Chapter 29 – The one where two people get married, but not the two you might think
I love to hear her speak, yet well I know
That music hath a far more pleasing sound:
I grant I never saw a goddess go;
My mistress, when she walks, treads on the ground:
And yet, by heaven, I think my love as rare
With any she belied with false compare.
Last six lines of Sonnet 130 – Shakespeare
Scorpius Malfoy took a long walk that morning. His father was getting married, his mother was suddenly in love with another man, his little sister was coming to live with them and he was falling in love for the very first time with Rose Weasley.
Life was wonderful and sweet and strange and awkward. Avoiding everyone he could on his way back to the house, he bounded up the stairs, dressed in his finest for the upcoming wedding of his father to Hermione and then he rushed back outside to find Rose. Although he was pretty sure they had already declared their feelings toward each other, he wanted to tell her one more time before they went back to school on Monday. He wanted to tell her his true feelings. He didn't want to waste one more moment without her in his life.
Suddenly, finding her seemed like the most important thing he could do that day. He rushed around the tent and the hubbub of people milling around it toward the lake, where he found her sitting on the bank, head down, quiet and beautiful.
The mere sight of her nearly took his breath away. How could it be that less than a week ago, he barely gave her a thought, he barely knew she existed, and now every ounce of his being and soul and heart was consumed with the very thought and existence of this woman?
Her long red hair was up in some intricate style, she wore a pastel green dress that paled in comparison to the beauty of the woman wearing it. Looking out at the rippling water, she seemed lost in thought. He called out to her softly, so not to startle her from her solitude.
He walked closer, yet she didn't turn her head. Perhaps she hadn't heard him. He walked closer still and called out once more.
"Go away, Scorpius," she said without turning to face him.
Instead of going away, he walked closer, so close that he stood right behind her. Reaching out with one hand, he touched a white flower in her hair. "Is something wrong?" He didn't need her to answer – he knew something was wrong – but he still waited for a reply. Thoughts stormed through his head. What if she no longer cared for him? What if someone had hurt her?
She turned her head to gaze up at him. Her eyes were rimmed with red. "Have a seat," she said with a sniffle, patting the grass beside her.
He sat down, long legs folding under him, and with a bump of his shoulder to hers he said, "Why are you sad? Did a duck die or something? Did you throw a boulder at one this time? " He nodded out toward several ducks swimming on the lake.
Pursing her lips, she glared at him and said, "You'll never let me forget the duck incident, will you? And no, a duck didn't die as far as I know. Apparently, you've not heard the news, have you?"
"No… What news?" He reached out and took her hand.
"My mum just told me," she said, leaning her head on his shoulder. He liked that gesture. It meant she was seeking comfort from him. It meant that even though she was apparently sad, she hadn't changed her feelings toward him. However, if he found out that someone HAD hurt her, there would be hell to pay that was certain. He was still thinking such things when she told him 'the news', yet because he had other things on his mind (like how she smelled really good and he wanted to kiss her) he didn't really hear her. Therefore, he had to have her repeat what she just said.
"I'm sorry, I didn't hear you. What did you say?" he asked, tilting her chin up with one finger so she had to stare directly into his eyes.
"The wedding's off," she repeated.
He heard her clearly that time.
"Whose wedding is off?" He didn't mean to be dense, but so many people had planned weddings this week… his mum, his dad, her mum, her dad.
"Hermione's wedding to your dad," she said.
That one shocked him. He sat up straighter and asked, "What?" Not the most intelligent thing he could have said, but it was the first thing that popped into his mind.
"Where have you been?" she asked instead of answering his 'what'.
"I went for a walk," he said, "after breakfast. Now, tell me, what happened? Why didn't my dad tell me? Bloody hell, what did he do to make her cancel the wedding?"
"He cancelled it," she informed him, "and my mum told me that he was looking for you. Apparently he didn't find you. By the way, don't you look sharp in your suit and all?" She reached out and touched the flower on his jacket. It matched the ones in her hair.
Scorpius felt a bit sick. He stood up, paced back and forth in front of the water and said, "Why would he do that? He loves her. I know that he loves her. Why would he do this? Why would he ruin his life? What could she have done to make him cancel the wedding?" He stopped pacing and declared, "He probably did something. He probably cheated on her already. Fuck. He's always messing things up!"
Again, instead of answering his plethora of questions, or commenting on his rant, she looked behind him, stood and greeted the person who had just happened upon them.
Draco walked toward the teenagers, having overhead his son's questions and accusations. He knew he had to answer them the best he could, but it hurt to know that his son immediately assumed that Draco had done something wrong. It was true that he had made many mistakes in his years on this earth, but he wouldn't take blame for something that wasn't his fault. Canceling this wedding wasn't his 'fault'. It was one of the best and most noble things a man like him could ever have done. He had to convince his son it was true. He'd convinced Hermione… how much harder would it be to convince his son?
"Hello, Draco," Rose said. That made Scorpius swivel quickly around to face his father.
"Apparently we need to talk, Son," Draco said with a small smile on his face.
Scorpius rushed up to his father and pushed him hard. His son pushed him so hard that Draco stumbled backwards, only stopping from falling over at the last moment.
"WHY?" the young man asked.
"If you'll calm down I'll tell you why," Draco said sternly, thinking that he would never have ever thought of pushing his own father in such a way and yet appreciating the fact that his son felt passionate enough to do it to him. Rose started to walk away, but Draco reached out and stopped her. "You stay, too."
Rose stood shoulder to shoulder with Scorpius and waited to hear what Draco had to say to them. She apparently really wanted to know why he cancelled a wedding that in her and his son's opinion, 'was meant to be'.
Hence, he told them everything.
He told them that this wedding wasn't his and Hermione's wedding. It was someone else's. He told them that Hermione deserved her own wedding, but first she deserved to be courted. She deserved a proper engagement, with a ring, a party, an announcement. She deserved to plan her own wedding with her choice of flowers and food and music. She deserved to have her friends and family there, not someone else's friends and family.
He told them that he'd overhead her telling Potter those very things that morning and it made him ill to know that he didn't care for such things, but that she apparently did.
He told them that by canceling the wedding, he wasn't saying he wouldn't ever marry her. He was just saying 'not right now'. He also told them that everything from this point on would be 'her' decision, not his and not some other person's, but hers.
Scorpius and Rose seemed to accept his speech in silent union. Then, Scorpius must have recalled all the people running around at the house and in the back garden at the tent. "Why are all of the servants and Goyle's people still preparing for a wedding that's not going to happen, then?"
"A wedding is still taking place," Draco said with a sad smile.
Rose gasped. "Is my mother marrying Harry Potter today?"
Draco felt a bit ill at that very thought and said, "Merlin help me, but yes, apparently they are marrying, but not today. He has to do some wooing and ring buying first, just like I do. No, someone else is getting married today. Someone who was getting married from the start."
"Not my dad!" Rose shrieked.
"And my mum!" Scorpius tacked on.
Draco laughed, pointed at Rose and said, "Not your dad," and then pointed at Scorpius and said, "And yes, your mum."
"Who the hell is she going to marry?" Scorpius asked.
Cocking his head toward the tent some ways away, Draco said, "I believe it's about time for the ceremony. Why don't you just go over there and find out, young man?"
Scorpius started to run away, but stopped, looked back at his father and said, "Don't mess things up with Hermione!" He turned to run again, but looked over his shoulder and said to Rose, "I'll save you a seat!"
Rose exhaled a sigh and smiled the next moment. "She's marrying Michael Corner, isn't she?"
Draco nodded. "Scarhead called on his cronies at the Ministry and rushed to get them a special license. Seems he's a useful person to know at times… not that I'll ever admit to saying that, so don't repeat it, young lady."
Rose nodded. "My lips are sealed."
Draco offered his arm to her. She draped her arm through his and they started toward the tent. "You really are still going to marry Hermione, aren't you?"
"If she says yes to me when I ask her again, then yes, I will," Draco said, adding, "I mean, if she still loves me and wants a future with me. Apparently she has all these little 'Rules of Engagement' and I plan to make sure we follow all the rules this time. Likewise, I plan to ask her properly next time, with a large, expensive ring as an enticement."
"I hear she likes emeralds and diamonds," Rose laughed.
"I heard that very same thing," he returned, towing her toward the tent.
Scorpius was sitting in the middle of the second row on the bride's side of the tent. To his right was his little sister. He patted the seat to his left. Rose wound her way through the aisles of chairs and sat down on his left. Draco walked straight up the middle aisle and sat on the end seat, next to his daughter. His parents were sitting directly behind him. His mother leaned forward and gave his shoulder a small pat.
On the groom's side was one Hermione Granger, also on an aisle seat on the second row. Beside her was Harry Potter. Beside him was Susan Bones. Hermione was directly opposite Draco. She smiled at him and he smiled at her.
Leaning her way across the aisle he said, "Are you alright?"
"I don't know," she said conversationally. "I've just been jilted. Stood up at the altar. I've had more than my share of broken engagements, but I've never been jilted an hour before my wedding. It's a bit disconcerting."
"Glad to have something separating me from your many other broken engagements," he said flippantly. Leaning closer, after sitting upright to allow Astoria's mother to pass on her way to the front row, he said, "And I'll have you know that after a proper courting period, I'm fairly certain I'll be asking you to marry me again. Forewarning you and all."
Music started. Roger Davies, the apparent best man, walked toward the front of the tent. Michael Corner, the apparent groom, followed. Everyone stood. Hermione looked at Draco and said, "And I'm pretty certain that I'll say yes, given the right incentive and all."
Draco laughed. "That's what I've heard. Emeralds and diamonds, wasn't it?"
Astoria's sister, the only bridesmaid now, walked by in a lovely pink dress.
Hermione said quickly, but in a whisper so not to ruin the wedding, "That's not what I meant. I meant given the promise of a man who will love me forever."
The bride entered the back of the tent on the arm of her father.
"That's a given, too," Draco whispered back.
The bride walked between the pair on the arm of her father, looking radiant in a white flowing gown. When everyone took their places back in their seats, Draco reached out a hand in the middle of the aisle, only to find Hermione had done the very same thing. They clasped hands when the old wizard at the front of the tent said, "Dearly beloved," and they were still holding hands when he said, "I now pronounce Michael and Astoria husband and wife."
*One chapter to go! It's been such a wild and crazy ride, hasn't it?