A Dragon and a Phoenix

Chapter 38

The next morning, we all slept late. It was after ten before Draco gently shook me awake, calling my name. "I don't want to get up," I griped, without opening my eyes. "Can't we just stay in bed all day?"

He laughed, "Of course we can't. Your father has apparently been called away to the Ministry. The defeat of You-Know-Who has resulted in the arrests of a lot of spies and the capture of the rest of the Death Eaters. It seems that you might be the daughter of a new ministry official before it's over with. They're looking for replacements in a lot of departments now, and his connections are pushing for him to take over the Office of Interdepartmental Affairs. He's sent an owl to say he'll be back here for lunch to bring us up to speed."

"Nooo!" I groaned miserably. "That just means that he'll be spending all of his time helping to get everything back up and running smoothly. When will he have time to look after Dakoda? What's going to happen with us?"

"I'm assuming he intends to tell you all of that at lunch. I think that's what he meant by 'bringing you up to speed'," he smirked.

I threw a pillow at him in response and attempted to cover my head and burrow under the blankets, muttering, "Arse."

I felt the cover ripped off of me. Glaring up at Draco, I found him already dressed, twirling his wand lazily. "You'd better be glad I can't reach my wand from here," I grumbled.

"And Dakoda's been asking for you," he said, ignoring me.

I gave a longsuffering sigh, "Fine. I'm getting up."

I got changed quickly, and felt a little more awake after moving around a bit. Still, I looked at the bed longingly as I passed by on my way out. Dakoda wasn't in his room so I assumed he must have gone downstairs.

Just as I was descending the stairs, I saw the black carriage roll to a halt in front of the door. Dad stepped out and climbed the steps quickly. I met him at the door, taking his dark grey cloak and hanging it nearby.

"How is everything at the Ministry?" I asked.

"Chaos. It's better than I expected, though, honestly. They've made me temporary head of the Office of Interdepartmental Affairs, which, at this point, means that I'm spending all of my time making sure that the members of the other departments don't curse each other to bits on suspicion of being a spy. The remaining Aurors have managed to round up the last of the Death Eaters, though. Also, they've elected a new Minster of Magic. Kingsley will be good for the job," he replied.

"Mr. Daniels, I'm sure you don't have a lot of time. Lunch is ready and waiting," Draco was standing in the doorway behind me.

"Ah, yes, well quite right you are. I don't have a lot of time, but it's only going to be worse in the coming weeks. That's why I made a point to get away today. I'm afraid I may be spending all of my time at the office for a while, and we have a lot to discuss," Dad said.

Sitting at the table, I had barely taken a bite of my mince pie when Dad got right to the point. "Now, I know you're both wondering about the specific details of the Unbreakable Vow that I made with Narcissa. We agreed that you would marry Draco, you are not to divorce or annul the marriage, and the last demand was that you produce an heir to the Malfoy name. I know it wasn't fair for us to make those decisions for you, and I'm so sorry, princess."

"Well, Mr. Daniels," Draco started, but Dad interrupted.

"Please, just Marcus will be fine. After all, you did rescue my children."

Draco nodded graciously, "Marcus, then. I think you should know that since you and my mother made this deal, things aren't exactly the same between Kim and me. We're here together because we want to be. I don't want to marry her because we're forced to by some ridiculous Unbreakable Vow, though. But, it seems that Mother didn't leave us a way out. I did notice, however, that she failed to put a time constraint on our impending nuptials."

"What exactly are you suggesting, then?" I asked.

"I see no reason why we can't take whatever time we want to actually get married. From the sound of it, we could get married tomorrow, or ten years from now, it doesn't matter just so long as we do."

Dad put his fork down and turned to me, "Is this true? You want to be with him? Because, if you're just doing this to save me, don't. I'd give my life for you or your brother, and I'm the one that put you in this situation."

Looking him squarely in the eye I smiled, "Dad, it's the truth. I love him, and I want to be with him. We just don't want to be married seventeen year olds. And, as far as I'm concerned, none of this is your fault. Mother was the one that schemed and lied. You were just trying to save Dakoda."

"Well, I suppose I'm leaving you in good hands, then. The two of you will return to Hogwarts to finish out the year?" he inquired.

"Yes, that's the plan," I responded.

"Well, alright then. It sounds like we've got this settled. As for Dakoda, I'll be sending him to stay with my sister for a while. Persephone will be meeting me to pick him up at the office tomorrow"

Just as I was about to protest, Draco spoke up, "Actually, why don't you let him stay here until we leave next week? Kim hasn't seen him in months, and after all that they've been through, I'm sure she would appreciate the time with him."

Dad looked a bit surprised, but acquiesced quickly, "That's fine with me. I'll owl Persephone and let her know. In the meantime, I've got to get back to the Ministry."

The week flew by, and it was time to say goodbye to Dakoda before I was ready. Aunt Persephone met us at Platform 9¾ to pick him up before we boarded the train. They disapparated with a small pop, and I turned back to Draco.

"Ready to go?" he asked.

"Yes," I nodded.

We found an empty compartment and stowed our trunks away. Just as we were sitting down, Kat and Sara appeared in the door. Behind them I could see Blaise, Crabbe, and Goyle. "I should have known your groupies would show up," Draco muttered.

I swatted at him rolling my eyes, "Don't be a prat."

He lifted his chin arrogantly, "I have a reputation to uphold, woman."

I raised an eyebrow and didn't say anything. His lips twitched into a smirk and he winked at me. "Well, I do."

Everyone had filed into the compartment and was busily storing their trunks. "Yeah, well I can see that reputation taking on a few changes," I grinned.

With a longsuffering sigh and martyred expression he draped an arm around my shoulders, "You'll be the death of me yet."

I shook my head, laughing as my friends sat across from us. The boys settled into their seats, and before long we were on our way. I'd been worried that everyone wouldn't get along very well, but even Crabbe and Goyle were less annoying than usual. They still didn't have two brain cells to rub together between the two of them, but at least I didn't want to jinx them like usual.

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