Chapter 13 - End
~*~Victims of Circumstance: Part Thirteen~*~
The entire school was abuzz with the news of the impending nuptials of Professor Willow Rosenberg to Professor Severus Snape. The rumors, of course, began to fly anew, with reasons as to why the beautiful Professor would think of marrying ‘greasy git Snape’. Some were amusing, others were just insulting.
But Willow was beyond such rumors.
She was floating on cloud nine.
The guests began to arrive the day before the wedding that was to be held in a remote corner of Hogwarts’ grounds. Willow waited anxiously at the little train station right outside of Hogsmeade, her hands clenching and unclenching nervously. Sera was back at the castle with her father and a seamswitch, having the last of the adjustments made to the delightful green dress she would be wearing as flower girl in the wedding. That left only Willow’s maid of honor and one bridesmaid left to procure dresses for.
And they were getting off the train right now.
The young witch held her breath as first one, then another of her friends stepped off the train, one by one, until they were all standing there, looking around. It was the first time she had seen them in months. And she allowed herself a moment to commit them to her memory once again before taking a calming breath and --
“Over here!” Willow called, waving frantically for them.
Buffy noticed her first and came flying forward, engulfing the red head in a mighty hug that left her breathless.
It was the other hugs, coming from Giles, Xander, and Anya; that left her completely breathless.
“Guys. . .” Willow breathed, gasping for air. “I missed you, too! But, breathing is of the necessary!”
The spontaneous group hug that had sprung up between Buffy, Xander and Willow broke apart; the red head breathing in deep gasps of air.
“Where’s the munchkin?” Anya queried, glancing about curiously. “You didn’t lose her again, did you?”
“ANYA!” Xander cried, covering his eyes in embarrassment.
“No, An. I didn’t lose her.” Willow giggled, thoroughly enjoying the bluntness she had so missed. “She’s back at the school, with her father.”
Buffy grinned, slinging an arm around Willow’s waist and leading her off towards the carriages that were so obviously waiting for them.
”So. . . is he still a hottie? You haven’t said much in your owl-thingies. The last letter was sort of short you know. ‘Marrying Sera’s daddy. Need you here on the 15th. Owl with travel details to follow. Love Willow.’” The blonde mimicked the wording of Willow’s letter, right down to the clipped tone of the brusqueness of it all, perfectly; giving her friend a saucy smirk.
“He’s. . . Sev.” Willow shrugged, that ‘I’m in love’ smile on her face. “He looks the same now as I remembered him, though for a little while he wore this weird glamour thing that kept the students from seeing how devilishly handsome he really was. Part of that whole spy business. He’s a hottie as much as he was back on that night. . .”
“Look at that grin, Xander. Willow’s thinking of orgasms.” Anya whispered, a touch too loudly, to her companion.
He groaned as Willow and Buffy shot him amused looks. Trust Anya to say what no one else would and think that it was all quite proper.
“You love him, right?” This was from Xander, still blushing from Anya’s comment.
“Of course, Xan. I wouldn’t do this if I didn’t. I love him. Sera loves him. He’s so good to her. . .”
“And he’s good for you, too.” Giles murmured. “I can see that already. You look much happier than you were when you left. Very much more. . . centered. Grounded, perhaps.”
“Yes, well. . .” Willow smiled brightly, shrugging and gesturing for everyone to get in the carriages. “What can I say? He’s ‘the one’.”
“Snape is getting married. Tonight. It just goes against all laws of nature.”
Hermione rolled her eyes.
“Well, *I* think its romantic. And Professor Rosenberg is even allowing the students to come.”
Ron shook his head.
”You, Lavender and Parvati going, I take it?”
The brunette smirked and sped up to walk past him, throwing a grin over her shoulder.
“No. Harry already agreed to go with me.”
Ron stopped, silently cursing his own inaction as the girl of his dreams wandered off to the library. He would be going to the wedding tonight, after all.
The light of the full moon shone down, bathing the normally green grass of this, far corner, of the Hogwarts’ grounds in a silver hue. This was the sole light apart from the candles that lined the aisle between the chairs, floating in mid-air through the aid of magic.
The guests were seated, and the subtle scent of vanilla roses filled the air, a favorite of the bride.
The students sat in the back, Hermione seated firmly between Harry and a skulking Ron. Not that she appeared to notice the scowl on the face of her red haired companion; she was too enthralled by the entire ceremony to care about anyone except what was to happen.
Snape was at the front already, with Professor Flitwick standing as his best man and witness, Xander as a groomsman; and there were whispers among the female students that he had never looked so handsome.
Or so alive.
Dumbledore was at the front, as well, dressed impeccably in robes of gold and red. He rocked back and forth on his feet, beaming bright smiles at anyone and everyone that caught his eye.
And then the music began, hauntingly sweet, played by instruments that were charmed to perfection. Their delicate melody floated through the air by the grace of the same magic that gave them life, falling on the ears of all listening with the same gentle inflection.
Sera came first, spreading down rose petals on the carpeting of the aisle. Blood red on white, a sharp contrast in the moonlight. She was smiling; the beatific smile of a child caught up in the midst of things that she only half-understands but knows to be good. This was the joining of her mommy with her daddy, after all. And that was something she wanted more than anything in the world. To have a whole, complete family for the first time in her life.
She reached the front, standing opposite her father, just as her mother had told her to; and turned to face the way she had come, watching as the others stepped out of the carriage, one by one.
First Anya, the Buffy, the two walking nearly side by side; resplendent in their dresses of pale forest green. They glowed, smiling gloriously at the guests as they passed, their eyes focused on the front, the altar, and the end of their task in this matter.
A special song began then, a mix of both the wizarding world’s wedding hymns and the traditional Muggle Wedding March. It was poignant in its beauty, simple in its elegance; and heralded the arrival of the bride.
Giles was the first out of the carriage, dressed in robes the color of the night sky. He held out his arm, and the entire body of assembled guests drew in their breaths. None but the two women at the front and the child, and one lucky seamswitch, had seen Willow’s dress.
And none were prepared for its beauty.
The dress was white, though how it could be called that, when the color was so pure, so breathtaking, that it almost needed its own definition. It was the color of the fresh snow; the purity of a fluffy cloud. And it glowed from within like the light from the stars. The bodice was low cut, with a crisscrossing of woven braided silk over her chest, meeting in a collar of pearls and enchanted roses that would never wilt or fade. Her veil did not cover her face, but instead trailed backwards, over her flame red hair, the delicate lacework flowing and moving about, the flowers woven within it blooming and sparkling under the weight of enchantments so great that the seamswitch had spent nearly a week upon them alone.
Her bouquet was simple, merely a spray of the vanilla roses she cherished so much, and a wisp of some little green hued flowers the witch at the florist had promised would look marvelous considering the colors Willow and her betrothed had chosen for their wedding.
And so they did.
She placed her arm in Giles’, allowing the man to lead her as her own father should have, down the aisle. The smile on her face was radiant, her eyes locked with those of her husband-to-be. This was the first time he had seen the dress, too. And his wonder at it was enough to make her heart skip even more beats than it already had.
Each step, in time to the ethereal music, seemed to take a lifetime as she slowly neared her lifemate, her love.
She reached him a moment before she was sure her heart would burst.
What were those words that were spoken, the ones that made it all official. If you asked her to repeat it not even ten minutes later, she would not have been able to. Nor could she remember in years to come. The ability to say by rote that which had just been said was her only saving grace, seeing as how she was lost in Severus’ eyes from the moment Giles handed her to the dark haired Potions Master. She could hear Dumbledore, her heart registering the words that her brain could not possibly comprehend.
She spoke her part. Severus spoke his. The words hardly mattered to her or him; they were a formality to what they had already sworn to each other in their hearts.
There was a sparkle. She was holding Severus’ hand and the light of their binding was official and binding, the glow expanding from their enjoined hands to surround them in a sphere of pure loving light. It faded, almost as quickly as it came, and they were left, his lips slowly lowering to hers as the guests cheered.
Even the students cheered, those that hated her now-husband, and those that didn’t like her. One and all, they were happy.
And so was she.
And so was he.
And she could hear Sera, right there behind her, talking to Buffy, using her usual childish commentary to sum up everything into four little words:
“Ew! Make them stop!”