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“Why is this taking so long, Draco? The waiting is worse on my nerves than the actual fighting.”

“Their plan has a specific time frame, Ginny. Until we come up with a plan, we’re playing on their schedule. Try not to think about it anymore than you have to. Think about something else. Anything else.”

“Jenny is gorgeous.”

Draco blinked. That was fast. He scrambled for a second before coming up with a sentence. “Yeah, she looks like Fleur.”

“But she has the red Weasley hair.” Ginny looked up at him with a soft smile. “Bill loves that baby so much. She’s going to grow up so spoiled.”

“When a baby girl has five-no, seven-uncles, it is kind of unavoidable.”


“Your family adopted Potter long ago, and I’m not above spoiling my girlfriend’s niece.”

“So you’re an honorary uncle like Harry.”

“Maybe better than that.” Draco was just as surprised as she was when those words came out of his mouth. He didn’t know if this was the right moment, but suddenly it felt like it. They were sitting on the sandy patch by the part of the lake shallow enough for wading, and watching the giant squid give a fountain performance, Ginny’s head in his lap and the kids that they were responsible for were safe in the castle. It was perfect.

“Are you still competing with Harry? I thought you were starting to become friends.”

“We’re not openly hexing each other but I doubt that close friendship is in our future. But this isn’t competing. This is a moment I’ve been planning for what feels like forever.”

“I thought coming out to the lake was my idea.”

Draco shook his head, and placed a finger to her lips. “Shh, let me finish, luv.” He stood and drew her over to the water so that the waves from the squid’s antics crashed over their ankles. “You see all of this water? It’s been here for ages. Since before the Founders’ time even. And it will still be here hundreds of years from now, even if Hogwarts isn’t. My love for you is just as eternal. You drive me completely insane sometimes, but you are the only person that I ever felt safe letting into my heart.”


Draco knelt in front of her, fumbling in his pocket for the ever-present jewelry box. “Ginny, would you marry me?” He held out the silver ring with the dark sapphire stone, surrounded by tiny opals and waited for her response. Would Andrea’s vision come true?

“Yes, Draco. Today if possible.”

He slipped the ring onto her finger and stood to kiss her. She threw her arms around his neck, and caught up in the moment he started to spin her around until they were knee deep in the water and the squid sent a larger than usual wave at them. Drenched from head to toe, they stood there laughing for a few minutes before returning to shore and collapsing in the sand.

Tracing the curve of her face with his fingers, Draco grinned. “That idea actually has merit.”

“What idea?”

“Getting married today. There’s a ministry official in Hogsmeade who owes me a favor.”

Ginny’s eyes lit up, and then her face fell. “We can’t. My mum would kill me, and I don’t have anything for a wedding.”

“Wear your auror robes and let me handle the rings. I swear that after this is all over, we’ll have the biggest public wedding that the Wizarding World has ever seen, but I want to make you mine, now that I finally have the courage to ask you.”

Her eyes dancing in mirth, she teased, “Exactly how long have you had that ring, Draco?”

“July 31. My birthday. Remember, I disappeared for a few hours?”

“You crazy boy,” she laughed, kissing him. “I love you so much, and I would love to marry you today.”

“Then go get ready, and slip away. I’ll meet you at the Three Broomsticks.”

Draco finished getting ready long before Ginny and owled his jeweler to tell him to have the project ready for him to pick up. Dashing through the closest secret passage to Hogsmeade, he went straight to the shop. He was surprised to run into Potter without his usual fan club/bodyguards. “What are you doing here?”

“Buying a piece of jewelry,” the other boy answered flippantly. “You?”

“Same.” He continued to look expectantly at Potter until the other boy caved.

“I’m buying an engagement ring for Luna. If I die in this war, I want her to know how much she meant to me. And if you tell me that it’s a ridiculous notion because I’m definitely going to win, then I swear I’ll hex you.”

“I don’t think it’s ridiculous, Potter. I’d be a hypocrite if I did.”

“You’re buying an engagement ring for Ginny?”

“Did that months ago, Potter. I’m buying a wedding band, because I’m getting married today.” Draco secretly agreed that Potter should not only ask Luna to marry him, but to actually go through with it, before the final battle commenced. But openly helping the man to realize it went against the sworn enemies thing. “I know that Ginny would like for Luna to be there on her special day. Would you care to serve as our other witness?” That would get Potter in the right place, and make it easier for Draco to justify not telling Blaise. It wouldn’t be fair to ask him to witness the wedding of the girl he loved to his best friend. Maybe when they remarried publicly, Blaise would have found the right girl and be willing to serve as his Best Man.

“You’re eloping?”

“Do you think we want something private and special splashed across the front page of the Daily Prophet? We may as well send an invitation to Voldemort.”

“Good point. I’ll do it.”

“Buy both rings now, Potter,” Draco advised. “That way you’re always ready.” He picked up the black velvet case that the jeweler placed in front of him, checking inside of it to make sure that it was the correct rings, before leaving.

Draco and Ginny were married quietly and exchanged the wedding bands carved from a single dark sapphire with a chaste kiss. As surprised as Ginny was to see them there, she knew what was coming before Luna did, and witnessed her best friend’s wedding to Harry Potter, the private ceremony that Harry had always been afraid he could never have.

A/N: Four chapters to go. I'll be done by June.

Chapter 32: Battleground
Teaser: “You’ve seen it before. It’s what you see when you’re near a dementor. It’s why you started cutting.”
Update: 04-30-06

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