Chapter 144 – AKA the Epilogue everyone expects
Disclaimer – even after writing it for over 6 years, it still isn't mine … everything but Yvane is JKR's (I'm claiming my dragon even if I did sort of kill him off)
Severus heard a suspicious sounding noise in the kitchen at Dragonsrest and sighed. It was 2 AM again. He pulled on a bathrobe and slid out of the room before Rosmerta could wake up. Severus still knew how to move silently, but Beth heard him enter the kitchen anyway. He sighed and sat at the table across from her while she nervously picked at the pieces of fruit she'd taken out to eat.
"You need your rest for the wedding, Beth." Severus pulled a vial from a pocket and slid it across to her.
"Dreamless sleep always leaves me feeling hung over for half the morning." Beth muttered.
"This is just a mild calming draught." Severus reassured her. "You'll be just fine to walk down the aisle and marry Draco."
Beth smiled. She'd had a mild crush on Draco growing up. After Harry and Draco graduated and went to apprentice at their respective careers she and Tori had entered Hogwarts and Beth had set those feelings aside. She'd gone straight into the dragon reserves on graduating, but she and Gigi – along with the two males - had moved from reserve to reserve, as her ability to speak to nearly all dragons was in high demand.
She and Draco would see each other in passing at a few family events, but they didn't really talk much until they both had been summoned to subdue an amok Chinese fireball. Draco had developed his own ability to talk to 'flying creatures' to include dragons and was quite good at reaching sick animals. He and Beth had tracked the dragon but ended up fleeing for their lives into a small cave while Gigi and her boys kept the maddened fireball at bay.
After spending nearly a day in the cave together they found that they had a great deal in common and a definite attraction. Now, nearly a year later they were going to marry, to their families delight.
The only one displeased was Tori, as she had always wanted them to have a double wedding. However, Tori had been meticulously planning her wedding to Dennis Creevey since she had first laid eyes on him at their Harry and Draco's graduation in 1997. Tori was intending on a winter wedding and Beth wanted a June one.
Tori had whispered her intentions to marry Dennis to a dismayed Lucius while they celebrated the graduation. Lucius had been mostly sure she would grow out of it. However, just in case, he had looked into the Creevey's and as the years wore on and Tori still was stalking an oblivious Dennis he had ensured that the Creevey's fortunes took a huge upswing.
Lucius had needed to have several people explain what a milkman was and it had given him nightmares to imagine his daughter helping deliver milk to muggle stores and who knew where else. It had been difficult but he managed to have the elder Creevey running his own dairy and selling not only milk, but cheese, yogurt, etc. by the time Tori had graduated.
So, Tori had to settle for being maid of honor at Beth's wedding and Tom's daughter Alba was now a bridesmaid. Harry and Luna had returned from Egypt so their son and daughter could be pressed into service as ring bearer and flower girl.
Harry and Luna had left for a vacation in Egypt five years ago and had not returned. Harry had been offered a job looking at memories embedded in ruins and had not tired of it as yet. Harry sent copies of the memories to a gleeful Tom to include in his ever – expanding library of historical memories.
Beth took the draught and Severus soon found himself walking down the aisle with a glowing with happiness Beth on his arm. He gave Beth's hand over to Draco with only a slight pang of dismay. He'd gotten used to Beth being there, had grown to love the irrepressibly happy girl. Still, he could think of no one he would rather entrust Beth to than Draco.
Albus beamed at the opportunity to preside over another wedding and reached down for the rings. Unfortunately, little Jimmy was looking around idly and swinging the pillow at his side … the rings nowhere in sight.
The crowd snickered a bit while Harry quickly muttered "accio" and summoned the set of rings from where they'd been dropped. Lily glared at Jimmy and dumped the remainder of the rose petals over his head, surprising a squawk out of him that was quickly suppressed when he saw Grampa Severus' eyebrow rise in warning.
After Albus finally finished his lengthy speech about love, etc. the wedding feast started. Tom and Dora sat at the family table and looked around. The length of the family table grew every year it seemed. The Riddle's now had four children. Harry and Luna had two. Dudley and Padma had married right out of Hogwarts and now had three daughters for Petunia to spoil and dress up.
The Weasleys were at the next table and they'd been equally prolific. The only not married as yet was Ron, and he'd finally gotten engaged to Pansy Parkinson. Ginny had surprised everyone by taking up with Justin Finch-Fletchley and they had a thriving business in racing Hippogriffs as well as four children to add to the chaos. Hermione was sitting with them, as she'd married Mafalda's brother Martin.
Sirius was sitting next to Albus with a pretty brunette at his side. He was now on his third …. Or was it his fourth? … fiancé. They could only hope that this one was able to handle the anarchy addict that Sirius seemed to have become. Remus was next to them, he'd never really recovered from the silver poisoning he'd endured at the final battle, but he seemed to at least be holding his own. He worked for Neville, in the offices for the once again famous Longbottom Greenhouses.
Neville had managed to redeem himself in the eyes of most by rescuing Remus, although he remained aloof from most of his classmates. He seemed to mostly associate with people outside of wizarding Britain and Remus was his only real contact with his old classmates. When asked about him Remus usually shrugged and said that perhaps Neville had never redeemed himself in his own eyes.
Albus looked around the gathering with satisfaction. He did love a wedding. He glanced over at Headmistress Sprout with a warm smile. He so much more time to do enjoyable things since he had given up that job. After he'd gotten Harry graduated he'd felt his job there was done. He'd not been able to talk Minerva into it, she liked teaching and being Headmistress would have meant giving that up. Severus had flooed away after laughing a bit hysterically when approached about it. Lucius had suggested Professor Sprout and to Albus' surprise he'd been right, she was firm but fair and the students thrived.
Severus watched Albus as he looked around the crowd with that damn twinkle in his eyes. Probably thought he'd arranged the whole thing. Severus managed a faint smile when he caught the old schemers eye.
Severus had forgiven his old Headmaster … well, mostly … but being Slytherin he would never forget. Luckily there were no Dark Lords on the horizon, at least not at present. He sincerely hoped that if any started stirring up trouble that Albus would stay out of it.
Harry watched his dad's suspicious glances at Dumbledore and smiled into his goblet. Severus' memory problems didn't extend to forgetting Albus' mistakes, he knew. Harry had made his peace with Albus' plots and plans during the war.
Looking around at his family and friends he was amazed at how much had been accomplished with a letter from his aunt asking for help and an old diary … well, along with some Slytherin plotting.
A/N = A short epilogue, but I think it shows where most everyone ended up.