Chapter 2 : The Wedding
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Disclaimer: Padma and Parvati Patil as well as anything you recognize all belongs to J.K Rowling. However, the wonderful Gautam belongs to us. Thank you for reading.
Padma nervously played with the bangles on her arm- each time one would bump against another, her mother would turn to look at her. Her mother didn’t need to speak in order for Padma to understand what the look meant- be quiet, and don’t ruin it for your sister. She wasn’t doing it on purpose, of course, she didn’t want to ruin Parvati’s wedding but her mother wasn’t likely to believe that. Not that the actual ceremony had started yet anyway, but that still wouldn’t be a reasonable excuse.
Parvati, Padma, their mother, along with their aunts and cousins were waiting for the ceremony to begin. Their aunts and cousins whispered loudly and giggled at things for they had no reason to be nervous. Parvati was playing with the ends of her lehnga - it was ruby red in colour with hints of gold detailing, she had picked out for its inherent Gryffindor qualities. Despite this nervous tick, Parvati wore the brightest and biggest smile on her face out of everyone.
It certainly beat the facial expressions that Padma and her mother were wearing. Her mother was nervous, like any other who was about to marry off her daughter would be. She had her hands clasped tightly together, while perhaps it looked normal to outsiders, Padma knew too well that her mother was trying desperately to hide her shaky hands. Padma couldn’t even try to conceal her nervousness, even after she stopped playing with her bracelets; she kept brushing an imaginary piece of hair away from her face. This time, her mother didn’t send her a look though it was obvious she noticed.
“Parvati,” her mother said softly, taking her daughter’s hands in hers, “It’s time.” The crowd buzzed with excitement as they surrounded Parvati. Some of them wished her ‘good luck’; others placed their hands on her shoulders or back comfortingly before drawing away. Padma moved next to her sister, her mother on the other side, and grasped onto Parvati’s hand- she gave it a reassuring squeeze and then let go. Parvati turned to grin at her, before she turned back to the front.
The doors opened and slowly the procession of women made their way to the front of the room where Seamus and more of the Patil family waited. For Parvati, the walk to the altar may have seemed like it took forever but for Padma it was much too quick for her liking. Parvati sat beside Seamus- the biggest smile Padma had ever seen was on her twin’s face.
The crowd began to shuffle around the seated couple. Her mother was standing the closest to the couple than anyone else- to her immediate right stood Seamus’ mother, the two mother’s held each other’s hands tightly. Despite, her (what Padma would call) one hundred percent pro-marriage attitude, it was clear that her mother was now terrified at the prospect of giving her daughter away. Her favourite daughter, especially. Padma hated to think of the sobbing that was sure to come after the ceremony and would last up until the very day Padma herself was married. Her mother would be waiting a very long time.
Padma’s attention snapped back to the ceremony just as the mantras began. Each mantra was the same for every ceremony, and so she found herself unable to focus completely on her sister though she knew she really should have been. She could only imagine her mother’s reaction if she could read her daughter’s thoughts.
“I shall never fail Parvati in pursuit of dharma, artha and kama.” Seamus said nervously, but Parvati sent him a comforting smile that boosted his confidence as he repeated the line another two times. Padma couldn’t help but think of how long it’d taken the two sisters to teach him the proper pronunciation of the word.
A sudden brush against her back bought her back into reality. She shifted slightly to the side in the hope that whoever had decided to move around could do so without causing too much of a distraction. Her attention went back to her sister and Seamus, they had just begun their pheres, or vows as they had explained to Seamus. Padma was about to take the basket of flowers that her aunt had passed her, when an arm reached across and took it instead.
“What are you doing?” Padma whispered as she came face to face with Gautam. He wore this ridiculous grin on his face like the conversation they had earlier had never happened. She began to wonder if it really had, but the memory of her harsh words reminded her.
“I’m throwing the flowers,” He replied, “I know you lived in London for a while, but surely you haven’t forgotten all of our traditions.” She could hear the joking tone in his voice, but rather than acknowledge him, she reached into the basket and took a handful of the orange-y, yellow flowers. The empty baskets were now placed on the floor and the room watched in silence as the couple exchanged rings.
Gautam’s presence beside her was uncomforting. He stood too close, he smelled far too good and he kept looking over at her and smiling. In the corner of her eye, she could see her aunts and cousins sharing meaningful looks with one another as if they were already planning her wedding. It took all of her strength not to scream something at all of them and storm off in the other direction. The only thing that really stopped her was Parvati’s expression. This was her sister’s special day, after all, not some day for Padma to show off her inner brat.
And then, the ceremony was over. After a short kiss, Padma had no doubt that her father would be timing how long it lasted for, Parvati and Seamus broke apart. In front of her, her mother had already started to cry as Parvati wrapped her arms around her.
“Ma, ma. Please stop, ma” Parvati kept whispering, rubbing her mother’s back comfortingly. Eventually, she managed to detach herself and move on to hug her father. He didn’t sob quite like their mother did, but he held onto his daughter a little longer than was necessary. “Paddu, please don’t you cry on me too.”
Padma laughed, throwing her arms around her sister. For once she didn’t care about the nickname. “Why would I ever cry for you? I can’t wait for you to be gone.” Parvati chuckled too, before brushing away at her eyes. “Don’t tell me, you’re actually crying. You should be happy, Paro.”
Parvati let out a strangled half-sob, half-laugh at this, “Oh, Paddu. I’m so happy.” Padma hugged her tighter, “You should be too. Go talk to Gautam, give him a chance,” Padma drew back from her sister to send her a confused look, “I may have been married today, but that doesn’t mean I didn’t stop paying attention to you all day. It’s time, Paddu.”
At this, Parvati pulled away and was whisked into the crowd of aunts, uncles, cousins and various other guests. Almost everyone in the room was crying, even those who had barely seen Parvati seen their return to India. Padma watched them all carefully through the fogginess of her own tears, which only stopped when a hand grasped hers.
“I think we need to talk,” She said, turning to Gautam. He looked mildly shocked, but motioned for Padma to lead the way. Once they had snuck through the ground into a little garden, Padma finally let go of Gautam’s hand. “I’m sorry,” She whispered. At first she thought Gautam hadn’t heard her because he didn’t react in any way, but when she went to repeat herself he turned to face her.
“I was telling the truth before.” Padma let out a breath she didn’t know she was holding, “I really am in love with you.” The cocky smile was gone as was the teasing tone in his voice; instead he just stared at her with this intensity in his eyes that Padma could have never imagined. Was this how he had always looked at her? Was this what Parvati had seen?
She kept quiet for a moment, so did he, the two of them just staring into one another’s eyes as the night moved around them. She didn’t how long they sat there like that, but eventually she broke the spell.
“I love you too,” She whispered back, though her voice sounded like it echoed through the whole of India, the whole of the world. His smile made her heart beat faster, and she was so sure he could hear it as he leaned in closer. He kissed her softly on her lips, and she could feel her heart explode.
It was time for her to move on.
Authors Note: I just want to thank my lovely partner Nadia or MissesWeasley123 for all of her help with this piece. Obviously, I could never have managed this without her and all of her support. It’s been lovely getting to work with you for this challenge. Also, Gautam and Benedict wanted me to tell you that they love you very much. Thank you so so very much Nadia!
The italicised words in Hindi, translate to...dharma- moral and lawful life, artha- wealth, kama - love and pheres- vows, lehnga – an Indian dress worn by girls and women.
sneaky Nadia edit: I love you Ely, you're amazing. And, Gautam's all yours dude. We both hope you enjoyed this, and didn't find the stereotypes offensive in any way. If so, please tell us in a review and we will make edits. Thank you for reading, we hope you enjoyed it!
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