Part Eight:

When the happiness and relief of knowing her family would be coming to her wedding had dimmed, anxiety set in. How would they handle what she’d done with her life and who she had decided to spend the rest of it with? For his part, Draco was equally worried about their reactions and the effect it would have on the woman he loved. And there was also the little fact that he had now effectively announced to the whole of the English magical law enforcement community that he was in fact alive, and that he would be a sitting duck for them to capture if they so chose.

It didn’t make him all that comfortable, but it was inevitable if his future wife was to have any contact with her family. And she wanted contact. So now anyone the Weasleys, Potter, or Granger happened to inform, knew where he was. Granted, he hadn’t lived all that inconspicuous of a life since he’d joined the Dragons, but being well known in America was a whole lot different than sending the details of his continued existence and location to several prominent members of the illustrious Order of the Phoenix.

What was done, was done, though and now all he could do was hope it turned out all right, for both his sake, and hers. There was a lot her family could do to mess things up, but he was hoping that their Gryffindoric sense of morality would keep them from ruining too much of the lives he and Ginny had built for themselves, and each other.

Thinking too much about it, however, was not going to help that happen, so he tried his best to focus on his off-season training, the new maneuvers they’d been talking about trying, and the wedding plans. At least those plans he was being allowed to help with, anyway. There were many details he had, apparently not shown the proper, or appropriate interest in and had been forbade from being involved with. For the most part, he let her and the other women point him in whatever direction wouldn’t get him yelled at. There were, however, a few areas in which he refused to be left out of the planning process.

Ginny, Bredan’s wife Arabecka, Nilo’s sister Nema, and Virgilen’s daughter Cicera, could handle the flowers, decorations, place settings, and other ‘pretty’ details. They could even handle the menu for the reception, after all, who in their right mind wouldn’t let someone as amazing in the kitchen as his fiancÚ was, not be involved with the food? But while he had no problem toasting with a bottle of Golden Fleece champagne, he wanted a say in the additional drinks that would be available, namely Ogden’s. The second thing he would not be shut out of was, believe it or not, the color scheme. Color swatches weren’t his favorite thing to browse, by any means, but he would be damned if he ended up walking down the isle in lavender robes; Lockhart he was not.

In the end, he’d gotten his way in that particular matter without much argument, after all, white and silver were simple, classic, and would look lovely on his wife-to-be. It had taken him a while longer to convince Ginny that while the majority of the decorations and accents could be done in an iridescent silver, his robes should be more a charcoal shade. He had done it, however, and that had left him with only one more area in which to assert his rights as groom. The honeymoon plans.

As it turned out, that had been the easiest portion of the planning to commandeer. By the time his redhead had wadded her way through invitations, place settings, flowers, decorations, guest lists, and the all important robes, she’d been so tired that he’d only had to offer to take care of it for her and he’d been given full control. He’d immediately set about making arrangements for them to stay in a small Wizarding resort on the beaches of Australia. The resort was said to be a vacationer’s dream, with activities available for everyone’s taste.

The way things looked by the big day, the blond had a feeling they’d make good use of the resort’s masseuse, if nothing else. His neck felt as tense as if he’d just played a twelve hour game against the World Cup champions. The pounding in his head was not helping matters and he more than dreaded having to step out into the full glare of the California desert sun.

The Weasleys were here. As were Potter and Granger, though he would just as easily lump them all together into one obnoxious category. Sure, he hadn’t seen them himself, as he’d been shut up in the locker room-cum-dressing room, getting ready for the past twenty minutes. But seeing them himself wasn’t exactly necessary when two of his teammates had already stopped in as they’d arrived and informed him of everyone who was milling about the pitch, waiting for the ceremony to begin. The Gryffindors’ mere presence set his muscles to clenching. He could only imagine how Ginny must be feeling at the thought of seeing her family again after so long.

He knew she was excited to see them, but he also knew she was scared. So much had happened since she’d left her childhood home that it was difficult to say how her family and friends might react to the changes in her and her life. He was more than a little nervous himself. Even now, almost a decade after the Dark War, that group still held so much power. One word from the Boy Who Vanquished the Dark could have him in Azkaban. One tearful plea from Molly Weasley could very well have Ginny running back to England.

Only time would tell how it would all turn out, and time was something he apparently didn’t have any more of, as his employer, mentor, and friend was already sticking his bald head through the door.

“Time to go my boy,” Virgilen stated with a little too much enthusiasm.

The burly old apothecary really was just an old romantic, the younger wizard thought as he adjusted his dark grey robes one last time. Even as the sarcastic words floated through his head, though, Draco couldn’t help but smile and follow a little faster. His steps faltered moments later, however, as they reached the tunnel through which he had flown so many times as a Dragon. He wasn’t flying through as a Dragon today though, and this wasn’t a game. He was Draco Malfoy and this was his wedding day.

His realization ran into him with the force of an enthusiastic Bludger. It didn’t matter how many times he’d said or thought about it over the past weeks, it hadn’t truly sunk in until right then. He was getting married. To Ginevra Weasley. By that night Ginny would be his wife.

Virgilen placed a calloused hand on his shoulder after several silent minutes, causing glazed grey orbs to snap to his wrinkled face. “Drake, my boy, you all right?”

The blond nodded slowly. Ginny was going to be his wife. She was going to truly be his. The grey pools were sparkling as he mounted his Firebolt and flew towards the Dragon’s hoops several feet away, a smiling apothecary trailing behind him.

It had been a joking suggestion by their captain that had given them the idea to conduct the ceremony in the air in front of their home goal hoops, and the two Chasers had ran with it. The VIP stands made it possible for the small group of guest to have a perfect view of the couple where they’d be floating before the hoops currently draped with white cloth, silver ribbons, and bouquets of multi-hued flowers. He paid little attention to the stands, however, as he halted a couple feet from the American Ministry official that would be conducting the ceremony, turning to stare at the tunnel through which she would be appearing.

He didn’t have long to wait as Arabecka, Bredan’s wife, and Ginny’s closest female friend, soon flew out to join Virgilen beside him, a bouquet of irises setting off the silver robes that were a feminized version of the ones the apothecary was wearing. The blond didn’t even spare a thought to be thankful he’d talked himself out of the same color, steel pools a shade brighter than his charcoal dress robes fixed too unerringly on the tunnel as sweet strains of the traditional Witch’s March floated through the air.

Distantly, he heard everyone in the stands rise to their feet, heard the official cast a Sonorus charm on himself and the surrounding few feet, but nothing registered. All he saw were her scarlet curls streaming out behind her as she flew towards him, the strands a bright contrast to the flowing white robes, subtly accented in silver, that draped and hugged her petite figure in all the right places.

She was there, floating beside him a second later, and he had to fight not to brush a stray curl off her rosy cheek. She didn’t notice his struggle, or the way he was staring, transfixed at her, brown eyes too busy drinking in the way the dark grey robes made his blond hair look even whiter while still showing off the tan he’d acquired over his years flying in the Death Valley sun. She was well on her way to having a similar tan herself, but she hadn’t the faintest idea how her slightly darkened complexion captivated his attention as it appeared even more vibrant against her white robes.

The Ministry official was aware of the effect each was having on the other, though, and he tried to quietly clear his throat to gain their attention, but the Sonorus caused the sound to carry easily to the stands. The Dragons in attendance let out a stream of laughter at their star Chasers, all of the players and missing the annoyed, angry, and curious looks the bride and groom’s behavior was garnering from the English guests. The two women in the stands caught the strange reactions, but were forced to look out at the field as the noise had also managed to draw the couple’s gazes off one another, both finally turning to face the official, allowing the ceremony to start.

“We have been brought here today to see the joining together of Draco Malfoy and Ginevra Weasley in friendship and love. Who here stands witness to this joining?”

Virgilen extended his wand to touch the other man’s. “I stand witness for Draco.”

Arabecka followed suit. “I stand witness for Ginevra.”

As the three wand tips made contact, a light glowed for a moment, then died down. The witnesses both sheathed their wands while the official turned his to point straight ahead, directly between the bride and groom. “Before these witnesses, how do you enter this joining?”

Draco turned, grey locking with brown as his voice echoed through the pitch, strong, clear, and full of emotions only the woman before him could properly distinguish. “Ginny, there were a hundred different reasons why you should have walked away from me that night, four years ago, but you didn’t, and two weeks later, you came here and we flew together for the first time.” His eyes briefly flickered over the expanse of field they’d flown over so long ago before he redirected his gaze to meet hers once more.

“You gave me a chance I thought I would never get from anyone, and I owe you more than I can say. You became one of the best friends I’ve ever had, you looked past so much to see me, to know me, to love me. You make me happier than I thought I could be. I love you, and I enter this joining as friend, partner, and lover for the rest of my days.”

As he spoke the last few words, he touched his wand to the tip of the older man’s, his eyes never leaving her face. Ginny also blindly touched her wand to the other two as she answered softly, unwaveringly.

“Draco, you have given me so much over the last four years. The first night we met, you gave me the means and opportunity to do something I love, and taking you up on it was one of the best decisions I ever made. Coming here gave me the opportunity to not only become a Dragon, but to become your friend and get to know a man I am proud to call mine.” The two exchanged a smile at the possessive comment.

“You have shown me so much of yourself, so much of myself. You have given me the best friend I always needed, the love I always dreamed of and never thought possible. You have given me all of you, and I freely, happily, give you all of me as I enter this joining as friend, partner, and lover for the rest of my days.”

A light erupted from the three wands, almost blindingly bright from the sincerity of the magic traveling through the two wands that had once, many years before, been raised against each other. As the flash disappeared, however, no trace of the hostility that had characterized their school days lingered on their faces. Love shown there instead, and only shown clearer as the words rang across the pitch and the two leaned forward for a long kiss.

“In the name of the American Ministry of Magic I here declare this witch and wizard joined.”

End Part Eight
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