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A Matter of Conspiracies and Matchmaking by MemoriesFade
Chapter 1 by MemoriesFade
Author's Notes:
Briefly describe what you'd like to receive in your fic: To be honest, I would LOVE a fic that is inspired, or even a little similar, to Pride and Prejudice. The class division, the pride, the redemption, prejudices and how they're resolves, I love it. (I don't mean you have to write an AU, just inspired by, even loosely). I enjoy passion and UST most of all, as well as battles of wits and clever banter, petty competitions and happy endings. I think it would be brilliant to see the parents of both interacting.

The tone/mood of the fic: Romance with a kick. ;)

An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic: "I expected this to be a lot more difficult." "Oh, I haven't even begun."

Preferred rating of the the fic you want: Any you see fit but while I love my smut, I'll take plot over it any day.

Canon or AU? I prefer canon, though I don't mind EWE (in this case, I'd prefer it).

Deal Breakers (anything you don't want?): I would like a happy ending, so no tragedy or death!fic. I also prefer post-war fics. Rape, complete PWP, cross-dressing and gender-swapping, submissive Draco, marriages, kids, divorces, or infidelity, no strong fetish like golden showers, vomit, or blood/torture. No complete AUs.
I must send a large amount of love and thanks to my beta, Aerileigh, who did a wonderful favor for me by betaing this story at the last minute. I owe her many, many cookies. Also, this story is very loosely based on Pride and Prejudice.

~~~~~~~~


Ever since she left for Hogwarts, Ginny Weasley had always looked forward to her holidays, especially summer. There was nothing quite as lovely as summer at the Burrow. The twins would play their pranks. Ron would sulk a bit because he missed Harry and Hermione. Bill and Charlie would pop in for weekends, or, if they were lucky, for a week off from work. Her mum would bustle about the house, cleaning, cooking, and tending to the garden, not to mention reigning in the chaos that the twins usually caused. And her dad would simply sit back and watch, taking in his family and their antics.

But as the years passed, summer became more and more depressing. Now, summer couldn't be less looked forward to with its balls and charities. The war had taken its toll on the Weasley family—in a large way. She clasped her champagne glass in her hand, wishing she could have something stronger, and stared at her brother, whose missing ear seemed even more noticeable in light of his new hair cut. George had never fully healed from Fred's death, and Ginny doubted he ever would. Even now, five years after the fact, he still paused in his speech, waiting for Fred to finish his sentence. And Bill, she glanced around the room, spotting him, his scarred face hidden in the shadows, talking to his resplendent wife. But those were just the physical reminders of the war. She still had nightmares, and Ron, though he never spoke of it, did too. He also was more than a little bit possessive about Hermione, especially now that Harry was single.

"Another champagne, Ms. Weasley?"

Ginny nodded to the bartender. "Yes, please."

After receiving her glass, she thought it best to move away from the bar. It was the height of impropriety for a lady to stand at the bar, let alone make herself a permanent fixture in front of it. And the last thing she wanted to do was be deemed improper. Her family's new standing after the war demanded that she played 'the game.' That was what she and Ron had dubbed it years ago.

It was pure politics. She would circulate the room, make small talk, dance with eligible bachelors, never dancing more than two dances with the same man, and refrain from lashing out at some of the men in the room, some of the same men that she had fought against in the war. Her fingers clenched tighter around the champagne flute as she thought about the way society worked. Money and blood status still held an overwhelming amount of sway over the Wizarding world.

"Ms. Weasley, you look lovely."

She smiled politely and nodded, thanking the person before excusing herself to see her brothers. It had been with pure glee that she had chosen her attire for the night, a set of midnight black dress robes with a deep, plunging neckline that had made her mother's eyebrows slam together. The silky dress felt wonderful on her skin, and it gave her a certain sense of rebelling against the society that seemed old-fashioned in every sense. However, being at the ball, she couldn't help but to want to hide away from the various stares she attracted. And she was happy that she had left her curtain of red hair down. It provided her with some semblance of privacy.

"You know, you would get a lot less stares if you were to actually wear clothes."

She sank down in her seat, smiling at her brother. "And where would be the fun in that? The old codgers wouldn't have something to gossip about over their morning tea. I wouldn't dare deprive them of such a treat, George."

He laughed. "Of course not. A dance for your brother then?"

"If only to save me from that wretched man coming over here, yes," Ginny said, her eyes darting to the quick approaching blond.

"It worries me that he's so chummy with Mum and Dad," George muttered, helping her out of her seat and onto the dance floor. "I mean, it's unnatural."

"Tell me about it," she whispered, moving around the room in a slow waltz.

Ginny eyed Lucius Malfoy over her brother's shoulder, glaring at him. No one knew how he had managed to worm his way out of prison after serving time for only two years. The terms of his release were kept quiet, and no one really knew he was out until after the fact—months after the fact actually. To make matters more suspicious, Lucius Malfoy and Arthur Weasley were now friends. It was as if their whole world had been turned upside down when the news had broken in the Weasley family. No one could understand why two men, who years ago got into a fight in a bookstore, would be friends.

She caught sight of his wife, Narcissa, speaking with Molly, both women glancing at Ginny out of the corner of their eyes. Suddenly, she got the feeling that there was more than something friendly going on. In fact, the look in her parents' eyes could only be considered as conspiring. She voiced her thoughts to a grinning George.

"I always knew Fred and I didn't get our mischievous genes from out of thin air," he replied, turning Ginny so that he could get a look at Molly. "Mum does look quite suspicious, doesn't she?"

"I don't have nearly enough alcohol in my system to handle our parents being up to something with the Malfoys," Ginny said exasperatedly.

"You're getting a little more worked up than usual," George said with raised eyebrows. "Is there a reason?"

Her lips formed a thin line, and she shook her head. But she knew that George didn't buy her denial. Regardless, she would certainly take keeping him in the dark than telling him the reason why she hated when her parents spoke with the Malfoys. She hated talking about it at all. In fact, in the five years since she had last confronted the reason why she disliked the Malfoys, she had never spoken about it to anyone. She never had a reason to.

It had been in her sixth year, the year when she had done nothing but cause trouble for Severus Snape. Ginny had stumbled across Draco Malfoy, solemnly sitting outside on a bench. He had looked like his entire world was crumbling. His face was drawn, his eyes sunken, and his body slumped. Perhaps it was the caretaker gene her mother passed on to her, but for some reason, she had sat down next to him—a stupid decision. He was the boy who had let Death Eaters in the castle, the one who had let Greyback in the castle. But she couldn't just leave him sitting there, in the freezing weather, with nothing but his school uniform on.

He didn't respond to her, even when she prodded him. It wasn't until two weeks after this strange ritual of sitting next to one another that he spoke to her. His words were cold and bitter. He told her to leave him and stop coming back. She hadn't listened. They spoke often after that, mostly about things not dealing with the war. It had been idealistic of her to think that sitting next to a boy for months would make him change. In the end, he had tried to capture Harry, Ron, and Hermione. When she saw him in the Great Hall, she had been relieved to see him alive. But days after, when she heard what he and his goons tried to do, she had felt nothing but disappointment.

Luckily for her, she never saw him again. He went to Durmstrang to finish his schooling, and she heard, from her mother of all people, that the Malfoy boy was now in France. Now that she thought about it, her mother often brought him up, especially in the past few months.

"Ginny, are you still with me?"

"Sorry," Ginny murmured. "I spaced out for a second."

"Thank you for the dance, m'lady," George said with an exaggerated bow.

She laughed and did a curtsy. "The pleasure was all mine, kind sir."

"Excuse me, Ms. Weasley. May I have this dance?"

Ginny froze, her jaw closing with an audible snap. George was looking at the man behind her with a steely face, and Ginny wanted nothing more than to walk away with a swish of her dress—in honor of her former potion's professor. Instead, she turned around slowly and faced Lucius Malfoy, who was holding his hand out with what she suspected to be a debonair smile on his face. It did nothing but irritate Ginny.

"Of course, Mr. Malfoy," she said with distant politeness.

"Wonderful," he all but purred, closing his hand around hers.

She did her best to put as much distance between them as she could, her arms resting lightly against his shoulder. In all her years of attending the balls, she had never danced with anyone she hated as much as Lucius Malfoy. She didn't know what to do. She kept her eyes averted, refusing to look at him and focusing on a spot on his shoulder.

"You are doing an amiable job at trying to remain unaffected. However, you did not have the upbringing to ensure that you would learn such concealment skills," Lucius said with a slow smile on his face. "I, on the other hand, am quite trained in it."

"Perhaps that is how you have concealed your true intentions from my parents," Ginny said, seething.

"Ah but, Ginevra, your parents know exactly what my intentions are," Lucius said, his smile not placating Ginny one bit. "They are rather supportive of my plans actually."

"And what plans are you referring to, Mr. Malfoy?" asked Ginny tightly. "I'm assuming that the reason you asked to dance with me tonight is because you wanted to have a dramatic reveal."

"I have a flare for dramatics. Narcissa tells me that quite often," he said offhandedly.

He was quiet for a moment, the two meandering around the room in a slow waltz. And just as Ginny meant to ask him what he was going on about—or wring his neck—he began to speak.

"Did you know your parents went to France a few months ago?" Lucius looked down at her with a blank expression. "Narcissa and I invited them to stay at our chateau for a few days."

Ginny clenched her jaw. "I wasn't aware, no."

"They had a lovely time. We took them to some of the sights, and France, especially Bordeaux, can be very romantic during that time of the year. Your mother had quite the appetite for wine too." Lucius let out a sound that Ginny would almost consider to be a chuckle. "In any case, we only stayed in Bordeaux for two days before moving on to our home in Saint-Tropez. The beach was spectacular. In fact, I should arrange for your entire family to come see it. I'm sure you've never been to France either."

"Mr. Malfoy, while I appreciate that you boasted your wealth to my parents in such a humble fashion," Ginny said, voice dripping with sarcasm, "perhaps you could get to the point. There is a point, isn't there?"

Lucius ignored her. "Well, my son, Draco, happened to be in Saint-Tropez at the time, unknown to his mother and me. We thought he was in Paris, you see."

"I believe the song is over," Ginny said tensely, not wanting to hear more of the story.

"You must indulge me with another dance," Lucius drawled, holding her waist tightly.

"It would be the height of impropriety, Mr. Malfoy," she said coldly.

"Not many expect much propriety from you, my dear. It will be excused," Lucius said. "Besides, I haven't gotten to the interesting part of the story yet."

"And insulting me will ensure that?" Ginny stared at him incredulously.

"One dance, Ms. Weasley. I think you will enjoy the story immensely. Now where was I?" He looked thoughtful for a moment before smiling, leading her into another waltz. "My son was surprised to see us but welcoming no less. We hadn't told him about our venture into France with your parents. Admittedly, I suspect that he was rather shocked to see the Weasleys with us."

"Aren't we all?" Ginny muttered.

"Imagine our shock when, whilst Molly was discussing your new employment with the Ministry, Draco made the statement, 'She did seem the type to want to bring people together,'" Lucius said.

Ginny's cheeks colored. "Well, we did attend school together."

"Yes, I suppose. Yet I would never suspect him to be on such good terms that he could make such a comment about your personality." Lucius led her to the center of the room, their dance seeming to take an inordinately long time. "I just had to find out more, and your parents were rather interested in my findings as well. Your mother helped me by speaking with one of your friends, one Luna Longbottom I believe."

"I'm sure she was enlightening," Ginny said with a smile. She knew that Luna didn't know a thing. "What did she tell you?"

"Interestingly enough, she told us that you and Draco used to sit together in the evenings at school," Lucius said.

Ginny balked. "She what?"

"Apparently, she had a penchant for the greenhouses and saw you two there often," Lucius continued. "And then it all made sense. My wife, you see, begged Draco to attend Hogwarts. But he told her that he didn't want to go back there. He was afraid he made choices that left him with consequences he couldn't face."

"At least he's honest about himself," Ginny said. "He did deplorable things."

"Have you ever made a mistake, Ms. Weasley?" Lucius asked quietly.

"Never to the extent of his or yours, Mr. Malfoy, if you'll pardon my honesty," Ginny said sweetly.

His jaw tightened. "Of course, Ms. Weasley. You will forgive me for being frank when I tell you that your prejudices against my family are going to prevent you from future happiness."

"Prejudices? You really shouldn't speak of prejudices, Mr. Malfoy," Ginny retorted. "I don't think there is a person in this room more discriminating than you."

"I would disagree," Lucius said. "This was not my intention when I spoke to you, Ms. Weasley."

"What was your point?" asked Ginny. "Did you think that speaking about Malfoy would make me feel some sort of emotion other from hatred?"

"You had a purpose, Ms. Weasley, when you spoke to him. What was it?" he asked.

Ginny shot him a puzzled expression. "What do you mean?"

"Did you intend to try and turn him to your side, change his alliances?" asked Lucius curiously.

"No," Ginny said forcefully. "I did it because he looked lost and broken. I thought he needed someone to talk to."

"So your prejudice has only built over time? You haven't always been this way," Lucius said with a nod. He released her when the song came to an end, giving her a small bow. "Prejudice, Ms. Weasley, is a dangerous thing. Keep that in mind."

"Thank you for the dance," Ginny said bitingly while curtsying.

"It has been my pleasure, Ms. Weasley," Lucius said, walking away.

He left Ginny to stand in the middle of the room, confused about her conversation with Lucius Malfoy. She remembered her time with Draco, remembered sneaking out of the Room of Requirement and disappearing for periods of time. Neville would always question her, and she told him that she was causing trouble. In her mind, back then, she was. After all, if Draco would have changed his mind, it would have caused trouble for some people.

She began to make her way across the room, when she noticed the room suddenly become quiet. Thinking nothing of it, she made her way to the bar, ordering herself a third champagne. While she was sure that people were watching her actions, she knew that her dance with Lucius would overshadow her over consumption of alcohol. And she certainly planned on drinking as much as she could. It was paid for by the Ministry, who had forced her to attend.

"Shouldn't you be mingling?"

Ginny's cheeks colored pink, and she turned to face Stewart Nott, her boss. "Good evening, Mr. Nott."

"Ms. Weasley," he greeted, his brown eyes sweeping down her form. "You look … wonderful."

"Thank you, sir," she replied politely.

"Part of your new position is to make contacts, Ms. Weasley. I've often thought that perhaps we should begin lessons in proper etiquette for our liaisons." Mr. Nott ordered himself a Firewhiskey. "I think a few people in our department could use a few etiquette lessons."

"And perhaps a few lessons in manners as well, sir." She shot him an innocent look over her champagne flute. "Don't you think so?"

Mr. Nott nodded. "Yes. Now, you should meet one of our liaison officers. You haven't had a chance to meet him since he's been away on assignment. Ah, here he is now. Do try and be presentable."

Ginny tightened her grip on the glass, taking a sip. She had spent most of her time in her new position dealing with Stewart Nott. He was the type of condescending prat that she dreamt of strangling—literally. Nott never failed to turn his nose down at her, often inferring that he didn't know how someone of her social standing had earned a position so high up in the Ministry. After all, her entire department was filled with people from the upper echelons of society.

"Mr. Malfoy, wonderful to see you home. I'm sure your family is happy."

She froze. Her entire body tensed, her glass almost falling from her hand. The motion of steadying it caused the champagne to slosh about in her glass, but she successfully prevented her from embarrassing herself. Unfortunately, in the act of steadying the glass, she had shifted her head to the side, coming face to face with Draco Malfoy, a rather dashing Draco Malfoy. She had never truly realized how handsome he was until now, dressed in flattering, black dress robes, his hair free of hair products and left loose.

"Mr. Nott, it is good to see you," he said, his voice blank of emotion as he shook Mr. Nott's hand. His eyes fell on Ginny, and she let out a shaky breath. "Ms. Weasley."

"Mr. Malfoy," she murmured.

She couldn't look away from him. His eyes danced with such an intensity that he seemed to be trying to enchant her or lure her to him. It seemed like such a ludicrous idea, yet she found herself focused entirely on him. Her eyes roamed over his face, from his cheekbones to his lips, which looked soft and supple. Suddenly, she felt like the girl sitting on the bench next to him, thighs touching, breaths coming out in small puffs.

"Ms. Weasley, Mr. Malfoy has been our acting French liaison. Luckily, we've managed to sort out our current issues with France, and we were able to bring him home," Mr. Nott said proudly, patting Draco on the back. "Ms. Weasley is our latest addition to the team. She is the liaison with the Italians, quite a step up for her."

"Yes, I guess it is," Draco said smoothly, his eyes boring into her.

Ginny, finally getting a hold of herself, became angered by his patronizing tone. "I believe I was more deserving than some."

"Ah, I'll let you two get acquainted. I see the Minister over there," Mr. Nott said, dashing off.

"Ass," Ginny muttered under her breath.

"Now, now, is that anyway to treat your fellow team member?" drawled Draco.

She downed her champagne and turned back to the bar. "Willing to acknowledge that we're in the same league, Malfoy?"

"Nowhere in the vicinity, Weasley," Draco replied, ordering himself a drink. "I realize you had no formal teaching, Weasley, but you should know that it's impolite to be such a lush at a ball."

"Well, I suppose I should count myself fortunate that your father chose to speak to me tonight. That alone should alleviate any gossip about my drinking." She received her champagne with a muted thanks, moving towards the end of the bar and away from the crowd.

"Your attire is rather interesting," he drawled, approaching her even as she inched away. "I imagine that if I stood in a particular spot, I could see your tits."

Ginny glared. "You can join the rest of men trying, but I promise you'll get nowhere."

"Such a shame," he said with mock sadness. "Cheers to you, however. It's such a treat to see your style has evolved from baggy robes to barely any robes at all. You certainly do things to the extreme."

"Careful, Malfoy, someone might start to think you had invested interest in me," she said lightly. "We wouldn't want that now. I'm so beneath your station after all."

"I'm happy to see that you've learned your place. You're right. It's most certainly beneath me," he said, eyes flashing dark gray. "I imagine you like it beneath me."

"Weren't you the one who just spoke of impoliteness? I suspect that speaking in such a crude manner to a lady isn't befitting of a gentleman," she said with an innocent expression. "Your mother would be so disappointed."

"She would agree that no lady would show her assets, no matter how enticing they may be," he replied with a smirk. "Tell me, did you want to attract attention to yourself when you got dressed?"

"Your obsession with clothing is making me wonder about a few things, Draco," she murmured thoughtfully. "I suppose it fits. You are rather concerned about how you look and spent an awfully long time getting ready in the mornings, if rumors are to be believed. I also heard some rumors about things happening in the Slytherin dorm rooms."

He smirked lazily. "Most were true. But I assure you, Ginevra, that my only interest in women's clothing, is the best way to get it off. So yes, I am obsessed with your robes because I've been wondering how easy it would be to take off."

Ginny's cheeks colored, heat suffusing her body. "If you'll excuse me."

"Running, Weasley?" He sipped his drink idly. "I didn't think you the type. You always seemed the sort to dive headlong into your problems, face your demons."

"Did you get that assessment from my attempt to befriend you? Are you the demon that I tried to face?" She tapped her fingers to her lower lip with a mock thoughtful expression, any attraction she felt quickly vanishing. "Demon, I think it fits."

"You seem angry, Weasley," Draco said sarcastically.

"No, disappointed," she said, exaggerating the word. "You want to talk about facing demons? Let's face the past and talk about how when the time came, nothing changed about you, Draco. You were the same pureblood supremacist that you had always been."

His face became stony, amusement falling away. "Pureblood supremacist? I don't remember spouting off anything about purity of blood that year."

"Actions spoke louder than words," she said, moving away.

She spotted the open balcony doors and made her way towards them, pausing only to have a polite conversation about her robes with Mr. Nott's wife. But she ended the conversation after a veiled insult was made about her background. No matter how hard she tried to prove herself amongst society, unless she had millions in the bank and could buy their respect, nothing would change. She had given up trying long ago.

Stepping outside in the cool air, she took a deep breath, observing the lit patio. There were a few people on the terrace, conversing and laughing. Not wanting to be a part of the crowd, she moved down the terrace steps and into the gardens. They were rather beautiful, and she was happy that the Ministry had decided to host the ball here rather than in the usual Ministry ballroom. They were in one of the confiscated houses that had been cleared out and kept as a community center of sorts, the gardens turned into a park.

She sat down on a bench, flowers surrounding her, and slowly sipped on her champagne. She knew that part of her was being irrational to expect anything from Draco Malfoy. And if she cared to admit it to herself, she would know the reason was because she had developed feelings for him. He was attractive and intelligent with witty, biting comments that she never failed to return. It had been a reprieve from the war. They would sit on that bench, and it had been like nothing else mattered, not detentions from the Carrows or comforting crying first years.

"You know, it is height of bad taste to walk off during a conversation."

Ginny closed her eyes. "I didn't want to speak to you."

"What is it that you suspected I did, Ginny?" He sat down next to her on the bench. "I did what I did for the love of my family. I was born and bred to protect my family at all costs."

"Oh don't give me that bullshit," Ginny spat. "You repeatedly did your best to thwart Harry every chance you got. It's funny that your father was speaking to me about prejudices. You couldn't see beyond your hatred for Harry. You, with your almighty pride, couldn't admit that you needed help. Instead, you tried to kill Dumbledore, failing, might I add, and harming people in the process."

His nostrils flared, and he clenched his fists. "Hatred? You hate me so much that you, with your supposed compassion, can't bother to take a stroll in my shoes and imagine what it was like for me."

"Why should I?" she asked. "You didn't learn anything, Draco. You made mistakes, and you never attempted to correct them."

"Didn't I?" he asked softly.

"No, you didn't," she said firmly.

"I wanted to write to you while I was away, to tell you about what I was doing," he said, his voice barely above a whisper. "A few months of sitting on a bench next to you and I was suddenly besotted or some such rot. I wanted to write to you, show you I had changed."

"Not when it mattered," she said, though her resolve started failing. He sounded defeated. She hesitated, asking, "What would you have written?"

He chuckled, resting his elbows on his knees and leaning forward. "I stopped a dark rising in France and Northern Africa. I traveled to Bulgaria and worked with the Minister to establish laws banning dark magic. I was a bloody white knight."

"Certainly not a humble one," she murmured, though she couldn't help but to be a little impressed. "And why did you do it? You would wound me if you said you did it for me."

"No, you would be mad to think that I'm some sort of romantic." He shook his head and shrugged. "I did it for myself, to ease my guilt. Severus Snape was my godfather. Did you know that?"

She shook her head. "No."

"He tried to help me, to save me. I didn't listen," he said quietly. "I hope it's true what they say that it's never too late."

Ginny felt the same compassion that had risen within her five years ago. So much time had passed, and he still looked like the seventeen year old bye, slumped over on the bench, defeated. She reached out a hand and pressed it flat against his cheek, soft, silky skin beneath her palms. He leaned into her touch, his body shifting closer to her. She felt his thigh against her own, and a sudden rush of heat infused her same as it had so many years ago.

Suddenly, she realized how similar the situations were. Here they were, sitting on a bench amidst flowers and plants, with their thighs pressed together, talking about a life after the war. But yet, there were things that were so different. Even during the war, there had been something innocent about Draco's burdens. He was up against something that he had never faced. Now, it seemed he knew his demons intimately and battled them with the terror of knowing. It was frightening to fight against something you didn't know. But it was even worse to fight something that you did know. Knowledge was terrifying.

She retracted her hand, causing him to turn his head to the side and look at her. The way his eyes bore into her caused a blush to stain her cheeks, and his eyes slid from her face to her collarbone, trailing lower. She knew that the cut of her dress allowed him a look at her chest, and she also knew that her entire body blushed, not just her cheeks. The thought made the pink color on her cheeks deepen.

"I always regretted something," he murmured, sitting up and turning to face her.

"What would that be?" she murmured.

"Not kissing you that night," he said softly.

Ginny knew what night he was speaking about. It had been two months after she had first sat down. They had been debating which Quidditch team would go to the World Cup. During their debate, they had gotten closer and closer, her hands flying about as she tried to express her point. At one particular moment, she had almost slapped him, but he had caught her hand, bringing his face close to her own. She had expected a kiss, wanted a kiss, but it never happened. He had backed away.

"Why didn't you?" she breathed.

"Even Draco Malfoy can be scared of Ginny Weasley's wrath," he said amusedly. "I wasn't sure if my advances would be welcome."

Biting her lip, she asked, "And now?"

"I think I would face your wrath in order to steal a kiss."

Before she could register what he was saying, their lips were connected, his hands on either side of her face. She felt her own arms wrap around his neck, her lips moving against his own. His tongue glided against the seam of her lips, and she opened, her own tongue coaxing him inside her mouth. He tasted of Firewhiskey and chocolate, an interesting mix and a delicious one all the same. A moan escaped her mouth, turning into a squeak as she found herself sitting in his lap, cradled in his arms.

His thumb rubbed her hip through the silk of her dress, and he deepened their kiss, his position allowing him the opportunity to be both demanding and dominating. The hand against her back twisted in her hair, tilting her head back as his mouth moved from her lip to her jawline, moving further down to her neck. When he ran his teeth on a spot beneath her ear, she let out a strangled moan, her hands fisting the front of his dress robes.

He pulled away then, resting his forehead against hers as her chest heaved. "I expected this to be a lot more difficult."

She laughed, pressing a chaste kiss to his lips. "Oh, I haven't even begun yet. You'll have a lot of forgiveness to beg for."

"Malfoys do not beg."

Her response was lost as he pulled her further into his embrace, his lips descending on her own. Perhaps there would be some mutual begging later on.

~~~~~~~~


On the terrace overlooking the gardens, two couples stood, observing the young lovers in the garden. Identical smiles appeared on their faces when the couple began to kiss once more, and they exchanged knowing glances, one of the men seeming more resigned about the event than the others. It was normal, however, for a father to rue the day he would see his daughter kissing a man, who, if his wife had anything to do, would become her husband.

"I knew it was meant to be," Molly said wistfully.

"They do make a striking couple," Narcissa murmured with a nod. "I think our grandchildren will be quite beautiful."

"It's a little too early to be planning grandchildren, isn't it, dear?" Lucius looked decidedly uncomfortable then.

"Nonsense, first a wedding, then grandchildren," Molly said calmly. "It's only natural."

"Regretting your matchmaking now, Lucius?" Arthur questioned.

The blond man shook his head. "If it takes the prospect of becoming a grandfather to get my son home, then so be it. I do hope he gives me a daughter-in-law before he gives me a grandchild though."

"Oh he will," Arthur said. "If I have anything to say about it."

Molly grabbed Narcissa's arm. "I think after a suitable period of courting, a wedding will need to be planned. So it will be a spring or summer wedding."

"I'll have to ensure a spring wedding," Narcissa said. "Outdoor weddings in the summer are only nice in theory. But the bugs and heat make it unbearable."

"Merlin help them," Arthur murmured as the women disappeared inside.

"Not even Merlin would stand a chance against those two," Lucius replied.

The two men chuckled and clinked glasses. "To the future Weasley Malfoys."


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