New Year's Eve - Epilogue
Hermione took one last, deep breath in and then let it out slowly. Everything had to be perfect. He had made Christmas perfect for her, so she wanted to make New Year's Eve perfect for him, in every, conceivable way. He had mentioned, more than two weeks ago, when all of this had started, and he had read that article about Theo and Pansy marrying on New Year's Eve that he had always wanted to get married on New Year's Eve, and perhaps that was merely a ploy to gain her sympathy, or perhaps it was truly his fondest wish. It didn't matter. She took him at his word, so tonight, on New Year's Eve, they were getting married, in the same Anglican Cathedral where they had spent their 'eleven pipers piping' date.
Now, if he would only arrive to the church on time.
All of their other dates...ice skating, pear eating, poetry reading, were played by his rules, under his command, orchestrated by him, even from his point of view, more or less. This was her gift to him, and she thought it was fitting. First, it wasn't expected, which would make it sweet. Also, Christmas was over, and as far as he was concerned, theirs was a nice little Christmas romance, which had blossomed into something more, and even though he had given her a ring, and he must fully intend to marry her someday, she knew in her heart of hearts he would never suspect something so soon, or so novel, from her.
She checked her watch again. It was nearly 11:17 pm. She smiled at the officiate. Then she waved to Terry Boot, Hannah Abbott and Dennis Creevey, who were to be their only witnesses. Draco was instructed to meet all of them here at 11:15, so truly, two minutes past was practically early for Draco Malfoy. Still, she was slightly worried.
She leaned toward the front pew and asked Terry, "You did give him the message, right?"
Terry nodded as he leaned forward, saying, "I told him you, Hannah and I were working really late to make sure that new Muggle amendment bill got to the Minister's desk before the New Year, but that we would meet him right outside this church at 11:15, to go to the pub around the corner to ring in the new year."
Dennis offered, "And then I told Mr. Malfoy that if it was especially cold, which it is, we would probably wait for him inside. He really should be here by now."
Hermione wanted to thank Dennis for stating the obvious, but instead she tried to smile, nodded, and said, "Okay, okay, that's great, that's fine." She looked at her watch. It was now 11:23. What if he didn't show? Perhaps, being as devious as he was, he had found out her plot, and he had decided that while he wanted to date her, even become engaged to her, that it was just too soon to marry.
Nerves still winning the war over being rational, she leaned toward Hannah and said, "And you got the license, right? The Registrar's office gave it to you, with no problem?"
"It's right here," Hannah said, holding up her purse.
Hermione looked at her watch again, even as she said aloud, "What time is it?"
The officiate answered, "It's 11:27, Miss Granger. I'm sure he'll be here."
Hermione shook her head. "No, I don't think so. He doesn't really want to marry me. This was all about the challenge, the chase, perhaps it was even a wager he had with someone, that he could get me to fall in love with him in twelve days or less. He's not coming." She began to pace, hitting her bouquet of roses in her opposite hand as she thought aloud..."Or perhaps, he wants to continue to be in control of the whole thing. He probably found out about this, and since he's under the impression that he's been in control all along, although I have refutable arguments against that claim, because I know I was in control of several of our dates, but still, since he didn't plan this one, he's not showing up."
She looked at Dennis and said, "You probably spilled the beans, didn't you Crumbly?"
"My name's Creevey," Dennis said, shocked. "And I didn't tell him anything, except what you told me to tell him."
"Calm down, Granger," Terry said. "Let me go find him, okay?" Terry stood, but Hermione sat down and said, "No."
The four co-workers sat at the front of the church for sixteen more minutes, not saying a word, all four checking their watches continually. Soon, it was fifteen before twelve. It was almost New Year's Eve. The officiate finally said, "Miss Granger, we really only have the church until right after midnight. What do you want to do?"
"I'm slightly worried for the prat, now, because I seriously don't think he would stand me up, but that would mean that he's been in an accident or something, and I would hate to think it's something like that keeping him from me, but damn it, Malfoy, you had better have been in a bloody, bad accident!" She stood and said, "I suppose we should all go. Reverend, would you like to join my friends and I at a pub to ring in New Years, since there won't be a wedding?"
A voice from the back of the church rang out, "Who says there won't be a wedding, and way to go, Granger, wishing impending harm and doom on your nearly, newly beloved husband to be."
She turned to face him. He started walking toward her, hands raised in a defensive mode, which he knew was appropriate when dealing with an angry Hermione Granger. "Before you say another word you might regret, or do something I might regret, I have a confession to make."
"What?" she asked, with a smile, walking toward him. "By the way, you look handsome in your tuxedo. Hey, wait a minute, why are you in tuxedo? You shouldn't be in a tuxedo? You weren't supposed to know about this! I have a tux for you to change into, but you shouldn't have it on yet."
He smiled back and answered, "I thought since you would be in a wedding dress that I should wear a tux, and here's my confession, I did find out about your little scheme, even though it was a bloody, good scheme, and you really, really did hide it well."
Hermione turned and yelled, "DENNIS!"
"Crosby didn't tell me," Draco admitted. "I merely ascertained pieces of information over the last week, and I deduced it all. It's terribly sweet of you, especially as I told you that I always wanted to get married on New Year's Eve, even though I really just said that, that day because I wanted your sympathy."
She walked up to him, placed a hand in his, and answered, "I knew it! If you knew about this, why were you late? Why make me suffer and worry? That's not very gallant or kind even, Draco."
He kissed her knuckles and said, "Oh, I don't know if you'll still say that when you see why I was late. My wedding present for you took a bit longer to get together than I thought it would." He took the hand that was in his, and pulled her to the side, so that they were up against the edge of the pews. He then announced, "Alright, people, come in."
She looked to the back of the church as her friends, and even her family began to walk inside and fill up the back pews. She gasped, looked at Draco, and then placed a hand to her mouth to hold in a cry. When most of the pews were already filled by her friends, co-workers, and relatives, Harry Potter walked in, right after her mother and father. She wasn't sure she could feel more surprised than she did when she saw that, but she was wrong. When all of the Weasleys, including Ron walked in, she was beyond surprised. She was flabbergasted. She began to cry.
She placed her forehead on Draco's shoulder. He held her around the waist, but jokingly said, "Don't muss the suit, Granger." She looked up at him, hit him playfully on the chest, and then placed her cheek on his chest again. He held her tighter and whispered, "Now, even though it's a church, I'm not your friend Jesus, so I can't perform miracles...what I'm trying to say, in other words,is that my parents won't be walking through those doors. I told them about us, and they weren't happy or pleased, and frankly, I don't care. Is that okay with you?"
She couldn't speak. She could only nod. He placed a hand under her chin, brought her face up to his, and smiled down on her. He leaned forward and said, "It's 11:59, Granger, shall we?" He kissed her lips softly, sweetly, and with a promise of what was to come.
They joined hands, and though it was slightly after midnight when they were finally announced man and wife, the deed was done. Draco Malfoy got what he wanted for Christmas, and he also got his New Year's wish...to be married, and to have Hermione Granger for his wife. Nothing could be better. When the officiate told him he could kiss the bride, he said, "I don't mind if I do."
Everyone laughed, including her. He kissed one cheek, then the other, then her lips. "You're mine now," he promised, "and I suppose that means I'm yours, too."
"You're all I've ever wanted, Malfoy," she answered. "You're all I've ever wanted.
HAPPY NEW YEARS! I'm on a little holiday, and I wrote this on a borrowed computer, as a lark, on New Year's Day, as a surprise for everyone. Just something short and sweet to wrap up this little story. Thanks!