Chapter 25 : Christmas Day
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The magically lit fairy lights bathed the room in a soft glow. A pale pink dress hung on a hanger in the corner on a coat tree. The two lying on the bed were snuggled close, and Hermione's head was nestled gently on Draco's chest. Her eyes opened slowly as the light hit her face, and she blinked them before grinning at the sight of the dress.
It was Christmas morning, and so far nothing and no one was stirring in the house. She could feel the steady heartbeats beneath her ear as Draco's chest rose slightly in rhythm of his breathing. Today was the wedding, and she couldn't be more excited if it had been her own to get ready for.
Hermione carefully disentangled herself from Draco's arms and slid from beneath the comforter. She picked up her robe and threw it over her nightgown before tying its belt. Her eyes grew soft as she looked down at the still sleeping boy- no man she was falling deeper in love with. Ginny, Tonks and she had heard the muffled words from the sitting room, but Draco had refused to tell her what was said between him and Harry.
The hunt for the Horcruxes was becoming more dangerous each time they headed out. They had barely escaped the sight of the Lestranges and Lucius Malfoy a few times. They had narrowly found the necklace that R.A.B had hidden away but was stolen by Mundungus Fletcher before a group of Death Eaters had descended on the shop in Knockturn Alley.
The necklace was now an empty husk, and Hermione had received the scar on her hand because of it. But she would do it again, just to feel the triumph of ruining Voldemort's plans once more. R.A.B had been Sirius's brother Regulus, and the knowledge that he had turned from the Death Eaters would have made Sirius happy had he been alive. It's revelation had been bittersweet for Harry, and he had taken the cracked locket with him, and placed it in Sirius's bedroom.
Hermione's fingers drifted over the cool silk of the dress before she walked over to gaze out of the window unto the street below them. It was covered in unblemished snow, and the flakes fell steadily. Soon there would be tracks of cars and footprints through it, but for now its beauty lay like a Christmas card. She could see the Christmas lights still blinking on the windows of the nearby houses, and the trees in the park were decorated festively.
It was as if the terrors of Voldemort weren't going on around them, and as far the Muggles knew, it wasn't. It was like a tale of two different cities. One at war, and one seemingly at peace. That peace could be shattered by the evilness that permeated the Wizardry world at anytime, and the thought of that happening stilled the very beats of Hermione's heart.
Deep in thought, Hermione didn't hear the rustling of the bedsheets or the light steps that sounded on the wood of the floor. The arms that wrapped around her, and the chin the rested lightly on her shoulder had her gasping in shock before she leaned back. The safety and peace she felt at that moment had her heart beating a steady rhythm and they stood silently together just watching the flakes of snow fall.
“Happy Christmas love,” Hermione's words broke the peaceful silence, and she turned in his arms. Draco's hand traced her cheek and chin, and then drew back her hair to expose the curve of her ear. He leaned closer to kiss her neck before drawing back.
“Happy Christmas kitten,” Draco grinned at her, and pulled Hermione tight against him. He gently danced her in a circle and hummed a Christmas tune. He spun her, and then pulled her back into his arms. His eyes twinkled with the tune, and he dipped her. He gazed down into her eyes, and she looked back up at him.
Draco glanced towards the bed, but the muffled sounds of activity in the house had him groan. He pulled her up, and kissed her slowly. His tongue softly nudged her lips opened, and he ran his fingers through her hair while they stood bathed in the light of Christmas morning.
A knock at the door had them pulling apart, and Ginny called through the door. “You both coming? They'll be hear soon.”
Draco pressed his forehead to hers, and laughed quietly. The small chuckle brought a smile to Hermione's face, “I wanted our first dance to be special.” He told her, before turning to grab his own bathrobe.
“It was... you dance divinely,” Hermione giggled, and cinched her robe belt tighter. It had come loose during their dance.
Ginny knocked at the door again, and Hermione sighed before walking over to crack it open. “We're coming,” she answered. “Your parents here yet?”
“I don't think so- but I've heard the sounds of Fred and George. I hope they haven't knocked the tree down yet.” Ginny laughed, and walked down the stairs with a small wave. Harry walked behind her, and he rubbed his eyes tiredly. He grinned at Hermione before adjusting his glasses on his face.
“Happy Christmas Hermione,” Harry said, and ignored Draco for the moment. Draco smirked at him, and threaded his arm around Hermione's waist.
“Same to you Harry,” Hermione replied, and watched as her friends disappeared down the narrow stairway. It was going to be a long day, Hermione thought with a sigh. She closed the door behind them, and they got ready to go downstairs.
Fred and George Weasley looked around the sitting room and grinned at each other. “Not enough Christmas!” They said together, and unshrunk a bag that sat on the floor between them. Fred summoned some fir boughs from it, and with a flick of his wand had them draped onto the mantel. With a grin to his twin, George had tinsel and some ornaments nestled into it.
“Better?” Fred asked George with an arched eyebrow, and a look towards the bag had him waving his wand again.
“More lights!” George replied, and a long string of blinking lights danced from the bag to attach itself to the wall near the ceiling.
Ginny and Harry walked into the siting room, “Does mum know you brought the decorations?” She asked her brothers. Her eyes widened happily as they pulled the floating stars and moon from the bag and they hung suspended in the air overhead.
“Now it's Christmas,” The twins announced, “and mum said it was okay to bring some stuff.” Fred added with a wink to Ginny.
“It looks great,” Ginny said with a smile and looked up to the ceiling. It felt like home now with them floating around up there.
Tonks and Remus entered the room after them, and Tonks sighed happily. “Lovely,” she murmured to them, and snuggled close to her soon to be husband. Remus led her to the settee and sat down with her there.
The arriving sounds of the elder Weasleys had Ginny running out to help her mum. The twins finished emptying the bag with the presents inside it under the tree. Gaily wrapped packages floated from its opening to beneath the tree. The rug around it soon disappeared. With their work done, the twins sat down by the fire.
“You boys did wonderful,” Molly Weasley bustled into the room and looked around. Her wand adjusted a few of the boughs on the mantel, “Help me bring those bags to the kitchen.” With a slight groan, the twins stood back up. “Hurry please, or nothing will be ready.”
Arthur took a seat in the sitting room on a chair by the fire, and watched as the twins, Ginny, Harry and his wife wandered off to the kitchens. “She'd make a fine general, wouldn't she?” He comment to Remus and Tonks.
“Molly is one of our finest,” Remus said with a twinkle in his eye. Today is going to be wonderful, he thought. As long as Harry and Malfoy can put their differences on hold. He looked over at Tonks, and placed a hand on her protruding stomach. Her hand joined his, covering it before leaning her head back and closing her eyes.
“Not sleeping well?” Arthur asked with concern, and his eyes met Remus's. Remus shook his head.
“The boy likes to kick all night.” Tonks looked back up and opened her eyes, they softened with a motherly glow. “He settles down in the morning.”
“Happy Christmas!” Bill Weasley said, and he and Fleur entered the room. He brushed the snow that still clung to their cloaks.
“Joyeux Noel!” Fleur sang happily, and looked around the room before emptying the bag she held beneath the tree.
“Happy Christmas to you both,” Arthur said, and Fleur bent to kiss her father-in-law's cheek.
“Happy Christmas Fleur and Bill,” Remus said, and Tonks grinned over to Fleur.
“Joyeux Noel Fleur,” Tonks said, “You ready to help the girls dress later?”
“But of courze, eet will be wonderful.” Fleur replied, and sat down near Tonks and Remus in a chair.
Hermione walked out of Draco's room, her hand in his. “Love- for today, ignore Harry?” She asked him.
“Only if Potter ignores me,” Draco replied, and looked towards Hermione's bedroom door. It was open slightly, and he could see shadows pass in the light. Hermione's small snort had him turning to look at her, “Come on, I am not just going to roll over and take his 'I'm the savior of the Wizardry World' crap anymore.”
“Draco-” Hermione said softly, and squeezed his hand.
“I know! He is, but he needs to let people help him.” Draco whispered back, and looked at the door again. The shadows had stopped moving, and it looked a little bit more closed than it had been.
“Harry will relent eventually. In his own time,” Hermione said.
“We don't have time,” Draco retorted, “That's the point of it! He's going to get one of you killed being so Erumpet headed!” The soft click of what was now Mariah's door had him forgetting the argument. He looked at the now closed door and sighed.
“I don't want to argue over this now,” Hermione said, but looked to the door at Draco's nod. She walked over to it and knocked.
“Mariah?” Hermione's words came through the door in muffled sounds. “You're coming down?”
The door opened slowly, and the older witch peeked out. “I'm not sure-”
“It's Christmas, and you don't want Mrs Weasley to come and fetch you!” Hermione said and smiled when the door opened more.
“I'm not family,” Mariah finally explained.
“We're all family here.” Hermione reassured her. “Your brother will coming with Professor McGonagall soon.” She reminded the other girl.
Caleb Sanders hadn't been to the Headquarters since visiting shortly after the two had first arrived in Britain. Mariah's eyes lightened up at the mention of him. She'd made friends with the Ginny, Hermione and Harry, but when they left, she felt out of place. The only time she didn't fell that way without them there was in her potions room, and it was still not enough. Somewhere out around her, she knew her parents were. She wondered about them, and Albus had only shrugged his shoulders in his portrait when she asked. Mariah hadn't liked the small frown that had formed though. Where they dead? Had they brought her back too late?
“Okay,” Mariah nodded, and stepped out from the room. She giggled and arched her eyebrow when Malfoy offered her his other arm. She slid hers through, and Hermione grinned from the other side of him. Malfoy's help last night had been unexpected to her, and both Albus's and Remus's words had come back to her when she had opened her eyes. Things are more than they seem, and forgive. The hatred that had she had been feeling was destroying her.
Christmas seemed the perfect time to let it go, and with that she smirked slightly and walked with down the stairs. She missed Hermione's eyes and the look of shock that passed through them. Hermione hid it quickly, but she had seen a similarity to someone. That someone that now stood between them. No way... but... She shook her head, knowing now was not the time to bring it up. And just where does Professor Snape fit into all of this?
The sitting room was full, and the smells from the kitchen permeated the air. The WWN was playing a Weird Sisters Christmas concert and the twins were singing happily along to it. Charlie arrived at the same time Kingsley had, but Minerva and Caleb hadn't yet. Mariah frowned as she looked for him, but smiled again.
“Happy Christmas,” Was murmured by everyone, joined in by Fleur's “Joyeux Noel,” and Mariah's “Merry Christmas.” She slipped her arm out of Draco's and took a spot on the floor by the fire. The lights from the Christmas tree reflected in the pale grayness of her eyes, and Hermione couldn't help but look at them again.
Mariah Rachel Malfoy wasn't dead. But how had they covered it up? Hermione thought with realization, and her eyes looked to Dumbledore's portrait. His finger raised to his lips, and his eyes twinkled back at her. Hermione nodded her head, but still couldn't get over it. Draco's going to have a Hippogriff over this! But what about Snape? Then Hermione realized something that had her almost gasping, Mariah's parents weren't wanted by Death Eaters, they were Death Eaters.
“Happy Christmas all!” Molly Weasley walked into the room, and glanced at the twins. They quickly put down the gifts they had been shaking, and put on an innocent look. “The elves and I have prepared a lovely breakfast. Let's head in, shall we?” She asked with her hands in a shooing motion. They all stood up, and Hermione watched Remus help Tonks up with a smile on her face. At least they had found each other in the muck of what was going on around them.
“Pass the salt please,” Draco said beside her at the overcrowded table. Hermione hand picked it up, and he caught her eye when she looked at him. His fingers caressed hers before taking it from her, and he leaned closer to whisper in her ear. “What's wrong? You seem deep in thought.” He asked her.
“Something we'll discuss after the wedding, I promise.” Hermione replied, not sure how she should tell him or if it was even her place. She hated keeping secrets. Somehow Snape's reaction to Mariah that first day became clear to her. Draco and she had talked about it, before they both had dismissed the thought of the girl being his daughter. Preposterous, they had laughed. Now Hermione couldn't laugh, If her mother was Narcissa Malfoy, how did Snape become her father? She remembered the picture from the picnic at Hogwarts Twinky had brought Snape so long ago, and it suddenly became all too clear. Lucius Malfoy would kill if he'd known.
“Kitten,” Draco said beside her, “Eat or someone is going to wonder what's up besides me.” His eyes looked worriedly into hers. Hermione smiled at him, and out of the corner of her eye she saw Remus looking at her with a puzzled frown on his face. She nodded at Draco, and wondered who besides Snape knew of what was going on. Professor McGonagall!
“What's good?” Hermione asked him, and picked up her fork. She shoved the questions in her mind to the back and concentrated on what was going on around her.
“The eggs, the bacon... everything. Between Dobby, Twinky and Mrs Weasley, it all is,” Draco replied, wishing she'd tell him what was up. He'd caught her glance to Mariah, but couldn't figure it out. He could almost see the wheels turning in Hermione's head, and something didn't please her. He wanted to pull her from the room, and wheedle it out of her, but somehow he knew that wouldn't work.
The arrival of Minerva and Caleb interrupted his thoughts, and everyone squeezed in tighter to make room at the table. Draco wanted to laugh when he saw Caleb glance at Mariah sitting close to Charlie Weasley, but didn't. Draco also noticed that Hermione's eyes lit up questioningly at the Professor's entrance. Curious, he thought.
“Happy Christmas!” Minerva said, “Is everything prepared for the wedding?” She asked, and smiled at Remus and Tonks. Her eyes peered over the half-moons of her glasses around the room.
“Happy Christmas Minerva,” Remus replied, “It's all in the ladies' hands.” He said with a shrug of his shoulders.
“We just need to dress, and it's a go.” Tonks said, and rubbed her stomach to quiet the kicking toes. Her parents hadn't arrived yet at number 12, Grimmauld Place, and she was getting worried. Their last owl said they'd arrive in the morning. That had been a week ago, and nothing since. No news is good news, Tonks reminded herself.
“Merry Christmas all,” Caleb Sanders said, and grinned when Mariah stood up and ran to him. “Hey lilsis,” He said when she hugged him. “I guess you've missed me.”
Mariah pulled him over to the table, and sat back down. She patted the bench beside, and pulled a plate up for him. “Of course I've missed you!” She started filling a plate for Caleb, and grinned back. “Have you met Charlie Weasley yet?”
“I haven't had the pleasure,” Caleb looked over next to him, and held out his hand. “Caleb Sanders, Mariah's brother.”
“Charlie Weasley,” Charlie shook Caleb's hand firmly. “I've heard that you've helped out with the students at Hogwarts. Nice to meet you.”
“Charlie works with dragons in Romania.” Mariah added, “Maybe we could go see them one day?” She looked at Caleb hopefully.
“One day when it's safe.” Caleb promised, and looked around the table at the others. The students that had stayed at Hogwarts were protected for now by the wards set up, but their fears had almost overwhelmed him. He could see how Minerva and Remus had been concerned enough to summon him there, and he was hoping that Mariah was adjusting well here at Grimmauld Place. Somehow he could see her spending most of her time making potions, instead of trying to make friends with the others that lived here.
“I'd be happy to show you and your sister around the compound one day.” Charlie said, “They're fascinating creatures. You don't have many in the States do you?”
“Not really. I think one of the communities tried to import and raise one, and the mission failed. They haven't attempted again.” Caleb shook his head, and looked around again. He noticed Hermione staring questioningly towards Minerva again, before her glance went back to Mariah and Malfoy. He saw her guilty frown when she noticed his gaze. She knows, Caleb thought with a sigh. Maybe it's for the best it all comes out soon. The longer it goes, the more upset Mariah will be. He nodded at her, and Hermione smiled at him.
“Dragons don't do well out of their own environment. They should have understood that.” Charlie gestured with his hand in disgust. His anger over what he just heard evident in eyes.
“The community was sanctioned for it. I don't know much more than that.” Caleb replied, a slight shrug to his shoulders. He was worried about how Mariah would take it, and was surprised it had taken someone close to two months to figure it out. Malfoy's girlfriend no less.
The talk around the table grew boisterous has the occupants finished eating and the talk of presents and the wedding went round and round. The platters quickly emptied of the food, only to be refilled by the ever present Dobby and Twinky. The rest of the Order arrived, and Tonks breathed a sigh of relief when her parents entered behind the Auror Kingsley Shacklebolt.
“Mum! Dad!” Tonks exclaimed, and struggled to stand. Her steps waddled slightly, and her parents met her halfway. Remus grinned at the sight, and stood up and walked over to Shacklebolt. The Auror placed a hand on Remus's shoulder.
“Not having twins are you?” Kingsley joked.
“No!” Tonks turned and looked at her partner with a glare, “Molly's assured us there is only one very big boy.” Her glare turned to a twinkle.
“Now Dora,” Ted Tonks said, and hugged his only child tight. “He won't look all that big when he comes out. Be ready for those all night sessions too.”
“I remember when you born,” Andromeda added, “You would only stop crying when your dad walked you around the nursery.” She placed her hand on her daughter's stomach, and was rewarded with a small kick.
“Have you both thought of a name yet?” Kingsley asked, “I'm thinking Kingsley Lupin has a nice ring to it.”
“We have- and we're not telling,” Tonks said with a grin at Kingsley. “We want some surprises.” They laughed at his mock look of hurt, but he cracked and began laughing himself.
“We doing presents or wedding first?” Ted asked, and began pulling shrunken wrapped presents from his pocket. They walked the short distance to the sitting room, and he placed them with the others after restoring them.
“Wedding!” The girls said, while the twins chimed out at the same time, “Presents!” Draco rubbed at the back of his neck, and hoped Hermione would like the gift he had finally decided on. It had been difficult to chose, but he somehow knew his mum would be approve of it.
“Presents first then,” Tonks conceded, and took a spot on the settee. Fred and George dove into them, and began passing them out. The first present opened were from Molly, and she had made everyone a sweater. Caleb put his on over his dress shirt, and ran a hand over the 'C' stitched onto it.
“These are wonderful Molly! Thank you.” Caleb said, and admired the ones the others received. Molly looked around as the others slipped theirs on following Caleb's actions, and smiled.
“You're welcome,” Molly replied to the thank yous that came her way. “Christmas is my favorite holiday.”
More packages were opened, and more thank yous were given to those around them. Mariah smiled at the bag of potions ingredients and books that they had given her, and Draco laughed at the dragon pajamas that he received. Hermione grinned at Ginny at the book of poems she got from her and Harry.
Ginny opened the box she received from Harry to find a photo album full of pictures of everyone. Harry opened his present from her to find a framed picture of him with Sirius. He wrapped his arm around her, and held her close. Her hand reached up and brushed the tear that rolled down his cheek.
Tonks and Remus opened package after package, most of them full of small clothing of blue. Her hands ran lovingly over the rainbow hued blanket that Ginny and Hermione knitted for her together. Mariah had used the same yarn to make a small hat and scarf.
“Thank you all,” Tonks said, and Remus nodded with her words. Her gasp of surprise over her parents gift had everyone looking. Inside the box was a crib, and it was still shrunk to make it more of a surprise.
“That was yours when you were a baby,” Ted said and hugged his daughter tight again. “We've waited for this day.”
“It's perfect!” Remus said, and watched as Ted brought it back to the correct size in front of them. He ran his hand over the gleaming finish of the spindles, and helped Tonks place all the gifts inside it.
While everyone was busy looking at the crib, and the baby stuffs, Draco pulled Hermione aside and pulled a small box from his pocket. “I don't know if you'll like-” she placed her finger gently on his lip, and took the box.
“Let me be the judge,” Hermione smiled at him, and pulled a box from beneath the tree. “Hopefully-”
“Let me be the judge!!” Draco repeated her words with a smile, and pulled her down to the floor near the fire. His eyes watched her as she opened the paper slowly. Hermione pulled up the top of the box to reveal a necklace with a silver chain and an emerald hanging from it.
“Draco I can't take this!” Hermione whispered, and her finger ran over the chain. “It was your mother's wasn't it?”
“My grandparents gave that to her while in Hogwarts.” Draco said, and took the necklace out of the box. He gently pushed back her hair and placed it around her neck. “I know it's Slytherin colors, but it looks good on you.”
“No buts. My mum gave me this along time ago actually.” Draco kissed her cheek, and picked up the box she had given him.
“Thanks love,” Hermione said, and her hand lifted to touch the necklace that now hung from her neck. “My present no way is as good as this,” She frowned slightly and watched him open it. Inside the box was a pair of new dragonskin gloves. While she had been out with Ginny and Harry on the hunt, she had sneaked into a store and gotten them. She was glad her glamor spell had held through her nervousness in the store. It had helped that the storekeeper was a sympathizer for Harry.
“How did you know?” Draco asked her, and slipped one on. It fit perfectly, and he flexed his fingers.
“Your old ones had a hole in them, and with the ingredients we are working with for Professor Snape made them needed.” Hermione told him, and was happy he liked them.
The sound of laughter had them turning to look at the others. Tonks was holding some wrapping paper, and buzzing around everyone's head was a miniature broom. It weaved in between everyone a few times before landing in the crib.
“We got that!” Fred grinned, and waved his wand to make it buzz around again.
“No child should be without their own training broom!” George said, and ducked as the broom weaved dangerously close to his face.
“Boys!” Molly exclaimed. “The baby isn't even born yet!”
“Let them have their fun Molly,” Arthur said, “But enough with the buzzing. We have a wedding now to get ready for.”
Severus walked from the small park across the street from the Headquarters and opened the door quietly. He could see the lights twinkling in the sitting room, and groaned in remembrance. Voldemort had had him hunting for Harry and the girls for a week now, and hadn't been pleased when he hadn't found them.
Severus avoided Christmas as best as he could. The holiday when he was a child had been dismal, and his father had used it as an excuse to get drunk. He refused to remember those times now, and was glad when he was allowed to spend the holidays at Hogwarts. The only truly happy Christmas he had had was his last one with Narcissa, before they had left school.
This year would be the first one Severus could spend with Mariah, and he bemoaned the fact he wasn't able to tell her who he was. He walked into the sitting room, and ducked the broom as it past through where his head had just been.
“Bloody hell!” Severus said, and looked to where the twins stood laughing. The laughter stopped abruptly, and everyone turned to look at him.
“Happy Christmas!” Remus finally said, and broke the silence. “We've been wondering when you'd arrive back here.”
“I'm sure,” Severus snorted, and looked around the room. His eyes caught sight of Mariah sitting near Harry and Ginny on the floor and stopped.
“The ladies are going to get ready for the wedding and some of us,” Arthur looked to the twins, “are going to get this room ready.” The broom made a path for the crib and landed inside it on top of the blanket.
“Come on Harry,” Remus said to him, “help me with the crib, and we can get ready also.”
“Sure,” Harry said and levitated the crib, and he headed up the stairs with it. Remus looked at Severus, and frowned.
The girls picked up some of the presents and headed up the stairs. Mariah barely looked at the professor as she passed him. Hermione stopped and looked at Snape. Her mouth opened to say something, but them closed. Her questions would have to wait. Snape arched an eyebrow at her, and then noticed her quick glances between Draco and Mariah. His lips tightened into a thin line and he turned away. She knows, he sighed inwardly. Caleb looked at Severus, and nodded his head slightly.
Hermione adjust the veil on Tonks's head, and it flowed down her back. Andromeda stood to the side to gaze and wiped a tear with her handkerchief. With a few spells casts to adjust it, Tonks looked lovely in her mother's wedding robes. Fleur gently placed a spray of baby's breath in Tonks's hair, and smiled.
“You look beautiful!” Fleur said, and looked at Ginny and Hermione. With some skillful wand flicks had the girls' hair in up sweeps, and soft curls flowed down their backs. Ginny's pale blue dress complemented Hermione's pale pink one, and they spun in a circle. “You all look beautiful!”
A knock came at the door, and Molly Weasley peeked in. “We ready? Ted is waiting outside to see his girl.” She smiled, and her eyes lit up when she looked at Ginny. Her 'baby' had grown up before she even realized. But she still could wait for this day for Ginny and Harry.
“Yes,” Tonks turned to look at Molly. “Remus?”
“Remus and Harry are downstairs with Minerva and the rest.” Molly replied, and moved away from the door to let Ted in. He entered the room, and his breath caught in his throat.
“You look wonderful,” Ted whispered, and walked to stand beside her. Andromeda moved closer, and the three reflected back in the mirror. “It's time to add to the family.” Ted said, a slight choke in his voice. He had decided when he met Remus, and saw the look in his daughter's eyes when she gazed at him, that he was gaining a son, not losing a daughter. After facing what was going on in this war, her marrying a werewolf would be nothing.
Tonks nodded her head, and Andromeda kissed her daughter's cheek before slipping the veil over her face. With one last wipe with her handkerchief, she headed out of the room with Molly. Ted placed his arm through Tonks's, and Hermione handed her the bouquet of flowers.
“Show time!” Ted said, and they heard the music play from downstairs. Hermione stepped out the door, followed by Ginny, then Ted and Tonks. They made their way to the stairway, and they walked slowly down. They stopped at the bottom at the closed sitting room door.
Charlie and Bill stood like guardians, and grinned at them. The music turned into the processional, and they slid the doors open and went to their seats. The stars and moon hung from the ceiling still, and the tree winked in the corner.
Remus looked at Harry and Arthur before taking a big gulp of air. “What if-”
“She's been waiting on this day forever. She'll be here,” Arthur assured Remus.
Minerva stood with them in front of Albus's portrait. They all turned to look when Bill and Charlie entered the room. Remus anxiously tugged at his sleeves. Harry's eyes grew bright at the sight of Ginny's entrance, and soon Hermione followed them. They walked up the floor to them, and stood to the other side of Remus from the groomsmen.
“Ready Dora?” Ted asked Tonks, and was rewarded with a faint smile from beneath the veil. Slowly they entered the room, and Ted looked at Remus. He watched his eyes light up at the sight of Tonks, and when they reached him he turned to look at Dora. He raised the veil from her face, and kissed her cheek. His hand held hers tightly for a moment before letting go to place it in Remus's hand. He went and sat beside his wife, and felt her hand slip into his. Remus took her the rest of the way to where Minerva stood.
“Today we are gathered together to join together forever Nymphadora Tonks and Remus Lupin.” Minerva began, and smiled. “Through the years that I have known both, I have grown to love and admire their strength and unity. May their love bring hope in these troubled times.”
Remus looked at Tonks, and felt his hand tremble slightly.
“Who brings forth this witch?” Minerva asked, and Ted stood up with Andromeda.
“Her mother and I do,” Ted said proudly before they sat back down. Minerva nodded.
“The Fates weave an intricate web, and we all marvel at their handiwork. Today we see the fruition of their plan.” Minerva looked at Remus, and her eyes twinkled over the rims of her glasses. “Do you, Remus John Lupin, promise to love, honor and cherish Nymphadora above all others all the days of your lives?”
“I do,” Remus replied, and felt the gentle squeeze of Tonks's hand on his.
“Do you, Nymphadora Tonks, promise to love, honor and cherish Remus above all others all the days of your lives?” Minerva asked Tonks, who's smile slowly widened.
“Of course I do,” Tonks replied, she giggled when the baby inside decided that it was time to kick.
Minerva smiled and waved her wand over their joined hands, and a ribbon wrapped around them. With an incantation, the ribbon tied itself, and then dissolved into two rings. Remus slipped one onto Tonks's finger, and she slipped the other on his.
“With these rings you are bound for eternity. May your love grow as the years pass.” The rings glowed, and a faint haze circled around them before settling back into the rings. “I present to you now Mr and Mrs Remus John Lupin. You may kiss the bride.”
Remus raised his hand to softly caress Tonks cheek, and drew her lips to his. “I love you,” He whispered against them.
“I love you too Remy,” Tonks said, and felt his arms wrap around her.
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