I DO NOT OWN HARRY POTTER. I OWN... NOTHING IN THIS CHAPTER.. I own Sev's house elf.. and Lavenders baby...
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Kelly- (Chapter 7) - I know, and I'm sorry, just Hermione-Third-Person-Occasionally-Omniscient seemed too long. Thank you for the review, and I'm glad that you liked it. I don't know if you'll get this far into the story, but if you do, thanks. Anje
Aimless Wonder, I can never say thank you enough for the wonderful beta work that you have done. This story wouldn't be half as good as it is if it weren't for you. Thank you so much for everything!
P.S. Sorry if this chapter disappoints you all.
Deseo del Corazón
A place she had sworn to never again step foot in, following the events of the war. And yet, it was now the venue for her wedding ceremony.
Sighing at the irony of it all, Hermione ran her hands down her wedding dress, swallowing the lump in her throat as she stood in front of the mirror in one of the rooms located in the eastern wing of the large house.
The dress itself had only cost her a couple hundred pounds. Hermione having decided to go with a muggle design, as opposed to the traditional wizarding robes, as she, herself, had been raised as a muggle. And though her parents had more than happily offered to pay for her dress, Hermione had insisted that the money she'd received from her Order of Merlin First Class would have more than covered for it. It had been an entirely different affair with Severus' wardrobe. Though, in the end, she had let him decide whether or not he had wanted to wear a dinner jacket.
Smiling at her reflection in the mirror, Hermione thought back to the day the two of them had toured the gardens. Ginny and Harry had also accompanied them, both of them having sneaked out of their classes for the day.
Hermione suppressed a shiver as they walked down the Hogwarts grounds, choosing to lean into Severus' warmth as his arm came up around her shoulders.
"Hermione, everything will be fine," said Severus, sensing her anxiety.
"Besides," came Ginny's voice from Severus' other side, "if they try anything I can always hit them with a Bat-Bogey hex; I haven't used that spell in a while."
"Though, I'm not as cruel, I've got a pretty mean Expelliarmus," added Harry. His head appearing around Severus' chest and she caught the smirk on his face.
Hermione smiled. "I know, but I do want to make a good impression," she said, unconsciously trying to smooth down her hair. "And Lucius is practically a brother to you, Severus," she explained. "And I know that our past encounters—"
"Hermione," Severus interrupted, his hand reaching up to tilt her chin upwards so that she was looking up at him. "You would not know this, but during the war, many of the former death eaters left; many of them had already started families—they had children. Something which they had not had when they had initially joined Voldemort in the first war. The ones that chose to stay were those that had nothing to live for other than Voldemort, himself; Bellatrix was an obvious example.
"Not long after your escape from the manor, Lucius sent me an owl telling me of the incident, and expressing how sorry he was that he could not help your group, due to the presence of Greyback and Bellatrix."
Throughout his explanation, Hermione felt her eyes gradually widen (her housemates were no exception) and she realized how silly she was being.
"I know that apologies will not change what had been done to you," continued Severus, "but he was in near hysterics. He may seem harsh (among many other things) but under all the pureblood clothes and teachings; Lucius really is just a fluffy bunny."
Hermione stiffened her posture at the last bit, before pushing herself out of his embrace so that she could take a step back.
Severus paused at her action, before catching the unsure look she gave him. "Hermione?" he asked, voice concerned.
Smirking internally, Hermione turned her expression up another notch before asking very seriously, "And how on earth could you possibly know what Lucius Malfoy looks like under his clothes?"
She watched as his eyes widened before he began spluttering out gibberish, all in an attempt to explain himself. All the while, she didn't shift her expression.
It was Ginny and Harry's laughter that made him pause, and he turned to find the other two Gryffindors giving him pitying looks as they held clutched at each other, their bodies shaking with mirth.
When Severus finally returned his gaze to her, Hermione had already replaced her expression with that of her housemates.
An adorable crimson-blush stained his cheeks before he glared at her. "I'll have you know that I was merely speaking metaphorically," he grumbled, before steeling himself. Seemingly trying to ignore the snickers coming from beside him. "Are you ready to leave yet, love?" he asked after moments of annoyance.
It wasn't until he had said it that Hermione realized that the four of them had already passed the main gate, placing them outside the protective wards surrounding Hogwarts. She hid what little she had left of her anxiety behind her Occlumency shields, nodding as she stepped back into his embrace.
As Severus held her tightly, he looked towards Harry, who held Ginny in a similar embrace.
The Gryffindor nodded. "I know how to get there."
Hermione closed her eyes as the arms tightened around her, a second later feeling the familiar pull at her navel, before they were pulled through the asphyxiating tube of apparation.
The first thing she noticed when they landed was that the gates to the Malfoy estate were wide open, granting them entrance, and Severus showed no sign of hesitation as he pulled her forward. The other two falling into step with them.
As they trailed down the long path, she took the time to admire the compound around her; the hedges had been trimmed and were no longer as tall and imposing as they had been the previous time she'd been here. Her visual of the scenery was cut short, however, when she happened to glimpse towards the door of the manor and noticed the two people standing there. Hermione felt apprehension at the sight of them, though it eased down when she caught the smile on Narcissa's face, the older woman appearing just as anxious as she was.
"Welcome, everyone," Narcissa greeted, having already come down the front steps to meet them, before focusing her attention on Hermione. "Now, Severus informed us that you were looking to use our gardens for your wedding."
Seeing the anxiety up-close on the others face, Hermione took in upon her herself to ease the others doubt. So she pulled Narcissa into a light embrace. "Yes," she said when they finally broke apart. "He mentioned that when properly tended, and not being used as… Um..." She trailed off, not sure she wanted to color the mood with that particular description. "Well, he said that, normally, they were beautiful!" she decided to finish with instead.
Turning to the man standing beside Narcissa, Hermione reached her own out to shake the hand of the Malfoy patriarch. "Thank you for letting us come today, Mr. Malfoy," she said, trying to put as much sincerity as she could, despite the apprehension she felt.
However, when he took her hand, and then gently lifted it up to his lips as to brush them across her knuckles, Hermione found it extremely difficult to stop the blood from rushing to her face.
"Please. Do call me Lucius," he stated. "And it is I that must be thanking you, Ms. Granger. You've made Severus the happiest that I've seen him since our school days."
The blond shot the Potions Master a smirk as he released her hand, at which point, Severus pulled Hermione against his chest and grumbled, "Flirt with someone else, Luc."
Lucius turned to Harry and Ginny. "Mr. Potter, Miss Weasley," he said, dipping his head towards them. "I offer my sincerest apologies to you and your family for all the difficulty my son and I have caused."
Harry smiled as Ginny left his side to whisper something to Narcissa. "We'll tell them, Mr. Malfoy," he said. He then gave a shrug of his shoulder. "Actually, the main reason I wanted to come along was to thank Narcissa." He waved a hand at said woman. "If she hadn't lied to Voldemort back in the forest, I'd be dead."
Even as he spoke, Hermione was still surprised at seeing both Ginny and Narcissa embracing in a hug. When the two finally pulled apart, she wasn't the only one looking at them.
"What?" asked Ginny.
Hermione shook her head as Severus rolled his eyes.
"Nothing," he said. "Come on. Let's show Hermione the gardens... before the women folk start crying."
The gardens really had been beautiful, she thought. And so, too, was the ballroom that the Malfoy's had offered for holding their reception.
It was an offer they had, of course, accepted. Because despite the fact that Hermione had thought it too large, with the decorations that had been put up it looked absolutely gorgeous.
She was brought out of her thoughts by the sound of the door opening behind her, and she turned, letting out a gasp as Ginny and Luna entered the room.
"Oh my God. You two look amazing!" she voiced, smiling at the golden creations they both donned. Each slightly different in style, though, together, they looked wonderful.
"Not as amazing as you, 'Mione," Luna said, her hand coming up to finger Hermione's bodice. "And I love the beading on this."
The two of them had helped Hermione pick the dress out, since Ginny had more fashion knowledge than she, and Luna was honest (brutally so) when she thought it could be better than it was.
Ginny's smile looked a tad sad. "It's a shame about your father's injury, though" she said. "Talk about bad luck."
Her smile fell a little at that. "I know," she sighed, her mind going back to the incident that occurred a week ago. "He's still disappointed that he couldn't be the one to walk me down the aisle. But at least he's in the audience."
Just then, a knock sounded on the door, alerting them to the arrival of the man who was to walk her down the aisle.
A soft thrum signaled her arrival in the alley next to the hospital, and Hermione wasted no time in exiting it before making for the entrance. Practically bursting into the reception area.
"Ma'am, can I help you?" asked the nurse at the reception's desk as Hermione came skidding to a halt in front of the counter.
"My father, Richard Granger, was brought here by ambulance about an hour ago," she said quickly, trying to catch her breath, and waited as the nurse entered the name into the database.
It was several seconds later that the other finally supplied, "He's two floors above. Room 205."
"Thank you!" Hermione said over her shoulder as she made for the door leading to the stairwell, having decided to forgo the elevators.
She reached the second floor in record time, only slowing down to take note of the signs indicating the directions of the different rooms. Within seconds, Hermione found herself standing in front of the door that guarded her father's room.
"Daddy?" she called as she entered, having already knocked.
She found him propped up against the pillows, reading the paper.
"Hermione!" He smiled as he saw her. "Your mom left a while ago to get some coffee."
"What happened?" she asked, taking in the sight of his elevated leg, which also had a brace around his knee.
There was a light chuckle behind her causing her to turn and Hermione saw her mother standing there.
"Your father tripped over a gopher hole in the backyard and threw his knee out when he slammed it against the mini-stone elephant," Jean Granger explained.
"I won't be able to walk without crutches for at least two weeks." He grimaced. "I haven't had any trouble from my clumsiness for years, and, of course, a week before my daughter gets married, I injure myself. I'm so sorry, sweetheart."
"You girls about done in here?" came Harry's voice from the doorway as he peaked through the open doorway, letting out a low whistle when he caught sight of the three of them. "Woah. Hermione, you look..." He trailed off, unable to finish his sentence as he stared at her in amazement.
"Speechless. Wow," she drawled, an amused smile on her face. "I must look pretty damn good then."
Harry nodded, before giving a gentle snort. "You really do, Hermione," he said, smiling softly.
Hermione returned it. "Thanks, Harry," she replied, before turning to Ginny. "And thank you, Gin, for lending Harry to me for today."
The redhead laughed softly, reaching forward towards her to tuck a loose strand of hair behind her ear. "He was your brother long before he was my fiancé," she said even as she reached down to adjust Hermione's dress slightly.
It was then that her mother and Narcissa entered the room, and Jean reached over and laid her hand on Harry's shoulder. "Richard sent me to thank you, once again, for walking our little girl down the aisle," she said, giving him a grateful smile.
Harry grinned at her. "Don't mention it, Mrs. Granger. Hermione's been with me with me every step of the way since I first arrived at Hogwarts. And she's had to save my life one more than one occasion. This is the least I can do for her, and I'm incredibly honored that you both asked me to do this."
Trying not to cry, Hermione reached forward and wrapped her arms tightly around him. "I love you, Harry," she said. "You're the greatest friend and brother anyone could ever ask for."
"TIME TO GO!" Squealed a clock that had been charmed for the occasion.
Jean stepped over to them, and once they'd separated, reached up and carefully pulled the veil down over Hermione's head. "You look stunning tonight, darling," she gushed, eyes watering as she fingered the material.
"Thank you, mum."
"I'm so proud of you, honey!" Jean cried, allowing a few tears to fall.
"Oh gods, mum, don't cry!" Hermione lifted a hand and wiped the tears from her mother's face. "You're going to make me cry, and then I'll never stop."
"OUT OF THE DOOR, YOU LAZY BORE!" the clock screeched, causing them all to laugh.
Narcissa walked up to Jean and touched her arm. "Come now, Jean. Let us go take our seats."
After they'd left, Harry turned Hermione towards him. "Are you absolutely positive that you want to do this?" he asked, and out of the corner of her eye, she noticed Ginny and Luna standing a bit straighter.
Hermione gave them a reassuring smile before straightening up to her full height. "I've never been this sure about anything in my entire life," she told them. "This is what I want."
"IF YOU DON'T GET HARRIED, YOU'LL NEVER BE MARRIED!"
"Well, we can't have that now, can we?" laughed Harry, his grip on her shoulders loosening as he gave her a lopsided grin. Giving a quick kiss to Ginny, he turned back towards her and held out his arm. "Let's get 'Harry'd', 'Mione."
Sporting a grin of her own, Hermione linked her arm through his, before the four of them turned to walk out of the room, and to the rest of her life.
This is the end. Kinda hurts to be saying that. I know that my updates have gotten further and further apart, and that the quality of the chapters, has wavered a bit, you guys have been the best. All the wonderful reviews, and even the negative ones. You guys are the most wonderful inspiration.
Now, I don't want to get your hopes up, but I'm thinking of doing a sequel. It may not be very long, and as any other author (fanfiction or original) I cannot promise that it will be good. But I don't plan on uploading anything until I get halfway through with it. Thank you again, for all of the wonderful reviews, and I will cherish them forever.
I know that his might seem rushed, (jumping to the end, not the updates, we can all agree that those weren't rushed despite my best efforts), and I'm sorry. I love you all, in a completely platonic way.