Time seems to fly when you have so many things to do. Lunch with Narcissa was very productive. Draco wasn't kidding when he said she would want to organize the wedding of the year. They had met at a restaurant in Daigon Alley.
"Hermione, Draco so glad you could see me." Narcissa hugged them both.
"Mother, you make it sound as if we never have time for you."
"Of course I have seen you separately. But to have you both here with me is a real treat." She smiled.
"We have both been somewhat busy. But Draco has agreed to help us with the preparations for the wedding." Hermione smirked at him.
"Really, that is wonderful, how did you get him to agree?" Narcissa looked curiously at both.
"You could say it was blackmail. Mia can be very devious if she wants to." He glared.
"How very cunning on her part, I should try that with Lucius sometime." Narcissa smirked.
They had proceeded to discuss how they wanted the wedding. Hermione and Narcissa wrote everything down. Draco suggested they marry at Hogwarts since that was the place they had met, and also because it was the safest place in their world. The war might have been over but there were still some that wanted revenge. Not all Deatheaters had been captured.
"The Manor is also well protected. And the garden would make the perfect setting for the ceremony as all the winter roses will be in bloom."
"I don't want to take any risks. There are still those that would want to harm any one of us." He turned to Hermione and caressed her face. "I don't want to put you in danger."
She blushed and kissed his palm. "Don't worry. No one would be foolish enough to attack us with all the Aurors that will attend. Besides, you are a very powerful wizard, I'm quite sure you'll be able to protect me."
"She is right dear, after the display of power that Hermione showed during the ball I organized, I don't think they would dare cross her either. Our dear Hermione is a force to be recon with." Narcissa smiled at the obvious love that they shared.
"You can choose where you want to have the wedding, at the manor or in Hogwarts."
"I would like to have it in the Manor. I fell in love with the gardens. It would be perfect." Hermione smiled shyly at Narcissa.
"Good, we could reinforce the wards a few days before the wedding. That way Draco will have nothing to worry about." She wrote the plan down.
"I will take care of the wards mother."
"I will help with that too. I might know some spells that you don't."
"Great, than that is settled. We also need to agree upon decorations, invitations, and we can't forget the most important thing, your wedding dress."
They spent almost the whole afternoon setting the details for their wedding. It was a good thing that neither of them had to work that day, being Sunday and all. Since they were in a public place, both Hermione and Draco had to maintain the appearance of being in love. There were touches, caresses, and the occasional kiss. To everyone that was watching them, they seemed really happy. To Narcissa's critical eye it was another story. She saw the pain in both their eyes. The longing in Hermione eyes, How Draco would look at her when she was talking, as if she held the world in her hands. How he would shake whatever thoughts flitted through his mind and turn around just as she would look at him. The little things they showed her without even meaning to. No one else noticed and for that she was grateful. She knew that whatever they were hiding would hurt one or the both of them. With that knowledge they parted ways for the day.
Lucius was reading over some papers from his work in his study. He was so concentrated that he almost didn't hear when Narcissa went in.
"Lucius, could I talk to you?" She asked sadly.
Her tone surprised him and he looked at her. "Is there something wrong? Are you well?"
She closed the door and sat in front of him. "I am fine, dear. But there is something you must know about our son and his fiancée."
"What is it? Did they fight again?" He relaxed.
"No, they did not fight. It is something else. But before I tell you, promise to stay calm. I think I understand why they did it." She closed her eyes and sighed.
"Cissa, what happened?" Lucius began to worry.
"Their engagement is a sham. It is a contract that they have made. It is not real."
"That is ridiculous. Who told you such lies?" He demanded.
"Please calm down. It is the truth. Draco said it himself."
He looked at her eyes and knew she was telling the truth. "He told you this?"
"Draco was not aware I was there. It happened a week after the ball. I was restless and went to the library to get a book. Draco walked in and sat near the fireplace. He started to say that their plan had to work. That he and Hermione had to convince everyone that they were engaged."
Lucius was stunned at the information and also a bit proud of his son for coming up with that plan. "Well that certainly clears up many things. They must have thought it all through perfectly. So far they are convincing everyone that they truly love each other."
"Lucius, I believe that they are really falling in love. Draco seems so relaxed around her. And the way they look at each other." She looked sadly at him and sighed. "That night Draco was crying. He doubted their actions, questioning if perhaps they were missing out on something more. Thinking of everything that could go wrong and of all the people they were going to hurt if anyone were to find out."
"Well," Lucius thought. "We shall have to observe them closely. If what you say is true and they are second guessing their agreement, then I believe that the first one to retract would be Ms. Granger."
"Hermione?" She widened her eyes. "No, she would not break an agreement. She will go through with it. That is how loyal she is."
"Think about it Cissa. If Ms. Granger does fall in love with our son and he doesn't love her in return, do you really think she will let him be unhappy with her?"
"You are correct. She would let him go; she would sacrifice everything in order to give him a chance at happiness. I hope it does not come to that."
"It would be a shame if that was to happen. Let us keep this to ourselves. They must not find out that we are aware of their plan."
The next day Draco was at his office reading some documents when Blaise went in.
"So, how is married life treating you?" Blaise grinned.
"I am not married yet." He glared.
"Might as well be, you have not come out with us to have some fun in quite some time. Has Hermione been keeping you entertained?"
"Not in the way you are thinking. I am helping her and mother with the preparations for our wedding."
"I never thought you would be involved in that. Who managed to convince you to help out?"
"Mia basically blackmailed me." He grumbled.
"Granger did that? Does she know some dark secret that I don't?" Blaise laughed.
"Something like that." Draco smiled with his friend.
That picked his interest. "Really, what is it? Did she find your stash of the muggle magazines? The ones called bunny something?"
"I got rid of those a few weeks ago. It's called Playboy by the way." he responded calmly.
"Right, did she see the ones you have of Wicked Witch? Man those witches sure know how to make a man happy."
"Care to elaborate?" Draco grinned.
"Fine, so who are you going to marry? You always seem to forget to tell me."
"My wife of two weeks is Luna Lovegood." Blaise waited for the questions that were sure to come.
Draco was speechless. "How, where, when, why?" He spluttered.
"Well we sort of eloped; we didn't want all the media attention. We went to the ministry; it was a very private affair. As I've said two weeks ago. Does that cover all your questions?" He grinned at the reaction he got from Draco.
Draco shook his head to clear it. "What I meant was why did you marry her?"
"You know the strangest thing happened to me." He smiled wistfully.
"What?" Draco leaned in closer to him.
"For some crazy reason, I fell in love with her."
Draco laughed. "You in love I never would have believed it."
"No joke mate. She makes me happy. I find all her crazy ways endearing. She makes my life interesting. I know the law says that we must marry a muggle born unless we are previously engaged. Believe me convincing the ministry to let us marry was hell. But I would do it again. I would do anything to make her happy." Blaise had a goofy grin on his face.
Draco looked at him with surprise. He could see that Blaise really does love his wife. Could he, someday, feel the same way about Hermione? Could they be as happy as their friends are? Could he make her happy? All these questions flew around in his head then as fast as they came he sent them away. They can be happy without love. There were many marriages of convenience in their world that somehow made it work. Perhaps the circumstances were different but the idea was the same. They can and will make it all work.