Of Cunning and Courage

I Thee Wed

April 16, 1999 , Domaine de Chantilly

"What do you mean booked?" asked a disgruntled man with a heavy Australian accent. "The entire bleedin' palace is booked, you're telling me? What kind of jumped up dill has enough money to throw around to rent a whole palace?"

"I'm sorry, Sir, but it's a private affair, highly confidential." said the man at the gate, who looked tired of warding off tourists who hadn't gotten the message that the chateau was unavailable for the day. The French Ministry had disallowed any charms stronger than a simple Muggle Repelling Charm, so naturally, a few stragglers would get in every now and again.

Several wizards had been employed to keep unwanted people, muggles and magical folk alike, from entering the chateau. But some tourists, like the man he was currently speaking too, had trouble understanding that closed meant closed.

"Is it royalty, then? Or a politician?" the man's wife chimed in. "Can't you let us in just for a tiny bit? We're on our honeymoon."

"Sorry, madam, but the chateau's been booked for a wedding for months now, don't know how you could've missed it" he said apologetically, "If you come again tomorrow, you'll have no problem at all."

"Oi, Kim!" called one of his coworkers, who looked red in the face as he approached them, "You speak Chinese, right? I got a tourist group that don't speak English for shite, mate. Think you can handle that?"

"I'm Korean, Davies." he growled to the young man.

"Why are all of you British?" asked the Aussie suddenly, piping into the conversation.

"I'm sorry, sir, but you have to leave now." he said with an air of finality and let out a sigh of relief when the couple begrudgingly scuttled off.

"Bloody hell, makes you wish you could just stun them." muttered Davies.

"Hey, lad, your Chinese guys are trying to pry the gates open." he said, eyeing the group who had approached the wrought iron fence.

"Oi! What the buggering hell are you lot doin'!"

February 14, 1999 , Diagon Alley

"I can't believe I'm not invited to the ceremony!" hissed Pansy, tossing the powder blue envelope onto the table, it's gold wax seal ruined by the hands of its recipient.

Daphne rolled her eyes, years with dealing with Pansy had left her immune to the girl's dramatics. "It's a small ceremony, she was adamant on having only their closest family and friends. And you're lucky that she's even invited you to the reception, remember when you kept trying to steal her fiance last year?"

Pansy narrowed her eyes at the blonde, and tossed her hair over her shoulder, "It's so like her to have a small ceremony, if it were me, I'd have the entire Wizarding World at my wedding."

"Well, it isn't you, and I think it's a wonderful idea." Daphne said defensively, "I've seen the pictures, and it's in the woods right next to the chateau. They're having an oak grove planted and she wants it very traditional."

Pansy wrinkled her nose in disdain, "So she won't even be wearing shoes?"

"Of course not, the ceremony calls for you to be as close to the earth as possible, and who in their right mind would wear heels in the woods?"

Pansy huffed, "Now I don't even want to attend the ceremony."

"I think it's going to be beautiful." Daphne sighed happily.

"So which ballroom are they using?" Pansy asked.

"I'm not sure, but they got the whole palace shut down so -"

"They rented out the entire palace?!" Pansy shrieked, drawing attention to their table.

Daphne tried hiding behind her menu in embarrassment as she tried to calm down an enraged and jealous Pansy Parkinson.

February 14, 1999 , The Burrow

"Did you get one as well, Harry?"asked Neville as he stepped out of the fireplace, dusting off the ashes from his person with one hand, the other was holding a powder blue envelope.

"Yeah, all of us have one, even Ron." Harry said, scratching his head in confusion.

"Don't have a bloody clue why though, I was a right wanker to her in Hogwarts. I don't even think she likes me much." Ron said, frowning at the invitation.

"No truer words have come out of your mouth, brother of mine." said Fred, who had tossed his own invitation into the pile on the table. "I don't think Mione wants you there either. Probably her mum's idea."

"Well, I for one, am excited." said Ginny brightly, "Have you seen where the venue is? I've never been to Paris."

Ron rolled his eyes at his sister, "Haven't you had your fair share of parties, Gin? Think of all the reporters that'll be there."

"There won't be any." said George, chiming in, "I spoke to her just last week while we were going over details of a potion she's developing for Wheezes, and they've paid off the Prophet to leave them alone."

"But why are we invited?" Ron asked.

"Dunno about you lot, but George and I have always been on alright terms with Mione." said Fred, "But I reckon it's them trying to start over, you know? Offering the proverbial olive branch."

"Do we have to go?" whined Ron.

"We're all going and that's final." said Molly, coming out from the kitchens, "She saved your lives more than once, and even if it is all for the sake of their image, it's a nice gesture of them to invite all of us."

Ron groaned, "Can I use my old dress robes, then?

"The reception's at a palace, Ron." Ginny said, "This isn't the Ministry Christmas party we're talking about. If you even try to step foot into that place with robes that mum picked out for you, Narcissa Malfoy will kill you."

"It's just a bloody wedding!"

April 14, 1999 , Dagworth-Granger Manor

"Clip all the white roses, Pip." Narcissa instructed , "But only the ones in full bloom, then cast an Ever-living Charm before you arrange them."

"Yes, Mistress." the house elf said, before popping out of sight.

"Clara, how are the oak trees growing?" Narcissa asked, sipping her tea as she glanced at the pictures and papers the event planner had set on the table.

"Beautifully, Madam Malfoy." said the young woman brightly, "The wildflowers have grown perfectly, as well."

Narcissa nodded, "And what about the bouquet?"

"The daffodils are perfect, Madam." Clara said happily, "The rooms the bride is staying in are in the opposite wing of the groom. Her hair and make up artist will be there by seven in the morning for photographs and then by eleven she has lunch with her family, then she gets ready again for the ceremony. Her robes have already been sent to the Palais, as well as the gown for the reception and the pictorial. The groom's things have been prepared as well."

"Very good, Clara." acknowledged Narcissa, pleased in having found a competent witch to plan everything, "And is everything ready for the ceremony?"

"Of course, Madam, everything will go as you expect it." Clara nodded, "The crystal goblets may have arrived late along with the party favors, but I've already deducted a considerable amount from both cheques, and have ensured that they will be there in time for set up tomorrow."

Narcissa nodded, "I'll leave everything else to you then, dear."

"Yes, Madam." the lady said, before another elf appeared to show her out.

"I've never seen you look so happy, Mother." said a voice from behind her.

Narcissa's lips quirked into a knowing smile as her son slid into the seat Clara had occupied.

"Well, things rarely go completely my way, darling." she said.

A fine blonde eyebrow arched on her son's forehead, "That's a blatant lie, Mother, and you know it."

"Oh, hush," Narcissa admonished. "And where is your bride to be?"

"I'm starting to think you like her better than me." Draco mused, "She's having a bit of a lie down before supper. Your little fashion show from this morning tired her out."

"It wasn't a fashion show," she said, narrowing her eyes, "It was her final dress fitting. We had to settle on a final hairstyle, too."

Draco gave a theatrical yawn, "Yes, yes, I can't wait to be done with all this feminine stuff."

Narcissa shook her head in amusement, "Just you wait, my dragon. When you see her, you'll remember why you asked her to marry you in the first place."

"Hermione reminds me everyday, Mother." he grinned.

Narcissa just smiled knowingly at her love-struck son.

April 16, 1999 , Bridal Suite, Domaine de Chantilly

"You look lovely, Mira." said Lyra Black, as she affixed pale blue and yellow wild flowers into her daughter's curls.

"Thank you, mother." she said, smiling softly.

Her reflection smiled back at her from the gold plated mirror, and she had to agree with her mother, she did look quite lovely. The robes she had chosen were made of pale white layers of chiffon that floated dreamily as she walked, cinching at her waist and flowing down in a shower of fabric. Her arms and shoulders were bare, void jewelry except for the Black heirloom necklace her grandfather had given her as a child.

Her robes and the flowers in her hair looked out of place amidst the grandeur of the palace, its simplicity almost paled in comparison to the chateau. But even the magnificence of the Domaine de Chantilly could not rival the glow of happiness in Hermione's eyes. Her cheeks were stained a pretty shade of pink from all the excitement. She had spent the morning arguing with her mother and Narcissa about using makeup, wanting everything to be as natural as possible for the ceremony. In the end, she had conceded to the bare minimum, lipstick and rouge and a charm to brighten her complexion.

A knock sounded from the other side of her suite door, and her father emerged, smiling at his daughter proudly. He had just come back from having a chat with Draco, who was on the other side of the palace in his own personal suite, probably being tormented by Theo and Blaise.

Her own bridal party consisted of just Daphne and Fleur, who were busy running over last minute preparations and fussing about in their powder blue and gold robes. Daphne had been the one to coax her into having her hair decorated with flowers, much to the relief of her mother, who, although she had complete control of what Hermione would look like during the reception, was antsy about her daughter's choices for the actual ritual.

"Are you ready, ma cher?" her father asked lovingly.

Hermione grinned excitedly and nodded, taking her father's hand in hers. A look at the clock told them that it was half past five in the afternoon, just thirty minutes to sunset.

"On three now, Mira." her father said, "One, two, three!"

Several pops of Apparation sounded, leaving the room empty a moment later.

Draco stood in the middle of the grove in the circle of flowers his mother had tended to religiously for months, fiddling with his fingers in anticipation. He was thankful, on his part, that his bride to be had chosen to go the traditional route, there was less of a crowd, and a more solemn air to the entire thing.

Theo chuckled beside him knowingly, noticing his nervous tick. "Calm down, Drake," he said, "Blaise was only taking the mickey earlier about stealing Mione before you could chain her down."

Draco rolled his eyes, "As if Zabini can go a second without Daphne."

He looked around for what seemed the hundredth time since he had arrived in the grove, standing in a semi-circle around him were their guests, a mere fifty or less in attendance. He spied Hermione's grandfather at the very front, alongside his Aunt Andromeda, Remus, and Teddy Lupin. The Greengrasses were there, one of the families who had stuck by the Malfoys during and after the war. Luna Lovegood stood next to Rolph Scamander, one of Hermione's work friends. Then there were the Weasley twins, who both he and his fiance had gotten to know well enough in the past year.

There were a few more notable faces in the crowd, a number of Hogwarts professors and several relatives, but but that was all. Everyone was standing barefoot, and smiling at the idea of a traditional ceremony. Alphard in particular, looked very pleased at his granddaughter's choice.

The Kingsley Shacklebolt stood on Draco's right, clothed in ritual robes, as intimidating as ever. Hermione was the one to thank for getting the Minister of Magic to preside over the ritual, her relationship with the powerful man was one that had begun with her storming into his office, raving about werewolf rights and Lupin's reinstatement as a Hogwarts professor.

Draco chuckled at the memory, still finding amusement at the sight of his wife bursting through the doors, leagues in front of him, demanding justice. To this day, the occurrence still made him think that his wife would have thrived as a Gryffindor.

The tell tale pop of Apparation sounded throughout the grove, drawing everyone's attention the the base of the meadow, where an isle of grass had been cleared of flowers. Daphne and Fleur entered following each other, bright smiles plastered on their faces as they came to stand on the opposite end to Draco.

Out of the corner of his eye, Blaise sent Daphne a flying kiss, but Draco truly could not care less. Hermione had finally entered, a vision in white, her hair decorated in flowers, flowing in a curtain for curls that framed her face. The sight of pure happiness painted in her expression almost brought him to tears.

Her father and mother walked her to the middle of the meadow. Draco shook her father's hand, and embraced her mother before taking her hand in his and guiding her to where he had stood.

Kingsley's voice was a buzz of sound in his ears, merely background noise as he stared at his fiance, whose expression mirrored his. When the golden cord was tied around their hands, he felt a rush of magic flow through him, feeling like a blast of warm air. Hermione seemed to have experienced a similar thing, as she took in a deep breath.

"This cord is a symbol of the connection between your two lives. As your hands are bound together by this cord, so too, will your lives be bound together in marriage." Kingsley announced.

Together, they recited, "We swear by peace and love to stand, heart to heart and hand to hand. Mark, O Magic, and hear us now, confirming this our Sacred Vow. Ye are Blood of my Blood, and Bone of my Bone. I give ye my Body, that we Two might be One. I give ye my Spirit, 'til our Life shall be Done."

"Now you will feel no rain, for each of you will be shelter to the other. Now you will feel no cold, for each of you will be warmth to the other. Now you will feel no loneliness, for each of you will be a companion to the other. Now you are two bodies, but there is only one life before you. Go now to your dwelling place, to enter the days of your life together. And may your days be good, and long upon the earth."

And with those last words, Kingsley tapped his wand on the cord between them, and it twisted and coiled upwards, bringing them closer together before erupting above them in a shower of golden sparks. The two met in the middle, sharing their first kiss as husband and wife.

"I love you." he whispered in her ear.

"And I love you." she replied.

They leaned in to share another kiss, feeling, for the first time in a long time, complete happiness.

a/n: Hello! I really wanted to write a wedding chapter, so here's an itty bitty one! I borrowed the vows from a traditional Celtic Vow and an Irish vow of unity. Kingsley's last bit was from a Apache wedding blessing that I really liked. Also the Domaine de Chantilly is a beautiful place and I could picture Narcissa perfectly in my head. If you guys are ever in Paris, plan a day trip there! It's such a gorgeous place to visit.

Also, an update on my SiriMione fic (which I've decided to name Saving Grace). I've had to start it from scratch because I write my first drafts on paper and our maid threw out ALL of my drafts (even some stories I haven't started yet). So it's taking longer than I thought to start it over again. Meanwhile, I have a Newt/Hermione fic and another Dramione fic cooking that I'm really excited about so I hope you all stick around!