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21 December, 2005
Draco stared at his reflection and wondered for the fourteenth time why the hell he had agreed to this. It was something he'd wanted, of course, but not like this – not so very public.
“Big day,” Hermione said, her voice annoyingly cheerful. Draco shifted his gaze in the mirror and saw her head peeking through the door. “Are you ready?”
“No,” Draco replied, reaching for the necktie that was draped over the chair beside him. He tossed it around his neck and began to tie it, staring at his own hands in the mirror. They were shaking. He frowned at them.
“Let me,” Hermione said, closing the door behind her and crossing to him. He scowled, but dropped his hands. If he'd learned anything in the last year, it was that Hermione was stubborn. “Gryffindor,” she sighed, smiling at the tie.
“That was Harry's idea,” Draco replied, watching her hands make short work of the knot. “He's wearing mine.”
Hermione tugged the knot into place and straightened it. “I'm so happy for you, Draco. I know what this means to you.”
Draco made a face and turned back to the mirror. “The only reason we're doing this is so that you'll agree to marry Manny in time to make that bump of yours legitimate.”
Hermione trailed a hand across her swollen belly and gave him a mock stern look. She watched him loosen the tie a bit, and became almost misty-eyed. “You know, when Harry first told me he was going to propose to you, I was so excited. I promised him I would do everything I could to make it a reality.”
And she had. Hermione had taken a leave of absence from her job to start a massive campaign to legalize gay marriage under British wizarding law. She'd worked for months, but unfortunately for them all the Wizarding world was even more arcane than the Muggle world when it came to gay rights. She'd raised awareness at least, which as a start, as Harry kept pointing out. Draco was bitter and pessimistic about the whole thing – but then, that was typical for him.
“Which would explain why we're pretending to be Muggles today?”
“We have to start somewhere,” Hermione said, reaching up to comb her fingers through his hair. “At least the Muggle world is ready to accept two people loving each other. Besides, you two are the most well-known wizards of our generation, and this is going to advance the cause tremendously.”
“Just what I've always wanted,” Draco grumbled. He despised being the poster boy for gay wizard rights. Harry had tried to convince him early on that it would take public attention away from the whole killing Voldemort thing, which he also didn't like being famous for. And it had, for the most part. He still wasn't sure which he disliked more. “So when are you and Manny doing the deed, then?”
Hermione frowned. She'd publicly sworn to boycott marriage until Harry and Draco could be legally married, but things hadn't quite gone as planned. “I don't know. We're talking about it.”
“Just do us all a favor and get it over with, would you? Manny's mum has started owling me . She seems to think I can talk some sense into you two.”
“Guada has very old-fashioned ideas about these things. There's nothing wrong with having a child out of wedlock.”
“She's not old-fashioned,” Draco retorted. “She's pragmatic.”
“She's Catholic, actually. I think that's the bigger issue.” There was a knock at the door, and Hermione turned towards it. “Who is it?”
“It's us,” Manny said, opening the door and poking his head through. “Everybody decent?”
Cally and Harley dashed around Manny and into the room, stopping before Draco with grins on their faces. They each held out a small package.
“For me?” Draco asked, taking them. The children nodded and ran back to stand beside Manny, looking pleased with themselves. Draco examined the packages, which appeared to have been wrapped by the twins themselves. He smiled. “Can I open them later?” The twins nodded again, giggling.
“Oh, and your father's here,” Manny said, giving Draco an appraising look. “I thought you'd like to know.”
“You're joking.” Draco set the twins' gifts on the dressing table and leaned back against it. “I mean, I sent him an invitation, but I fully expected it to be ignored.”
“Oh, but that's lovely!” Hermione said. “Maybe that means he's come around. He's quite an influential figure, so it would be fantastic if he would publicly support–”
“I don't,” a steely voice spoke from the open doorway. They looked up to see Lucius standing there, peeling his black leather gloves from his fingers. “Marriage is between a witch and a wizard. This is nothing but a media event.”
“Oh, so that's why you're here,” Draco remarked. “Thought you'd make a bit more money if you showed up at this scandalous photo op?”
Lucius snorted. “My publicist thinks it's a good idea for me to look like a caring parent. If it sells more books, all the better.”
All the better for Draco and Harry as well, since they received half the profits from Lucius's book. Though parts of the Special Commission's report had been made public, Harry and Draco had refused to talk to the press about the demise of Voldemort. The public were desperate for information, which had only fueled bizarre tabloid stories about what had occurred. After serving his six month sentence in Azkaban for Muggle abuse, Lucius had found himself in a precarious position and in an act of desperation had proposed to step up and present himself as the hero. His ghost-written book was a highly inaccurate account of Voldemort's demise, depicting Lucius as the mastermind of it all – a man who had heeded his beloved wife's dying wish to redeem himself, be reunited with his estranged gay son, and rid the world of the Dark Lord.
Naturally, it had become an instant bestseller.
“Indeed,” Draco replied. “Speaking of publicity, I have something I've been meaning to owl you.” He rummaged through his bag and pulled out a tabloid newspaper with a photo of a stern-looking Heather splashed across the cover. He held it out to Lucius, smirking.
“I've seen it,” Lucius said, waving a dismissive hand. “My publicist has already responded on my behalf.”
“Let me see that,” Hermione said, reaching for the paper. She held it up and her eyes widened. “I was an evil wizard's sex slave,” she read. “Too bad no one will believe it.”
“She's probably cross because she wasn't in the book,” Draco said, studying his nails. He hadn't thought about Heather for months, and then his writer friend in the US had sent him a copy of the tabloid. Seeing that photo of her brought back too many memories – things he still hadn't let himself think about.
“Most likely,” Lucius replied. He straightened his cloak. “I've only stopped by to let you know the photographer should include me in one of the photos. I trust that won't be a problem?” He didn't wait for an answer before he turned and swept out of the room.
“What a bastard,” Manny grumbled, closing the door. “You ought to sneak off before he has a chance to use you for his own benefit.”
“Oh, no,” Hermione said, looking up from the tabloid article. “That photo could be very important to turn the tide of public opinion. Lucius is a public figure, someone whose support could make a difference!”
“Only he doesn't support it, really,” Draco reminded her. “He'll just pretend to because it's good for his image.”
Hermione looked stricken. Apparently the idea of someone doing the right thing for the wrong reason threw her entire world view into chaos.
The door opened once again, and to Draco's relief it was Harry who peeked through. “Am I imagining things, or did I just see Lucius down the corridor?”
“Harry!” Hermione squeaked, leaping in front of Draco. “Get out of here! It's bad luck!”
“Will you stop? Draco snapped, pushing her aside. “I'm not the fucking bride!”
“Well, no, but–”
“Let them have a moment together,” Manny grinned, taking her hand and tugging her towards the door. “We need time for you to pee and the kids to get settled, anyway.” He winked at Draco and led a red-faced Hermione and her children from the room.
Harry smiled at her as she passed, and she kissed him and whispered something Draco couldn't hear. He nodded in response and closed the door behind her.
Harry turned back to Draco and grinned. “You look beautiful, darling, just as lovely as the day we met.”
“Shut up,” Draco replied. He turned to face the mirror again. “I'm already sorry we did this.” There was a pause, and Draco winced – he hadn't meant for it to come out quite like that.
“Are you?” Harry asked, crossing to stand behind him. He stopped behind Draco and wrapped his arms around him, hooking his chin over Draco's shoulder. Their eyes met in the mirror. “It's not too late to call it off.”
“But it is.” Draco leaned back against him and sighed. “I wanted it to be quiet and small, just us and some friends. There are reporters and photographers out there from half the Wizarding press organizations in Europe .”
Harry squeezed him and his breath brushed Draco's ear, sending a little chill down his spine. “I'm sorry. It got out of control, didn't it?”
“Was it like this when you married Cho?”
Harry nodded. “Without the controversy and the hate mail, though.” He kissed Draco's cheek and smiled at their reflections. “But it's all right. We've managed to ignore it so far.”
“I wish I could believe it didn't get harder from here on out. Do you mind if I ask – what did Hermione say to you just now?”
Harry's smile faded a little. “She said Ron would've been happy for us. She means well, but… I wonder if that would have been true.”
Draco bit his lip. There were some things he still hadn't told Harry about – what had happened between him and his father when he'd been polyjuiced as Heather, for one thing. He wasn't sure he'd ever tell anyone about that.
But this he could tell Harry, and now was probably the best time to do it. He turned in Harry's arms and hugged him. “Ron did approve of us as a couple, you know.”
Harry sighed. “Just because he didn't freak out at the idea of us having sex doesn't mean he would have approved of this.”
“He didn't want you to marry someone you didn't love. He told me that.” Draco kept his eyes closed when he felt Harry tense in his arms. “He knew you didn't love Cho, and he… He told me he'd like to see you and me together instead.”
Harry pressed his forehead against Draco's shoulder. “Did he?”
“He encouraged me to break the two of you up, actually,” Draco mumbled, half-hoping Harry wouldn't hear.
Harry pulled Draco against him even more tightly. “That sounds like him. He never did like Cho.”
Draco smiled into Harry's shirt. “He wasn't the only one.”
“Now, now,” Harry said. “She sent a lovely gift.”
“And that makes up for everything, doesn't it?” Draco retorted, stepping back. He straightened Harry's shirt and stroked the Slytherin tie wth one finger. They'd spent a lot of time trying to decide what to wear today, mostly because Draco had insisted it not resemble traditional wedding clothing at all. They'd finally settled on white shirts under simple black robes, and Harry had brought up the idea of wearing their old school ties. He'd meant it as a joke, but the idea had stuck. “You look good in green. Did you know?”
Harry smiled, and Draco's stomach flipped. They were really going to do this. They were going to go out there in front of all those people and get married – something Draco never thought he'd be able to do. He had a flash of memory, back to the Valentine's Day morning he'd awakened in San Francisco heartbroken over Harry, and had watched gay couples getting married on television. The looks of joy on their faces had captured him in a way he'd never imagined possible, and it had sparked something inside him. It was that very morning he'd decided to go with Manny back to England , to find Harry and to give it another go.
And here he was.
“Oh, god,” he said. He could feel his emotions rising, and he swallowed them down hard. He'd be damned if he would cry like a girl at his own wedding.
“I love you,” Harry said, cupping his cheek. “So, so much.”
“This is what I wanted,” Draco replied, well aware that he was making little sense, but plowing ahead anyway. “I'm going to get exactly what I wanted.”
“Are you?” Harry asked. He brushed his thumb against Draco's cheek, and it was a moment before Draco realized he'd just wiped away a tear.
“Yes,” Draco said, forcing himself to smile. “So let's stop wasting time, shall we? We've got a ceremony, a party, and several hundred pictures to take before we can get to the honeymoon sex.”
Harry looked thoughtful. “Think we should have more one go before the ceremony? You know, for luck?” His hand began to drift lower, but Draco caught it just before it reached his trousers.
“Not until we're married! Think I'm easy or something?”
“No comment,” Harry replied with a smirk. He nodded toward the door. “Ready to become Draco Potter?”
Draco gaped. “What the–? For fuck's sake, I'm not the girl! Why does everyone keep–”
“I'm joking,” Harry replied, grinning now. “But it made you stop crying, didn't it? You don't want to look all teary in front of that lot.” He started toward the door.
“I suppose not,” Draco retorted, wiping at his eyes. He couldn't help but smile, though – Harry knew how to get under his skin like no one else. That meant something.
Harry opened the door and looked back at him, then held out his hand. “Ready?”
Draco nodded, then crossed to him and took his hand.
Harry smiled and leaned over to whisper in his ear, “Happily ever after, yeah?”
Draco grinned. “Something like that.”
~ fin ~
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