Author's Notes: No, this isn't a mirage; I'm actually updating this story. Now, I can't promise this'll happen again anytime soon, or ever, but I don't want to abandon this fic and I'm hoping, praying I can make it work. I do know I probably won't have time for much for "We Woke Up Married" over the next few months, but I'll try. Thank you to all of you who've reviewed, whether patiently or with death threats. I appreciate it. I'll try not to continue to disappoint.
Now, this is the rest of graduation. I am aware that graduation is an American concept, not British, but I liked it and wanted to use it, and after all this is the wizarding community, so they can have a ceremony if they want. Or rather if I want. By the way, the chapter title does NOT mean this is the last chapter. This isn't the end of the story, whether I update it again or not.
An Unpredictable Ending
"Oh, look, there's Ron!" Mrs. Weasley said tearfully. "I'm so proud of him, and a Prefect besides! Oh, and there's Hermione next to him… and there's Harry… what's that you've got, Ginny?"
"Mum, there's, uh, there's something I need to tell you," Ginny said tentatively, setting the toaster down. Fred and George smirked, and Ginny turned to glare at them.
At that moment, however, Bill, Charlie, and Percy walked up to the stands with Remus Lupin. Mrs. Weasley made a great deal of fussing over them, especially Percy, whom she was pleased to be back on speaking terms with. Mr. Weasley was a little awkward around him, but Mrs. Weasley was prone to acting as though nothing had happened.
A little stage had been set up at one end of the Quidditch pitch, upon which sat Dumbledore, the teachers, and all the seventh-year Prefects—Ron, Hermione, Draco, Ernie Macmillan, Hannah Abbot, Anthony Goldstein and Padma Patil. Dumbledore and the four Heads of the Houses—McGonagall (who looked a bit misty-eyed and sounded choked up), Snape (who looked like he'd rather be out celebrating the fact that Harry and the others were finally gone), Sprout, and Flitwick—gave speeches (Snape's consisted of about three sentences) before Dumbledore introduced the Head Boy, Anthony Goldstein, a Ravenclaw. Anthony cast the Sonorous charm on himself and Ginny did her best to find her Gryffindor courage and tell her mother about Hermione before Anthony's speech ended. She failed miserably.
"And now," Albus Dumbledore said, "a few words from our Head Girl, Hermione Malfoy!"
There was an outbreak of confused muttering. Dumbledore smiled benignly as Hermione shakily got up to her feet and made her way to the front of the stage.
"He got Hermione's name wrong," Mr. Weasley said, shaking his head.
"That's not like Dumbledore," Lupin said, frowning.
"Nope, not like Dumbledore at all," Fred agreed, feigning innocence.
"Not at all. Must be having a really rough day," George added.
"Poor Dumbledore," Fred said.
"I'm sure Hermione will correct him," Charlie said. "Though if it was me, I'd be offended."
Fred and George snickered. "Trust me, Charlie," Fred said, "I'm sure she's horribly offended." Glaring at them, Ginny flicked her wand. The twins simultaneously bit their tongues, hard.
Hermione pointed her wand at her throat and whispered "Sonorous." Her voice carried out over the stands with a somewhat nervous ring to it. Hermione had either forgotten her speech or else decided to throw it out the window.
"When I was eleven years old, I was accepted to Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A lot's changed since then. I'm still bossy and fanatical about success, but since that first day on the train I've saved the Sorcerer's Stone from the clutches of Voldemort, was half turned into a cat, got petrified by a basilisk, befriended a man who was framed for murder, helped the Boy-Who-Lived and my very good friend Harry Potter win the Triwizard Tournament, battled a few Death Eaters, assisted in the defeat of the most terrible dark wizard of our time, tried to liberate some house elves, became synonymous with the library and graced the hospital wing with my presence far too many times for my liking."
"She's not correcting Dumbledore," Bill noted. "Why isn't she correcting him?"
"Maybe she's not as offended as one might think," Charlie joked.
"Even Malfoy's not moving, though. See? He's just sitting there," Bill pointed out.
"Hermione is Head Girl," Percy said with a sniff. "She's probably just reluctant to cause a scene by correcting the headmaster in front of all these people."
"When has Hermione ever been reluctant about correcting anyone about anything?" Bill argued.
Ginny cringed, not looking forward to the coming explanation. "Um, can we listen to her speech, please?" The Weasleys and Lupin fell silent. Ginny scanned the stadium for Mrs. Malfoy, and groaned when she saw her. Narcissa Malfoy looked livid; Ginny could only pray that she was just upset that neither Draco nor Hermione was protesting the use of a pureblood's surname for a Muggle-born.
"I love Hogwarts, and I'm going to miss every last one of you. Maybe even you, Professor Snape," Hermione added, prompting a few laughs from the crowd and a scowl from Snape. "To those of you who shall remain here for another year or more, I hope you have as much fun as I did, if a few less… 'adventures.' The library is your greatest asset, remember to grin when you see the remnants of Fred and George Weasley's portable swamp, homework is important, stay out of the Forbidden Forest if you know what's good for you, and don't be afraid of Professor Snape, he's all talk." More laughs echoed around the stands and Snape made to get up, reaching for his wand and muttering something that sounded like "I'll show you 'all talk,'" but McGonagall placed a hand on his arm as she chuckled through her tears. "Thank you for the best years of my life," Hermione added, and sat back down to wild applause and whispers.
"Huh. No one said a thing," Charlie said, frowning. "You'd think someone would have mentioned that. I know the Slytherins would be furious that the headmaster called a Muggle-born girl by a pureblood's family name…"
"I can't believe Hermione didn't say anything," Bill agreed. "I mean, I know Harry, Ron and Hermione are all friendly with Malfoy now, but have you seen the two of them together? She still can't stand Malfoy. Hasn't forgiven him. She always was one to hold a grudge."
"You know," Percy said quietly, "I know this is probably quite… insane… but… I thought I saw them kissing at the Ministry's celebration." Bill, Charlie, Lupin and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley stared at him in shock. "I was going to say something, but I thought I must be mistaken, that there was no way they'd be kissing. But, then, I don't know them nearly as well as I once did…"
Ginny squeezed her eyes shut and willed herself to sink into the stands, willed lightning to strike Padma Patil as she gave her speech just so that there'd be something else for her family to focus on, willed the gods to send a distraction, any distraction, before they all remembered that Ginny was Hermione's best female friend…
"All right," Billy said loudly. "What are you hiding?"
Ginny's eyes snapped open, but her family wasn't gazing at her—they were staring suspiciously at Fred and George, who were trying a little too hard to look innocent.
"We don't know anything!" Fred insisted.
"Yeah, we haven't talked to them in ages!" George added.
"Ask Ginny!" Fred yelled.
Thank you, Ginny told the gods. By the time her family turned to look at her, her expression was a flawless mask of confusion and innocence. "Me? You're the ones who gave Hermione a toaster and were asking her to name her firstborn after you earlier!"
Fred and George glowered at her as the group refocused their attention on the twins. "Fine," Fred ground out. "You want to know the truth? From what we understand, Hermione and Malfoy accidentally got hitched."
"They got drunk and woke up in a hotel room together," George continued. Ginny cringed. Letting the twins tell the story might not have been the best move.
"Fred! George! I won't have any more of that nonsense coming out of your mouth!" Mrs. Weasley snapped, scandalized.
"It's true! We were visiting Hogwarts when the came home," Fred insisted. "We were just going up the stairs in the entrance hall when Malfoy ran by screaming, with Ron chasing him like a nut and Harry, Ginny and Hermione trying to stop Ron and Snape trying to catch them all and we joined the chase."
"To make a long story short, we all ended up in Dumbledore's office," George continued. "He told them that they'd have to stay married for at least a month and meet all these requirements and after they left the room Dumbledore even said that with all the Death Eater trials it'll probably take ages to get a court date."
"It will?" Ginny asked. "Why didn't you tell me?"
"I don't know, maybe so that we could trip you up when you tried to lie to Mum and make believe you had no idea what was going on," Fred shot back.
Mrs. Weasley turned to glare at Ginny. "Is that true?"
Mr. Weasley and Lupin exchanged glances, while Bill, Charlie and Percy looked to Ginny, all three of them sporting revolted expressions. "Yeah, is that true?" Charlie demanded.
Ginny sighed. "Yes. None of us knew what to say. Hermione was so embarrassed, and she didn't want you to be ashamed of her…"
Mrs. Weasley's face softened. "That poor dear. No family of her own and a mess like this, on top of all that trouble with You-Know-Who…"
"Plus Dumbledore called her 'Hermione Malfoy' at her own graduation," Bill said with a snicker.
"Oh, look—Ron's about to give his speech," Ginny said. Padma, Hannah and Ernie had already finished their speeches; Ron and Draco were the only ones left. The Weasley family and Lupin returned to watching the ceremony.
Ron swaggered up to the front of the stage. "HOGWARTS RULES!" he shouted, thrusting both fists in the air.
"YEAH!" shouted the seventh years, and most of the spectators started cheering. Ron stayed on the stage for a little while longer, arms held high, before retreating and sitting back down next to Draco, who shook his head and clapped Ron on the back.
Ginny thought she saw Draco's wand hand shaking as he cast the Sonorous charm. "Seven great years at Hogwarts," Draco said, smiling faintly. "Can't ask for better, crazier days than those spent at Hogwarts—least, I hope not," he joked. "I'm grateful for Hogwarts and all it's done for me. Every disaster, every curse, every detention—it was all worth it."
Draco sighed, then chuckled. Then he simply turned and walked back to his chair, shaking his head as if wondering what could go wrong next.
Applause followed Draco's speech, and then McGonagall began to call names for students to receive their diplomas. Fred, George and Ginny cheered for their fellow Gryffindors and their old friends while Bill, Charlie and Percy joked about their own times at Hogwarts and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Lupin whispered to each other, frowning, probably discussing Hermione. Ginny winced when McGonagall went from Anthony Goldstein to Daphne Greengrass, when Hermione would have ordinarily come in between them—at least, now that Goyle was dead. Ginny felt a slight pang at the realization that she was completely unsurprised to see the missing students in the line; though she wasn't sorry they had met justice, she was sorry that the war had happened in the first place.
Ginny leaped to her feet and screamed Neville's name. The twins followed suit. Neville jumped, startled at the attention; Ginny saw Neville's grandmother look up at the cheering Weasleys, surprised at their enthusiasm but pleased.
Ginny sat back down, grimacing at Morag, who'd always been extremely rude to her and tried to make her leave the Ravenclaw table every time she'd joined Michael Corner for lunch. She cheered for Ernie Macmillan, who went next, then stood up and screamed again for Draco—and was the only person in the section of the Gryffindor stands to do so, though the Gryffindors did applaud much more loudly than they had for any previous Slytherin.
Then, of course, it was Hermione's turn.
Everyone in the stands, save a handful of Slytherins and those incapable of doing so, leaped to their feet and cheered hysterically, the Weasleys among the loudest. Hermione grinned up at them, and Fred and George shot red and gold sparks out of their wands until Mrs. Weasley ordered them to stop, but by then, several others were following her example. One didn't defeat Voldemort without a standing ovation being in order. Flashbulbs from hundreds of cameras went off.
Ginny sat back down, waiting for Harry's name to be called and feeling sorry for the poor kid to follow Hermione—Ginny couldn't even hear their first name in the commotion, and she wasn't even sure she heard the last name of "Moon" correctly. Theodore Nott and Pansy Parkinson were skipped, naturally, and Ginny was just preparing to clap for Padma Patil when someone next to her said, "You. Weasley girl."
Ginny looked up, startled, to see Narcissa Malfoy standing next to her, wearing a set of gorgeous dark-green dress robes and a silver shawl that probably cost enough to buy the Burrow several times over, her eyes narrowed. "Oh. Um, hi."
Ginny was at a loss. She didn't know much about Narcissa at all; Draco had never mentioned her much. Ginny didn't even know if she was a big supporter of Voldemort or not; while she was Bellatrix Lestrange's sister, she was also Andromeda Tonks's sister.
"Tell me," Narcissa said, in a sharp, icy tone, "why, precisely, is that Granger girl being addressed as a Malfoy?"
"Um, that's not for me to say," Ginny said carefully.
"In case you haven't noticed," Narcissa interrupted, "I happen to be a Malfoy, and I believe I have a right to know what messes my only son and heir has created."
Ginny glared at her. Her upbringing wouldn't allow her to be openly rude to an elder, particularly not in front of her mother, without said elder doing something severe to earn disrespect, but Ginny was liking this woman less and less. "Ma'am, Draco owes you an explanation, not me. I won't betray his confidence; he is my friend. I am certain he will be willing to explain things himself when—"
Narcissa Malfoy was forgotten as, once again, almost the entire stadium leaped to its feet and screamed hysterically. Red and gold sparks shot up all around the stadium and the cheering seemed to go on for hours. Harry smiled sheepishly, pushing his glasses up his nose, then wincing as camera after camera flashed, making him look as if he was in the middle of a lightning storm. Harry slowly and carefully left the stage, determined not to fall on his butt in front of so many people but now unable to see with his eyes open.
"Yes, well done, Potter," Narcissa said coolly, not with malice but not with admiration, simply with respect. She turned back to Ginny as McGonagall waited impatiently for enough of the applause to die down. "I suppose you do have a point about it being Draco's right to explain himself. I admire your loyalty to him, and I won't forget it in the future."
"Er, thanks," Ginny said uncertainly. Narcissa began to make her way back through the stands. Ginny clapped absently for Dean Thomas as she left, surprised to note that when she passed Kingsley Shacklebolt and Tonks, Tonks stood up, screwed up her face, and turned her pink hair into a long mane of blond hair as pale as Narcissa's. Narcissa appeared startled, but she smiled quickly and exchanged a few words with Tonks, then gave her a brief hug.
"Weird," Ginny remarked. "Mrs. Malfoy and Tonks, being all friendly like that."
"Well, Narcissa is her aunt," Lupin pointed out. "Even after Andromeda, Tonks's mother, was disowned, Narcissa remained close with her. Tonks has several fond childhood memories of her. But, then, Narcissa married Lucius Malfoy, and that was the end of her involvement with Andromeda and Tonks."
"Huh. Weird," Ginny said.
"Question," Fred said, "how come they're not sitting with us?"
"The Malfoys?" Ginny asked incredulously.
"Tonks and Kingsley."
"Oh, well, it's hard to get seats all together," Mr. Weasley said vaguely.
Ginny frowned, then glanced suspiciously around the stadium. Sure enough, members of the Order of the Phoenix were scattered about the stadium. Hestia Jones and Dedalus Diggle had been given the unfortunate job of sitting with the Slytherins, though Ginny wasn't sure if that was because they were former Slytherins or if they were just less recognizable than other members of the Order. Ginny spotted Elphias Doge over in the Ravenclaw stands, sitting next to the bartender from the Hog's Head and Madam Rosmerta. She found Mad-Eye Moody in the Hufflepuff stands, in addition to a couple of Charlie's friends and Oliver Wood. While she hadn't known Charlie's friends well at all, she knew Oliver wouldn't forego sitting in the Gryffindor section for any reason whatsoever; his stint as Quidditch captain had made him incredibly proud of his own house. There seemed to be Order members scattered everywhere—Ginny recognized a good-looking guy and a witch with an eye patch in the Ravenclaw stands as Aurors, a couple of her parents' old friends in Slytherin…
"For crying out loud," Ginny muttered. "Why does no one bother to tell us these things?"
Ginny joined her family and fellow Gryffindors in the cheering, but she was utterly distracted by her realization that the Order was still watching Harry, Ron and Hermione, still thought they were in danger. It did make sense, she had to admit—surely they hadn't caught every supporter of Voldemort on the planet. Yet she wished that for once, someone would have bothered to confide in them, and in her.
Ron's applause lasted nearly as long as Harry's. When it was over, only Blaise Zabini was left; once again, Ginny was the only one in the Gryffindor stands to stand and cheer for him, though she wasn't as loud about it. She'd only met Blaise a few times, and he'd seemed okay, but he wasn't exactly a friend.
When the students had all returned to their seats, Dumbledore returned to the podium. "And now, I present to you, Hogwarts's newest class of witches and wizards!"
Once again, a cheer went up, and the assembled students waved their wands through the air, summoning glimmering animals called Spirit Shadows, much like Patronuses although color-coded to match their house and more for show than for any actual purpose. Ginny smiled when she saw Harry's stag, Ron's dog, and Hermione's otter converge in the sky above the other students' animals.
The ceremony was now officially over; Ginny stood up, and made her way down to the field with the rest of those who'd come to say goodbye to Hogwarts's most recent graduating class. Ginny managed to slip away from her family members in the throng as she darted through the crowd, trying to get to Harry, Ron and Hermione before Mrs. Weasley could.
Hermione, however, was separated from Harry and Ron, as she had been seated on the stage and they'd been on the field. Harry and Ron were currently grinning mischievously and watching Narcissa Malfoy berate Draco.
"Mum, it was an accident," Draco insisted.
Narcissa glared at him. "You just ACCIDENTALLY said 'I do' to a Gryffindor? Is THIS why you're moving out?"
"No… well, yes, sort of… Mum, she's just a friend!"
"You don't MARRY your friends, Draco!"
"I know that!"
"Apparently not! I thought you had more sense than this, Draco, really, getting married and not even bothering to send your poor mother an owl—"
Harry shook his head as he and Ron turned away Draco. "That'll teach him," Ron said, smiling. "Or, well, something like that."
Ginny tugged on Harry's sleeve. "We should get to Hermione. Mum knows."
Harry groaned. "Ugh. The reporters are over by the stage."
"Not to mention Mum," Ron said, pointing. The rest of the Weasley family was climbing up on the stage.
Harry shook his head and started towards them. "Did you think this was how it would go, Ron?"
"How what would go? Our graduation ceremony?"
"Our last day at Hogwarts."
Ron chuckled. "Well, no, not exactly. But then, there's no predicting anything around here, is there?"
"Definitely not, Ron. Definitely not."