Disclaimer: I own nothing from the Harry Potter universe.
A/N: Howdy, all my WONDERFUL viewers! Here is the first chapter of Destiny! Enjoy my lovelies, and review, s'il vous plait?
I kept hearing the same song repeating in my head. It knocked around my brain loudly like an alarm going off.
Going to the chapel and we're gonna get married.
Gee, I really love you and we're gonna get married.
Going to the chapel of love.
It was a song from my childhood that my mother would often listen to as she cleaned the house. The song sent me back to a vulnerable, innocent place in my life when I was in primary school. It was a time full of sunny days and fresh salty air, bullying and often feeling lost before I found magic.
Before I found Ron.
It was rather ironic, I thought, that this song played like a broken record in my head today. Today, of all days, with my mother stringing white flowers in my stiffly curled hair and Molly Weasley just outside the dressing room of the modest country church, fussing about the lace on the lavender bridesmaid dresses that had been picked out a mere two weeks ago and bought in a flurry before I could even decide whether I enjoyed them or not.
I stared blankly at myself in the mirror. I was getting married today. The thought made me squirm and my mother swatted my bare shoulder.
"Stop shifting, dear," she said, pinning more flowers into my glittery hair.
I felt like I was playing dress-up, cloaked in my white empire waist wedding gown. It was bought the same day as the bridesmaid dresses in a shop just a few miles south of Whitby Bay where my parents resided. It was where I had always envisioned myself getting married. Somewhere simple, familiar, and easy.
But none of this was simple, familiar, or even easy.
With trembling hands, I slipped on a pair of white silk gloves, which had once belonged to Molly Weasley on her wedding day to her husband Arthur. She'd been married to the same man since she was eighteen years of age.
I swallowed hard. I was barely nineteen in four months, still on the fence between woman and girl.
On my right wrist I clasped the sapphire bracelet that Ginny had given me earlier that week at my small bridal shower.
"It was my Aunt Muriel's from her wedding day, back when she wasn't so crazy. It's tradition for every woman in the family to wear it on their wedding day and since I won't be getting married any time soon, I thought it could be your something blue," she had said simply when she'd given it to me while I was trying on my dress, shrugging embarrassedly.
We had always been close and sister-like, but after Ron and I announced our engagement almost a month ago, she could barely leave my side, eager for the distraction.
No one had asked me if I was rushing into this, getting married after only a month of being engaged and roughly nine months of dating. But I certainly had been asking myself that question a lot lately, along with an assortment of others. The other questions swirling around in my brain were due to my father, who had demanded an answer from me a month ago when he had brought up these same questions.
And that's exactly the problem lately. Whenever I asked myself the hard questions—the ones that my father had inquired heatedly from me within his study, the ones that made me face the reality of what I was doing, who I was going to spend forever with—I would find myself pausing, my stomach turning over like I wanted to be sick.
Could it be nerves? Perhaps it was the coffee that Ginny regrettably knocked back my throat this morning after I stayed up all night worrying about the day to come? Or was I just letting my father get to me and push his ideas of perfection on me the way he always had since I was a little girl?
It was easy for me to say yes when I asked myself if I truly loved Ron—I really did—but could I handle being married to a man whom I fought with on many occasions, everyday? Could I start my life this way. Were we really ready? Would he and I be able to work past everything we'd been through?
"Mum?" I whispered as she covered my face with the thin gauze of my veil. "Do you think I'm making the right decision?"
In the mirror, I saw the lines of worry appear on her forehead.
"You aren't getting cold feet are you, honey?" my mother laughed, shaking her head and patting my shoulder, the lines on her face disappearing almost as quickly as they had appeared. I smiled weakly up at her.
"You are so beautiful, sweetheart."
I don't feel beautiful, I thought darkly, staring hard at my reflection. It was hard to look myself in the face these days because I knew I wouldn't like what I saw.
"And as for making the right decisions," my mother continued, "I think that if you love him and you feel it is right in your heart, then you are making the right decision for you. I simply can't make those decisions for you, even though I wish I could. I don't know what the future hold for you two, but I do know Ronald loves you very much and I know you have a special place for him in your heart. Have you tried asking Destiny?"
"Destiny" was a story my mother had been telling me since I was three years old, about a beautiful lady with the magical powers to change someones future, past, or present by helping them make decisions. My mother used to tell me that whenever I had a question or a decision I was having difficulty answering, to ask the "Angel of Destiny" to point me in the right direction. She was a very spiritual individual and believed strongly in the presence of a higher being, whereas my father was a very factual, realistic, and close-minded man. He often told me that no one could solve your problems for you and would get onto my mother for bringing up such fairytales.
I gave up on that fairytale a long time ago.`
Just then, Ginny burst through the door of the dressing room, flushed and puffing in agitation. When she spotted me, she grinned brightly, scurrying over to give me a crushing hug, her almond shaped eyes alight with excitement.
"Oh, Hermione!" she exclaimed, eyes watering. "You look simply stunning!"
"Thank you," I replied weakly, putting a hand on my stomach to calm the sickening feeling bubbling up inside it.
The clock tower in the church began to chime.
"It's time," Molly said from the doorway. "Are you ready?"
That was the fateful question.
Was I ready? Ready to plunge into my new life with a man I knew I loved and trusted, whom I had been best friends with for years? Was I ready to become Mrs. Hermione Jean Weasley?
Was I ready?
I opened my mouth to speak, but no words came out. Luckily, because of the veil, no one could see my pause, or the desperate, frightened tears brimming in my horrified eyes. Instead, I let Molly steer me out of the dressing room, my mother trailing behind. Ginny, my maid of honor, led the others through the entrance of the chapel and I gulped, wondering if every young bride experienced this feeling or if something was truly wrong with me.
"Gee, I really love you and we're gonna get married. Going to the chapel of love."
And with that song still bounding about in my head, I took my step forward into the chapel of love.
It had been a long, exhausting day.
After the ceremony, my life was a whirlwind. In Muggle society, weddings were normally a short affair with the ceremony lasting no more than thirty minutes to an hour depending on vows and the reception taking place right after and lasting, at most, three hours. In traditional Wizarding society, however, they were an all-day affair.
Immediately concluding the ceremony, we had a short luncheon with the staff of the Daily Prophet, where we interviewed our years through Hogwarts, how we first met and came to love each other, and our feelings about the day of our wedding. After all, who could pass up such a romantic day with two of the most famous people in all of Wizarding society. And, of course, Harry was asked to join.
Even though it was our day, Harry still somehow managed to be thrown in there. After the luncheon, we traveled to the Burrow where we changed out of our wedding attire and into our more comfortable but still formal dress robes. While Ron and I confirmed our reservations at the bed and breakfast in Wales, the Weasley's set up the reception tent and soon the guests for our reception began arriving.
The reception in the courtyard of the Weasley's magnificently odd home was certainly a spectacle to behold and I was surprised by how much they'd put together in such a short notice of time. I could definitely appreciate all the time and effort Molly and Arthur had gone in order to make sure everything was in order.
We greeted our guests one by one, as was tradition, took pictures, and small-talked about the weather in our honeymoon destination. We wined and dined and danced. Though I wished for it to end, I was terrified of what was to come next.
I was married. I didn't feel any different, that was for sure. If anything, I felt more sick and felt the need to cry my eyes out even more than I had while sitting in the dressing room an hour before. All around me, people were gathering with smiles, bearing gifts and snippets of advice and congratulations.
My mother, seeming so out of place amongst the flurry of witches and wizards, and Molly were laughing freely with each other by the banquet table Molly had set up; they had always gotten along well. My father, however, was still nowhere to be seen.
I surveyed the yard, watching as the afternoon began to dim into evening. Everyone had smiles, except me.
Where was my husband? I hadn't seen him since we'd finished taking pictures, where he'd kissed me on the cheek and told me he'd be right back. He hadn't been right back. At least we'd been able to cut the wedding cake. Instead of his support, I sat in my chair at the bride and groom's table, sticking my plastic fork into the lettuce on my plate repeatedly, listening to The Supremes sing, "Baby Love". It was really quite fitting.
"Ooh baby love, my baby love
I need you, oh how I need you
But all you do is treat me bad
Break my heart and leave me sad
Tell me, what did I do wrong
To make you stay away so long."
I sighed, giving up on my salad. When Ron finally returned, the photographers had long since ditched, the caterers had packed up and vamoosed, half the guests had left, and the rest were in the process of doing so. And for the life of me I could not find Harry and Ginny anywhere.
Ron came up to me, looking happier than a clam. When he walked he staggered slightly, nearly upsetting the entire tent.
For the love of Merlin, please God, not on my wedding night! I pleaded silently as Ron stumbled toward me with a loose grin on his face.
"Hey," he greeted lamely, shamefaced.
I folded my arms, my lips creasing into a hard line.
"Really, Ronald?" I hissed. "You promised me you'd stop."
"Well, I figured that would mean after our wedding," he replied thickly. "It's a day of celebration, right? Speaking of, shouldn't you be happy to see me?"
Yes, shouldn't I?
"Do you realize the time?" I demanded, feeling my face grow hot. "Where have you been?"
"Now, now, don't go getting your knickers in a knot!" Ron exclaimed and several guests that were leaving raised their eyebrows in alarm.
I feigned a smile and laughed modestly. They took my bluff and wished me a goodnight before bowing out the entrance.
"Do you have the slightest clue how you look right now?" I spat. "I can't believe you would be so miserable on our wedding night that you would get plastered."
He reached for me in protest but his breath held the all too familiar and negative aroma of fire whiskey, his favorite form of therapy.
I shoved him off of me. The stench was overbearingly powerful and brought me back to places I didn't want to look back on. It was supposed to be our night.
A happy start to a clean slate and a new future.
"Firewhiskey? Ronald, are you insane? You know what that stuff does to you!"
"Hermione, I'm fine," he forced out angrily and I took a deep breath.
He'd obviously had a lot to drink considering his quickness to be irritable.
"You disappeared for practically the entire reception, and then show up here drunker than a pig, and expect me to not get my knickers in a knot?"
"Damn it!" shouted a voice from behind me. "We're too late."
I was rather alarmed to see Ginny enter the tent, Harry trailing in hurriedly after her. They both looked panicked and frazzled. Harry's tie was undone and Ginny's lipstick was smeared. I'd been so focused on my anger toward Ron and my humiliation that I hadn't even noticed them calling for Ron outside. Ginny glanced between me and Ron and sighed, raking a hand through her claret hair. Harry came to her side, his face flushed and hair standing on end, and wrapped his hand around Ginny's, eyes cast to the ground.
So, what? Were they back together?
"Where the hell have you two been?" I demanded furiously.
"We…we were just talking and then we lost track of Ron so we went looking for him," Ginny stated apologetically. "He's about to drop. There's no way he can apparate like this. It's too dangerous. Let's take him up to the bedroom."
The bedroom? Meaning his old bedroom near the attic in the Burrow? I was to spend my wedding night in the house my husband grew up in, the house his mother still lived in?
I was about to argue this but Ron suddenly doubled over, heaving. Luckily, nothing came out. Relenting momentarily from my anger, I helped Harry and Ginny lug my drunk husband up to his room. On the way up I couldn't help but notice Ginny's shared glances with Harry, as if they knew this would happen.
"How could we let this happen?" Ginny whispered solemnly. "We were in charge of keeping an eye on him. You said he hadn't been drinking all that much when you left to meet me and that he was just finishing up with his friends."
"He was," Harry replied defensively. "He told me he was heading back to Hermione, but then he ran into Mr. Granger. I guess he got sidetracked."
"Wait, what?" I stop abruptly on the stairs, ignoring Ron's moan of protest. He was always such a baby when he was nauseous. "My father was here?"
Ginny shot Harry a dirty look. "You didn't tell me he'd run into Mr. Granger!"
"He came to pick up your mother," Harry explained evenly, sighing heavily. "He saw Ron with some of his old drinking mates and my guess is, after I left, he and Ron had a row of some sort."
"How could you leave Ron alone with him!" shouted Ginny.
Harry looked deeply at her and all the answer she needed rested in his eyes.
"It's not my business who Ron talks to," responded Harry.
"Well, obviously, but Harry I'm surprised by you," snapped Ginny. "If I had known that I wouldn't have left him alone! And now my best friend has to spend her wedding nightlistening to her brand new husband puke his brains out!"
I think they'd forgotten Ron and I were still there. Of course, Ron was too far gone to even recognize that they were shouting about him. Once we were in the bedroom, Harry and Ginny helped Ron undress and hoisted him onto the bed. By now it was too dark to see the interior of the bedroom and Ron threw a fit when they turned the lights on. All I saw were outlines of the furniture and shadowy shapes on the walls caused by the movement of the trees outside.
I ignored Harry and Ginny as they left the room and locked the door behind them, muttering apologies and excuses. Then, after washing the make-up off my face and stripping out of the wedding dress —the one I had hoped my husband would help me take off in our hotel— I climbed into bed next to my redheaded husband, listening to him snoring deeply. I decided I didn't want to cuddle with him. I wanted nothing to do with him right now. Instead, I turned over on my side, facing away from him toward the window.
I was all out of tears to shed over Ronald Billius Weasley.
Exhausted and hurt beyond measure, my eyelids drooped and I slipped into unconsciousness.
When I woke up the following morning, everything appeared to be the same. So why did everything feel different? I stretched out in the bed, my bare legs sliding greedily over the green silk sheets.
Odd. I hadn't noticed that the sheets were made out of silk last night when I'd crawled into bed. And since when did Ron buy silk sheets? Perhaps it had been the doing of Molly after Ron moved out. Perhaps she had made it into a guest room.
I yawned, casting the thought aside. I'd been too exhausted and horrified to really notice a thing. Plus, it had been so dark. I took in my surroundings now and started. Two French doors stood prominently to the side of the bed, leading out to a balcony. The Weasley's didn't have a balcony, did they? Had they done renovations to Ron's old room?
My eyes darted around the room at the dark, rich red wallpaper. The carpet was a plush cream color and looked warm and fluffy. There was a large wardrobe and dresser near the door as well as a vanity and two nightstands on either side of the king sized bed.
I stretched again, feeling my muscles relax, and looked down at my nightgown. Again, odd. I'd never seen this one before. It was a spaghetti strap black, rather short and lacy, nightgown. I had been sure I'd grabbed my blue one, but perhaps I had been mistaken in the dark. Was this Ginny's grand idea of a lingerie gift? It was certainly nice, but how had she managed to buy it? It looked awfully expensive, even for a Quidditch player's salary.
Glancing over at the man beside me, I frowned. He'd stopped snoring, I'd noticed, covered completely under the covers. I wondered if he'd gotten cold at night and taken refuge under the covers. I wondered how the window had even opened in the first place. I sighed, deciding I thought too much, and turned back on my side, closing my eyes against the morning sun.
Just then, he shifted and let out a long breath as he woke up. He slid an arm over my waist and pulled me close, stroking my hair with his other hand. He inhaled, obviously smelling my hair, and then sighed, nuzzling my neck. His breath tickled me and I shivered under his touch in pleasant ways that I'd never experienced before. Ron had never touched me like this before.
Then, he spoke.
"Good morning," he breathed into my ear, kissing me softly on the cheek.
That was not Ron's voice.
No. That was most certainly not Ron Weasley's voice, though it did sound familiar.
Very familiar. Horrifyingly familiar.
"Did you go back to sleep?" he asked, his voice louder now.
Oh, please let me be dreaming! I cried silently.
I turned around in his arms, noticing that all of his freckles were gone and his skin seemed two shades too pale, and my eyes widened as I took in the sight of the man holding me. This man was not Ron Weasley. This man holding me, in the same bed as me, was not the man I had married last night. This man was not my husband. But how did I end up in bed with this attractive stranger? He spoke again and my heart shuddered to a halt.
I knew that voice.
"Hermione? What's wrong?" Draco Malfoy asked, his quicksilver eyes boring into mine with concern.