Chapter 19 : Chapter 19
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“My lips are sealed by a promise to two girls I love, but I don’t think you are a million miles away.”
“Okay, but why all the secrecy? I mean I knew she was making the arrangements.”
“P’raps the arrangements are not what she told you.”
“What? We’re not going to have a naked ceremony on the Quidditch pitch?”
“I didn’t know that was an option, it would have been my choice.” Harry laughed. “Now stop stalling and make a choice, magic or muggle? Whatever you wear, I, as your best man, have to wear the same.”
“Well, as I don’t know where we’re going, I think I’ll play it safe and go muggle.”
“That would be my choice too. So shower, dress and then we can be off. The book there on the table is a portkey timed for 11.45.” Draco looked at the copy of ‘Hogwarts. A History.’ Of course, he thought, what else would she have chosen? At 11.44, freshly showered and changed they laid their hands on the book.
The portkey deposited them at the arrival point at St. Mungo’s Hospital. Draco gasped, “She did it, she said she was going to but I wasn’t sure she would.”
“You should know by now that if Hermione makes a promise, it will happen. Come on, here we go.”
Draco headed for his mother’s room until Harry stopped him, and pushed the elevator button for the sixth floor, the administration area. On this floor there were three conference rooms. At five minutes to twelve Harry opened the door to the medium sized room and stood back to allow Draco to enter. The bridegroom went through the door and froze on the spot. He looked around at the people assembled there.
The first ones to reach him were Frank and Jean Granger. Jean hugged him and Frank shook his hand. “You cut it a bit fine, but you’re here now. Good luck son” Frank winked at Harry and left the room. Gathered in the middle of the room were a number of Hogwarts teachers led by Dumbledore and McGonagall. Other students included Blaise Zabini was who the only other Slytherin. Luna, Neville, Katie, Hannah and Susan Bones. Colin Creevey was of course snapping pictures of anything that moved and breathed.
Draco froze again when, through a gap in the crowd, he saw a regal looking woman in a black suit with white trimming and freshly coiffured black hair, sitting upright on a comfortable chair. He walked across the room, “Mother, is it alright for you to be here? Are you well enough?”
“Well enough to attend the wedding of my only child? Of course I am. The healers have helped with very effective potions for the pain. They insisted that I remain seated, and I’m even allowed to have one drink after. So don’t worry about me. And Draco please don’t call me Mother, I have come to prefer Mum.” It’s difficult to speak when your heart is overflowing, as Draco found.
“Okay… Mum.” One of his tears fell to wet his mother’s cheek.
“Places please everybody.” Dumbledore’s tone was the softest anybody could remember hearing. Harry took Draco’s elbow and led him to stand in the front of the table. The official from the ministry faced them from the other side. “Very well, Filius, you may begin.” Professor Flitwick picked up a box-like object about six inches square; waved his wand over it and the strains of ‘Here comes the bride’ filled the air.
The palms of Draco’s hands suddenly felt damp and he seemed to run completely out of saliva. Harry nudged him and whispered,
“I forgot to tell you; do not, on pain of death, do not look around until I tell you. This is an order from Hermione; you don’t want to get off on the wrong foot, do you?”
“Right now Harry, you’re as funny as a dose of dragon pox.”
“I try Draco, I do try.” Thirty seconds passed before Draco heard Harry murmur
“Oh. My. God. Perfect! Draco, hold your breath and look behind you.” He could hear other comments from around the room. Jean Granger dabbed her hankie at her eyes and swallowing hard, echoed Harry’s words,
“Oh my God.” Minerva McGonagall’s words were directed at a very different kind of deity.
“Oh sweet Merlin’s beard.”
Draco turned his head not daring to believe his eyes. Coming towards him was Frank Granger. On his arm was his daughter and only child, Hermione Jean. In Draco’s eyes she was a vision. His bride wore a white two-piece suit of satin, which seemed to give off an ethereal glow in the dim light of the curtained conference room. The jacket hugged in her waist, the small buttons elegant and blending with the material. The lapels splayed out at her throat, delicately beaded with pearls, which matched her drop earrings and the thin bracelet which was half hidden by her long sleeves. The skirt was long and flowing, reaching the floor and only revealing the tips of her ivory shoes. The skirt wafted behind her as she moved, imitating a more traditional wedding dress. The bride wore a small, off-centre hat with tiny white roses entwined in the brim. A small netted veil, only reaching her chin, hung down from the trim and cast her face in a light shadow.
A yard behind her, Ginny Weasley in a similar two piece suit but with no veil on the hat gave Harry a flashing smile. He was the only person in the room not staring at Hermione.
Draco could feel the tremble in her hand as he accepted it from her father and her fingers closed on his. He gave her what he hoped was a reassuring squeeze and took the hand firmly in his. Ginny Weasley stepped briefly between them, arranged Hermione’s veil away from her face and took the small spray of Lily of the Valley from her. She gave her friend a warm smile as she fussed about, “You scrubbed up a treat, ‘Mione, you’re really beautiful, good luck. Love you.” she whispered turning to take her place next to Harry and giving Draco a smile and a wink as the paths of their respective visions crossed.
Now Hermione had her first chance to look at Draco. His face looked calm, except; was that a hint of something in the eyes? Nerves or something more, she couldn’t decide and her musing was interrupted when Dumbledore softly cleared his throat to attract the attention of everyone present.
Draco could also see Hermione clearly for the first time. Her brown eyes were bright and sparkling with life, a delicate lipstick coated glistening lips, and brown hair fell in waves to her shoulders. Who, he wondered could gaze on such a sight and not adore the object they beheld.
“Welcome everybody. Today I will perform a wedding for the first time for almost eighty years. I still hold the required Ministry authorisation, even though it is something I rarely use.” He paused and smiled at the bride and groom.
“Several months ago I had cause to reprimand these two people for conduct unbecoming the two senior students at Hogwarts. As a punishment I set them a task with conditions attached. I thought that a combined reliance on each other and an opportunity to really get to know each other would be sufficient. It is obvious now that I succeeded beyond my wildest dreams. Before I proceed I want to give the two of them a chance to say a few words to each other outside the form of the proceedings.” It was Hermione who responded first,
Thank you, Professor.” She switched her gaze to Draco. “I found these words in a book; they say everything I want to say to you.
The life that I have is all that I have
And the life that I have is yours.
The love that I have of the life that I have
Is yours… and yours… and yours.
“Very nice Hermione. Draco?”
“Thank you, sir.” He turned to Hermione. “Unlike you I have done no research or preparation because I wasn’t told I was getting married today, so I’ll just have to wing it. Poetry isn’t really my thing so I’ll just say this. There was a time when I hated you with a passion but no cause. I love you now with that same passion and more cause than anyone can ever know. You showed me that there is a meaning to my life, that I do have worth as a person. So let’s do this, make my dream come true, Hermione.
Dumbledore began to speak the words of, as a gesture to both Hermione’s birth and out of respect for Frank and Jean, a muggle civil marriage ceremony. They wound their way through the preambles regarding people holding their peace and so on to the questions.
“Hermione, do you take Draco, here present, to be your lawfully wedded husband for better or worse, for richer for poorer, in sickness and in health and to the exclusion of all others keep thee only unto him to your life’s end? Hermione’s voice showed no trace of nerves or stress, the voice of someone utterly confident of her course of action.
“I do.” Less than a minute later Draco’s voice repeated the words in the same manner.
“I do.” A slight tug from Harry and Draco turned as Harry gave him the ring,
“This comes next Drakey.” Harry knew he’d have to pay for that before long. The cheeky lop-sided grin would cut no ice with Draco, of that he was sure.
Draco slipped the ring, a simple plain gold band, past the second knuckle of the third finger on Hermione’s left hand. Leaving his fingers there he repeated the words that Dumbledore prompted.
“With this ring, I thee wed, with my body I thee honour and with all my worldly goods I thee endow.”
He held his left hand out and Hermione placed a ring on his finger and repeated the words. Draco thought for a moment that he saw a slight blush when she spoke the ‘body and honour’ bit. They had honoured each other’s bodies quite a few times now. He suppressed a grin. Hermione would not be pleased if she knew what was going on in his head.
Dumbledore began the final part of the proceedings. “Whereas Draco and Hermione have consented together in wedlock and have declared the same before you all by the giving and receiving of rings and exchanging of vows, I have the great honour to declare that they are husband and wife together.” His bearing relaxed. “Draco, you may kiss your bride.”
As he leaned down to kiss his wife he heard Harry mutter “Twos up”. Seeing Draco’s puzzled expression he explained, “Muggle saying, it means ‘me next’.” That got him a none too gentle elbow in the ribs from Ginny standing next to him.
Draco looked intently at Hermione, “I love you, Mrs Malfoy.” They kissed almost chastely. There would be time for passion later.
“I know, Mr Malfoy, I love you too.” He held her hand and they turned to face their guests. The polite applause of the elder adults gave way to the good natured jeers and wolf-whistles from Seamus and the other students, before the noise level in the room subsided.
Harry made a bee-line for Hermione, but deferred precedence to her parents. Gabby and two other elves appeared at the door bearing trays laden with bubbling champagne flutes and began to circulate, beginning with the bride and groom.
Jean Granger embraced her daughter, “I’m so proud of you Hermione, be happy my darling girl. You have a wonderful life ahead of you.” Jean gave way to Frank who held her as if his life depended on it.
“We love you, kitten. We’re always here if you need us. Be fortunate in all you do. If you are half as good a wife as your mother, then you’ll be just fine.”
“Mum, Dad, nobody could have had better parents than me. I love you both so much and I can never thank you enough.” She turned to Draco, “Say hello to your In-Laws. I’ll leave you while I go and meet my Mother-in-Law.” She kissed him and set off in the direction of Narcissa, pausing only to be embraced and kissed by Harry and Ginny.
She had to stop Narcissa Malfoy from getting to her feet, and pulled a chair close to sit beside her, “Mrs Malfoy can we begin by establishing how you would like me to address you? I’ll readily agree to any preference you may have.”
“Well, Hermione, if my husband had been alive, he would have insisted on something preposterous like ‘Mother Malfoy’. However, Draco has recently taken to calling me ‘Mum’. So why don’t you do the same.”
“My pleasure, Mum. I’m sure he’ll be pleased too.”
“Hermione, please make him happy. Deep down he’s like a little boy, you know, all the years of ‘pure blood’ nonsense never let the real person develop. It saddens me that I am partially responsible for that and that I won’t be around to see how he turns out. Will you have children, Hermione? That’s something else I’ll never get to see. Damn, I promised myself that I wasn’t going to cry.” She dabbed a hankie to her eyes.
“I’m sure we’ll have children, Mrs… I mean Mum, and if you follow the healers guidance; well who knows, maybe…”
“Don’t go giving me any false hope, Hermione, it’s a nice dream and it’s sweet of you to try, but we both know it’s not going to happen.” They were joined by Hermione’s husband and parents. Dumbledore had introduced the elders to each other before the ceremony but before they could chat the sound of Harry tapping a spoon on his glass attracted everyone’s attention to him.
“I would like to say a few quick words. When I was eleven I met a girl who has become one of the most influential people in my life. She has stood beside me and believed in me and I am confident that we will love each other for the rest of our lives. Draco in the last few months has undergone an amazing transformation and I’m not going to waste time now itemising the changes. One thing that I do believe is that his love for Hermione is real, as is her love for him. If you watch them together it is obvious in every glance they give each other, in every word they speak to each other, every touch they share. So if I may, I ask you all to raise your glasses for a toast to the happy couple. To Hermione and Draco, we all wish you the best of everything.”
The others echoed the sentiment, crying ‘hear, hear’ and lifting their glasses to the pair. Draco, after much raucous prompting from the students, stepped forward to make a response.
He took Hermione by the hand and they faced the assembly of friends and family. “On behalf of myself and, “ he turned and smiled at her “my wife,” she gave him a shy smile with her mouth while her eyes showed him nothing but love, “I thank you all for coming to our wedding at such short notice. As short as the notice was for you it was even shorter for me. These last few months have, for the two of us, been a whirlwind of change and emotions. Starting with a deservedly slapped face that I can still feel, and culminating here today in a declaration of our love with you as our witnesses. A declaration to anyone who wishes us ill that there is nothing more they can do to hurt us. Now unfortunately we have a rehearsal to oversee this afternoon, which prevents a proper celebration but rest assured that once the production is completed we will throw the mother of all parties.”
“We’ll hold you to that promise Draco, but we understand that you have things to do and that you need to get away.” Harry wrapped up the proceedings, allowing the couple to say goodbye without having to rush.
Narcissa stood as they reached her and was chided by Draco “Mother… Mum, sit down…”
“Draco Malfoy, I am perfectly capable of standing for long enough to embrace my son and daughter-in-law on their wedding day. Now come and hug your mother, you too, Hermione. God bless you both with many happy years. I think I should sit down now. Come and see me on Monday after your play and you can tell me how it went. I’m sure it will be a great success.”
Ten minutes later the newly-weds stepped out of the floo in their apartment followed shortly after by Harry and Ginny. Harry had filched a bottle of champagne and four glasses. “These are for this evening. I brought four glasses in the hope that we’ll get an invitation to help you drink it.”
“Harry Potter, you are such a freaking idiot sometimes,” Ginny was exasperated, “this will be their wedding night, what on earth makes you think they’ll want visitors. Come on let’s get back to Gryffindor Tower and get changed. See you in the Hall in about ninety minutes, Hermione.” She shoved a protesting Harry out of the door.
Hermione and Draco seemed to share an awkward ‘what do we do now’ moment, until he gave himself a mental kick up the backside. “Hermione you look… heavenly.” She smiled and his heart melted again,
“Thank you, kind sir. You don’t look so bad yourself. I’m going to get changed into something more suitable for a theatrical rehearsal.”
“Need any help?”
“No thanks, I’m a big girl now.” She kissed him softly and took his left hand and began to twist the shiny gold ring on his third finger, “But you know what, I’ve never made love to a married man, you could help…” she never finished her sentence as Draco carried her up the stairs.
Author note: I have a couple of acknowledgements to make,
First, the lines quoted by Hermione at her wedding are taken from a verse by Violet Szabo a female British agent captured and executed by the Nazis during WWII. She was the subject of the film ‘Carve her name with Pride.’
Secondly, for the description of Hermione’s wedding outfit, stand forward and take a bow, STARRYSKIES55. I thoughtlessly interrupted her on her post exam vacation, but being the person and friend she is, she stepped into the milking parlour and picked up a bucket. Thank You so much, Jenny.
And finally to you dear readers; please take the time to leave your opinion. Like it or hate it, this chapter or the whole thing, please leave a review. Thanks.
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