I own nothing. Just playing.

Part Four

A successful marriage requires falling in love many times, always with the same person.

Mignon McLaughlin

Eleven months later, I sat in the first row of chairs watching my sister-in-law getting married. Silent tears ran down her face as she gazed into the eyes of a young man I had introduced her to.

The Marriage Law had been repealed three months after my own wedding. Willow had been planning something, some sort of attack on the Ministry, I'm sure, but in the end, it was the wealthy who had thrown enough money at the problem to make it go away. Cornelius Fudge had been replaced by Arthur Weasley, and the Ministry threw a ball for its newest official, wanting to distance itself from the debacle of the previous Minister's reign. Dawn had arrived from Los Angeles, where she had been attending Stanford University, and was thrilled at the prospect of attending a formal ball. She had dressed to kill in a backless purple number that complimented her hair color and skin tone, and had danced with many admirers that evening, but none held her as captivated as the Minister's second oldest son, Charlie Weasley. She transferred to Oxford immediately afterwards, and now they were almost wed.

My wife stood beside her sister, glowing with happiness and pride. She looked lovely in her lavender gown, clutching a small bouquet of yellow flowers. Against the backdrop of our substantial garden, she looked stunning.

We had bought a small house after our first month of marriage. The Council paid us both quite well and I had never owned a home before. It had been a fun filled project for Buffy, Willow, Hermione, and Luna, who had all become quite close, to paint and decorate our cottage both inside and out. Although the house itself was small, two bedrooms, barely two floors plus a cellar, the grounds on which it sat were massive and unkempt when we moved in. Hermione and Willow consulted both books and Neville Longbottom, Hogwarts' newest Herbology professor, about the flowers and plants that would grow most readily in the shade of the mature trees that already proliferated the yard. The result was a beautiful flowering oasis with cobbled paths and benches and Dawn had begged us to let her hold her wedding there.

We would never have said no.

Surprisingly enough, all our friends got along brilliantly. There was initial suspicion and mistrust on both sides, but everyone quickly resolved their differences when they saw just how in love Buffy and I were. And when she had been diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome just two months earlier, all our friends rallied around us.

Buffy was crushed that she couldn't have children. Even though she had said it was too dangerous anyway, and that she never been sure she wanted children in the first place, to have that decision forcibly taken from her had been crippling. She confessed one night when I tracked her to one of the garden benches after I woke to find her gone that she felt as though she was letting me down. That I was throwing away my chance to have children.

I took her trembling hands in my own as I explained to her that, although I had always wanted to have kids, she had already given me more than I had ever had the courage to hope for. That I loved her more than I could say and that if she wanted a child, there were plenty of children on the planet in need of good, caring, stable homes, and we could adopt as many as we wanted. Twelve if it would make her happy again.

She had stared at me in disbelief before launching herself into my arms, sobbing and hiccoughing on my shoulder. "I don't deserve a man as wonderful and understanding as you," she sniffled.

The wedding was over before I knew it and soon I was slow dancing with my beautiful, young wife. I looked down at her shining eyes and caught her pensive contemplating look. Her bottom lip was held between her pearly white teeth and her brow was furrowed in delicate lines.

"What's troubling you, my love?" I asked in concern.

She looked over at Dawn, giggling as Charlie spun her through the other whirling couples. "Do you ever wish we'd met in a more conventional way?" she asked quietly as we moved to the music.

"My dear, nothing about us is conventional. Nothing. So I see no reason to wish to change things that need no change." I spun her out and then swiftly pulled her back into my arms. "I would have found you anyway," I told her seriously.

"Oh yeah?" she replied, raising a perfectly groomed eyebrow at me.

"Oh yes, I said, grinning at my beloved wife. "We're like creatures, after all."

~fin~