Part Five - Epilogue - The Never-Ending War
July 17, 2007
To wizarding Britain, the announcement of a marriage between Draco Malfoy and Ginny Weasley could not have been a bigger surprise. An engagement announcement had been expected for a long time, but the younger Greengrass girl was thought to become the Malfoy bride. She had been seen with Draco all over London, including inside the most expensive restaurants. For the media and the public, both of which had assumed that Draco and Astoria had been dating for several years, the sudden inclusion of one Ginny Weasley into the Malfoy family was a shock and a scandal. Headlines in all the most popular newspapers proclaimed Draco's unfaithfulness to poor Astoria and denounced Ginny as an immoral woman.
The trio in question had not paid much attention to the rumors or the whispers. Astoria had received some satisfaction from the sympathy she got from shop owners when she went shopping, and she took full advantage of it, just as a Slytherin would. Ginny and Draco were indifferent to the ill treatment they sometimes received. Draco was used to being disliked, due to his family's involvement in the war, and Ginny could never get away from the stigma of breaking Harry Potter's heart, even if Harry had gotten over their break up several years ago, himself.
The people closest to them had known of their relationship for years, but they were not a couple to flaunt their love. Their families still did not quite understand their relationship sometimes, due to the way they conducted themselves when surrounded by people (such as by picking fights with each other over inconsequential matters). Despite this, and the very short amount of time he had given Astoria to plan it, Draco had expected his wedding to be an even bigger event than that of Harry Potter.
It had been.
Once the vows were said, the cake eaten, the dancing done, and the bouquet thrown, Draco and Ginny heaved a sigh of relief inside the carriage that would take them to the nearest Floo station, where they would then embark on their honeymoon to Spain.
Ginny's face glowed red with happiness and excitement as she leaned out the window and waved to her friends and family receding into the distance. Draco crossed his arms and smirked at her, filled with a calm contentment he had never experienced before. She sat back down in her seat across from him when it became impossible to see their friends any longer.
"That went well!" Ginny said happily, her smile as white and blinding as the moon that was slowly rising in the sky. It still disconcerted him when she smiled that way; he could never get used to the feeling of peace that settled on his heart and soul when she beamed at him.
"I should hope so," he replied arrogantly. "Nothing less could be expected of the wedding of a Malfoy."
"You're not giving Astoria her credit," she berated him lightly.
"Of course she did an excellent job. If she hadn't, she'd have had to face my ire."
"Your ire. Right. I know all about your ire," Ginny said from behind her hand, trying to stifle her laughter.
"What was that thing that Lovegood gave you?" Draco asked, ignoring her slight, referring to a strange kind of briefcase that Luna had handed to Ginny as she and Draco entered the carriage.
Ginny had forgotten about it in the excitement of leaving, but now she lifted the case onto her lap and read the piece of parchment stuck to its top.
"Take me with you; carry me close.
Here are some things you value most.
You've seen me once, now watch again
With fresh new eyes. From, a friend."
"Loony's got talent," Draco said. Ginny frowned and punched him.
"We'll take a look at this when we get to the villa," Ginny replied as he rubbed his arm.
"Do we have to?"
"Yes, we do! Luna gave it to me directly! It must not be able to wait until after the honeymoon."
"But it's our honeymoon!" he complained. "Do you know what a honeymoon is for?"
Ginny rolled her eyes despite the blush that crept up her neck to her cheeks and ears. "Of course I do!" she said agitatedly, trying to cover her embarrassment.
"We'll talk about it when we get there," Ginny said. Her word was final.
Ginny's word actually turned out to be final. Once they'd deposited their luggage in the master bedroom of the Malfoy villa, she pulled out Luna's gift again and began to unlatch the clasps that held it closed, before Draco could object. He threw himself down onto the sofa hoping that if he didn't argue with her about the dumb gift, she'd finish playing with it soon enough, and they could finally begin their wedding night.
"Look at this, Draco! It's a Pensieve!" Ginny pulled the Pensieve out of the case and set it gently on the coffee table as Draco leaned over, a smidgeon of curiosity tugging at him to look.
"What's this?" he asked, lifting one of the vials containing a swirling silver string of memory out of the case.
"Look!" she exclaimed, lifting another vial and observing the label stuck to the glass. "The Proposal," she read.
"This one says Ginny and Draco's First Meeting," Draco said with a frown. "These are…"
"Events in our relationship!" Ginny pulled out each vial and studied their labels. "They're all dated. March 3, 2003. July 17, 1987. Luna was very thorough, wasn't she?"
Draco looked at his new wife, his face blank. "I'm rather frightened," he said. "Remind me to change the protective enchantments around the villa."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "We're not under attack."
"With us, you never know," he replied.
Ginny remembered what had been said about them in the media and how people had treated them because of it, not to mention their past offenses in the eyes of the public soon after the war ended. She recalled the twenty-year struggle between themselves, the other war, the one they called theirs.
"I guess you're right." Ginny studied the vials in her hand again and then frowned as she reread one of the labels. "Hey, wait a minute… our wedding date.…"
"What about it?" Draco deliberately averted his attention to digging through the case to see what other memories Luna had collected.
"It's the anniversary of the Ministry picnic where we met for the second time."
"Is it?" he replied with disinterest.
"You should know! You picked the date!"
"I wonder why Lovegood thought this would make such a great wedding gift. These aren't happy memories," he said to change the subject, putting down the vial that read First Snog.
Deciding she would get more information out of him later, Ginny dropped the matter about the date. "No," she replied instead, "but we can't forget them just because they're not happy memories. They're a part of us. I think she wanted us to remember what we've been through to get to where we are now."
"I don't need anyone to remind me. I can remember," he grumbled.
Ginny began to unstop the vials and pour their contents into the Pensieve. "Don't pout, Draco. It's unbecoming of a Malfoy," she said sarcastically.
"Wait. What are you doing?"
"I want to watch the memories, see what she found. You know she couldn't have possibly collected a memory from every instance we interacted. If I watch them all, I can see what to add."
"I've got a very, very good memory we could add, but it hasn't happened yet because you want to play in the past!" he growled. Ginny's face flushed.
Ginny shook her head sadly, but Draco could see one side of her face and the blush that reached her ears and knew he had embarrassed her. He smirked, satisfied with himself. One of his favorite pastimes was to find new and inventive ways to make her face turn red.
"Look, Luna's got this one vial labeled Premonition. Let me see what it is, and then we can play," she said, giving him a placating smile.
Draco waved a hand at her to carry on. Ginny stared down into the basin and watched the memories swirl together, only catching snippets of an event from her past before it turned into another. The corners of her lips bent down in a frown.
"What is it? Aren't you going?" Draco asked with an irritated pout.
"I… I'm afraid," she whispered, looking at him with brown eyes that revealed uncertainty.
"Of what?" he asked in a softer voice, leaning towards her and taking one of her hands in his.
"The truth," she replied, her eyes darting away from his in shame. "Memories fade as time passes, and sometimes we remember things the way we do because of how we felt at that time. I'm afraid of watching it again and seeing what really happened. We were so… combative. So full of hate. Every time we met, it felt like we were breaking up."
Draco was startled by the sudden melancholy turn in her mood and even more so by her reasons. It was rare to see her this way. She had always personified fire, burning with life, happiness, and even anger, always passionate and alive. She didn't often share her fears with him, which had led him to believe that she had none, that he was the only one who had them. It soothed him to know that her fears and his were the same, even if he hadn't known what his own fears had been until she had voiced hers.
He raised her hand to his lips and kissed each of her knuckles tenderly.
"You are mistaken," he said. His smirk drew her eyes to his face again. "One—we couldn't have broken up, because we were never together. We both made sure of that. Two—combative, yes, but I think we both know that we never hated each other. And three—these memories…" He gestured toward the waiting Pensieve dismissively. "We experienced them alone the first time through. This time, we'll be together."
He couldn't say it, but he understood her. It frightened him to have to face himself too, to witness the destruction of their war as an outside observer, rather than being in the moment and fueled by emotions he couldn't always name. He would be able to name them this time; he just wasn't sure if he wanted to have that objective position in the memory. But he would have Ginny with him, and they wouldn't be fighting against each other; they'd be on the same side, fighting their past. He knew it would be a difficult battle and one that couldn't easily be won. They did not have the ability to change what had happened between them, only their attitudes toward it.
"You'll come, then?" Ginny asked, smiling at him with that bright smile he loved.
"I suppose," he said with a long-suffering sigh. "But only if you promise that we will play right afterward."
A blush crept up her cheeks, threatening to camouflage every freckle sprinkled across her nose. He could spend eternity counting the freckles on her body and then making fun of her for her polka-dotted skin. In fact, he looked forward to it.
"I promise," she said. Draco rewarded her with a swift kiss on her lips that quickly grew more heated, at Draco's subtle persuasion. Her hands wandered to his face and stroked his cheeks, while his fingers tangled themselves in her god-awful orange hair. He wouldn't have it any other way.
Suddenly pulling away and glaring at his innocent face, she said, "You can't change the subject on me. I still want to look at those memories!"
"All right, then," he conceded airily, then assumed a businesslike façade.
She took his hand again as they situated themselves on opposite sides of the Pensieve. Ginny took a deep, steadying breath while Draco watched her. If she'd have only looked up, she would have seen a genuine smile lighting his face, but she missed it in preparing herself for the plunge.
"Have I told you how much I hate you recently?" Draco suddenly asked. Ginny looked up and smiled wickedly.
"No. Not in a very, very long time," she said.
"Good," he replied with a wide smirk. "I hope I never do it again."
"I love you too, Draco."
A moment later, they were surrounded by tall grass that swayed with the breeze as if moving in slow motion, giving the hill from which they, and six-year-old Luna Lovegood, observed the six rowdy boys below the appearance of an enormous creature slumbering under a summer sun.
And so their war continued.
Briefly describe what you'd like to receive in your fic:
The tone/mood of the fic: Anything is fine with me - fluff has always my preferred cup of tea, but angst, humor, or even some darker fics are okay as long as there is a happy ending. The happy ending is a must.
An element/line of dialogue/object you would specifically like in your fic: I'd like to see a fic with Draco and Ginny as they are growing up - maybe even before they start at Hogwarts. Other action can take place when they're older, of course, but a large chunk of the plot must happen when they're children - maybe show it through flashbacks or something. And it would be interesting - though not required - if the narrator was someone who wasn't Draco or Ginny, just to switch things up. Extra points if you can work this "fighting couples" theme into Draco and Ginny's childhood! (If you want an example, think Derek and Odette in The Swan Princess - I know, it's an oldie children's movie but that doesn't mean it isn't fantastic!)
Preferred rating of the the fic you want: Anything below NC-17 is fine - the "Sorta Naughty" range if you're going by FIA terms.
Canon or AU? Either is fine.
Deal Breakers (anything you don't want?): No rape, incest, etc. No Harry or Ron bashing, please. And (this one's a little harder) no first-person point of view fics.