Draco Malfoy had curled his lip back when the wizard marrying Harry and Pansy had asked who gives this woman away. Draco had given her away... rather reluctantly. He'd been holding out that Pansy would 'come to her senses'. She had not. Katie had been her lone bridesmaid while Ron had been Harry's best man. Draco had been scowling since the ceremony ended. He was now downing firewhiskey at an alarming rate and scowling at Harry and Pansy dancing when Katie sided up to him.
"She likes him very much, you know. I don't think she'd have married him otherwise."
"Don't remind me." He growled out before he knocked another one back.
Katie placed a hand on his arm. "Draco, don't get drunk at Pansy's wedding."
"It's a bit late for that."
"How can I not, Katie? She married soddin' Scarhead. One of my best friends married Harry effing Potter. That wasn't supposed to happen. It's sick-making."
"I don't think Marcus Flint and Katie Bell was supposed to happen either."
"Are you joking? You two are fabulous. You're proof that I can actually like a Gryff." Draco sighed. "I don't like Potter. Couldn't she have married Blaise?"
"I think Luna might have something to say about that."
"Anyone but Potter."
"Ron Weasley then?"
Draco glared at her. "Well, maybe not anyone."
Katie smiled at him sadly. Her hand was still on his arm. She gave it a gentle squeeze.
"Harder." He joked.
Katie rolled her eyes.
"Thank you, Katie." He whispered.
"For not only noticing I was... upset, but actually caring that I was. I love you, you know."
Katie's mouth dropped open.
"Not in a sex way." Draco clarified, sounding more drunk with every word. "Because Marcus would kill me. He'd rip me to shreds with his bare hands. I love you like in a sister way. Yes, right like that. You're my gryffy Gryffindor sister. Only not as annoying as a Gryff. I'm very glad Marcus has you. You're very bright and cheery, you know. Like the sun. 'Cept I can look directly at you without it hurting me eyes." That said, he threw himself rather drunkenly into her arms. "Yes, I love you very much. I do. You're fan-bloody-tastic."
Katie's eyes went wide in surprise. She patted his back comfortingly. "There now. I love... you... as well, my... little Slytherin brother."
Ginny had walked up behind Malfoy. He did not notice due to the alcohol in his system and the fact that he was hugging Katie now.
"You've been drinking quite a bit, Malfoy. Don't think I haven't noticed."
Draco turned slowly to look at Ginny. He still had one arm around Katie. "Hullo, Weasley." He looked at Katie and wove so close to her face that she nearly got drunk off of his breath. "Look, Katie, it's Ginny Weasley."
"I can see that."
Draco looked back at Ginny. "You're looking absolutely smashing in those green robes. I love green. I love Katie... like my sister, and I love green." He grabbed his glass off of the bar. "And I love firewhiskey." He drained the rest of the glass, then pointed at Ginny with one finger, glass still held in the others. "And I do believe I love you. I tried not to, you know. Can't be helped. You're wonderful, and I always did want what I couldn't have."
Ginny stepped closer to him and pushed some hair off of his brow. "I know."
Katie's eyes went round. It was said with such certainty. Poor Ron. His best friend married to a Slytherin, and now it seemed his little sister was making a serious play for one.
"Think you're still sober enough to dance, Draco?"
Draco smirked. "For you I'll manage somehow."
Katie took his glass from him then helped him get his arm from around her shoulders and around Ginny's before they joined many other couples on the floor, including Remus and Tonks and Ron and Hermione and Arthur and Molly Weasley. And most importantly, Blaise and Luna.
Luna had moved into Marcus's house this week. Pansy had moved out, Luna had moved in. Pansy and Harry had bought a house in Godric's Hollow. Katie had never left. She and Marcus had never talked about that. She didn't ask to go, he didn't ask her to leave. Neither of them wanted it, and they were both a bit proud to actually say so. Rosmerta had asked Katie when she was going to come get her things and move them permanently to Marcus's place. Katie did not know. She'd never been more uncertain.
"Well I suspect Draco's drunk." Marcus said as he leaned back against the bar next to where Katie still stood. "If Malfoy doesn't watch his hands with Ginny, Ron Weasley's going to forget he's at his best friend's wedding and duel a bit."
"Oh I hope not. Though it would make for a memorable wedding."
"I was wondering."
"When you'd... considered... moving back to Rosmerta's?"
Katie stiffened. So he was done. He wanted her out. And it hurt. It hurt more than she thought it ever could. "I'll gather my things tonight and be out of your hair."
She took off then.
Couldn't breathe anymore. Room too stuffy. Chest painful. Eyes burning.
She wove her way through the crowds of people as she started crying in earnest. She headed out into the gardens. She found a bench safely away from the ballroom holding the reception and collapsed upon it. Katie just let herself cry. Why? Because Marcus Flint didn't want her anymore. It was just too ridiculous. And yet...
"What seems to be the trouble?"
Katie swiped at her eyes and looked up. Blaise was leaning against a tree not two feet from her. His arms were folded across his chest, and his feet were crossed at the ankles. He looked serene, save his eyes. Those held worry. Wasn't he just dancing with Luna? How had he?
"It's nothing." Katie said in response to his query.
He rolled his eyes and pushed off of the tree. He took a hankie from his pocket and offered it to her. Even in her distress, Katie did not fail to notice the handkerchief was black. So Slytherin.
"Yes." He said as he sat on the bench next to her. "Looks like nothing at all with the way you're crying your heart out."
She sniffed loudly and busied herself with delicately wiping her eyes. She couldn't talk to Blaise about this. She just couldn't. He wouldn't understand. None of them had a thought process like the rest of the world. Slytherins were a breed apart. No, he would not understand. Or worse, he'd tell Marcus. Or worse yet, he'd mock her.
"Don't tell anyone I asked this. My reputation will be ruined, but... can I do anything to help?"
Katie let out a little giggle.
"Would you like me to get naked and start the revolution?"
Now she was laughing. Always with the naked with him. Always.
"Look, Bell, whatever Marcus said, he didn't mean it. He's not good with words. He's even less excellent when those words have anything at all to do with his feelings. The stupid article cares a great deal for you, and it turns him into this moron. Believe it or not, he's rubbish when it comes to girls. Always has been. He's wanted you since Malfoy's dungeon. If he's acting out, it's because he's getting right scared you're about to pack up and go back to your life without him, and he doesn't want you to go. He likely can't imagine his life without you any longer."
"He'd never let you out of his sight if he could get away with it. He'd chain you to his bed. Naked probably." Blaise considered this. "Oh, now there's a thought. Sure you don't want me to disrobe?"
Katie ignored that last comment. "But he..."
"Made a muck of it when he tried to ask you to stay?"
"He... he wants me to stay?"
Blaise gave her a look before he took his knuckles a rapped gently on her forehead. "Hello, anyone home in there? Bloody hell, Bell. Who've YOU been sleeping with? Marcus is mad for you. I'd even go so far as to say he loves you."
"Just because the fellow's a right bastard and a Slytherin git to boot doesn't mean he can't love. That Slytherins don't love anyone save themselves is a myth. He's never cared for anything more. He's just not good at saying it."
"And why should I need to say it with you out here saying it for me."
Katie looked up as Marcus stepped out of the shadows. "Oh."
Blaise rolled his eyes and got to his feet. Ha gave Katie's shoulder a pat. "Go easy on him. He's never had anything easy, it'll put him off balance."
Katie grabbed his hand before he could remove it from her shoulder. She looked up at Blaise. That sweetness that made the lot of them so uncomfortable at time was shining in her eyes. "Thank you."
"Don't mention it. Ever."
And then he was off and Katie and Marcus were very much alone.
Marcus was looking at the grass.
"Is it true?" She asked.
"Is what true?"
"That you don't want me to go."
"I would have thought that would have been obvious."
"Not really, no."
"Do you want me to go?"
"Not really... no." He still had not looked up.
"So I misunderstood earlier."
"So it would seem."
"Please look at me. Marcus."
"Just so you're aware, I adore you. Quite a lot actually. More than I ever thought I could, but we're really going to have to work on your communication skills."
He smirked at her. "What do you say you and I go home and go to bed?"
"See? It's working already. I didn't misunderstand that at all."