Chapter 1 : Life doesn't just end
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“Hermione, are you- Oh my God! You look beautiful!” Ginny exclaimed excitedly. “I’m feeling a bit jealous now.”
Ginny entered Hermione’s dressing room, looking very beautiful herself. For all the complaining that Ginny had done about the Maid of Honour’s dress, she seemed very content to wear it right now. She was wearing a lavender chiffon gown that barely touched the tip of her toes. Her hair was slightly waved and hung loose, with the exception of a few strands that had been pinned back and held with pins.
“I can’t believe after all that complaining you did, the dress looks so beautiful on you,” Hermione said laughing.
“Well, I guess after I tried it and you know, added the shoes and the jewellery it didn’t look that bad. Besides, if you give me a pair of purple sapphire earrings, I’ll be happy to wear anything.”
Both girls laughed as Hermione put on her small heeled, thin-strapped shoes. “So, how’s my groom doing?” Hermione asked.
“He looks absolutely gorgeous, if that’s what you want to know,” Ginny said, winking. “But he’s flushed; it’s quite adorable if you ask me.”
“Well he was adorable to begin with.”
“I still can’t believe you’re marrying Draco Malfoy of all people. I mean, if somebody had told me at Hogwarts that I’d end up being the Maid of Honour at Draco Malfoy and Hermione Granger’s wedding then I’d probably have dragged them to the infirmary.”
“I guess I would have done the same,” Hermione said, remembering Draco at Hogwarts. “But times change and so do people.”
“Hermione, look at the time! You have half an hour before you’re getting married and you’re sitting here babbling away! Hurry and get ready, while I go check on Harry!”
Hermione giggled. “Ah, Ginny! Where would this wedding be without you?”
Ginny smiled and nodded. “I was thinking the exact same thing.”
Draco looked at himself in the mirror, his grey eyes staring back at him. He was nervous as hell today. He was wearing dark black dress robes with a white diamond broche on his chest pocket. His hair was, as usual, perfect in style, colour and length. And yet, he felt a bit nervous today. He exhaled a deep breathe and revelled about Hermione. He loved her beyond all limits, and today he was going to stand in front of her and make her his wife.
The war had taught Draco many things like courage and good, but the most important lesson he learnt was after the war-- love. That’s when he’d met Hermione again, after Hogwarts. She taught him that his life could be changed, people could change and happiness can always be found again.
“Draco…” Draco turned and saw Crabbe peering through the dressing room door.
“Oh, Crabbe, its good you’re here,” Draco exclaimed. “The Minister wants the wedding rings before hand, to give to the ring bearer. Go and give them to him.”
“The…rings?” Crabbe asked incredulously.
Draco sighed. “They’re in the top drawer.”
“Right,” Crabbe said. “The top drawer.” He entered the room and wandered around aimlessly trying to figure out which top drawer Draco was referring to.
Draco sighed again. “The top drawer of the left cabinet.”
“Oh okay!” Once again Crabbe looked around clueless and then made his way left.
“Not my left, Crabbe!” Draco said, irritably. “Your left.”
“Oh!” Crabbe said, indicating full comprehension. He made his way to his left and found an oak wood cabinet. He drew out the first drawer and produced two rings cases, each which contained a hand crafted, priceless diamond ring.
“I found them, Draco!” Crabbe said cheerfully.
“Very good, Crabbe. You’re a true genius of our age.”
Crabbe smiled, apparently not understanding the sarcasm and headed out the door.
“Only 24 minutes left!” Hermione whispered to herself. She took a deep breathe and reached for her veil which was beautifully adorned with flowers. As she reached for it, she heard a voice that she hadn’t heard in over four years.
Hermione didn’t turn around. She knew who was standing behind her. She closed her eyes and prayed that she was imagining voices.
“Hermione,” the voice said again in the same soft tone.
Hermione turned around and saw Ron standing behind her, looking worse than ever before. His hair was messy; he eyes that were once mischievous and cheerful were now sad and lifeless.
“Ron,” Hermione breathed. The sound of his voice prickled the back of her ears and she couldn’t believe that he was standing there.
“It’s been a while, hasn’t it?” Ron said softly.
Hermione turned away, unable to face him. She hadn’t seen him for four years and there had been a very good reason. Right after their seventh year, Hermione and Ron had confessed their feelings for each other and a year later, Ron left for Romania without any explanation. The only thing for sure that Hermione knew was that he had left because he didn’t love her. The night before his departure, Hermione had whispered to Ron those three fateful words, ‘I love you’. He hadn’t replied to her. The next day, he’d left for good, leaving a note saying that he was leaving for Romania.
“What do you want, Ron?” Hermione asked, trying to mask the pain in her voice. She had finally found true love and her past had come to haunt it.
“Hermione…I know it’s been long and you must have a lot of questions…”
“I don’t, Ron.” Hermione said sternly.
“What?” Ron stuttered.
“I don’t have any questions for you,” Hermione repeated, withholding her tears.
“You need to let me explain,” Ron pleaded.
“I don’t, Ron,” Hermione said again. “I don’t need you to do anything. I don’t need you.”
“I know you’re angry with me, and you have good reason to be.”
“Why have you come here?”
“I came here to tell you what you wanted to hear me say four years ago. Hermione, I lo-”
“Stop it, Ron!” Hermione shrieked. “Please just stop it!”
“Didn’t you want me to say that to you? Isn’t that the reason we never spoke again?” Ron asked, his broken heart echoing in his eyes.
“No it isn’t. The reason we haven’t spoken in four years is because you ran away from me without telling me anything.”
“Hermione, I was scared!” Ron said, exasperated. “I mean, we’d been going out for a year and all of a sudden you said you loved me…and…I…I panicked.”
“So you left?” Hermione asked roughly, silent tears escaping her eyes.
“I left to think things over and I didn’t want to come back unless I was sure that I could give you an answer. I’m here because I know, for sure, what I feel about you. I’m here to tell you…”
“When I’m in a wedding dress, twenty minutes before I’m supposed to walk down the aisle?” Hermione said, now amidst tears.
“You can’t possibly tell me that you love Malfoy. That you love the same man who let death eaters into our school, the same man who sided with Voldemort.”
“Ron, times change, circumstances change and people change!”
“That’s not true, Hermione! And you know that! Nobody changes overnight!” yelled Ron, his face turning red.
“They do, Ron,” Hermione whispered. “Look at yourself. One minute you were the man whom I wanted to spend the rest of my life with, and the next second, you were the man who ran to a different country to avoid a confrontation.” Hermione began to sob and knelt down onto the floor. “I loved you, Ron.” She wept.
Draco felt an odd pounding in his heart. It was beating at an unusually fast rate and Draco finally understood what it meant to have butterflies in your stomach. Draco sat down and took a few deep breaths. For the first time in his life, Draco Malfoy felt like he was doing the right thing for the right reason.
“Draco,” Mrs. Weasley said, popping her head into the room. “The Minister says that its time for you to come outside.”
Draco nodded politely and turned to face the mirror one last time. He adjusted his collar and reached into his pocket, drawing out a picture. The picture was of himself and Hermione, who were both smiling and waving. Draco ran his fingers down the picture gently and placed it back into his pocket.
“Hermione please try to understand. I was foolish to leave you...”
Hermione looked up, her eyes red from all the crying. “What kind of foolishness is this, Ron, that one minute you slip a bracelet onto my hand and the other you write a letter saying that you don’t love me.”
“So you’re saying that you don’t love me? Hermione, this can’t be the end of our love.”
“You’re right, Ron. This isn’t the end of our love. Our love ended that night you chose to run away from your problems. Our love ended that night you decided to forget about all our memories together. Do you know how much pain you put me through?”
“I…I’ve been very cruel to you,” Ron said, hanging his head in defeat. “I know what I did was…stupid…just bloody stupid and I guess it’s time I face the punishment for it.”
He walked over to Hermione and lifted her off the ground, his hands felt warm against her soft skin. His went over to the side table and lifted Hermione’s bridal veil and placed it gingerly over her head and wiped away her tears.
“You will always be a part of me,” Ron whispered into her ear, sending chills down her spine. “No matter what.”
Suddenly, Ginny came into the room and drew back immediately at the sight of Ron. Her eyes were curious yet comprehending at the same time.
“Ron!” She said. “When did you get here?”
“I…” Ron said drying up his tears quickly. “I was just coming in to congratulate Hermione.”
He smiled as best he could and knew that Ginny was no fool. She nodded encouragingly and then walked over to Hermione who was still silent.
“They’re ready for you,” she said delicately to Hermione. “You just need the four essential things: something new, something blue, something old and something borrowed.”
“Yeah,” Hermione said distractedly. “I have something new, blue and old, I just need something borrowed.”
Ginny looked around the room and tried to find something that Hermione could borrow for the wedding. Meanwhile, Ron walked up to Hermione and placed something rough in her hands. “This is a ring that I bought for you in Romania,” Ron began quietly. “I wanted to give it to you today but…I guess it’s a bit too late for that.”
He gently squeezed Hermione’s hand. “Use it for the ceremony. It contains my heart and my love, please return it to me.”
Hermione nodded silently, letting tears escape from her eyes. “Ginny,” she said chokingly. “I found something borrowed.”
“Oh,” Ginny said. “Then I think it’s time we go.”
Hermione looked at Ron and placed her hand on his cheek. She smiled at him for the first time and drew the veil over her face. “I should go.”
Ginny walked ahead of the room and held the door open for Hermione, who turned and glanced one last time at Ron. He looked different than when he’d come in. He reminded Hermione so much about the lanky red headed boy with dirt on his nose; the boy he’d been the first time they met on the Hogwarts Express.
Walking down the aisle had been much shorter than Hermione expected and before she knew it, she stood face to face with Draco, who was smiling like a little boy. His eyes were so pure and so beautiful that Hermione couldn’t remember the Draco who always made fun of her.
“Now,” the Minister said. “Draco and Hermione will recite the vows which they have written for each other. Draco, let’s begin with you.”
Draco nodded and smiled. “Hermione, I can easily say from the moment I met you that I didn’t like you and you didn’t like me. Now, you’ve changed me in more ways than you can imagine and I can never thank you enough for that. But I promise you that I will always be by your side. I will always be there for you whenever you need me and even when you don’t. I love you.”
Hermione was in tears by the end of Draco’s speech. She smiled at the man she loved as the Minister turned to her. “Hermione, it’s your turn.”
Hermione fondled a small piece of paper in her hand on which she had written her vows but she didn’t read them. Instead she reached deep into her heart and spoke from there. “Draco,” she began. “I love you too. That’s all I can say and that’s all I need to say. I began this day wondering if what I was doing what right and now I am sure that it is. I love you and you’re the only man I’d ever want to be with.”
Draco smiled at the sight of all the bridesmaids trying to stifle their sobs. He looked over at Hermione and mouthed the words, “I love you.”
The Minister turned to face the crowd and spoke eloquently. “If anyone sees any reason why these two people should not marry, let them speak now or forever hold their peace.”
Hermione looked out of the corner of her eye at the figure standing in the back. Ron saw her looking at him and smiled at her, though his eyes were watery. The Minister continued, “By the power invested in my, I hereby pronounce you man and wife. You may kiss the bride.”
Draco lifted Hermione’s veil and drew her in close, his lips touching hers. Hermione felt more complete now than she’d ever felt and closed her eyes. When they finally broke apart, everyone was standing up and clapping hard, most women were teary.
Hermione took her bouquet of flowers and threw them into the crowd, being caught by Ginny. She smiled at Hermione and turned and winked at Harry, who blushed furiously.
Ron made his way down the street as it began to drizzle. He looked up at the heavens and sighed. His mother told him that whenever it rained, it meant that the angels were crying. Today, they were crying for Ron; for his mistake and for his foolishness.
He turned around and saw Hermione was standing behind him, holding something in her hand. She walked up to Ron and opened his fingers, placing the ring he gave to her back in his palm. “I’m returning it to you,” she said softly, “like I promised.”
Ron nodded silently and looked at the sparkling jewel. He glanced one last time at Hermione.
“I will always have a place in my heart for you, Ron,” Hermione whispered gently as she made her way back to the church to her new life as Mrs. Draco Malfoy.