Chapter 30 – The one where there is finally a happy ending, in more ways than one!
Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate.
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May,
And summer's lease hath all too short a date.
Sometimes too hot the eye of heaven shines,
And often is his gold complexion dimm'd;
And every fair from fair sometimes declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimm'd;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade
Nor lose possession of that fair thou ow'st,
Nor shall Death brag thou wand'rest in his shade
When in eternal lines to time thou grow'st.
So long as men can breathe or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.
Complete – Sonnet 18
"It was a perfect day for a wedding," Hermione remarked as she approached a table far from the maddening crowd. The other occupants at the table were Harry Potter, Susan Bones, Rose Weasley, Scorpius Malfoy and his father, Draco. Hermione had a plate with cake in one hand and a glass of punch in the other.
She sat the cake down in front of Draco, took the seat next to him, and took a sip of punch. "Hmm…" she murmured after the first drink. "I do believe this punch has been tampered with."
"Tampered with? Who says something like 'the punch has been tampered with'?" Draco took it out of her hand, took a long swig and said, "Yes. Definitely tampered with, or as we normal people say, 'spiked'. I taste firewhiskey in this punch." He winked at Scorpius and said, "Good show, Son, good show."
With a true look of offense on his face, Scorpius said, "I didn't do it! There are children here!"
Rose gave him a swat with the back of her hand. "I hope you aren't referring to you and me."
"I meant my sister. Fiona," Scorpius grinned back to Rose. Turning back to regard his father he said, "But I didn't add firewhiskey to the punch, I swear."
Marcus Flint joined them at that moment, a glass of punch in his hand as well, and said, "I did it. Don't worry. I poured out a glass for the wee one first." Marcus pulled Hermione up from her chair, even though she protested loudly, and pushed her toward Draco. "Sorry, sweetheart, but you need to share. There aren't enough seats. I thought you'd rather sit with your intended, but if not…" and he patted his knee, "I have a place right here for you."
Hermione promptly sat on Draco's knee while Marcus shrugged.
"Speaking of 'intendeds' are you two still engaged?" Rose asked the pair tentatively.
Hermione looked at Draco, who returned her stare. He decided to be the one to answer. "Tonight I am merely her escort to the wedding. We're still together, but I've discovered that I need to ask her to marry me the proper way, with proper incentive, so at the moment we are 'engaged' to be engaged."
Everyone laughed, and Rose said, "Good, I'm glad. I was worried for a moment. You two are made for each other."
"What about us, Rosebud?" Harry said sweetly. "Aren't your mum and I made for each other, too?"
"Let me answer this one, squirt," Draco said pleasantly to Rose. He looked right at Harry Potter and said, "As much as it pains me to admit it, you – old Scarhead – and the 'Girl four-eyes' are a perfect match. Although I have to admit, I'm beginning to really like Bones here, so I'm apt to think she's a bit too good for you."
Harry merely stared at Draco while the rest of the people around the table smiled. "And my best friend is too good for you. What's your point?" Harry snapped.
"No point, no point." Draco held up his hands in surrender. "It just means we're a pair of louts who have women far too good for us, and aren't we the lucky ones?"
"Speaking of engagements," Marcus replied, "what prompted you two to suspend yours so that Astoria and Corner could tie the old knot?" He looked directly at Hermione and Draco.
Draco placed an arm around Hermione's middle and said, "You take this one, little lion. I answered Rose's question, so you take Flint's."
"Well," Hermione said slowly, taking time before she completed her thought, "we decided that this was really Astoria's dream wedding, not mine, and although you would think after a handful of engagements, a little thing like a wedding wouldn't be important to me, but it is."
"You see, Flint, after I heard Hermione and Potter speaking this morning, I decided that Granger deserves courtship and a big ring and she deserves to be wined and dined and wooed. She also deserves the wedding of her dreams, not my ex-wife's dreams," Draco supplied.
Hermione looked at Draco and said, "I was wondering about that before. When did you hear Harry and me talking? We only talked about it this morning, in my bedroom, and we were quite alone."
"Apparently not," Harry said with a scowl.
"Yes, and it's a good thing I was eavesdropping, too," Draco defended, "or I wouldn't have thought about you deserving your own wedding, not Astoria's wedding, little lion. Doesn't my noble gesture trump the whole eavesdropping thing?"
"I have to think about that," Hermione said with a grin.
Draco leaned closer, looking at Marcus as his cheek rested on Hermione's shoulder. "She acts all high and mighty right now," he regaled, "but if she and I, as well as Bones and Potter, hadn't been sitting at the top of the stairs this morning, talking about emeralds and rings and weddings, etc, we would not have overheard – or in her opinion – eavesdropped on Astoria and Corner. We wouldn't have heard them proclaim their love for each other."
Harry added, "Astoria was telling Michael that this was her dream wedding, and she was sad that she couldn't have it, so to speak."
"And," Susan told the table, "Michael said something so sweet to her… he said something like, 'I know I'm not wealthy like your ex-husband' –"
Draco interrupted with, "Then again, who is?"
Susan continued, "– 'and I know I may not be the best looking chap in the world' –"
Draco interrupted again with, "Like her ex-husband." Hermione promptly put her hand over Draco's mouth.
Susan continued her tale, "Then he said, 'and I might not be a hero like Ron Weasley. I'm just a simple man with a simple dream, and although we've only reconnected, I think my dream will come true if you'd marry me someday'. Then Astoria said that she had a dream as well, and it was this wedding, this day and the man in front of her.' After that she started crying and threw her arms around him and before we knew it Hermione and Draco called down to them and they gave Astoria back her wedding day."
"With a different groom than originally intended," Rose said, meaning her father, Ron.
Harry said, "Astoria deserved her own wedding day, even if it was with a different groom than originally planned, and Hermione deserves her own wedding day, even if it's with the world's biggest git. I happen to know that she keeps a secret little notebook with all her 'wedding plans' written in it, down to the last detail. It's small, with red leather and a gold embossed design and she always ties it with a white ribbon"
Hermione huffed, "And how would you know such a thing, Harry Potter?"
"Malfoy's not the only person to eavesdrop once in a while. I've seen you writing in it for years. With each new engagement you'd start carrying it around, adding lists after lists to it. I even know you brought it with you this week."
"What else do you know, Harry?" Hermione asked with a grimace.
"I know that you hate long engagements. You once said that a month was long enough to be engaged and anything longer than that was a waste of time."
"A month, huh?" Draco asked Hermione, giving her a squeeze. "I might have to take a look at this notebook of yours sometime."
Harry knocked his elbow into Susan's and asked, "Do you want a long engagement with a big wedding at the end?"
She laughed loudly and said, "I don't even really want the ring. I find that I'd be inclined to be happy with just the man and the vows."
Harry grabbed her hand, brought it to his mouth and kissed the top of it. "In that case, would you like to marry me when we leave here? Say, in about two weeks? I got an extra special license just in case."
"I do," Susan said softly. "I really, really do."
Later that evening, as the sun was sitting in the sky and most of the guests were leaving, Scorpius Malfoy motioned to Rose Weasley as he walked by her on the way to the lake. She followed slightly behind him. Without looking, he stuck his hand out and she placed hers in it.
Orange, purple, and all other colours imaginable bounced around the rippling water, reflecting the setting sun overhead.
"It's beautiful," Rose replied.
Scorpius tightened his hand over hers and turned to stare at her. "You're beautiful."
Smiling, she said, "I think you are, too."
"When I turn 25, I plan to ask you to marry me," he declared. "I wanted my intentions know from the start."
"And when you turn 25, and I'm 25, I plan to say 'yes'," she answered, smile still on her face.
"Good," he said quickly, hiding his grin by turning his face away from her.
"Good," she repeated, hiding her grin as well.
Hermione and Draco walked together down another path around the lake. They saw the young couple, holding hands. "I think this was a very prosperous week, romance wise, wouldn't you agree?" Hermione asked Draco.
He towed her toward the gazebo, leaned against a railing, and pulled her into his arms. "For almost everyone, it would appear."
Hermione looked around to where Draco was staring. On the path leading back to the house, Marcus Flint was standing with Ginny Weasley in his arms. They were kissing.
"Alright then," Hermione said, bringing her gaze back to Draco's. "I suppose even they have the right to be happy."
"Even though she tried to ruin everyone else's happiness?" Draco asked.
"She probably just did it because she was jealous of everyone else's happiness. That's fine. I don't begrudge her own happiness just because she tried to ruin mine," Hermione said with a sigh. She placed her head on his chest. "What do we do now? I had planned on leaving tonight and I know you had originally planned to stay one more night."
Rubbing his hand in circles on her back he said, "Why don't you stick to your plan and I'll stick to mine and I'll contact you shortly afterwards?"
She lifted her head and regarded him dubiously, but nodded. "May I have a kiss goodbye?"
"You may have all my kisses for the rest of your life," he said. Leaning toward her, he placed his lips upon hers and they kissed briefly. Then she moved from the circle of his arms, walked slowly down the steps of the gazebo and then away from him on the path leading back to the house.
He watched her go until she was out of sight. Then he walked toward the house to find Harry Potter. He needed to know a bit more about this 'notebook' of Granger's.
Hermione found Astoria and Michael, wished them congratulations one last time, and then she Disapparated away.
One month later…
Sunday, June 25th
"What have you got there, Hermione?" Rose Weasley stood from the breakfast table at her 'Aunt' Hermione's house to look at a package that was in Hermione's hands.
"I don't know yet," Hermione answered. "There was a knock on the door and when I went to answer it, there was no one there… there was only this package with a note attached."
Harry walked into the kitchen, coffee in hand, and said, "Well, read the blasted thing."
Susan, who was already sitting at the table, looked up from a book she was reading. "Harry, perhaps we should let her open it in private."
"Why?" Harry asked, sitting beside his new wife. They married two weeks ago. Today they picked Rose up from her father's house and decided to make an early morning visit to his best friend Hermione.
"Is it from Draco?" Rose asked, leaning over Hermione's arm to peer at the neatly wrapped package.
"I don't know yet," Hermione repeated the same response as before. She placed the package on the table, sat down, and lifted up the envelope. "I haven't heard from him in a whole month! A month! I know we decided to take things slower, court properly and all, but a month without word is unnerving."
"I know he picked Scorpius up from school last week," Rose began. "I saw him. He told me that he just bought a new estate, with a large mansion, stables, a lake and a massive garden. He said it was almost 'ready', whatever that meant. He said that Fiona was thriving and he invited me to come spend a week there with Scorpius the first week in July."
"How nice," Hermione said with a miffed expression. "He bought a new house, all is well in his little world, he invites people over for visits, yet he can't seem to bother with contacting me. Would a note be remiss? Or a telephone call. Surely he has a mobile phone! These aren't the dark ages. Wizards have phones nowadays."
"Just open the package," Harry prompted, placing his paper beside his plate.
Hermione gave him a queer look. "You know something, Harry Potter. I know you know something just as well as I know my name is Hermione Granger. You came here, very early by the way, for a reason this morning, didn't you? You know what's in this package. I'd bet my life on it."
Harry rolled his eyes. "For goodness sakes. You could have read the note, opened the package, and be done with it by now."
"Fine, I'll read the note and open the bloody package." Hermione ripped open the envelope first, pulled out a heavy-card stock note, which was folded neatly in half, and started to read aloud.
"Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no; it is an ever-fixed mark,
That looks on tempests, and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved."
When she was done reading, Susan smiled and said, "Sonnet 16. The one I was originally going to read at the wedding last month."
"Yes," Hermione said softly.
"Does it say anything else?" Rose asked, placing a hand on Hermione's wrist to tilt the note toward her.
"Yes," Hermione said again, "it says 'open the box' on the bottom of the page."
Harry smiled a 'knowing' smile and said, "Then I suggest you open the box."
Without further ado, Hermione placed the note to the side, and slipped a finger under the tape holding the white wrapping paper together at the bottom of the small package. Once the paper was removed, and a silver, ornate box was exposed, she lifted the lid. Then she smiled.
"It's a ring," she said with relief. "An emerald ring with small diamonds all around it."
"Put it on, put it on!" Rose urged.
"There's something else in the box," Harry said, peering into the box from Hermione's other side.
She placed the ring on the table and reached her hand in the box. Inside the box was a small, red leather, gold embossed notebook, tied with a white ribbon. "My wedding planning notebook! I thought I misplaced it!"
Pulling the notebook out of the box, she placed it next to the ring on the table and gave Harry a dubious look. "You do know something, don't you, Harry?"
Harry smiled at his best friend and said, "All I know is that there's someone here to see you. I believe he wants the honour of placing that ring upon your finger." With that, Harry and Susan rose from the table, took Rose's hands in theirs and pulled her from the room, just as Draco Malfoy was walking in.
Rose called over her shoulder, "Say yes, Hermione!"
Draco laughed. "I like that girl," he said, coming nearer.
"Is this from you?" she asked, holding the ring up for his inspection.
"I would hope so, unless you have some other bloke madly in love with you, which I wouldn't put past you." He took the ring from her, held it up to the light and said, "It looks expensive, so I suppose it is from me."
"Does this mean what I think it means?" she asked boldly. "Are you finally asking me to marry you?"
"Not yet," he said slyly.
He knelt down on one knee, took her hand in his, and then said, "Hermione Granger, would you make me the happiest of men and become my wife? I promise to love and cherish you forever. I promise to always tell you that you're right, even when you're wrong. I promise to fight with you when the time is right, hold you in my arms and kiss you when the urge overcomes me, and be the best husband I know how to be. Will you say yes, or will you make me grovel some more, because my knee is starting to ache."
She smiled even while biting her bottom lip. She let him slip the ring on her finger and then said, "I suppose I should say yes, especially since I just found out that I'm pregnant."
Draco gasped, stood up and said, "Is it mine?"
She slapped him hard on the chest. "Of course it's yours, you blathering idiot!"
"I thought we couldn't children," he replied.
She liked that he had said, 'we' instead of 'you'. "I thought we couldn't either. I thought I couldn't. I was told I couldn't. But I guess someone was wrong, because I am indeed four weeks pregnant. Must have happened the first night you ravished me."
Draco threw back his head and laughed. "You mean the first night you ravished me, little lion."
"You definitely did the ravishing," she countered.
He drew her into his arms, shrugged and said, "Guilty as charged, I suppose."
"Why did you wait a month?" she asked with a frown on her face.
"You said a month was the longest you wanted to wait," he explained.
"No," she began, "I said a month was long enough to be engaged, before the wedding. I didn't say I wanted to wait a month to become engaged."
"Well, it took me a month to make sure everything was right. I wanted to make sure you didn't change your mind about me, as well. You've been engaged a fair number of times, so I also wanted to make sure that when I did ask you, we got married right away."
"That's fine with me," she said. "We can get married next week if you want."
"I was thinking we could get married in a couple of hours," he said sheepishly. "You see, I happen to know, probably because I stole your little wedding planning notebook, all about your perfect wedding, so along with a prat named Potter, we've been secretly planning 'our wedding' for the last few weeks. Old Scarhead has proved himself useful, for him and his new misses have taken all your plans and together, with me, we've made your dream wedding a reality. It takes place at noon today."
"I already bought the dress," she admitted.
He shook his head, smiled and said, "I would have expected nothing less of you."
He kissed her on the lips, swiftly and sweetly. "I will have you know, however, that we are probably breaking about ten rules of engagement, by rushing all of this, but I've always been a rule breaker at heart."
"And I've always thought that was one of your best qualities, to be sure," she responded. "So my answer to your earlier question is, yes, I will marry you, today, and be your wife for tomorrow, and the next day, and for all times."
And that was the way it ended.
It's been a long ride. Thank you to everyone who supported me and this story. I appreciate it!