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Chapter 8: My love.
We decided to get married in the spring time because the weather made it neither too hot or too cold. To my surprise and delight, Draco was more than happy to give ideas and assistance in the planning of our wedding. I made Ginny my maid of honour the day after the engagement and an announcement was put into the Daily Prophet. I had a small worry that Ron may see it before I had a chance to tell him.
Convieniently, Ron wrote to me at the end of February to tell me that he was due home in August. He also said that he had amazing news and stories to share. At the end of the letter, he signed his love. This made me feel very uneasy because I wondered if Ron thought that our relationship would pick up from where it was left almost two years previous. This fleeting thought made me angry because it was clear that Ron thought that I was unable to find love and romance outside of himself.
One evening, I was in the kitchen preparing dinner for when Draco returned home from work. He had stayed later than me, which was unusual, for reasons that I was not aware of. At eight fifteen, Draco appeared in the middle of the kitchen looking conflicted. His hair was dishevled and his face was blotchy, like he'd been rubbing it.
"Draco darling," I said, hurrying over to him. "Is everything alright?" I asked and then hugged him tightly.
Draco shook his head and hugged me back. "I've been given an undeniable assignment Hermione," he said bleakly.
I felt the blood drain from my face. Undeniable assignments were tasks given to only the most talented, trusted Aurors. It was supposedly a great honour to be selected however, as a rule of thumb were very dangerous.
I tried to seem pleased. "That's wonderful Draco," I told him, going back to my dinner preperation. "Why do you seem so worried?"
"I'll be gone for three weeks," he whispered.
I paused on the carrot I was peeling and tried to not look forlorn. "When is this assignment scheduled?" I asked reasonably.
Draco came behind me and wrapped his arms around my waist. There he rested his chin on my shoulder and kissed my cheek. "I'll have to leave next week."
Rage bubbled inside me. "They can't do that!" I exclaimed. If my calculations were correct, and they usually were, his trip would interfere with our wedding.
"But darling, they can," replied Draco miserably.
I turned around to hug him tightly.
"I don't know what to do Hermione," he said into my hair. "They've left me with no choice."
I sighed. "We'll have to postpone the wedding," I said finally.
Draco was already shaking his head. "Hermione, the assignment is a Death Eater sighting. Harry and I have been specifically delected and I'm worried that it's going to be extremely dangerous. There is no way that I can go out and risk my life, without being married to you."
"Whatever are you suggesting Draco?" I asked, confused.
"I'm saying that we need to do whatever it takes to bring the wedding forward," he said. "If not, then we go to that muggle place from the movies you made me watch."
"Vegas?" I asked, astounded at his offer. "But Draco, what about the your mother? My parents! They'll be furious."
"Let them be," he replied forcefully, rubbing my arms. "This wedding is about you and me Hermione and I want to marry you before I leave."
"Okay Draco," I whispered. "I'll call my parents."
At first, my mother and father had been adamantly against the idea of Draco and I being married in a chapel in Vegas, however when they understood the urgency of the situation; they had no choice. They agreed on the condition that they be allowed to come to watch. Narcissa had not understood the concept, until Draco explained it to her three times. When she finally got it; she wrinkled her nose in distaste. She too, however, had no choice but to comply.
Just three days after Draco had been given the assignment, we travelled to Las Vegas with Narcissa, my parents, Harry and Ginny via Portkey. It was illegal to apparate internationally so we were given a special circumstances Portkey.
The ceremony was nothing special. I wore my favourite floral dress and I had a moment of sadness when I realised I would never wear the beautiful gown I had selected. My queries, however, were washed away when my father escorted me out of the back room and into the main chapel.
I walked down the short, moth eaten aisle towards Draco, who was stood at a makeshift alter. Nothing seemed to matter at that moment. I didn't care that my dress wasn't designer, or that I only had a few witnesses. It didn't matter that the chapel was small and had a draft because I was marrying the man I loved. I had my father on my arm, my two greatest friends to witness and my love waiting for me. In the moment, I felt as if it was the perfect wedding day.
I reached Draco at the alter and he grinned in a way that should have split his face. Taking my hands in his, he pulled me close to him.
"Small audience," called out the 'minister'. "We are gathered to witness the marriage of..." he looked questioningly at Draco.
"Draco Malfoy," he supplied, his lips twitching.
"And the lovely lady..." continued the minister, now looking at me.
"Hermione Granger," I told him. When I glanced at Ginny, I saw that she had a hand clapped to her mouth to stop her from laughing.
"Of course, of course," said the minister. "Now, do you Draco Malfoy, take Hermione Granger to be your wife forever more?"
Draco traced his hand down my cheek tenderly. "I do," he stated clearly.
"And do you, Hermione Granger, take Draco Malfoy to be your husband forever more?"
"I do," I grinned.
"Do you have rings?" asked the minister. "Because we don't supply those."
I giggled and extracted Draco's wedding ring from my pocket. Draco did the same. Carefully, we each slid the others ring onto the respective finger and then smiled adoringly towards eachother.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife, you may kiss your bride," concluded the minister, looking ready to leave.
Draco leaned in and kissed me gently. I kissed him back and melted against his touch. It didn't matter that our wedding was not glamourous. All that mattered was that I had married the man I loved.
After signing some legal documents, I was officially made Mrs Hermione Malfoy.
I liked the sound of that.
Draco left on the Wednesday after we were married. I walked him, miserably, to the front door. He had a bag packed and his coat over his arm. We had already said our 'goodbye' the night before, however Draco leaned in and kissed me long enough to want to drag him upstairs immediately.
"Goodbye Hermione, my wife," Draco whispered against my neck. "I love you so much."
I sniffed. "I love you too Draco, and you better return home to me."
With a wave, Draco stepped over the threshold. Once he was down the steps, I closed the door on him. After a moment, I heard the famliar, faint pop! and knew he was gone.
Those three weeks must have been the hardest of my life. And in those weeks I realised that I had never loved before Draco. The way I felt was burning me inside out and it was then that I had the realisation that I never loved Ron Weasley.
Ginny was beside herself with worry as well. We each understood how the other felt. We were helpless wives, praying for our husbands to come home safe.
On the day of my would-been wedding, I recieved an owl. It was pure black and very regal looking. When it stopped on the kitchen window sill, it held out its leg and waited for me to take the scroll attached. It wasn't until I had closed the window and made a coffee, that I sat down at the breakfast bar and opened it:
Dear Mrs Malfoy,
This is to confirm that your husband has successfully completed his undeniable assignment and will be returning home tomorrow evening.
As a couple, you will be awarded a week of personal time off to spend as you choose. As a thank you, Mr Draco Malfoy will be awarded The Order of Merlin: First Class for his brave input in these troubled times.
Thank you for your co-operation
Head of the Auror Office
I dropped the parchment on the counter and rested my head down after it. I then began to cry earnestly. It felt as if a great weight had been lifted.
My husband was returning home to me; a hero.
The next evening, I prepared Draco's favourite meal for his homecoming. For the occasion, I had purchased a new dress. It was very short, very tight and black. As I was washing up a dish in the sink, there was a sharp knock on the door.
Undeniably excited to see my husband, I rushed down the hallway ready to greet him. I smoothed my dress and smiled to myself when I realised I was still wearing my rubber gloves.
I swung open the door with a grin on my face.
It wasn't my husband, who was on the otherside.
It was a man who I hadn't seen in almost two years, and in that time I had grown to hate.
Ron Weasley stood on the doorstep of my home that I shared with my absent husband looking tired, confused and irritated.
Slowly, he looked me up and down three times, as I stood there motionless.
"Hermione?" he asked disbelieving. "What the fuck?"