UNDER MY SPELL

Okay, this story is drawing to a close…Almost done.  Just have to tie up some loose ends and then have Ginny and Harry's wedding.  Couldn't leave that out!  Always review!  Ta ta for now!

CHAPTER TWELVE: OF CONFESSIONS, PROPOSALS, AND WEDDINGS

            Hermione let the incident sit for a few days.  Ginny had since moved back to the Burrow, and Cho had been sent to Azkaban.  Draco had been visiting with regularity, and she had the feeling that he was visiting Belle with regularity as well.

            She knew that she had to sit Harry and Draco down and find out the truth.  She'd seen the small, secretive exchange between them the night Harry had been kidnapped.  She got her chance one evening a week after the happening.

            Harry, Ginny, Draco, Ron and she were having dinner at her house one evening when an official looking owl tapped on the kitchen window.

            Ron opened the screen and undid the note.  "It's from Wilkins," he muttered.

            "What is it, hun?  Nothing bad, I hope?" Hermione asked as she drained the pasta with a flick of her wand.

            Ron scanned the note.  "Naw, nothing severe.  Wilkins needs help with Stevens' press night.  He thought he could handle it…but apparently they need the manager."

            "Well, you'd better go." Hermione summoned his cloak from the closet and gave him a kiss.  "Don't be too late," she whispered in his ear.  She turned back to her guests and saw Ginny, wide-eyed and practically drooling on the table.  She was Stevens' biggest fan.

            "Oh, go with your brother.  You know you want Stevens' autograph, Gin," Hermione said.

            Ginny turned to Harry, and he grinned.  "Go on, before you make Ron late."  She rose, and with a quick hug and kiss from Harry, Apparated with Ron.

            She returned to the kitchen and spread out the food.  She sent a glance at Harry, and then one at Draco.

            "No one here but us," she began.  "I want to know what really happened that night with Cho."

            Draco tried his best not to squirm in his seat.  How could she know?  She was Hermione Granger—Weasley—that was how.  Oh God, he was on his way to Azkaban, he could feel it.

            Harry surveyed Hermione.  "What do you mean?"

            "You know exactly what I mean, Harry.  I saw you two glance at each other.  I want to know what you're hiding."

            Harry ran a hand through his hair and thought.  They had to explain this to Hermione.  If they tried to lie, she'd know.  And he couldn't deceive his friend any longer.  But what would happen to Draco if the truth got out?  He didn't think Draco ever really meant him any harm.  When they were in school, they'd been enemies, but lately, he'd been an okay guy.  And he didn't think he would have killed him.  He knew he wouldn't have.  People can change, and sometimes they did it in the nick of time.

            "I was spying for Cho," Draco said softly.

            Harry heard Hermione suck in a breath, and she sat quickly at the table.  "You were…what?"

            "I was spying on Harry for Cho.  I didn't know she was that into the Dark Arts.  I thought she just wanted to…I don't know, blackmail him or something.  But she truly wanted him dead.  And for what?  Something that wasn't his fault.  I needed the money, and it wasn't that hard of a job.  But you have to believe that I didn't want to hurt anyone.  I really did—I really do—like sending time with you.  You're the first real friends I've ever had."  Draco had spoken without feeling, except for the last part.  His voice had become desperate and he sounded as if he was pleading for his life.

            Harry was stunned by the confession, but he felt that he had to finish it up.  "Cho couldn't kill me.  I knew she wasn't going to be able to do it.  She started a letter to Lucius Malfoy, and both Draco and I realized that she was asking him to come kill me.  She said that he cared like no one else did.  She'd joined his order; I told the Ministry officials all about it.  But Draco saved me.  He and I tied up Cho, and that's where you found us."

            Hermione remained silent.  Draco considered her.  He would not plead for his freedom.  If she announced that she was taking this straight to the Minister of Magic, then he'd go to prison.  He still had his pride, and he had to live up to his mistakes.

            Hermione just nodded.  "I understand."

            That was it?  Draco thought.  She understands?  How could she understand me?

            "You did what you had to do, Draco.  Then you fixed it.  As far as I'm concerned, the matter is closed.  Now, who wants a drink?"

            It was all well and good that Hermione understood, but what would he tell Belle?  These thoughts plagued Draco when he returned to his flat later that night.  She was joining him for a nightcap, and he knew he had to tell her.  But how could she ever trust him again once he did?

            He heard the subtle knock at the door, and knew it was zero hour.  His mouth was dry and his hands clammy when he faced her in the threshold.

            She was beautiful; there was no doubt about it.  Her deep blonde hair was tied back this evening, and her eyes—those perfect blue eyes—sparkled.

            "Draco," she said in greeting.  There was desire in her voice, need.  It took all his resources to keep his hands off her as he led her to his living room.

            She turned and put her arms around his neck, and stood on tip toes to give him a scintillating kiss.  He pulled away, dizzy with desire.

            "What's the matter?" she asked, slightly taken aback.

            "I have to talk to you," he said.

            "Can it wait?  There are a few things I'd like to take care of first."

            "No, it can't wait."

            Belle frowned.  "This is serious.  Well, shall we sit down or something?  Bad news, I take it?"

            He nearly smiled at her.  She was so…he couldn't pin point it.  Sweet?  Caring?  Both, yes, but there was something else.  Loving?  He dared not think it.

            "I…have a confession."  He gave the same speech, or one very similar, to the one he'd given Hermione.  He confessed everything, and his heart pounded in his ears.  He tried to lick his lips, found both tongue and lips exceedingly dry.

            "I never meant to hurt anyone, but I couldn't…I had to…I had to tell you.  I don't want to ever lie to you, Belle.  I know you knew me at school, and I wasn't the most…honest kid there ever was, but I'm not that person anymore.  Please, Belle."

            He held his breath, dared not look at her face.  He was too afraid he'd see horror, disgust, anger.  His heart nearly stopped when she spoke.

            "I love you, Draco."

            No one had ever said that to him before.  No one he'd dated, not even his parents.  Certainly not his father.  No one loved Draco Malfoy.  It just wasn't done.  But he found there was a girl—a woman—who did.  And he found that he loved her back.

            "I love you too…but did you hear what I said?  I—"

            "I heard every word, Draco.  It wasn't an honest thing you did, nor do I condone it.  But you fixed it.  You went to bat for Harry when you didn't have to.  And you also told me when I never would have found out otherwise.  And if you think I'd abandon the man I love, you don't know me very well."

            Draco smiled.  He couldn't ever remember being this happy.  He swooped Belle into his arms and twirled her around.  His mouth crushed down on hers, hard and possessive.  He let her go after the mind-numbing kiss, and he smiled down at her.

            "Marry me, Belle."

            "I'd like nothing better."

May 21st, the day of Harry and Ginny's wedding…

            Though dark clouds loomed over the horizons, the weather was holding.  The Weasleys prayed that the rain would hold off until after their youngest was married.  After weeks of preparation and worrying, Ginny was ready.  She was excited and knew everything would be perfect, and if it wasn't, there'd be hell to pay.

            She was finishing her hair when Hermione bustled into her bedroom.

            "Nervous, Gin?"

            "No."

            "Liar."

            "Darn right."

            Hermione tossed back her head and laughed.  "I'm to inform you that you have five minutes.  The boys are already heading outside.  If you look out the window, I bet you could wave to Harry."

            "I don't want him to see me.  Isn't that bad luck?"

            "Old wives' tale.  Don't put so much stock in superstition; it's a lot of rubbish."

            "Isn't that what you said about the bouquets?"

            "Yes, but that was completely different.  There was a spell on those."  Hermione took a good look at Ginny.  "You look great.  I'm going down, and I think your mum will be up in a second.  Good luck."  She kissed her cheek and headed downstairs.

            Ginny took one last look in the mirror.  Her fiery red hair spilled over her dress, and half of it was pinned neatly to her veil.  She smoothed the white silk robe out and fingered the pearl necklace her mother had given her.  "Pearls suit redheads" she'd said.

            She looked out the window, careful that no one would see her.  Harry was standing, looking slightly nervous.  To her vast surprise, the Dursleys were sitting in the third row.  How odd that they would bother to show up.  Then she noticed that the mother—what was her name?—oh yes, Petunia, was missing.  The exorbitantly fat father and son were there, but not her.  She heard a knock at the door, and half-heartedly called, "Come in."

            Molly entered, flanked by none other than Petunia Dursley.

            Ginny raised her eyebrows and tried not to shout at the woman who had made Harry's life miserable for more than 20 years.

            Petunia's long neck craned over Molly's to get a good look at Ginny.  She looked so much like Lily.  It was almost like seeing her sister again.  Lily's hair hadn't been as bright, and her eyes were a light green, but the bone structure was so much the same.  How was she supposed to congratulate this woman who looked so much like her dead sister?  She was surprised when she'd received the invitation from Harry in the first place.  Vernon didn't want to come, but she'd insisted.  It was the least she could do for Lily.  She'd been feeling so guilty for so many years.  It was time to make peace.

            "Congratulations, Miss Weasley," she said quietly.  She could see the girl eyeing her suspiciously.

            "Thank you.  I'm…surprised that you were able to come."

            "Yes, well, we were free, and it isn't everyday your nephew gets married."

            "I wasn't aware that you held any concern for Harry whatsoever, nephew or otherwise."

            "Ginny," Mrs. Weasley hissed.

            "No, it's all right.  I deserved that.  This" she gestured with her hand, "scares me.  Magic.  It was something I never understood.  I never understood why my sister died.  And I took it out on Harry.  I'm sorry for it.  This is probably my last opportunity to wish you well, because Vernon won't want me seeing you again."

            Ginny managed a slight smile.  "I see.  Thank you, Mrs. Durlsey.  I'm awfully sad that Lily and James couldn't be here too.  But that's what Harry has been doing all his life; making sure Voldemort didn't rob people of loved ones.  I hope you understand."

            "I'm not sure I do, but I know that the boy means well.  I'm sure you'll be happy together."

            "Thank you," Ginny said, and meant it.  She knew it must have been hard for Petunia to come here and admit that.  They stood in awkward silence for a minute, then Molly announced it was time to head down.  Petunia hurried down the stairs, and Ginny took on last look out the window.

            She was on her way to start the rest of her life.  She was prepared to spend forever with Harry.  She watched as Petunia took her seat, and waved at Harry.  He looked next to shocked, but Ginny would explain it to him later.

Oh, how she loved him.  She looked up at the sky and was pleased to see that the rain clouds were receding.  It was like the remaining pain had been cleared away, and sunshine was spilling over the yard as a reward.  At that moment, Ginny knew that Lily and James were looking over their son, and would continue to do so all the days of his life.

The end!  Oh my goodness, this took me a long time to finish.  I started it in late October and its now March!  Imagine!

Make sure to read The Blood of Ronald Weasley if you haven't. My new one is Stupid Cupid, an F/A: Ever since the Yule Ball, Fred hasn't paid much attention to Angelina, and she doesn't care for it. So she comes up with a Weasley-esk plot to get his attention, and boy does it work! And coming soon: Ready to Run, about Ginny.  This is what it's about: Ginny Weasley is 29 and she's been married, divorced, and very confused.  She's working on putting her life back together, but when Harry Potter returns and stirs up feelings she hasn't felt in 15 years, will she stay or run?  Lemme know what you think!