All characters and canon situations belong to JK Rowling and Warner Brothers and I make no money from the writing or publishing of this story. Thank You.
A Wedding in June
(Part 6 of the series 'This Year')
1 - A Good Woman and a Good Man are Hard to Find
When Hermione Granger was five years old she made an announcement to her parents. She told them, "I'm never going to get married."
They didn't laugh at this decree from their overly intelligent and terribly serious, only child. They also didn't coddle her and give her platitudes such as: "Of course you'll get married someday."
Instead, her father said, "Good. If you don't ever get married that means you'll be my little girl forever."
Her mother replied, "You don't ever have to get married if you don't want, because a woman can do anything she wants with or without a husband."
Hermione couldn't remember what precipitated this announcement, but somehow it became almost an anthem for her life. For one thing, she recalled feeling pleased with her parents' responses; therefore she made other proclamations regarding the same subject (marriage) throughout the years… to her parents, her friends, and late last year to her boyfriend of ten years, Ronald Weasley.
It almost became an unbreakable vow. When Ron asked her to marry him ten years after they started dating, she told him, "But, Ron, you know I'm never getting married," and that was the end of their relationship.
When Harry Potter, her best friend in the whole word, married his childhood sweetheart, Ginny Weasley, just this year, Harry told her, "I want you to be happy, Hermione. I want you to be married," in which she replied, "I'm never getting married, Harry. You know that."
Year after year her friends all married. George married Angelina. Neville married Susan. Percy married Penelope. Ron eventually married Padma Patil only two months ago. And even now, her somewhat friend, Draco Malfoy, was getting married to a girl named Astoria Greengrass and it was their engagement party in which she now found herself.
Earlier in the evening, right after she arrived, Draco approached her and said, "Can you believe I'm getting married, Granger?"
She laughed and said a simple, "No."
Then he laughed and said, "When are wedding bells going to chime for you, Granger? You're not getting any younger, you know."
Knowing he was joking, because really, why would Draco Malfoy care one way or the other about Hermione Granger getting married, she told him, "Malfoy, I'm not sure I've ever told you this, but everyone else knows that I'm never getting married."
He smiled a somewhat crooked smile and said, "Never say never, Granger. Never say never."
She watched him as he walked away and thought one thought that made her cringe… Draco Malfoy was right.
Because what everyone else failed to realize over the years was that not once did Hermione Granger ever say that she didn't WANT to get married someday, even though that was what they all assumed, especially her mother and her ex-boyfriend Ron. She never once – not even when she first made the statement at five years of age – mean that she didn't want to get married someday. Because the truth was that she did. She did want to get married someday.
She just never thought she would.
Marcus Flint hated everything about being here at this reception with his friends and family. He hated it because of all his friends, he was the only one still single, or at least he would be the only one left, after Draco married Astoria next month.
This was Draco and Astoria's engagement party and he wouldn't have even come today if not for the fact that Draco Malfoy was like a younger brother to him, and being like a younger brother, he was also somewhat of a spoiled brat who always assumed he would get his own way. So when he told Marcus he wanted him there, even though Marcus didn't want to come, Draco pouted and sulked and even used a few choice words, until Marcus finally relented.
So here he was. Still, coming here alone only served to remind him that he was alone in many ways, with no future prospects to change that state.
The strange thing was that he always assumed he would be the first of his group of friends to marry. He always wanted to be married. He used to tell all his mates that he wanted to get married, and sometimes they laughed at him, other times they teased him, but he didn't care. He would tell everyone who would listen that he was getting married someday.
His parents had a perfect marriage and he wanted that, too. At least, it was perfect his parents died. His mother died first, and his father, so overwhelmed with grief, followed his beloved wife to his demise only five months later. What would it be like to feel such an intense kinship and love for another being, that you felt as if your life was over when that person's life was over?
He would probably never find out.
And it wasn't like he was getting any younger. If he wanted a long marriage, he figured he would have to get married by the end of this year. After all, his grandparents were married almost sixty years, his parents for almost thirty. He wanted what they had. He wanted a wife… a woman whom he could love, honor and protect, and who would be his best friend for life.
When Marcus was six years old, his grandfather took him upon his knee and told him that the secret to happiness was marrying your best friend. He said, "If you have to spend a lifetime with just one woman, Marcus, you have to make certain she the right woman. Make sure she's your best friend. Life will be so much easier and more fulfilling that way – oh, and it doesn't hurt if she's pretty as well."
Marcus asked, "How will I know when I find the right woman?"
His grandfather beamed a large smile at Marcus and said, "Believe me, boy, you'll just know."
Marcus remembered that statement from his grandfather. He looked 'the right woman' almost from the moment he first noticed girls 'as girls' when he was about eleven years old.
Twenty some years later, he was a successful Quidditch player, he was good looking and rich. Women threw themselves at him right and left. But not one of those women ever seemed to be someone with whom he wanted to spend the rest of his life. None of them were 'the right woman'.
Apparently, his grandfather forgot to tell him that a good woman was very hard to find.
Draco's engagement bash was held on a Saturday afternoon in June. It was a bright and sunny day. Hermione had become somewhat friendly with Draco over the last few years, working with him at the Ministry and such, so it was of no surprise when she was invited, along with Harry Potter and his wife Ginny, and Ronald Weasley and his new wife Padma, to attend Draco's engagement party. Hermione would remember this day for the rest of her life, and not because it was the day of Draco's engagement, but because it was the day, 'IT' happened.
It was the day that she finally thought she might just get married after all, because she knew in her heart-of-hearts that she had just met the man she was meant to marry.
Hermione Granger, Ron and Padma and Ginny and Harry, along with George Weasley and his wife Angela, were all sitting around a wrought iron table near a large old oak tree outside in the massive gardens of The Manor, when Draco came around to thank all of them for attending.
Draco approached all the former Gryffindors with a rather large smile on his handsome face, followed closely by an even handsomer man whom Hermione thought looked familiar, but she wasn't sure she knew his name. She only knew that looking at him was like looking at a road map and a beacon all at the same time. She suddenly knew which way her life was supposed to go, and it was supposed to go toward him. As insane as it probably was, this man seemed to be her true north, and that thought scared her, but mostly it made her happy.
Patting Harry very hard on the back, Draco said, "Very nice to see everyone here! Glad you could make it to my engagement party. Do you remember my old friend, Marcus Flint?"
Harry shrugged Malfoy's lingering hand from his shoulder and thanked Draco for inviting them, and then he greeted the dark haired man beside him.
Hermione slightly remember the man. He was older than she, probably four or so years older. He played Quidditch. And he was handsome as sin itself. Not being one for flights of fancy, Hermione suddenly felt strange just by looking at the man. First, she felt hot and cold all at the same time. Then, she felt as if she could barely breathe. It was as if she had tunnel vision, and there was no one else around her but this one man.
He reached out and shook George and then Ron's hand, after shaking Harry's, and when he came to Hermione, he started to reach out his hand, only to draw it back just as quickly. She felt embarrassed and bereft at the same time. She didn't know if he was silently rejecting her, but then, as Draco made some inane introduction along the lines of, "And I know you know who Hermione Granger is, Marcus," the man in question placed his hand back out in front of Hermione, kept his eyes firmly locked on hers, and said, "Of course I know her."
Hermione placed her smaller hand in his much larger one and although she didn't believe in such romantic rubbish, she swore it felt just like a lightning bolt came out of the sky and struck her square in the chest. The mere contact of his skin, warm and dry, against hers, cool and damp, made her shiver.
She didn't know what to say, even though every neuron in her brain was firing simultaneously. This was the man she was waiting for… this was the man she was going to someday marry. She couldn't hardly say THAT to him, so instead, she said nothing. She nodded at the man, pulled her hand from his and then looked over at Draco Malfoy, who for some odd reason winked at her.