Everyone had been hovering and Pansy was losing her patience. She sent her mother to check the ballroom and had Daphne and her other friends searching for more champagne just to get some peace.
Alone at last, Pansy stood in front of the full-length mirror in her childhood bedroom, hands smoothing the front of the diaphanous gown she wore. Transparent layers fell close to her torso and built to a voluminous yet sleek veil around and behind her legs. Her eyes followed the flowers embroidered on the sides of her dress up towards her face. She met her eyes in the glass and smiled, unafraid of anything reflecting back at her.
A tapping at the window distracted her from her reverie, and she stepped over to investigate. Releasing the latch, McQueen flew into the room, flapping his grandiose wings in a proud display.
"What are you doing here, Queenie?" Pansy asked him affectionately. She released the letter from his leg and caressed him as he preened against her hand. "And what do we have here?"
Her owl flew off to join the other owls at the Parkinson manor, and Pansy broke the wax seal on the letter in her hands, carefully arranging herself on the stool at the vanity to read.
The handwriting gave away the author without her needing to look for the signature. The familiar scratching made her stomach warm.
My Pansy, it began.
I know we're not really people for bold public, or hell, even private declarations of our feelings. I find that there are things I need to tell you today. For all I know you love muggle clothes, I'm sure you're not one for the muggle custom of writing out your own vows and declaring your innermost thoughts to all of the riff-raff your mother insisted on inviting. I'm quite happy we're opting for the magical bonding way, myself.
But I need to say, I remember you standing outside the pub in the flood of the streetlight the night when I met you again. You looked so sad and angry, but Pansy, you were so beautiful. I couldn't help but come and steal your cigarette and needle at you about being a trainwreck. And I really did think you looked hot on that stupid cover of Witch Weekly, even if I didn't say so at the time.
I could barely stay away from you. Something kept me from pressing you for more...I was so afraid of pushing you away, of pissing you off too much, afraid of you finding someone else to fuck around with. You're so brilliant, Pansy. So beautiful and honest and fun and the realest fucking woman I've ever known.
You're the sharpest knife's edge and I've been bleeding far longer than I've realized that I've been cut.
Do you remember the night you came over for me to scratch your itch? I almost told you I loved you that night. I will never forget what it was like to have you there in the firelight. It hurt so much for you to leave, to watch you go. I don't think you saw me watching you apparate home from the window when you left, but it broke my heart to watch you disappear from the steps outside.
There are so many other nights etched in my memory, nights spent holding you and laughing with you and loving you.
I remember the night I found you dancing topless at the bar, and I carried you home to your flat with your tits pressed into my back. I remember what it felt like to rescue you (if only a little), because you so rarely need it.
I remember the night you handcuffed yourself to my bed before I ravished you. You challenge me in the best ways.
I remember on the birthday when you were so drunk on wine and cheering charms you could barely stand it. I loved it most when they wore off and you were just yourself again. I remember how I told you how I loved being the reason you're not quiet. That's still true.
I remember the night that mission went bad, when you teased me about my hair and washed me and held me while I shook. I never wanted to let you go, and the only place I wanted, needed to be that night was with you.
I remember when you were sworn in to the Wizengamot. I shook your hand and told you how proud of you I was, and you didn't even look that panicked that we were touching in public, that someone would figure us out.
I remember the night you finally yelled at me, and told me you couldn't fuck me anymore because of your feelings for me, and how I could finally tell you how I felt, that I needed you and wanted you and loved you, too. That you had somehow become the most important person in my life. That I had loved you for awhile. That you listened to me and believed me and had faith enough in us to try.
I remember when you panicked when you realized I hadn't spent the night at Grimmauld Place in a month, and my clothes were all mixed up with yours, and said I was a fucking arsehole you never wanted to see again. (I TOLD you you didn't really mean it.)
I remember how you came with me on Halloween to visit my parents' graves, and you held my hand and hid your face in my shoulder when I told them I knew they'd be happy because I'd finally found what they'd had.
I remember how your cheeks flushed when I looked at you as we stood up for Draco and Hermione, you on his side and me on hers, as they married each other. (Still too quickly to my mind, who gets married after three weeks? But I guess it's working for them, with the babies on the way and the ridiculous way they look at each other and everything.)
I will always, always remember how ethereal and lovely you looked the night I pushed into you and asked you to be my wife. I feel like I still have the claw marks and bruises and will always hear the shrill, "of course I will, you fucking arsehole, who couldn't even wait to finish fucking me to do it properly." And I will remember how you even loved the silly ring in the shape of a pansy I gave you first as a joke, how you insist even now on wearing both my rings. My Pansy, how I can't wait to give you the third.
(Though I think the joke's on us both, with how many pansies your mother insisted on incorporating into this wedding. I also love how the only things you care about for the wedding are your dress, my "stupid" hair, and the vintage of champagne being served at the reception.)
There are so many more memories I can't wait to add to this list...when I see you walking towards me, in just a few moments from now. You're going to take my breath away, you always do.
The moment when you realize, you really realize you're stuck with your fucking arsehole forever and the only thing you'll be able to do is kiss me and laugh about it (and fuck me for good measure).
All the moments when you wake up in the middle of the night, and I'll be right there beside you.
The moment you have my baby, if you want to.
The moment when you become Chief of the Wizengamot and kick everyone's arses.
The moments when we're fighting and accidentally make each other laugh which inevitably will lead to fantastic sex.
The moment when you'll finally approve of my hair (but will continue to tease me about it anyway).
And there's millions more, Pansy. Millions more moments I cannot wait to share with you, my beautiful, loving, perfect, brilliant love, and remember. I just needed to tell you.
I love you, always.
Pansy pressed her hand to her mouth and choked back a sob. She hadn't expected to cry today. She fought to compose herself, tried to think of her makeup and the work it had taken to make it flawless.
Deep breath after deep breath, Pansy tried fruitlessly to settle herself. Bare feet paced on plush carpet past unworn heels, until her friends and mother returned, and she was surrounded by a chorus of "What's wrong?" and "You're not going to run away, are you?" and "Pansy, dear, you know how much work I've put into this wedding! I don't care what's wrong, you are still getting married today!"
She stepped towards the door and gripped the handle with her right hand, the letter still gripped in her left. "I'm going to run, all right," she said over her shoulder, as she threw the door open and took off down the hallway. She sprinted down the stairs, holding the fluttering skirt of her dress off the floor as she flew.
A few guests and several of Harry's attendants were gathering in the entryway of the manor, and Pansy raced past all of them, including a horrified looking, very pregnant Granger-Malfoy, out the doors and around toward the formal gardens. Daphne and Tracy and Millie struggled to keep up in their heels and trim sheaths appliquéd with thousands of delicately constructed fabric pansies. Pansy's mother had fallen behind.
Pansy's feet found the end of the dramatically long fabric aisle in the grass. She started shouting as she ran up the length. "Harry! Harry!" she yelled as she past the previously seated guests, who snapped to attention with the unexpected interruption to the prelude, played on magically charmed harps.
"Harry! Where the fucking hell are you?" she yelled, spinning in front of the flower and fabric-draped arbor to look for her groom. When her eyes caught him, approaching the ceremony site from the side, Pansy launched herself at him, knocking them both down onto the runner. Letter still in hand, she pulled Harry's head down to crush her lips to his and kissed him breathlessly with everything she had.
His momentary carefulness about her hair and her dress was lost as their kissed deepened, and he threaded his fingers into the dark waves of her hair and dug them into her back.
She finally pulled away to gasp for air. "You fucking arsehole," she panted. "How dare you send this to me?"
"I know I said you would take my breath away. I wasn't expecting to have you literally knock the air out of my lungs," Harry teased, before running his fingers through the loose tendrils of hair framing her face. "Like I wrote, I had some things I needed to say," he told her, punctuating his words with sweet kisses to her lips.
"You destroyed me, you arse," Pansy grinned down at him. "You made me cry. I don't think I can ever forgive you, making me cry on my wedding day."
"I love you," he affirmed, running his thumb across her bottom lip. Something flashed and they both turned their heads in the direction of it. Realizing what the flash signified, Harry sighed. "I'm starting to worry Witch Weekly is going to say that we ruined our own wedding, and isn't that fitting for the number one and number three biggest train wrecks of the post-war Wizarding world."
Pansy pulled Harry's lips back down to hers. "Fuck them," she said after their kiss ended. "I love you. Plus the entrance march is fucking tedious. Let's cut out the boring shite and get bonded, my love." She put her lips near his ear to whisper, "The sooner we do, the sooner we can sneak off from my mother's party to go find somewhere to fuck."
"Brilliant," Harry returned with a grin, and stood before helping draw Pansy to her feet. Hand in hand, they walked under the chandelier hanging from the arbor, whispering sweet and suggestive things to each other, watched in awe by all of their guests, and waited for the rest of their lives to begin.
A/N: And that's it! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing and favorite-ing and following. I love you all for it! Love and thanks especially go to Colubrina and disillusionist9, without whom I would not have been brave enough to start writing fic, let alone finish or post anything.