Beta(s): araeofsomething, cybrokat, Her Royal Goddess, stronghermione1
(Highlight to View) Warning(s): None.
(Highlight to View) Prompt: As Hermione's father is leading her down the aisle to marry Severus, a still gobsmacked Harry Potter looks back on all the moments he saw them together and realises he should have known all along.
Note: I would like to give a big thank you to my rather large alpha/beta/britpicking team for all the last-minute work on this.
Summary: Harry Potter has had to accept many strange things in his lifetime, but the most difficult would have to be his best friend marrying someone he has never liked.
Directions to Hermione's Wedding…
Turn right at the second...
I stare at my almost unreadable scrawl, almost dropping it as a horn starts blaring. "Stupid, impatient driver," I mumble under my breath. Then again, it has been months since I've driven a car. I look in the rear view mirror, watching the driver give me a few rude hand gestures as I give the accelerator a slight push. I twist my tie around in frustration. Damn. I wonder how long the light has been green. I'd almost forgotten how impatient some drivers could be considering I only drive a few times a year. Apparition would have been so much quicker, but I needed the time to think. I've had months to process this, yet all of a sudden it hit me that this is real— there really is going to be a wedding. And the nice, long drive from Godric's Hollow to Richmond will give me plenty of time to think.
It's still about a half-hour drive to the Grangers' house. Damn, it's Wilkins now. I shake my head in frustration. Hermione will have my guts for garters if I slip up once I get there. She might be older now, but her temper is still something I try to avoid at all costs. Although she insists that her parents have forgiven her, it still seems to me that by keeping their new name, they still have a bit of anger or trust issues toward her. At least they were kind enough to let her use the garden for the ceremony. Ginny was—
Ginny. Oh, shit! Glancing down at the clock on the dash, I realise I was supposed to call Ginny almost fifteen minutes ago. That's another temper I'd rather not have to deal with at the moment.
I quickly hit the number on speed dial, reassuring her that I'm driving safely. After hanging up, I once again try to focus on the road.
Ginny was going to take the boys to the Burrow, and then Apparate from there close to the house. I had warned her to do it several houses away since it was a Muggle neighborhood and hopefully she would remember. Thankfully, she understands Muggles quite a bit better than her dad. She had been willing to wait for me, but I told her the drive would give me time to get my thoughts and emotions together before the wedding. She just shrugged nonchalantly and went back to our room to get ready.
Ginny was so much quicker to accept things than I was. And considering her sixth year, I still don't really understand it. And how Hermione could have gone from loathing the man to falling in love with him is still beyond my comprehension. And marriage? Even now, that gives me a bit of a bad taste in my mouth. I quickly glance over to the embossed invitation sitting on the passenger seat.
the Union of
Hermione Jean Granger
Severus Tobias Snape
I've had three months to accept that they were getting married, but it still feels like it came out of nowhere—like I was blindsided. I mean, he was her teacher. He was my teacher... and a horrible teacher at that. Well, not horrible if you actually did the work and made the effort. Something that Ron and I rarely did. And although Hermione had been an exceptional student, he even treated her like shite. The comment about her teeth for example, well that was just cruel.
But when Hermione had read in the Prophet that Snape had somehow survived that snake bite, she literally did a 180. Maybe it was Rita Skeeter's scathing article about how the former Death Eater had no visitors, or maybe it was the same reason that Hermione had tried to free the house-elves. Maybe it was simply guilt that we had done nothing when we watched everything that happened in the Shrieking Shack. Whatever it was, she was off to St. Mungo's the very next day. Ron and I both thought she was a nutter. And poor Ron—that was just the final nail in the coffin of their relationship.
I guess in retrospect I really shouldn't have been so surprised about her relationship with Ron falling apart. Even before Snape you could see the signs. They really had only been a proper couple for a very short amount of time and, truth be told, they had nothing in common. I know they shared that passionate kiss outside of the Room of Requirement, but passion alone wasn't enough to build a relationship on. Hermione would rather talk about books than Quidditch any day of the week, and Ron would rather watch paint dry than to discuss anything academic with her. And they had such different long-term goals. I knew that Hermione wanted to work for the Ministry, but Ron had already confided to me that he wanted her to stay home and only be a mother to their children. Quite a few children if he could have his way. I guess it is really better this way, but I don't think Ron is ever going to forgive her.
Oh, Ron. I just wish he could see past the hurt to realise this really was for the best. But I knew he wouldn't go to the wedding. I could still see the anger in his eyes as he ripped the invitation to shreds in front of me and Ginny. I guess I shouldn't be surprised since he has refused to be in the same room with Hermione ever since her relationship with him became public. They had been over for months, but somehow he still felt that she had betrayed him. He never had a problem with her visiting Snape at St. Mungo's. He might have thought it was a bit crazy, but he was okay with it. Neither of us ever saw it coming.
How it changed from her visiting him in St. Mungo's to them being a couple is still not something I totally understand. I'm not so sure I'd even want to. The thought of them even kissing is enough to make me almost vomit. To think of them having ... no, I'm definitely not going there.
I guess if I think back, the signs were all there. She was always happy right after she had visited him. The once a week visits turned into twice a week, then three times a week. Hermione would have stacks of books and periodicals to take to him each visit. She gave all the predictable justifications.
"He hardly ever gets visitors, Harry."
"He's so smart, Harry, and when you talk about something that interests him, he's such a different person. Nothing like the way he was at Hogwarts."
The reasons were endless. I’m not sure whether she was trying to convince me, or herself.
But it continued—once he was discharged from St. Mungo's, she continued to visit him at his home. By that time, I really wasn't buying the excuses. I knew they were friends. I really think she was scared to tell me after I found out everything that happened between him and Mum, but the War changed me. It changed all of us. Considering all that Snape did to save us, and to destroy Snake-face... I had already had a change of heart.
But the relationship? The engagement? The wedding?
I just did not see that coming.
Hermione is one of my best friends, and I really got to know her very well that year we were on the run. She is such a strong person, and she is passionate about things she cares about; whether that be the plight of house-elves or helping her best friend on a nearly impossible task. But romance? I guess I never really thought about Hermione in that sort of way. She's always been like a sister to me, and you just don't want to think about your sister in a romantic situation.
It was bad enough thinking about the feelings he had for my mum, but with Hermione? Somehow that just seemed worse. I still can't separate the cold, ill-tempered professor from the man that Hermione describes with such words of love and passion.
In retrospect, I should have seen this coming as well—all the trips to Flourish and Blott's together, all the dinners—both out and at each other's homes. And although they came separately to the First Anniversary Ball, they seemed much closer than just good friends. Come to think of it, I don't think either of them danced with anyone else. Watching them dance that night, they both looked so happy. I think that was the first time I had ever seen Professor Snape smile.
But I need to quit my musing. I can already see Hermione's parents’ house in the distance, and I need to calm myself before I go in.
I take a few deep breaths as I park the car and begin the much-too-short walk up the pathway to the back of the house. I can feel my palms getting sweaty and really wished I had remembered to put a handkerchief in my suit pocket.
Mr. Wilkins opens the gate, and gives me a reassuring smile. I wonder if his is forced considering they weren't too crazy about their only daughter marrying a much older man. But his smile looks genuine, I notice as I head towards the empty seat next to Ginny.
Ginny gently squeezes my hand, and I feel some of the tension start to leave. I look around the intimate gathering realising that, other than Ginny and Professor McGonagall, there is no one else there that I know. The only other guests appear to be family, and I do feel honored that Hermione wanted me here.
As my gaze finally turns to the front, I can't help but let out a small gasp. Standing beside the officiant is Professor Snape. He is wearing a Muggle suit and his hair is pulled back and secured at the nape of his neck. I turn my head slightly to get a better view, but the music starts and everyone stands up.
As I turn my head around towards the back, following Ginny's lead, I can't help but smile as I see Hermione come through the garden gate, escorted by her father. She is wearing the most beautiful ivory dress, and although it isn't a traditional wedding dress, it suits Hermione perfectly. Next to my wife, she is probably the most beautiful bride I have ever seen. She turns slightly towards me as she walks down the aisle, softly mouthing, “Harry”, before glancing up towards the official. I didn't think it was possible, but her smile gets even bigger. As I follow her gaze, I am shocked at what I see.
Professor Snape is smiling.
And not just any smile, but the smile of a man that is truly happy. The same expression I had when I saw my Ginny walking up the aisle towards me.
I watch as Hermione finally reaches the officiant, and her dad gently places her hands into those of the Professor. As radiant as the smiles on their faces are, I am mesmerized by the way they are looking at each other. Their eyes are locked onto each other, as if they are the only two people in the garden. Only two people that are truly in love look at each other in that way.
And at that moment, I smile. A true smile, not in the least bit forced. Because at that moment I know that these two people belong together.
No doubts, not anymore.