Perfect scores. On my NEWTs. I don't believe it! No Weasley has gotten a perfect O on a potions NEWT in centuries. I bite my lip lightly. Draco is going to be so proud of me. My parents will be too, I'm sure, as soon as they hear.
I quickly pen a note to Draco with the news. Everything he's put up with from me the past few years, he should be the first to know. Merlin knows I'm not telling my parents first. I decided that last summer, after the house incident.
I send off my large eagle owl Autumn (a gift from Draco to keep in touch after he left school) with the note and smile before heading downstairs to tell my family the news.
As I step into the kitchen, I notice the large buffet being prepared for the rehearsal. Fabulous. The bloody wedding again. Whatever. "Mum!" I say as happily as I can.
She looks up from the stove. "It's about time you came down from that room. The potatoes need mashing."
I sigh. "In a minute mum, look at this!" I hold out the parchment with my results on it towards her.
"Not now Ginny. The potatoes need mashing." She brushes the sheet away.
I feel a familiar pang in my chest. "It's my NEWT results Mum." I try one final time, holding forward the paper again.
"I don't have time for your nonsense Ginny. Get to work. The potatoes." She stares at me, and I move to the stove slowly.
As I begin to mash them slowly, I pause. "I got perfect scores." I whisper.
She sighs. "Ginny, why on earth did you stop? The Grangers will be here any minute! The wedding is tomorrow!"
Right. The wedding. I shake my head, turning back to the potatoes. "Ron and Hermione's perfect day." I whisper softly, pushing the parchment into the apron Mum has magicked onto me.
"I have to go get changed." She says suddenly. "Be a dear and finish cleaning up once those potatoes are ready." I turn around and stare at the door incredulously as she walks away.
I glance around the small kitchen, taking in the piles of pots and pans surrounding the sink, and the dishes filled with food scattered on every available surface. I casually flick my wand at the pots and pans, and they become sparkling instantly, scurrying to put themselves away. "Fuck the Muggle way." I mutter darkly, rolling my eyes at Ron and Hermione's request that everything be done the Muggle way "for the sake of her family's sanity." Another flick and the appropriate warming charms are in place, and I stalk up to my room, only to find Hermione primping in my mirror.
"Ginny! I thought you were finishing dinner!" she exclaims.
I cross my arms. "It's done. Get out of my room." I snap.
Her eyes go wide. "Ginny, I'm not done my hair."
I look at her perfect ringlets and growl. "Your hair looks fine Hermione."
She snorts. "I can't wear it down Ginny. I'm getting married tomorrow. I'll be done in a bit. Why don't you go check on the yard decorations? Ron should be working on them, but he should get changed."
I glance down at my torn jeans. "And when did you expect me to get ready?"
"Be serious Ginny, all you have to do is throw on a clean pair of robes over top. No one is going to notice you anyways."
I stare at her, ready to snap back, and then stop. "Whatever." I mutter. I turn and stalk to the backyard where my assorted brothers seem to be buried in streamers and balloons. I nearly scream when I realize they haven't done anything, but stop short when I notice they've seen me.
"Ginny!" Ron calls as he hurries over, the others trailing behind him. "Make sure you do it the Muggle way. Streamers hanging in midair might frighten Hermione's family." I don't get a chance to reply as they all scurry inside quickly.
I cross my arms and stare at the pile of streamers with disgust. Glancing inside, I see Hermione hurrying to the door to let her family inside. I flick my wand and watch through my window as my clothes quickly fold and pack themselves. I glance up at the sky. "Vite m'hibou brun. Mon temps s'échappe." I whisper softly, and then smile as I see the large bird drifting to my window. With another flick of my wand, the decorations suspend themselves in midair, and I turn back inside.
I open the note Autumn hands me, and give her a small treat. "Thanks love." I whisper, rolling open the note from Draco.
I'm so proud of you Ginger. Uncle Sev happens to be here to, and he feels the same, though he'd never admit it out loud to me. As to that particular subject, I know you have the wedding tomorrow, but I think he'd enjoy it if you stopped by this evening. You could manage to sneak out tonight for me, right? I'll give you a present…
Your DragonI smile to myself and quickly change into a pair of black jeans and a small half-top that I know is Draco's favorite. I place a shimmer charm on my mass of curls and glance at Autumn. "Head to Draco's love. I'll meet you there." I say fondly ,stroking her back briefly before she glides away. I shrink her cage and my trunk, dropping them both in my robe pocket. Walking downstairs, I stop in front of the tall family clock. Closing my eyes, I feel a tear course down my cheek. Concentrating carefully, I re-open my eyes to look at my hand, resting firmly on 'visiting' now.
I'm about to apparate away when I notice my dad walk in the house. "Hi dad." I say softly.
"Ginny, there you are. Your mother wants you to bring out the food."
I stare at him blankly. "I'm going out."
He sighs. "Of course you're not going out, it's the rehearsal dinner. Your mother needs your help."
I shake my head, and feel tears build up in my eyes as he walks away. I pull out my wand, and flick it in the general direction of the kitchen, smiling a bit as I hear the surprised shrieks from the yard.
"Ginevra Molly Weasley!" My mother's voice calls from the yard as I carefully pull out my NEWT notice from my pocket.
I lift my face to meet her startled gaze as she steps into the house. "Perfect Os Mum. Even in potions." I say calmly before apparating away.
I look up as she appears in the dining room before us with unshed tears in her eyes. "That bad?" I ask.
She closes her eyes. "I'm not going back." I nod, and pull her onto my lap, holding her tightly. She glances up. "Hello Professor." She says softly.
"I'm not your professor anymore. You may call me Uncle Sev, as Draco does, or Uncle Severus if you'd prefer."
I watch as a small smile creeps onto her face. "Really?"
He nods. "Yes Miss Weas –
"Gin." She interrupts quickly. "Its just Gin now."
He nods. "I can understand that. Draco and I were about to begin a game of chess. Perhaps you'd like to help him? He would stand a much better chance."
I shoot him a glare. "That's not funny Uncle Sev."
"True though." She comments lightly.
"Fine then, just gang up on me."
"Is there a reason we shouldn't?" she asks calmly. "Because lets face it, you suck at chess."
"I beat your brother!"
"I fed you the moves."
"I still won."
"It doesn't count as winning if you're not watching the game."
"I always watch the game." I meet her eyes with a smile.
"Uncle Sev just took his turn." She inclines her head to the board on the table between us.
Later that evening, I glance down at Draco with a smile. "You're not even pretending to play anymore." I comment, grinning over at Uncle Sev.
"He seems to be quite enjoying himself where he is Gin."
I smile, feeling his fingers trace along my waist lightly. "Poor baby, are you getting tired?"
He grunts. "Ginger, the two of you have been playing for six and a half hours. Of course I'm getting tired."
"Then go over to a couch and sleep. I'll wake you when we're done."
"That could be days."
I lean down and kiss him softly. "Just go to sleep Draco." He nods, and lifts me up to get up. As he settles on a couch, I turn back to Uncle Sev.
"The wedding is tomorrow?" he asks softly.
"With all its bells and whistles." I whisper, making my move.
"Were your parents impressed with your NEWT results? Your potions mark was well deserved."
I meet his eyes. "You know better than that Uncle Sev. I tried to tell Mum and got told not to bother her with nonsense when there were potatoes to be mashed." I smile as he moves his rook out of my way, and take his queen with my knight. "Check."
He smiles, and moves his king out of the way. "Well, I must say that wasn't the sentiment here. Narcissa was particularly impressed."
"Narcissa is never impressed Uncle Sev." I move my bishop carefully.
"She is by you. Check."
I move my king out of the way carefully. "I truly hope so." I glance briefly at Draco on the couch, and then back at Uncle Sev.
"She sees it, just as I did. You complete one another. Each of you makes the other want to see another day."
I nod. "They're going to flip when I don't show up tomorrow."
"Do you really not want to go?"
I shrug. "Why would I go?" I shake my head. "Besides, they wouldn't have any idea where to look for me anyways."
"You've never hidden from them Gin. You have no reason to feel guilty."
"I know. I just…hope he does."
I nod slowly, looking at the board. Moving forward my rook, I smile. "Checkmate."
His eyes fly to the board, and he sighs as his king drops its sword. "Considering the fact that you had to overcome his initial blunders, I must say that I'm impressed."
I smile. "You're staying the night?"
He grimaces. "We have an early appointment with the planner."
I laugh lightly. "You do know that referring to him that way and narrowing your eyes won't convince Narcissa to fire him, right? He's doing a very good job!"
"Gay?" I shrug. "Think about it this way. Without him, you'd have to pick flowers and centerpieces. Stop complaining so much."
His eyes widen. "Ah. Interesting perspective." He pauses. "Thank you for the game." He stands, and exits the room quietly.
"That was faster than I expected." Draco says from the couch.
"He got distracted by the meeting in the morning." I cross to sit next to him.
He sits up and pulls me closer. "Right." He pauses. "Are you alright?"
I bury my face in his chest. "Perfect Os. Not even Percy got perfect Os."
His arms tighten around me, and I feel the tears come up again. "Mother was ecstatic."
"That's what Uncle Sev said." I pull back and meet his eyes. "Why does it still hurt so much? Why do I still care?"
I feel his hands in my hair. "Because they're still your family. As horribly as they've treated you, they're still your blood."
I tilt my head. "You're thinking of Lucius, aren't you?"
"He's a part of me, of what I'm becoming by striving not to become him. Just like they're a part of you."
I touch my lips to his softly. "Thank you for putting up with me."
"Gin, I'm in love with you," he whispers. "You're stuck with me now. And if you go to that wedding tomorrow, I'm going with you."
I smile. "Wouldn't that be perfect?" I ask. "Draco Malfoy arrives unexpectedly at the wedding of Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger: chaos ensues."
He breathes deeply. "Better: Flanked by Potions Master Severus Snape and his mother, Draco Malfoy arrived at Ron Weasley and Hermione Granger's wedding alongside his lovely fiancée, maid of honor Ginevra Molly Weasley."
I freeze. "Did you just say fiancée?"
He nods. "Gin, I've been in love with you for five years now. I'd like to wake up next to you for the rest of your lives. Marry me."
"Gods yes." I whisper, fusing my lips to his.
He pulls back and grins. "If this doesn't get this disowned, nothing will."
I wrap my arms around his neck. "Shut up and kiss me."
I grin as she steps into the sitting room. "I'd tell you how good you look, but I'd be lying."
She sticks her tongue out at me. "This is Granger's doing."
I laugh. "Yes well, you look rather like a powder puff on fire."
She shakes her head. "Can we just get this over with?"
"You know we don't have to go." I remind her.
She smiles. "I know. I also know I said I wasn't going back, but I committed to this stupid wedding, and I'm going to bloody well do it."
I extend my arm to her. "Deal." I nod. "Mother and Uncle Sev will come and get us at three, citing an emergency of some kind of course."
She smiles. "Of course."
I pull her to me and kiss her lightly. "Maybe you'll get lucky and they'll be so dramatically angry at my presence they won't harass you at all."
She snorts. "Somehow I doubt that."
We arrive at the Burrow, and as soon as I've left Draco in a seat near the back, Harry is calling me.
"Ginny! Where have you been? The ceremony is in ten minutes!"
I roll my eyes. "Good morning to you too." I mutter, and smile as he notices Draco.
"Malfoy, what the hell are you doing here?" he clips.
"I came with Gin."
"You're not welcome here Malfoy."
I sigh. "Harry, shut up. My fiancée is very much welcome to attend my brother's wedding as my date." I move to Draco and kiss him deeply, silently begging him not to antagonize the situation, and then I turn back to Harry. "One word wrong Potter. One single word, and I'm gone. Mid-ceremony or not." I turn and stalk into the small house and up to the room I used to call my own.
When I open the door, I here Hermione's voice. "It's about bloody time you got here. The dress doesn't fit right. I think it got hemmed wrong. You'll need to get some pins –
I flick my wand and the dress hems itself. "You could have done that yourself and you know it." I clip.
"Ginny! You know we're having a Muggle wedding! My family –
"Can stuff itself for all I care. You're lucky I showed up at all. In fact, had Draco not pointed out to me that I'm a witch of my word, I wouldn't have. It's time."
"How dare you talk to me like that on my wedding day!"
I stretch my neck. "Go." I indicate the door. "I'll get your bloody train."
She moves out of the room slowly, and I hold up her train and follow her down the stairs, and then begin to make my way down the aisle to the music. Catching Draco's gaze, I feel my breathing even out, and continue my path to wait for my future sister-in-law.
I'm sitting quietly in the back when the previously peaceful wedding grinds to a halt.
"What the hell are you doing here?" the bride screeches as she stands in the path.
That's when I realize she's screeching at me. I nod at the altar. "I came with Gin."
I sigh as they all turn to her. "Why would you bring Malfoy to our wedding Ginny?" the Weasel asks from his place at the altar.
I can feel her deflate as I watch her shoulders drop. "Draco and I have been together for five years Ronald. We've never hidden it."
"What do you mean together?" Potter shouts.
I move quickly to Gin's side, grabbing her waist to hold her back. "Breathe Ginger." I whisper in her ear.
She leans into me. "Get me the hell out of here Draco." She hisses.
I glance at Potter. "We're engaged." I tell him.
"What did you do to my sister?" the Weasel shouts.
I feel her tense. "Watch your mouth. I don't care if it's your wedding, she's had a long couple of days."
"She hasn't done anything!" Granger storms up the aisle. "All we asked her to do was keep things from falling apart, and she couldn't manage it. We had to obliviate most of my family last night when she apparated the food to the table!"
"STOP IT!" Gin screams, and then looks around at her family. "I spent seventeen years trying to get noticed by you. I finished Hogwarts at the top of my class. I got twelve perfect OWLS, I was Quidditch captain and Head Girl last year. And yesterday, I found out that I got straight Os on my NEWTS. I got my apparition license the day I turned seventeen. Draco and I have been seeing each other for five years. We never hid our relationship, EVER. Not even when Lucius found out." She stops, breathing heavily. "Draco, take me home." She whispers.
I glance down at her, and see that she's barely holding in her tears. "Do you want me to floo Mother before we get back?"
She shakes her head. "I just want to go."
I nod, and guide her past the Weasleys slowly.
"Ginevra, where do you think you're going? You're ruining Ron's wedding!" her mother cries from the side.
I freeze, and lightly kiss Gin's forehead. "Go back to the manor." I say calmly, and she nods, twisting her wand and apparating away. I turn to face them slowly. "She came today because I told her to. I reminded her that she is a witch of her word, and she came. Last night, when she arrived at my house, she was broken. All Gin has ever wanted was for the lot of you to notice her. She's gone out of her way to excel at everything. She's the first Weasley in four generations to score above average in potions and she got an 'O'. Everything any of you has accomplished, she has gone above you." I lift my hand to shut Granger up. "Even you." I look around at them. "I intend to make her my wife. She will be Ginevra Malfoy. None of you are invited to the wedding, and if any of you ever hurts her again, I'll ruin you. You'll never find jobs; you'll be shunned in public. I will make sure this continues for your children, your grandchildren, and your great grandchildren. You'll regret ever having crossed her, and me." I look up at Potter's smirking face. He thinks I can't touch him. "And Potter. I'll make it ten times worse if I find out it was you. Boy who just won't die or not, I have investments all over the international wizarding world. If I decide you don't work, you don't work. If I decide that Gringott's doesn't feel like storing that pretty little pile of gold you've got, they won't store it anymore. Don't ever make the mistake of thinking you're more powerful than me. You're not." Finally, I turn to her parents. "Perfect Os. All she wanted was a 'congratulations' this time. Instead you yelled at her about potatoes. She's not a Weasley anymore, she's a Malfoy. Stay away from her."
I look across the carriage at my fidgeting sons. "Stop that. You wouldn't want to be mistaken for one of your cousins, would you?"
They stop moving immediately. "No mother." They chorus.
"Good. Now, if they approach you, be civil. Weasley or not, they're still your blood." I grimace at the thought. "Just don't let yourselves get caught up in their webs. Don't fall to their level. You're Malfoys, don't forget that."
The carriage pulls to a stop, and our driver hauls the twins' bags through Kings Cross for us. We step through onto the platform and I walk with the boys to where Pansy Zabini is standing with her children.
"Ginevra!" she calls warmly.
I step closer, and pull her into a hug. "You look ravishing Pans."
She grins. "Empty nest. Blaise is over the moon."
I smile. "Draco is quite excited himself. Kept babbling some nonsense about quality time."
She laughs. "Happens every time love." A shadow passes over her face. "How are you holding up?"
I feel my smile tighten. "I knew I'd have to face them eventually. It's one of the reasons I decided to get it over with this year. I'll let them see me, attempt civil chit-chat if I have to, and then from now on Draco can bring the boys to the train."
I glance over at my twin sons as they step onto the train to deposit their bags in the compartments even as I notice Pansy's face tighten. "They're here." She says calmly.
I glance over at the large brood of red-haired children hurrying in the direction of the train. "Merlin there are a lot of them."
"They're Weasleys Ginevra. Of course there are a lot of them."
"Right, and I've been keeping track. How many are there?"
"Currently enrolled? I think they each have at least three."
"So you're telling me they're everywhere."
"Not surprisingly, none of them are in Slytherin, and Severus doesn't like them much."
"Pans, Severus doesn't like anyone much."
She shrugs. "He likes your sons just fine."
"He's never had to spend more than two weeks with them. They're Malfoys, but that doesn't mean they're as…refined…as Draco was. They have their moments of rowdiness."
"At least they're not troublemakers."
"That remains to be seen." I comment dryly, arching an eyebrow.
"Well, well, well. If it isn't the Brides of Slytherin." I hear behind me, and turn to see Hermione Weasley standing with a small red haired child on her hip.
I tilt my head. "That's funny, I thought Salazar Slytherin had been dead for thousands of years."
"Why bother showing up Ginny? Don't you have servants to bring your kids to school?"
"It's their first year. A mother wants to make sure her boys are safely tucked away."
"Pretending you care? About family? That's awfully hypocritical of you, don't you think?"
"Not really. I care for the people who care about me."
"You abandoned us in the middle of my wedding Ginny. You're a cold, heartless bitch."
"I'd appreciate it if you didn't talk about my mother that way." Dacien's voice says calmly.
I glance at my sons. "Did Flanagan get your trunks stored?"
"Yes Mother." Antonio acknowledges.
"Good. Now apologize to your Aunt Hermione for not saying hello."
They turn to her. "We're sorry." Dacien starts.
Antonio smiles. "Yes, it was rather rude of us."
She rolls her eyes. "Whatever." She glances at me. "Just make sure your children leave mine alone."
"They're right there, you are allowed to speak with them."
"I don't want to."
I sigh. "In the same way you wanted a muggle wedding?" I turn to the boys. "Have a good year, and try not to torture Uncle Sev too much or he won't let you visit him and Grandmum next summer."
Their eyes go wide, and I let a small laugh escape. "Yes Mother." They chorus, and hug me quickly before hurrying to join John and Melissa Zabini.
When I look up again, I see that my brothers have joined Hermione, as well as my parents. "What are you doing here?" Ronald spits.
I glance at Pansy, whose face is blank. "I'm quite certain that I'm dropping my sons off for the school train Ronald. Your…charming…wife felt it necessary to come speak to me."
"Gin, be reasonable. Come home where you belong." Percival says calmly.
I smile softly, and glance at Pansy again. "Fourteen years and they still don't get it." I pause, and look at him. "I am home Percival. I'm happily married with two beautiful sons. I'll rejoin the Weasleys if and only if they recognize me for me. That means accepting my husband, my friends, and the family I've created for myself in the same way. If you'll excuse us, Pansy and I have lunch plans."
We walk slowly away from the crowd and wave at the children through the window. "Are you alright?" she whispers. "We can postpone lunch if you'd rather see Draco."
I smile carefully. "I need to do this Pans. Just this once, I need to do this without him. Its why he stayed at the manor."
"Chocolate?" she asks.
"If you don't mind." I admit softly.
"I'm proud of you Gin."
I close my eyes as we cross through the barrier back into Kings Cross station. "So am I."