Wedding of a lifetime
The next morning dawned with a bright orange and pink sun rising in the east. Dew drops covered every blade of green grass and every petal of the roses blooming in the garden. A small commotion out in the garden woke Hermione up earlier than she had planned. She slipped a robe on and walked over to the double doors that overlooked the gardens. Several dozen workmen were setting up chairs and a huge flowering arch in the fragrant roses. She smiled before heading to the bathroom to shower and begin getting ready.
When she emerged from the shower Ginny and Katherine were in her room fussing about the dress and the flowers and anything else that could go wrong.
"Morning." they both said in unison when they saw her.
"You're getting married today!" Ginny said, hugging Hermione. "I can't believe it!"
"Me either." said Hermione honestly. "Last year at this time…well I couldn't imagine being married to anyone, let alone Draco Malfoy."
"Just think if I hadn't talked you into doing the bachelorette auction none of this would have happened." Ginny smiled slyly.
"Yeah, lucky for you this worked out or I may have never spoken to you again." Hermione replied.
"Less chit chat girls, we have a lot of work to do getting Hermione ready."
"Gee thanks mum, I must look really terrible to need all this work." she said jokingly.
"Oh, no honey. I didn't mean it that way." she said stroking her little girl's hair. "I just mean that putting on your dress and doing your hair and make up takes time. And we have to help Claire and get ready ourselves as well. I know it's a stressful day, but just try to relax, we have everything under control."
Hermione smiled at her mum. She hoped she looked as happy as her mum after 30 years of marriage.
"Thanks. I guess I'm just nervous."
"What should we do first?" Ginny asked.
"Well I don't think Hermione wants to sit there in her dress. Besides we might get something on it." Katherine said frowning at the very thought.
"Hair it is then." Ginny replied.
"I want it to be simple." Hermione told her, thinking of the elaborate curls Ginny had produced previously.
"This is your wedding day!" Ginny protested. "You should be the star of the show."
"I can be the star…in a simple way." Hermione added.
She started by pulling all of Hermione's hair into one big ponytail and securing it with an elastic band. Since she had an excess of hair Ginny tried to straighten it out the best she could before fastening it into an elegant bun and fixing it in place with a freezing charm and several diamond pins.
"There." Ginny said looking proudly at her work.
"Beautiful Gin. Thank you so much."
"You are very welcome."
"I'll do her make up if it's alright with Hermione." Katherine smiled at Ginny.
Katherine applied her make up carefully. Giving extra attention to detail. Shimmery powder was applied to her face. Light pink blush and pale gold eyeshadow gave Hermione a glowing happy look. Mascara and a hint of pink lip gloss finished it off.
Katherine dabbed at her eyes.
"Mum…" Hermione started, feeling tears in her own eyes as well.
"You just look so beautiful. I…I have dreamed of this day for years and now that its here I just wish you were little again. So I can relive all of the memories we had when you were a child."
Hermione handed her a tissue and took one for herself as well.
"My makeup…" she said dabbing carefully.
"I'm sorry." she said to Hermione. "I didn't mean to make you all upset."
"I'm fine." Hermione replied. "Maybe we can get my dress on now." She wiped the rest of the tears away and stood up.
"I'm doing this the easy way." Hermione told them picking up her wand. She pointed it at the dress and then herself.
"Switch induviae" she said. The wedding dress appeared on her body and her robe lay where the dress had been just seconds ago. The beautiful white sparkling dress hugged her curves but was not too tight on her swelling belly.
"I am not putting on any shoes right now." Hermione said sitting down. She was very self-conscious of her ankles right now. They felt bloated and ached with every step.
"Well," said Katherine. "We are going to go get Claire and ourselves ready. Try to relax and enjoy this beautiful morning." She kissed her daughter on the head and closed the door behind them.
Hermione sat back in the plush gold chair and took a deep breath of fresh air.
"My last morning as a single woman." she sighed. The baby gave her a swift kick. She laughed and said "Don't you start now. I need to get through this day in one piece."
Three hours later the garden was all set for the wedding. Ginny and Claire were dressed in pale turquoise satin dresses. Claire's was trimmed with lace and ribbons and Ginny's was simple with straight lines and a slit up the right leg. Both had flowers in their hair and wore aquamarine jewelry that was nearly the color of their dresses. They were waiting patiently in the foyer. The men readied themselves in the room Blaise and Draco shared. Baby Arthur wore tiny robes in deep turquoise as did Harry and Blaise. Draco's were black and he wore a white bow tie. All had white roses pinned to their chests. They left out the back entrance into the gardens. Katherine emerged from the master suite with Richard. She wore a cream colored fitted jacket and skirt and Richard wore a classic tuxedo with a black tie. He knocked on Hermione's door.
"You ready?" he called out. The door opened slowly. Hermione walked out carrying her shoes in one hand and her bouquet in the other.
"What's wrong?" Katherine said at once sensing her daughter's unease.
"My shoes don't fit my fat feet." Hermione said nearly in tears.
"Just go barefoot." Richard said.
Hermione shot daggers at him.
"I am not getting married barefoot and pregnant." she said whimpering. Katherine took the shoes from her daughter and looked at them.
"These are not going to work dear. There's no support for your feet. Your dad's right. Just go barefoot. You look wonderful. No one will notice." She placed her hands on her daughter's shoulders and looked her in the eyes. "You will take his breath away."
"Alright. Barefoot it is." she replied tossing her shoes aside and following her mum and dad down the steps.
Katherine exited out the back way and took her seat up front. Molly was struggling to hold baby Arthur between her and her husband. Hermione paused near the back French doors. Her dad held his arm out for her to take. She took a deep breath before holding on to his arm as the music started and Claire began her slow walk down the aisle with her basket of white and gold rose petals. Rows of white chairs stood before her. Ginny turned around and winked before following behind Claire.
"Ready honey?" Richard asked. Hermione smiled and nodded. Butterflies were fluttering around her stomach making her feel slightly nauseated.
She stepped outside into the bright sunshine and felt the warmth on her face. Everyone stood as she walked down the short aisle and the first thing she saw was an entire row of red hair flecked with a streak of silvery blonde. All the Weasleys were smiling at her kindly. Even Fleur had a knowing look on her face as she squeezed Bill's hand.
A light summer breeze blew across the gardens as they continued to approach the flowery archway. Draco, Harry and Blaise stood on the right side of the platform. He caught her eye as she neared him. Richard reached up and patted his daughter's hand. She smiled and then took Draco's hand in her own when they reached the front. Draco reached out and took Richard's hand in his own and shook it firmly. Hermione turned to her soon-to-be husband as he lifted her thin veil. His breath caught in his throat when he looked at her. Happy and glowing she smiled brightly.
"You look beautiful." he whispered causing Hermione to blush.
"Friends and family," the cleric began "We are gathered here today to join in union Draco and Hermione. May I ask if you both have come of your own free will?"
"We have." they replied together.
"Then join hands so that we may begin." the short man said.
Hermione handed her bouquet to Ginny and joined both hands with Draco. The cleric loosely tied a white silk scarf around their 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, do you take Hermione as your lawfully wedded wife?"
Draco squeezed her hand a bit and replied.
"Hermione, do you take Draco as your lawfully wedded husband?"
"I do." she replied, tears shining in her eyes.
The cleric slipped the knot off of their hands and handed it to Draco.
"Through this rite within this circle you two have been joined in spirit. Keep this knot as a token of your spiritual bonds. As a sign of this bond you shall wear the rings given as gifts from the other. Please give me the rings."
Ginny handed Hermione a silver band with inset emeralds. Harry gave Draco platinum band with inset sapphires.
"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. Draco, take this ring and place it on Hermione's finger."
Draco did as he was told.
"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."
The ring glittered next to her brilliant engagement ring. More tears were welling in her eyes.
"Hermione, place the ring on Draco's finger." the cleric handed her the ring.
"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."
She slipped the ring onto his finger and he winked at her when she looked into his silver eyes.
"Now if there are no objections…" he paused and looked into the crowd. No one said anything.
"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 Hermione softly. She wrapped her arms around his neck.
"I give you for the first time Mr. and Mrs. Draco Malfoy." the small man squeaked with excitement. Draco took his bride's hand and led her down the aisle towards the house. Applause followed them as Claire ran up to them hugging each tightly.
"Now I have a proper mummy and daddy." she said happily.
"Forever and ever Claire." Hermione said kneeling down in front of her.
The next few months passed quickly for the happy family. Hermione had gone on maternity leave from St. Mungo's shortly after the wedding. Claire helped Hermione prepare for the birth of her little brother. They trimmed the nursery in pale green and white. Hermione knitted lots of soft blankets and started teaching Claire how to knit as well. Without magic of course. By the time the middle of August rolled around Hermione was on bed rest by order of the medi-witch in charge of her prenatal care. And as much as she disliked being waited on hand and foot she was so tired that it didn't matter.
She was sipping tea on the fifteenth of August when a sudden sharp pain averted her attention.
"Calm down." she told her son. "You will be born soon enough." But another sharp pain had her howling in pain and Draco running in to see what was the matter.
"What's wrong?" he asked her.
"I think your son is ready." she said clutching her stomach…
"Ready? Ready for what?" he asked thickly.
"To-be-born." she said slowly.
"To be born?" he repeated letting it sink in. "Oh my gods! We need to get you to St. Mungo's. Do you have a bag packed? Where is it? Can Ginny watch Claire?" he shouted all at once.
"Calm down. Everything is under control. These things take hours and hours. Owl Ginny and tell her to come over to keep an eye on Claire until after the baby is born. My bag is near the door there. We can leave when Ginny arrives." she said calmly sipping her tea again. Draco looked positively gobsmacked.
"I can't believe you are being so calm." he told her.
"I've delivered dozens of babies. It's nothing to panic about. Like I said it takes hours…" but just then another sharp pain made her double over. "But I could be wrong."
Ginny arrived soon after and Draco rushed Hermione off to St. Mungo's. They were greeted by the birthing staff who put Hermione into a charmed wheelchair and took her to the maternity ward. Her medi-witch arrived shortly after and told Hermione that she was over halfway along and it was a good thing she came in when she did.
"But I just had a few pains, how can I be that far along?" she asked.
"You must have labored through the night and not woken up" the medi-witch replied.
Draco stood next to Hermione holding her hand. His face was as white as a sheet.
"You alright?" Hermione asked him.
"Fine." he replied in a low monotone voice. She could tell how nervous he actually was.
"It's going to be fine." Hermione told him. "I'm fine. The baby's fine. You will be fine too."
He nodded slowly and pulled a chair next to her bed.
The bed in the room was cushy and soft. Thick quilts covered the top and several down pillows were nestled under her head. She felt warm and relaxed. Within a few moments another medi-wizard came in to give her a potion for pain and another potion to keep her calm.
"Would you like some of this too?" she joked, holding the cup out to Draco. He shook his head no and pushed the cup away. Hermione finished her potions and handed the smoking cups back to the tall thin wizard. Within moments she felt more relaxed and the throbbing pain in her abdomen was ebbing away.
"That's better." she said patting her swollen belly. The potions made her fell very sleepy and soon she was slumbering soundly.
She woke up hours later feeling rested and refreshed. But the pain potion was starting to wear off.
"Bloody hell." she said crankily.
"Nice to see you too." a voice answered her. Ron. He was sitting by her bed reading some hospital literature.
"Ron, what are you doing here? Where's Draco?"
"Down getting something to eat. He looked ready to drop at any moment." Ron told her.
"He's a bit nervous." she said smiling.
"Couldn't tell." Ron smiled.
"When did you get here?" she asked yawning heavily.
"About an hour ago. Been talking to your husband. I guess he's not the world's biggest git after all."
"Took you a while to catch on, but you finally got there." Hermione laughed.
"Well anyway I can't stay long, I just wanted to check in on you and say how happy I really am for you." he leaned in and hugged her. Another sharp pain shot through her abdomen and this time it didn't let up.
"Can you get someone?" she said clutching her stomach.
"Sure…uh, Oi you." he called out of the door. "My friend here needs someone."
A healer trainee came in, looked at Hermione and then ran out. Soon Hermione's medi-witch came in to give her another dose of pain potion and check how far along she was.
"It's time!" she shouted just as Draco walked in carrying a cup of coffee and a sack of buns.
"Time? Now?" he said setting the things on the small dressing table.
"Yes now Mr. Malfoy." she said putting on her lime green healer's robes and gathering some things.
Draco went pale again and stood next to Hermione grabbing her hand.
"I don't know who's more nervous…" she joked. "Him or me."
"I'm sorry." he whispered to his wife. "I've just never seen anything like this."
"Just stand up by your wife." the medi-witch said. "You won't see anything."
Draco did as he was told and his face eventually regained some of its color.
"Alright Hermione. Now when I tell you to push, you need to push and push hard for 10 seconds. Count it out loudly."
"Ready Hermione? Push."
The pushing went on for half an hour before any real progress was made. The baby's head crowned.
"Okay just a few more and you will be done." she told Hermione. Draco gave her hand a squeeze and she readied her tired body to push again.
"His head is out. One more push. Ready? Push!"
Hermione pushed with all of her might and felt the immense pressure on her stomach release. The medi-witch cut the cord with her wand and siphoned some of the mess of off him. Another witch wrapped him up in a blue blanket and plopped him onto Hermione's stomach.
"Here's your son Hermione and Draco."
Tears poured from Hermione's eyes. Draco leaned over her face and kissed her softly before planting another soft, gentle kiss on his son's forehead. The hospital staff cleaned up and helped Hermione diaper the tiny wiggling infant. When they placed him back on her chest he opened his eyes briefly and looked at his parents. His hair was very thin and its color could not be determined. His eyes were blue, but then all babies were she thought. She hoped he had his father's eyes.
"Well we need a name." Draco said sitting next to her on the bed and rubbing his index finger over his son's cheek.
"Yes we do." Hermione agreed.
"Did you decide on one?"
"Yes I think so." she said slyly. "How about Dryden?"
"Dryden Malfoy? I think I like it. What about a middle name?"
"Let's worry about that later. I'm tired now." she said sleepily, pulling down the neckline of her dressing gown so that Dryden could nurse. The baby suckled happily and fell asleep.
A short while later Ginny and Harry arrived with an excited Claire in tow. She was asking a million questions about the baby. She skipped inside the room and nearly hopped onto the bed before Draco pulled her off.
"Careful sweetheart. Hermione is tired and needs rest."
"Can I see the baby? Where is he? What's his name?"
"Dryden." Hermione said patting her daughter's head.
"Dryden? Dryden what?"
"We don't know yet. We haven't picked out a middle name yet." Draco told her.
"Can I pick a name?" Claire asked.
"What name did you want to pick?" Hermione asked apprehensively.
"Cavan, after my dad." she said.
"I think that's a wonderful idea. Dryden Cavan Malfoy it is." Draco said happily.
"Can I see the baby now?" she asked.
"Sure." Hermione said motioning for Draco to get Dryden from the bassinette. He carried the tiny sleeping infant over to the chair where Claire was seated.
"Hold him carefully." Draco said handing her the tiny baby but staying close by just in case.
"I will." she replied holding Dryden as carefully as she could. She was smiling ear to ear. Hermione smiled back. Claire looked up at Hermione. And just for a second, for the briefest of moments Hermione could have swore she saw a gleam of red coming from behind those deep blue eyes.