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The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 2]

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Trickie Woo, Black_lust_z, nljfs, and HURRY! for their kind reviews. (kind isn't a good enough word, but it's the only one I can come up with at this time of night).

Here goes part 2!
****
Chapter Thirty-Four: Christmas Eve Part II

Mara's rooms

When Minerva's head appeared in the Floo, complete silence had descended over the room. Minerva had smiled at Mara and then disappeared. Mara seemed to be stunned and then she stood up, pursing her lips. Instantly, the bridesmaids and maid of honor descended upon her, fixing make-up and hair in record time. She looked down at Maria and handed her the white basket filled with tiny moonflowers.

Picking up her skirt slightly, they made their way out of the Gryffindor tower, a solemn yet happy procession, down to the Entrance Hall. She stopped when she saw the two boys and she avoided squeezing them to death. They hugged lightly and set up. First Maria, then Dane, then the bridesmaids, then the maid of honor, and finally the bride and Sebastian.

Perhaps now would be ample time to describe the procession. You already have an idea of what Maria looked like. Dane and Sebastian were dressed in black robes with white designs of their family signature entwined with the Alexandria one, both of them wearing their family signet ring. Ginny wore a sleeveless, silk, white dress that reached her feet clad in white pumps. There was a moonflower in her bright red hair that lay loose around her revealed shoulders. It followed her curves beautifully and gave a hint that something was there that no one but she knew... Luna wore a white-blue, satin dress that fell in elaborate folds down to the floor. She was barefoot and one trademark bluebell was tucked into her blonde hair. She interlinked her arm with Ginny and the girls looked over their shoulders at Hermione. Hermione had on a cream dress that Mara picked out. It had a slightly puffy skirt with moonflowers locked in a chain that fell across it. Made of chiffon and satin, it was sleeveless and showed off a bit of her pregnant belly, which she complained about. Her brown hair had been more or less tamed into order to lie down her back in more or less smooth waves. And Mara... perhaps we should leave that description to Severus.

Hermione briefly stuck her head out the door, aimed her wand at the still softly falling snow, and uttered a few words. Nodding at the people, she zipped back inside and then realized that Mara had no bouquet.

"Your bouquet!"

"Shit!"

"No, hold on, don't panic!" Ginny said. "Accio bouquet!"

They heard the band start and Mara moaned, swearing foully in Italian.

"Maria, go start, but go very slowly. Very slowly, okay?"

The doors started to open, and stopped so that it was big enough for two women to go through. Mara tapped her foot impatiently, eyes bright with worry, and Maria exited slowly. Sebastian was looking highly amused. Then, there was a zooming sound and the bouquet landed soundly in Ginny's hand. Mara took it with a sigh of relief and Maria, at a nod from Dane, went a bit faster. It was the deep breath before the plunge and Mara took it with a smile.

****

The altar

When the band started, he felt like running away as fast as he could. He must have been mad to consider doing this. The band was off-key and Severus winced as a particularly sour note squealed in his ear. He heard Remus mutter a spell and, suddenly, the embarrassed band was on-key. He watched Sebastian's little sister step out and he grudgingly admitted to himself that not only did she look... cute (he shuddered as the word crossed his mind), but rather like Mara. It was then that he noticed that she was going far too slow and his stomach performed somersaults. Something was wrong.

It must have been fixed, for Maria changed a glance back and sped up to a pace that matched the music. She was throwing reduced moonflowers from the white basket and he realized that the snow that was falling was much too big to be real snow. His mouth opened slightly in astonishment: it was raining moonflowers in full bloom. Bloody hell. Hermione, he decided and left it at that.

Dane followed his little sister, holding the white pillow. He paused next to Ron, balancing the Promise Flower precariously on the pillow. Ron's hand shot out and gripped the top of the glass case to keep it from falling. Evidently, the Balance Spell had worn off. Bloody hell, that wasn't good. He put one hand behind his back and clenched it tightly. The bridesmaids entered and he heard two simultaneous gasps from the groomsmen. The two of the bridesmaids, Ginny and Luna, smiled cheekily at them and Remus reached over to close their mouths.

"If possible, my wife looks more beautiful than she did on our wedding day," he heard Ron mutter to Harry, who merely nodded.

Then Hermione entered and it was Severus' turn to close somebody's mouth. Remus stared at his wife, the smooth curve of her pregnant stomach, the smile on her face. She took up her place opposite them, next to where the bride would be, and Severus swore that his eyes swivelled towards the entrance. She wasn't out yet and he saw Hermione frown briefly out of the corner of her eye.

"Bugger!" he heard from the Entrance Hall and everyone looked back, eyebrows raised. Severus loosened up and grinned widely. Yes, there she was. Everyone was looking highly amused as Rubicon swept out of the Great Hall and took up his position on the podium. When Mara entered with Sebastian, the grin was wiped off his face and a look of pure amazement entered his eyes as she smiled tentatively at him.

Her face was a bit whiter than usual and her lips were painted a deep red. Her eyes shone deep sapphire, accented by the white glitter sprinkled underneath them. Her hair was her veil: a soft breeze blew it across her face, covering the lower part, and she looked at him seductively from above wild, yet tamed, light brown curls highlighted with different shades of blonde, catching the light of the sun, which somehow hadn't managed to melt the snow. Her neck was covered by her hair, but it gave way to the beginning of a pure white, satin, sleeveless dress. It followed her curves, smoothing over her bosom, pressing against her flat stomach, and then suddenly filled out into a complete, full skirt. It trailed along behind her and Severus saw that the ivory ribbon that was the border of the dress at the top curved back and fell down her back, indicating that it was a lace-up back. The layers were all of cloth and there was no hoop. The hem of the dress was bordered with the same ivory color.

Hermione indicated for her to stop and it was Colin Creevey that stood at the end of the carpet and started taking pictures. She lowered her head and smiled in her special way, a glint in her eyes. The moonflowers fell around her, landing on the dress and in her hair, grazing it before falling across it. Sebastian was looking supremely smug about something. The bouquet of huge moonflowers in her hand covered her hand and wrist. Colin stepped back, grinning at her, and they continued the rest of the way. Severus schooled his expression, but he felt his heart speed up rather quickly.

When Sebastian stopped in front of him, he eyed him suspiciously before giving him her elegant, free hand.

"Take care of her," he told him and Severus gazed at him for a moment before transferring it to the angel before him.

"We are united here today, under the sunlight and the snow and... apparently the flowers as well ?" he had just picked out a moonflower from his beard,"? to rejoice the union of two of Hogwarts' dearest professors: Professor Severus Alexander Snape and Professor Mara Marjorie Alexandria."

There was some snorting at calling Severus 'dear' and then it hit them what he had called Mara. Whispers ran up and down the chairs and she held her head high, her hand gripping Severus' tightly. Albus waited until the whispers died down and then continued.

"We shall first follow the usual vows and then will come the Interchanging of the Rings, the Promise Flower following after. If there is anyone here that does not agree to this union, let him or her speak now or forever hold their peace."

There was a long moment of silence and Severus heard Ron mutter something.

"Anyone? Anyone at all? Right then, it's official, we've all lost our minds."

Harry snorted, Remus stepped on his foot, Harry winced, Severus snorted, Mara stepped on his foot, Severus winced, and Remus and Harry snorted in unison.

"Very well then. Do you, Severus Alexander Snape, take Mara Marjorie Alexandria to be your magically and lawfully wedded wife? To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do you part? And hereto do you pledge her your faithfulness?"

"I do," he said, his rich baritone echoing across the courtyard. Shivers ran up her back.

"And do you, Mara Marjorie Alexandria, take Severus Alexander Snape to be your magically and lawfully wedded husband? To have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness or in health, to love and to cherish 'till death do you part? And hereto do you pledge him your faithfulness?"

"I do," she said clearly, her voice lilting over the voice with an old Italian accent that she hadn't used in ages.

"So mote it be. Let the best man bring forth the rings."

Severus looked over at Remus, who stuck his hand in a pocket ? and then froze. He furrowed his brow and Mara gave a little sigh.

"Top right pocket on the inside, Remus."

Sheepishly, he drew out the rings from the pocket where they bulged out and held them out. They were two silver wedding bands. While his was a plain silver band, hers was an elaborate design: two strands of silver stuck together until they lifted, separated, and curved around a sapphire. Mara gave a little gasp and Severus smirked as he took her ring, lifted her hand, and pulled away the signet ring. It came off smoothly and Mara suddenly felt naked. Severus slipped on the new ring, a perfect fit.

Remus held out Severus' ring and Mara took it, taking his hand in hers, and pushed it on. Nothing out of the ordinary happened and then Dane brought forth the Promise Flower. Mara smiled and then Albus started up again.

"This is the Promise Flower, selected by Severus Alexander Snape. It is a moonflower, which is obviously the theme of the ceremony, and the thing that he most relates to Mara Marjorie Alexandria. Mara, will you please place your hand on the glass case and recite the promise you will keep for Severus?"

Her hand curved over the top of the case, white against clear, and she took a deep breath.

"I was always averse to love. I had loved my friends at Alms ? and I lost them. I had loved my ice skating ? and I lost it. I had loved my cousin Corwin from my father's side ? and I lost him. And then I loved you. I didn't want to because I thought I'd lose you, so I remained closed off from you, trying to stay away. But it's like Dante said: 'The hottest places in hell are reserved for those who, in times of great moral crisis, remain neutral.' It was an inferno trying to stay away from you. So now that I've told you and now that we belong to each other, I promise to love you, cherish you, take care of you, be with you every minute of every day, and to never, ever let you go."

A jolt of white light ran through her, starting from the moonflower, and surrounded her. Then her aura showed, underneath the white. The gold shone in the sunlight, brimming and blinding some. Severus stared at her, at his angel, and took in the gold. A gold aura is the color of enlightenment and divine protection. When seen within the aura, it says that the person is being guided by their highest good. It is divine guidance. Protection, wisdom, inner knowledge, spiritual mind, intuitive thinker.

"Severus, will you please place your hand on Mara's and recite the promise you will keep for her?"

His hand lay over hers; it was warm.

"I had been closed off since my youngest years. Ask Remus, he'll tell you what a wonderful childhood I had." The sarcasm was light, but obvious, and Remus smacked his forehead. "I became bitter and tired of the world, tired of being commanded, tired of having to serve two masters. No offense, Albus. When the end of the Dark Lord's reign came, I was still bitter and I was still tired of everything. I, too, have loved and lost. But you came along. You came along, the cousin of Remus Lupin, here to talk about werewolves, and ended up staying much longer because Remus managed to impregnate his wife." Remus groaned. "We worked on the lycanthropy potion and you did the botch-up. I have to thank you for that botch-up. It made me realize that I had grown to love you, simply because you never commanded me and you never expected anything more than my sarcasm, my barbs, and my presence. For bringing out the... different side of me, I promise that I will love you, treasure you, keep you with me every minute of every day, and show you the measure of my love. And maybe I'll even cook sometimes," he smirked.

The audience laughed and Hermione cast Remus an amused look. A jolt of black light rushed through Severus, burning him, and his aura lit up, a deep red one level under the black. The red and the gold lifted into the air and entwined together, blood against a rising sun, forming a moonflower in the air.

"I now pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride."

Severus leaned forward, clutching her hand, and placed a light, gentle kiss upon her lips. The moonflower exploded into a shower of red and gold rain around them. Mara looked up, bright pinpoints of light in her eyes imitating the stars, and Severus pulled her away from the glass case where the moonflower was shining gold and red. The people were on their feet, clapping and whistling, and Colin was madly taking photos. The bride and groom turned and Mara buried her nose in the moonflower bouquet one last time before throwing it up into the air. The sunlight caught at the petals and she watched them fall. The girls lifted their hands, leaping into the air, and a woman with curly red hair and green eyes took it from the sky. She waved it at Sebastian, who grinned at his wife, and Severus led his own wife down the carpet.

"You'd think they had nothing better to do than to gawp and gape, as if someone getting married was the ultimate phenomenon," he muttered to her.

She laughed and leaned her head on his shoulder. "It's you, dear."

"Hmpf."

Once inside the Entrance Hall, there were people jumping all around them and giving them major headaches. Mara lifted Maria and coddled her, cheek against cheek. Against the wall in the shadows, Severus watched her be surrounded by well-wishers and friends. Finally, she succeeded in getting through the crowd and to Severus, Maria still nestled in one arm, legs wrapped around her hip. She kissed her husband, smiling against his lips, and Severus gazed at her with unconcealed passion.

"Cake's ready in the Great Hall," she said and Severus took up her other side.

"By the way, what happened inside the Entrance Hall?" he asked his wife.

"Er... Rubicon happened. He was annoyed at being left out."

He saw the mark that was revealing itself on her shoulder and he narrowed his eyes at the bird that sat innocently on one of the tables.

"Don't even try to be angry with him. He'll peck your eyes out."

Setting Maria down inside the Great Hall, the couple was ushered to the four level, white cake decorated with moonflowers. They picked up the knife and split the cake, having Colin snap a close-up photo of their hands on the knife and then a full picture of them with the knife. They posed for a million different cameras and Severus was vastly fed up with it.

When Hermione pulled them to a slightly lit corner of the Great Hall, she asked Severus to stand behind her and lean his head on Mara's. Mara gave Hermione's camera a slight smile and anyone who wasn't looking close enough would think that Severus looked grim. Whenever Mara looked at the picture, she could prove that there was a shadow of a smile on those thin lips and a shine of happiness in his black eyes.

The Conference by Melvacaea [Reviews - 2]

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