallion. The leftover silver moved to outline the same stallion on Shadow's tunic.

The two newlyweds finally broke apart, gasping for air. They were both flushed, their faces and eyes alive. Neville had gotten everyone into a line, so they would have a chance to greet and congratulate the couple without overwhelming them. Severus and Sirius stood at their backs, ready to act if Shadow became uncomfortable with the many hugs, tears, and excited questions that were soon to follow. It took over an hour but seemed to pass in a blur.

"Am I good or am I good?" George asked as he stepped up.

Shadow hugged him tightly. "Thank you. This wouldn't have been possible without you."

"Don't mention it," George said softly, holding him just as tightly.

Instead of bitching at Weasley again hugging his husband, Draco did something unexpected. "Thank you, Weasley. It was a beautiful ceremony, very elegant."

The redhead grinned. "So where's the party at?"

Draco rolled his eyes. "There's a path over there that leads to a large pavilion by a stream. There's plenty of food and drink, I assure you."

"And dancing, don't forget that!"

"I can't believe we didn't guess," Molly gushed, crying openly. "I am so glad you're all right. I was just sick over everything." She pulled Shadow into a hug that would have been unbearably tight if it weren't for Draco keeping hold of his waist, preventing her from getting her own all the way around his slender chest.

"I'm sorry. I was in a coma. You won't tell anyone that I was Harry Potter, will you?"

"Of course not," Arthur reassured. "We owe you a lot. The least we can do is this."

"I knew it!" Miles grinned smugly. "Congratulations."

"Well, I didn't!" Lillian shook her head. "To think, we had Harry Bloody Potter living in the dungeons."

"Thank you," Rogan said warmly, clasping Shadow's hands. "For saving Miles. I am in your debt. If either of you ever need anything, call on me."

"I missed you!" Marissa squeezed Shadow's waist with her thin arms. "I'm sorry I didn't understand it was you the whole time, Shadow."

"I'm sorry I've been gone so much," he answered. He'd had mixed feelings about the little girl before the coma, but now he just felt a strong affection.

"Am I still part of the pack?"

"Of course," Draco reassured. He bent to kiss her cheek.

"You're our little sister," Shadow told her, also kissing her cheek.

"Good." She smiled up at them for a moment before becoming serious. "You're sill my angel, too. You saved me."

"I'm glad I did." Shadow felt the guilt over killing her parents disappear at last. Gone was the frightened, underweight, abused toddler. In her place stood a happy, healthy child.

"Congratulations, you two!" Tonks hugged and kissed them both.

"We have a gift for you back at home," Remus told them with a sly grin. "I think you'll like it."

"Pretty!" Teddy reached for the warm diamond around Draco's neck. His hair and eyes turned the exact same shade.

"Oh no! Not the imp again!" Tonks cried in dismay and hurried him away.

Draco and Shadow snickered.

"Shadow, Draco, congratulations," Hermione said tearfully. "I'm so happy for you both."

"Thanks, Herm." Shadow pulled her into a hug. The second he had instigated. "How are you?"

"Better," she promised. "I need to talk to you later when you have a moment, though."

"Now?"

"No. In a few days." Hermione hugged Draco. "Take care of him."

"I will," he answered, startled by her embrace.

"Well, you certainly made an entrance," Ginny said with a smirk, hands on hips. "Where've you been?"

"Draco's been taking care of me. After the battle, I was in a coma."

Ginny felt immediately guilty for all the bad thoughts she'd had about Shadow abandoning them. "I'm sorry to hear that. I hope your future together is very happy."

"Oh, it will be," Draco responded with an easy smile.

"You both look so beautiful," Fleur gushed. "The ceremony was incredible."

"Congratulations," Bill added with a hug for both of them. Neither of them were bothered by his altered features. "May you be as happy in love as I am."

"Thanks." Shadow smiled shyly.

"Congratulations on your pregnancy," Draco responded with sincerity. "Is everything going well?"

"Yes, no problems," Fleur answered happily, a hand on her rounded stomach.

"Well, I have to say today has been remarkable." Minerva kissed their cheeks. "Thank you for inviting me. I will never forget this moment. It will give me hope for years to come."

"Thank you," they chorused.

"Incredible ceremony, boys! Quite the bit of magic, Shadow. I'm impressed," Flitwick exclaimed.

"Severus helped me with the spells." Shadow grinned with pride as he looked again at the red diamond.

"The flowers are beautiful, Neville, but I must say seeing you once more was even better," Madigan told the young man stand at Shadow's side.

"I think I'll be around more often," he said with a smile.

"Good thing. I need my brother," Shadow added.

"Shadow, Draco, you make a beautiful couple. Thank you for inviting me," Cory said with a deep bow. "It was truly a once in a lifetime opportunity."

"I learned so much from you. And you welcomed me when others weren't so willing," Shadow explained.

"I'll be a good friend," he promised.

"We'll see," Draco countered gently. He would give the guy a chance for Shadow, but that didn't mean he wouldn't be careful.

"Dray! I'm so happy you got your wish." Blaise hugged him. "You always wanted to be a knight in shining armor. Shadow may not be a princess, but you seem content, and that's all that matters."

"Enough," Draco snapped, blushing. "I was eight when I said that."

Shadow laughed loudly. "Welcome, Blaise. We'll have to talk soon."

Blaise winked as Draco scowled.

"And so the world can continue to keep turning." Luna skipped up to them.

"Had it stopped?" Shadow asked with a friendly smile. Draco rolled his eyes.

"Oh yes. The world stood still, waiting for your Spring to begin and bring warmth back to the Earth." She waved at Neville. "Thanks for remembering to get me."

He inclined his head. "I always remember you, Luna."

"Will you dance with me, too?"

Neville laughed. "We'll see."

Shadow and Draco shared a thoughtful glance.

The three elves stood excitedly before them.

"Thank you for coming," Shadow began. "You have done a lot for us. Dobby and Winky, believe it or not, you helped us fight our enemies. Without you, we probably wouldn't have won."

"And, Omi," Draco continued softly. "You're a part of the family. During the years Shadow dreamed, you took care of us. Thank you."

All three began crying, and they disappeared with loud cracks, presumably to work the party. Music and laughing drifted up from the path. Severus clasped Shadow's shoulder while Sirius did the same to Draco.

"Let's party!" the childlike man shouted.

Severus sneered but agreed. "Yes. I could use a drink." He looked down on his son. "I am very proud of you."

"Thanks, Dad," Shadow answered tearfully. He hugged him and accepted the kiss Severus placed on his forehead.

"Do you have a thing for Luna?" Draco asked Neville as they made their way down the path.

"Why do you ask?"

"You helped plan my wedding. It's only fair if I get to help plan yours."

Neville blushed bright red. "That's not going to be anytime soon."

"But it will happen," Sirius pressed with a grin.

"No one knows the future," he muttered, still blushing.

"I do," Draco argued. He grabbed Shadow and kissed him, a promise of much more to come.

"Oh yeah?" Shadow pulled away playfully. "That you'll get old and fat?"

The others laughed as Draco mock-growled and attacked his husband, tickling him mercilessly.

xXxXxXx

The party lasted over twelve hours. Filled with joyous celebration, they ate, drank, and toasted throughout the day. Songs were sung, dances were danced, until people were collapsing breathless into chairs. Questions were answered, stories were told, all softened so as not to bring darkness into the glorious white pavilion. It seemed like the laughter never ceased, neither did the newlywed's kisses.

Only when full dark came, the sun an hour below the horizon, did everyone go home. The next morning would be Monday, and everyone had to go back to their families and work. However, they took with them a light, burning steadily within them, that wouldn't go out for many days.

xXxXxXx

(song that follows is Holding On by Avril Lavigne)

"Are you tired?" Draco asked. They were home, finally out of the ceremonial clothes and in comfortable silk pajamas. Tomorrow they would begin their honeymoon tour of the world where they would visit all the places Draco had promised.

"I'm still keyed up," Shadow admitted. He eyed his husband, lust burning in his belly, but before he could make his move, Draco took his hand.

"Come. I have something for you."

Shadow let Draco lead him to the music room, curious. There, on his piano, was new sheet music.

"Will you play it for me?" Draco asked, almost shyly.

Willing to see where this went, Shadow moved forward and sat on the bench. He ran through a few notes here and there before he got the hang of it. Then he began at the beginning. It was a beautiful melody, slow and rhythmic but promising more.

"You're not alone. Together we stand."

Shadow's eyes flashed to Draco who had begun singing, his voice low and beautiful.

"I'll be by your side. You know I'll take your hand. / When it gets cold and it feels like the end, / there's no place to go, you know I won't give in."

Tears stung his eyes. Draco was singing to him. He'd written a song. Shadow had to bite his lip to concentrate on the rising tempo and keep from being overwhelmed. Draco grew louder, more passionate.

"… No, I won't give in. / Keep holding on. / Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through. / Just stay strong. / Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you. / There's nothing you can say, nothing you can do. / There's no other way when it comes to the truth, so / keep holding on. / Cause we'll make it through, we'll make it through."

"Oh, Draco." Shadow whispered, beyond touched. He had no idea how long his love had been working on this. Just for him. And it was perfect.

The melody played for a bit on its own. Draco sat beside him, facing out, his back to the keys. His fingers gently stroked down Shadow's cheek as he began to sing again, quieter, slower, like in the beginning.

"So far away, I wish you were here, / before it's too late. This could all disappear. / Before the doors close and it comes to an end, / with you by my side, I will fight and defend. / Yeah…"

The temp picked up into the chorus for a second time. Draco's beautiful voice thickened with feeling, and Shadow could feel his eyes on his face, warming his skin.

"Keep holding on. / Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through. / Just stay strong. / Cause you know I'm here for you, I'm here for you. / There's nothing you can say, nothing you can do, / there's no other way when it comes to the truth, so / keep holding on. / Cause you know we'll make it through, we'll make it through."

As Draco's voice trailed off and the last note faded away, Shadow felt an overwhelming need, to make Draco his physically, to make him scream with the happiness he gave Shadow so freely. "I loved it," he whispered roughly. Then he turned and pounced.

Draco fell sideways, twisting to catch Shadow's body with his own. His back hit the floor and his breath whooshed out of his lungs in surprise. Shadow took it into his own by breathing in deeply. His eyes practically glowed with desire as he dove, his mouth kissing, consuming, possessing. Draco instinctively accepted the thrusting tongue, too shocked to think, only feel as his husband grabbed and yanked, ripping their shirts open. His skin burned deliciously wherever Shadow touched, and he moaned loudly.

Shadow tore his mouth away from those tempting lips and moved to trace patterns into the perfect skin of Draco's chest and stomach. He wanted to travel every inch with tongue and breath, tasting, memorizing. Draco could only gasp and groan, utterly focused on the trails blazed across his skin with moist heat.

Teeth grazed a nipple. Draco arched, a sharp cry escaping his swollen lips. Shadow looked up. Draco's cheeks were flushed, his hair wild, his eyes fever bright. Every taste of salt, and sweat, and Draco made him hungrier, not less. Shadow scattered bites over the perfect flesh, marking it, making his claim physical as well as emotional.

Panting now, Draco writhed, completely shocked at the dominating, hungry behavior. But there had never been denying the heat between them. All the times they came together had been explosive. This, though, was something more, and Draco thrilled in it. He gasped and cried out in wild abandon as Shadow mapped all his sensitive areas and marked them clearly.

Vision throbbing in time with his heart, almost gone with need for the teasing to end, Draco begged for more, words tumbling from his mouth in a discordant rush. "Please, Shadow, Merlin! Please, baby, don't stop, more, yes, oh!"

Shadow bent lower, knocking Draco's legs wider apart with the back of his hands. Then he was sucking on the pale, inner thigh, leaving yet another mark as two long fingers pressed steadily into Draco's tight entrance.

"Fuck! Shadow!" Draco's body pressed back onto the fingers despite the pain. He was burning alive, on the cusp of cumming, held there for much too long. He was almost sobbing with desperation. "Please, Shadow…"

Wandless magic slicked the tight passage, making the second thrust of his pianist fingers smoother, deeper. Draco groaned, deep and long. His hands fisted as sensation flooed through him. Enraptured, Shadow drank in every flex of Draco's thighs, every expression on his love's sweat-damp face, every thrust of Draco's hips as he moved his fingers in and out.

He watched the rippling of Draco's stomach, the tightening of his chest as his hands grasped futilely at the floor for something to hold on to. He memorized the glistening contours and sharp angles, every hoarse cry and plea for more. Daring, drugged, riding the wave of power and adrenaline, Shadow leaned forward to quickly swipe his tongue from base to tip of Draco's swollen, rigid cock.

Draco screamed.

Shadow grinned wolfishly, a sharp bitter taste tingling on his tongue, egging him on, making his need rise to a fever pitch. "Beautiful…" he rasped, thickly. His fingers left that warm, delicious heat.

Draco cried out again, this time in desperate denial, eyes wide and maddened with lust.

"Shhh." Shadow kissed him hard, heart racing. "Will I be the first, my Serpentine Prince?"

Every sense alive and burning, Draco almost came at the provocative words whispered against his fever hot skin. Words he never thought Shadow would utter.

"I'm going to be inside you," Shadow continued with relish. He bit at the sharp collarbone under his lips, making Draco yelp. "I want to know. Will I be the first to get inside your skin? The first to fuck you?"

"Yes! YES! Shadow, yes! The first, no one else!"

Shadow's eyes were blown open, pupils dilated wide. Draco, only his, spread open, waiting for him. He hooked a long leg over his shoulder, bringing it up to Draco's heaving chest. The grey eyes were huge, knowing what was coming. With one hard thrust, one relentless push, Shadow breached Draco, slid into the tight, tight heat. They both yelled, both arching in pleasure so intense it was almost agony.

A segment of time passed in a blur of humid heat, bone deep sparks of pleasure, loud cries, and a merciless rhythm that consumed them utterly. Nothing existed outside of sliding skin, desperate gasps, and yearning hungry mouths.

Vaguely, Shadow became aware his forehead was pressed to the floor beside Draco's head. He was crying, or was that pleading? One arm braced his body, the other held Draco's leg bent, pinned between two sweat-soaked chests. He thrust forward, deep inside, gloriously piercing Draco's body over and over. Each time a wave shuddered through him and a hoarse yell escaped his clenched teeth. Draco whimpered, gasping, tears leaking down his face.

So close… they were both so fucking close… to release, to madness, that glorious small death…

Shadow growled and turned his head sharply, biting Draco's neck, tongue pressing against the raging pulse point. Draco came in a violent burst, a blood-curdling scream erupting from his throat. Shadow flung his head back, lifting his upper body as Draco spasmed around him. He groaned, too overwhelmed to scream, stars and sparks, blinding him, shaking the world. It scrambled his brain until he couldn't tell up from down, taste from sound, touch from sight. It was magnificent!

Draco clawed his way back from the looming edge of unconsciousness. Shadow was draped limply across his stomach, and Draco's heavy arms lifted automatically to hold the brunet safe. His heart still raced and stuttered in his chest, and he breathed deeply for a few moments, trying to steady its rhythm, slow its beat. Shadow nuzzled his neck over what felt like a huge hickey, and Draco grinned stupidly, flooded with endorphins and happily drunk with them.

"Why is it we can never do this in bed?" Shadow grumbled. He wasn't looking forward to getting up, sweet exhaustion beckoned, but the wood floor was digging into his hips painfully.

"Remind me to sing to you more often," Draco responded, slurring a bit.

Shadow laughed and reluctantly sat up. "I love you, you know that?"

"I think I got the message." Draco carefully stood, pain frizzling along his nerves. It felt remarkably like pleasure, and a delicious shiver ran through him from his toes to his head.

"You okay?" Shadow anxiously took his hand.

"I've never been better," he answered honestly and stole a quick kiss from bruised lips. "Let's go to bed, husband-mine, and tomorrow we'll have breakfast in the bath."

Shadow snickered, remembering how he felt after Draco had taken him. It was only fair that this time it'd been Draco's turn to ache from the inside for days. He linked their hands together, the rings on his fingers glittering. "To bed then."

Draco wrapped an arm around Shadow's waist, reveling in the fact Shadow would be in his bed, beside him, every night and every morning for the foreseeable future.

What a wonderful way to begin, he thought contentedly, pulling Shadow down into his arms amid warm sheets and soft pillows.

And there they fell into an exhausted, dreamless sleep, wrapped around each other with the dawn of their Spring stretching out ahead of them.

End Chapter.

A/N1: Well, that was one wild ride. I hope you all enjoyed it as much as I did. I am ever so grateful for all your help, feedback, ideas, and support through these long months. Reading over my work, I've seen a huge progress in my writing, and it's very much due to practice and listening to the good advice to be found here. THANK YOU!

That said: Let me know what you think of this epilogue and how you liked this last chapter! Lol!

A/N2: After reading your great reviews, I've decided to post a few more chapters of one-shots after this that take place even further in the future.... So keep your eyes open for a few more additions to this series.