Friday came sooner than expected and soon she had packed up all her things in big boxes that sat in the middle of her living room, which now without furniture seemed more lifeless than ever.
Mimpfy didn’t quite understand where all her things had gone, but Hermione tried to explain to the cat that they were moving out on the countryside so from now on Mimpfy would have a lot more room to play in. Hermione didn’t actually know if Draco liked cats, but she thought he probably wouldn’t mind the small grey cat being there, it wasn’t like Mimpfy ruined the furniture or anything, she just sat a lot on windowsills and looked out and once in a while came down to eat or drink.
Cats were quiet animals that mostly didn’t bother the people living with them.
To greet the movers Hermione had to get up a little earlier than usual, but she was looking so much forward to leaving that she didn’t mind being up early, she probably wouldn’t have been able to sleep anyway because of sheer excitement.
They came precisely as all people who worked with the Malfoys had a tendency to do. She offered them a cup of coffee that they politely said no to before starting to carry her boxes down the five floors to their truck which was parked on the street just below her kitchen window.
The boxes were quite heavy, she had all her books in them and through the years she had collected a lot of them that she just couldn’t leave no matter how many books she would get access to at the manor. Her books were the ones, who helped her through all the boring days of rapport writing for Amanda and all the useless hours she spent at the office.
They were her true companions and as good friends as Harry, Ron or Ginny would ever be.
Speaking of those Hermione was going to sleep at Ginny’s that night and then go to the manor the day after in time for the ceremony. It was some old superstition that the groom wasn’t supposed to see the bride before the wedding or they would catch bad luck.
Hermione didn’t see how this situation could in any way be unlucky, but agreed to stay at Ginny’s for the night. It would be nice to have a real girl-talk with someone she liked to talk with, it had been a while since they had last been in the same room long enough to say hallo. They were both very busy people and had their jobs to attend to which took up a lot of their time.
Ginny was currently working at a private hospital in London as a nurse, but she was new to the job and therefore got the annoying shifts, which made it almost impossible to see Hermione, who worked when Ginny was off.
Ginny was going to pick Hermione up after work and they would cook something in Ginny’s little kitchen and talk until two in the night.
After the movers had taken her few boxes downstairs she went to work at the office. When she arrived Amanda wasn’t there yet and she enjoyed the moments of peace until the other witch came and disturbed her with her chit-chat and other annoying things like her high heels that clicked on the floor and music that played on the radio constantly.
It was almost ten o’clock when Amanda arrived and received a disappointed stare from Hermione like the one Amanda usually sent her when she was two minutes late.
“A bit late I see,” Hermione said sarcastically and watched Amanda twitch.
“Playing boss now you finally found yourself a spouse?” Amanda tried to get back on her.
“Well with my future husbands fortune it’s not like I have to pretend I actually like you,” Hermione said and after six years let Amanda know all her frustrations about being at her job there, “I could just leave if I wanted to.”
That made Amanda white in her normally fake tan face, she hadn’t expected that Hermione would actually get spine enough to leave.
“You can’t, there is a three month notice!”
“Three month, maybe for you,” she said voice dripping with sarcasm, “but in my contract there is no notice, so, I almost don’t need to tell you that I’m leaving I could just take my things and go. Then you’d get to see how fast you could find a replacement that wouldn’t complain about your annoying behaviour. I’ll tell you, it’s not going be easy!”
It had taken her a long time to admit it, but now that it was out she felt liberated. Truth to be told she had come to hate Amanda after six years working for her, it wasn’t going to be long before she would leave her job and never come back to that part of the ministry. And she wouldn’t even be sorry.
She felt very much like just going already, but some until now unknown part of her personality wanted to wait until the moment she was badly needed and her departure would hurt the most. She laughed at herself, finally she saw the devil inside her coming out other than on a few rare occasions like the time in third year when she hit Malfoy hard on the face, times when she snuck out to help Harry and Ron and a few other times where she had suddenly acted strange.
This time she would let the little devil get its way and be really mean to Amanda, after all if there was anyone who deserved it; it would be her.
“You’re getting a bit cocky now that you are engaged,” came the smug reply on Hermione’s speech.
“Well I can afford to be,” she smiled devilish.
“I could just fire you,” Amanda said as a final attempt to win this battle.
“Yeah, but what would it matter, you need me whether you want it or not.”
Then the quarrel was officially over and Amanda had officially lost to the last person in the world she ever thought would be over her in the hieraki.
Hours later she sat in Ginny’s kitchen with a glass of red-wine laughing heartily.
“You should have seen her face Gin, she so wanted to hit me!” Hermione laughed as she told the story of the argument she had had earlier that day.
“Mione, you were quite mean you know,” said Ginny and pulled a delicious lasagne out of the oven.
“Oh well, she deserved it,” Hermione kept laughing.
“And the misuse of your new position, who would have thought Malfoy would do you so much good,” Ginny placed the lasagne on the table between them and sat down on the chair with her glass. She had been quite surprised when Hermione had called her the day before to tell her of her upcoming marriage, no one had seen it coming, but she didn’t think less of her long time friend for accepting the generous offer Malfoy had presented her with, who wouldn’t want that?
In the small but nice looking, personal kitchen both girls felt at home and comfy. Ginny had excellent taste in kitchens and had decorated the small room too perfection. Maybe she had inherited some of Molly’s talent for cooking and making a home.
“Enough about my situation; how’s it going with Thomas?” Hermione asked curiously. Four moths earlier Ginny had started going out with one of the doctors, who worked at the hospital and after what Hermione had heard it was quite a hot romance, but she hadn’t actually met the famous Thomas yet, Ginny had promised her that she would soon though.
“It’s going quite well,” Ginny answered with a light blush that made her face slightly red to match the beautiful red hair that was the signature of the Weasley family. Hermione had always admired the pretty hair colour because she herself only had the bushy brown hair that didn’t seemed to be able to behave without using at least an hour to flatten it down, and she didn’t have that kind of patience.
“When do I get to see him?” she asked curiously and Ginny blushed even more.
“I don’t know, maybe when you are settled at Malfoy Manor you could invite us to dinner?”
Hermione thought that a good idea, then Ginny could get to see her new home and se would get to see Ginny’s boyfriend. They agreed on that Hermione would invite them over as soon as possible, but it was difficult to find a night where both Ginny and Thomas was off work for they both worked a lot. They were ambitious people in the beginning of their careers and had lots of shifts to advance in the system.
“Thomas works really hard to become head healer, he is so ambitious, but it makes it difficult to be together when we both work so much...” Ginny told her friend as they ate their way through the lasagne.
“Maybe you should just get married at get a private clinic out on the country?” Hermione joked, “Then Thomas could be the doctor and you could help him as a nurse.”
Both girls laughed.
“You know that wasn’t such a bad idea. But maybe I should introduce him to mum before I go into matrimony with him...” Ginny added.
“Maybe yeah,” Hermione nodded and took a sip of her wine, “I have yet to present Draco to my parents. But I think they’ll like him.”
Gin shook her head with a grin.
“Never thought I would see the day... That ferret must really have changed over the years.”
Hermione smiled and thought about it for a second. She wasn’t sure Malfoy had actually changed, he just seemed to have matured a lot and his father dying also helped a lot on him becoming more independent and grown up. She told Ginny that.
“So you don’t think he is a Death Eater?”
Hermione shook her head she didn’t know whether Draco was still into that kind of thing, but she had the feeling he wasn’t, after all he had failed to kill Dumbledore that time in sixth year when Snape ended up doing it for him that meant that he couldn’t possibly be evil to the chore.
“I don’t know Gin... I simply don’t know,” she ended up answering, “But even if he is it wouldn’t affect me that much, it’s not like we are deeply connected or anything.”
The other girl understood her point, Hermione had thought all the possibilities through before accepting, no coincidents were allowed here.
The next morning Hermione felt a little groggy, her and Ginny had stayed up quite late just talking and now she woke up in an unfamiliar house on a mattress on the floor in Ginny’s living room. The first though she had in her head when she woke up was; I don’t have to work today. Finally a whole day off for the first time in almost two years. And she was getting married.
This was supposed to be her big day. The day girls waited all their life for, the day she would get to wear that fancy dress.
She wasn’t overly excited but silently looking forward to becoming Mrs. Malfoy and get the money and power that was needed for her to become something big in the wizarding world and the normal world for that matter.
From where she was lying on the floor she could faintly see her dress hanging on a hanger on the door waiting for her to get up and wear it. She felt a sense of closure now that she hadn’t even had when Voldemort was finally defeated, now she new she was going to be taken care of and a lot of worries she didn’t have to have any longer, that part of her life was over now. All that she thought about in the hour she lay on the mattress between the sofa and a small table waiting for Ginny to wake up.
“Good morning,” finally Ginny was up and stood in the doorframe and looked at her.
“Ready to get married?”
Hermione laughed and hid her head under her duvet.
“This is going to be the strangest wedding ever in the Granger family...”
“Without doubt,” Ginny replied and helped her get up from the floor.
The ceremony should start in the middle of the afternoon at Malfoy Manor. Together they had decided that they didn’t want to married in a church, none of them were religious, like most wizards they thought religion was a bit overrated and came with some complicated explanations on rather simple things so they had just arranged for a ministerial wizard to come out to the manor and wed them.
Hermione walked in the winter garden where the ceremony was to be held with a single pink rose in her hand and that beautiful dress they had bought only days before. Her hair was just hanging down in her normal curls with a little rose to keep it from falling down over her face. She liked the simplicity of her look.
With slow steps she walked towards the wizard in a long black robe like most wizards from the ministry and Draco who both stood near the windows in one end of the winter garden waiting for her. Draco was in a simple black robe and black tie as he stood quietly waiting for her to arrive. She could see that he liked the way she looked and she thought him very handsome too.
It was the strangest feeling walking down “the aisle”. It was both hysterically funny and yet she felt it was too much of a solemnity to laugh, but a small smiled played upon her face and in the beautiful lighting of the plant-filled room she looked like an angel just come down from heaven.
The winter garden was a pretty place, almost like a greenhouse just with real furniture and a lovely couch standing just in front of the windows so there was a view over the park-like garden which lay outside covered in fog like a mystic fantasy landscape. Malfoy Manor itself sat at the end of a long driveway with straight oaks on both sides with grass fields on both sides.
Then when she had finally reached the Manor she were overwhelmed by how intimate it seemed, just seeing it no one would believe that it had over thirty rooms and all the other things that were said about it.
It was a renaissance castle with lots of big windows built in a brownish grey material partially covered in ivy. She liked it immediately and thought that a lot of bad things could be said about Lucius and Narcissa Malfoy, but they had good taste when it came to housing. Even though she knew that the Manor had belonged to one of the most evil pureblood wizard families in the history of magic she still had an instant feeling of belonging there.
She reached Draco just when the enchanted harp stopped playing and his hand closed around hers. He seemed nervous. She smiled at him to give him some confidence and apparently it helped, because the tension in his hand disappeared and they stood still together waiting for the wizard to make a move.
The plump little man said a couple of words about marriage in general, about loving and respecting each other, about being loyal and helping each other.
Hermione breathed silently and listened to the man’s words. She didn’t for a second doubt that it was the right decision she had made, she felt strong and confident and in complete control of her future.
“Will you Draco Malfoy take Hermione Jane Granger, who with you stand to be your lawfully wedded wife?” the wizard asked and stared Draco in the eyes seriously, he breathed deep before answering in his masculine voice: “I do.”
Then the wizard turned to Hermione and asked her: “Will you Hermione Jane Granger take Draco Malfoy as your lawfully wedded husband?”
This was it.
She knew this was her last chance to say no, but not even for a minute did she consider doing so and her voice sounded clear and strong as she answered: “I do.”
The wizard smiled at her and as she smiled back he then said the closing words for the ceremony: “I now pronounce you husband and wife,” then he turned to Draco, “You may kiss the bride.”
He smirked but kissed her lightly on the cheek as the harp started playing again. With one final glance at the smiling wizard in black the newly wed couple left the winter garden.
They left for the photographer so that they could send a wedding picture along with their marriage certificate to Draco’s uncle Burge’s lawyer and get their money.
“That old man had a wicked sense of humour,” Draco said while they waited for the photographer to be finished photographing a little wizard boy on a pedestal with a little wand soaring in the air right next to his face causing major damage to the studio, but the person behind the camera didn’t seem to notice it at all, she just stood still and tried to focus. Hermione was immediately reminded of Rita Skeeter when she saw how the young photographer witch was dressed, in neon pink robe and plastic glasses with little rhinestones on the frame, horrible taste but if she could manage to both take a picture and keep her patience while dealing with the little devil babies of the wizard world, then Hermione couldn’t but admire her at least professionally.
“I believe he did... but he’s dead now isn’t he?” she asked with a smile.
“Yeah, and we
have his money!”
They laughed in unison. She felt a little out of place in her pretty dress standing beside a tired mother of twins who struggled hard to keep the two little wriggling children in place and the general chaos in the atelier. But at least Draco was also well dressed like always and kept her company in his handsome robe.
“So how does it feel to be Mrs. Malfoy?” he smirked as they took their places following the witch’s instructions.
“It feels just like being Ms. Granger,” she answered, there was no difference other than in her head, and even there the difference was too subtle to determine wherein it actually lay.
They posed with Draco’s arms around her and at least seven other poses before the photographer was satisfied, but then they also had lots of picture to show their grandchildren, the young witch who looked like Rita Skeeter said with a cheerful smile as she handed them the envelope containing the pictures.
Draco sent her a not so real smile and snatched the envelope from her hands and left the atelier dragging Hermione after him onto the streets.
“Can’t take that type of person!” he muttered as an excuse.
After a light dinner the couple apparated back to the Manor that was now her new home. She was tired after all the commotion of her wedding and now she just wanted to lie down in a comfy bed and sleep. He showed her to her room in a hurry as she was almost sleeping standing leaned against him and made sure she took of her dress before she lay down on her bed. He actually had to carry her up the stairs because she had fallen asleep in the hall and it was impossible to wake her up again.
A/N: Thank you to those who reviewed the other chapters, may you do the same with this one, and to any newcomers; It would mean a lot to me if you took just a few minutes to tell me what you think of the story and ask any questions you might have.
This chapter might be edited a bit later, because it hasn't been looked through by Mary yet, but it shouldn't be anything big.