Author's Notes: Beta-ed by the usual all-knowing triumvirate of geyer, bambu345 and alwaysjbj, with madeleone and arynwy cheerleading and alpha-reading.
Severus stroked Hermione's sex-tousled hair and allowed her to drape herself over him while he waited for his elf to announce breakfast.
"'Morning, love," she sighed contentedly.
A series of soft knocks came through the bedroom door before he managed a reply. "Breakfast is ready, Professor Snape, sir, your clothes is set out by the fire and there is being some Muggle post."
"Thank you, Preshuss. That will be all for now," Severus answered as he slithered out from under Hermione's arm and shrugged his way into his robe. "I'll call you if I need anything else."
"Very good, professor, sir."
Severus smirked as Hermione seemed intent on burrowing head first into their pillows. "You can't stay there," he reminded her.
"Jus' five minit," she muttered into the bed linens.
Severus rolled his eyes and made his way through to the living area, where Preshuss and her comrades had set out a table for two, complete with a single rose from Pomona's hidden garden. Today's was lavender for enchantment. He skimmed through the options on the menu, ordering fruit juice and a full English breakfast by speaking to his place setting before he turned his attention to the two envelopes propped up against the vase. He would get coffee later at the High Table after Hermione left for work.
He first noted the quality of the envelopes, and the clear, slightly familiar hand in which they were both addressed, one to Professor Severus Snape and one to Miss Hermione Granger. Closer examination allowed him to deduce that they had been written with a fountain or cartridge pen, rather than quill and ink, and they bore a postmark that corresponded with Hermione's home town.
Intrigued by this point, he cast several detection spells, even though he knew the elves would already have checked the communications for harmful magic or substances. Once he was satisfied that it was safe, he slit the envelope open and admired the heavy embossed card, gold leaf adornment and black script. His brows shifted together and he turned the card over. In the same hand that had addressed the envelopes was written: "About time? K.H.G."
Severus turned the invitation back over again.
Mr and Mrs James F. Granger
would like to invite
to celebrate the wedding of their daughter, Hermione, to Professor Severus Snape
at St. Peter's Church, Duntisbourne Abbots
at noon on May 2nd, 2002
and thereafter at Halswell House, Goathurst
He pushed the invitation back into its envelope, and was running a fingertip over his lips as he considered the situation.
"That bad?" Hermione asked when she gave up the bed and found him in this pose. Preshuss had surreptitiously shifted the covers so that a cold draught reached her feet and chased away the last of her somnolence, all without letting it be known that the elf was aware of her presence. After all, the elves would never admit they knew that an unmarried woman had spent the night in the bed of Hogwarts' headmaster.
"Wedding invitations," Severus answered.
"Judging from your expression, from one of my friends rather than one of yours."
Severus snorted. "None of my friends are free to marry. Azkaban frowns upon it. And I'd say more a friend of a friend of yours," he replied. "It does conveniently coincide with the Ministry's Victory Ball," he added, tucking his envelope back beside her unopened one. "At least a room full of former pupils can't be any worse than the company the Ministry would provide." He picked up his cutlery and started on his black pudding as Hermione ordered cereal, coffee and toast.
"I like the Victory Ball," Hermione protested. "It's the only chance I ever get to really show you off."
Severus rolled his eyes. "You would. Well, I suppose we'll have to go to one or the other. Why don't you make your mind up and R.S.V.P. for us both?" he added with a Slytherin smile.