Draco Malfoy/Harry Potter
Draco Malfoy Harry Potter Original Female Witch
Slash Drama
Harry and Classmates Post-Hogwarts
Philosopher's Stone Chamber of Secrets Prizoner of Azkaban Goblet of Fire Order of the Phoenix Quidditch Through the Ages
Published: 04/22/2005
Updated: 07/30/2008
Words: 247,857
Chapters: 31
Hits: 79,195

The Bet


Story Summary:
It all started with a little bet. "I bet you can't do it." "Do what?" "Seduce him." Draco Malfoy's never been one to back down from a perfectly do-able bet. But when that bet involves Harry Potter? Draco's realising that this bet isn't as cut and dry as it seems, nor as easy... AU post-war, post-Hogwarts, Harry/Draco/OC

Chapter 28

Chapter Summary:
Stag parties and weddings. Everything a good chapter needs. Alcohol, trickery, dancing and smooching.
Author's Note:
My sincerest apologies for the long delay in this chapter's posting. I always update my website first, then Fanfiction and Fiction Alley, and I was doing a re-vamp of my website, and there were some delays in getting things I needed, so the posting was delayed. (Not to mention some interesting happenings in my life lately...) If you'd like to check my site out, please find the link on my user page.


Chapter XXVIII - The Nuptial Yule


"No, Harry, there's no time," Hermione emphasized, tugging on her frizzy braid. "The wedding is tomorrow!"

Indeed, the wedding was tomorrow, and Hermione was in a panic, but for good reason. The magistrate that was to perform the ceremony had to cancel on them - he'd come down with dragon pox.

"Well, can't someone else fill in?" Ginny asked. "Like...Dumbledore or something?"

Hermione shook her head. "Dumbledore is a powerful wizard, Ginny, but he's not authorized to join other people. He will be there, though."

"Could you maybe have a stand in? Like, have the ceremony, with someone that feels up to it, and then have a private one with an actual magistrate? You know...like a renewal, which will really be more like the official wedding?" Ginny suggested. "If that made any sense..."

Hermione nodded. "No, it does. But that's not an option, Ginny. Ron and I want to get married, to be joined on the solstice. It's a powerful magical day. It means a lot to us."

"I'm assuming you've floo-called other magistrates?" Harry asked.

"Of course I have, Harry," Hermione retorted, with a tone that belied that Harry had forgotten just how intelligent Hermione was.

Ron burst into the room at that moment, just as Harry was about to make another suggestion. "Charlie can do it!"

"What, Ron?" Hermione asked. "Charlie knows someone?"

"No, Charlie can marry us!" Ron said with a big grin.

Hermione looked sceptical. In fact, she looked as though she didn't believe a word Ron had said. "How, Ronald? Charles is not a minister, nor is he a magistrate of Britain..."

"Actually, he is ordained. Mum told me."

"When did that happen?" Ginny asked, puzzled.

Ron shrugged. "Recently, I guess. Two of his friends wanted to get married, but didn't want a stranger to do it or something, so Charlie told them he'd get the proper permission to marry them."

"But he lives in Romania! Who's to say he can marry people in Great Britain?" Hermione argued.

"He already said he'd do it. I guess that he can."

Hermione sighed. "I need to talk to him about how the ceremony is supposed to go." She leaned against Ron and sighed again. "I'll be back in a little while." She kissed Ron on the cheek. "Don't let him wander off, will you, Harry?"

Harry grinned. "Of course not. He's still got a stag party to attend."

Ron groaned. "I don't know about this party thing, Harry..." he said, dubious.

"Well, Ginny planned Hermione's, so mine really can't be so bad."

"Hey!" Ginny exclaimed. "Harry Potter, just you watch. My stag party will be better than yours!"

"Fat chance."

Ginny narrowed her eyes. "Is that a dare?"


Ginny smirked. "Come on, Hermione. Let's leave these poor souls to their own devices." Ginny and Hermione left Ron's room, leaving the two men alone.

Ron sighed. "I don't really know about the wedding thing, either." He sat down on his bed, looking around the room he shared with Neville. "This won't be my room after I get back from Greece."

"Getting cold feet?" Harry asked, leaning against the dresser.

Ron shrugged. "I dunno. I'm nervous, yes, but being with Hermione is just...normal, ya know? Easy. It's the whole wedding ordeal. It's too much. Too many decisions, too many things to do, too many people."

"Well, most of Hermione's family aren't coming though, right? They're all Muggles. That's less in-laws to worry about, at least."

"True. But neither of us has a lot of family beyond our parents and my siblings, so the wedding's not going to be very big, anyway."

"I'm sorry I haven't been more curious as to your wedding, Ron. In fact, I nearly forgot I was going to throw you a stag party until Ginny mentioned it to me last month. The good thing is, everyone I was going to invite lives on campus. Though I did ask the twins, but apparently, they're in deep with some new product, and said they'll see you tomorrow."

"Who all did you invite?"

Harry chuckled. "Did I invite the Slytherins, you mean?"

Ron ducked his head. "Yeah. I mean..."

Harry held up a hand. "No, it's okay, Ron. I understand. I...did extend an invitation, but most of them didn't want to come."


"Well, everyone except Draco. He said he thought it'd be fun to watch you get smashed. I tried to tell him there wouldn't be much alcohol, because I know how you get when you drink, Ron," Harry smirked.

Ron put his head in his hands. "Ugh, don't remind me..."

Harry laughed. "Don't worry. I made him promise he'd behave himself."

"Oh, that's reassuring."

"Well, I hear Ginny invited the Slytherin girls, too. Most of them will be at Hermione's stag party. Oh, and Mikhail's coming over from Yorkshire, too."

"Yay! Someone else who doesn't like Malfoy."

"Oh, Ron, give it a rest."

"Well, he's alright, Harry. Really. I know he's not a bad guy."

"But he's still a jerk?" Harry said, nodding. "Yeah, I know. Anyhow, I just didn't want anyone to feel left out. And neither did Ginny."

Ron nodded. "I understand. It's okay."

Harry moved to sit down on the bed next to him. "So what's Hermione doing after you get back from Greece?"

"Well, you know we got that flat in London, right?" Harry nodded, so Ron continued. "Well, she was putting up a few wards, and shopping for some furniture, and ran into someone in the Magical Intelligence Department of the Ministry. Someone who had heard about her work with S.P.E.W.--yeah who would have thought that would have come back to haunt us, huh?" he added at Harry's incredulous look. "Anyhow, they got to talking, and even though S.P.E.W. wasn't exactly the kind of operation they usually go for, they had heard of her, and asked her to come in and take some tests after the term is over. She might have a job there."

"That's really cool. What kind of work would she be doing?"

Ron shrugged. "I dunno. Something about keeping the country safe or something...I didn't really get it."

Harry chuckled. "Well, what do you want to do? After next term, I mean?"

"I don't know, Harry, what do you want to do?"

Harry shook his head. "It's a toss up between a medical apprenticeship, and trying for a professional Quidditch team. A few are already interested."

"That's kind of a tough decision, isn't it?" Ron asked.

"Yeah. So have you had anything? Didn't Mikhail's father ask you to go by his office or something?"

Ron nodded, smiling. "Yeah. Actually, I'm really looking forward to it. I mean, it's not something I ever thought would be interesting...being a law-wizard...but the way Mr. Chaikovsky described it...it sounded so cool - figuring out how to bring the bad-guys down... Anyhow. I'm going to look into that, and sort of go from there."

"I think you'd be great at that, Ron," Harry said truthfully. "You were always so good at figuring things out, or strategising an offence and a defence, in any case." Harry smiled, and then patted Ron on the knee. "Well, shall we get this place ready for your party?"

Ron groaned as he followed Harry downstairs.


Now, Hermione wasn't one to drink all that often, but had on occasion. However, she had never had access to this much alcohol, and generally wouldn't have drank so much, but she wasn't going to be bested by the ex-Slytherin girls at her own stag party.

But perhaps they had bested her anyhow, she thought, seeing as she had given into their game and gotten just as smashed as they were.

"Who's up for a round of Truth or Dare?" Daphne called out, taking a swig of her Firewhiskey.

There were cheers all around, for the most part, but Hermione frowned. "Is this Muggle, or Wizard?" she asked, her words a little slurred.

"Wizard, of course!" Daphne replied. "Come on...get in a circle."

"Oh... I don't know about this..." Hermione said. "We'll be bound to do the dare or tell the truth!"

"That's the point," Tracey said, rolling her eyes.

The girls all crowded around in the Number Two lounge with their drinks, all taking turns challenging dares and probing for the truth.

"Okay," Mandy said, looking around the circle. "Ginny! Truth or dare?

"Oh...truth, I guess."

"Who did you lose your virginity to?"

All the girls giggled, and Ginny blushed into her glass. "Er...oh, well...um."

"Come on...we can't move on until you tell us!" Tracey said.

"Dean. Dean Thomas."

There were 'ooohs' around the circle, and Hermione patted her on the knee, catching the quick look of sorrow that had passed through Ginny's brown eyes.

Taking a quick breath and a quick drink, Ginny looked up, searching the group. "Natalie."

Little Natalie MacDonald looked up, her still-rounded cheeks bright pink with alcohol consumption. "Yeah?" she said a little timidly, her eyes darting around.

"Truth or dare?"

"Um... Dare."

Ginny's eyes narrowed, and she tilted her head in thought. "Natalie... I dare you, to kiss Raven."

Raven raised her eyebrow. "Getting some bullocks, are you, Weasley?" She set her drink down and shifted onto her knees.

Natalie looked wide-eyed. "Kiss her?"

Ginny nodded. "Go ahead. I dare you."

Natalie set down her glass, swallowing hard. Then she picked up her glass again and downed the rest of her drink. A few of the girls snickered softly.

Crawling across the circle to Raven, Natalie looked small and nervous. She stopped, kneeling right in front of the dark-haired girl, and said softly, "I've...never kissed anyone before..."

"Really?" Daphne exclaimed, somewhat loudly.

Raven smiled, a touch gentle and a touch devious. "That's okay."

Natalie sat there, just for a moment staring into Raven's green eyes. "Okay," she said, with a bit of a shaken voice, "Okay." Then she leaned forward, her eyes closed, but Raven's hands on her shoulders stopped her. She opened her eyes, blinking. Raven just continued to smile at her, and shifted forward and took Natalie's rounder face in her hands and guided her gently into a soft kiss.

It only lasted a moment, as it was broken by a loud whoop from Daphne, who was obviously the most rambunctious out of everyone there. Natalie pulled back, her cheeks and nose now red, and flushing up to her ears. She stared at Raven a moment, as the other girl dropped her hands, and then scrambled back to her spot on the other side of the circle.

The girls all twittered, and Daphne said, "Okay, MacDonald, it's your turn."

Susan reached over and poured Natalie more Sweet McNeil's Irish Rum. Natalie smiled briefly and took a sip, then said, "Daphne, truth or dare?"

"Dare, of course."

"I dare you to go and flash Ron's stag party."

Hermione's jaw dropped, as did most of the other girls from their dorm, while Raven burst out laughing along with Tracy and Ginny. Daphne looked shocked for a moment before she laughed herself.

"How about this? How about we all go spy on their party?"

"But the point of these parties that Ron and I aren't supposed to see each other before the wedding," Hermione said, even as everyone started standing up.

"Oh, don't be so silly, Granger," Daphne said as she stood. "We're just going to be spying. I'll flash them through the window, and then we'll be back over here. Just a quick jaunt." Daphne was grinning the whole time.

"We can't all go over there, they'll see us!"

"Okay, fine, you stay here. I'm going. Who else?" Daphne looked around the group, and Hermione watched as Raven, Tracey, Natalie, and Ginny stood.

"I want to go," Elenor Branstone said, "but maybe the rest of us can watch from the window?"

Hermione nodded. "That sounds like a good plan."

"Good! Let's go."

The remaining girls all rushed to the far corner of the lounge to watch the other girls' progress out of the dorm and across the grass to the dorm next door through the front and side windows.

Daphne led the way, with Raven just behind her, then Tracy, Ginny and small Natalie. There was barely a sliver of moonlight in the sky, and Hermione could see Ginny and Natalie shiver as a stronger gust of winter wind broke through their cloaks. But suddenly, Daphne stopped, and the other girls froze behind her. Hermione looked over to where Daphne's face was pointed.

Draco Malfoy was on his way over to Ron's party.


Draco shivered against a gust of wind that tore through his robes. Why was he even going to this party? He didn't even like Weasley. Or Granger. But, Harry said there would be alcohol, and seeing Weasley drunk was something he really couldn't miss.

However, he wasn't able get much farther than a footstep or two past Number Two when he was tripped horribly by a jinx, rolled over onto his back, and surrounded by nearly half a dozen giggling, inebriated girls.

Oh no.

"Raven, Daphne, ladies, hi. What can I do for you on this rather cold, December evening?"

"You, are coming with us, Draco Malfoy," Raven said with a devious grin, one Draco would have normally appreciated, but under the current circumstances, wished he wasn't seeing. I really need to learn to keep my guard up. When did I get so lax?

"Where are we going?" he asked as they helped them to his feet, their hands seemingly all over him. He cast a curious look at the girl Weasley and at a smaller girl he couldn't recall the name of.

"Oh, just inside, Draco, dear."

Draco didn't resist as the five girls led him inside Number Two, feeling rather excited, though apprehensive at what was to come. Granger came into the foyer, followed by another half-dozen girls, who all looked just as inebriated as the girls who had accosted him.

"Hullo, ladies. How's your party, Granger?"

"Confusing, since you got here. Daphne? Raven? What's going on?"

"We saw him, and decided we needed a boy to help make our party more interesting," Daphne informed her, slipping Draco's cloak off his shoulders. "It was Weasley's idea."

"Ginny?" Granger asked.

The red-head smiled, shaking her curls. "I thought it'd be fun."

"Girls, what are you planning on doing with me?" Draco asked, as they pushed him into the lounge and gave him a snifter of Firewhiskey, pressing on his shoulders to make him sit down on the floor, while the rest of them smiled deviously. Even Granger was looking at him with something akin to deviousness, and Draco was now very unsettled.

"Let's play spin the bottle," Raven announced, leaning against Draco's side.

"But I'm the only male, here, love. Won't that be a little awkward?"

"No, no, no, dear. Only more exciting. Natalie here's already gotten the opportunity to kiss me, and this way, everyone will wonder who gets to kiss you next!"

"And you won't get jealous?" He took a sip from his snifter. It was a good bottle.

Raven shook her head. "No, I don't think so." She leaned forward and all but breathed in his ear, "I didn't mind when you kissed Harry."

Draco quirked an eyebrow, but otherwise made no other movement indicating what Raven had said to him. "Alright, then. If you girls don't mind, I don't mind," he said, thinking that Harry was going to kill him when he didn't show up for Ron's party. He took another sip of his whiskey, feeling that he was going to need it.

"Do you want to start, Draco?" Raven asked, holding up an empty bottle.

"No, ladies first."

Raven set the bottle down and spun it, watching as it landed on Granger. Draco nearly snorted into his drink at the look on Granger's face.

"You wanted to play this too, Granger, don't deny it," he said.

Granger huffed and swiftly put down her drink and scooted over to Raven a few seats away. The kiss was short, but it gave Draco a pleasant view he wouldn't forget for a while. Maybe this will be fun.


Where is he? Harry thought for the fifth time in just as many minutes.

"Hey, you okay?"

Harry turned from the window to look up at Mikhail. "Yeah, I'm okay. Just...worried about Draco. He should have been here by now."

Harry saw Mikhail's jaw clench, even through the glass he was holding up to his lips, drinking what alcohol he had managed to procure for the evening. The party had gone fairly well, so far. Seamus, being the Irishman he was, had taken to getting very drunk (even with limited amounts of alcohol) and bringing Dennis, Kevin and Owen with him. Neville was pleasantly red in the cheeks, watching Seamus and Ron making fools of themselves. Harry had promised himself Ron wouldn't drink too much, but then figured that investing in the ingredients and time to make sobering potions would probably pay off in the morning.

The only two who weren't completely smashed were Harry and Mikhail, but both were sitting on the edge of a fuzzy haze.

"I'm sure he'll be here soon, Harry," Mikhail finally said, giving Harry a kiss on the forehead.

"I think I should go over and make sure he's coming."

Mikhail knocked back the rest of his half-full glass. "Whatever you want, Harry," he said, shrugging.

"You could come with me," Harry offered.

Mikhail shook his head. "No, I better make sure these blokes don't break anything beyond a reparo." Harry laughed and kissed his boyfriend.

"I really like you."

"I really like you too." Mikhail leaned down and gave Harry another sloppy kiss.

"I'll be back in a few minutes," Harry said when they parted.

"Don't take too long, or I might have to go looking for you."

"I defeated Voldemort, I can do anything," Harry said imperiously, obviously going for humour.

Mikhail sighed dramatically. "My boyfriend, the hero."

"Gah! Stop it!" Harry said, laughing, slipping on his shoes and cloak. "I'm going out for a bit, guys! Don't break anything or hurt each other!" he said to the others.

"Okay, Harry!" came a chorus of obnoxiously drunk voices.

Smiling, Harry stepped outside into the cold, windy winter night. The wind helped dampen out the raucous noise behind him, before he stepped down off the porch and started over to Number Three. He pulled his cloak tighter around him as the wind kicked up and died down just as quickly.

He glanced over to Number Two to see how the girls' party was going, and only saw the yellow glow from the candles and fire. He shrugged. It sounded like a pretty boring party, compared to his.

He reached the third dorm quickly, and rapped loudly on the door before shoving his cold hand back into his cloak. Theodore Nott opened the door.

"Yes, Potter?"

"Hey, is Draco here? He was supposed to come over for Ron's party..."

Nott frowned. "He left a half-hour ago."

"He did?"


"Oh. Okay. If he comes back, could you let him know I came by?"


"Thanks, Nott."

"'Night, Potter."

Harry left Number Three feeling distinctly put out. Where the hell did Draco go?

As he passed Number Two, the air had become very still, and in the quiet, loud whooping and some cheers were heard from the girls' party. Curious as to what Ginny's party was really like, Harry crept up onto the porch and kneeled near the lounge window. Peering through a crack in the sheer curtains, Harry spied something he really wished he hadn't seen.

Hermione was kissing Draco.

Kissing, as in, full-on, snogging, and almost on the floor having sex, kind of kissing.

He stared, frozen, watching as the kiss was broken and the girls around them all laughed or called out.

They were obviously playing spin the bottle, but how the hell had Draco gotten involved?

There's no way he would willingly kiss Hermione... They must have caught him on his way over to the party and made him play!

Shaking his head, Harry finally stumbled back and ran over to his dorm, bursting into the lounge, panting hard.

"We've got to go rescue Draco!"

Everyone looked up from wherever they were sprawled, and Mikhail managed to push himself out of the chair he was planted in and stumble over to Harry.

"What does Malfoy need rescuing from?"

"The girls! They've kidnapped him!" Harry said in an alcohol-induced panic.

Ron sat up quickly, and Seamus raised his stein in the air. "Let's go gents! One of our own has been taken by the enemy!"

The drunken men all stood, staggering over to the foyer, where they put on their cloaks, and stumbled over their shoes, and where Harry kept urging them on in an attempt to make them move faster.

Finally, all the boys were outside, holding each other up against the wind and alcohol, and moving as quickly as they could with Harry's urging over to Number Two.

Harry jumped up onto the porch, tripping on the top step, and without pretence or decorum, promptly opened the front door and shoved his way in, the rest of his friends falling in after him.

The circle of girls plus Draco looked up from their game, all properly surprised by the intrusion. Hermione was instantly red, and avoided looking at Ron, though his eyes weren't focussed on anything in particular.

"Draco! We've come to rescue you!" Harry announced, stepping into the lounge.

Draco blinked at Harry rather stupidly. "Rescue me from what, Harry?"

"From them!" Harry pointed wildly, the girls all looking rather shell-shocked, or, in Raven's case, rather like the cat who got the cream. "Those...temptresses!" Harry turned to Ron and the rest of his entourage. "They were playing spin the bottle! Hermione and Draco were kissing!"

Ron, with his mouth hanging open slightly, squinted at Harry, and then swung his head over to look at Hermione, who wouldn't meet his eyes, then to Draco, who held Ron's gaze challengingly.

"Malfoy...you azzhole. I mean... ASShole. You can't stand having one girlfriend...you've to steal other people's...not to mention Harry..."

Hermione stood. "He hasn't stolen me, Ron. We were just playing a game."

"Harry?" Mikhail said. "What about Harry and Draco?"

Draco also stood. "It's nothing, Chaikovsky."

"It's just about Ron thinking that Draco was stealing me from him, that's all," Harry managed to say with some coherence, blinking as his brain processed that what he was saying made sense.

"Oh, Merlin! Enough of this stupid crap!" Daphne said. "Boys, sit down, let's continue our game."

"But - but -" Harry whimpered, as the other men shrugged and moved to sit down amongst the girls.

Mikhail patted his shoulder. "C'mon. Let's watch."

"What, you don't want anyone else kissing your boyfriend?"

Mikhail leaned in and kissed Harry, automatically slipping his tongue into his mouth. Harry welcomed him, flinging his arms around Mikhail's neck, and engaging fully in the kiss.

"Whoa, boys! Either get a room or come bring some of that to us!" Daphne yelled.

The two men broke apart, laughing. "To answer your question," Mikhail said in his ear, "No, I don't."

"Don't worry, Mikhail. I won't let anyone else kiss me like that. Besides, there are some cute girls over there..." Harry said, grinning and moving over to the circle.

Mikhail stopped following Harry and shuddered. "Eww. Girls."


Harry felt the pounding behind his eyeballs before he was even fully conscious.

Oh, god. What the fuck happened to my head?

Harry pried open his eyes to peer around the room he was in. He was still in the lounge, as was just about everyone who had been there...from what he could see from his position on the couch. He was leaning heavily against Mikhail, who was snoring softly beside him at the end of the sofa. He tried shifting his legs a little, and heard a grunt. Looking down, he found Draco's blond head lolling slightly in his lap. Raven was stretched out beside him, curled up half on top of him, her head on Draco's chest.

Holy crap...it's like the whole bloody quadrangle... Harry thought with a feeble laugh.

"Draco. Psst, Draco. Wake up," he prodded, jiggling his leg a little to rouse the blond.

Draco groaned a little then opened his eyes. "Hullo, Harry."

"Hi, Draco. Why is your head in my lap?"

"Stop talking...I have a headache," Raven mumbled from Draco's chest.

"I think we all do, love," Draco replied, running a hand over her head. He looked back up at Harry and said, "It was comfortable, I suppose; to answer your question."

Harry rubbed his temples. "Ugh. How come you're not grimacing in agony from a hangover?"

"Because I didn't drink nearly as much as you all did."

"Oh my god, shut up!" Daphne said from the floor.

Ron sat up, as if woken by a loud noise. "Wha?"

Harry snorted. "Morning, Ron."

"Morning?" Ron looked around, squinting as the early morning light hit his eyes. "Ow...my head..."

Mikhail shifted, pulling Harry closer to him. Harry looked back down at Draco, who was watching him silently. "You should probably move, before Mikhail wakes up. He won't like that you used my lap as a pillow."

Draco shrugged. "Well, I suppose we should all be getting up anyhow, seeing as it's the 'big day' and all." He wiggled a little to rouse Raven, saying, "Come on, love, time to get up."

"I donwanna."

"Come on." He urged her again, and she sat up rubbing her eyes, and pushing her hair out of her face.

"How long do we have?" she murmured quietly. "Until the wedding?"

"I don't know."

"Wedding?" Ron said. "Oh shit!" He scrambled to his feet from the floor, looking around wildly on the floor for his fiancée. "Hermione? Oh, ow..." Holding his head, he stumbled between sleeping bodies. "Hermione...?"

"She's over here, Ron," Harry heard Ginny say from behind the couch.

Everyone was starting to wake up at this point, except Seamus, who, from what Harry could see, was in what could be described as a comatose state, laying, face down on the floor, in a puddle of his own drool. Gross.

Draco was now sitting up next to Harry, Raven leaning against him. And then Harry started to remember what exactly had happened the night before.

They had all sat down to play spin the bottle. Mikhail had sat protectively next to Harry, but participated himself, getting his first kiss from Elenor Branstone, then Seamus, then Luna and Tracey, before he finally backed out to sit on the end of the couch and watch the proceedings.

Harry, thankfully, didn't have to kiss Draco, however, Raven's spin did land on him once, and that was something he didn't mind remembering. Though, he did have to kiss Hermione at one point, and Merlin knows that was awkward. But even more awkward, Harry belatedly remembered, was having to kiss Ron.

They stared at each other for a minute, then at the bottle Harry had spun. Then, at the same time, they both exclaimed,

"No. No way."

"I can't kiss him! He's my best friend!"

Draco rationalised, "Harry, you kissed Granger ten minutes ago."

"Yeah, well...this is Ron. It's different."

"Yeah," Ron protested, but didn't elaborate as to why it was so different, probably due to his inebriation.

"Just kiss each other already, so we can get on with this!" Daphne said.

"This is getting boring," Tracey said, leaning against Daphne.

"Fine." Harry remembered that he quickly moved the short distance to Ron and kissed him quickly on the mouth, wiping his own mouth with the back of his hand as he went to sit back in his seat. Ron had sat there for a moment, stunned, then continued the game by wiping his mouth and spinning the bottle.

Mikhail stirred next to him, and Harry was shaken out of his reverie. "Hey," Harry said. "Good Morning."

"Morning," Mikhail answered, rubbing his face and stretching. Harry kissed his stubble, smiling.

Ron managed to make his way across the room and around the couch to where Hermione was still getting up.

"Oh no, oh no," she was muttering. "The wedding... Oh Merlin, what time is it?"

"By the light, I'd say it's no later than nine, maybe ten," Draco said.

Ron was helping Hermione to her feet. "Oh, no. No, no, no, no, no. There's so much to do today... Oh, why did I let myself drink?" Hermione moaned.

"Well, you're all lucky," Harry announced. "Draco and I made plenty of hangover potion for everyone."

There was a sigh of relief all around the room, and Harry and Draco shared a smile. Arms then snaked around Harry's neck from behind and he jumped, before Ginny's face appeared between him and Mikhail.

"So who's party to you think was better, Harry? Yours or mine?"

"Oh, mine, definitely. We had a rescue mission."

"Which was unfounded, by the way," Draco said from his other side.

"We had lots of kissing. And truth or dare," Ginny said.

"And a kidnapping," Draco added again.

"We need an objective vote. Someone who was at both. Mikhail?" Harry asked.

Mikhail leaned forward, to look Harry directly in the eye. "I liked ours. No one was kissing you, or me, there. Except you."

Harry rolled his eyes, as did Draco, unseen to them. "Oh, Mikhail, it was just a game," Harry said.

"I know, I know. But can I help it if I don't want anyone else kissing my boyfriend?"

Harry leaned over and kissed him. "Well, I don't want anyone else kissing you, either." Mikhail smiled.

"Harry?" he heard Hermione whimper from behind him. "Hangover potion? Please?"

"Oh! Yes...I've gotta go over to the other dorm. Just a minute." Harry hoisted himself off the sofa, and made his way over to the door, putting on his trainers and cloak before going outside to go get the potion.

His footsteps were a little rocky, and his head was still spinning a little, but the cold air helped clear his head. He went to his dorm and retrieved the bottled potions from the kitchen, hoping he really had made enough for everyone. There were nearly two dozen people there, if Harry could remember everyone correctly.

When he returned, Hermione almost ambushed him for a swig, muttering how vile it was before dashing up the stairs to get ready for the day. One by one, Harry handed the potion out, taking some himself. Twenty minutes later, everyone had already gone home to prepare for the ceremony later that day, or were sticking around, helping Ron and Hermione prepare, by making them breakfast and the like.

Around noon, Mrs. Weasley showed up on the boy's doorstep, coming to make sure everyone was ready to Apparate South to The Burrow.

"Oh, Harry dear," she said. "You look just ghastly! Not getting enough sleep, dear?"

"Er...no, Mrs. Weasley. I imagine most of us haven't."

"Oh, did all you boys stay up all night?"

Harry nodded. "And the girls, too. We were...having a party, Mrs. Weasley."

"Oh dear. Well, don't you all know that the big party's today? Should have saved up your energy. Have any of you eaten?" She immediately went to the kitchen, whipping out her wand to set the stove alight, and to get some pans and food going.

"I know the girls have...but most of us over here, haven't, no."

"Alright then, dear. You make sure everyone's ready to go, and I'll just whip up some bangers and mash. Go on!" And she shooed Harry away, up the stairs to check on the others.


An hour and a half later, Harry was standing in Bill's old room with Ron, dressed in their brand new robes. The ceremony was in thirty minutes.

And Ron was having a panic attack.

"Ron, you need to calm down," Harry said, his hands out in a placating gesture.

"I don't think I can, Harry," he replied, well on his way to hyperventilation.

"Ron, there's nothing to be afraid of. It's just you and Hermione. That's easy, right? You just gotta say 'I do', and that's it."

"But - but - that's not it, Harry! I mean, there's my vows...you know I was never good at memorizing things, and now I'm not sure I remember anything at all! And then there's the ceremonial dance - Hermione's been making me practice, but there hasn't been much time, and hell, I've even seen it more than she has..."

"Ron. You'll be fine. I promise. And, if it's any consolation, Hermione made me memorize your vows too, so I could help you out, if you forget."

Ron looked up. "Really? You have?"

Harry nodded. "Yeah. Now will you get it together? We need to get outside."

Ron nodded. "Okay. Yeah, okay." He stopped his pacing and nodded again, as if to confirm something, then opened the door to the bedroom, stepping outside. Then immediately ran back into the room, nearly knocking over Harry, who was right behind him.

"Whoa, Ron, what the-"

"I can't do it, Harry! I can't remember anything, and my stomach is in knots-"

"Ron, Ron! Just think...in a few moments, you'll be outside, and then you'll see Hermione, and she'll be beautiful in her wedding robes, and then you'll be married!"

Ron looked momentarily stunned by the mental vision of what Hermione might look like in her wedding robes. Then he frowned and went to the window, looking down on everyone waiting in the garden for the wedding to begin. Thankfully, it wasn't raining...though, since it was December, the sky was naturally overcast.

"Wait-" Ron said, frowning. "What's Malfoy doing here?"

"You invited him, Ron," Harry said, wanting to roll his eyes.

"Even after he kissed Hermione?"

Harry nodded. "Yes, even after he kissed Hermione. While playing spin the bottle, I might add."

"We kissed too, didn't we?"

Harry felt embarrassment wash over him. "Yeah, Ron. But don't worry; I don't fancy you or anything."

Ron nodded. "I know. So why did I invite Malfoy again?"

Harry shrugged. "I don't really remember. Something about that he was actually alright. You extended the invite to Raven, too."

Ron groaned. "This is going to be a disaster."

"No it's not. Come on, Ron. The wedding's supposed to start soon. Let's go downstairs." Harry grabbed Ron by the shoulders and started ushering him out the door and down the stairs.

"Harry...the twins are here. Do you really think everything's going to go smoothly?"


Hermione took a deep breath, looking behind her at Ginny and smiling before stepping out of the kitchen and into the garden. She could feel the magic of the ceremony beginning to wash over her as her entry signalled the magic to start building until its crescendo at the finale.

At the end of the aisle, Ron looked up, and the expression on his face - so full of wonder and love - struck Hermione exactly through her heart, and she felt his love like a physical tingle all over her skin though there were several yards separating them. And she could hear his thoughts...which almost made her giggle, as they weren't much more than random gibberish, and a few syllables that sounded like adjectives if strung together in the right order. This was the beginning. The true beginning of their joining. When their love for each other became a physical magical manifestation, and there was no denying how real it was.

Hermione started up the aisle as a delicate harp melody played softly, her white robes glittering in the afternoon light, the overcast sky no match for the brilliance of her beauty. Her robes were as white as snow, and shimmered as it did on a sunny winter's day. Ice-blue silk lined in the inside of the long sleeves, and silk ribbon of the same colour crisscrossed over the front and back of the bodice, shaping her slim and womanly frame. Ribbon was laced around the edges of her sleeves, tied in a bow, and left to fall down to the ground. Her hair was braided close to her head around her face, and then styled in curling waves down her back; crowned in a wreath of tiny calla lilies with long blue ribbons flowing through her hair.

Harry was staring at her much like he had when he saw her at the Yule ball nearly ten years ago, and she smiled back at him.

Hermione saw Harry's eyes shift slightly, and knew that he was seeing Ginny, looking just as beautiful in mint green and gold, her own red locks falling in deep curls down her back, sparkling with gold magic.

Hermione finally reached Ron, smiling brilliantly as the procession ended. She handed her small bouquet of lilies to Ginny, who now stood beside her. The harp music trailed off softly, and Charlie, smiling broadly in his plain black robes, began the ritual.

"Today is a day of blessed union. It is also the Winter Solstice. Yule; the shortest day of the year. Yet today, we celebrate a joining of the longest, most potent magic there is. Love. Being an older brother of the groom, I cannot tell you how much pleasure it brings me to perform this rite; to join these two people who have loved each other since before they even knew they loved each other." There were a few chuckles at this, and then Charlie continued. "There are four important steps to this bonding - and none holds precedent over the others. This day, both in its calendar meaning, and in its ceremony, is a day to bear witness to the building blocks of the world around us. Terra; Aer; Ignis; Aqua. Each must be recognised before the souls gathered here, and before Magic, which flows through all things. Ron, Hermione, please light the union candle."

Charlie moved aside to reveal a small table behind him, which held a tall white pillar candle between two slim red tapers. Ron and Hermione stepped forward, drawing their wands from their sleeves. They each cast a magical blue fire to their taper, picking them up as one, and blending their fire to light the pillar. The pillar sprung to life, the magical blue flame twisting and changing colours constantly. Charlie explained the meaning of the gesture.

"Lighting this candle symbolises a few things. First, the bonding of their magic - using their magic to light the individual candles, then in turn light the one. It fuses their magic in a way that can only be done with true love - the second symbol of this gesture. Magic between two magical beings can only be combined in this way if there is pure commitment and unadulterated trust. Their love is fused as well, and this is the physical expression of their bond. May the light of your love last forever, through this ever-burning fire."

Ron and Hermione stepped back, and Ron put his wand away with shaking hands, smiling at Hermione, who bit her lip and smiled back, her cheeks rosy with the gathering cold. Harry couldn't stop grinning; this was the most wonderful thing he felt he'd ever had the grace to be a part of. Ginny locked eyes with him, and she was smiling too, almost on the verge of tears, he could tell, and she shuffled a little to cover up her tiny sniffle. Charlie continued the ceremony from his position behind the table.

"Ron, Hermione, would you please join hands."

Hermione placed her hands in Ron's larger ones, and they looked into each other's eyes as Charlie recited the incantation to start the bonding, pointing his wand at their joined hands.

"This is your bond. Your bond of love, your bond of trust, your bond of magic. In amor, in credo, per divinitus, ego redimio vos." A white-blue glow came from the end of Charlie's wand, and a rope of the same white-blue light coalesced on Ron and Hermione's clasped hands, wrapped around and around, glowing with brighter and brighter intensity as the ceremony went on. "Saying vows is the force of wind breathing life into our convictions, solidifying them for all to hear. Ron, it's time to say your vows."

Ron's gaze snapped from his hands to Charlie's face, and he gulped a little. "Um," he cleared his throat, and looked back down to his hands before catching Hermione's gaze. He stood there, completely still for a moment, and Harry elbowed him gently to get him going. Ron started again, a little louder. "Hermione, I--I love you. I guess that much would be apparent, considering I'm marrying you, but like Charlie said, I've loved you since before I even realised that that was what I was feeling.

"You've always been there, you know, nagging me to do my homework and things, berating me when I come to you to get it done in time, and at first, when we were just eleven, I thought you were bossy and a know-it-all. But it grew on me somehow, and it was almost too late before I realised what I was feeling. Even in school, when we were dancing around each other, I still couldn't admit that I had fallen for you. Most people wouldn't have thought you were the prettiest, but that didn't matter to me. In fact, it never crossed my mind. For a while, I thought you might like Harry," Ron said with a grin and a quick glance behind him, "but when it was apparent you weren't jealous when he was interested in other girls, and he obviously didn't like you that way, I thought maybe, just maybe, I would be able to capture your attention. I wasn't sure...you were so smart, and I always felt so dumb in comparison, I thought, 'why would you want me?' But finally, I did it; I asked if you wanted to be my girlfriend. It was practically the middle of the war, but you kissed me immediately and said 'yes' anyway, even though we weren't sure if we were going to be alive the next day.

"And then I couldn't help it; I fell in love harder." Ron glanced down at their hands, taking a deep breath. "You've made me so happy, Hermione, even when I thought you were going to drive me crazy; even when you were. I can't thank the heavens enough for letting us survive the war, for letting us have a chance at something this wonderful. I love you, Hermione, and I always will. I may not always be able to take care of you, because more than likely, you'll be the one taking care of me, but I'll try. That's my promise to you. To love you and care for you through anything." He took one last breath and looked up into Hermione's shining brown eyes. "This, I vow to thee."

There were definitely a few sniffles in the crowd, and Harry glanced over to see Draco looking moderately impressed. Raven was grinning beside him, and so were the rest of Harry's friends. Mikhail caught his eye and winked, and Harry looked back to Ron and Hermione, blushing.

Then it was Hermione's turn.

"Ron, I can't tell you how much of a blessing you are in my life. Even before I found out I was a witch, I wasn't very social. I was ostracised and thought of, as you put it, a bossy know-it-all. More than enough times did you hurt my feelings in school, because all I wanted was for you to be my friend, to really care about me, and then you did, and I just didn't notice. Neither of us was very good at expressing our true feelings, and I know I only confused you when I acted upset at you about something, just like I'm sure I didn't want to see why you were really such a prat about Viktor. But now I know. You loved me, and I was too blind myself to see what your reactions really meant. Harry never acted that way, and now I know why. You think I'm so smart, Ron, but really, my brains can't compare to your strength and courage in my life. You've kept me going, Ron, just when I thought nothing I could do would help, and you shoved humanity in my face, when all I was thinking about was hard facts. You've reminded me that life isn't in a book, and that there are other things besides facts to live by. You've brought life and love to me, and even as being friends with Harry might have put us all in danger, and you were always there as the strength I thrive off of. You're stronger and more brilliant than you realise, Ron, and I love you more so because of that.

"Perhaps to outsiders, you and I have looked like Harry's sidekicks, when really our combined strength and wit have been an important part of all our lives. And perhaps, to some, it's looked like we'd always get together, or that I was the one taking care of you. But Ron, you've been the one taking care of me. You don't know how much I rely on you, how scared I was that you might never ask me to be with you, that we might never get the chance to have this wonderful thing. I would have married you then, if you had asked, instead of asking me to be your girlfriend. Because I love you, Ron, and I have since before I wanted to acknowledge it. All my life I wanted to find that something special and you are that, Ron. And I promise to cherish that forever. To care for you even when you don't need it, and to support you in all that you do. Through anything. This, I vow to thee."

Hermione finished, having looked into Ron's blue eyes the entire time without falter. Ron's eyes were wet, and he smiled, sniffling. Ginny wiped her eyes, and Harry took a shuddering breath, blinking his happy tears away. Mrs. Weasley could be heard sobbing quietly in the audience.

Charlie cleared his throat softly, and pointed his wand at their hands, reciting the final incantation: "Per vestri amor, per vestri credo, per vestri lacuna, ego redimio vos."

Everyone watched as the glowing rope around Ron and Hermione's hands sunk down underneath their skin, fading as the bond took hold. Ron squeezed Hermione's hands once, swallowing and letting out a breath that sounded somewhat like relief. Even Hermione looked a little more relaxed. One of the hardest parts was over. The bond wouldn't have taken properly if the two hadn't meant what they had said with the utmost sincerity.

Charlie smiled. "And now it's time for Mother Earth to have her say. Harry, Ginny, the rings, please." As Harry and Ginny produced the rings from their robes, Charlie addressed the audience. "These rings are a physical representation of Ron and Hermione's love. They are forged from pieces of earth, in an everlasting circle; symbolising strength, unity, and life's cycles. It is with these rings, that their love is solidified and visual to the world."

Ron turned and accepted the delicate band from Harry, who held it out to him. Looking down at Hermione he said, "As this ring, my love is endless. Like the earth, it is eternal." He slipped the ring onto her left hand, his own shaking only slightly.

Hermione took her own, slightly wider band from Ginny, placing it on Ron's left hand and saying, "As this ring, my love is endless. Like the earth, it is eternal."

Charlie didn't need to prompt them to kiss-but it was sweet and full of emotion, and Harry thought he heard Mrs. Weasley cry a little louder, even as the twins whooped and their friends clapped loudly. The majority of the ceremony was complete. All that was left was the dance. Once again, he addressed the audience.

"This circle is nearly complete. One last part calls our attention. The Dance of Water. Please, let us all stand and follow the bride and groom to the reception area, where they will finalise their union in dance."

The small gathering rose, and followed the nervous bride and groom to an area a few yards away; where there was a tent set up with many tables laden with stay-fresh foods of all kinds, accompanied with tables surrounded by white wicker chairs for seating. Just outside the tent was a make-shift dance floor; a bit of the grass transformed into a solid wood-floor dancing area. As Hermione and Ron stepped onto the floor, and everyone gathered around, soft music began to play, a tinkling melody that told of love, and passion, and a life-long bond. The couple stood opposite, ready to start the age-old dance ritual; and as if on a cue, the overcast sky released thousands of tiny water crystals, falling slowly down, sparkling like diamonds.

Hermione smiled, her eyes reflecting the tiny sparkles, and Ron smiled back, feeling much more confident. At the right beat, he began the dance, one of the oldest rituals of a wizard wedding. He stepped diagonally to the right, keeping his eyes locked with Hermione's, raising his left hand to join with hers as they moved in a slow circle. Then they turned in place, switching hands and directions. Once they had completed the circle in both directions, Hermione stepped away, twirling and raising her arms up above her head before ending in a standing position, her arms stretched out from her sides, and her head tipped back, her back facing Ron.

Ron stepped forward, slipping his hand around her waist, and his other stretching out to clasp her hand and lead her in a large, graceful circle. At the end of their first pass, they quickly stepped back two steps together, then forward one. Then Hermione slid from Ron's embrace and twirled under his arm and around him in circles, while he followed her with his eyes. When she stopped behind him, it was nearly impossible to see her behind Ron, but they repeated their large circle from before; this time, with Hermione leading Ron.

When this circle was finished, Ron turned quickly and caught Hermione in his arms, pushing her back in quick steps that were near in sync with the music, and they danced, and he twirled her, and took steps that resembled a fast waltz, their hands changing positions, and only at one point was Ron required to lift her up in a half-circle.

He was doing amazingly well, Harry thought, seeing as he was just as clumsy as Ron in the dance department, and couldn't be any help at all in teaching him how to do his own steps. Thankfully, Ginny did know the dance, and managed to help her rhythmically-challenged brother from making a fool of himself in front of everybody.

Harry felt someone press gently into his side, and looked up to Mikhail, who was smiling softly down at him. Harry smiled back and took his hand, twining their fingers and looking back to his two best friends as the dance ended, the last note lingering on the quiet snowiness of the afternoon.

The quiet broke with the sobs and clapping of the audience, and Ron leaned down to kiss his new wife, giving her a hug that lasted for moments. The wedding-goers started to dissipate, most going to the tent for the reception, and the rest lingering around to congratulate the newly weds.

Mrs. Weasley popped up in front of Harry, tear tracks down her cheeks and a handkerchief clutched in her hand. "Oh Harry, dear," she cried, reaching up to give him a big hug. "The wedding was beautiful! And you look so handsome, and my baby boy is married - oh goodness!"

"It's okay, Mrs. Weasley. Yes, it was lovely," he replied, releasing Mikhail's hand and patting her on the back. Over her shoulder, he saw Mr. Granger and Mr. Weasley congratulating the couple, shaking hands with Ron and patting him on the shoulder, and giving Hermione teary hugs.

"Oh, Ginny!" Mrs. Weasley cried, moving from Harry to her daughter so quick that Harry almost fell forward. "Oh, Merlin, I should put up some heating charms so everyone doesn't freeze to death with this snow..." Mrs. Weasley rambled on, sniffling and appraising Ginny's appearance.

He heard a click and a whirr, and turned to the left to see Raven with her camera, taking pictures of Ron and Hermione and their fathers. She caught him looking and turned and snapped a shot of him as well. He blushed and turned away.

Mikhail leaned down. "You look amazing, Harry."

Blushing harder still, Harry said, "You look pretty nice yourself."

Mikhail smiled, though it waned slightly as he caught sight of something behind Harry. Harry turned and saw Draco, and prayed to any and all gods out there that there wouldn't be a fight between them today.

"Hi, Draco."

"Hello, Harry. Lovely wedding. Weasley didn't trip up once. I'm surprised."

"I am too, actually," Harry said, chuckling.

"You look stunning in your dress robes," Draco said with a smirk.

Harry glanced away and felt Mikhail's presence right behind him. "Er...thank you. Yours look nice too."

Draco caught Mikhail's eye then looked back to Harry and grinned. "Well, I'd better go congratulate the bride and groom. See you around, Harry. Chaikovsky."

"Bye, Draco."

Mikhail nodded. "Malfoy."

Draco turned away then turned back around and stepped forward, looking directly into Mikhail's dark brown eyes. "Normally I wouldn't really care about asking, but would you mind if I steal Harry for one dance later?"

Mikhail narrowed his eyes in thought, looking Draco up and down as if something funny might have gotten into the water; assuming he'd had anything to drink that day.

"I don't dance, Draco," Harry put in, hoping to ease some of the strange tension.

"One dance," was Mikhail's curt reply, ignoring Harry's comment.

"Hey!" Harry protested, turning around to look up at Mikhail.

"One dance," Draco acknowledged, nodding before turning away to go talk to Ron and Hermione.

Harry gaped after him. "Why is it no one listens to me?"

Mikhail kissed his hair and gave him a hug from behind. "Because I was trying not to fight with Draco on your friend's wedding day."

"You ignored me too," Harry pouted.

Mikhail was saved from answering by Ron and Hermione waving Harry over to them just as Draco nodded at them and walked into the tent, smiling. Harry extracted himself from Mikhail's embrace and jogged over to where his best friends stood.

Ron wrapped him in a hug immediately. "Holy crap, Harry, I'm married."

Harry hugged him back fiercely. "You totally deviated from your vows. You were on your own, mate."

Ron pulled back, grinning ear to ear. "Yeah, I know. I couldn't even remember the first words, really, so I just figured, 'what the hell' and went with it."

Hermione looped her arms through Ron's. "And after he said all those things, I couldn't really just reply with what I had originally, so I winged it too."

Harry stepped over and gave Hermione a hug as well, kissing her on the cheek. "You look beautiful, Hermione. I hadn't a chance to tell you that."

"Thank you, Harry. You look handsome too, in your robes."

"So everyone says," Harry replied, rolling his eyes.

Raven walked up, camera in hand. "Hello Mr. and Mrs. Weasley. Mind if I get a picture of the wedding party?"

Hermione smiled. "That'd be great! Thanks, Raven. I think our photographer is in the tent somewhere..."

"My pleasure. Where's Ginny?"

"Over there," Harry said, gesturing to the tent. "Hey, Ginny! We're taking pictures!"

Ginny said something to Seamus, whom she had been talking to, and walked over, raising her hands to her hair to make sure it was still set.

"Where should we stand?" Hermione asked.

Raven glanced around. The snow was still falling, but very softly, and there was already a fine dusting on everything. "Under that tree, over there," she answered, pointing to a large elm tree just to the right of the tent.

Ron and Hermione stood in the middle, with Harry and Ginny flanking them. Raven set up a tripod, quickly attaching the camera before taking a few shots. Then she asked to take a few of just Ron and Hermione, then Harry and Ginny, and finally, the parents with the bride and groom.

While Harry watched as Mrs. Weasley fussed over her hair and robes, Mikhail came up next to him and asked, "Hungry? It looks like there are some really delicious offerings."

"Well, I'd expect them to be delicious. Mrs. Weasley's the best." Harry turned to Mikhail and smiled. "But yeah, I am a bit hungry. Even though Mrs. Weasley cooked us all breakfast, we were in such a hurry, I don't think much of us ate anything."

Mikhail smiled. "Let's go get some food, then."

The tent was full of hungry and chattering patrons, the loudest of which were the twins, who were standing conspicuously close to the punch bowl. Harry filled his plate with hors d'oeuvres and treacle tarts, his favourite dessert, and, narrowing his eyes at Fred and George, took a glass of ruby red punch, sitting down next to Mikhail at a table nearby.

Seamus was wolfing down some food as well, and the rest of his mates were either getting food or sitting down to chat and wait for the newly weds to arrive in the tent. Draco was talking to a cousin of Ron's...and it looked like he was remembering that he was a very distant cousin of this man as well. He was a catty thing, babbling away with bright eyes and red hair, and Draco looked as if being polite was going to break a bone. Harry spotted Dumbledore talking to Remus, Bill and Charlie, and he was happy to see the old man was still fairing well. The photographer was wandering around, snapping pictures of groups and individuals.

Looking around, Harry realised that mostly everyone there was a friend from school; or some random family member of Ron's Harry didn't know. Harry wondered if it bothered Hermione to not have all of her family there, seeing as they were Muggles.

The food was just as good as Harry knew it would be, and the punch was also rather tasty. The twins came over and wrapped themselves around Harry, calling hellos and whispering lewd questions in his ear.

"So, Harry, we hear you're bangin' blokes now. Why didn't you tell us?"

Harry flushed bright red and elbowed Fred in the gut. "Fred... I'm not banging anyone."

"What? We were led astray? Damn those papers! We should sue for misleading information!" exclaimed George.

"I do have a boyfriend, though, George, who you're practically sitting on."

George made a strange yelping sound and whirled around, moving to stand next to his brother.

Mikhail smiled and stood. "You must be the infamous Weasley Twins. Harry's told me a bit about you."

"Infamous?" Fred said.

"Twins?" asked George. "Who told you that rubbish?"

Harry laughed and rolled his eyes, introducing the twins to Mikhail, and diverting their attention by asking about their ever-growing business. That took them off in a whole new direction, and they sat down at the table, bringing much laughter to whoever was listening in.

"So what new inventions have you got going since we talked last?" Harry asked, standing to get more punch.

Just then, Ron and Hermione came into the tent, followed by their parents. Everyone broke out in applause, and Harry watched as the twins jumped up and bounded over to their brother, giving him noogies, and kissing Hermione in an almost un-brotherly way. Mrs. Weasley wiped her tears and conjured up another tent to cover the dance floor, complete with twinkling lanterns and a radio, which she quickly charmed to play music non-stop.

"Harry, it's delightful to see you again."

Harry turned around to find Dumbledore, still spry despite his long years, still twinkling eyes despite a war, having gained a few wrinkles to add to the merry lines in his face.

"Professor Dumbledore, hi!" Harry shook his hand. "How have you been?"

"Oh, just wonderful, really. Hogwarts students never really change. Still the same old rivalries, despite everything."

Harry nodded. "I can imagine some resentment..." he said uncomfortably, trailing off.

"So, Harry, I hear you're doing well these days. Got yourself a boyfriend, the rumours say."

Harry blushed. "Er... yes, I do."

"I'm guessing he's that bright young man who's been sitting next to you."

"Oh, yes. Mikhail. His name is Mikhail Chaikovsky."

"He seems very nice. Went to Hogwarts, didn't he? I am starting to find my memory isn't what it used to be."

Harry's brow crinkled, thinking that Dumbledore had to be nearing 170, so the fact that he remembered much of anything was a miracle. He shrugged. The Wizarding World had its own mysterious ways of cheating death.

"Yes, he did go to Hogwarts," Harry answered. "Left in 1993."

"Hm. Well, I suppose he's worth settling on."

Something about the old man's tone made Harry pause in his punch drinking. "What do you mean by that, Professor?"

Dumbledore put a heavy gnarled hand on his shoulder, with a kind smile. "I hope you're happy, Harry, my boy."

"I am." I think.

"Ah, well, I must be going; I hear the truffles calling me."

Harry stared after Dumbledore in confusion. He really was a dotty old man, Harry concluded, and poured more punch into his glass.

Mikhail stood and walked over to him. "Do you want to dance?"

Harry smiled, but rolled his eyes. "Mikhail, I'm never going to learn how to dance. Why don't you just give up now and save your self the bruised toes?"

Mikhail kissed him on the cheek. "Because I love you, and I have faith in your ability to do anything." He took the glass of punch Harry had just poured and took a drink himself. "Besides, I can't have you dance with Malfoy first."

"Oh will you two just cut it out?" Harry groaned, laughing under his breath. "Maybe I don't want to dance at all, how's that sound?" he said, putting his hands on his hips.

"Too bad, you're dancing anyhow," Hermione said from behind them, and they turned to look at her.

"What do you mean, Hermione?" Harry asked.

"You're dancing with me, Harry, that's what I mean. Come on," she said, grabbing a hold of his hand and dragged him over to the dance floor, where Ron was curiously dancing with Raven. Harry arched an eyebrow, but didn't have much time to think about it as Hermione spun him around, and said, "Take my waist." Rolling his eyes for what had to be the tenth time in twenty minutes, Harry did as he was told, and let Hermione lead him in a semi-slow dance.

"Are you enjoying yourself?" Hermione asked, looking up at him.

"Of course, are you kidding me? My two best friends in the whole world just got married, I got to be a part of it, and I get to enjoy Mrs. Weasley's cooking. Ron's mother, not you," he added, smiling at her.

Hermione blushed and covered her face with one hand. "Oh my god, I nearly forgot. I'm 'Mrs. Weasley' now."

"Now Draco can't call you 'Granger' anymore, either."

"I'm sure he'll just love having someone else to call 'weasel'," she joked.

"Oh, he's gotten over that, for the most part," Harry replied.

"I'm glad to hear that." She paused, and continued with a slightly more solemn look. "I'm sorry I haven't been there for you much lately, Harry. I know you've been dealing with Mikhail and Malfoy..."

"Don't, Hermione. Don't be sorry. You've been busy planning this awesome wedding! It's fine. There's nothing really going on; just general hostility. Makes me wonder if that's what Draco and I were like back at Hogwarts."

Hermione smiled. "From what I've heard, it doesn't even compare."

Harry raised his eyebrows. "Were we really that bad?"

"Harry, think about all the things you guys did to each other, in the name of mutual hatred. Is that anything like what Malfoy and Mikhail have going on now?"

Harry thought for a moment. "Er...I guess not," he answered, chuckling. "But really, don't worry about me. This is your wedding day. You're beautiful, the ceremony was beautiful, and you've got a whole reception to get through. By the way, I think the twins put something in the punch." He scrunched up his nose in thought. "I've had a few glasses though, and I don't feel any different, so maybe not."

Hermione threw back her head and laughed. "Oh, Merlin, give me strength. I am now related to those two."

"You know you're going to have twins just like them, don't you?"

Hermione dropped her head on his shoulder and groaned.


Raven smiled at Ron and asked again. "Would you like to dance?"

"Er...um..." Ron looked to Hermione who smirked and nodded. "Knock yourself out, Raven."

Raven grinned and took Ron's hand, leading him over to the dance floor, while Hermione stepped farther into the tent. Ron gulped nervously and said,

"Malfoy's not gonna kill me for touching his girl, is he?"

Raven put Ron's hands on her waist, and put her hands on his shoulders. "No, Weasley. You'll be fine. In fact, I think after the dance ritual, Draco told me he wouldn't mind dancing with the bride."

Ron narrowed his eyes as they danced. "He better not try anything."

Raven smiled. "He won't."

"Why'd you want to dance with me?"

Raven shrugged. "I dunno. It seemed like the thing to do. You're the groom; I thought I should offer you my congratulations."

Ron shrugged. "Okay then."

Raven smiled. "You're not so bad, Weasley."

"You're not so bad yourself," Ron replied with a smile of his own. He looked over to his wife, who had actually managed to get Harry to dance. "Raven?"


"Do you still like Harry?"

Raven looked puzzled. "You mean, like him, like him?"

Ron turned back to her. "Yeah."

Raven looked over to Harry and Hermione and soft look passed through her eyes. "Yeah. I do."

"I still don't understand how you and Malfoy could..."

"Could what? Both want Harry?"

"Er...yeah. I mean, maybe it just goes against my sensibilities, but even if Hermione and I both liked the same person, I wouldn't be able to see her with him. Or her," he added as an afterthought. "I would just be too jealous, I think."

Raven shrugged. "I don't really know how to explain it. Draco really didn't like him three and a half months ago. I did. And...well, I sorta got him to see Harry the way I did. As someone to care for, rather than to antagonise."

Ron nodded. "I understand that part. I just don't know how Malfoy could go from hating Harry to wanting to be his friend so quickly. And then wanting to shag him."

Raven debated on how to answer that and finally said, "Maybe there was something there before that no one really saw; and it took a little push and shove in the right direction to find it."

Ron looked calculatingly down at her. "I don't think Harry's over Malfoy," he said abruptly.

"You don't?"

"No. Don't tell Malfoy, but...I don't think Harry's as happy with the Captain as he seems to be. Don't get me wrong - I'd rather see Harry with someone other than Malfoy - but I think what happened between him and Harry hit Harry hard, and he hasn't gotten over it."

Raven cocked her head. "I think, Mr. Weasley, that you may be right. I know it's eating Draco alive, seeing Harry with Mikhail. It hasn't been easy. And, I don't take any offence with you subtlety bashing my boyfriend either, so don't worry about me hexing you on your wedding day," she finished sweetly.

Ron blushed. "Er...sorry. I didn't mean to."

"Yes, you did, Weasley. But that's okay. I imagine it hasn't been easy getting used to the idea that Draco Malfoy now has a permanent fixture in your life; in your best friend's life; when you were perfectly happy ignoring him after the war."

"Yeah... That - was a challenge. Harry and I fought a bit over that one."

Raven grinned. "I'm sure you did."


Once Harry and Hermione were done dancing, Mikhail swooped in and took Harry for a spin, laughing hysterically at Harry's wide-eyed look.

"Mikhail...." Harry mock-whined.

"Come on, love. One dance. Please?"

"Oh, alright. You've twisted my arm," Harry said, grinning, and leaned up to kiss Mikhail soundly on the mouth, earning a few catcalls and whistles from the Weasley clan, and a few gasps if he wasn't mistaken.

Oh, who cared? Harry liked blokes, the whole world knew, and he didn't give a fuck what they thought about it. He had a sweet, protective boyfriend, lots of supportive friends, and a wonderful career ahead of him, whichever one he decided to take.

He and Mikhail enjoyed their dance, and then Harry insisted on sitting down and socialising. The reception was up and running at this point, with everyone laughing jovially, eating, drinking, and going to the bride and groom to extend congratulations, hugs, and small gifts. Dumbledore was charming some young relations of Ron's by sending singing bubbles into the air that changed into butterflies and made the children bounce with glee and laughter, jumping around and trying to catch them in their tiny hands. It even looked like Draco was having fun; he was sitting with Charlie, and Bill, laughing more than Harry ever remembered seeing him do before outside of with Raven. Maybe there was something in that punch...

Raven was sitting next to Draco, but her attention was diverted to little Natalie MacDonald, who was on her right, talking to her in noticeable hushed tones. Their conversation didn't look particularly serious though, because everyone was smiling or laughing. But this was a wedding, right?

Remus appeared by Harry's side, and Harry stood to give him a hug.

"Hi, Remus."

"Good to see you, Harry." He leaned a little closer. "How've you been?"

Harry caught the undertones of Remus' question. "Oh, fine. Great, actually. You?"

Remus smiled. "The full moon was about ten days ago. I'm back on my feet. It's good to be at something so happy after so long."

Harry smiled. "I'm so happy for them. I nearly cried."

Remus' laughter was hearty. "It's good to cry a little sometimes, I think. But I'm glad you're doing well, Harry. Come by for tea, won't you?"

"I will, Remus."

A Celestina Warbeck song started on the radio, and Mrs. Weasley insisted that she dance with her little newlywed son to her favourite singer. Ron groaned but complied anyway, and Draco noticed their movement to the other tent and caught Harry's eye, gesturing to the dance floor with his head.

Harry rolled his eyes and nodded, kissing Mikhail and whispering that Draco wanted his dance right then. Mikhail just kissed Harry again and said that that was fine, and to go have fun. Harry might have thought this was odd, except he was enjoying himself too much to care.

He met Draco on the dance floor, and automatically put his arms around Draco's shoulders, while Draco slipped his arms around Harry's waist and held him very closely. Harry didn't mind that either.

"I think...Fred and George really did put something in the damn punch," Harry said into Draco's shoulder. "Because Mikhail just told me to go have fun dancing with you."

"Maybe he's coming around. No one can resist my charms for long, Potter. You know that."

Harry lifted his head. "Yeah. I know."

While they danced, Draco saw Raven drag Chaikovsky to the dance floor from over Harry's shoulder. He shot a curious eyebrow with the girl, and got a smirk in return. Sighing, he looked down at the man in his arms.

"I miss you, Harry."

"Draco, I miss you too, but don't start. Please."

"I'm not; I'm just saying I miss you. Even before...it was like it was just you and me, you know? Now I've got to compete for your time with Chaikovsky, and I miss having you around more often."

"Well, I have a boyfriend now, and you have Raven. So there's really no reason to miss me."

"Don't you miss Weasley and Granger from time to time?"



"Remember? She's a Weasley now."

Draco rolled his eyes. "Whatever. You know what I meant. When they started dating, didn't you miss just having them around as friends rather than watching them suck face?"


Draco frowned. "Yeah, that was a bad mental image."

"So was you kissing Hermione."

Smirking, Draco retorted, "Jealous, Potter?"

"You wish, Malfoy." Harry shook his head. "No...just...alarmied. I was drunk. I swear I saw you guys practically on the floor all over each other. I thought I should warn Ron."

"Like I'd really want something he touched. No offence to Grang- er...whatever. Hermione, then. She's not really so bad. Still a bloody know-it-all though."

"You know, I wouldn't be alive today if it weren't for her brains."

"And for that, I am forever grateful to her over-sized cranium."

"Her head isn't big."

"Not physically, you dolt. Ugh, nevermind. How much of that bloody punch did you drink?"

"A few glasses, I think."

"Hm. I only had one. You say you think the twins did something to it?"

"They were standing rather close to it earlier."

Draco frowned, thinking he'd have to look into it before he had any more. The blond breathed in, and he could smell Harry, unconsciously pulling him closer. He could feel the heat of Harry's body through his robes, and could faintly smell the shampoo and aftershave he used. He swore he could feel Harry's heartbeat, and wished that it were true, because it would mean their hearts beat in sync. To him, it was like they fit perfectly, and Draco couldn't understand how Harry could be denying something that felt so right.

"I would do anything to go back with a Time-Turner and change what happened that morning," he said softly into Harry's ear, almost as if thinking out loud.

Harry looked up and found himself closer than he remembered wanting to be to Draco. "Er...Draco..."

"I would, Harry. You know I would."

Harry pulled back as much as Draco allowed. "Draco, I said-"

"Am I standing too close to you now?" the blond asked, his voice dropping and becoming almost husky.

Harry frowned. "Um...yeah. Mikhail might get angry, and I really don't want you two to fight."

Draco bit his lip, and debated with himself. Harry really wasn't drunk, so he couldn't take advantage of the situation, and if he was being perfectly honest with himself, he really didn't want to; not like this. But there must be something going on, because hadn't he just had an absolutely wonderful conversation with Lupin and two of the Weasley brothers? Maybe it was because they were older and more sophisticated, Draco thought to himself.

"But you don't mind?" Draco asked, hope trapped in his throat.

"Yes, I do." Harry replied, and Draco's heart sank just a little.

The song ended, and just as he was releasing Harry from his hold, Raven and Chaikovsky came over and he said, "Malfoy, can I dance the next one with you?"

Harry, of course, looked more than a little perplexed, but stepped away, immediately being pulled to the side by Raven, who asked him to dance as well. Draco looked at the Russian calculatingly. "How much punch did you have?"

"What? Oh, I few glasses, why?"

"Has everyone gone mad?" Draco asked some-what seriously, and managed to catch the Weasley twins snickering over in the corner, watching as whatever they had done was affecting the people at the wedding.

"Weasley!" Draco yelled, garnering the attention of nearly everyone in attendance, stepping right past Harry and his boyfriend to the twins who were now laughing hysterically.

"Un-do it!" Draco demanded.

"Un-do what, Malfoy?" they asked in unison.

"Un-do whatever you did to make everyone so..." He uncharacteristically floundered for the right adjective.

"So cheerful?" one twin said.

"So loving?" said the other.

"So congenial that everyone's getting along just fine when we all know that most of the people here don't like you?" they said in unison.

Draco looked around and noticed that there were more than a few suspicious glances their way, but none of them were hostile, just curious as to the commotion.

"I... Well, what did you do?" he asked, genuinely curious, and purely in a text-book manner.

"Oh, one-part truth, one-part cheer, one-part amour, and one-part relaxation," they said in unison; annoyingly smart-ass grins on their faces.

"What on earth is that?" Draco asked, scanning his knowledge for something that would require parts like the ones they mentioned.

"We just thought adding something to the punch might help keep things smooth... you know?" said Fred.

"And we couldn't resist trying a new product on such a diverse demographic," said George.

"Diverse? More than half of these people are related to you!"

"And you," they said.

Draco huffed. "Oh shove off. And stop experimenting your products on unsuspecting people."

"This is just our uncontrolled test run. We have yet to test it on people who actually know what they're taking."

"Fred, George, what have you done?" Hermione said, overhearing the conversation and stomping over, placing her hands on her hips. "You haven't ruined my wedding, have you?"

Fred and George stepped forward and put their arms around Hermione, leading her away from the tents. "Of course not, new little sister," they said in a suspiciously consoling tone.

While they talked, Draco turned and saw everyone on the dance floor looking at them curiously. He gestured to everyone to go about their business, and walked over to Harry and Chaikovsky and said, "You still want that dance?"

Chaikovsky shrugged. "I did ask, didn't I?"

"Well, at least you can dance."

"Hey!" Harry exclaimed.

"Go dance with Raven, Harry," Draco said, and grabbed Chaikovsky by the arm, steering him to a table on the edge of the other tent and pushing him into a chair.


"Shut up, Chaikovsky. Just sit here and watch your boyfriend and my girlfriend dance, okay?" Draco snapped, sitting down next to him.

"I was just trying to be nice, Malfoy."

"Nice? By asking me to dance? Merlin, that shit must have dumbed up people's natural sensibilities. The fact that you felt the need to be nice to me makes my skin crawl."

"It makes your skin crawl?"

"Yes. You're not supposed to be nice to me, and I'm certainly not going to be nice to you."

"You're such an ass, Malfoy."

Draco's grin was something akin to feral. "Thanks, Nancy."


"Why does everyone want to dance with me?" Harry asked, looking at the woman in his arms.

"'Cause you're cute," Raven replied, smiling.

Harry shrugged. "I suppose. I think you're cute."

"You do?"

Harry nodded. "Yep. Much cuter than me. I'm...awkward."

Raven threw back her head and laughed. "Only on the ground, love."

Harry took a chance and spun himself and Raven around in a circle, which garnered a laugh from the girl.

"I'm not so bad," Harry said after the spin, which left both of them a little dizzy.

Raven leaned heavily against him, and he tightened his arms around her, putting his face in her hair and breathing in. She smelled woodsy and spicy. In his slightly muddle-minded state, he couldn't tell if it turning him on was a bad thing or not.

"No, not so much," she replied, turning her face into his neck.

"Oh my god. Look at that," Harry said in abject mortification, looking over Raven's shoulder.

Raven turned her head and looked behind her to where Dumbledore was waltzing in large sweeping circles with Ron's Great Aunt Mildred, before twirling her and beginning to shimmy with her, looking rather like a teenager at a social.

Raven bit her lip to keep from laughing, and finally buried her face in Harry's neck to keep her laughter muffled.

"Oh, that's just so wrong," she said, and Harry had to turn his own face into her hair to hide his chuckles. They were like that for a few moments, silently holding their amusement in, before Harry asked,

"So how much punch have you had?"

Raven lifted a half-bare shoulder. "A few glasses."

"How much is a few?"

"About the same few you had."

Harry smiled lazily. "Why are there so many slow songs?" he asked, puzzled.

Raven laughed again. "This song isn't actually that slow, Harry. You're just not moving fast enough."

"This is the only kind of dancing I know how to do."

"Then that's how we'll dance," Raven replied, smiling.


"They look awfully comfortable with each other," Mikhail said to Draco, who decided he did, in fact, need more of that "lovey-dovey" punch, and had accioed himself a glass while he watched Raven and Harry dance.

"They are. Very comfortable," he said pointedly, throwing back half that glass at once.

"What do you mean by that?" Mikhail asked, glaring at the blonde.

"Well, Raven is a very attractive woman. I'm not sure if you noticed that, seeing as you're gay and all."

"Harry's gay too."

"No, he's not."

"He's dating me, isn't he?"

Draco resisted rolling his eyes. "He's bi, you arse. He told you so."

Mikhail frowned. "What, so is your bird trying to take Harry from me too?"

"Who said anything about anyone taking Harry from you?"

"I'm not an idiot, Malfoy. I know you fancy him."

Draco threw back his head and all but cackled. "Fancy?" Another peal of laughter burst out of Draco, and through his tears he saw Mikhail flush red with what he hoped was embarrassment.

Catching his breath he said, "I don't fancy Potter, Chaikovsky." I love him.

"He's mine, Malfoy," Mikhail glowered.

"And I'm sure he absolutely adores being kept by you like a common whore."

"You know I didn't mean it like that, Malfoy. Don't make fun of what we have, which you so obviously lack in your life."

Draco gave him an incredulous glare. "And just what might that be?"

"Are you two fighting again?" Harry said from above them, hands on his hips and an amused Raven standing next to him.

"No," both men grumbled.

"Good." Harry then plopped down on Mikhail's lap and kissed him. "Having fun?"

"I am now that you're here."

Raven sat on Draco's lap and gave him a consoling kiss on the cheek. "How's it going, love?"

"Oh, peachy. You?"

Raven smiled. "Ditto."

Draco looked past Raven's shoulder, and saw something he was looking for. "Oh - there's the bride, back from her tirade with the horror twins. I'm going to go ask her to dance before I forget. I'll be back in a little while, love."

"Have fun," Raven said, standing and going off to get some food.


"Oi! Granger!"

Hermione stopped in her tracks, then slowly turned around. "What, Malfoy? And you know that's not my name anymore, right?"

Draco grinned. "Just wondered if you'd still respond." He dipped down in a mid-bow. "Hermione, would you care to dance?"

Hermione raised an eyebrow, but put her hand in his outstretched one. "As long as you don't try anything."

Draco was mock-scandalized. "Like I would ever steal another man's wife."

Hermione smiled, and they went to the dance floor, where the lanterns grew brighter as the night's darkness cocooned them in. Draco took her in his arms in a classic hold and then began the pleasant waltz that had just started.

"I must say, you do look rather ravishing. Hear my parents turning over in their graves," he added sardonically.

Hermione giggled. "Thank you, Malfoy. Are you enjoying yourself? I must say, I was a little worried when Ron drunkenly decided to invite you. I wasn't sure how that would go down with his family."

Draco shrugged. "It looks like whatever the twins did to the punch paid off, I suppose."

Scowling, Hermione said, "Yes, well, at least it wasn't worse. They really can cause the most havoc. This doesn't actually seem to be a joke, though...I wonder how they're going to market it?"

"Oh, you could easily slip it into a teacher's pumpkin juice and persuade them to give you good marks, or perhaps convince your boss that he really, really likes you and should give you a raise or promotion... really, if anyone's in a good enough mood, they're likely to do anything for you."

Hermione looked horrified. "Sometimes I still wonder why the twins weren't in Slytherin."

Draco grinned. "Still too bloody noble."

Hermione looked at Draco thoughtfully. "You're not so bad, Malfoy."

"You're not so bad yourself, Mrs. Weasley." He scrunched up his nose. "I think I'll actually have to resort to calling you by your given name. That just sounds so wrong."

Laughing, the bride said, "Well, it beats 'Granger' or 'Mudblood'."

Draco smiled. "That it does. Congratulations, Hermione."

"Thank you, Draco."


It was now nearing midnight, and the party had been going fairly strong until about a half-hour ago, when people started falling asleep in their chairs, or saying their farewells and good wishes and Apparating home.

The Weasley family was picking up the remnants of the party, with the help of a few straggling friends. Draco and Raven lit out a few minutes ago, seeing as they had to head to Wiltshire in the morning. Harry was resting peacefully in his chair, his head cradled in his arms, while Mikhail helped pick up a bit before kissing his sleeping boyfriend on the head and going home, whispering that he'd see him in a few days. The only indication Harry might have heard him was a sleepy murmur and a shift of his head.

Ron and Hermione were sharing one last dance, before they'd get some rest and Apparate to Greece the next day. The music was a slow, soft tune, and they stood very close together, Hermione's head resting on Ron's shoulder, her left hand cradled in his right, turning in a nearly non-existent circle.

"It went fairly well, I think," said Ron, kissing Hermione's braided hair.

"I think so too, considering your brothers," Hermione murmured quietly.

"And Malfoy."

"Yes. You know, he's decided to actually call me Hermione."



"Well, isn't that interesting. His girl told me I was 'all right' while we were dancing earlier."

"Draco said the same to me."

"Curious, that."

"Not so much. They're probably just trying to be friends with Harry's friends. Draco was over a lot more recently. And we all got along with all the Slytherins last night."

"True, that."

Hermione lifted her head. "I love you, Ronald Weasley."

Ron smiled. "I love you too, Hermione Weasley."

Hermione snickered. "That does sound a little funny, doesn't it?"

Ron frowned. "Yeah, a bit. Mrs. Hermione Weasley. Ugh, we should hyphenate it to Hermione Granger-Weasley. The other way, you sound like my mum."

Hermione laughed; a tinkling, joyful sound that rang out through the tent and into the darkened night beyond; covered by a noiseless blanket of pure-white snow.


1. In love, in trust, in magic, I bind thee.

2. Through your love, through your trust, through your words, I bind thee.
A/N: Okay! So - how'd you like it? :D I had a lot of fun writing this chapter, even though it took me forever. lol There was a lot going on in this chapter...I hope you guys caught everything. I know there was a lot of dancing, but really, it was just a prop for the conversations. In between all the merry and eating, I mean. :) Anyhow, again, I'm sorry it took so long... I was waiting for my site to be finished before I posted anything... So if you want to be the first to get updates, please sign up for my mailing list! (It's on my site, which is on my user page.) Thanks! I'll be working on "Original Sinn" here for a bit, so there may not be a next chapter of "The Bet" for a while...I'm hoping it won't be too long, though, but RL has brought with it some changes, both really good and somewhat bad, so I do have to deal with that as well. So no begging for new chapters. I won't listen.

P.S. I'm sorry for not directly responding to most of everyone's reviews. I feel horrible - I'm usually pretty good at doing that, but my life has just been so crazy lately. In the good way, mostly, but I just keep finding myself falling behind in some things...