Disclaimer:- I neither own nor earn anything from this story, Harry Potter and his world are the intellectual property of JK Rowling and associates.

sSs

A/N:- I am gifting this next chapter to you so quickly, my dear readers in celebration that my muse seems to have returned to this story, and also because I felt very guilty about the length of time between chapters 23 and 24. This is a pivotal chapter that sets us up for the next stage of the story.

My note at the end of chapter 24 about breastfeeding and pregnancy certainly brought up some discussion. Thank you to everyone who shared an experience with me. I know people who the natural method has worked for, but many that it hasn't worked for, so please do not think that this is a reliable form of contraception. My comment only applied to the magical world, not the Muggle one.

Thank you as always for your lovely reviews, I have decided not to abridge this chapter to post it on ffnet. Having said that I have a couple warnings before you read though, there is an implication of a coming femslash, a small erotic breastfeeding scene (between Ginny and Lucius) near the end of the chapter, and a major character death at the end of the chapter (More on that next chapter). I hope you all enjoy…

Chapter Twenty Five – Midsummer

Even if they were too busy to actually reside in their new home yet, Hermione and Severus took the time to move their belongs from the manor it. They named their new home, Wood Cottage, and Lucius included the aptly titled property into the ancient wards that protected the manor and its grounds.

The cottage had up until they took possession of it, only been under the more cursory protection of the estate, but seeing his two best friends were going to reside there, he now placed it under every heavy protection that the manor was afforded.

It hadn't taken Draco very long to hand over the lordship of Malfoy Manor and it's ground to his father once more. He had little interest in the day to day running of the estate, and in fact Astoria and he preferred living in their London, Park Lane property.

By the time Severus and Hermione had everything settled it was the night before their wedding. The nuptials were actually taking place on St John's eve, the day before Midsummer, and what had originally been planned as a huge affair for the wedding itself had now been streamlined.

It was still taking place under the couple's favourite tree at Hogwarts, but in the end the guest list only included their closest friends and acquaintances and there would be no grand Malfoy sponsored ball. Both Severus and Hermione thought that the reception should be entirely in line with the Midsummer celebrations.

The day of the wedding dawned perfectly. There was mist rising from the lowest elevations as the sun rose, and this wafted out onto the Black Lake heralding the dawning of a balmy day. The birds and bees were happily going about their business, and the area set aside for the ceremony that night was a picture of beauty.

Severus and Hermione had moved back to Hogwarts late the previous evening, and were now just waking up in their respective beds on their wedding day. It seemed that Hogwarts was a traditional castle, and it had closed the connecting door between their apartments before they returned, and taking the hint they had done the right thing by the ancient castle, and spent the night in their respective beds.

Mirror Severus was watching Hermione stretching as she woke. It reminded him of old days when she awoke alone and he would see the covers fall away revealing her lovely body to him as she stretched before getting up.

He could not complain, only yesterday Hermione and Severus had perfected a spell that allowed him to move around with them. So whether they were at Hogwarts or Wood Cottage he was there with them. This was not a luxury that most mirror images had, and it indeed made his existence more varied, and he felt valued because he was exclusively theirs.

They had included him in several more encounters over the months of their courtship, and he had found his original to be a fair, if somewhat possessive man. Although he appeared not to mind his blond friend participating in their carnal adventures with them, just as he didn't mind his mirror image doing so.

Hermione Granger was a worthy witch, she had suffered much, and she deserved all the trimmings of a real life, and the mirror found himself to be happy that she finally had his original and that they were taking this step to bind themselves to each other today.

As he continued to watch her, he pondered a conversation he had heard recently about the aim of their wedding night and the possibilities it held because it was being held as part of the Midsummer festival.

It was said that Midsummer was the best time for a magical couple to conceive a child, and of course Hermione—with Luna's help—had completed copious research about magical people being bonded on a night such as this, and she had found several ancient fertility spells along the way.

This festival was essentially all about renewal and fecundity, so the act of procreation was often the sought after result of such a night. In fact any witch of child bearing age had to be very careful participating fully in this night, as if receptive, she would be especially susceptible to being with child by the morning. There were several exceptions to this rule, and both her bridesmaids were happy to participate fully without the worry that they would conceive again so soon.

One of these exceptions were breastfeeding mothers, they could participate fully in the ceremony safe in the knowledge that no child would be conceived. A witch's magic was bound to the earth and her body tighter than a Muggle woman's is, and the earth recognises that she is already nurturing a child from her body, and will not drain her too much by allowing her to conceive again before she is ready.

The mirror had heard Severus and Hermione discussing this and knew that they had decided that this would be the best moment for Hermione to conceive their child. Neither of them aspired to catch up with any of the other participants in the ceremony, but, they knew that her biological clock was ticking and children were something they both agreed they wanted.

His eyes turned to the wardrobe. Hermione had not opted for a traditional Muggle wedding gown. Her gown was a calf length white embroidered cotton and lace dress. There would be no veil and because it was an outdoor wedding she had opted for ballet flats.

The mirror would not see her adorned for her wedding as all the preparations were happening by the lake in small pavilions on the grass. "Good morning, my little dove," he said, as he saw her finally making a move to rise from her bed.

"Hello, mirror," Hermione replied, her voice still full of sleep. "Are you looking forward to the move to Wood Cottage tomorrow?"

"Yes, it will be nice to be able to see new things."

"So the spell is working well?"

"I haven't tried more than moving to the bathroom mirror to watch you shower last night."

Hermione grinned at him. "Naughty mirror," she teased, standing in front of him well aware of where his eyes were lingering. "Why don't you try seeing if Severus is awake?"

This brought his dark eyes up to her face, "Very well, but I think I would rather stay and watch you."

"Ask Severus to come over, and you can watch us both," Hermione told him, waggling her eyebrows.

The mirror left immediately and she continued into the bathroom. It was still early and she was missing Severus. She may have spent the night alone, but surely they could sneak a little morning delight before everything started.

She was just cleaning her teeth when she felt her wards shift as Severus came through the front door. When she returned to her bedroom, he was lying in bed with his hands laced behind his head as he watched the bathroom door.

Hermione's eyes instantly shifted to the tent in the sheet and lust curled tightly in her stomach as she smiled and started walking towards him.

Severus observed the beautiful smile that curved her lips as she approached him, and his thoughts went to her transformation since they had been reacquainted. From that awful ball where she had been accosted by the Weasley oaf, to the confident and brave witch she was at this very moment. It astounded him to think that it had only been not quite two months, and yet it felt like years they were so comfortable together.

He watched her climb onto the bed and prowl towards him on her hands and knees with a cheeky grin on her face. "And what would you be up to, madam?" he questioned silkily, with a smile twitching around his lips. "I thought the idea was that we didn't see one another before the wedding?"

Smiling impishly, "I have always understood 'the night before the wedding' to mean just that. The night before, nobody said anything about the morning of the wedding."

"You are becoming very Slytherin, my darling."

Her grin increased and without another word, Hermione grabbed the sheet and slowly, teasingly pulled it down the bed. The soft material grazing the head of his engorged manhood as it moved felt wonderful and Severus gasped as Hermione avidly watched its progress.

Her eyes opened wider and her smile grew when finally the sheet fell away and his magnificent length was revealed to her in all its splendour. It literally made her mouth water, and she shuffled forward preparing to take him into her mouth.

Severus chuckled at the look of desire lighting her face, and brought his hands down from behind his head. He grasped himself and started stroking. "You want him?" he asked, his voice low and seductive.

Hermione nodded, her eyes glued to his hands fondling himself, and she moaned at the sight. "Severus," she sighed.

"Are you wet for me, my love?" he inquired in the same low voice.

"Ah huh," and she bit her lip as she moaned her reply.

"Show me," he commanded.

Hermione shivered, she loved it when he was like this, and she knew exactly what he wanted. She eagerly clambered up onto his chest so she was facing his manhood. This was one of their favourite positions, and leaning forward she supported herself on one arm as she took his shaft with the other hand. Once she had, she wasted no time in taking the head into her warm mouth, and she smiled when she heard Severus breath out noisily, the hot, exhaled air tickling her inner-thigh.

His hands skimmed up her body leaving her to pleasure him. On the journey they stopped to massage her breasts, caressing and rubbing her nipples then giving them a firm squeeze before moving on. His hands then traced the dip and curve of her waist, before coming around her buttocks and parting them so he could better see her private glories.

The sight his eyes took in was exquisite. Before him were all the places he had learned made her squeal with delight when his tongue teased her, and pulling her closer he engulfed her with his mouth.

As predicted she did indeed squeal around him, making him fight not to thrust up into her mouth it felt so good. His tongue and mouth worked her, licking, sucking and probing until her ministration on him dissolved into limp mouthed groans and moans that vibrated the length of him.

Severus chuckled to himself when she started twirling her hips and rubbing herself on him in time with the thrusts of his tongue and his gentle rocking up into her mouth. It wasn't long after this that she stilled, and a low wail started in the back of her throat. It rose up more and more as he concentrated on the bundle of nerves at the top of her sex. Shortly after this she snapped and screaming gibberish she bathed his waiting mouth with her sweet musky nectar.

Collapsing into a panting heap on him, Severus carefully rolled her off, and watched her sighing and lightly caressing herself with her dexterous fingers to prolong the shudders that followed her orgasm. "Fill me," she muttered, opening misty eyes to look at him.

Grinning, Severus flipped her back over, so her hips were in the air and lined his member up. "Beautiful," he told her as he buried himself into her in one stroke. Her finger kept rubbing and she was soon groaning and panting her second orgasm.

Severus thrust strongly through it, holding her hips in his strong grip, and pulling her against him with each of his thrusts. His grunts and her squeals mixed with the pungent aroma of sex and filled the chamber. Holding himself back be pushed her to a third release before he finally gave in to his.

They collapsed in a sated heap, with Severus still moving gently to prolong both of their pleasure. They were lying happily entwined this way when the sound of the floo drew their attention.

"That could only be one person," Severus muttered, darkly.

They heard it again, "And chief bridesmaid," Hermione added.

They both looked up hazily as the door unceremoniously opened and Lucius and Ginny were framed there. "I told you they would cheat the system," the blond wizard said, without looking away from the bed.

"What do you want, Malfoy?" Severus snapped, lifting his head a little further off Hermione's back.

"You, my friend. Now put Pet down. You can't have her again until after the hand-fasting." Lucius was quick, he stood in front of Ginny and the hex slid harmlessly off the shield he erected. "Dear dear, Severus, mustn't hex your best man," he teased. "I might remember that time with the one-eyed whore when I give my speech tonight."

"You wouldn't dare," Severus growled.

Hermione and Ginny were both giggling helplessly at their antics

"Oh, but you know I would," Lucius replied, smoothly, striding into the room. "Come on man, we have things to do, and places to be. You need to shower," he encouraged, handing him his robe and standing over the prostrate couple.

Severus muttered obscenities under his breath, and rolled Hermione over, kissing her passionately.

She whimpered, and murmured, "See you at the ceremony, love."

Once the men were heading out the door, Ginny came in and said, "You too, we've got lots to do today as well."

Hermione groaned and mock pouted at her friend. Her eyes had been on Severus' muscular backside as it disappeared into his robe. "Aren't they amazing," she murmured, seeming to forget the very debouched eyeful she was giving Ginny as she lay on the bed her back arched looking at their retreating backs

"Mmm, we'd make an amazing quartet, wouldn't we?" her redheaded friend answered her eyes not leaving Hermione's assets, her mind was full of the view she had just had of Severus' cock.

"Would you like that?" Hermione asked, starting to push herself upright.

"Yes, looking at Severus' deflated manhood tells me it's the same size…"

"As Lucius erect, yes, they're both stallions."

Ginny thought a moment. "Have they ever played Hermione sandwich?"

Her eyebrow rose thinking about that as she saw Ginny licking her lips watching what was trickling out of Hermione, and the idea of her friend's obvious thoughts about it, didn't shock her as much as she thought it might. In fact she found herself moving her legs apart a little more. "No," she answered, seeing Ginny's eyes flare as she exposed herself more to her. "Have you ever been double dipped?"

"Yeh, but before I was married," she shook her head, "Everything was before I was married."

Her eyes were still on Hermione glistening pussy, and the brunette witch thought that she had better get into the shower, because she was uncertain about the desire that Ginny's heated looks were starting to infuse into her stomach. Hermione was fighting with herself not to allow what her friend so obviously wanted to do, but she wanted Severus and Lucius present when anything happened between them, so she rose and went to shower.

xox

After breakfast Hermione, Ginny and Luna started their day collecting St Johns wort and bringing it to the area for the others to work with. They had collected as much of the delicate yellow flowered bush as they needed, as well as all the flowers they wanted for themselves.

It was now three in the afternoon, and Arthur, Hagrid, Neville and Kingsley were erecting a maypole. The minister of magic was still not popular with Severus and Lucius after their encounter days before, but he had been invited and neither wizard saw the point in excluding him at this late stage. It would have caused more questions to be asked than were necessary.

Molly, Minerva, Dora, Penelope and the Lupin children minus Darla were sitting in a circle making the many St. John wort wreaths, mostly for decoration and for the children to wear, but also many that would be thrown on the bonfire later that night, for luck.

Because it was a full moon tonight, Remus and Darla had stayed home much to Dora's disappointment. Andromeda had stayed at home with them so that Dora could attend the wedding. She didn't get to do very much where she could be seen by people, and this seemed like the perfect occasion as everyone knew her here.

Severus, Lucius, Bill, Charlie and Draco were having a wonderful time constructing the bonfire. Once the maypole was up Hagrid had been put in charge of placing the logs the men were levitating from the forest, and together they had constructed a huge Midsummer bonfire in the clearing beside Hagrid's hut. This is also where the banquet following the hand fasting was to take place.

It had been a hot and sweaty day, and even though traditionally on Midsummer, ritual bathing happened before sunrise, the wedding party cheated a little and did it at sunset. Ginny and Luna bathed Hermione, for the ceremony in a secluded glade near the lake Hermione was charmed when merwomen arrived to add their blessings, on the occasion of her nuptials while she floated on the flowers Ginny and Luna had woven into a bed. This awe was increased a hundredfold when they also saw centaurs and unicorns stop at the edge of the forest on the other side of the lake and bow to them.

This was an incredible honour, and although she had not seen it, she somehow knew that they had done the same thing to Severus. He had always been their protector while he had resided at the castle years ago, even in the very dark times he had found a way for them to remain in their territory and they obviously remembered this. They knew—better than any human—the true value of a person's heart.

Since it was the summer holidays, all the guests were staying at Hogwarts for the night, so no one had to worry about getting home. The children in the extended group had aligned themselves pretty much by age. Neville had taken Frank, Albus and Adela Malfoy into his care. Molly was caring for Lucy, Lily and Xanthie, while James and Scorpius were with Astoria, but little Madeleine Malfoy had remained at home with her nurse.

As Hermione and Severus had their final preparations added to them, it was a special night for two other people as well. Tonight was the night Bill and Penelope had chosen to reignite their friendship. They were aware it was not a year since Percy's death, but they started the night as two friends walking arm in arm to the ceremony, and had agreed later to sit with the Potter, Malfoy and Longbottom children when it was time for them to sleep.

Severus and Hermione were having a silent hand-fasting ceremony, their magic would speak for them and Minerva had agreed to be their bonder. They were allowing one photographer who would give one photo and details, the couple had approved of to the Daily Prophet, but The Quibbler had been granted the full story.

They were both very private people, and felt more comfortable this way. The witches and wizards they had chosen to witness and to participate with them were all like minded, and would be content with the type of bonds chosen by these two powerful wielders of the magic arts.

As the full moon broke the horizon the men pointed their wands and carefully ignited the bonfire, and the drums and flutes the Filius Flitwick had charmed to play, called the participants to the ceremony in merry rhythm.

xox

Seeing the bonfire light and hearing the rhythm of the drums, Hermione's heart started to race. This was it, this was the moment she had been waiting all this time for, that she had thought not three months ago would never come. She was about to become Mrs Severus Snape, and she was being handed her bouquet by Ginny, who leaned forward and kissed her. "Your dream is about to come true, love, let's go find our wizards."

Luna kissed her other cheek. "I knew this day would come for you, be happy, Hermione."

The three witches came out of their pavilion and Hermione found herself standing opposite Severus, as he had just stepped out of the pavilion opposite. He looked amazing in black trousers and an open necked white shirt. His hair was secured by a leather tie at the nape of his neck and he was smiling at her. She hadn't managed to get to talk to him all day and she felt the need to hug him now. "I love you," she told him as her arms coiled around his waist.

He wrapped his arms around her protectively in return, "And I you, love, you look angelic," and he kissed her forehead.

She chuckled and took his hand. Lucius offered his hand to Ginny and Draco his arm to Luna and they walked towards the bonfire. Filius had been busy all afternoon, and it was his charmed fiery torches that illuminated their way now. The guests cheered as they saw them approaching.

Leading the way up to the tree where the bonding would take place, they saw Minerva with a rare relaxed smile and her wand drawn ready. The stance required for this type of bond was a little different to the unbreakable bond hand grip. For this bond the parties still faced one another, but held their hands vertically instead of horizontal with their wands in between, and then they twisted their hands between them and stepped as close as they could to each other so the bond linked their hands and hearts.

The other members of the wedding party also participated in the ceremony, holding their wands aloft so that the tips were pointing to a fixed zenith over the heads of the couple. As the spell is recited by the bonder, their magic trickled down over the couple.

The colours were amazing, Hermione saw them all reflected in Severus' dark eyes, and she was mesmerized, totally unable to look away. That was when she felt it, her magic and Severus' rising up and entwining together, it must have been beautiful because there were many gasps and ohs from the assembled witnesses.

This was it, they were bonded, and as Hermione lost herself in the kiss Severus was bestowing on her to signal the end of the ceremony, the sky erupted in a maze of lights and sounds. Gasping at the beauty of it, they looked behind the string of Filibuster fireworks to see a madly grinning George Weasley, completely in his element.

xox

Later that night as the bonfire started to die down, and they had feasted, danced and drank their fill, all the speeches were over and the children put to bed with their allotted minders. The couples, wandered off into their own little sanctuaries while their elders kept guard at the bonfire. This was the sacred part of the night where the bridal couple united as one.

Of course it was not limited to just Hermione and Severus, anyone could join in the ritual in their own coupling.

Severus had taken the lead, sweeping Hermione up into his arms and turning for the forest. He was allowing his feet to wander where they liked, he had his witch in his arms and she was gazing at him in the light of the full moon with lust filled eyes. When he felt his feet sinking into luscious moss he carefully lay Hermione down between the roots of an ancient tree.

His witch looked up at him, her amber-flecked eyes misty and soft. She was more than a little tipsy and come to think of it, so was he, but they were finally alone after a busy day where they had been bonded for life. He caressed her face, "I love you," he whispered in his deep seductive voice.

"Oh Severus," and her hands skimmed up to cup his cheeks. "For so long I thought this would never be, but here we are, and I love you too. Make love to me," she told him, pulling his head down to kiss him.

Her dress conveniently only pulled on and off over her head, its only other securing feature was a thick ribbon around her waist, which was easily undone. She wrestled the garment up while they kissed, and then allowed Severus to take it over her head and discard it next to them.

His shirt and trousers quickly joined the dress and he kissed down her body, lingering on each part. First her neck and collar bones, and then her breasts making her gasp and pant as his mouth pleasured her.

Hermione pulled his mouth back up to hers and they kissed deeply, as she fumbled, trying to line him up with her. "In, in," she mumbled urgently, as they kissed.

Severus chuckled at her attempts. "You're drunk, my love," he told her, and quickly sank into her welcoming heat, effectively cutting off any further comments from her as she groaned and arched her back.

For his part, the Potions master was just pleased that he had not been too drunk to perform, and even though he didn't last long, neither of them cared. They had a lifetime together to explore things further, and indeed the rest of this night.

xox

In a surprisingly similar situation, Lucius Malfoy lay covering his witch. The last ten minutes reeling through his mind, buzzing in his ears and putting a smile on his face. He glanced down at his naked witch gazing up at him and then to the finger he had just placed the ring on. "I love you," he whispered, and started kissing her neck again.

She lazily slid her arms around his neck and thrust her hips. "I love you too," she kissed him, "I still work," she murmured, "and we didn't have to wait the whole six weeks after all."

"No, we didn't," Lucius agreed, "and I'm glad." He started kissing down her body, instinct took him to her breasts, and he heard her moan deeply, but he pulled away realising what he'd just accidentally done.

"No," she demanded. "It's okay, I want you too."

Lucius gazed in wonder at her, and her ripe and rounded body in the moonlight looked delicious, especially her breasts. They were big and the impossibly huge nipples turned him on no end. He needed no further invitation, he couldn't say he hadn't wanted to taste her, and the tiny tang he had just accidently got had piqued his curiosity.

Curling his tongue around the nipple as she watched him, he squeezed and sweet nectar flowed into his mouth. He instantly loved it, and he could see it turned her on seeing him doing it. Her hand slithered over her still slightly rounded tummy and into the wild thatch of auburn hair covering her pussy. She fingered herself as she watched him suckling at her breast.

Lucius loved the fact that she kept the hair at the apex of her thighs. It suited her to do so, just as he thought it suited Hermione not to. The blond wizard was finding himself lost in the moment. He reached for his cock and started pumping, but Ginny stopped him.

"Swap positions with me, I want to ride you." She licked her fingers clean as they swapped positions.

They both hissed in pleasure as she sank down, impaling herself on him, and before she started moving, she offered him her other breast. Lucius thought he was going to lose it right there, what she was sharing with him was so intimate, and he knew that he had done the right thing asking her to marry him impulsively tonight as he had come inside her for the first time in a month. It all felt very right.

xox

As the evening at Hogwarts finally closed, and several sated couples covered themselves and erected protective charms for the night in their forest beds. In another part of England entirely there was a gunshot and a rampaging werewolf fell to the ground dead.

It had been a Muggle farmer who had mistaken the giant wolf for a dog as it clawed at his front door. Ministry officials were called to investigate by the undercover Muggle-born contact in the Muggle Police.

The question was how a werewolf came to be in Ottery st. Catchpole, and without the protection of the Wolfsbane potion on the night of the full moon.