Disclaimer; I dont own Harry Potter. You will need tissues for this chapter, I know I did.
A/N For this chapter I adapted several hand fasting ceremonies. For those of you who do not know what hand fasting is, it is the equivalent of a marriage ceremony for witches. Thank you to my friend Tamara who wrote part of Draco's vows for me.
As I walked down the pathway music began playing. It was "Autumn, four seasons" by Vivaldi. My eyes lit up as I looked upon the scene. It was dark, candles lit everywhere. The moonflowers were faintly glowing on the archway. Millions of stars twinkled above us, and white rose petals littered the lace covered pathway between the rows of chairs. White silk ribbon blew in the light summer breeze. Mr. Weasley gripped my arm tightly as we began our entrance. I looked at all the people that showed up, lots of friends from Hogwarts, family from home. There were very few that were there for Draco, but I didn't care. This wedding was for us, not anyone else. As I walked down the aisle, I glanced around, smiling brightly. Then, out of the corner of my eye I saw something that made tears swell up in my eyes again. In the second row, sitting quietly was Ron. He had an odd, half smile on his face, and when my eyes caught his, he smiled brightly mouthing 'I love you' to me. Tears flowed freely and I looked back up at Mr. Weasley. He whispered to me;
"He came to his senses and realized you were happy, that is after I talked to him." he smiled and winked at me. We arrived at the front and that's when I saw Draco, standing there nervously, looking so handsome in a black tux. I had the ring I bought him clutched tightly in my hand. Mr. Weasley let go of my arm and placed my hand in Draco's. Ginny took my bouquet. I smiled at Draco, and he smiled back. McGonagall began the ceremony.
"Friends, as we gather here to celebrate the union of Draco and Hermione, let us thank the gods for this beautiful evening." She turned to us and said;
"Please face each other.
Above you are the stars, below you are the stones.
Like a star should your love be constant,
Like a stone should your love be firm.
Be close, but not too close.
Possess one another, but be understanding
Be free in giving affection and warmth.
Make love often and be sensuous with one another.
Have no fear and let not the ways or words of the unenlightened give you unease,
For the Gods are with you now and always.
As the grass of the fields and the trees of the woods bend together under the pressure of the storm, so too must you both bend when the wind blows strong. But know that as quickly as the storm comes, so equally quickly may it leave. Yet will you both stand strong in each other's strength. As you give love, so you will receive it. As you give strength, so will you receive strength. Together you are one, apart you are nothing. Know that no two people can be exactly alike. No more can any two people fit together, perfect in every way. There will be times when it will seem hard to give and to love. But see then your reflection in a woodland pool, when the image you see looks sad and angered, and then know it is the time for you to smile and to love. In return the image in the pool will smile and love. So change your anger for love, and your tears for joy. It is no weakness to admit a wrong; more it is strength, and a sign of eternal growth. Forever love, help and respect each other. Love is a friendship that has caught fire. It is the quiet understanding, mutual confidence, sharing and forgiving. It is loyalty through good and bad times. It settles for less than perfection and makes allowances for human weaknesses. Love is content with the present; it hopes for the future but does not brood over the past. It is the day in day out chronicle of irritations, problems, compromises, small disappointments, big victories and working toward common goals. If you have love in your life, it can make up for many things that you lack. If you do not have love, no matter what else there is, it isn't enough. May the promises you make to each other be lived out to the end of your lives in an atmosphere of profoundest joy. Draco and Hermione please face each other and join hands."
We stood facing one another and joined our hands; McGonagall took out a white silk ribbon and tied a loose knot around our hands.
"Now that I have tied this true lover's knot you two are joined as one. Gentle are the bonds of this union. Pull one way and the bonds are loosened, pull the other way and the bonds are strengthened. Draco and Hermione have written vows as a sign of their love. Draco you may begin."
He turned to meet my eyes, his eyes twinkled in the stars and he began.
"Hermione, I love you
Not only for what you are
But for what I am when I am with you.
I love you
Not only for what you have made of yourself,
But for what you are making of me.
I love you
For putting your hand into my heaped-up heart
And for passing over all the foolish weak things
That you can't help dimly seeing there.
And for drawing out into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked quite far enough to find.
I love you because you have done
More than any creed could have done
To make me good.
More than any fate could have done
To make me happy.
You have done it.
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it.
Perhaps that is what being a friend means.
For you are not the air I breathe,
But the sweet scent that drifts upon it.
I, Draco, take you Hermione as my partner and mate. Never will I seek to do you harm. Always will I strive for your happiness and welfare. My love will be your treasure, in times when other riches fail to serve. My love will be your medicine in sickness as my hand tends your needs. My love will be your mirth when your heart is touched by sadness. My love will be your shining star through the darkest of nights. My love will be your banquet when life's table seems empty. All this I do promise you with all the love in my heart."
His eyes shined with tears, and mine were freely flowing. His words were the most beautiful I had ever hears.
"Hermione, you may begin." McGonagall said.
"Draco, I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,
Between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that never blooms,
But carries in itself the light of hidden flowers.
Thanks to your love, a certain solid fragrance,
Risen from the earth,
Lives darkly in my body.
I love you without knowing how,
Or from where.
I love you straightforwardly,
Without complexities or pride.
I love you because I know no other way than this.
Where 'I' does not exist, nor 'You'
So close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
So close that your eyes close as I fall asleep."
I heard many sniffles and tears from the guests.
"Draco, these are my promises to you. That I will love you freely, as the sky loves the bird, as the sunset loves the early evening. That I will love you grandly, with my tender fine emotions, with my loving words and all my actions. That I will love you purely, with my honor and my knowing, with all the best intentions of my being. I will love you joyfully with my body, with my laughter, with my foolishness and playing. I will love you always, now, from this day forward. Seamless, endless and forever."
There was not a dry eye in the crowd. Harry was wiping his eyes on his sleeve, and McGonagall looked the other way quickly, and wiped her eyes under her glasses. She looked back at us and slipped our hands out of the knot without untying it. She then said;
"Through this rite within this circle you two have been joined in spirit. Keep this knot as a token of your spiritual bonds, and as a visible symbol of these bonds, you shall wear rings. Please hand me your rings."
I saw Draco hand her a gleaming platinum band, and I handed her the silver serpent ring and a matching platinum band. The string quartet began to play "Simple gifts"
"Rings are an ancient symbol. Blessed and simple. Round like the sun, like the eyes, like arms that embrace. Circles for love that is given and comes back around again and again. Therefore may these symbols remind you that your love, like the sun, illuminates. Your love, like the eyes must see clearly. And your love, like arms that embrace is a grace upon this world."
She handed us our rings back and spoke again.
"Draco and Hermione please state your intentions and give your love the ring meant for them. Draco, please begin."
He took his ring and placed it on my left ring finger, next to my engagement band.
"Hermione, take this ring as a token of my endless and abiding love. It is you whom I am choosing to encircle with that love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have made my heart happy. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace."
"Hermione, you may begin."
I slipped both rings on his left hand ring finger. He looked down and stopped breathing for a moment. He looked back up at me with his silver blue eyes, tears filing them again. He looked to me for an answer of how this ring came to be in my possession, but I just smiled and began.
"Draco, take these rings as a token of my endless and abiding love. It is you whom I am choosing to encircle with that love. Wear it in health because you have healed me. Wear it in joy because you have made my heart happy. Wear it in peace because you have brought me serenity. Wear it in bliss because you have brought me true grace."
McGonagall spoke again.
"Mr. Arthur Weasley, who is giving the bride away, has some words of wisdom for the couple. Arthur, please come up here"
Mr. Weasley stood up and walked up to us.
"Draco and Hermione,
Love one another,
But make not a bond of love.
Let it be a moving sea between
The shore of your souls.
Fill each other's cup
But drink not from one cup.
Give on another of your bread
But eat not from the same loaf.
Sing and dance together and be joyous
But let each of you be alone.
Even as the strings of a guitar are alone
Though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts
But not into each others keeping.
For only the hand of life can contain your hearts.
And stand together,
But not too near.
For the pillars of a temple stand apart.
And the oak tree and the cypress
Grow not in each other's shadow."
Mr. Weasley shook Draco's hand.
"Take care of her." he said then leaned in to hug me.
"I will." Draco said, tears shining in his eyes.
McGonagall came forward again.
"Let us give thanks. In giving thanks we acknowledge and welcome this happy moment. Let everyone here offer in his or her own way, a silent moment of thanksgiving in honor of Draco and Hermione's commitment to one another on this day. The circle is complete. As we have offered our thanks to the gods from whom all blessings flow. Therefore, Draco and Hermione, by the power vested in me by the ministry, I now pronounce you husband and wife. May all that is noble and beautiful be with you always. Now you will feel no rain, for each will be a shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now there is no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. You may now kiss your bride."
Draco leaned in and kissed me passionately, our first kiss as husband and wife. I hugged his body close to mine.
McGonagall said loudly;
"May I now present for the first time as husband and wife, Mr. and Mrs. Draco Malfoy."
The quartet began to play again. The song was "A little night music"
We turned and walked back down the aisle, hand in hand. And when I looked, Ron had tears in his eyes.