“Ahem…” Harry jolted from his state of contemplation when Professor Dumbledore cleared his throat beside him. “My dear boy, I think your future wife may need your rescuing.” Professor Dumbledore nodded towards Lady Ginevra. It seemed that Sir Malfoy choose to honor her with his attentions, which wouldn’t be the most appropriate for her standing.
“Yes, of course, I will take care of that.” Harry knew best than anyone how rumors scatter. And the gossip about Sir Malfoy wasn’t anything but tell-tale. Although Sir Malfoy didn’t seem to mind at all and so the fire spread. Nonetheless, image was not something Harry could sacrifice right now. He needed that marriage to work, even if he didn’t want it to happen in the first place.
It was for the greater good, but Harry hadn’t let his mind settle on the fact that he was about to get married. Harry always knew that he had to give an heir to his kingdom. Although he would never admit it, he had always wished to have a marriage like their parents had. Harry feared to be loved but not known. It felt superficial, despite comforting. When over the years someone had seen him as his worse, with all his strengths and flaws, and still committed herself to him wholly, it would be a consummate experience (Timothy Keller). Was it possible that Harry could find all that he was looking for in Lady Ginevra?
“My Lady, Sir Malfoy.” Harry approached the pair.
“My prince.” They both answered simultaneously.
“I was just telling Lady Ginevra how the gardeners have been working hard on the wedding venue decoration.” Sir Malfoy promptly explained.
“Yes, Mrs. Sprout and Neville have been very eager about showing off their most extravagant plants.”
“I am very curious to see the fruits of such dedication.” Lady Ginevra politely said, keeping her voice low.
“You must be tired, my Lady. Do you mind if I escort you to the table?”
Lady Ginevra’s expression darkened for a moment, but with no other option, she accepted Harry’s arm. “Thank you.” With a jolt of rebelliousness, she turned towards Sir Malfoy. “Perhaps Sir Malfoy would be so kind to keep me company, for a while?”
“It would be my pleasure, my Lady.” Sir Malfoy condescended, with a nod to Harry in order to assure him that he would be on his best behavior.
Harry accompanied them to the table were they left them, as he was expected to socialize. Although not being able to detach Lady Ginevra and Sir Malfoy from each other company at least, they were in a more discrete corner. And it was obvious, for the few watching eyes, that their prince had his trust set on Sir Malfoy.
With nothing but duty guiding him, Harry roamed through the crowd. Between receiving compliments on his beautiful bride and greeting some familiar faces, Harry’s attention was caught by an open door on a far corner of the room. Realizing he needed some fresh hair, Harry made his way to the balcony, through the open door. Harry closed the door behind him, hoping for a bit of privacy. Walking the width of the balcony, he rested his hand on the cool metal railing. Breathing in and out, silently, he let himself relax. Hearing the rustling of the trees, he was taken by the beauty of the night.
Unexpectedly, a voice rose from the silence. Curiously, instead of disrupting the calmness of the night, that sweet voice seemed to mix with it.
“The sun descending in the west,
The evening star does shine;
The birds are silent in their nest,
And I must seek for mine.
The moon, like a flower,
In heaven's high bower,
With silent delight
Sits and smiles on the night.” (William Blake)
Hermione sat in the little bench on the far corner of the balcony. Only the moon illuminated her face, making her seem like some strange and beautiful creature, out of this world.
“That is lovely.” Harry said, walking towards her and taking a seat by her side.
“I have read it somewhere, a long time ago.”
“Have you been here for a long time?” Harry looked worried. “You look like you’re freezing. Here, take this.” He said, sliding his cloak over her shoulder.
“I am a little, thank you.” Hermione accepted his cloak, appreciative.
“What do you think marriage is like?” Harry had his back against the wall and his eyes fixed on the stars above.
“You’re worried, hum?” Hermione side glanced at Harry for a moment before setting her eyes straight ahead answering. “Ideally? The intimate union and equal partnership of two souls meant to be together.”
“And in real life?”
“I don’t know, I guess that married life would be sharing my life, my dreams with my best friend. Have a family, kids.”
“I can image a couple of little girls with rebellious curly hair, running around you skirts.” Harry said with a grin.
“Well, I could picture some, rule-breaking raven and red haired, boys trying to hold up their father’s sword. And, I know for a fact that, Ginny wishes to have a lot of children.” When Hermione said “red” Harry’s expression changed from playful to somber.
“Do you think I’ll learn to love her, Mione?”
“I don’t know Harry. I hope so, for both of your sakes.”
Harry and Hermione were both in silence for the moment that followed. Neither of them wanted to go back inside. Gazing at the stars above, Harry started to feel his eyelids getting heavier and heavier by the second. In order to wake from that lethargy, Harry straitened himself and got up, reaching one hand in Hermione’s direction.
“Come with me, I have something to show you.” He said.
“Where are we going?” Hermione asked, curious, accepting his hand.
Harry wanted to avoid going through the ball room, to get to his destination, Harry lead Hermione to a wall next to where they had been sitting. They both faced the wall as Harry pushed three of the engraved lilies and stepped back. The stone rumbled with a weak sound, opening to a dark secret passage. With their wands, Harry and Hermione lighted their way.