Disclaimer: Oops, head examinations are in the next room.
Sorry for the wait, it took me quite a while to write this. Thank you sooooooo much to everyone who reviewed! Every one of your reviews brought a smile to my face :) so thank you! Enjoy the chapter!
"Jane, let's go!" Severus called up the stairs.
"You go ahead with the kids, I'll meet you there. You can't see me before the wedding, remember?" she shouted back.
Severus rolled his eyes and herded the three children to Jane's car-- Jane and her best friends, who were due to arrive at any time, were going to go in the limousine parked outside the Granger-- soon to be Snape-- home.
"Uncle Sev, you and Jane are getting married today," Drax informed his uncle importantly.
"Yes, we are," Severus agreed. "Are you three excited?" They all nodded simultaneously as Severus turned the key in the ignition of Jane's car, and the engine roared to life. Unlike most wizards, Severus had taken it upon himself to learn to drive a muggle automobile, unnecessary as they were. Who knew-- sometimes the skill came in handy.
The church was a grand building, extending towards the sky further than the eye could see. It looked to be miles tall. There were three stained glass windows on the front of the church; one on either side of the grand mahogany doors, and one large pane some six feet above the doors. The church was painted the traditional white; the paint looked fresh, as if it had just been redone.
The sanctuary was just as majestic; the floors were a solid oak, with red carpet down the aisle. Pews lined either side of the aisle, adorned with red cushions. Bible racks hung on the backs of each pew, black Bibles resting comfortably within the confines of the wooden racks.
At the end of each pew that faced in toward the aisle, there was a small bouquet of white hydrangeas attached to the ends of the pews.
There were six stained glass windows in the sanctuary as beautiful as the ones on the front of the holy building, three on each side; they let in a soft glow of light. A luxurious chandelier hung from the center of the ceiling.
The altar was oak as well. An oak bible stand held an important-looking Bible off to the side. White candles stood proudly in brass candleholders, the burning wicks giving off a golden glow.
To the left of the altar was a grand piano. It was a shiny black, and looked brand new. A cranberry red piece of cloth lay casually over the top of the piano, a bouquet of pale yellow, pink, and white roses on top of the piece of cloth.
Guests began to pour into the church, murmuring amongst themselves-- who is this Severus Snape fellow? This is such short notice for a wedding! Who are those two boys with Mia?
At four o'clock on the dot, the organist, a woman in her mid to late forties, began to play. Joshua stood at the altar wearing black priest robes, black dress pants-- one could see his pants under the robe-- and black dress shoes. He nodded slightly to Severus, who stood at the entrance to the sanctuary. He strode forward, in time with the organist's music.
Severus looked quite spectacular, if he did say so himself. He wore a white dress shirt with a cranberry-red tie, a black suit coat, matching black trousers, and shiny black dress shoes. He'd even washed the grease out of his hair-- it had taken quite some effort to stay away from his potions and keep the grease out of his hair.
Finally, Severus arrived at the altar (feeling as though he was making an utter fool of himself) and turned to stand on the priest's left side.
Next came the ring bearers-- none other than the two three-year-old males themselves, Drax and Harry. They carried the ring pillow together. Everywhere in the sanctuary people aww-ed and "they're so handsome"-ed.
Severus held back a smile as the two boys walked towards him. Their outfits matched-- they both wore white dress shirts, black suit coats, cranberry-red ties, black suit trousers, and shiny black dress shoes. They looked like miniature men, Severus thought to himself. Miniature versions of himself.
They arrived at the altar, and Severus quietly directed them to stand next to him.
More organ music-- and Jane's bridesmaids, her best friends Tessa and Kelly, escorted one another to the altar, walking side-by-side down the aisle. Their dresses were cranberry red, and had a halter neckline. A wide, satin, cranberry-red ribbon wrapped around their waists and tied in the back. The dresses were floor-length-- they wore strappy heels the same color as the dress. Severus wowed to himself at the sight of them.
They reached the altar and stood to the priest's right, waiting for the next aisle-walker.
It was Mia who would walk next. The entire guest body aww-ed and "how beautiful"-ed her. And beautiful Mia was-- she wore a dress exactly the same color as the bridesmaids' dresses. It was a spaghetti strap-top, and, like the bridesmaids' dresses, had a wide satin, cranberry-red ribbon that wrapped around her waist and tied in the back. It was slightly longer than knee-length, and she wore strappy sandals the same color as the dress.
When she got to the altar, Tessa and Kelly gently guided her to stand in between them.
The organist stopped playing, and Severus's heart dropped through the floor. Why wasn't she playing?! But then she started up with the wedding march, and he felt better. His heart pounded in his chest, such that he could feel it creeping up into his throat. He would never admit he was nervous to see the woman he loved.
Guests on either side of the aisle stood, trying to get a better view of the bride.
She stood in the doorway, her father on her right side. She looked beautiful, Severus had to admit. Her dress was pristine white-- it had a tasteful V-neck cut, and a shiny white waistband with designer decoration on it. It flowed out from the waist down to the floor, with a train that wasn't too short, but wasn't too long, either. Severus was shocked at how beautiful his bride looked. Echoing his thoughts were the oohs and aahs that broke out on both sides of the sanctuary as she gingerly stepped forward, her arm wrapped around her father's.
As Jane and her father arrived just before the altar, he turned to her.
"I hope this is the happiest day of your life, and that he treats you like gold," he whispered to her.
"He will, Dad," she whispered back. With that, they kissed cheeks and she joined her groom at the altar. She delicately passed the white roses in her hand to Tessa, and turned to her soon-to-be husband.
"Ready?" she whispered.
"Ready as I'll ever be," he murmured back as he took her hands in his.
"Dearly Beloved, we are gathered together here in the sign of God, and in the face of this company, to join together this man and this woman in holy matrimony, which is commended to be honorable among all men; and therefore is not by any to be entered into unadvisedly or lightly, but reverently, discreetly, advisedly and solemnly. Into this holy estate these two persons present now come to be joined. If any person can show just cause why they may not be joined together, let them speak now or forever hold their peace," Joshua began.
As the priest began, Severus noticed out of the corner of his eye that a tall, older man with quite a lengthy beard had slipped into the sanctuary, and he mentally sighed and rolled his eyes, knowing exactly who the man was.
Joshua glanced around the church, just in case there were any objections – who knew what would happen at a wedding – one time, there were several objections, such that the bride ran out of the church. But that was not the case today; and so, sensing no objection, he continued onward.
" Marriage is the union of husband and wife in heart, body and mind. It is intended for their mutual joy, and for the help and comfort given on another in prosperity and adversity. But more importantly, it is a means through which a stable and loving environment may be attained," Joshua continued. Jane's eyes shined as she stared into her groom's.
"Through marriage, Severus and Jane make a commitment together to face their disappointments, embrace their dreams, realize their hopes, and accept each other's failures. Severus and Jane will promise one another to aspire to these ideals throughout their lives together, through mutual understanding, openness, and sensitivity to each other," Joshua said.
"We are here today before God because marriage is one of His most sacred wishes - to witness the joining in marriage of Severus and Jane. This occasion marks the celebration of love and commitment with which this man and this woman begin their life together. And now, through me, He joins you together in one of the holiest bonds," Joshua finished. He took a deep breath, then continued.
"Who gives this woman in marriage to this man?" he asked, looking to Jane's family.
"Her family and friends gathered here today do," Jane's father replied, speaking for the entirety of his family. Jane's mother, a pretty brunette of whom Mia was the spitting image, was crying her eyes out.
"This is a beginning and a continuation of their growth as individuals. With mutual care, respect, responsibility and knowledge comes the affirmation of each one's own life happiness, growth and freedom. With respect for individual boundaries comes the freedom to love unconditionally. Within the emotional safety of a loving relationship, the knowledge self-offered one another becomes the fertile soil for continued growth. With care and responsibility towards self and one another comes the potential for full and happy lives," Joshua continued. He glanced around the sanctuary at the guests meaningfully.
"By gathering together all the wishes of happiness and our fondest hopes for Severus and Jane from all present here, we assure them that our hearts are in tune with theirs. These moments are so meaningful to all of us, for what greater thing is there for two human souls than to feel that they are joined together, to strengthen each other in all labor, to minister to each other in all sorrow, to share with each other in all gladness," Joshua said. He looked at Mia, Harry, and Drax, who looked bored to tears.
"Hang in there, guys," he whispered loudly, "the worst is over." The guests chuckled, and Joshua continued.
"This relationship stands for love, loyalty, honesty and trust, but most of all for friendship. Before they knew love, they were friends, and it was from this seed of friendship that is their destiny. Do not think that you can direct the course of love - for love, if it finds you worthy, shall direct you," Joshua said poetically.
"Marriage is an act of faith and a personal commitment as well as a moral and physical union between two people. Marriage has been described as the best and most important relationship that can exist between them. It is the construction of their love and trust into a single growing energy of spiritual life. It is amoral commitment that requires and deserves daily attention. Marriage should be a lifelong consecration of the ideal of loving kindness, backed with the will to make it last," Joshua finished. He took a deep breath, then turned to Severus.
"Do you, Severus Tobias Snape, take Jane Elizabeth Granger to be your wife, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Do you promise to love her, comfort her, honor and keep her, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon her your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto her as long as you both shall live?" Joshua asked.
Severus looked deeply into Jane's eyes before replying, with all sincerity, "I do." Joshua turned to Jane.
"Do you, Jane Elizabeth Granger, take Severus Tobias Snape to be your husband, to live together after God's ordinance, in the holy estate of matrimony? Do you promise to love him, comfort him, honor and keep him, in sickness and in health, for richer, for poorer, for better, for worse, in sadness and in joy, to cherish and continually bestow upon him your heart's deepest devotion, forsaking all others, keep yourself only unto him as long as you both shall live?" Joshua asked again.
"I do," Jane whispered as she looked up into her groom's face, tears forming in the corners of her eyes.
"What token of your love do you offer? Would you place the rings in my hand?" Joshua said, turning back to Severus. Severus took the rings from Harry and Draco and gave them to the priest, who placed them delicately on top of his Bible.
"May these rings be blessed as the symbol of this affectionate unity. These two lives are now joined in one unbroken circle. Wherever they go, may they always return to one another. May these two find in each other the love for which all men and women yearn. May they grow in understanding and in compassion. May the home which they establish together be such a place that many will find there a friend. May these rings on their fingers symbolize the touch of the spirit of love in their hearts," Joshua blessed the rings. He took one from on top of the Bible and gave it to Severus, who held it with a slightly shaking hand.
"Jane, I have loved you ever since the moment I first saw you," Severus began, his voice ringing out clearly. "I knew the moment I laid eyes on you that I would spend my entire life with you-- we would raise these three amazing children together, grow old together, watch these three have their own children. Take this ring as a representation of my love for you and the promise I have made to you today to love, support, and stand by you forever." And with that, he gently slid the ring onto her tiny, delicate finger. Tears slid down Jane's cheeks as she took the ring Joshua offered her.
"Severus, you are the love of my life now," Jane began, trying to stop crying. "I don't quite know how I came to find you, and I don't care. I just... thank God every day that I did find you. I only hope that our children can one day be lucky enough to find a man or a woman they love as much as I love you. Accept this ring as a symbol of the love I have for you and my promise to love you and stand by your side till death do us part." And so she placed the ring on his long, slender finger.
"May you always share with each other the gifts of love, be one in heart and in mind, may you always create a home together that puts in your hearts, love, generosity and kindness.
"Severus and Jane have consented together in marriage before this company of friends and family, and have pledged their faith and declared their unity by giving and receiving a ring - and they are now joined," Joshua said, looking at the bride and groom in turn. "You have pronounced yourselves husband and wife but remember to always be each other's best friend."
"By the power vested in me by the Almighty God, I now pronounce you man and wife - and may your days be good and long upon the earth," Joshua concluded, looking at Severus as he said 'man', and Jane as he said 'wife'. "You may now kiss your bride." Severus looked at Jane, her eyes spilling over with tears and kissed her. Their guests stood and clapped, and Mia, Drax, and Harry rushed to hug their parents' legs. Laughter erupted from the guests, and the five walked back down the aisle to the front doors, the three children half walking half running in front of their parents, who held hands tightly.
Severus got lost in the enormous amount of "Congratulations"s and "I'm so happy for you"s.
"Congratulations to you both," an old voice said.
Hello, Headmaster, Harry signed with a small wave.
"Harry says 'Hello, Headmaster'," Severus translated.
"Hello to you too, young Harry!" Dumbledore replied, the twinkle back in his eyes. "Severus, you did not inform me you were marrying!"
"I can assure you it was not an accident, Headmaster," Severus grumbled. Dumbledore chuckled.
"Yes, well, who is the lucky woman?" Dumbledore asked, eyeing Jane.
"Headmaster, this is my wife, Jane. Jane, this is my... employer, Albus Dumbledore," Severus introduced. He gave Jane a look, and she suddenly understood the man was from his world.
"Headmaster Dumbledore, how lovely to meet you," Jane said as she shook his head.
"You as well, my dear, you as well," Dumbledore replied politely. "Come, Severus, we must talk. I'm sure your guests shan't miss you for a moment or two." Severus had no choice but to follow. He left his new wife with an apologetic "I'll be back" before hurrying to catch up with the older wizard.
"Your wife is a Muggle," Dumbledore stated. "But her daughter has magical powers."
"She does," Severus agreed. "My wife is aware of the situation."
"She is aware of what will happen when your children turn eleven?" Dumbledore pressed.
"Yes, she is," Severus said, his patience running thin. "You'll be pleased to know that Jane and I are in the process of adopting Harry."
"Of course I am pleased!" Dumbledore said enthusiastically. "You make a good match, my boy. You are aware, I'm sure, that one must be married in order to adopt from a muggle orphanage."
"We are aware," Severus replied. "We have acquired a marriage license from the British government we plan to use to prove we are married in order to adopt him."
"Good, good," Dumbledore approved. "And what of little Draconius Malfoy?"
"Andromeda found herself... unable to care for him," Severus answered quietly. "He has been left under my care. I have magical custody."
"I'm glad you have found happiness, Severus," Dumbledore said sincerely. "Now, get back to your bride." Severus allowed a small smile to force its way onto his lips before he left the older man and rejoined his family.
"We're almost through here," Jane whispered as he rejoined his wife in the greeting line. "Then we can take pictures and go to the reception."
"Pictures?" Severus repeated.
"Yes, pictures," she said, pushing him playfully. "And you'll not look like you're in pain. Got it?"
"I suppose," he said reluctantly.
"Come on, Sev, it's going to rain!" Jane shrieked as she dashed out of the church, bursting into peals of laughter as she followed her kids to where the photographer had set his things up.
"Ah, Headmaster," Severus began as he pulled his wizard's camera out of Jane's car, "would you mind taking a few pictures for us?" Dumbledore's eyes twinkled.
"Of course not," Dumbledore replied. He stood next to the photographer's tripod, waiting for the photographer to set up the shot.
"Mrs. Snape, you stand here," the photographer directed. "Yes, like that. Now Mr. Snape, stand opposite her-- yes, good-- and hold her hands. Little miss, I'll have you sit here on that chair in front of your mum and dad. And you boys can sit on either side of her." He made a rectangle with his fingers and looked at the shot through it. Seemingly satisfied, he stepped back to his camera.
"Now, on three, say cheese. One, two three!" he said.
"Cheeeese!" Mia, Drax, and Jane shouted enthusiastically. Severus allowed a smile to cross his lips for the picture, and Harry just smiled widely. A bright flash came from the photographer's camera, and a purple puff of smoke emitted from Severus's camera. Mia screamed.
"It is a very old camera," Severus reassured her, "but it is perfectly safe." Mia giggled as she watched the purple smoke fade away.
"We will have very special pictures from my camera," he murmured to his bride, who nodded cautiously.
"Now, I'd like you, Misses, to stand on the bride's side," the photographer told Tessa and Kelly, who nodded and did as they were told.
"One more time, say cheese! One, two three!" the photographer called out. Again, Jane, Tessa, Kelly, Drax, and Mia all shouted "CHEESE!", and once again, Harry and Severus just smiled. After the bright flash and the purple smoke had gone off, the photographer put his camera down.
"How about getting Mrs. Snape's family in the picture, hmm?" he asked, turning to Jane's parents, who nodded.
"I'd like the Missus to stand to Mrs. Snape's right, and I'd like the Mister to stand to Mr. Snape's left," the photographer directed. He picked up his camera.
"One, two three!"
"CHEESE!" they called out again.
"Very good. And one last one of just the bride and groom?" he asked. Jane's parents helped the photographer clear out the three chairs and three kids, then stood off to the side as the photographer picked up his camera once more.
"One, two three!" And with two clicks, a flash of light, and purple smoke, they were done with the pictures. Severus turned to take the camera from the headmaster, but the headmaster had already walked off with it, snapping pictures left and right of stray guests.
"I'll return it to you after the reception, Severus!" Dumbledore called over his shoulder. Severus rolled his eyes, and Jane laughed as she gently took his hand in hers and led him to the limousine.
Severus, Jane, Mia, Drax, Harry, Tessa, and Kelly somehow managed to fit into the limousine without squishing each other.
"So, Severus, what do you do?" Tessa asked, trying to make conversation.
"I am a teacher at a boarding school in Scotland," Severus replied.
"What do you teach?" Kelly asked. Severus paused.
"Chemistry," he said after a moment of searching his mind for the muggle equivalent to potions. "The students mainly spend their time doing experiments. Very little written theory is given."
"Do you enjoy it?" Kelly asked.
"I do," he replied. "If only one child gets something out of a lesson I've taught, then I feel I've been a successful teacher."
"Where are you going?!" Tessa protested as the limousine pulled up in front of the muggle orphanage.
"Come, Harry," Severus said as the limousine driver opened the door for them. Harry's jaw dropped.
You're leaving me here? he asked, trying to mask his disappointment. Severus shook his head in the negative, and Harry's face took on a look of confusion. Jane chuckled.
"Come on," she said as she took his hand. She helped him out of the limousine, and the three went into the orphanage.
What's going on? Harry signed, still utterly bemused.
"You'll see," Severus replied, signing at the same time.
"Ah, Little Harry! You're back! Did you enjoy yourself? Look at you, you look so handsome!" Laura exclaimed as she hurried out of her office to greet them.
Harry was entirely confused. He wasn't staying? Then why where they here? He watched Severus give Laura a piece of parchment, which she looked over carefully.
"Yes, your paperwork came through fine," Laura told him as she handed the parchment back. "I'll just need a few signatures, and you're all set."
What paperwork? Signatures for what? WHAT'S GOING ON? Harry asked himself, unable to remember how to sign the words.
"Harry, can you pick that bag up and bring it to the limousine for me?" Severus asked as Jane followed Laura into her office. Harry nodded and picked up the duffel bag. He walked out to the limo and gave it to the limousine driver, who put it in the trunk. Then he walked back into the now-empty foyer. Severus must have gone in with Jane and Laura, he realized.
A few minutes later, Laura, Jane, and Severus walked out of Laura's office.
"And you are good to go!" Laura said, wiping a tear from her eye. "Harry, would you like to say good-bye to Marie before you go?" Harry looked up at Severus in total confusion.
"Harry, you're going to come home with Jane and I today," Severus told him softly. "You officially belong to us now." A wide grin spread across his face, and he threw his arms around his newly adopted parents.
"Go say good-bye to Marie, sweetie," Jane told him, wiping tears from her face. "Damn it, I knew I should've used waterproof mascara!"
I'm going home, Harry signed to Marie after he got her attention.
"I'm happy for you, Little Harry," Marie replied softly as the boy flung himself at her.
Thank you, he signed. I love you.
"You're very welcome, Harry," she answered quietly. "I love you, too." He smiled and ran back to his adopted parents.
"Bye, Harry," Marie and Laura waved as the boy leapt into the limousine with his new parents.
"What took you so long?!" Kelly demanded.
"We had a little business to take care of," Severus replied. Jane nudged Harry.
"Would you like to tell Drax and Mia?" she asked him quietly. A grin spread across his face, and he nodded.
The explanation was quite short-- one word, in fact. Mia was such a bright young child that she caught on immediately.
Harry made the sign language letter 'f' with both hands. He pressed the side of his thumbs together, then separated them and swung them around so that his palms were now facing him, and his pinky fingers were now pressed together. Harry twisted around and looked up at Severus eagerly. Severus gave a half-smile and nodded his approval. Harry grinned and turned back to Mia and Drax, making the gesture again.
"Harry!" Mia exclaimed, throwing her arms around him.
"What's it mean?" Drax pressed.
"Family," Mia told him. "Harry's part of our family now." Drax smiled broadly.
"You want me to dance, too?" Severus complained as Jane pulled him up from his chair at the reception hall.
"It's your wedding," she reminded him as she pulled him to the dance floor.
"I thought you couldn't dance!" she protested as they danced gracefully about the dance floor.
"I never said I could not, I merely stated I wished not to," he replied as he spun her around gently.
He got lost in his thoughts-- more precisely, the reason for his marriage; of course he married for love-- love would be the only primary reason for which he would ever marry-- but he also had to be married in order to adopt Harry. A spark of anger welled up in his eyes as he recalled.
"Harry, this is Mr. and Mrs. Andrews," Marie introduced Harry to the young couple.
"He doesn't speak?" Mrs. Andrews demanded as Harry signed 'Hello'.
"I was under the impression my supervisor had made you aware of the situation," Marie bit back harshly. "He is being taught sign language."
"Yes, well, she did not," Mr. Andrews replied. And with that, the two turned their backs on the poor little boy and left without so much as a goodbye.
Unbeknownst to the entire group, Severus had been standing a mere few feet away during the entire exchange under a Disillusionment Charm. Anger boiled up inside him and his usually cold, black eyes flashed angrily, such that he wished to throttle the young couple until were rendered unconscious.
Marie didn't see the tears that formed in Little Harry's eyes, but Severus did. The look would haunt him forever.
It was in that moment that Severus decided he needed to adopt Harry, and soon.
"What's the matter?" Jane asked, sensing her husband's thoughts going elsewhere. She followed his gaze and saw Harry giggling with Mia and Drax.
"He's safe now," she whispered as they continued to dance. "He's going to stay with us forever." Just then, another puff of purple smoke went up, and Severus rolled his eyes.
"I should never have given that old man the camera," Severus grumbled. Jane grinned.
Severus didn't know how much time had passed, but it was clearly a while later that he managed to pull himself off the dance floor and find the headmaster sitting with his three sleeping three-year-olds.
"They fell asleep a short while ago," Headmaster whispered.
"I'm sure they did," Severus agreed. "They danced for quite a long time."
"The limousine took quite a while to get here," Headmaster remarked. "Of course, I did Apparate myself here." Severus did not meet his eyes, but instead looked down at his children.
"Jane and I went to the orphanage and legally adopted Harry as soon as we left the church," Severus said as he took the sleeping boy into his arms.
"That's wonderful, Severus." The old wizard watched the younger look down at his sleeping child.
"Harry and Drax will be moving into Jane's home tonight-- Drax has been staying with me," Severus explained.
"And you?" the headmaster asked gently.
"I do not know, Headmaster," Severus answered sharply.
"I'd be quite grateful if you'd move in tonight, with Harry and Drax," Jane whispered as she joined her husband, the headmaster, and their children. Severus hesitated, for once in his life unsure.
"School will be starting Monday," Severus said, deflecting the request.
"You didn't answer," Jane reminded him.
"If I move in today, I'll have to move back out the day following tomorrow," Severus replied. Somehow the headmaster slipped away unnoticed. "I must live at the school during the year, of course."
"We're going to have a bit of difficulty juggling work and personal life, I'm afraid," Jane said simply.
"We are," Severus agreed.
"I think it would be best if I come to visit you, not the other way around," Severus suggested. "Too many students have powerful connections they could use against us. I'd like to keep the children sheltered from the wizarding world as long as possible-- you know how famous Harry is, who knows what the knowledge of his fame would do to him, and consequently Mia and Drax."
"That might be wise," Jane agreed, and Severus let out a breath he wasn't aware he'd been holding.
"Are you going to continue giving Harry his sign language lessons?" Jane asked.
"Certainly," Severus replied. "It is his only form of communication. Of course, I'll have to begin teaching you, Mia, and Drax as well." Jane nodded.
"I'm glad we married, Severus," Jane whispered as she put her arm around his waist.
"As am I," the Potions master murmured.
FIVE THOUSAND, ONE HUNDRED AND TWENTY THREE WORDS! WHO LOVES ME! :) I'm terribly sorry for the wait, but I figured twelve pages made up for it. :D haha! Hope you enjoyed it! PLEEEEEASE review, it took me soooooo long to write this, I'd like to hear what you think about it! Thanks in advance!