Disclaimer: Anything you recognize belongs to the goddess, JKR, although I will lay claim to any part of Severus that she is willing to share.

Forever

I still pray for them when I go to sleep.

That part of me that still believes in those things learned in childhood…it does not let me rest until I have commended their souls to the paradise they so richly deserve.

How I miss them…even now that so many years have passed.

But they are not the only ones I pray for in this world of newfound peace and hope. Selfish as it may appear, I have prayed for myself…prayed that this happiness would never end. My happiness. Our happiness.

Forever is not enough…not when our beginning came so late.


And almost did not come at all.

He was right, as he usually is about these matters. It was a fiendishly difficult time at first. I suppose I held onto the naïve belief that my happiness would matter the most to them…that they could look past all our differences and simply be content that my life felt complete.

Perhaps they felt that their friendship would be all that I would ever need.

But it wasn't. And isn't.

The funny thing was that I was ready to disown the lot of them. Oh yes, I was furious…fit to be tied practically. But he told me not to be rash.

"Friendship is a valuable thing and one such as yours is rare…do not throw it away simply because they have difficulty in accepting your choice of a life partner," he would often say as he held me close and caressed my hair lovingly. "Give them time."

As if it were my choice at all. He is mine and I am his…it is as simple and as complex as that.

Sighing, I turn over to watch him sleeping. He doesn't realize how often I do this. Perhaps it is a fear that Voldemort will somehow snatch him away from me even now. Especially now that I feel somewhat safe. Is it any wonder that I cannot sleep if part of me is not touching him? The contact reassures me that he is still with me.

Because I still have nightmares…even now.

And I still sleep with my wand under the pillow. Because one never knows and I am not about to lose him…not now…not ever.

Perhaps that is what brought them around to their senses. Perhaps when they saw my resolution in deciding to stay with this dark, tainted, bitter, wonderful, empathetic, passionate, caring man…perhaps then they decided that there better walls against which to knock their heads.

A slight smile forces its way onto my face. Ah, he would have something to say about that…something decidedly uncomplimentary.

Well, I never expected fairy tale romance and I have yet to experience it but that does not make it any less precious to me. Of course we have arguments over mundane things and of course there are things about him I would dearly love to change (and perhaps one or two he would love to change about me but that is another matter entirely) but the foundation of our love is strong…solid…and real.

It is not fluff and I would not change that.

But, on nights like this, when he sleeps peacefully despite the clinging octopus that I am, I thank the stars for such simple happiness.

I move a lock of hair so that it does not cover his cheek and I look at him in an appraising manner.

Pale.

Thin.

That nose.

Those obsidian eyes that dream beneath closed lids.

A mouth that is still getting used to the simple act of smiling.

He is not beautiful to look at but he is beautiful to me.

Carefully, so as not to wake him, I place my hand on his bare chest, delighting in the feel of his steady heartbeat. I still remember how he had laughed when I told him my belief that he slept in his billowing black robes.

He has a beautiful laugh…warm and rich.

I love when he laughs.

It reminds me that we are blessed to have each other.

Still smiling, I lean over to kiss his lips…dry and warm; just the slightest bit rough.

Gently, I lay my head on his chest, draping an arm around his waist…one leg between his…trying to touch as much of him as possible. Holding him close and inhaling the scent that is uniquely his own, I ask for nothing else.

"You are forever mine," I whisper to him as I close my eyes.

As the tug of sleep strengthens, I dream that his arms tighten around me and that his lips touch my forehead.

"Forever," I hear him say in the faintest of whispers, "is not long enough."