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This chapter is dedicated to all of my readers who have been reading this since the very beginning and have been waiting for this chapter for over a year. I love you guys!


Chapter 13


Camilla swore angrily as she stared out the window at the gray, overcast sky and the drizzling rain waiting for her mother to return with her dress.

“Of all the days…” she muttered to herself, “It has to rain on my wedding day.”

“An unfortunate turn of events, however, I was watching them set up tables in the downstairs ballroom and I think you’ll be pleased with the results despite the slight change in location,” came a smooth voice from behind her.

Camilla whirled around. “You startled me,” she gasped, though she couldn’t keep the smile from her face as she faced her fiancé.

He responded by taking her arm and pulling her into a kiss.

“You shouldn’t be here, Severus,” she murmured against his lips. “You aren’t supposed to see the bride before the wedding.”

“I had to. I’ll admit that I’m finding it difficult to collect my thoughts this morning.”

“Hmm… Could that be why you’re so… affectionate?”

He pulled away from her, though his dark eyes did not leave her blue ones. “I thought you might like it if, today, I played the role of a caring future husband. You always seemed the sort to want a fantasy wedding.”

She furrowed her brow. “I don’t think I understand…”

“For one day we can both pretend we are happy,” he responded simply.

“Don’t tell me this isn’t what you wanted.”

He gently stroked a stray hair from her cheek. “It is true that by walking down that aisle you are securing my social status as well my financial future. It is also true that I will do everything in my power to get you there. It is my choice. However, I am not happy.”

His words seemed straightforward enough to her. They would get married. The benefits far outweighed any aspect of the arrangement that he found disagreeable. He was not unhappy with their union, but he was not happy either. His life was, in general, unpleasant.

It did not take long for Camilla to decide. It was her wedding. Her future with Severus was bound to be tolerable at best. It was possible that the memory of a perfect wedding would help her through the particularly miserable moments.

She took a small step towards him and wrapped her arms around his neck. Pressing her body against his, she kissed him deeply.

His response was calm and gentle. She found herself uncertain as to whether she was even enjoying the kiss.

She pulled away, eyeing him carefully. “You know, Severus,” she began, a mischievous smirk playing on her lips, “Some loving husbands actually want to kiss their wives.”

He gave her a puzzled expression.

“If I wanted to kiss Remus I would go find him, you understand?” It was a cruel thing to say about her friend and she regretted it the moment the words slipped from her mouth. But she had said them and, despite their unkindness, they had the desired effect.

Severus gave low growl and pressed her against the wall, pinning her arms above her head. Then, he lowered his mouth to hers and kissed her once more. This time however, the kiss was hungry and possessive; it was filled with raw passion as opposed to the pleasant, understated affection that was often exhibited by Remus' kiss.

He ran his tongue along her bottom lip, then, without waiting for her to comply, his tongue thrust into her mouth, tasting her.

A few moments later he asked "Is that better?" as he pulled away slightly, releasing her hands, his voice husky and his eyes clouded with lust.

She nodded, her face flushed.

He slid his hand beneath her shirt. "I'm glad you approve," he said with a smirk.

His hand on her stomach was cool and she shied from his touch slightly, though she had nowhere to go. Slowly, he removed her shirt and tossed it aside. As he lowered his mouth to the curve where her shoulder and throat met, he murmured, "If we weren't getting married in two hours I'd take you right now…"

"What makes you think I'd let you?" Her voice didn't contain the spite she had intended.

"You can't resist me," he replied haughtily.

"Really? It seems as if you're the one who can't resist me, Severus.

He gave a small groan and glanced up at her. "You." He paused to kiss her just above the swell of her breasts. "Are." He kissed her again on the neck. "The. Most." He captured her lips with his, cupping her cheek with one hand, the other tracing small circles on the small of her back.

“CAMILLA!”

Camilla gave a yelp of shock and tore away from Severus with surprising speed. “Mother! Don’t you know how to knock?” She desperately tried to find her shirt but found that Severus had been careless in where he’d thrown it. Finally she ducked behind him so that he could at least shield her from her mother’s furious gaze.

“I didn’t think I’d be having any need to knock!” Leila Portman cried indignantly as she stood in the doorway, staring at the couple in horror. “I don’t think I’ve ever seen such a wanton display in my life! And from my own daughter! I raised you to be a lady not a-!”

“Mrs. Portman,” Severus said, raising his hand to interrupt her. His chest was rising and falling quickly, but otherwise, he gave no sign of being flustered by the inconvenient arrival. “It wasn’t anything of Camilla’s doing. She told me it wasn’t acceptable but I insisted. She was only doing as I asked.”

Camilla sighed with relief as she watched her mother’s anger begin to abate.

“Oh, of course. I never meant to say that you-… Well, in that case, I’ll be back in fifteen minutes time to help Camilla get ready, if that is agreeable?”

Severus nodded and Camilla’s mother hurried from the room, closing the door behind her.

“I’ve never seen my mother knocked down so quickly,” Camilla said, giving him an appreciative smile, “Not even my father-.”

He frowned. “I’d prefer you didn’t see it as ‘knocking her down.’

When she had tugged her shirt back over her head, she gave him a doubtful look. “If I had known being married to you would take away my mother’s ability to lord over me then-.”

“Yes, well, you’ll find being married to me has more advantages than you may have previously thought.”

“Oh yeah?” She raised an eyebrow. “Like what?”

“You’ll just have to wait and see,” he said with a smirk.

She rolled her eyes, but once again could not keep the silly grin from her face. She was going to be a married woman in less than two hours. The thought that she had been dreading this day seemed foreign. She couldn’t imagine feeling unhappy on a day when every person she saw beamed at her and offered nothing but praise and congratulations.

“I guess I’ll see you then,” Severus said, his hand on the doorknob.

She nodded shyly. “I guess so.”

He gave her one last smile and left, leaving the door of the room partially ajar.

Then, Camilla flung herself into a chair, twisting a lock of hair nervously as she waited for her mother to return.

--


What if she tripped?!? Just toppled right over in front of everyone?

Camilla’s heart pounded even faster at the thought.

She began wring her hands together as she rapidly grew more anxious by the second. She tried to take deep breaths, which proved to be quite difficult, as she had been stuffed into a far too tight wedding gown.

What if she passed out? What if-?

“Ready, precious?”

Camilla started upon hearing her father’s voice interrupting her thoughts.

“You look stunning. No one will be able to take their eyes off of you,” he said, smiling proudly. “I never thought this day would come. I always imagined my daughter would stay a little girl forever.”

Camilla watched as her father’s blue eyes began to glisten with tears.

It was him who she resembled when it came to appearances. She had his dark hair and his intriguing eyes.

“Dad…”

He brushed his black curls away from his face with a wave of his hand. “Just an old man’s fantasy, I suppose.” He brandished his wand. “Here,” he said handing her the bouquet of flowers he had just conjured, “I hope your mother will find those suitable enough. She didn’t say… She’s very fussy about the details you know…”

“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” she said quietly. Her nerves seemed to quell her voice.

“If it makes you feel any better, I caught sight of Severus just a few moments ago and he looks tense as well. I tried to comfort him a bit but it just seemed to work him up even more… It’ll all be over rather quickly. The ceremony is very short…”

She nodded distractedly, his words doing nothing to eradicate the stirrings in her stomach.

“Unless… you aren’t worried about after the wedding, are you? The wedding night?”

Camilla opened her mouth to reply, but then shut it as a whole new series of fears began to plague her. While she and Severus had already done what her father was referring to, she couldn’t help but feel anxious about it. She wasn’t yet entirely used to sharing so much of herself with someone even if that someone was going to be her husband.

Her father watched her with an expression of sympathetic understanding. “I doubt Severus will expect too much, precious. He seems like a nice enough young man. I’m sure he’ll make you feel comfortable.”

She managed to nod in reply, realizing how far removed he was from the entire arrangement. He clearly hadn’t been privy to the many arguments she and her mother had had through owl post.

Suddenly, she heard the elegant sounds of classical music from somewhere beyond.

Her father clapped his hands together. “That would be the signal! Your bridal party will be heading down the aisle! Shall we?” he said jovially offering her his arm.

Taking a deep, steadying breath, she placed her hand in the crook of his arm.
With that, he led her from the room and down a long hall.

She could barely think. It was all she could do to remind herself to breath.

They rounded a corner and went down a small flight of stairs.

Camilla was heartened by the fact that she did not stumble on the steps.

Then, they reached a pair of double doors that were just closing. Her father took care to keep her from getting to close so as to avoid anyone gazing in that direction. “Don’t want anyone to get an early look,” her father mumbled. “It’ll ruin the fun.”

Fun. Camilla could think of several things that were fun. Walking down the aisle, on her way to get married, was certainly not at the top of the list.

When the doors had shut, her father hurried her forward so that they were standing right in front of them.

“Now, once the last of them reaches the end…” As he spoke, the music changed seamlessly into the familiar Wedding March. “There’s your tune! The big moment’s here.” Even her father’s voice held a note of boyish anxiety now.

He waved his wand in a high arc and the doors creaked as they slowly began to open. Stowing his wand away in his expensive dress robes, he murmured one last bit of advice to her. “Don’t forget to walk slowly. It’s not a race, alright?”

She gave a stiff nod. She knew it would be difficult, especially considering she already had the overwhelming urge to dash down the aisle.

Finally, they began to walk.

As they entered, Camilla was immediately stunned. It seemed every single pair of eyes was upon her. And her mother had clearly invited no small amount of guests. Then, she watched in awe as the entire group of them rose from their chairs to watch her.

She suppressed a small whimper of fear that threatened to escape her. She tried to keep her eyes forward, seeking out a familiar face. Her gaze settled on Severus.

He was dressed similar to her father: black dress robes with the unexplainable air of being very expensive. It was his expression, however that caused a tinge of pink to appear on her cheeks. His eyes were bright as he followed her slow procession down the aisle; his lips parted slightly as he took in the sight of her.

She cast him a hesitant smile, which he returned easily as if there were no question as to whom it was meant for.

Lucius was standing next to him, his hand on Severus’ shoulder, looking pleased.

Despite her nerves, Camilla was able to note that her mother had done wonders with no help from herself.

Even the color Severus had insisted upon, a deep navy, had turned out well. The entire room, having no windows, was lit with only candles, casting a pleasant golden glow. The floor was a dark wood, though she was walking on a long, blue carpet.

It seemed as if they had walked for a very long time when she and her father finally reached Severus.

Her father stepped forward and extended a hand. The two shook as a silent agreement was formed between them.

Then, with a few last minute words of happiness and love, her father took her hand and held it out to Severus, who, with a surprisingly apprehensive expression, took it gently.

Severus gave her another nervous smile and whispered, “You look-… You’re beautiful, Camilla.”

She managed to smile back and she felt him squeeze her hand reassuringly.

With her back to the wedding guests, she stared in bewilderment as the Headmaster of Hogwarts stood in front of them.

Why is he here? she thought blankly.

“Good afternoon, Ladies and Gentlemen!” His voice rang in the silence. “We gather here today to bear witness and celebrate the forming of a union between Severus Antony Septimius Snape and Camilla Anne Marie Portman.”

It took her a moment to remember that her parents had invited him. Of course, she hadn’t realized they had asked him to officiate, though, now that she thought about it, it seemed perfectly reasonable, as she was sure he had the title and power to do so.

“It is not every day that one attends a wedding such as this. For, as I’m sure you all know, this union is not one of love.”

Camilla gaped at the old man in horror. Was he trying to ruin her wedding? Was he purposefully tearing apart the illusion she had been hiding in all morning?

“And yet,” the Headmaster continued, “there is always the hope, the possibility, of something more. Something more than duty or convenience. Something more than simple tolerance. Something more than money…”

Camilla felt Severus’ hand tense in hers as Dumbledore’s gaze lingered on him.

“For it is not a lack of love that makes unhappy marriages,” he proclaimed, “It is a lack of friendship. A lack of understanding. A lack of respect for one another. All will make living together day after day an unpleasant task; something to dread. I speak only to Severus and Camilla when I say that it is my hope that they will strive for something more. And now, Severus and Camilla, I ask that you turn to face one another.”

She bit her lip in uneasy anticipation as she turned to face her fiancé.

Severus faced her as well, not releasing her hand.

“Do you have your rings?”

Camilla nodded and turned to Lily with whom she exchanged her bouquet for a simple platinum wedding band. Lily gave her an encouraging smile, but Camilla could not manage one in return.

Returning her gaze to Severus, she shifted restlessly while waiting for Dumbledore to go on.

“And now, before we continue, I ask all those present: Is there any here who objects to this union? If there is, speak now or forever hold your peace.”

Severus’ hand gripped hers tighter, as if anticipating an objection. But none came.

“Very well,” Dumbledore continued, “Severus, as you place this ring on Camilla, I ask you: Do you take this woman to be your lawful wedded wife? Do you promise Camilla and all of us here that, from this point forward, you will support her and nourish her, respect and honor her for the rest of your days on earth? If so, please answer ‘I do.’”

She stared in to Severus’ dark eyes, fearfully waiting for him to say those fateful words.

Gingerly, he slipped a three stone ring onto Camilla’s finger.

She stared at it, slightly breathless and unprepared for the intensity of the emotions that threatened to overwhelm her. The middle stone was a bright sapphire and it was framed by two stunningly clear diamonds.

“Camilla…” he began with a determined calm, “I have never found anything difficult… I have excelled in anything and everything I have ever attempted in school. And what I had initially assumed would be the simplest thing I’d ever do, stirred up complications that I hadn’t anticipated.” Severus paused to take a deep breath. “Something I’ve realized in the past few months is that emotions… life can’t be studied; can’t be analyzed. I’ve realized that emotions don’t make sense. Love doesn’t make sense. This realization has changed me… perhaps more than I’d like to admit. I want you to know that despite everything we’ve been through; despite everything we will no doubt go through in the future, I do care for you… more than anything,” he added gently, his eyes willing her to believe him. He turned to Dumbledore. “I do.”

Camilla gazed up at him in shock and awe. This speech was such a contrast to the one he had given her in the cold corridor of Hogwarts that she immediately dismissed his words as part of their “fantasy wedding.” But that didn’t change the fact that she had not prepared something equally as touching. She cast a panicked glance at Dumbledore, but he was too busy gazing at Severus with glittering blue eyes of approval.

“Camilla, as you place this ring on Severus…”

While Dumbledore spoke, she began frantically trying to compose a similar oration in her head but she hadn’t gotten very far when the Headmaster said, “If so, please answer ‘I do.’”

“Um…”

Severus raised an eyebrow at her.

She groaned softly, just loud enough for the two of them to hear.

He nodded his head in discreet encouragement.

“Severus…” she began tentatively. “Perhaps… perhaps our courtship wasn’t exactly the most conventional. In fact, it may not even qualify to be called a courtship. But I think… I think it was something more important. I think these past months have been a journey for the both of us. We have fought our way towards understanding and we still haven’t quite reached it yet. But I want to believe we’ll get there eventually…” She paused searching for an appropriate way to end. Finally, she blurted, “I love you, Severus.”

His eyes widened slightly, but she turned her gaze away from him and turned to Dumbledore. “I do.” Then, she hurriedly placed the ring on Severus’ finger.

The Headmaster beamed at them. “Severus and Camilla, in the presence of your family and friends,” he said, “It is my legal right as Chief Warlock of the Wizengamot and Supreme Mugwump of the International Confederation of Wizards as well as my greatest joy and privilege to declare you bonded for life.”

Camilla absorbed these words with a terrible lump in her throat. She choked out a quiet sob as tears began to run down her cheeks.

Severus watched her, his eyes reflecting concern.

“Severus, you may now kiss the bride.”

He moved closer to her, a hand reaching out to cup her cheek. He wiped a tear away with his thumb. He leaned in towards her as she drew a shaky breath.

“Are you okay?” he murmured before meeting her lips.

She gave a small nod and placed her hands on his chest. It seemed that everything had led to this moment.

Finally, he pressed his lips to hers and she was overcome with the familiar sensations that often accompanied his kisses: a strange calm came over her as she leaned into him, her worries disappearing. And yet she seemed very aware of every nerve on her body.

There was a small burst of applause as they pulled apart and she felt her face flush with embarrassment.

Camilla heard her mother ushering the guests out the door and to the ballroom where the reception would take place.

"We did it." She gave a hesitant smile. "We're really married."

He glanced at her with weary smirk. "It would seem so."

--


Camilla and Severus walked the halls of the castle where they had been married silently, hand in hand.

When the couple reached the doors to the room that had served as Camilla’s chambers for the day, she went in and made to shut the door behind her but found that Severus was following too closely.

“You’re not going to watch me change are you?”

He blinked. “Why not?”

She stared back at him. “Well, there is something called privacy,” she replied, her hands on her hips.

“I didn’t realize that mattered all that much anymore. It’s nothing I haven’t seen.” He smirked. “It’s something I hope to be seeing quite a bit more of in the very near future as well, now that I think about it.”

Camilla gave a derisive snort. “Like you haven’t been thinking about it since that night…”

He gave her a guilty grin, but said nothing.

Relenting, she allowed him to enter behind her and he shut the door.

“That turned out better than I thought it would,” he said, calmly leaning against the wall.

“Agreed.” She began to loosen the ties on back of her dress with her wand, sighing in relief when she was free to breathe normally.

She and her mother had reached a sort of compromise when it came to wedding gowns and the older woman had decided to allow her daughter to change into a simpler, less formal dress for the reception as long as she wore the other without any further complaint.

“Need any help?”

She shook her head. It would be asking for trouble if she let him help undress her; there was no time for distractions. When she had finally rid herself of the wedding gown she was left standing clad only in the underwear she had bought specifically for her wedding night. She was certain she could feel his gaze on her.

Embarrassed, she tried to engage him in conversation while she looked about for the dress she intended to change into. “Severus…? Everything you said up there… that was part of the fantasy?”

His eyes met hers for a moment then returned to their task of considering the rest of her body. “Was it not to your liking?”

“It was lovely… and unexpected.”

“Obviously,” he replied, giving her a small smile.

“Yes, well, I don’t think I like this fantasy thing after all. It just makes everything so much harder.”

“What do you mean?”

“I mean, you’re a brilliant actor,” she said shortly. Finally, she found the dress she was looking for and quickly stepped into it. It was a simple, knee-length, white satin dress that thankfully didn’t constrict her breathing.

He brushed a bit of lint from his shoulder. “You’re not a terrible actress either, you know.”

“Actually, I am. Everything I said up there… I wasn’t acting, Severus.” She avoided looking at him by making her way to the mirror and touching up her hair and make-up.

There was a long silence as the room filled with awkward tension.

“I’ll be downstairs at the reception… come find me when you’re done here?” he muttered suddenly.

“Yeah,” she replied softly, “Of course.”

Camilla silently berated herself as she heard the door click shut behind him.

--


“And that,” he muttered as he took a sip of his wine, “is my father.”

“Where?” she asked, attempting to follow his gaze, but seeing no one that reminded her of Severus.

“There.”

“The one with the ugly violet tie?”

He rolled his eyes in frustration. “The one talking with your Dad.”

Camilla instantly focused in on her father who was talking animatedly to tall, middle-aged man in what looked to be a very expensive muggle suit.

“Are you going to introduce me?” she asked, straining her neck to get a better look.

“I’m actually doing my best to avoid him. I’m hoping he’ll just stay for the wine and leave.”

“He doesn’t look that bad, Severus. If he’s getting on with my father-.”

“Oh yes,” Severus snapped with a sneer, “If he gets along with a man who forced his daughter into a marriage with someone she hates, well then, he must not be too horrible.”

She narrowed her eyes at him. “What’s that supposed to mean?”

“I’m just saying that you shouldn’t be surprised that two rotten fathers would get along.”

Camilla glared at him as the urge to toss her wine in his face overcame her. “Don’t talk about my father that way,” she hissed. “You don’t know anything about him.”

Severus turned to gaze evenly at her. “I know he thinks he’s dumping you into an abusive relationship and doesn’t care. And I know he promised me your inheritance. He may not be as awful as my father, but he isn’t a bloody saint, Camilla.”

Camilla glanced from her father back to Severus as she took in his words. “I know he’s not a saint but… He’s a good person. And he loves my mother and I.”

Severus shrugged not realizing or not caring that he was upsetting his new wife. “I can’t make you see what you don’t want to.”

She scowled back at him preferring to sit in silence rather than argue.

They sat for a long time, guests approaching their table every few minutes to congratulate them on their marriage.

“Of all the days you could have chosen to be a jerk,” she mumbled.

He sighed. “We’re both stressed. I shouldn’t have said anything.”

“But you did and-.”

“I’m sorry, alright? How many times am I going to have to apologize for every stupid thing? I care about you, isn’t that enough?”

“Sometimes I’m actually delusional enough to believe you, Severus…” She stood ignoring his protests and made her way over to her friends leaving Severus alone at the table.

“Where’s Remus?” she asked after greeting them with a weary smile.

“He’s not feeling too well.” Sirius mumbled in an undertone. “He said he’d try to stop in, but, well, you know…”

Camilla nodded with disappointment, but determinedly pushed aside her sadness and said teasingly, “I noticed none of you objected to my marrying Severus when Dumbledore asked.”

James grimaced. “It took a surprising amount of strength, let me tell you.”

"You were stunning though," Lily gushed, "Severus couldn't take his eyes off you. And, oh, he was so nervous beforehand. It was really cute actually."

Camilla grinned at the idea of Severus being adorably nervous and thanked Lily for the compliment.

"Speaking of Snivellus… " Peter said in a none too quiet voice.

She felt a slight pressure where Severus had taken her arm. "Come on, I have to introduce you to a few people."

Sirius looked outraged. "We were talking to her Snivelly! You can't just come up-!"

But Severus had drawn his wand. "My wedding. My wife. You'll find I can do whatever the hell I want, Black."

"Sirius, no," she said as she watched her friend reach for his wand as well. "Don't do this. Not today… please. It's fine."

Sirius narrowed his eyes. "Only because she asked, Snivellus."

"His name is Severus!" Camilla and Lily snapped in unison.

A smug smirk crept onto Severus' face as both James' and Sirius' eyes widened in surprise. Then, he tugged on her arm, guiding her away from the group and leaving Lily to explain why she had come to his defense.

"Who am I meeting then?"

He gave an irritated sigh. "My dear father."

"I'm sure he's not half as terrible as you make him out to be," she said, partially in an effort to ease her own nerves. After everything Severus had told her about the man she couldn't help being a bit anxious.

"We'll see…"

"Ah! You found her Severus!" Camilla's father exclaimed as they approached the two. "Tobias, my friend, this is my daughter... and your new daughter in-law I suppose."

Camilla's first thought was that Tobias Snape was actually quite handsome. He had a strong jaw and was unshaven, giving him a slightly rugged look. She noted that he had the same nose as Severus, however, somehow, it seemed to fit him better than it fit his son. Though, when he smiled, it didn't quite reach his eyes.

"Well, aren't you just a picture of loveliness?" Tobias said smoothly, "When Eileen told me Severus was getting married I never expected such a beautiful young lady to come walking down that aisle. To say I was shocked would be an understatement. But of course, this was arranged without your prior knowledge, correct?"

She couldn't help but blush and smile as he complimented her. "Yes, but we're learning to get along, I think," she replied.

He smiled again.

Merlin, he's good looking! she thought to herself as he ran his hand through his hair.

"I'm afraid I don't know much about you. Severus wouldn't say a word about this whole thing when he dropped by a few days ago." He glanced quickly at Severus, a cold smirk gracing his features for a mere fraction of a second. "He never stays long."

"Oh well, what would you like to know?" she asked, shifting on her feet. She felt like an infatuated schoolgirl.

"Shall we sit?" he said, gesturing towards a table.

Camilla nodded enthusiastically and allowed him to place his hand on the small of her back and lead her to a table.

--


"He was undressing you in his mind!" he raged as soon as he had dragged her away into the hall.

"Oh, Severus," Camilla scoffed. "You are being positively ridiculous. He was doing no such thing."

"And he touched you! He only did it because he knew it would infuriate me."

"Both your parents seemed wonderful. I don't understand how you could say all those things about your father when-."

"You think I'm lying?" he hissed, his face contorted in a mask of rage.

"Severus…"

He swore loudly and kicked the wall.

"Calm down," she said firmly, "It-… it doesn't matter, alright? The reception's almost over. People are starting to leave. Let's just go back out there and finish this thing, okay? It doesn't matter."

"Fine, but I want you to stay away from him. If he tries to lure you in with his talk about muggle living and other such rubbish-."

"'Lure me in?' Honestly..."

"I'm serious! Promise me!"

"I'll stay away from him, I promise," she said gently.

They made their way back into the ballroom, Severus' hand clasping hers rather tightly. The minutes seemed to drag on while they bid their guests goodbye.

"So what exotic and romantic location are you whisking me away to once we're allowed to leave?" Camilla whispered to her new husband as her mother said her parting words to Eileen Prince.

He raised an eyebrow. "Romantic and exotic?"

"You didn't intend to spend our wedding night at the Leaky Cauldron or something did you?" A slight frown began to form on her lips.

"The Leaky Cauldron is a fine establishment," he said defensively.

Her eyes widened in shock and the beginnings of anger. "Wha-?"

Then, he scowled. "Do you honestly believe I would take you to the Leaky Cauldron?" he hissed. "Obviously you have no confidence in my idea of a decent honeymoon."

"That has nothing to do with it! Don't put words in my mouth!"

"Lower your voice. Is Spain exotic enough? Or did you want to go on a jungle expedition in Africa?"

She grinned, completely missing his sarcastic comment. "Spain? Really?"

"Yes, really."

Camilla could barely contain her enthusiasm. It seemed to take hours for the ballroom to empty.

Finally, Camilla's parents approached them. "Well, darling, " her mother said, "You two can probably go on ahead. Your father and I will thank everyone else."

Camilla had no reservations and was anxious to leave. She threw her arms around her father, giving him one last hug.

"Be good precious, " he said, struggling to contain his emotions, "And be sure to come visit your old man the moment you get home."

"Of course, Daddy. I love you."

When her father released her he looked to Severus who was standing to the side looking like an awkward intruder. "I trust you'll keep in mind everything we've discussed?"

Severus nodded. "Of course, sir."

"Go on then," her mother said, shooing them towards the door. "I've sent your things ahead already, Camilla. Remember to behave yourself. And do try not to eat too much. I put that new diet book in your bag so you could-."

"That's enough, Leila," her father intoned calmly.

Camilla gave her father a grateful look before turning to Severus so that he could apparate them to their destination.

--


“I just want to take another look,” she said, holding the book out of his reach. “’Property of the Half-Blood Prince’” she recited, catching a glimpse of the back cover. “That’s a very clever play on words, Severus.” She smiled cheekily at him. “I rather like it.”

“Give it here, NOW,” he snarled back at her.

“If you’re the Half-Blood Prince, does that make me a princess?” She batted her eyelashes at him.

He glared at her apparently unfazed by her attempt at a flirtatious expression. “Hardly.”

She shook her head. “Say I’m a princess,” she demanded with a grin.

“No,” he replied firmly, though he seemed to be having difficulty maintaining his scowl.

“Yes.”

“Absolutely not. I will not be engaged in such idiotic banter.”

“Severus! Say it, or the book…” She held her wand up to it threateningly.

“Very well,” he snapped, “You’re a princess.”

“Who’s princess?”

He glowered at her. “You’re my princess, you annoying chit. Now give me my book back.”

At this Camilla dissolved into a fit of laughter, falling back onto the bed. She never imagined such words coming from a man like Severus.

“You are easily amused,” he drawled, watching her scornfully. “If I didn’t know any better I’d say you were inebriated.”

She simply beamed back at him and he rolled his eyes.

After composing herself, she began to flip through the pages of the book a bit more leisurely now that he didn’t seem quite as agitated that she was looking at it. She had once picked up the book by accident, but hadn't bothered to take a proper look. “Severus?”

“Hmm?” he responded petulantly as he picked at the wrapping of one of their wedding gifts.

“Have you actually made corrections to the textbook?”

“Of course I have. That Libatius Borage bloke was an imbecile. He didn’t know a thing about the finer details that go into potion-making. I’m surprised they even let him publish a textbook, let alone teach the material at Hogwarts.”

Camilla turned the pages, glancing at his notes. She stared at the margins. “Severus?”

“What?”

“Can you invent spells?” she asked, unable to keep the awe from her voice.

He turned his attention from and ugly brass picture frame he had just unwrapped to look at her. “Yes,” he replied simply, “I started in my second year. I had quite a bit of spare time.”

“I’m impressed,” she said honestly, closing the book, standing and depositing it on a table, “As a Ravenclaw, I can’t help but be immensely attracted to that sort of intellect.”

He raised his eyebrows quizzically, but said nothing.

“How long does it take to create a spell?” she pressed. “Could you teach me how?”

He eyed her hesitantly. “It’s not something that can really be taught or explained.”

Camilla’s face fell a bit.

“I would tell you if I could.” He sounded apologetic about it and Camilla believed him. At least he wasn’t keeping her in the dark in order to somehow seem superior to her.

“No matter.” She gave a shrug. “I probably wouldn’t be any good at it anyway.”

Camilla made her way over to the satisfyingly large pile of wedding gifts, eyeing some of the bigger packages. “What do you think Lucius and Narcissa got us?”

“Something expensive, no doubt.” He began to open one of the bottles of elf made wine that had been delivered to their room prior to their arrival. “Do you want any?” he asked offering her a glass.

She shook her head, as she tugged a card from one of the larger gift bags. Then, she felt a firm hand on her waist as Severus approached her from behind.

“You’re certain? A bit of liquid courage never hurt anyone,” he murmured gently in her ear. He began to trail light kisses along her bare shoulder.

Biting her lip hesitantly, she purposely kept her back to him and said, “I don’t know, Severus. I’m rather tired. Could it maybe wait until tomorrow?”

He pulled away from her with an irritated sigh. “It’s our wedding night. Will you please be reasonable?”

Camilla frowned deeply and spun around to scowl at him, her hands on her hips. “I. Don’t. Feel. Well. This has been the most dreadful day of my life! You be reasonable!”

Swearing fiercely, he threw himself onto the bed and drained his glass of wine in one swift movement.

They both glared at each other in oppressive silence. She tried to match his cross expression with one of her own, though she could already feel her anger ebbing away to be replaced by exhaustion.

She made her way towards the bed and fell onto the space next to him.

He did not make any move to look at her.

“Severus?”

He didn’t reply.

They had been on their honeymoon for only two hours and her husband was already angry with her.

“You’re acting like a child,” she huffed.

“You act like you’re the only one who’s had a hard time of it,” he muttered bitterly. “If it weren’t for you, I would have left this bloody country and made the most of my final years in France or something.”

“Go then! Maybe I’ll still have a chance to do something worthwhile with my life!”

He twisted his wineglass in his hand, staring hard at it as though he could make it refill through sheer will power. “I’m sure you and Lupin might find the time to shack up before the Dark Lord finds you.”

“Don’t ever mention him again,” she snapped.

He glanced at her. “Who? Lupin or the Dark Lord?”

“Remus is just my friend and I don’t ever want to hear you mention his name again.” And, feeling particularly vindictive, she added, “He’s more of a man than you will ever be.”

Severus visibly stiffened. “At least I’m not half beast.”

“You behave like a beast, so I see very little difference.”

Incensed, he stood and snatched a pillow from the bed and left the bedroom, slamming the door behind him.

--


Severus Snape had always been a fitful sleeper. The nightmares he’d experienced as a small boy had followed him into his early adulthood. He never had the same one twice. The dreams changed every night, as if to keep him guessing as to what horrors he would have to face in his sleep.

“I can make it stop, Severus,” the Dark Lord hissed, “Just give me your word.”

Her screaming rang in his ears as he tried to make his decision.

“I…can’t…”

Voldemort’s lips curled into a terrible grin. “Very well… perhaps you ought not to have married then… AVADA KEDAVRA!”

Severus screamed.

Lupin was watching from the sidelines, his wand held uselessly at his side. “Why didn’t you just leave her alone?” he said sadly. “Now look what you’ve done.”


Severus awoke, his heart pounding. The darkness pressed in against him. “Camilla?” he called out sharply.

He stumbled from the sofa. Extremely unfamiliar with his surroundings, Severus found himself tripping over seemingly every piece of furniture in the room.

When he finally reached the bedroom, he carelessly threw open the door and strode to the bed. He needed to make sure...

He gave a sigh of relief as his hand rested on her sleeping form.

“It was a nightmare,” he breathed to himself.

“Oh, good,” she said with a soft giggle, “Professor Dumbledore just doesn’t look decent in a wedding gown does he, Sev?”

“What?”

The harsh tone in his voice caused her to start. “What?” she mumbled in response.

“What are you talking about?”

She curled up to him, wrapping her arms around his neck so that she was nearly on top of him. “Dumbledore marrying your father. He's so handsome.” She nipped affectionately at his ear.

“Camilla, are you awake?”

She mumbled something into his neck that sounded like an affirmative.

“I’m sorry, Camilla-.”

“No I’m sorry,” she replied in hazy voice, “The day wasn’t dreadful and you don’t always behave like a beast. And we can do whatever you want in the morning.”

“I like being here with you,” he admitted, “I’d probably be miserable in France, just waiting to die like that.”

“You aren’t going to die, Severus,” she chided sleepily.

He recognized that she was starting to fall back to sleep, but he found that once he’d started confessing his feelings it was difficult for him to stop.

“Maybe not yet. But what happens when I have to kill someone? Do I do it? Or do I let the Dark Lord kill me? …Camilla?”

She gave a sigh of contentment; her warm breath danced across the skin of his throat and Severus knew he had lost his audience.

--

A special THANK YOU to Misty_Rey and all the other great people on the HPFF forums who were amazingly helpful when it came to writing Severus and Camilla's vows / speeches!

Another big thanks to all my wonderful readers and those fantasic people who take the time to review! I promise I will get around to answering everyone as soon as I can.

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