I have no excuses, this is massively late. I'm not abandoning this fic, I WILL finish it. If anyone out there is still reading this, here's a new chapter for you.
For the sake of our collective sanity, we sped up the moving process as soon as we read the article in the Daily Prophet. I forced myself to detach from the (most likely) vile lies that the Weasel was spreading and forced myself to stay calm and focus on putting one foot in front of the other. It was only two days after the disastrous article came out that I finished packing the last box.
Harry and Draco had set wards around the house so that I could avoid all of the hurtful mail that was surely heading my way. People took Weasley's word as law, much like they had taken Rita Skeeter's words back when the three of us had been in school. It did, in fact, feel a lot like the times in school when Harry was hated and feared. Except this time, it was my head on the chopping block.
When the last box had been shrunk and shipped, I took a final lonely wander through the house. It held so many memories…not all of them good, but enough of them to make me momentarily sad about leaving it behind. My first kiss was in the hallway outside the bathroom on the second floor. Harry bumped into me as I was leaving after brushing my teeth for the night and it just…happened.
I wandered into the library and blushed a bit. Harry and I lost our virginities to each other in that room. It was after an Order meeting, we were both frustrated that we'd not been able to participate and angry that we were still being treated like children and allowed to stay for only part of the meeting; we headed up to the library to be surly teenagers together. One thing led to another and suddenly I was naked on the couch with my legs dangling over the edge. Even after all of the renovations we never could bring ourselves to get rid of that couch.
The master suite that Harry had made just for me….the kitchen with all of my specific design features…the living room where we conceived our child with Draco. All the wonderful memories came to me first and then the not so wonderful ones started flashing by.
The horrendous fight that Harry and Severus had in the kitchen that left both of them needing to go to St. Mungo's; crying in the stairwell when we'd heard that Tonks and Mad-Eye had been killed; tempers flaring between Draco and I when we were 16 and I was certain that I could never forgive him for what he said…all of these images flashed before my eyes faster and faster until I was gasping for air on my knees, crying and mumbling that I wanted it to stop. I finally blacked-out.
When I woke up I was laying on my back in the softest bed I'd ever been in. My eyes were swollen from the crying and it was too much effort to open them so I left them shut and listened to what was going on around me. I could hear talking in low voices off to the left by my feet and I could hear the deep, steady breathing of someone sitting just to my right. I felt the comforter move slightly and I knew that someone was sitting on the bed with me.
"Mione, can you hear me sweetheart? I know that you're awake, can you open those pretty eyes for me?" I dragged my eyes open finally and saw that it was Draco that was sitting with me on the bed. He looked relieved to see me open my eyes and I instantly wondered how long I'd been out.
Harry came dashing up on my other side and climbed onto the bed to wrap his arms around my stomach gently. I saw Remus, Severus and Sirius approach the bed at a more reasonable pace, though all of their faces showed just as much concern for me.
"We were so worried." Harry mumbled into my stomach and I reached down to card my fingers through his unruly hair. I looked to Draco to explain what had happened during my 'little nap.'
"We dropped off the last of the boxes and headed back to Grimmauld to find you passed out on the floor in the hallway, tears on your face and totally non-responsive. We brought you here and summoned Healer Flanagan to check on you. We weren't sure who else we could call that we could trust. She's been and gone already. She says that you are fine, but she's not all that surprised. Between the article in the paper, moving and your condition…." He trailed off and I saw his eyes flash towards the trio at the foot of the bed. There was something else that he wanted to say, but he clearly didn't want to speak in front of them.
"The point is that she said that you and baby are just fine, but she left with strict instructions for you to take it easy and a very specific recipe for a calming, nutrient potion that Severus has already started making for you." I looked over at Severus and, far from the concern he'd showed me seconds earlier, he was now scowling openly at me.
"He's a little miffed that you didn't tell him you needed specialized potions before now. You're the only Gryffindor that he's ever liked without being in love with and now he doubts your intelligence." Harry's sparkling, mischievous eyes looked up at me and I snorted out a bit of laughter which was quickly joined by chuckles from everyone except Severus.
"Ha-bloody-ha Potter. I resent that…and I am in love with her." All laughter in the room stopped as everyone's eyes swiveled to pin on the potion master. I saw the gleam in his eye and let out a relieved breath; that would have been awkward as well as bloody disgusting.
"Oh for the love of Merlin! Can't any one of you imbeciles recognize a joke? I certainly expected more from you Draco." In a swirl of black robes Severus removed himself from the room, muttering all along the way about "damnable Gryffindors and girls young enough to be his daughter."
Remus and Sirius looked a little contrite and were about to follow him out the door when he swept back in with a potion for me. I couldn't help but wrinkle my nose; I never could stand the taste of medicine. I took the proffered vial and threw it down like a shot, smiling when I realized that it tasted like mint chocolate.
"Draco developed a way to make nearly every potion totally palatable without counter-acting the medicine. Once we decide to market it, it is going to revolutionize potion making. I know that your favorite flavor is mint chocolate so…" He uncharacteristically shrugged and trailed off, leaving me to make my own assumptions as to why he was being so pleasant.
I turned to look at Draco and he was simply glowing from the praise. To this day I'm certain that he never expected Severus to give him full credit for his discovery.
"Well, I have a meeting with a potential backer later on in the week, but that's not important. What is important is that you are all right and you need to rest for a little while. If I'm not mistaken, there was a subtle sleeping draught in that potion and it should be kicking in any second now." Though I wanted to lash out furiously at Severus for taking advantage of my trust like that, I suddenly felt very sleepy and drifted off to the sounds of the most important people in my life laughing at me.
When I woke up later I was ravenous. I opened my eyes and saw that I was alone in the room and that the sun was just starting to set. I threw off the covers and forced myself out of bed so that I could brush my teeth and get some food before I was told that I had to go back to bed.
I wandered out of our bedroom and into the hallway, trying to conjure up the mental map of Malfoy manor in my head so that I could find the dining room and kitchen without getting too terribly lost. Luckily, I remembered where I was going and found the dining room full when I got there.
"Ahh, she's awake! Come on in and have a seat, you're just in time for dinner!" Sirius yelled from his seat at the table as both Harry and Draco jumped up to pull out a chair for me. I snickered at them fumbling to pull the chair out and sat down before they finished fighting.
Dinner was lovely, of course it was made by house elves and not nearly as good as I could have made it. Severus seemed twitchy during the whole meal and, as a result, I may have stared at him through all three courses; I was unaccustomed to seeing him fidget. Finally, I had had enough.
"Alright….Severus you have been acting like you've got flobberworms crawling all over you for the entire meal, what is the problem?" Once the house elves vanished the dirty dishes I leaned forward in my seat and placed my elbows on the table so that I could observe Severus more closely.
His eyes shifted to the left, then the right, before zeroing in on a random spot on the table. He focused his eyes there while he twisted his napkin in his hands. His level of discomfort was completely fascinating. Finally, he opened his mouth to start speaking.
"I suppose that I should be doing this in private, but something about that felt wrong somehow. I've come to a very important decision and I wanted all of you here with me when I made the announcement. This….relationship is the best thing that has ever happened to me; it is something that I never thought could even happen to me and, as such, I feel as though I need to declare my intentions." He stood up from the table and put his hand in the pocket of his robes, before kneeling between Remus and Sirius' chairs.
"Will you, Sirius and Remus, consent to be handfasted with me?" He held out his hand and in it were three matching silver bracelets each with three tiny diamonds in them. My hand flew up to cover my mouth and muffle my gasp. I never thought that Severus was so serious about their relationship. Remus' eyes were brimming with happy tears and even Sirius looked a little choked up before he shoved his wrist out for Severus to fasten the bracelet.
"I vote hell-fucking-yes!" He flung his arms around Severus and they tumbled to the floor as I felt a tear slip down my cheek and over my fingers. Remus growled his agreement as well and then, suddenly, we knew we needed to get out of the room and fast.
Harry bodily lifted me from my chair and I was swept out of the room amidst the sounds of clothing being ripped off. I turned my head back and caught quite an eyeful before Draco pulled the door shut behind us.
"That's enough of that, Peeping Patty. Now, I think we should all head upstairs and get into bed." Draco put his hand at the small of my back and guided me up the stairs and back to our bedroom.
While we three were getting ready for bed we snatched kisses and caresses but, once I was cocooned under the comforter in between Harry and Draco I could no longer keep my eyes open. Despite all of the sleep that I'd had earlier, I was still exhausted. I was out in moments.
Time sped up from the moment of the proposal; there was so much planning to be done. We decided to have the ceremony at the manor, in Severus' favorite garden in two weeks time. Though the space was larger than they needed, there was so much more privacy and better wards then there were at the cottage.
Once the decision was made about the 'where' of the wedding, all of the other details had to be seen to. We found a wizard who was willing to perform the ceremony, even after he found out whom the grooms were. Sirius put his foot down at allowing me to cook for the reception, but the three of them agreed that I could certainly handle making their cake.
When Remus and Sirius had gotten married they had chosen a largely Muggle ceremony, so this time they wanted as much magic as possible involved. And no wonder, the fact that there was going to be a ceremony at all was magical. Draco's job during the planning was to keep Severus from being…well, himself. He was to stay positive and cheerful about the whole event.
Since we were only expecting about 25 guests, at the behest of the grooms, the day before the ceremony I made a simple sheet cake that would play the wedding march when sliced into and had traditional Irish knot work designs on top, symbolizing infinity and the trio. My part of the wedding planning done I went in search of the happy trio.
Remus I found in the garden, setting up a few chairs for the guests. I grabbed his hand and silently led him away. We found Sirius in the kitchen looking longingly at the cake I'd just finished. I slapped his hand away from the frosting and pulled him away as well. We found Severus in his lab, of course, working with Draco on perfecting the recipes for the potion flavor enhancer. I motioned for the two of them to stop what they were doing and follow us to the den where I knew Harry was waiting.
"Please have a seat." Harry motioned for Siri, Remy and Sev to sit on the couch and pulled a chair up for me to sit down across from them. At 20 weeks pregnant I had a visible stomach and constantly swollen ankles. I sat down very gratefully.
"We have gathered you here because we wanted to present you with our gift now, so that you have some time today with it." Draco began. Harry stepped forward and placed his hand on my shoulder before speaking.
"You three are the only family that we have left and we love you all dearly. We want you to be happy and comfortable."
"And we know that to be comfortable, you need space. To that end we are giving you the completely remodeled Grimmauld Place. We think it would be perfect for you. Though it lacks the privacy of the cottage we think that you'll be very happy there. Plus, you can keep the cottage if you need to get out of the city." I smiled then grimaced. Instead of happy faces all around I felt a little stifled with five hovering men gathered around me checking to see that I was alright.
"I'm just fine. The baby is kicking." Suddenly I had five unwanted hands groping my stomach. I scowled and shoved them all away.
"Most of the time I won't mind, but I'm feeling a little tetchy today and would prefer if you would at least ASK FIRST before you grope me!" I stood up and, with as much dignity as I could gather, waddled out of the room. I was told later that, apparently, I'm funny when I'm angry.
I checked all of the last minute details for the ceremony the next day before rejoining my family and letting them know that I'd calmed down. We had a fairly civil dinner before I have Severus, Sirius and Remus 20 minutes notice.
"In 20 minutes I will cast the charm that sets off an alarm…along with some other, more devious tricks, if any of the three of you come into contact with the others before the ceremony at 11am tomorrow. We will go to bed and let you say goodnight." I chuckled at the affronted looks on Severus and Sirius' faces, but it couldn't be helped. Tradition is tradition and it must be observed and upheld.
The morning dawned rainy, which I'd always been taught was a good omen on a wedding day. Though my first thought upon seeing it was something along the lines of 'Fuck, now I need to conjure up a tent and some decorations' everything turned out just fine. I hurried to get dressed, throwing my hair up into a sloppy bun on the back of my head and grabbing the first clothes that I found so that I could go check the conditions of the garden. The rain stopped, sun came out and garden dried off before 9am, so I didn't have much to worry about.
I checked on the three grooms; Remus was cheery and impatient, Sirius was nervous and making Harry go to incredible lengths to keep him calm and Severus was…well, he was behaving so far out of character that I was paused outside of his room, concerned.
"We're making a mistake. Are we making a mistake? We shouldn't be making this official, it's not as though we want to broadcast this to the world. Draco would you please stop laughing at me this is not funny. You have to let me go. I need to go call the whole thing off and…what is this? Draco Malfoy you will release me this instant, I have important things to do and if I am chained to the desk and you've taken away my wand then how am I supposed to do them?" I heard all that through the door and decided it would just be best for me to skip checking on them and head back up to my room and get ready. Draco seemed to have everything well in hand, except for all the laughing. When Severus was back to himself he did not appreciate all the laughing one bit.
The ceremony was beautiful. The weather had turned gorgeous, the garden was perfect and there was so much love in the small gathering that you could feel it. Harry and Draco stood up with the grooms, and they kept turning to smile at me with such sincere love that I didn't go tear free for very long. I was sitting next to Minnie McGonagall and by the time that the vows had been made, she had to hand me one of her spare tartan handkerchiefs.
The three men shared a loving kiss and started down the makeshift aisle as we stood and cheered for them. I heard a song coming from the flower bushes and once I realized what the song was I knew it was a good thing that the boys had kept that little detail from me as I was, I'll admit, overly emotional anyway.
All my little plans and schemes
Lost like some forgotten dreams
Seems like all I really was doing
Was waiting for you
Just like little girls and boys
Playing with their little toys
Seems like all they really were doing
Was waiting for you
Don't need to be alone
No need to be alone
It's real love
Yes it's real
It's real love
I'd nearly made it back into the house when I heard it; the sound of a camera. I whipped around, facing the seemingly empty garden, and pulled my wand from its hiding place up my sleeve. I squinted at the bushes, trying to find something that was out of place. Finally, I heard another noise, this time it was the sound of a body part brushing up against a branch.
I heard derisive laughter. I heard familiar derisive laughter. My whole body froze as I turned towards where the laughter was coming from. Ron Weasley and his photographer were standing just off from the door to the house.
"Weasel, I should have known. How did you manage to get past the wards on the Manor?" I tried to flick my wand and send sparks into the house so that I could get someone else out here to help me, but the freckled menace laughed again and cut them off.
"Tisk, tisk, you should know better. I'd never give my secrets away, especially to someone….like you." He ran his eyes up and down my body and I felt violated by that look. I didn't think that he was stupid enough to do something on our private property, but he was stupid enough to trap a pregnant lady and piss her off.
"So, Granger-I mean Potter-or should I call you a Malfoy now? Whatever you are, you are very pregnant. I wonder who it belongs to. I'm sure that my readers would like to know as well. Care to comment?" I was frozen with shock, anger, fear I will never know. I could not move. I could not speak. I could not do a thing to stop the photographer from getting my picture as I stood there.
After I don't know how long, I heard footsteps approaching from the house and caught just a glimpse of white blonde hair before the Weasel apparated out. I turned and nearly fell into Draco's arms.