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Chapter 20 : Always
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November sped by, as Lily went dress shopping with Lucy, Narcissa, and Aradia. Of course Aradia was too young to help much as far as fashion went—she liked anything pink and ruffly, but she kept the three witches in stitches with her bold observations. She pointed to a rather pale yellow dress decorated with rather garish sunflowers and yellow roses. Wrinkling her tiny nose, she stated, "Mama, lookit that ugly dress! It looks like Captain peed on it."
"Gracious, Aradia! Where do you come up with these things?" Narcissa cried, embarrassed.
" 'Raco said when Captain was a puppy, he peed on everything. Like Papa's good boots," the intrepid toddler said.
"Well, yes, but that was a long time ago, you were a baby and can't even remember it," her mother told her.
"Can so! 'Raco tol' me!"
Narcissa shook her head. "Aradia, Draco telling you isn't the same as remembering."
Aradia nodded her head stubbornly, her blond curls bouncing.
"This one is just like her father," Cissy said exasperately. "She's always right, even when she's wrong."
"Sounds like my late husband," Lily said, laughing. "Only on him it was annoying instead of adorable after awhile."
"Tell me about it," Narcissa chuckled. "Once Luc's made up his mind, it's like it was chiseled in stone."
"How about Draco?"
"Draco is more like me, he's more malleable. But he adores his daddy, like any little boy." Narcissa smiled.
"I luv Papa!" Aradia squealed. Then she hugged and kissed Narcissa and said, "An' I luv Mama!"
"I love you too, baby," Narcissa murmured, kissing her back. "She's her father's daughter all right. Stubborn one minute and charming as sugar the next."
Lily looked at mother and daughter wistfully. She had missed all Harry's early years since fifteen months and hoped that if she had a baby with Severus, she could experience all she had lost while sleeping. Then she turned back to the array of dresses. Time enough to think about babies after her vows were spoken.
Finally, Lily chose a very elegant ivory colored dress with a modest train and veil of Italian lace. Matching satin pumps with tiny crystals all over them twinkled when she walked about.
Aradia clapped her hands. "Ooo! Pretty, Mama! Pretty!"
"I know, sweetie. Aunt Lily has pretty shoes for her wedding to Uncle Sev."
"What's a weddin', Mama?"
"A wedding is when you get married to the man you love. Like I married Papa."
Aradia grinned. "Do ya love Unca Sevvie, Aunt Lily?"
"I do, little imp. Very much," Lily said, chuckling.
Aradia put her thumb in her mouth, thinking hard. Then she said, "Will Unca Sevvie n' you have a baby?"
"Aradia! What a question!" groaned her mother.
But Lily was not offended. "That was bound to come up sooner or later, Cissy. It's a natural progression. First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes the baby in the baby carriage." She looked over at Aradia. "Someday, yes, a baby might come along."
Aradia giggled and wriggled free of her mother to dance about and sing, "A baby! A baby!"
Lily's gown was made of silk with an underskirt of delicate lace and another skirt of chiffon beneath that. It had a pattern of lilies and rosebuds on it just a bit darker than the gown itself. The color brought out the spectacular color of her hair and her glowing emerald eyes.
"Oh, Lily! Tha looks like a fairy princess from the old country!" Lucy exclaimed. "Healer Sev is going to topple over when he sees thee, or my name isn't Lucinda Nott."
Lily just shook her head. "Sev's seen me before. I'm no different now than I was then."
But her friends just smirked. "Oh no, tha isn't!" Lucy disagreed.
"Lucy's right, Lily. A witch on her wedding day is worlds apart from a witch everyday." Narcissa insisted.
"And a witch on her wedding night is irresistible!" Lucy said with a naughty wink.
"What? 'Tis true! And I ought to know, considering I'm an old widow. But I still remember my wedding night! Eh, Cissy?"
Narcissa snickered. "Let's hope your wedding night is as unforgettable as mine, Lily!"
"You know, I have been married before."
"Ah, but you seem to have forgotten the most important part," Lucy cackled.
"Well . . . I was very young . . ."
"But I'm doubting you'll ever forget this one," Lucy giggled. She tugged on Lily's arm, taking her over to the jewelry case.
Lily doubted it either. James had been a good lover, unless he was too wrapped up in his own needs. But she sensed Severus would be more than good, simply because he would give her pleasure first before taking his own. Dear sweet Severus! Always waiting in the wings for her to notice him. Well, no longer. Now, at long last, he would take center stage, and there he would stay beside her . . . always.
Meanwhile, Severus, Lucius, Harry, and Theo went shopping at Twilfit and Tattings for wedding apparel. It was a good thing Severus remarked later on, that Lucius had been there to help, for Severus' knowledge of formal wear extended to a few shirts and slacks he wore to the office. He had no idea about weddings. Lucius, however, raised as the heir to a great family and taught since he could walk about fashion statements, knew all about cut and fabric and style. He quickly took charge and soon Severus and the boys sported elegant pearl gray tuxedos and matching robes trimmed in emerald. He also persuaded them to go to a barber and get their hair trimmed.
Afterwards, they went to a classy restaurant called Ristorio's, which had superb food and generous portions. As they ate, Lucius teased the groom. "So, Severus, are you ready to give up the single life at last?"
"I was ready years ago, Luc. But she was sleeping," answered Severus.
"Mr. Malfoy," Harry looked at the refined wizard curiously. "Will Draco be home in time for the wedding?" The wedding was set for the 15th.
"He will, I have told the Headmaster and he agreed to allow Draco to leave early."
"How generous of him," Severus said with a slight sneer.
"Good," Harry said. He had been hoping Draco would be at the wedding. The wedding party would consist of Lucius as best man, partnered by Lucy as matron of honor, then Narcissa as bridesmaid and Theo as a groomsman. Harry was going to give the bride away. Aradia was the flowergirl. The wedding would be a small intimate affair, with a few of Severus' friends from St. Mungos and some teachers from Hogwarts.
Lucy had insisted on cooking the food, even though the couple had protested.
"'Tis my wedding present to thee. Besides, tha doesn't want thy guests going hungry, do tha now?"
Seeing that her mind was made up, they gave in. Lucy had already made several special dishes, kept fresh with Preserving charms, which held the item in a kind of stasis until ready to use. Theo and Harry had helped her make wedding soup, wedding cookies, and special wedding dumplings for an appetizer. The main course, a tender braised beef with red wine mushroom gravy, new potatoes and vegetables, Lucy would be making later on in the week. There were a few other desserts and appetizers but the feast was almost done.
Now all that remained was sending out invitations.
That night, Severus and Lily began looking over the guest list. Severus checked off each name as he wrote an invitation. Until he came to an unexpected entry.
"Remus Lupin?" he froze with the quill poised in midair. "Why is he on here?"
"Because I figured it might be time to bury the hatchet," Lily said evenly. "Remus was never out to get you the way James and Sirius were, Sev."
"No, but he almost bit me. And he watched while his friends tormented me," Severus declared sharply.
"I know. But when I was married to James, Remus helped me a great deal. I just think . . . it would be a nice gesture. But if you're really uncomfortable, Sev . . ."
He met her compassionate evergreen eyes and sighed. "Very well. This is your wedding too and you have the right to invite whoever you want to it."
"Sev, if you really don't want me to . . ."
"No. It's fine." Severus said. "Just don't expect me to do more than say hello and goodbye."
"I understand. I'll seat him with the staff from Hogwarts." Lily decided. Then she leaned over and kissed Severus. "Thank you."
"Anything for you, Lily," he whispered, kissing her back.
December 15, 1991:
The day of the wedding dawned crisp and cool, with a dusting of frost in the air. They used a portkey to get to the Union of Perpetual Peace, a church dedicated to Merlin, and the bridal party lined up before the huge doors. Severus went first, of course, before Lily arrived with Harry escorting her. Lucy and Narcissa looked radiant in their gorgeous green velvet dresses trimmed with golden fox fur and sparkling crystals. The full skirts were slashed to reveal gold and silver brocade and even their boots were dyed and trimmed to match.
"Wow, Mum! You look like a princess!" Theo exclaimed when he saw Lucy walking towards him.
"Thanks, Theo. That's sweet of thee to say so," Lucy laughed. "But I haven't worn a dress this fine since my own wedding day."
Theo cocked his head. "Do tha miss it?"
Lucy shook her head. "No, lad. The dress is beautiful, but I have something even more so . . . you." She pinched his cheek and he squirmed. "A fine bonny son."
Theo blushed. "Ma, please! Don't say that!"
"An whyever not?"
"'Cause I'm not."
"To me thou art."
Theo turned the color of a beet. Mothers!
Behind him, beside Lily, Aradia twirled and giggled, holding her little basket of flowers. She was wearing a different gown than the witches, hers was velvet too, but striped pink and white like a candy cane and her shoes were soft kidskin with tiny heels and pink bows.
"See my new shoes, Harry," she tugged his sleeve. "They're very shiny! Like Mama's." She stuck out a foot for him to admire them.
Harry grinned down at her. "They're very pretty shoes. Wait till Draco sees!"
Aradia looked about. "Is 'Raco here?"
"Uh . . .I think so. You can look for him in church. Wave to him as you go down the aisle." He bent down and whispered in her ear, "And don't forget to throw flowers all over him."
"Harry, what are you telling her?" asked Lily suspiciously. "I hope you're not encouraging her to mischief."
"No, Mum." Harry said, straightfaced. "I reminded her to wave to Draco."
Then the wedding march struck up and they processed into the church.
Harry guided Lily down the aisle. They let Aradia go before them.
The littlest Malfoy happily threw rose petals all over, smiling. Everyone oohed and awed at the sight of her.
Until Aradia saw her brother on the end of the aisle and turned and called, "'Raco! Catch!"
She grabbed up half the flower petals remaining in her basket and threw them right at her brother.
Colored rose petals flew all over the startled boy, coating him. They were even in his hair.
Aradia giggled hysterically. "'Raco's a flower!" Then she skipped down the aisle.
Harry was smirking uncontrollably.
"Harry! Did you tell her to do that?" Lily scolded in an undertone.
Harry looked away from her instead of answering.
"Boys!" she muttered. "That's just like what your father would have done."
Severus watched as Lily came towards him, a vision in ivory silk and lace, crowned by a nimbus of fire. He felt his heart quicken as she drew near and he felt almost as if this were a dream. For so long he had dreamed of this moment, never expecting it to come true. But today it had. He waited somewhat impatiently for Harry to escort her up the aisle, his heart bursting with love. At last . . . at last you come home to me, beloved, his heart whispered. After all this time . . .
He extended his hand and Harry placed Lily's hand into his, bowing. "Into your keeping I give my mother," he said, speaking the age old words. Then he stepped back and to the side. "Congratulations!" he whispered and winked. That was not in the script, but Harry felt it should have been.
Lily looked up at Severus, her face radiant with love.
"Into my heart I receive her," Severus responded, then he helped her up the stairs and turned her to face the simple altar where Horace Slughorn stood in his best robes, as the presiding bonder of the ceremony.
Horace cleared his throat. "Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in Merlin, we are gathered here together to celebrate the joining of Severus Tobias Snape and Lily Evans Potter. If there be any reason why these two should not be joined in sacred matrimony, let him speak now or forever hold his peace . . ."
There was a moment of silence then Horace went on. "Do you, Lily, take Severus to be your lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold, forsaking all others, in sickness and in health, good times and bad, to love and cherish, till the end of all things?"
"I do," Lily said clearly, her eyes glowing as she looked up at Severus.
"Place your hand upon the goblet."
She did so, placing her hand upon the silvery goblet.
"Now drink to Severus' health."
She did so, feeling the rich plum wine flow down her throat.
Next he held a tray with some pieces of fruit bread, and Lily ate one, for prosperity.
Then Horace repeated the ceremony for Severus.
"Now that you have shared bread and wine, you are bound by the laws of hospitality. "Place your hands upon the ashwood wand." He held out a three foot wand of white ash tied with ribbons.
Both of them placed a hand upon it.
"By the power of wine, bread, and wand, I declare you bound, each to the other, in a sacred trust of hearts and bodies. Bless this couple, Merlin, and make them ever happy and beloved, for all the days of their life."
As he spoke, the wand glowed a soft amber and the ribbons stirred and wrapped about the two's wrists, binding them to each other and the wand.
Horace gave three sharp tugs on the wand. When the ribbons held, he said, "The binding is true! What Merlin has brought together, let none tear asunder!"
People began to clap and cheer.
"You may kiss the bride, Severus," Horace grinned. The ribbons unwound themselves.
Severus nodded, then he took his bride in his arms and kissed her passionately.
Everyone clapped and smiled. Lucy and Narcissa were crying. Lucius was smiling proudly. Harry and Theo blushed and looked away.
Aradia giggled, then said, her little voice soaring like a nightingale's above the throng, "He kissed her! He kissed her! Yay, Unca Sevvie!"
Several guests started laughing at the precocious minx, but Severus and Lily were oblivious to all save each other.
When Lily parted from Severus, she felt slightly dizzy and warm all the way down to her toes despite the chilly weather. "I love you, Severus. Now and forever," she whispered to him, her face flushed.
Never had she looked so beautiful to him. He cupped her face in his hands and stole another kiss. "As I love you, Lily. Always."
Their mouths met again, as he swept her away on a tide of sweet passion. At long last he had what he had always desired, all those years ago. He felt his heart sing with joy as he turned about, his bride on his arm, and began to walk back down the aisle, his dark eyes alight with pure unadulterated joy.
My Lily. Now, forever, always.
A/N: This is a short chapter, but I felt it deserved its own. Next will come the reception and meeting with Remus. Please note, some parts of this ceremony are based off of ancient Gaelic tradtion, such as the breaking of bread. Thanks for reading and let me know if you liked it. Also, who wants to see Remus become closer to Sev and his family
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