Disclaimer: This is JKR's world, and I'm just visiting.
----------------------------------- Pomp and Circumstance
Penelope Clearwater-Weasley stood in her bathroom, slowly slipping off her fleece dressing gown to reveal her simple, white cotton nightgown. She peered around the corner and saw him, her husband, Percy Ignatius Weasley, lying in the bed, his nose already tucked into the latest best-selling novel from Flourish and Blotts.
Turning back to the bathroom, Penelope looked into the mirror and sighed. She brushed her long, curly, sandy-coloured hair and began braiding it with swift, easy ability. She had been braiding her hair this way for years, ever since he had approved so many years before, in the beginning of their marriage.
“Penny? Aren’t you coming to bed?” Percy called from the bedroom.
Penelope popped out from the bathroom. “In a moment, love. I’ll be right out.”
Percy nodded, and, after seeing his gesture of consent, Penelope went back to the bathroom and began twisting her hair until it was done in a single, long braid, tied neatly with a simple, white ribbon at the end.
She came out and was making her way toward the bed when he looked up. He flashed her one of his rare, genuine smiles and said genially, “Your hair looks nice, dear.”
She seemed to glow at his praise.
And ever since, she had braided her hair in this fashion each night. To please him.
The same woman, albeit approximately ten years older, looked at herself in the mirror. It had been the same man—the same husband—and the same long braid woven by her same slender fingers, fingers that were tired from so much wear over the years, just as she was now tired.
How long had it been since she’d seen him smile that way? How long had it been since she’d beamed back, happy just to hear his quiet compliments? How long had it been since she’d received one?
How long, she wondered once more, had it been since they’d had fun together? Had it been since childhood? Since their days together at Hogwarts?
They were sitting in the Head Dorms, a chessboard set in front of them. Knights and rooks were placed strategically, and defeated pawns, bishops, and queens were lying forgotten beside the board.
Penelope laughed as Percy’s cheerful face changed to one of utter disbelief. She had his king cornered in a checkmate; she had beaten him at Wizard’s chess, the one game he prided himself in.
“I suppose luck’s on your side today, Miss Clearwater,” he said, hiding a smile.
“Luck? I’m talented, I need none of this luck you speak of!” she joked, letting a giggle escape her lips.
“Talent? You’ve got talent in chess? Wizard’s chess?” Percy roared, pretending irritation. He had a mischievous, laughing look in his eyes, one that Penelope seldom saw but loved all the same, and he lunged forward, surprising her and knocking her backwards on the couch, and he tickled her until they were both gasping for breath.
He was leaning over her, the look in his eyes now serious and piercing. Her breath caught in her throat, and Percy leaned down, closing the gap between them, and he kissed her. It was a real kiss; it was one that wasn’t chaste and sweet, but rather desired and teetered on the border between want and need.
And when, she wondered, putting the memory in the back of her mind, did they become so unexciting and begin leading such lacklustre lives? As though a response to this question, another memory flashed before the thirty-year old Penelope’s eyes.
She, wearing a long, simple white dress that fell to the floor in tuffs of cotton and lace, stood in front of all her family and her few friends. She saw Percy standing next to her, looking handsome in his black dress robes, and her mother and father sitting in the front row.
“Do you take this man to be your 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 until death do you part?” the priest asked her.
She looked into Percy’s eyes and with tears cascading from her own eyes down her pale face, said softly, “I do.”
Their wedding. The day she promised herself to one man, to her Percy. And from that moment, everything had changed. Nothing had been surprising anymore. Nothing was ever spontaneous. But that’s not who he was; it’s not who they were.
Their life together was designed, planned. It was a planned, organised, traditional structure, showing much propriety and poise, and it was held up by strong pillars of love that were slowly beginning to crumble from the age and the monotony.
Penelope opened a drawer and pulled out a simple, white ribbon. She pulled it into the same bow as always at the bottom of her braid. After taking one last glance in the mirror, she walked out of the bathroom and towards their bed.
Because although everything between them was prim and proper, pomp and circumstance, Penelope loved her Percy. And even if their structure began to plummet down, she would hold on desperately to one of those strong pillars of love and wouldn’t dare to let go. Not without Percy.
A/N: It's a short one, I know. *Hides face* But, seriously, I'm rather proud of this one. The symbolism turned out just the way I wanted it to, I think. What do you think? Well, thanks for reading and [hopefully] reviewing!
New A/N [Made on 08-18-07]: Is anyone still interested in this ship? If so, please review and let me know. I'd love to know what (a) you think of my take on it and (b) if you're interested in reading more. Thanks, guys!
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