A/N- Gawd, this chapter is so, so late. I apologise profusely. I was really ill for the last week, which the wonderful, never-ending British cold. So between coughing, and sneezing and vomiting, I didn't get around to writing until today. I will try and update quickly for the next one. But, hey, ho this is the bonding chapter, and the next will be the consummation chapter, so if you're still reading this, it is about to get interesting.

Thank you to MasterOfAngels, emi, and Infinitechange for reviewing the last chapter; you guys are legends!

Saving Draco

Chapter eight- Bonding

Charlie had thought that he would be incredibly nervous at the prospect of signing his life over to another, but he actually felt a little numb as he pulled on the forest green robe that had arrived that morning, courtesy of a 'friend'. The card had been neatly written in traditional script, the robes themselves elegant garments comprised of rich, flowing materials.

Apparently, Lucius Malfoy had wanted both Draco and Draco's husband-to-be to be dressed appropriately. Charlie was actually strangely touched by the gesture; he would only be getting married the once, and was thankful that he could at least stick to the traditional proceedings.

The house was an utter tip as Molly tried in vain to keep Charlie and Draco apart until they both reached the room of requirement, going so far as to shove Draco in the twins room so that she could sort him, leaving Arthur downstairs with Charlie.

No, this wasn't wizarding tradition, not at all, but the red-head knew that any nerves would appear should he see the blond beforehand.

"Where were you, Dad?" Charlie spoke up suddenly, after recalling the moment when Draco had arrived at the Burrow.

"What? When?" Arthur caught his son's eye in the mirror, and frowned at him in confusion.

"When Draco got here. You weren't at work; you didn't floo."

Arthur chuckled darkly, an unusual sound for the head of the Weasley family.

"I was at Hogwarts."

Charlie raised one eyebrow questioningly, and Arthur grinned before continuing.

"Apparently, a Miss Parkinson was seeking safety much like our Draco."

Charlie froze, one hand stuck to the fiddly little button at the top of his robe.

Bill was already married, as was Percy. Ginny was very, very heterosexual. Which left the twins and Ron.

Fred was dating Angelina, and George was conducting 'meetings' with Katie. (It appeared that both of them held a more than slight fear of commitment, though as far as Charlie knew, they had started seeing each other a good seven months ago.) They could have, of course, been asked to marry regardless, but that would only happen if there wasn't a single other option.

Ron.

Charlie burst out laughing, a loud, uncontrolled noise that held absolutely no sympathy for his youngest brother.

"Where is Ron?"

"He's staying at Hogwarts for the time being." Arthur sighed. "To try and come to terms with it, in a more peaceful environment."

"What's he so annoyed about? He had to have agreed to it." It was one of the clauses within the arrangement of the order.

It was a pretty neat clause too, as Albus knew that hardly any of them would refuse the chance to save someone who asked for help. It did mean one more person on their side, and one less on the opposing side, after all.

"He did. But, apparently, Ron did not think it through. He is upset, because he had forgotten –somehow- about the consummation. He thought he could marry Miss Parkinson, and then go back to Hermione."

Charlie turned around, completely aghast. Who, in their right mind, would consider that a moral thing to do?!

His expression clearly conveyed every last thing that Charlie had been thinking, for his Dad nodded seriously.

"It isn't helping that Miss Granger went into hiding, along with several of our spies. I don't think they were dating when she left, but I feel that Ron probably needed some clarification of their relationship. If he'd been definitely sure that they had parted as friends, he wouldn't have had this problem. I think he's mostly confused."

"How unusual. Christ, when the hell will he grow up? What's his problem? I only seen Pansy a few times- near Draco- when I was visiting Hogwarts with the dragon. I can't judge her character, but she is pretty." Charlie sighed. "And probably in low spirits, now that she's worked out how childish Ron is."

"Ooh, get you. Merlin, Charlie, you're even starting to sound like him!" George stood in the doorway, his lip nearly split, he was grinning that widely.

Two hours later found Charlie in the room of requirement, picking at the side of his –admittedly very soft- robe as he anxiously waited for Draco. Given that they were in the same residence, the time difference should not have been that large, but Draco was meticulous with his appearance, and Charlie had been stood at the front of the room for a full half an hour, and almost everyone else had arrived.

He had figured out who Severus and Lucius had arrived as five minutes ago; Harry Potter would never cross his legs over at the knees, nor hold his arm at a funny angle, as if itching to hold a staff, and Hermione had always been uptight, but merlin, the poor girl's posture was unnatural.

Though not an advertised piece of knowledge, it was known that Hermione and Harry had gone with Lucius and Severus, though Godric only knew where they were actually staying.

Fred and George stood behind him, as witnesses, and 'Harry' and 'Hermione' were several steps to the side of where Draco was to be. It had been decided that they could be official witnesses, so long as they used their actual signatures; no-one would notice until it had been filed at the ministry, which Dumbledore would not do until the very end of the wedding, when both men would have already left, back to wherever they were staying with Harry and Hermione.

The doors banged open in a crisp, harsh noise that demanded attention, and all gathered turned to see as Draco Malfoy began to confidently stride down the aisle, Malfoy pride keeping his chin in the air, though not quite hiding his emotions under mask.

Charlie thought he looked beautiful, dressed in a pale, almost faded shade of gold that blended with his own pale colouring, giving the blond a very ethereal look. The Gryffindor stared, fascinated, as the Slytherin moved towards him, noting the warmth in Draco's eyes, shining through despite the hints of fear and –dare he note it- shyness.

He really was the sweetest boy on the planet, Charlie thought. He did not blink at all as Draco moved, and before he knew it, his eyes closed and reopened, revealing the sight of his betrothed standing beside him. The open look in Draco's eyes did not leave, even under Charlie's obvious scrutiny, and he supressed the urge to fold the younger man into his arms, to hold him tightly.

He would just have to wait until the end of their vows.

Albus coughed lightly, bringing everyone's attention to rest on him, the elderly wizard dressed in bright pink robes. He smiled brightly, his eyes twinkling at the two men before him.

"Ladies and gentlemen, today we are here to witness the joining of Charles Weasley and Draco Malfoy."

Out of the corner of his eye he watched Draco try (unsuccessfully) to suppress an eye-roll at the man's very Muggle attempt at joining them. The blond did not seem all too irritated by it, and Charlie's own features took on an amused grin, which turned into silent giggles as 'Harry's' own eyes rolled in an identical gesture as Draco's.

"Ahem. Well, our couple have decided upon their own vows, so Draco, as the younger, if you could start?"

Charlie turned sideways so that he was facing Draco, his eyes drinking in the sight of the nervous young man, who lips turned up into the barest hint of a smile as his grey eyes met Charlie's.

The Slytherin took a deep breath, exhaled softly, then began to recite the vows. They had found a book on wedding vows, one that Bill and Fleur had used for their own, and had taken specific lines from each until they had something that suited them.

It was clever, too, and almost Slytherin in its sneakiness. They had picked something that was not lying; the lines carefully did not claim that they had been in love before their betrothal, merely promising that they would do so whilst married.

They had both liked the vows, which was a bonus.

"Today I will marry my friend,
the one I will live with, dream with and love.
I take you to be my husband.
From this day forward I will cherish you,
I will look with joy down the path of our tomorrow's,
knowing we will walk it together side by side, hand in hand and
heart to heart."

Draco spoke clearly, enunciating perfectly, which everybody but Charlie Severus and Lucius just took for calm confidence and acceptance.

Those three realised that he had slipped into his practiced Malfoy speaking voice, an automatic way to hide his nerves and –strangely enough- his emotion. The blond looked happy, his eyes bright and concentrated purely on Charlie, the same as anyone's would be at their own wedding.

Charlie swallowed thickly, taking both of Draco's hands in his own, as the ritual required.

"Today I will marry my friend,
the one I will live with, dream with and love.
I take you to be my husband.
From this day forward I will cherish you,
I will look with joy down the path of our tomorrow's,
knowing we will walk it together side by side, hand in hand and
heart to heart."

On the word love, both men's eyes clouded slightly with tears, which both successfully staved off, and as Charlie's voice faded from the room, Albus Dumbledore waved his wand in a figure of eight, which split into two threads of gold magic to wrap around their joined hands.

They both glowed gold, as they would until they kissed, and next Dumbledore held out the rings, (which had been picked by Charlie and Draco and paid for by Lucius), which they placed upon the others hand at exactly the same time.

The band was cool against Charlie's skin, but reacted with the magic and warmed around his finger, leaving tingles of magic that ran all the way up his arm.

"I now pronounce you Mr Charles Weasley and Mr Draco Weasley."

Charlie pretended not to see Draco's slight wince at the name; he knew Draco would have done it no matter who he married- he simply did not want to give up his own family name, and that was something that Charlie could understand.

"You may now kiss your husband."

Charlie bent his head, causing several strands of his hair to escape its formerly neat position to fall over his eyes, and Draco's own appeared to lengthen as he tilted his head back, causing his soft blond hair to fall down his back from where it had rested on his shoulders.

Their lips met, soft and warm, like every kiss before, and Charlie warmly noted that Draco reached up to place his arms around the Gryffindor's neck, holding him to him. Charlie responded in kind, wrapping his own arms about the man's slender waist, and parting his lips to deepen the kiss.

Draco allowed them to tangle their tongues together for only a moment, before he pulled back slightly, which made Charlie direct a concerned glance at him.

Draco kissed his cheek in reassurance, which caused several of the guests to comment on how sweet he was, before pulling away entirely, and joining their hands together instead as they turned to face their audience.

People immediately swarmed forward, most of them with flame red hair, all rushing towards them in a way that made Draco feel far more claustrophobic than he ever had before.

"Congratulations, son." Lucius's soft tone escaped from Potter's mouth, and Draco relaxed, before smiling at his father and Godfather, who smiled in response, odd expressions for the two Gryffindor's that they were pretending to be.

"Yes, Congratulations, Dragon. Hermione's body hugged Draco tightly, before Severus whispered in his ear. "Once we've signed the form, Draco, me and Lucius will be off, okay."

Draco nodded slightly sadly, before hugging Lucius as well, who hugged him back, holding on for a second before the group headed to the corner of the room, where the forms needed to be signed.

Charlie noted the exchange happily; he did not think that Draco would have coped so easily, had he not had his family with him.