She was married. She was married to Draco Malfoy. She was Mrs. Malfoy, Mrs. Ginny Malfoy. It seemed unreal as they finally pulled back from the kiss, the weight of the moment like a heavy blanket wrapped securely around her. She could see a similar sensation shining from her husband’s eyes and squeezed his hand in a gesture meant to ground herself as much as him.
Grounding wasn’t what Draco had in mind, however, as his gaze began to clear and he used their clasped hands to pull her closer to him with a rather wicked grin forming on his lips. “Hey Gin, you know that combination we’ve been talking about?”
For a second, the redhead regarded him with a questioning, almost hesitant expression, then her face cleared and a smile started spreading across her lips. “You wanna give it a try?”
No sooner had his words echoed across the pitch, thanks to the still active Sonorus, then they were off, shooting up into the air on their twin Firebolt 400s. They spun, twisted, and turned with their wedding robes streaking behind them, then suddenly reversed direction and dove straight down, weaving and ducking as they fell. Just as suddenly they pulled up at exactly the same time with a loud whoop of joy as they began to spin, tight and fast around one another, the length of her robes actually ending up wrapped around them both by the time they came to a halt, inches from the lush grass of the pitch.
They were still holding hands as they landed.
The Chasers were met on the ground by their teammates who exclaimed their happiness at the couple’s marriage even as they praised their fellow Dragons’ amazing airborne display. The blond and redhead laughed with their friends, appearing nearly as pleased by the latter as they were by the former. After several minutes of this, however, the former Gryffindor became aware of the tightening grip of her husband’s hand on hers. Brown eyes glanced at his face in question to find his expression held tightly neutral as he looked past her. Ginny turned to follow his gaze, her stomach clenching at what she saw there.
“Mum,” she said, her voice equal parts excitement and pure nerves. “Fred, Charlie, Bill, Fleur.” She spoke each name as she glanced over the group, her mouth dry by the time her eyes landed on the last two of her international guests. “Harry, Hermione.”
The bride seemed momentarily at a loss for words as she stood, face to face with what remained of her family for the first time in five years. Then she squared her shoulders and put on a smile that looked only slightly forced. “Hi. I, uh, would like you guys to meet my friends.”
Ginny turned to point at each of the other guests in turn. “This is Bredan Smeeth, our captain and Seeker, and his wife Arabecka; Harrvis and Ozbore, our Beaters; Evag Nillen, our Keeper; Nilo Helgat our third Chaser, and his sister Nima. And this is Virgilen Histor and his daughter Cicera.” She stepped back further into her new husband’s side as she continued, one hand gripping his ever tighter while the other rose to lay on his free arm as he wrapped it around her waist.
“And, you all know who Draco is, of course.”
Her brothers seemed to stiffen at her last words while her mother and sister-in-law simply stared at the blond as if trying to place the tanned face before them. Harry narrowed green eyes as they locked with grey. Ginny held her breath and Hermione looked back and forth between the two schoolyard enemies nervously. The Dragons and their guests had only ever heard bits and pieces, usually uttered off hand, in regard to their chasers’ pasts in England and stood somewhat uncomfortably on the sidelines.
Virgilen was perhaps the only California native that knew the entire story. The older man had worked for many years to gain his young protégé’s trust before he’d been given that story, and had had to work even longer to get the blond to put it all behind him, and it had taken the new bride’s help to accomplish the task. He’d be damned if all their hard work went to waste now, especially since it would also mean the young woman’s injury as well if that were to happen. So, before the silence stretching between the two groups grew too heavy, Virgilen stepped forward.
“It’s great to finally meet you all, my name, as Ginny has said, is Virgilen. I have the honor of being my boy Draco’s lowly employer when he’s not off winning League Championships.” The boy in question rolled his eyes good-naturedly, choosing to ignore the tense atmosphere as the older man shook the hand of the Weasley matriarch.
“Right, so lowly you own the most popular apothecary in Death Drop.”
Virgilen shot his protégé a mock glare and shook Bill’s hand next. “Hush boy, the shop never did that well before you started there and you know it.”
Ginny slapped her husband’s shoulder lightly before he could respond, smiling at the often heard argument. “Both of you quiet, neither of you looks good in modesty.”
The blond stepped back, raising the arm that had been around her waist, holding his hand to his chest and adopting a look of injured surprise. “Are you calling me arrogant?”
“Of course not, sweetheart,” she responded as if appeasing a five year old, “you’re the picture of humility.”
Both managed to hold their expressions for another second before breaking into laughter, their teammates and friends joining in without noticing the disbelief on the faces of their international audience. Fred, Hermione, and Harry, having seen and interacted with the spoiled blond at Hogwarts, were the most shocked as they watched him laugh warmly with the others.
Genuine laughter was something none of them had ever actually seen from him as a child, and the fact that he was not only laughing, but laughing in part, at himself, made the sight all the more unbelievable. They didn’t have very long to contemplate the surprising sense of humor, however, as the strangeness continued with a shout from one of the Quidditch players they’d been introduced to.
“Drake’s plenty humble on the dance floor.” More laughter enveloped the group, prompting another Dragon to exclaim, “With two left feet, he’s got to be.”
“Hey,” the tanned blond yelled, turning to the second of his loud-mouthed teammates, a mock glare on his face that lasted barely a moment before it became a wide, almost embarrassed grin. “I’m not that bad.”
Everyone just laughed harder and he crossed his arms, careful not to crush the small hand still wrapped around one of his. “I can dance just fine to proper music, you all just insist on listening to that Muggle stuff.”
Those who hadn’t seen him since Hogwarts swallowed gasps at his use of the word ‘Muggle.’ They half expected a sneer to twist his lips as the teasing conversation continued but he kept smiling even as the other Dragons made fun of him, a third teammate raising an eyebrow and grinning.
“That high and mighty stuff isn’t music unless you’re in a starched robe and a marble ballroom. And don’t act like you don’t like the Muggle rock, ‘cause you so do, you just can’t dance to it.”
Draco harrumphed, pulling a giggle from his wife as he lowered his arms from his chest and draped one over her shoulders. “It’s okay Drake, you just need more practice is all.”
Ginny’s words elicited a cry from her California guests. “Practice!”
The groom shook his head and sighed. “You just had to say it.”
She laughed again and tugged on his arm, dragging him towards the middle of the pitch, where a make-shift dance floor was being spelled over the grass at that very moment. “Come on, Draco, please? One dance?”
Molly Weasley felt the hurt and anger that had begun to flare at the fact that she and the others had been completely forgotten, dissolve into nothing as her only daughter pouted up at her husband. She watched the blond’s look of amused annoyance become lost beneath the soft smile that spread across his face as he stared down at Ginny. He took the last few steps onto the dance floor without protest, his eyes never leaving his wife’s face as he pulled her against him.
The groom swished his wand, conjuring forth the sound of violins before sweeping his bride into a classic Wizarding dance that only the oldest families still taught their children. The matriarch was taken aback when her little girl easily fell into the steps, following him around the dance floor as if she’d done it a hundred times before, her gaze locked with his the entire time.
Molly wasn’t the only one to notice the way the couple moved together, as if they fit just right, nor was she the only one to feel a little more of the lingering unhappiness with the youngest Weasley’s choice fade away. Fred had been the only brother left that had gone to school with the Malfoy heir and had been one of the most vocal in their anger when the invitations had arrived. He had also been the first to say they needed to come, after Harry had taken them all to the Aurors’ vault and shown them the Pensieve he had received years before.
Pansy Parkinson’s memory had been a sobering and heart-wrenching glimpse into the blonde boy’s past. It had answered the questions about his disappearance and removal from the wanted lists. It had also shown them all the boy’s true feelings for many aspects of his life, which they would have never otherwise believed. What had happened to the senior Malfoys, and their son’s reaction to it had struck too close to the twin’s experience with George’s death for him to not at least come here and see for himself what his baby sister had managed to salvage of her life.
It had taken a bit of discussion for Charlie to agree, but Bill had been a little easier, having known what it was like to marry someone his family didn’t like much. Molly had been even easier, having wanted to see her only girl get married, whether she approved of the boy or not. Hermione had seemed uncomfortable with the idea, but had a lot longer to adjust to the concept of her old nemesis being a human with as many feelings as any other, since Harry had told her about the Pensieve several years after he’d received it.
Despite all that, none had been overjoyed to see the redheaded woman fly out to meet the former Slytherin. Many had in fact wanted to storm back and demand an explanation from her before the ceremony started, leaving Fred and, surprisingly enough, Harry, to keep them in their seats. The vows each had made and the strength of the wandlight had given even the littlest Weasley’s supporters something to think about, though.
Even so, it wasn’t until Draco came to a stop in the middle of the dance floor, his forehead resting against his wife’s for a moment before he closed the distance and kissed her slowly, that they all really began to see it all differently. It wasn’t until the violins silenced and unfamiliar music pounded through the pitch to the other guests’ laughter, causing the newlyweds to pull apart with large grins and mock glares for their friends that they looked at the blond without the past in their line of sight.
“Very funny guys,” the new Mrs. Malfoy yelled. “But I’d like to have cake and champagne first, if you don’t mind.”
This seemed to give everyone pause as they looked at each other, then back at the guests of honor.
The former Slytherin smiled at the pleading look on the ex-Gryffindor’s face, shook his head at his teammates and pointed his wand at the refreshment table several feet away. Once the bottles and glasses were floating in front of him, he began pouring while his mentor cleared his throat over the cheers.
“I believe that’s my cue,” Virgilen stated. More cheers exploded as the groom started passing out the drinks, pointedly ignoring the shock on the Weasleys’ faces at the fact that he had deigned to perform the task himself.
“I’ve known Draco for almost eight years now, and I was a bit surprised when he brought the young Miss Weasley to the shop after they started dating. I was even more surprised when I realized what a great girl he’d talked into going out with him.”
Draco smiled at his mentor over the resulting laughter. “Gee, thanks Virg.”
The apothecary grinned back, then gestured for everyone to quell their amusement. “I was glad he’d finally let himself find someone, though, and even more thrilled when it became obvious how perfect that find was for them both. I know you two will have a great life together,” the older wizard told them with a smile.
“To Draco and Ginny.” Arabecka raised her glass.
“Drake and Gin,” cried the small crowd before everyone drank.
Molly only took a sip of her champagne, watching her daughter clink glasses with Draco and swallow the sparkling beverage with a wide smile. Ginny caught her mother’s gaze as she set down her glass. The young woman promptly leaned over to whisper in her husband’s ear, then made her way slowly to the elder redhead’s side as loud music once more filled the pitch.
Both Weasley women stood silently for a minute before her brothers, Harry, and Hermione joined them. “What exactly is this stuff?”
The Chaser smiled at the way her youngest remaining brother began to bounce his head in time with the heavy beat. “Muggle rock music. I think this group is called Sevendust, but I’m not sure, I’d have to ask Draco.”
“Draco knows that much about Muggle music?”
Her smile turned almost wistful as she remembered the first time he’d taken her to hear his favorite Muggle band one night about a month after they started dating, ignoring the tone in which Bill had asked the question. “And then some. He got into rock shortly after he came here; Virg and Cic introduced him to it. He also likes what they call heavy metal music. He listens to it all the time at home.”
She didn’t miss her family’s reaction to her use of the word ‘home’ in reference to her and Draco’s place in Death Drop but she refrained from commenting on it, instead turning to watch the blond in question. He was grinning at something Bredan and Nilo were saying and waiting patiently for her to join him in cutting the cake.
“You really are happy here… with him, aren’t you?”
Ginny turned back, meeting Harry’s green eyes for a moment before she answered his question. “Yes, I am. Happier than I’ve ever been, actually.”
They held each other’s gaze for another few seconds, until Molly spoke up. “Well, then I guess congratulations are in order.”
She hadn’t allowed herself to hope for those words, but hearing them now, the youngest redhead felt the tell-tale burn of tears behind her eyes as she hugged her mother tightly. “Thank you,” she whispered into the older woman’s shoulder. “You don’t know what that means to us.”
Molly only held her daughter closer, all too aware of the fact that she had said ‘us’ and not ‘me.’ Perhaps it was time to consider getting to know her son-in-law a little. Those thoughts were interrupted by a light tap on her shoulder and the sound of her honorary son telling her not to hog to redhead.
“The rest of us want a turn,” Harry declared, his bushy-haired girlfriend nodding in agreement.
“Family first, mate,” interjected Charlie, only to have Bill push him gently aside and take his sister into his arms.
Ginny laughed as she was handed from one brother to the other, then to Harry, then Hermione, and finally to Fleur.
“It waz a lovely wedding.” The smallest member of the Death Valley Dragons smiled tearfully at her sister-in-law, then gestured for them all to follow her over to the table holding the large, three-tiered white and silver cake.
They followed readily and watched as she and her groom cut the artful confection into pieces and handed them out to all their guests, joking and laughing the entire time. That merriment turned to happy indignation from the blond minutes later however, causing the wedding party to explode in laughter once more at the sight of the Dragon’s lead Chaser wearing his slice of cake all over his face.
Draco turned amused grey eyes on his wife in a mock glare as she licked frosting from her fingers with an innocent smirk.
Grey eyes narrowed as he grabbed a plate and lunged playfully at the redhead, eliciting a squeal as she ran through the crowd and out onto the pitch where he soon caught her and swung her up into the air and around before setting her on her feet in front of him. As he did so, he dropped the plate and shoved the large piece of cake into her face, then promptly kissed her.
The sequence of events, caught on film by the wedding photographer, was featured in California Quidditch the next day. One copy of the picture, however, was printed early and soon found itself in a silver gilt frame on the mantle of one Molly Weasley, right next to a clock that proclaimed Ginny and Draco Malfoy ‘At Home’.
End Part Nine