I wrote this epilogue last year, before I had a word of this story on paper. I just knew where I wanted to end it, at the beginning, sort of…What goes around…comes around…lost and found…love.
"Severus, for heaven's sake, stop fidgeting!"
"You're choking me!"
"I'm simply trying to help. You have NO clue how to tie a bowtie, but if you don't stop wiggling, I'll toss the tie and throttle you with my bare hands! Now STAND STILL!"
"I despise this ridiculous costume; it's constricting and uncomfortable and..."
"THERE! Done." Anna stepped back, hands on hips, surveying Severus, resplendent in a black tuxedo, hair pulled back in a queue. "You look very GQ, darling."
"That, I assume, is a compliment?"
"It is. You look scrumptious; I might just peel you like a grape."
"Now? You insatiable wench!"
"No, not now; don't be foolish. Afterward." Anna wiggled her eyebrows at him and then laughed. Grabbing his lapels, she stood on tip toe and kissed his nose. Severus stuck a finger in his collar and started to pull at it, but Anna slapped his hand.
"Look, let's compromise. If you don't fiddle with your collar and tie, I promise, as soon as the ceremony is over and the official picture of the bridal party has been taken, you can take the tie off and unbutton your collar. Deal?"
"Very well, I can suffer that long...I suppose." Severus heaved a sigh and rolled his eyes.
"Don't give me that long faced martyr bit; you know this is important. I understand your reticence about wearing Muggle clothes, but there will be too many guests who don't know about the Magical side of the family. It's just for today, and you DID agree."
"Oh, very well."
"Thank you, darling."
Neville stuck his head around the door.
"Ah, there you two are! Come on, Severus, you're supposed to be downstairs."
Stepping into the room, he looked his former Potions teacher up and down and then turning to Anna, shook his head.
"You were right, Aunt Anna, it is a frightening sight; him," jerking a thumb at Severus, "in a tux!"
"LONGBOTTOM!" roared Snape "ANASTASIA, THAT'S IT! I'm taking off this ridiculous outfit!"
Grabbing his tie, he started to jerk it loose, but both Anna and Neville grabbed his arms and pulled his hands down.
"NO!" yelled Anna.
"I was kidding," Neville assured him, patting him on the back. Severus growled.
"Severus." Anna held onto his arms and looked him in the eyes. "I'm serious! I won't have you ruining this wedding. You are wearing this tuxedo and that's that! Now go downstairs with Neville and behave yourself! I have to get the girls moving; I can't be late, not today, of all days!"
"Humph!" Severus shook himself free from her grasp and straightening his jacket, headed for the door.
"Sorry about that," Neville whispered, grinning, then followed Severus out the door.
"No harm done. He's all bark and no bite."
"Can you see from there, Christopher?" inquired Albus, as he pulled back the drapes and hooked them to the side, leaving the expansive view of the garden unobstructed.
"Best seat in the house, old boy!"
"It's a glorious day, too; couldn't have asked for better."
"And I must say you look quite dapper in that tuxedo. Turn around, then, so I can see the whole package."
Albus obligingly turned full circle while Christopher nodded his approval.
"Very good fit and the black satin ribbon on your beard is a nice addition to the ensemble."
"Yes, a suggestion of Miss Granger's, that," chuckled Dumbledore. "She said it was the finishing touch."
"Albus, I really think it's splendid of you, escorting the bride down the aisle."
"Entirely my pleasure, Christopher, but, I'd better go or they might leave me behind."
"Oh, they wouldn't start without you, surely?"
"Probably not," agreed Albus, heading for the door. "I'll come back later and we'll raise a toast."
Out on the terrace, the chamber music group was playing softly as the bridesmaids walked sedately down the path to the gazebo. The vicar, groomsmen and the obviously nervous groom stood waiting.
Anna gave the flower girl, Gwendolyn Anastasia Malfoy-Pye, a pat on her back to start her off, then took a deep breath and followed. She could see Severus standing tall and handsome at the end of the row of groomsmen, watching the procession of smiling bridesmaids wending their way to their places before the flower bedecked, wrought iron gazebo. As Anna reached the step, she turned and positioned herself. Locking eyes with Severus, she smiled and tilted her head.
'Hello, handsome. Do you come here often?'
Severus pressed his lips together to keep from smiling, but his eyes twinkled.
'Silly woman...I love you.'
'Really? Splendid, because I love you, too.'
Then the music changed, the Wedding March started and Gwen emerged from the house, holding onto Albus Dumbledore's arm. She looked breathtakingly radiant in her wedding gown, carrying a cascading bouquet with a matching crown of flowers on her head, her mother's family's antique veil falling down her back, fluttering slightly in the breeze.
Remus stood there, properly gob-smacked, until Harry reached around Severus and nudged him. He closed his gaping mouth and smiled sheepishly. Anna was watching Remus, then looked at Severus and winked.
'Remus looks just like you did when we got married.'
'I did not look that foolish!'
'Oh, yes, you did.'
'I did not.'
'Humph!' Then he smiled, crossed his eyes and winked at her.