A Match Made at the Ministry
Chapter 5: Scotland, Romania and Everywhere
Puddlemere United's Reserve Keeper to Marry
Janice Turnwood, Daily Prophet Society Columnist
The first big public wedding from the controversial Osbern Marriage Law will take place later this evening. Oliver Wood, the reserve Keeper for Puddlemere United's mid-table Quidditch team, will wed Daphne Greengrass. Greengrass is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Harold and Lucina Greengrass, London. Miss Greengrass is currently employed as a clerk to the Wizangamot but Merlin knows when that august body will reconvene. Mr. Wood's parents are Mr. and Mrs. Edward and Anne Wood, rural Scotland.
Mr. Greengrass was inteviewed yesterday by the Prophet for his thoughts on the marriage law in his office at Poteet and Greegrass Investments.
"I think while the execution of the law is perhaps a bit overzealous the intent is admirable. Our Daphne couldn't be happier to marry Mr. Wood; with such a bright future as his it's obvious that blood status is not an impediment to success."
When asked about his youngest daughter's elopement Mr. Greengrass cited his very busy schedule and promised to make time for this reporter at the wedding. And it will be a very beautiful wedding, as we have learned that Dropsit and Flange have designed a dress for Miss Greengrass that everyone will be talking about...
"Fucking hell." Daphne threw the paper down on the table and then immediately regretted it; after all, she was having breakfast with Tracey, Oliver's mum and his sister-in-law.
Fiona, with Oliver's neice Elizabeth on her lap, reached over and picked up the paper. It didn't take her long to figure out what had caused the reaction. "What a load of..."
"Wee bitty ears." Anne pointed to her granddaughter. "She'll start repeating things and won't that be fun when that comes out of her mouth."
"Sorry." Daphne looked down.
"Oh, not you, love." Anne looked across the table. "Today is one of the days you can say pretty well anything on your mind."
"What's one of the other days?" Tracey stopped mid-bite. "I don't…"
"When you get one of these." Fiona bounced the baby on her lap. "She's almost two now and Ben still goes on about what I said to him. Like I remember anything about that. Well, I remember..." She saw Daphne and stopped.
"Thank you for this. I think it was a good idea." Anne quickly moved the conversation forward. "It's too bad they're not letting you have attendants."
Tracey snorted. "Like I'd want to stand up there in one of those dresses they'd pick out." She saw everyone staring at her, including Daphne. "What? They'll make sure she looks good but bridesmaids? Have you seen any bridesmaids dresses that don't look..."
"Horrid?" Fiona offered.
Daphne smiled. "Ugly?"
"More like bloody awful if you ask me. Crap." Anne put her hand to her mouth. "Now I've gone and done it. And in a nice place like this."
Daphne took a sip of coffee and glanced around the room. Puddlemere had been quite receptive to Oliver's request; when the PR witch came by to ask what she could do and Oliver just pointed to Daphne and said to make things a bit nicer for her, well, it was a nice touch. Since she wasn't going to have any attendants, and nobody would be standing up with Oliver she requested to have a small breakfast laid out for her, Tracey and the women in Oliver's family. She thought about inviting her Mum but thought better of it. Stori thanked her but declined, saying that if she came and their Mum didn't they'd never hear the end of it. It was a rather nice room with cream-coloured walls and large windows thrown open to let in the sun.
It hadn't been and easy morning for Daphne. She'd woken up in the hotel, the venue for the wedding, in one of the complimentary suites. It was a beautiful old wizarding hotel in Bournemouth, not too far from the Puddlemere training grounds, something that was reinforced when she woke and found that the complimentary dressing gown from the hotel was emblazoned with the Puddlemere crest. As was seemingly everything else in the room from the complimentary tea service to the towels.
The combined effect of all the Puddlemere items helped reinforce that while she liked Oliver and appreciated what he'd done for her it wasn't like the wedding she'd dreamt of all those years ago. Of course, her conception of her wedding was much different than that of the reality of being a pureblooded witch at the time; only due to the war was she not entered into a marriage contract with another pureblood family. In the wake of Voldemort's defeat those types of blantant pureblooded things just weren't done anymore. Not often, and especially not by someone who wants the half-blood and Muggleborn Galleons flowing into their investment company.
Was it wrong to think of spending her time up in Scotland, in that cottage and away from everything? Was it fair to escape with Oliver while a part of her felt as if she was using him?
"Daph. Wake up." Tracey poked her in the nose with her finger.
"If that leaves a mark..."
Tracey shrugged. "You're a witch, remember, and much better at the household spells." She turned to Anne and Fiona. "You should hear her moan on and on about it. You'd think I was a step above a squib because I can't clean our flat with a few flicks of my wand."
Fiona smiled and thumbed at her mother-in-law. "We're Muggles and we can clean just fine without magic. Ever thought a' trying that?"
Tracey looked offended. "But I'm a witch..."
"Even witches can be lazy. What?" Fiona looked at the others who were smiling. "I call 'em like I see 'em."
"I'm not lazy. I'm motivationally challenged. I think there's a therapy group for that but I can't be arsed to find out the details." Tracey shrugged. "Besides, Charlie can clean. It was a punishment when he was a kid. Makes me he was a pretty bad kid."
Anne nodded. "Oliver did his share of punishment cleaning as well. Made sure he knows how to do his bit, don't you worry, Daphne." She paused. "Are you sure you want to come up north? You don't want to stay down in London? It's not as exciting."
"That's the understatement of the year. Maybe the decade." Fiona shifted Elizabeth onto her shoulder as the little one had fallen asleep. "Nothing much to do. How do you think she happened? And it's not like Ben and I can take one of those porpkeys."
Daphne ignored the mispronunciation and smiled. "I do want to come north."
"She even bought Wellies." Tracey took a bite of toast. "They're pink." She chewed a bit more thoroughly. "I decorated them with little pigs."
"You didn't?" Daphne turned to her. "They were plain green Wellies when I bought them. Turn them back."
Tracey shrugged. "Sure. Consider it a wedding present. But I think you'd look just smashing standing out there in the field wearing pink Wellies." She clapped her hands suddenly. "Oliver can teach you how to drive and then you can get a pink Land Rover. Perfect."
"I don't even like pink that much. I hardly ever wear it. Why are you insisting on making everything pink?"
"Because it's funny?" Tracey narrowed her eyes. "You're getting grumpy. Maybe you need a mustache."
"Hate to burst your bubble, dear." Anne shook her head. "But Oliver doesn't know how to drive."
"Fine." Tracey pretended to sulk. "Just go and ruin everything with facts."
A soft knock on the door was the first interruption. A woman from Witch Weekly wanted to speak with the bride, if possible. The PR witch from Puddlemere said to ask if she minded. Daphne gracefully declined, but then it became a parade of interruptions. As it was clear from there that the breakfast was over Anne and Fiona left, wishing Daphne luck and welcoming her to the family. Tracey hung out for a while, convincing her to have just a small glass or three of champagne, but when Lucina and the hair and makeup crew arrived Tracey made herself scarce.
It was a whirl, the hair, the makeup, the dress with all the charms that had to be layered upon it carefully and in a certain order to keep it clean, prevent wrinkles, keep everything in place, to prevent tripping...it went on and on until finally only her mum and the PR witch were left.
And then it was time.
As she stood at the doorway, ready to head down the back stairway to the ballroom, Daphne was glad she'd received one concession from the wedding planner; nobody was walking her down the aisle. She'd always planned for her father to do it, but after hearing his conversation the other day, and seeing the comment in the paper she was glad she would be on her own. She'd made sure that he knew that she'd requested to walk down the aisle by herself. After all, she was a Slytherin.
The music started, the PR witch tapped her on the arm and they started down the hallway. The large double-doors stood there and then opened, flooding the little hallway with light, revealing a long aisle down to a wizard in Ministry robes and a gobsmacked man in a kilt and formal jacket. She smiled, waited for the proper part in the music and took a step forward.
"This is quite awful. Dreadfully shameful."
Charlie looked across the table in slight shock. His brother Percy was criticising the Ministry? "Perce?"
Percy adjusted his glasses. "We've just watched Oliver and Daphne get married and it had all the warmth and personalisation of a form letter. I may not know Daphne but I roomed with Oliver at Hogwarts and I know he'd not like that. And now we're in this giant ballroom for the reception and we, their friends, are stuck in what may possibly be the worst set of tables in the place while politicians and Quidditch officials and, and..."
"Daphne's father's slimy Slytherin business cronies."
He hesitated for just a split-second. "Thank you, Tracey. Yes, while... Slytherin business cronies sit up there and make speeches and monopolise everything. It isn't right, I tell you."
Luna, at Percy's side, nodded. "Well said, sweetie."
Percy nodded, somewhat smugly. "Thank you."
Across the table Fred and George tried to contain themselves. Charlie could see that they were almost at the breaking point so he sent a very mild stinging hex their way under the table. That got their attention. He hadn't missed what Luna had called Percy, but since it seemed like Luna had been initially successful removing the stick from up his brother's arse he wasn't going to let the twins ruin things.
It had been, unfortunately, like Percy had claimed; very impersonal. It had also accelerated the talk he needed to have with Tracey. He turned to her and smiled very slightly as she sat there next to George, surreptitiously making his ear hair grow. Part of him wanted to see how long it could go, both the spell and the ear hair, but he needed to talk to her. As there was music playing he figured he knew how to do that. "Come on, Tracey. Let's dance."
"Sure." She stopped the spell and put her wand up the sleeve of her dress. "But not in the middle of all that."
He saw what she meant. The wizarding couples, bobbing along to the somewhat staid music in their finest robes and gowns, looked to be the 'important people' in the crowd. "Agreed." He led her to the far end of the dancing and took a hold of her hand. For a few moments they danced together quite silently, but then she tugged him towards one side rather hard. "What?"
"Turn, it's...fuck." In a much louder, somewhat fake-pleasant voice she looked over his shoulder. "Hello, Pansy."
Charlie moved slightly and saw them. The woman was Tracey's age but wore a dress like the ones he'd seen in some Muggle magazines before, cut very high and very low in strategic places. Her makeup was rather loud and she wore a gaudy amount of jewelry. The man dancing with her was vaguely familiar and then Charlie remembered; Hufflepuff prefect when a first year Gryffindor. Seeing him reminded him of why he was memorable; in the common room they couldn't decide if the look on his face meant that he was holding in vomit or a poo.
Pansy looked very smug. "Tracey, darling, how are you? Mortimer and I were just talking about you, we simply knew you'd be here with Daphne getting married. You always did like to follow her around."
Charlie squeezed Tracey's waist a little tighter hearing that but was surprised when he couldn't tell any difference in her dancing. Tracey ignored his extra attention and focused in. "I'm great, Pansy, just great. Hey Morty, how's the chicken biz? I think a stand would go great in Diagon Alley. Maybe Pansy could be in the adverts?"
Mortimer laughed. "No, not possible at Diagon Alley. Not enough foot traffic to warrant the investment." He nodded at Charlie. "Weasley, isn't it? Bill's little brother?"
"Yeah, that's me." Charlie kept moving in time with the music, turning them ever-so-slightly to make Mortimer and Pansy keep up. "So what'd you do after Hufflepuff?"
"Oh. Well." He glanced at Pansy. "I'm an accountant but really I do business acquisitions. Buy and sell companies."
"That's right, Mortimer's business is just booming." Pansy smiled daggers towards Tracey. "And how is Games and Sports these days?"
Tracey bobbed her head as if trying to contain the joy. "Wonderful. Simply wonderful. And how goes mattress testing?"
"What?" Pansy gave her a look.
Tracey shrugged. "That's what Malfoy always said you were good at."
As Pansy started to pull the barely dancing Mortimer away he looked over to Charlie. "And what about you, Weasley?"
He smiled. "Dragon Keeper."
"Oh." Mortimer almost ceased dancing. "Oh. How nice. We should catch up some other time. Owl my office. Come along, Pansy. I need a drink."
Charlie waited for a few beats before looking down to Tracey. "Malfoy didn't say that, did he?"
"Nah." She shook her head. "He said she'd shag anywhere."
"Mmm-hmm." The song stopped so he pointed towards the exit. "If they're heading for the bar I'd rather avoid them. Bit of air?"
"Sure." She took his arm. "The dress robes are ok but I liked the suit."
"Thanks." They walked down the hallway where the doors opened for them, leading out to a large terraced garden. "So that was Pansy, eh?"
"That was cute how you tried to make me calm down. I've been dealing with that bitch since I was eleven. I don't know how she made it into Slytherin, she's horrible at...must be the ambition. Oh well. Takes all kinds." They walked towards a fountain and she sat down on the edge. "So why are we out here?"
"I got an owl this morning." He rubbed his beard for a moment. "Yuri, one of the Keepers, the idiot somehow got dragon pox."
She looked at him like he had just told her that water is actually wet. "You work with dragons."
"But dragons don't actually cause dragon pox. That's not important, the thing is that they've rescinded my leave or whatever it is. I have to go back in two days."
"Huh." She sat there for a bit. "Ok."
"Ok? Ok what?"
"Ok, I'll go to Romania. Merlin, stop being so pushy."
"No, he was Potter's godfather or something. It was a bit deal, something about Azkaban...don't you get the papers in Romania? Actually that might be nice, I could do without the Prophet for a bit."
He looked at her. "What about your job?"
"What about it? It's a job. I got that one, I can get another one. It's not like I love it or anything. Not like you and the dragons."
"You really want to come? I'll be gone at all hours, sometimes my schedule's all over the place. There's not much to do on the Reserve. The closest village is kilometers away and even though it's Muggle I doubt you speak the language. And then there's the smell. Dragon dung, trust me, once it gets on something it takes ages to get the smell out."
"And you love it, right?"
"As much as my mum hates it, I do. I do love it."
"Well, I don't love filing forms for Quidditch teams. With Daphne moving in with Oliver it'd just be me in the flat and I can't afford it on my own. I'm not moving back to Sleaford. Romania it is."
Northern Scotland - One month after the wedding
Daphne watched the rain begin to move over the hills and thought twice about her plan. She'd been doing well on the lessons, and Oliver's brother was a patient teacher, but she didn't think that she was ready to try it in the rain. Especially in the mud. And the road from their cottage to the main house wasn't especially good in the best of times, and that was with Ben or Fiona driving. But the road over to where she needed to go that day was something else entirely. It was to be a surprise for the rest of the family, her driving lessons. She wanted to help out on the Muggle parts of the farm, the parts that interacted with non-magicals, but to do that she needed to drive. Convincing Ben to give her lessons wasn't hard, and Fiona had quickly agreed. The only problem was she didn't have her own motor, and borrowing only worked for so long.
The first official act that Daphne Wood, pureblood Slytherin from London, the first thing she did as a married woman was to exchange Galleons from their shared vault for Muggle money to buy an old and somewhat decrepit Land Rover Defender. Ben had found a cheap one from an old farmer near Belhinnie. He'd laughed and told her that it would be good to learn on as she couldn't really hurt it any more than its current state, which was mostly dents, rust and crap repairs. The old farmer thought it funny that the pretty blonde lass wanted his old Defender. Daphne just thought it was brilliant. But now she needed to drive over to see them because of the owl.
The owl had arrived about twenty minutes before the rain started, and when she went to let it in she knew that it was a Wizangamot owl. Sure enough, as soon as she opened the parchment she knew that she'd been summoned back to work. It didn't take a seer to figure that out, but she was rather surprised since the 'extended holiday' for Wizangamot members had suddenly ceased. She needed to go tell the others that she would be heading into London, and she couldn't very well Apparate over there. The Floo didn't exist, so not down there, so that was out. That left the Defender.
She had just put on her Wellies and grabbed a macintosh off the hook when she had a niggling thought that she was forgetting something. Something about the letter. Placing the mac back on the hook she walked back to the table and picked up the parchment. She'd missed a piece of parchment, there was a second page. Flipping it over she scanned and then sat down abruptly at the table, the chair's legs screeching as they moved across the old wooden floor.
All worries about the rain were gone. Hurriedly throwing the mac over her shoulders and raising the hood she ran across the spongy grass and opened the creaking door of the Defender, jumping inside and only taking a moment to wipe the rain from her face before starting the engine. The engine died a few times as she struggled with the clutch and the gear lever but eventually it trundled forward, slowly, the wipers futilely battering against the rain.
It seemed as if she would never get there, stalling the engine again, almost getting stuck in the mud near the main house, but finally she crested the top of the hill and saw the barn. Giving it a bit more petrol she moved downwards at a frightening speed and then, in panic, stomped on the brake pedal, causing the Defender to slide about and the engine to stall and die. Starting it back up again she made her way much more slowly down the hill, finally, finally coming to a stop by the barn door. She killed the engine, pulled the keys and dashed through the rain to the back door of the barn.
"Daphne?" Eddie looked over to her, shocked. After glancing around to make sure that nobody else was there he looked at her. "Lass, what's wrong?"
"Are there..." She looked around. "Is it just family here?"
"Lemme check." He made his way from around a workbench and went to another part of the barn, returning shortly. "Ben's walked them out. So?"
She brandished the piece of parchment as if it was on fire. "The law...they're going to overturn it. Our wedding...we may not be married. Legally. They're not sure."
"Fuckin' 'ell." Eddie went over to her and drew her into a hug. "Dinnae fash yourself, we'll sort it." He patted her back. "An' how'd you get down here?"
"I drove." She broke apart from him. "I wanted it to be a surprise, for you and Anne and Oliver...but now...now..." She waved her hands about. "I don't know what to do! And I've got to go back into work when they go into session!"
"An' Ollie's in Falmouth. Brilliant." Eddie looked at the poor girl, upset and unsure. He liked the lass quite a bit. In fact he'd told Anne that he was glad that the stupid Ministry law had sent her to Oliver. She wasn't someone he would have picked for his son but they got on well, and she honestly loved the farm. But in all of his years of farming he knew to plan for contingencies, something he'd made his son do as well. He knew how he hoped things would turn out, but it had to occur on it's own. "All right. Here." He reached into his pocket and handed her a handkerchief. "Are you ok to...nah, ye aren't. I'll Apparate you to the house and you take the Floo down to Falmouth."
"But he has a match tomorrow. I'm supposed to..."
"You're his wife, Daphne. They'll let you see 'im. Go down there and talk to him. Just you two. You'll sort it. Forget the Ministry and all that shite, just talk to him. You figure out what you want to do and we'll support you, whatever the decision. Come on, then. Let's go." He took her arm and started to tell Ben he was leaving when he saw a glimpse of her Defender. "That's yours? You drove that down here?"
Daphne nodded without saying anything.
"Hmm. And they say Gryffindors are the brave ones. Come on, then."
With a pop of apparition they were gone.
Romanian Dragon Reserve – One month after the wedding
Charlie finished up the paperwork at his desk in the main office, folded the parchment into a paper airplane and threw it towards the file cabinets. As soon as it got close the drawers of the file cabinet opened like a mouth and swallowed it, followed shortly by the sound of the parchment being appropriately filed. It was almost time for supper and his Weasley genetics were in full force. His stomach had been rumbling for the past half hour.
He said good night to the others in the office, slipped on his broad-brimmed hat. One of the Muggleborns called it his Indiana Jones hat, but he didn't care. It kept the sun off of him and that was really all he cared about. Tracey had teased him about it, something concerning a whip, but that had led to other things. It was while remembering those 'other things' that he made his way back to the cabin. A second after opening the door he realised that he hadn't looked to see if the sign was up.
Tracey stood there in the middle of their sitting room, wand upraised, while sitting chair in front of her was his boss. His usually bald boss who now sported something that looked like a pygmy puff on his head. Charlie cringed. "Sorry. Forgot to look for the sign."
"No. It's fine. I like an audience." Tracey levitated a mirror over to the man in the seat. "Obviously I'm not done. Is that the right colour?" Seeing the man nod she moved the mirror away and turned to Charlie. "Be a lamb and put the tea on, please? I'll be done in ten."
He headed towards the kitchen, started the kettle and began thumbing through the mail which, as usual, Tracey gathered and tossed on the table. She'd received one letter from her Gran and had gone down to the village to ring her on the phone thingy to coordinate their next visit. He still hadn't made reservations in London but there was still time. Unsurprisingly there were letters for the two of them from the Ministry. Ever since they'd left Britain they received letters every other day reminding them of their wedding date, a letter reminding them of the date they needed to return to Britain, a letter offering them the option of three wonderful wedding venues, a letter a letter a letter. He was sure the owls hated the Ministry at this point. So this time when he opened the letter he wasn't expecting much.
He got quite the shock. Charlie stood there for a moment, unsure of what to do. "Trace!"
"Five minutes! Merlin, patience." came the reply from the other room.
He read the letter again, then again, and was moving at Percy-reading-procedures speed on the third time through when the kettle sang. He wasn't sure if his boss would still be there but on the off chance he made a cup of tea. Walking in with a tray and seeing his boss still in the chair made him think it was a good idea.
"Thank you, Weasley." The man took the tea. "What do you think?"
Charlie looked at him. She'd done a rather good job, blending the hair so that it looked as if it might be thinking about thinning on top with the normal stuff around the back and sides. It didn't look like a blatant hair spell. "Good. Good. Really good, actually. Reminds me of a few years ago."
"Brilliant." He turned to Tracey. "When should I..."
"Two weeks. Maybe a little before that. No swimming for at least a day."
He laughed and popped up out of the chair. "I don't think that's a risk. I'll just bring you the cup tomorrow, Weasley. Thanks again."
After he left Tracey looked over to Charlie. She could tell something was up. "What is it this time? They want proof of consummation now or something? I swear the Ministry's full of perverts."
"No, not exactly." He handed her the envelope with her name on it. "You can read it if you want or..."
"Nah." She tossed it on the empty chair. "Tell me."
"Wizangamot's back. Been enough protests and legal challenges that they're probably going to overturn the law."
"So we don't have to get married, then?" She looked at him. "Really?"
"Really." He nodded. "So...do you want to get married?"
"Not particularly." She shrugged. "Sorry."
He took a very deep breath and stared at his shoes. "I understand."
"Hey." She stepped over to him. "I said I didn't want to get married. I didn't say I was going anywhere, did I?"
"What?" Charlie's head popped up. "I don't..."
"Oh, so you want to get married? Ok, but if that's the case you're wearing one of those dresses. I like this. Who knew dragonhide could be this comfortable?"
He laughed as he saw her smack her bum. A nice little bum entirely encased in Horntail leather trousers. "I've been wearing it for years. You didn't ask." He put his arm around her. "So...we're good?"
"We're good. We can tell Gran later. I have a feeling she'll approve."
"Fuck. My mum." He pulled her a bit tighter. "She's not going to like the idea of you living over here. Oh well. Molly's got to get used to things like this. I mean, Fred and Verity, so..."
"Nuh uh." She shook her head. "Jam. Everywhere."
Oliver heard the knock on his hotel door and dropped his head back on the bed in frustration. It had been a crap day of training, he'd been nailed by three Bludgers and had let in too many goals. The Keepers coach had given him some suggestions when the team healer was attending to him, but if there were more suggestions he really didn't want to hear about it. He laid there for a bit but the knocking became more insistent. "Fine, fine, keep yer hair on, I'm coming." He went to the door and threw it open only to find his wife, standing there looking like she'd jumped in a lake. "Daphne?"
"Did you get the letter? The Ministry letter?"
He shook his head. "No, the PR lot goes though all the mail, we get it after supper. Get in here, you're soaked." After she walked in he closed the door, went over and picked up his wand from the night stand. He helped her out of her mackintosh and then proceeded to use several drying spells on her. "I'd do your hair but it'd look pretty bad."
"Oliver." She turned to him. "The letter...the Wizangamot's back. They're going to repeal the law. I'm not sure if we're legally married or not."
He raised an eyebrow. "Oh, we're married. I was there. So were you and most of Britain."
"But..." She stopped. "You're taking this rather calmly."
He sighed. "Well, Da taught me a lot about farming and other things. He taught me to plan. Daphne, before we got married I had our family solicitor draw up papers."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa, it's not like that. I knew you'd never give a bloke like me the time 'a day. It's not like we would have ever met and...it wasn't fair to you. So I had papers drawn up that whenever you wanted out, for whatever reason, you could sign. I wouldn't contest a thing. Nobody knows, just me, Da and our solicitor. Now you."
Daphne sat down quickly on the end of the bed. Oliver joined her, unsure of what to do or say. Eventually, though, Daphne took his hand. "Oliver. I'd like to sign the papers. You've signed them, you signed them the day they were drawn up, didn't you?"
"I did." His voice was soft. "I'm sorry."
"I'm not." She turned to him. "Oliver Wood, I'm divorcing you. The very first thing I'm going do as soon as it's legal and official and I'm single is that I'm asking you to marry me."
"What? Are you daft? Why in Merlin's name..."
"Because I want it to be because we want it, and I want a wedding for us. Not the ministry and your bloody Quidditch team. Definitely not my parents."
"It's not right. You should no have asked me. I should do the asking."
She sighed. "Gryffindors, always doing the right thing. The hell with tradition, ok? And here, they're very lovely, I do love them, but you should keep them until then."
She started to pull off her wedding and engagment band but he put his hands over hers. "Stop. No, not that. Those were my great-great grandmother's, from Da's side of the family. Da remembers her and said she was something else. So are you. I dinnae care if we're legally married now or later, I want you to have 'em."
"You know all this after a few months, huh?"
"Yeah." He nodded. "I did. Mum and Da went out for two weeks an' he married her. I'm a bit slow, I wager." He put his hand out to kiss her, resting it on her hip and stopped. "What's that in your pocket?"
"Oh." She smiled. "Keys."
"To what? You put a lock on the cottage?"
"No." She smiled innocently. "Oliver, I bought a truck."
He ran his hand over his brow. "Oh bloody hell. If your Mum could see you now. What are you gonna tell your Mum?"
"That if she wants to see me our cottage has a Floo."
As the letters indicated the marriage law was rescinded. All weddings performed on and up to a certain date were classified as 'temporary' until confirmed by the participants. This led to a nasty series of letters to the Daily Prophet and other magazines, a six-part investigative series on the Wizarding Wireless and a vote of No Confidence for Minister Osben. Her last interview as Minister was a scathing attack on the Wizangamot, blasting them for making her term untenable after she implemented a program they approved. The Wizangamot's attempt at blame-shifting didn't fool anyone, though. Fully three-quarters of the sitting members resigned, new members joined and Kingsley Shacklebolt was installed as a permanent Minister this time instead of just an interim Minister.
For some the ruling was a cause of celebration. Parties broke out all over Britain and, once the ruling made its way through the international wizarding press, all around the globe. It wasn't all a happy time, though, as some witches and wizards were quite irritated that their partner didn't want to go through with the ceremony as planned. Of the small number of weddings that had taken place and had resulted in a pregnancy there were special funds made available at Gringotts. Others viewed it as Daphne and Oliver did, as a very confusing and heavy-handed introduction service, although most who took that view hadn't gone through a ceremony.
Molly Weasley was unsure of how to process the news, as while it had led to some happiness in her family not all of her children were settled. Almost as soon as the news broke Susan Bones sent George and owl informing him that she was no longer interested and not to pursue anything romantic. Apparently George was a bit handsy. Fred had finally asked Verity to marry him but by the time they actually walked down the aisle there was a very good chance the poor girl would be as big as a hippogriff. Ginny and Harry had still not set a date and seemed to be in no hurry, and even though Molly couldn't prove it she was sure that there were not many nights that Ginny stayed in the flat she shared with her Holyhead teammates. Ron and Hermione, bless, were her proper pair, asking her opinion on things, taking her and Arthur to dinner with Hermione's parents and marrying next spring. Percy had, to her utter shock, decided that he would not only remain engaged to Luna but had started writing editorials for the Quibbler. Granted, they seemed quite out of place next to articles on Nargles, but he had gained a little bit of a reputation as a crusading author. She'd tried to pin them down on a date but Luna started going on about moon phases and she wrote that off as a lost cause. Bill and Fleur were always good, even if Fleur was a bit too controlling. That just left Charlie, as usual doing his level best to drive her to an early grave. Not only was he not planning on marrying Tracey but she had moved in with him; even worse was when in reply to one of her letters he told her that he and Tracey had no desire to have children.
Molly was not the only mum distraught with the havoc unleashed upon her child for good or bad, though. Lucina Greengrass was livid that her daughter would drag her through the press with such a story that she was divorcing her husband and then marrying him again. The press had a field day with such a thing. Stori thought it was hilarious that her mum was so frazzled by the whole thing, she told her sister so up at the cottage. Together the sisters decided to plan Daphne's next wedding and tell Lucina the day before.
So it was that a year later everyone gathered for the second wedding of Daphne Greengrass to Oliver Wood. It was a very simple ceremony, held out in the big barn at the farm. Tracey wore a dress that she picked out, Charlie wore a Muggle suit and both the bride and the groom wore tartan, though the bride's quantity was massively smaller than the groom. Tracey had to stifle laughs the entire ceremony as Lucina looked as if she wanted to apparate away from the barn immediately and scrub off her skin.
The party afterwards was memorable for it's joy and later it's result. Nine months later Athena Anne Wood was born, part of the small baby boom in Wizarding Britain. For a baby present Tracey brought over some baby clothes and a new jumper for Daphne. A jam-resistant jumper. The law may not have lasted but some of the intent survived. Athena was one of many witches and wizards whose name was entered into the big book at Hogwarts, with Jonathan Edward Henry Malcom Achilles Walter Scott Jordan's name taking up two spaces. Leigh and Lee Jordan wanted to make sure that Hogwarts, the Ministry or anybody else couldn't screw that up.
A/N: That was much, much more fun than I anticipated. It also was a LOT longer than I anticipated. Why the hell can't I write short stories? Oh well. Tracey Davis may now be one of my favorite/favourite characters. She may or may not have a small resemblence to an government office worker in Pawnee, Indiana. And as for Oliver and the boob mug? Do a Google image search for the actor who played Wood. You'll find it. Trust me, it's worth it.
Thanks again to everyone over at the TLX forum for the challenge, and especially Rose of the West. I'm glad you like crack, and you knew I'd have to have a party or two in there, not to mention a wedding. I'm addicted.
As always, thanks for reading and review if you wish.