Pegasus Tears

Part of the Willow Series

Title: Pegasus Tears
Author: ExcentrykeMuse
Pairing: Hadrianne Ivy/Draco

Wordcount: 21k
Rating: PG13
Summary: Draco was surprised when he found Ivy weeping in the girls’ loo.  He’d been in love with her since they were eleven, and now he had the chance to save her from the First Task through an ancient marriage ritual …

Warnings: rule 63, underage marriage, canon deaths, manipulation, gender roles

Part the First—The Courtship

Draco honestly believed that he had loved Ivy Potter from the first moment he had laid eyes on her.  They had only been eleven years old and both getting fitted for robes.  Ivy had been in a Muggle dress and ripped tights, her hair cut unevenly at her chin, but still her inner beauty had seemed to shine out of her eyes.  Draco tried to impress her, but somehow earned her unending ire.

He was tempted, now, to finish with these horrible buttons.  One of the seventh years had put him up to it and, well, Draco was one of the best students in Charms in the entire school, even if he was only a fourth year.  The buttons were simple.  They proclaimed, “Support Cedric Diggory, the real Hogwarts Champion,” and then flashed, “Potter stinks.”

Draco hated the buttons with a vengeance but he wasn’t unintelligent.  Doing this would gain him favor in the house and ensure that he wasn’t ever caught in the crossfire of any duels the upper years were involved in.  It was rumored that Eloise Midgen had been in the middle of one during her first year, and now look at her horrible acne!

Shuddering at the thought, Draco admitted he was vain.  How could he get Ivy Potter to notice him?  He had been found wanting as a friend, but not as a boyfriend, and Draco was the best looking boy of his year.  Yes, his face was a bit pinched and narrow, but it made him look distinctive along with his light blond hair he inherited from his father and his mother’s gray eyes.

“Stop thinking about yourself and finish those buttons,” Theodore Nott commanded, walking by.  “We don’t want to make Montague angry.”

I’d be making him angry,” Draco grumbled petulantly.  He was taking all the risk after all.

There was only one button left and he left his wand hovering over it.  After a quick decision, Draco nodded to himself decisively.  No one would ever see it.  Draco would make sure of it.  A few charms later and it read, “Support Ivy Potter, the Champion of Wizerdom.”

He slipped it into his pack and pinned it there inside out so it wouldn’t fall out. 

Somehow Draco ended up in Moaning Myrtle’s loo a few weeks later.  He had wanted time to think.  Ivy had looked so sad that day, and yet he couldn’t ask her what was wrong.  He didn’t have that right.  Draco sometimes thought he never would.  Ivy was too stubborn to give it to him.

Draco also wasn’t blind.  She had a crush on Cedric Diggory, of all people.  He was the last person—okay, Weasley was the very last person, but still—that Ivy should fancy.  Diggory was just so—pretty. 

There had to be a silver lining, Draco thought as he sighed, leaning up against an old sink.  Diggory was a Seeker.  Draco was a Seeker.  Granted, Ivy thought that Draco had purchased his way onto the Slytherin Team.  How little she knew about Slytherins and their desire to win at Quidditch.

A sob broke through his mind, and he looked around him.  The sound had come from the final stall.

Draco froze, uncertain what to do.

He was hardly one to pass up a reason to humiliate the unsuspecting Gryffindor or Hufflepuff.  Maybe it was Granger again.  Someone had found her their first year crying in the toilet.  Maybe it was a recurring event. 

Strutting forward, a smirk on his face, he came up to the door, swung it open and gleefully saw—

Ivy Potter sat in the cubicle, her knees drawn up so that her pleated skirt shifted down her thighs.  Her arms were crossed over her knees and her rising head showed a tear- and mascara-stained face.  Her messy chin length hair was pushed awkwardly behind her ears and her dark green eyes looked at Draco sadly.

“Potter?” Draco said incredulously, quickly sitting cross-legged on the floor just out of the cubicle.  “What’s wrong?”

Ivy laughed hollowly.  “What hasn’t gone wrong?”

Draco blinked at her.  What hasn’t gone wrong?  Well, she had successfully (though recklessly in his mind) gotten her name into the Goblet of Fire, and was now approaching the First Task, which she was bound to do brilliantly.  When it involved adventure and intrigue, no one could match Hadrianne Ivy Potter—not even those blasted Weasley twins.  It was even rumored that she and her best friend Rosa Vane had infiltrated the Slytherin dorm rooms their second year when the Heir of Slytherin—who turned out to be Ivy’s own friend Ginny Weasley, who somehow magically had not been expelled—debacle was unfolding.  The rumor was they had been searching for the Heir him—er, her—self.

Draco leaned forward.  “What has gone wrong, Potter?”  He’d never seen Ivy in tears and was worried.  She always seemed so strong, so resilient.  “Was it that stupid article?”

How Draco had wanted to kill Skeeter over that ridiculous interview.  When he read it he couldn’t give it any credence.  He didn’t know Ivy intimately, more’s the pity, but he knew her well enough to say with absolute certainty that she wouldn’t pour her heart out to a complete stranger, and certainly not a reporter.

“No,” Ivy stated, shaking her head.  Her hair stuck to her wet face and she brushed it away.  Draco wished that he carried hairpins on him.  Parkinson certainly lost them often enough for him to know what not to buy.

Patiently waiting, which was a feat for Draco, he looked at the girl he had fallen in love with.  Still, she offered up no other information.

“Then what is it?”

Her eyes flashed green.  “Why should I tell you?  So you can laugh at me?”

“I would never,” Draco began, but then he realized that he did laugh at Ivy.  He was so desperate to get her to notice him that he belittled her, praying that she would notice him.  It seemed to work on Pansy, although that had been an accident.  “I wouldn’t over this.”

“Malfoy gains a conscience then,” Ivy snorted before a strangled sob escaped her throat.  “Could you please just go?”

Terrified of being sent away, Draco begged, “Please.  I might be able to help.”

Ivy laughed again, her head falling against the stall wall, tears trickling from the corners of her eyes.  “How?  Will your father be able to buy my way out of the tournament?”

Draco didn’t react at first and just stared at Ivy.  “Is that what you want?”  He didn’t ask her why she had changed her mind.

“More than anything,” Ivy quietly admitted, brushing her now stringy hair behind her left ear.  “Why would he do that for me?”

No.  It couldn’t be—no.  A ritual that had fallen out of practice over the past two centuries flitted across his mind.  “He wouldn’t necessarily have to.”

“Of course not.  Who would help the Girl-Who-Lived?” Ivy’s voice was becoming hysterical.  “She was so narcissistic as to get herself into this mess.  She shouldn’t be terrified of dragons.”

“Dragons?” Draco squeaked, but that didn’t bear thinking about.  Ivy was still curled around herself and shaking.  “I can make it so that you can’t compete even though you put your name in the cup without the Malfoy family consent.”

Ivy looked at him distrustingly.  “Why should I trust you?”

Then Draco did something very, very stupid.  Impulsive if you’re being kind; Gryffindor if you’re not.  Draco leaned forward, twisting his body to his left, and kissed Ivy Potter.

He opened his eyes after a moment to see her staring back at him, completely shocked.  She hadn’t moved at all, just sat there as he kissed her.

Draco quickly backed away.  “Right,” he stated a little self consciously.  Draco couldn’t look Ivy in the eye.  She was everything to him and he had just—how could he be quite so stupid?

“You kissed me,” she stated blankly, as if she couldn’t quite believe that it had happened.

Draco could feel his cheeks and ears turning pink.  He hated when he blushed.  His mother called it adorable.  Draco thought it was entirely embarrassing and unmanly.  Still, he had to say his piece.  This was a matter of life and death for Ivy, and was his entire future happiness because Ivy, he had realized earlier that year, was the only girl for him.  He’d never been so certain of anything in his life, even the correctness of his father becoming a Death Eater before he was born.

“If you marry me—“ he said after taking a deep breath, but Ivy immediately interrupted him.

“What?”

However, Draco didn’t notice.  He had to tell Ivy everything, make her understand just how important this was.  “If you marry me under the Rite of Pegasus Tears, then you would renounce all former ties and decisions made before your marriage.  You would become unilaterally a Malfoy and my father would see to your complete safety and happiness.”

“Your father hates me!”

“He’ll love you because I love you,” he responded snappishly.

Silence fell over the toilet.  Ivy looked down at her knees, occasionally wringing her hands, and Draco surreptitiously looked at her from the corner of his eye.

“Why can’t I just do this tear-thing with my boyfriend, Neville?” she asked in a small voice.

Draco’s eyes widened.  “You’re dating Longbottom?”  He bit his tongue so he wouldn’t call Longbottom “that Potions dunderhead” or anything else derogatory.  If Ivy was dating him, which was astonishing, then it was best not to antagonize her.

He was only fourteen, but he was proposing marriage.  Lucius Malfoy had once confided that it was an art form of equal parts conviction, affection, persuasion and sensitivity.

Slytherins were rarely sensitive, but this was one of those occasions.

Nevertheless, Ivy’s puffy eyes flashed dangerously.  “Yes, I’m dating Neville.  Why can’t I do it with him?”

“You could,” Draco conceded, “but from what I hear, he’s under the thumb of his grandmother who would most likely not aid you.  You’d be a child bride and would gain nothing from it.”

“But I’m in love with Neville,” Ivy argued but her eyes showed her confusion.

“Are you?” Draco asked, inching closer.  Ivy had ducked her head, and Draco dipped his to try and catch her eyes.  “Is every breath you take filled with thoughts of him?  Does he visit your dreams, haunting you?  Would you rather die than not be noticed by him, even if he hated you?”

Ivy’s head snapped up.  “You—“ she asked breathlessly, but Draco felt uncomfortable, so he did what he did best, he blundered on.

“You need a wizard not only with strong political connections, but one who would never hurt you, never force you to—consummate before you’re ready and of age.”  Draco hoped he was sounding mature.  He really wasn’t certain.  “And you need a Pureblood who has easy and quick access to Pegasus Tears.  The task is what—the day after tomorrow?  Tears are expensive and rare.  Pegasi tend not to cry.”

“How do you have them then?” Ivy forced out, shifting slightly, belying her discomfort.

“My family keeps Abraxans,” Draco responded dismissively.

Ivy chewed her bottom lip, clearly thinking.  “We’d be married.”

“Yes.”

“For life.”

“Yes.”

“I’d have to break up with Neville.”

Draco took a deep breath, and breathed out through his nostrils.  He ran a hand through his hair, not quite believing he had to have this particular conversation.  She was raised by Muggles, he kept on having to remind himself.  It’s not an insult.  It felt like one, though.

“You would, and you would be unable to date anyone but me.”  Draco caught her gaze and held it for several long seconds.

“And you’ll be true?” Her voice was no more than a breathy whisper, and tears were still falling from her eyes.

Draco shifted forward, wiping away a tear, astonished that he was allowed to touch her like this, even if it were for just a short moment.  “Always,” he vowed.

Ivy looked at him again for several long seconds.  Hesitantly, she leaned forward, and brushed her lips against Draco’s.  He closed his eyes in both shock and wonder.  The kiss was fleeting and soon Ivy was pulling back.  “How soon?”

Draco couldn’t believe his ears and just stared at her in shock.

She blushed.  “How soon can you arrange it?”

“I need until tomorrow at the latest,” Draco responded honestly, running through the list in his head.  He leaned forward and impulsively kissed Ivy again.  “Shall we meet here at eight, before classes?”

Ivy nodded hesitantly, as if she were still astonished at her agreement.  “That gives me time to break up with Neville.  I don’t want—It’s too new—Tell your father, but I—“

Draco’s heart sank.  Of course.  She was only marrying him to save herself, but Draco could work with that.  Hadrianne Ivy Potter had given him an opening and he was the only one who could walk through.

“Dry your tears,” he murmured.  “You’re safe.”

“From the dragons but not—“  She bit her lip, keeping herself from finishing the sentence.

Draco bent his head in sadness.  She wasn’t safe from him.  That’s what she meant.  Ivy was trading one dragon for another.

Over the next few minutes, he helped Ivy to her feet, and held her satchel while she washed her face.  She stared at her reflection for several long minutes.

“Do I get a ring?” she questioned.

“Once Father goes to Gringotts but they’ll have to be delivered by hand.  Perhaps at the Task—“

“I won’t be there,” Ivy answered, her voice going dead.  “I can’t watch them—the dragons—oh my God, the dragons—“

“They can’t hurt you,” Draco soothed, coming up behind her, and running his hands down her arms.

She didn’t flinch and seemed to almost relax into the gesture, as if she were exhausted.  “That’s not what I meant.  The other champions.  They’ll hurt the dragons.”

Ivy then was sobbing again and Draco found her in his arms.  He couldn’t help the smile that spilled onto his face.  The girl he adored was seeking comfort from him and, within the next twelve hours or so, she would be his wife.

Part the Second—The Engagement

Draco had written the letter quickly and sent it off with his owl, Proserpine, as soon as he made it back to the dorm.  He would receive the tears without question because he was permitted to choose his bride as long as she was a pureblood—Ivy was a half-blood, true, but her standing in the wizarding world and her sheer power proved that she was worthy of becoming a Malfoy bride.  He’d also penned Ivy’s request to be withdrawn from the tournament, informing his parents of the approximate time of the wedding ceremony, so that they could act on Ivy’s behalf as soon as her name appeared on the family tapestry.

“Your shirt is wet,” Pansy noted petulantly when he came down from the dormitories.

Draco looked down.  “Oh, it is.”  He turned to go upstairs and change, but a hand on his arm stopped him.

“Drakey, why is your shirt wet?” Pansy asked.

A smug smile covered his face.  “My girlfriend was upset.”

Pansy blinked at him and Blaise Zabini, who had been reading The Daily Prophet, looked up suddenly.

“You’re officially seeing someone, Malfoy?” Zabini questioned.

“Yes.  As of today,” he answered happily, taking a seat.

“You.  A girlfriend,” Pansy said slowly.  “She cried on you and you’ve decided to make her a contender for the title of Mrs Draco Malfoy?”

“Parkinson,” Zabini sighed.  “We’re fourteen.  You could hardly call her a contender for a few years yet.”

That seemed to brighten Pansy’s mood somewhat, which somewhat frightened Draco, though he’d be loathe to admit it.

“Right.  Shirt,” he said to no one to particular, and headed up the stairs.

Later that evening he was wandering toward the library, contemplating the fact that he would be a married man this time tomorrow, when he overheard Ivy’s voice near a window seat.

“Yes,” she said to her unseen companion.  “It is worrying.”

“Don’t worry,” Longbottom’s annoying voice said.  “They would never give you a task where you could be killed or seriously harmed.  Dumbledore wouldn’t allow it.”

“Accidents happen,” Ivy sighed.

“Yes, but you signed up for that, when you put your name forward.”

There was a long silence and Draco inched forward, his back pressed up against the stone wall.  He tried to make his breathing deep and even so that Ivy wouldn’t notice him, and Longbottom too, he supposed.  He didn’t give Longbottom enough credit to actually realize he was being spied on by his soon-to-be-ex-girlfriend’s fiancé.

“That’s just it,” Ivy finally said, her voice betraying her anger.  “I’ve told you a million times that I didn’t put my name into that stupid goblet.  Why can’t you believe me, Neville?”

“Because it’s just not possible,” he answered.  “You know I’ve been your friend since we met on the Hogwarts Express first year”—Ivy sighed heavily—“I’ve seen you through thick and thin.  But we both know that you thrive on danger.  Remember first year with that three headed dog?”

Draco tensed.  Ivy had gone against a Cerberus?  When she was only eleven?  How had she ever made it out alive?

His heart rate sped up and his breathing became shallower, but soon he was holding his breath because Ivy was now speaking.

“That has nothing to do with this, Neville.  I just—I’m sorry.  I can’t do this anymore.”

A smile curved on his lips.  Ivy was purely Slytherin.  She was breaking up with Longbottom and blaming him even though she had just become engaged.  Draco could just imagine what the typical Gryffindor would say: Longbottom, I’m so in love with you, but I’ve decided I want to live so I’m engaged to Malfoy.  Or some such rot.  This, though, this was brilliant.

“Ivy, you can’t mean—“

There was the sound of rustling clothing.

“I do mean,” she spat back.  “I don’t wish to be cruel right now, but this is ridiculous.  Why can’t you just believe me?”

“I believed you when you said You-Know-Who was on the back of Quirrel’s head!” Neville argued, but Ivy was clearly having none of it.

But what was that?  The Dark Lord was on Quirrel’s head beneath that disgusting smelling turban?

“About the goblet!  I did not put my name in!  I don’t want to compete.”

There was a pause.  “Fine,” Neville conceded.  “You didn’t put your name in the goblet.”

Ivy huffed out angrily.  “Too little, too late,” she murmured.  “It’s over, Neville.”

There was more rustle of fabric, the sound of a body hitting the wall, and then a muffled “oomph” sound.  And then the sound of more fabric.

Draco drew his wand and quickly rounded the corner to see Ivy against the window, her hands balled in her pleated skirt, and Longbottom pressed up against her, kissing her.  His large, oafish hands were holding her shoulders, which either intentionally or not were holding Ivy in place.

Placing the wand between Longbottom’s shoulder blades, Draco was glad to see that he stiffened and that his hold on Ivy relaxed.

“Release Potter at once,” he demanded imperiously.  Ivy’s eyes turned to him, and she held his gaze, but he quickly flicked his attention back to Longbottom.

The oaf had turned his head, releasing Ivy’s lips, although his disgusting hands were still on her.  “What do you think you’re doing, Malfoy?” he spat out.

“Release the lady at once,” Draco demanded again, his voice harsh and unyielding.  “Didn’t your grandmother teach you better manners?”

A look of complete disbelief flitted across Ivy’s features, but Draco would ponder that later.  Now he had to deal with Longbottom.

Longbottom slowly took his hands off of Ivy, turning around and shielding her from Draco.  “How dare you interrupt an intimate moment!” he declared.

“Intimate?” Draco sneered.  “If I heard correctly, the lady had just ended any romantic association between the two of you.  There was nothing romantic about your actions.”

“She is my—“ Longbottom began, but Ivy stepped out from behind him, her arms crossed.

At some point, she had discarded her robe and tie, and was standing in shirt sleeves and her pleated skirt.  Her hair appeared to have been brushed and was held back with some simple clips.  If Draco had time, he would gift her with diamond barrettes for their wedding.  He hoped that she appeared in something other than her school robes, although he realized that this was rushed.

“She,” Ivy asserted, “is right here.”

Draco’s wand did not waver from where it was trained on Longbottom.

Ivy rolled her eyes.  “Really, Malfoy, that’s not necessary.”

“Isn’t it?” he inquired, seriously, but dutifully slipped it back into the arm of his shirt sleeve.

Longbottom looked between them in confusion, his eyes lingering on the small smile on Ivy’s face.

“As my lady commands,” Draco stated grandly, bowing to Ivy.

She laughed freely.  “You really are something else, Malfoy.”

Draco smirked.  “I do try.”

Longbottom was clearly consternated.  “What exactly is going on?”

“I’m doing my pureblood duty,” Draco drawled, remembering Ivy’s hated desire for privacy.   He’d much prefer to tell Longbottom exactly why he was taking such an interest, but his word was binding him to lying.  Not that he minded lying.  Lying was fun.  Except in this case.

Ivy snorted.  “Your pureblood duty?”

“Don’t invite him to laugh at you,” Neville whispered, but Ivy was looking at Draco steadily, waiting for him to respond.

“Every pureblood wizard is duty bound to defend the honor of any worthy maiden,” Draco explained with a smile, which had just the left side of his mouth curling up.

“You mean pureblood,” Longbottom accused.

“Are you saying Potter is not a lady?  Perhaps that explains your actions.”

Ivy’s eyebrows rose and she turned to Longbottom angrily.  “Is that true?”

“I—you’re a half-blood—not that there’s anything wrong—I—Malfoy!” Longbottom stuttered in anger.

Ivy, though, was ignoring Draco, which suited him at that moment.  “So you pushed me against that wall because I’m a half-blood?”  Ivy was infuriated.  Draco could see it in her pose and in her very expression.

“You are a half-blood.”

“And a lady,” Draco interjected.

Ivy looked at him in exasperation.

“Of course she’s a lady!” Longbottom blundered.  “I wouldn’t be seen with her otherwise!”

Well, Draco certainly hadn’t been expecting that.  His jaw had actually dropped, which was a fault of behavior he was quick to rectify.  He snuck a glance at Ivy, and she seemed just as dumbfounded.

“Ivy, I didn’t mean—“

“Just don’t, Neville.”  She took a deep breath.  “Is that why you won’t look at Granger?”

The know-it-all Mudblood?  Really?  Ivy was bringing her up?  Well, Draco was all for Neville hanging himself with the rope Ivy was providing him with, but Draco tried not to think of Granger.  She was annoying and some years stole the top spot in Potions from him.  At least Snape deducted house points from her.

“Granger is very helpful in helping me study—“ Neville tried, clearly desperate, but Ivy wasn’t giving him an inch.

“So she’s good for a tutor but not as a friend.”

“She’s not your friend either!” Longbottom tried.

“That’s neither here nor there.  You don’t think she’s a lady, do you, Neville?”

Ivy’s arms were uncrossed, making her breasts less prominent, but then again Longbottom was present.  Draco would rather he not see Ivy in all her glory, although she was quite magnificent when she was angry.  That was the one consolation Draco had had all these years.  It was, in fact, how he first came to fancy her their third year.

“You are one—“

“Because I’m famous.  But I bet Mum wasn’t, was she?”

Longbottom was clearly lost.

“Right,” Draco said, wanting to be rid of this farce.  “Let me escort you to the library, Potter.”  Away from this piece of filth was left unsaid, but certainly implied.

“Stay away from her!” Longbottom bellowed, but Draco wasn’t paying attention.  He did, however, draw his wand for good measure.  Ivy was staring at it.

“I can make my own way.”

“I’m walking that way,” Draco insisted, looking at her.

She sighed, her shoulders slumping.  “I need a new free reading book,” she admitted, approaching Draco.

“Ivy—“

“Leave me alone,” she snapped at Longbottom, her voice detached.

Ivy didn’t take Draco’s arm as a fiancée usually would, but she walked beside him, and didn’t actually complain when they walked past the turn off for the Library and Draco found an empty cupboard.

“I’m not getting in there,” she stated.

“We can go down to the Girl’s Water Closet,” Draco suggested, a roguish smile on his face.

Ivy glared at him.

“Fine.”  Draco rolled his eyes.  Then he had looped his arm around Ivy’s waist and drew her closer, giving her enough time to move away.

Then he was kissing her, and she was pliant in his arms.  Her hands rested on his shoulders, tensing every few moments, and Draco just held her closer.  She still didn’t kiss him back, but she let him kiss her until she finally drew away from him.  Looking him in the eye, she asked, “How is this any different from what Neville did?”

Draco kissed her again and this time she tentatively kissed him back.  It was Draco this time who pulled away.  “It wasn’t forced.  I gave you the choice of refusing.”

“You didn’t ask,” she pointed out.

“I did with my movements,” Draco quickly supplied.  “And I think you’re a lady.”

“But I’m not a pureblood.  I was raised as a Muggle.”

Draco kissed the tip of her nose and exalted when she blushed.  Perhaps he affected her just a little, he mused to himself, hoping it was true.

“A lady isn’t a lady by birth,” he explained carefully.  “A lady is inherently born.  Most are purebloods, I grant you.  You are an exception.”

Ivy looked pensive.  “You don’t view Granger as a lady, then.”

“No,” he conceded.  “But I don’t view the Weaslette as one either, and she is a pureblood.”

“I thought she was a blood traitor?” Ivy asked, staring at him hard.  She did not, however, move from his arms, or seem to mind that they were standing outside of a cupboard.

“She is.  Perhaps she is not the best example.”

“Perhaps not.”

Draco leaned his forehead against Ivy’s and breathed in the silence between them.  “And I love you.”

Ivy stiffened in the circle of his arms.  “I beg your pardon?”

Her words were soft, tentative, and Draco couldn’t help but smile.  “It was different because I love you.”

“We’re only fourteen,” Ivy hedged.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t love,” Draco argued, and he kissed her again, wishing the morning would come sooner than it did.

Part the Third—The Wedding

Draco woke up before the sun rose, and painstakingly got dressed.  White shirt, black slacks, matching socks, dragon hide shoes.   Black robes with a high collar.  Carefully, Draco brushed his hair, every movement precise and calculated.   It was his wedding day, after all.

Late last night, Proserpine had come from his father with the Pegasus Tears.  There was a long letter, the first third devoted to the seriousness of marriage, the second third to exactly what it would mean to marry the Girl Who Lived, and the final third was filled with Lucius Malfoy’s assertions that he would do everything in his power to protect his future daughter-in-law.  There was also a small short note from his mother, expressing Narcissa’s desire to properly meet Ivy and the gift of a ribbon made from Aracumantula silk.

The rings, Lucius assured, would be brought to the First Task.

When the appointed hour finally arrived, Draco made his way to Myrtle’s Toilet and was surprised to see that Ivy was there before him.

“Oh,” she murmured when she saw him.  She looked down to her own ensemble.  She was wearing a pink pencil skirt, a button down shirt with a deep v neck, matching white sandals, and her hair was pulled back with flowered pins.  She looked utterly enchanting.  “I can go put on my dress robes,” she offered, biting her lower lip in worry.

“No,” Draco said a little too quickly.  He could feel the tips of his ears going pink.  “You look—very beautiful,” he finally choked out.

“Oh, okay.”  Ivy seemed to be looking everywhere but at him.

Draco stepped forward and threaded the ribbon of Aracumantula silk through her hair.  He was surprised that she let him though her eyes were wide with wonder.  “A gift from my mother,” he murmured.

Ivy nodded.

“Did you look up the ritual?” Draco asked, clearing his throat but not stepping away from her.

“Er—no,” Ivy confessed.  “I got the book you suggested, but I just—couldn’t—“  She toed the tiles of the floor.

“Okay,” Draco said, looking away.  He didn’t really have to explain it.  “Well, we get married, and then your name will be forever imprinted on your arm.”

Ivy looked shocked.  “I’ll be branded.”

“No—yes,” Draco conceded.  “It will show that you are entirely Hadrianne Ivy Malfoy and have no ties to either of your parents or your former self.”

“I’ll be branded,” she repeated again.

“It was quite fashionable a few centuries ago,” Draco tried to offer.  “Robes were designed to show off the printed names, and it was a sign of status and affection.”

Ivy stared at him long and hard.  “Centuries.”

“Well, I did say it was a bit antiquated,” he hedged.  There was a moment of silence.  “Are you ready?”

She muttered, “Am I ever going to be?” before coming to stand before him.  Ivy pasted a smile on her face.  “Ready.”  She sounded less than enthusiastic.

This is not how Draco had imagined his wedding would go.

He cleared his throat and took out a separate ribbon.  “It’s rather simple,” he explained as he wrapped it around his left hand, holding out the rest to her.  “Do the same until our hands are touching.”

Ivy looked at him in confusion but did as she was bidden.  After a few moments of Ivy struggling with the ribbon, their knuckles were brushing against each other, and a shiver ran down Draco’s spine.

“The rest should be self evident.”

“You sound like a textbook, Malfoy.”  Ivy gave him a hint of a smile.

“With this ribbon,” Draco recited, “I, Draco Lucius Malfoy, bind my life to yours and give you the name and association of Malfoy.—Now, say ‘accept’ instead of ‘give.’”

Ivy, of course, rolled her eyes before taking a deep breath.  “With this ribbon, I,  Hadrianne Ivy Potter—“ She looked to Draco for help.

“Bind my life to yours—“

“Bind my life to yours,” Ivy repeated, “and accept—“

Draco couldn’t help but smile at this, which made Ivy pause in the repeating of her vows.

“I accept the name and association of Malfoy,” she finished, seeming relieved.  Ivy looked at Draco, waiting for something to happen.

Draco brought out the bottle of Pegasus tears and poured it over their joint hands.

“With these tears we are married,” Draco proclaimed triumphantly.

“With these tears we are married,” Ivy echoed, her voice sad and cautious.  A moment later and she was on the floor, crying out in pain.

“Ivy?” Draco cried, panicked, dropping the ribbon and the bottle of tears and coming up to Ivy, holding her tightly as she wailed.

“It hurts, oh God, it hurts,” she explained, clutching her arm, and Draco removed her hand.

With the shirt in the way, he could see nothing, so he carefully unbuttoned the sleeve and rolled it up until he could see her left forearm, all the while Ivy whimpered beside him.

“Why does it hurt?” she moaned, and all Draco could do was kiss her forehead and pray that it would all end soon.

Then he saw it.  Her pale skin looked like stitches of black silk were being made on it as the word Hadrianne was slowly being formed.

Draco smiled slightly when he saw it.  “Shh, hush now,” he murmured to his wife.  “It will all be over soon.”

“You never said it would hurt!” Ivy accused.

“I didn’t know,” Draco responded truthfully.  And he didn’t.  He knew her name would appear, but he hadn’t known exactly how it would happen.  The first N was now being sewn and Draco cradled Ivy’s head in his hands so she wouldn’t have to look at the painful ribbon.

“What is it?” she questioned.

“It might be the tears of the pegasi,” Draco said, searching for some explanation—any explanation, really.

“But the tears were pure white,” Ivy sobbed.  The M of Malfoy was now being formed.  It was nearly over.

Draco kissed her lips gently.  “Magic works in mysterious ways.  We have magic in our veins but it still remains a great mystery to us.”

Ivy continued to sob and finally, finally it was done.  Brushing the tears from her eyes and seeing how bruised the flesh of her arm looked, Draco lifted Ivy in his arms, and took her toward the dungeons.  He passed many Slytherins on the way, but didn’t acknowledge them except for a single nod.  He knew they were staring.  Ivy was very recognizable with the scar on her forehead and her haircut.  However, she was curled up in his arms, quietly weeping.

“Potter?” Pansy screeched as they passed.

Draco paid no attention to her and continued his way to Snape’s private office.  If he wasn’t in then Draco would gladly carry Ivy all the way to the Hospital Wing, although he wasn’t certain how he’d fare on all the staircases.  He knew how witches were about their weight, so he was afraid to cast a featherlight charm on his wife.

His wife!

—who was sobbing in his arms.  It took all the joy over the fact that Ivy Potter, Ivy Malfoy, was finally and forever his.  Draco knew that he could make Ivy love him.  Ivy never liked being the wizarding world savior—and Draco was determined to save her from wizarding society at every turn.  From there would grow an understanding and hopefully love.

Yes, he could hope that one day Ivy would find that she loved him.

Draco knew himself enough to know that he wanted nothing less than Ivy’s love and devotion.

To say that Snape was not amused when they knocked on his door was an understatement.

“What has Potter gotten herself into now?” Snape asked icily.

Ivy was about to respond, but Draco managed to speak first.  “Mrs. Malfoy is suffering from a Pegasus Marriage,” he explained.  “We weren’t expecting it to be painful.”

Snape looked between the two of them, a curl of disgust on his lips.  He motioned for Ivy to show him her arm.

She shook her head rather enthusiastically.

Snape growled. “Mrs. Malfoy,” he bit out as if he were speaking to a small child.  “I cannot assist you if you do not show me your arm.”

Ivy shook her head.  “It’s intensely private.”

Draco pinched the bridge of his nose.  “Ivy.  He needs to see it,” he tried to reason.

“You promised it could be a secret—and now I’m branded!”

“And you have tears in your eyes,” he pointed out in an exasperated tone.  “You’re in pain.  Snape won’t tell anyone.  Let us help you, unless you’d like to go to Transfiguration like that.”

Ivy glared at Draco, but he only met her stare, refusing to give an inch on the matter.  Slowly, she held out her left arm out to Snape.

“I don’t think I much like having a husband,” Ivy muttered to herself.  She was rewarded with a kiss on the forehead for her troubles.  Ivy mumbled a little more.

Snape was gently prodding the enflamed area with his wand.  He eyed Ivy speculatively.  “You didn’t marry for love?”

Ivy stiffened at the accusation.  “What does that have to do with anything?” 

The words intensely hurt Draco.  He knew that Ivy didn’t love him.  In fact, he was rather surprised she had agreed to marry him so quickly, but he didn’t want the fact advertized, especially now they were married for life.  Wizarding divorce was rare and inconceivable for purebloods, but still technically an option for the usual handfasting.  A ritual of this magnitude couldn’t even be broken by magic.

“It has everything to do with your—naming,” Snape sneered.  “If you were in love, this would not be happening.  If Malfoy weren’t in love with you, then he’d be feeling a similar pain.”

Malfoy’s ears pinked.

Snape looked at him long and hard before going to his supply closet.  He came out with a small jar and some bandages.  “I’m assuming this needs to heal quickly,” he said, thrusting the jar at Draco.  “You’re her husband now, be useful.  Apply three times a day, just before meals, and then cover with the bandages.  You can come get more when you run out tomorrow.”  He paused.  “I assume your father knows of this—union?”  The word fell off his tongue as if it were a common curse word.

“Of course.   Who else would send me tears from our Abraxans?”

“Who indeed?”  Snape swirled around.  “You can show yourselves out.”

“Right,” Draco muttered, seeing that tears were still dripping down Ivy’s beautiful face.  He opened the jar to see a mixture of Aloe and—something white.  He honestly had no idea.  He took a clump in his hand and waited for Ivy to hold out her arm.

He winced at the sight of it.  It really was horrific.

“Why didn’t you take me to Madam Pomfrey?” Ivy questioned, bringing Draco out of his thoughts.

He smoothed the Aloe over the word Ivy.  “I told you, this was closer.”

Ivy rolled her eyes.  “What’s the real reason, Malfoy?”

“Don’t you think you should start calling me ‘Draco’?” he deflected.

Ivy started.  Draco wasn’t surprised.  Most people pronounced his name with a long “A” as in drake.  His mother always called him by the Latin pronunciation, drah-ko, and he really did prefer it.  He had always hoped his wife would call him that.

Drah-ko,” Ivy sounded out slowly.

Draco nodded, a small smile on his face.  “Draco.”  He was now covering up the Hadrianne and she was sighing in relief.

“That feels so good.”

“Which is why I brought you to Professor Snape.”

Ivy’s eyes snapped open.  “Who says that I wouldn’t have gotten it from Madam Pomfrey?”

“Madam Pomfrey,” Draco explained carefully as his fingers danced over the Malfoy on Ivy’s arm, “is a busybody.  She would have told every professor about our marriage, of the ritual we used which some now claim as ‘dark’ even though the Ministry has never declared it as such, and she would have immediately informed the Headmaster.  I’ve noticed over the years he takes an unhealthy interest in your life.”

Ivy bristled.  “Dumbledore only does what he thinks is best for me!”

“How, then, does that include sending you to face dragons?  How do you know anyway?  I doubt he told you.  He’d be too honorable to give you any ‘unfair advantage’ over Diggory or the foreign champions.”

“Why do you want to know?  Because you’re chummy with Krum?”

“He’s a decent conversationalist,” Draco conceded, wrapping Ivy’s arm.  “Come.  You better get back to the Gryffindor Common Room to dress for the day.”

He lightly kissed her lips, briefly tasting their sweetness, completing the marriage ritual.

Ivy gasped, staring into his eyes, but a moment later, she was unwrapping the bandages.  Where before there had been thick ribbons sewn into her skin, now there were only silk patches that blended seamlessly into her arm.  Ivy was healed.

Part the Fourth—The Father In Law

It was lost on no one the next morning when Draco Malfoy sat across from “Ivy Potter” at the Gryffindor table.  His wife was sitting next to her best friend, Rosa Vane, who appeared to be chatting about that stupid Longbottom.

“Really, he never really was up to your standards,” Rosa was saying.  “He’s sweet, but he’s not one to sweep you off your feet such as—Malfoy?  What are you doing here?”

“Hoping to have breakfast,” he sneered, looking at Ivy, who was gaping back at him.

“But,” Ivy mumbled, “you’re a Slytherin.”

“You’re not,” was his simple response.

She glanced up at him, confusion in her eyes, until Rosa broke the silence.

“Well, of course you can sit here, Malfoy!  You just startled us!”  She smiled winningly at him and flicked her tight black curls behind her shoulder.  “What brings you to the Gryffindor table?”

Draco placed a napkin on his lap, looking furtively to either side and seeing the anticipated negative reactions.  Weasley was loudly whispering to Finnegan, and the Mudblood, who was sitting with a large book, was looking at him with distrust.

“Forgive me then, Vane.  That was not my intention.”  He was looking at Ivy, however, who was blushing prettily.  “How is your morning?  Father should be here within the half hour.”

Ivy glanced warily at her best friend.  Draco noticed that she had her arm still bandaged so the letters wouldn’t be visible under her shirt.  The thought disturbed Draco but he knew that Ivy didn’t like the idea of being branded, as she called it.  He kept on having to remind himself that Ivy was raised by Muggles and didn’t understand the nuances of magic and rituals.

At least Draco had the sense to warn her beforehand. 

That would have been nasty otherwise and then Ivy might not have been talking to him at all.  It would have made the upcoming introductions more awkward.

“How soon?” Ivy questioned.

“He could already be here.”  Draco was now spreading blackcurrant jam on a croissant, knowing that he’d be able to walk with it if it were required.

“Right,” Ivy said, standing up and grabbing a slice of buttered toast.  “Don’t worry, Rosa, I’ll tell you everything.”

“Vane,” Draco acknowledged before he followed Ivy out of the hall.

She paused for a moment as if thinking and then turned on the toe of her shoe.  “How do I look?”

Draco couldn’t help but smile.  “Beautiful.”

Ivy visibly relaxed.  “Can I—Can I ask you a favor?”

Draco licked some jam off his thumb.  “Of course.  You can always ask me anything, Ivy.”

She looked down at her hands.  “Well, my aunt Petunia always called me Harry,” she explained in a rush, looking anywhere but at Draco.  “It’s apparently short for Hadrianne.  When I got here I couldn’t stand the thought of the name and Hagrid had said that I was named for a flower just like my mother—so somehow I became Ivy.”

Ivy bit her lower lip and looked at him through her big green eyes.

Draco stepped up to her and placed his croissant free hand on her upper arm.  “Do you want to be called Harry again?”  He frankly hated the name, but if Ivy wanted it, then he would do his best.

She shook her head.  Thank the gods.  “No.  Hadrianne.  No one’s ever called me that, Draco.”

He couldn’t help but smile at her pronunciation of his name.  “Hadrianne it is then.”

The sound of a walking stick caused Draco to tear his eyes away from his bride and toward his father who was now approaching them.  “Draco!  I thought I’d find you here.”

Lucius, Draco noticed, had done his best not to look imposing.  Yes, he was using his walking stick, but he wasn’t wearing gloves or an embroidered waistcoat.  He still looked wealthy but every inch the pureblood, but not so … Malfoy-ish.

“Father!” Draco greeted, looping his arm around Ivy’s waist as he felt her tense and guessing that she probably wanted to step back.  “May I introduce my wife, Hadrianne Ivy Malfoy?”

“Draco wrote of your engagement,” Lucius said, taking Ivy’s hand that wasn’t holding a piece of toast and lifting it to just beneath his lips before releasing it again.  “Perhaps we should take this to one of the Governor’s offices?”

He looked between them as if asking for their permission. 

“We were just heading there now,” Draco promised, urging Ivy forward.  She took a hesitant step forward and when Lucius didn’t make any sudden movements, fell into step beside Draco.

“If the two of you still haven’t fully breakfasted, I can call a house elf.  Are you, perchance, fond of cocoa, Mrs Draco?  I find that Mrs Malfoy enjoys it.”

“Er—“ she glanced at Draco.  “Yes, I am, Mr Malfoy.  And, please, call me Ivy.”  She looked at Draco again for approval.

He nodded and smiled at her.  Draco did not remove his arm from her waist.

“Ivy,” Lucius said.  “The women in your mother’s family are commonly named after flowers, are they not?”

Draco was surprised by Lucius’s calm and friendly demeanor.  He never acted this way except among family!  Then again, Ivy was technically family.  The fact that he had referred to Ivy as “Mrs Draco” showed just how relaxed he was around the two of them.

“Y-yes,” Ivy agreed.  “My aunt is named Petunia.  Grandma was named Rose.  I don’t really know what her mother was called.  I think Grandma had a sister named Clover.  I heard Aunt Petunia mention it once.”

“Wizards,” Lucius remarked, “often name their daughters for flowers.  The elements are rather popular among our kind.  Not as popular as Latin names, of course, but still.  A happy coincidence.”

He tried to smile at Ivy.  It was close but slightly insincere.  Draco supposed he just didn’t know Ivy that well.  He hoped Ivy wasn’t that scared.

They were climbing up a moving flight of stairs, and Ivy was finishing her piece of toast.  Draco belatedly remembered the croissant in his hand.  He quickly made fast work of it.

After several long minutes of walking, Ivy finally spoke again.  “I’m not, strictly speaking, named after a flower.  Ivy is a vine.”

“A beautiful one,” Draco added, looking at his wife who blushed a little under his scrutiny. 

“Yes,” Ivy agreed.  “But I think I was named after the Roman Emperor Hadrian.  Dad was named after a king and Grandfather after both a king and an emperor—“

“The names of leaders are most suitable,” Lucius remarked.  “Two Etruscan kings were named Lucius, as was the statesman Seneca.”

“I suppose we are a family of both leaders and flowers,” Draco interrupted, thinking of his own mother who was named for the Narcissus plant.  Draco, in a round about way, was named for a leader as his given names were Draco Lucius.  Still, he adored how Ivy was placing herself within the pureblood schema.

Lucius looked at his son appraisingly before glancing at Ivy.  “Quite,” he agreed.  The group continued on in silence.  “And let us not forget the stars.”

When they finally reached Lucius’s office, Lucius waved his hand imperiously toward two comfy armchairs on the opposite side of his desk.  “So.  This tournament.”

Ivy tensed in her chair.  “I thought that you—“ She looked at Draco pleadingly. 

“Do not fear, Ivy,” Lucius said, trying and yet utterly failing to look kind.  “Yesterday I filed an injunction on behalf of the House of Malfoy given that you are now the wife of the only heir and have renounced all ties to your previous personage.  You are quite safe from the dragons, as Draco has informed me.”

Ivy relaxed and let out a small moan of pleasure.  “Thank God.  I was afraid I was going to have to summon my Firebolt and fly my way out of that situation.”

Lucius looked at her appraisingly.  “That’s a singular way to defeat a dragon.”

“I would never wish to defeat any of God’s creatures,” Ivy argued.  “I can’t stand the thought of the task this afternoon.  What if they bring dragons and dragon eggs?”

Draco felt green at the thought.  He reached out and took her hand, wishing to offer her some small comfort.  She looked up at him in confusion but didn’t pull away.

“I take it Mother did not come to visit?” Draco asked, still looking at Ivy, who was now looking out the window toward the Black Lake.

“No.  She wished to but didn’t want to overwhelm Ivy.”  Lucius had steepled his hands and was looking between his son and Ivy calculatingly.

“Oh,” Ivy said, her voice far off.  “I would have liked to meet her.  I never had a mother.”

The sharp look in Lucius’s eyes softened.  “She’s never had enough daughters.  You would be most welcome.”

Ivy smiled at that.

Lucius cleared his throat.  “You’ll be happy to know you won’t lose your magic as officially you never entered your name.  Also, after that horrific interview which I’m sure was not entirely your fault” —Draco blinked; that was a rather large concession from his father— “I have hired a publicist for you.  She’s a rather competent witch and will be breaking the news of your nuptials tomorrow, drawing attention away from the fact that you’ve withdrawn from the Tournament.”

Ivy’s head snapped up and Draco’s face went red.

“Father!  Hadrianne wants privacy!  I wrote to you about that!”

“It’s going to come out sooner or later,” Lucius argued.  “I thought sooner would be better.  We shouldn’t look like we’re hiding anything or are ashamed.  This way we control the story.  We can make the two of you look like the romance of the century.”

“Who’s to say we’re not?” Ivy snapped, fire shining out of her eyes.

Draco was completely surprised.

Lucius looked like a cat who had just gotten his fill of cream.  “Exactly, my dear Ivy.  Exactly.”

Ivy blushed and looked at Draco, who could only gaze helplessly back at her.

“Are you entirely certain?”

“Yes, your mother and I both agree.”

“But I—“

“You may be married to Ivy Malfoy, but you are still fourteen years of age!” Lucius replied, his voice like ice.  “You asked for the Pegasus tears so you could offer Ivy the Malfoy family protection.  That protection does not end with getting her out of the tournament.  It continues with her image and shielding her from whatever else life and that man that calls himself a Headmaster throws at her.”

“But I—“ Ivy began, but Lucius cut her off.

“I’ve heard rumors of a Basilisk and that you are sent home to Muggles and come back far too thin.  Do you think that the Governors do not know what goes on in these halls just because we are not present?  The reason why you recover so readily is because the house elves are ordered to put nourishment potions in your pumpkin juice all year, Ivy.”  He took a breath and paused.  Neither Draco nor Ivy said anything.  “I play the game of politics rather adeptly.  You may have heard that I was accused of being a Death Eater and remained out of Azkaban not necessarily because I am innocent (many an innocent man went there, perhaps your own godfather included) but because I can play the game.  Let me play it for you, Ivy.”

Ivy blinked.  Once, twice.  She looked at Draco, who could only look back.  Then she looked at Lucius Malfoy.

Draco could feel the panic in her rising as she started gripping his hand harder and harder.  He tried to rub his thumb across the back of her hand, but it had little if no affect.  “Hush,” he murmured, but she didn’t seem to be listening.

She looked at Lucius who was appraising her every movement.  Draco knew that look.  Lucius was trying to figure out how best to use Ivy to his advantage.  He should have expected it, really, but he’d been so caught up in finding Ivy, in proposing to her, to finally marrying her, to having to let her go back to the Gryffindor common room where that blasted Longbottom was no doubt lying in wait.

Finally, though, Ivy spoke, her face deathly pale.  “What am I going to tell Sirius?”

Part the Fifth—The Marriage Announcement

Draco and Ivy decided not to go to breakfast on Sunday morning.  Ivy had declared that it was a perfect excuse for a lie-in, and Draco had somehow managed to bribe the former Malfoy house elf Dobby into bringing his bride breakfast in bed.  He also had gotten Dobby to think about coming back to the Malfoys on the condition that he worked solely for Ivy, which Draco had no problem with.  His wife would have a devoted house elf, and the Malfoys wouldn’t lose face at all.

In contrast to Ivy, Draco made his way to the library after grabbing a brioche from the kitchens.  That was soon a mistake.

Vane was the first to find him.

“I’m not waking up Ivy for something that might be a prank,” she stated by way of a greeting.  Vane slapped the front cover of the Prophet on the table over Draco’s Transfiguration notes.  On the front was a rather recent picture of them on the grounds, which Nott had kindly taken for them.  Draco didn’t want impersonal separate pictures of them being highlighted.

The photograph was a sweet one, Draco realized.  They were sitting by the lake, having a picnic, Ivy giggling at something Draco said and Draco staring at her adoringly.  Well, Draco realized as his stomach dropped.  He never showed his emotions that clearly.  However, they were playing the perfect couple in love.  Well, she was, anyway.

“However,” Vane continued, flicking her hair behind her shoulder.  “I remember her saying something about a picnic earlier.”

“Yes, it was a picnic,” Draco drawled.  Really, the food and the bottles of butterbeer gave it away.  Dobby really was quite devoted to Ivy.

“I can see that,” Vane snapped.  “But are you married?”

Draco sized her up.  “Are you going to let Hadrianne sleep?”

Vane sucked in a breath.  “You really are married.  She let you call her Hadrianne.  I can’t call her Hadrianne.  Little Ginny Weasley tried it last year, and Ivy actually hexed her.  The girl ended up in the hospital wing!”

Draco couldn’t help but smirk, proud of his little wife.  “Sounds like my Hadrianne.”

Vane then groaned, picking up her bag, and taking out a well-worn list.  “Guess you’re off the marriage market.” She ran her hand down the list, mumbling names to herself.  “Hmm, Malfoy.”  She borrowed Draco’s quill without asking and then crossed off what appeared to be his name.  “What a pity.”

Draco leaned back.  “Sorry to disappoint, but my heart is taken.”

“By my best friend.  Yes.  She never said a word.”  Vane actually appeared hurt by this.  Then again, girls tended to share such things with each other.  He often heard Greengrass yapping to Davis about hair and boys.

“Do a tarot reading,” he suggested flippantly.  “It should tell you loads.”

“I don’t take Divination,” Vane said sadly.

“Find a book,” Draco ground out.

“Would you lend me a deck, now that you’re married to my best friend?” The girl looked so hopeful.

“Read the first three pages, and you’ll see why my answer is ‘no’,” Draco responded coldly.

Fortunately, Vane left soon after that.

Unfortunately, she wasn’t the only visitor.

Daphne Greengrass, strangely enough, was next—and rather forthright.  “My sister is in tears.”

Draco grimaced.  Little Astoria was, if he were pressed, his best friend.  She was a year younger than he was (two years below him at Hogwarts, though that hardly mattered) and he had been her confidante since she was about six years old.  He’d informed her of his childhood dreams and even referenced Ivy a handful of times, but he was uncertain as to why she would be crying.

“I apologize for not informing her personally.”  There.  That was done neatly.  He’d buy her unicorn milk chocolates and she would be ecstatic and immediately forgive him.  Hopefully Ivy would not feel threatened by the little Ravenclaw.  She had no reason to be.  His attention and heart had been hers since they were eleven years old.

Greengrass tilted her head.  “You really are a heartless bastard, aren’t you?  However did you manage to ensnare Ivy Potter, and convince her to pull out of the tournament?  The odds were against her, but certainly that was the way she likes them.”

“I am hardly one to comment on my marriage,” Draco responded primly, glad of the take Greengrass had seen on the entire situation.  It would keep others from calling Ivy a coward.  Draco knew she was anything but that, although her behavior did confound him.

Why ever would she put herself forward not merely as a Hogwarts champion but as a fourth champion only to marry herself off to him?

She was a Gryffindor.  It was all so terribly random.

“You’re hardly one to comment on your marriage,” Daphne repeated, angrily.  “I have a crying sister to deal with.  What am I supposed to tell her?”

Really, Draco had no idea what Greengrass was going on about.

“I told you.  I extend my apologies for not informing her.  I’m certain Mrs Malfoy would be happy to sit down and explain to her exactly what each of us were wearing.”  Girls liked that sort of thing for whatever reason and, well, if Ivy was not inclined to indulge Astoria, then Draco would insist upon it.  Astoria probably fancied herself a bridesmaid if not the bride herself at Draco’s wedding . . .

The horror he felt must have crossed Draco’s face because Greengrass sat back, a determinedly smug look on her face.  “Figured it out, now, have you?”

“She’s just thirteen last month.”

“Pansy’s fourteen.”

“What’s that to do with it?”

“She’s been angling to be Mrs Malfoy for at least two years now.”

Draco stared at Greengrass—hard.  “Your sister is far above angling for anything.”

Greengrass sniffed and looked away.  “That doesn’t mean she does not have hopes and dreams.  Beg your pardon, did not have.  You rather viciously tore them apart without even a word to your closest friend.”

“Slytherins don’t have friends,” Draco defended.

Her eyes bore into him.  “That’s a lie and you know it.”  And she was right.  He hated that she was right.

“I never—“

“No, you never do think.”

That was not what he meant and as he held Greengrass’s gaze, they both knew it. 

Draco was more than relieved when Ivy was the next person to come seek him out.  Or, rather, the person he ran into outside of the library.

“Have you seen it?” Ivy asked when he caught her on a moving staircase.  “We’re the greatest romance since Merlin and Morgan le Fay.  I didn’t even realize they were a romance!  All anyone ever talks about is Guinevere and Lancelot.”

Draco leaned forward and kissed her nose.

She grimaced slightly as no one was looking.  “Are you even listening to me, Draco?”

“Every word.”  He kissed her forehead.  “When you come to the Manor I’m certain Mother will lend you her personal copy of the wizarding version of Le Morte D’Arthur.”

Ivy’s eyes seemed to become slightly cross-eyed.  “The M-Manor?  You live in a manor?”

Draco frowned at her.  “Yes, a manor.  I know it’s not a castle or—“

He was silenced by a light and tentative kiss.  “I wasn’t insulting it.  It’s just—“ she looked up at him through her eyelashes.  “I grew up in a cupboard.”

Draco clenched his jaw.  “I take it that is not a Muggle custom.”

“No,” she responded carefully. 

His only response was to thread his arm around her waist.  As it was the weekend, she was out of school uniform.  She was wearing a black turtleneck and black slacks, which for some reason reminded Draco of a black and white photograph.  Her black hair fell messily to her chin, but she had attempted to pin it back from her eyes.

“You came from the library?” she questioned, blushing.  Draco wanted to carry her to the Slytherin dormitories and make her blush even more.  Unfortunately, that was not quite appropriate.

“Yes.  I was fielding questions.  You friend Vane questioned me.”

“Rosa?” Ivy asked in surprise.

“You are welcome to invite her to the Manor over the summer, along with any of your friends.  Preferably not Longbottom.”  He had to add in.  He didn’t want to see that prat.

Ivy laughed brightly as the staircase finally stopped moving and they made their way toward the Great Hall.  “You’re jealous.”

“He was your boyfriend less than a week ago,” Draco pointed out petulantly.  “And you suggested marrying him.”

Ivy clearly had nothing to say to that.  There was nothing to say to it.  It was true.  Ivy cleared her throat.  “What about you though?  What of your friends?”

“My closest friend is angry because I didn’t marry her,” Draco confided without thinking.

A moment later, Ivy was looking at him completely horrified.  “Parkinson is your best friend?”

“No,” Draco answered, pulling a hand through his hair.  “Astoria Greengrass.  She’s a second year Ravenclaw.  I shouldn’t have told you, Hadrianne.”  It was all so messed up.  He might have ruined the only friendship he had ever valued for its own sake, but he would never give Ivy up, not even for little Astoria, which he supposed was all the answer he needed.  Ivy was the most important person to him outside of his family, and now she was his wife.  The thought couldn’t help but cause him to become possessively happy.

“No,” Ivy disagreed.  “You definitely should have told me.  We’re married, or have you forgotten, Draco?”  Her voice was biting and the correct pronunciation sounded more like a slap than anything.

“I never said I wanted to marry her,” Draco bit back through clenched teeth.  By the old gods, he wanted to plunge his hand into Ivy’s short hair and kiss her passionately.  The witch was positively infuriating!  She always was infuriating!  And Draco couldn’t help himself—he absolutely loved every second of it.

“Well, who said I’d’ve married Neville?”

You did.”  And then Draco did kiss her, right there in front of the Great Hall.  He pulled her close with his hold on his waist and crashed his lips down upon hers until they finally came up for air.

“Well,” Ivy panted.  “He’s certainly never kissed me like that.”

“I would prefer that you had never been kissed before now.”

“Oh, as if you’re such a saint!”

Draco noticed that they were getting a small audience of Hufflepuffs, who were like moths.  Conflict was the light they flitted about, cautious never to get too close unless they got burnt.  A flash of dark blond hair caught his eye.  Great, just great.  As if this weren’t bad enough, his father’s bastard had to be listening in on the conversation.  Maybe Draco would hex him later that week.  He didn’t care if his father would reprimand him for hurting his “beloved Octavian.”

“I thought we had the conversation on how to properly treat ladies before we were married,” Draco intoned.

I thought it was established long before I came to Hogwarts that I wasn’t a lady,” she sniped back. 

Not this again.  Anything but this.  “You are a lady.  There was never any doubt, and if some bigoted fools thought you weren’t, they definitely know you’re a lady of the highest order now.”  The thought made him smug with pleasure.  He liked that he could give this to Ivy.  She was already a lady though but now she had an unparalleled social position among the blood purists because of her marriage to him.

“I suppose you think you’re doing me a favor.  Has it ever occurred to you that your sisters’ social standing may increase because they’re related to me?”

Of course it had.  Actually, Draco was surprised that Lacerta hadn’t come and found him yet.  She was obsessed, even at the age of eleven, with finding the perfect husband.  Draco really had no idea who Lacerta would find suitable.  If he were not related to her, Draco was certain he would absolutely be terrified of her, even though she was just eleven.  Little Iolanthe, in contrast, was too young to attend Hogwarts.

“Well, let’s go meet them,” Ivy said, taking his hand and pulling him toward the Slytherin table. 

His wife was absolutely fearless.  Even though it was a Gryffindor trait, Draco absolutely adored her for it.

Part the Sixth—The Wedding Reception

Lacerta had kidnapped Ivy.  He wasn’t quite certain how it happened, but Draco suspected that Ivy wanted to be far away from Gryffindor Tower given that it was the night of the Yule Ball.

“Neville is taking Ginny,” she’d told him. 

When he’d given her a hard look, she’d defended, “No woman likes to be replaced easily!”

“Well, she’s a blood traitor and anyone’s a step down from you, Hadrianne.”

“Not that again,” she murmured with a small smile.

Mother had been most insistent that Ivy be turned out like a proper bride.  There were no pictures from the actual wedding, but Professor Snape must have informed Lucius about Ivy’s choice of dress as Narcissa had made it her personal mission to have her daughter-in-law appear in the best possible light.

Draco believed it was impossible for her not to.  Then again, Draco was aware enough of himself to realize he was completely besotted.

Astoria, of course, was not speaking to him, nor was her sister.  Not that Draco cared much about Greengrass.  Astoria, well, he rarely saw her during the school year.  He felt it a little more keenly during the Yule holidays, but he spent much of his free time with Ivy, letting her teach him about Muggle history because she wanted to and in turn informing her on pureblood nuances and culture.  Draco even knew what a telephone was, and the two had agreed to get one installed in each of their sitting rooms at the Manor—there was no question of Ivy going back to the cupboard she usually lived in—just on a lark.

He was already dressed in his black dress robes, drinking butter beer, and waiting for Lacerta to release Ivy.  He knew his mother had forced him to take her measurements, which had involved a lot of teasing and half-kisses while Lacerta stood by with a quill and parchment.  Apparently Ivy’s lavender robes were unsuitable.

“They’ll keep, I suppose, for some other occasion.  If there is another occasion.”  She sounded slightly melancholic.

Draco had hugged her, tucking her head beneath his chin.  “There are always other occasions.”

She had laughed hollowly.  “But there’s only been this one so far!  I doubt there will be another Triwizard Tournament!”

“Probably not, no,” Draco conceded.  “But there are plenty of functions outside of Hogwarts, even just within the family.  There’s Gran’mama Alexandrie’s birthday every June.”  Of course, he, Lacerta, and Io found the long-winded dinner horrifying, but they did get to wear nice dress-robes.  Gran’mama would also want to see Ivy at her best and if Lacerta was to be believed, the robes were absolutely “heavenly.”  They were just the wrong color.

Of course, Ivy seemed to get on too well with anyone with Malfoy blood.  As soon as she heard the rumors about Octavian Prince, she had gone and sat with him one day at lunch.  Draco had only hurried after her for fear of what might be said and out of a duty to escort as well as protect his wife.  She might not understand the social implications of what she was doing, but Draco certainly did.  She was going to be properly escorted at all times.

“Hello,” she began, taking a seat directly across from Prince.  “I’m Ivy Malfoy.”

Draco didn’t say a word.  His half-whatever didn’t deserve it.  He was mud beneath his dragonhide boot.

Je sais,” Prince answered.  “Felicitations on your marriage.”

Ivy seemed a little too delighted with the brat, and immediately started speaking in partial French.  Her accent was positively atrocious.  Draco would see that she had the proper tutors over the summer.  As a Malfoy, she should speak French and preferably Russian fluently.

Merci, Monsieur Prince,” Ivy responded.  “I wanted to meet all of my new relations.  I hope you don’t mind.”

Prince looked up at her, completely shocked.  “I am not a relatif aussi the House of Malfoy.”

Ivy blinked at him, utterly confused, before looking to Draco.

“This is perhaps not the time or the place,” he answered her unasked question carefully.  He turned to Prince.  “I would be most grateful if you humor my wife given your history with my family.”  He practically had to pull the words out of him as if they were Basilisk venom, they were that painful.  Still, he didn’t know what else to do.  Ivy was determined, and she would become angry if he explained illegitimacy in front of Octavian, who would undoubtedly have become uncomfortable.

Sometimes he rued the day that he had to fall in love with a witch with such a big heart.

Then he thought of how boring life would be without her, and decided it was utterly worth it.

D’accord,” Prince answered slowly.  “Je comprends that you used les larmes du Pegasus?”

Ivy’s eyebrows scrunched up in confusion, making her utterly adorable and absolutely kissable.  “Larmes?”

“Tears,” Draco supplied.  Yes, she definitely needed a tutor.  He would write to Mother that very day to have it arranged.  Perhaps Io’s tutor would do.

“Oh!” she blushed.  “Yes, yes we did.”

C’est tres romantique,” Octavian sighed.  “You must love each other very much.”

Draco didn’t allow Ivy to answer, uncertain of what her answer would be.  He knew that she fancied him—why else would she blush and lean into his kisses?—but he doubted that she loved him yet.  It was a long and drawn out campaign, but as his father reminded him in many of his letters the witches worth keeping were those difficult to catch.

“Yes, we are very much in love.”  He smiled devotedly at Ivy.  “I sometimes wonder how I got so lucky.”

Ah, there was that blush again.  Ivy definitely fancied him.  Draco preened a little at the knowledge, knowing full well he resembled the peacocks at the Manor, but not really caring.

“And you?” Ivy asked, a moment later.  “I hear you’re a Charms prodigy?”

“That is what they are saying.”  It was now Octavian’s turn to blush.  Draco narrowed his eyes.  The bastard better not be thinking what Draco thought he was thinking.  Ivy was most decidedly taken.

“My mother was really good at Charms,” Ivy shared, surprising Draco.  He’d assumed that her mother had been rather an idiot when it came to magic, or somewhat like that know-it-all Granger, whom Ivy stayed well away from.

Tres bien,” Octavian murmured.  “I ‘ave ‘eard that you are talented in Defense against zee Dark Arts, oui?”

Ivy looked toward Draco and actually smiled.

“Yes, she is,” Draco supplied, looking into her eyes.  “One of the best.  How do you like Professor Moody, Hadrianne?”

“He’s unconventional.”

“That’s not an answer,” Draco quipped, leaning in and forgetting Prince for one blessed moment.

“It wasn’t supposed to be.”

Now, Draco was waiting for the ladies to be finished.  Lacerta was a little too fond of fashion and he knew from Io’s letters that there had been a fierce correspondence between Lacerta and his mother over the past fortnight.  This would essentially be Ivy’s first public appearance since both the wedding and since Lucius Malfoy publically withdrew Ivy from the tournament, stating rather coldly (and in the Prophet) that it was inhuman to force a fourth year to compete, especially one who had neither placed her name in the Goblet of Fire for consideration nor whose family supported her being a contestant.

From what Draco understood, Cornelius Fudge was still trying to apologize to Lucius for offenses against the Malfoy family. 

It was at that moment that Ivy appeared, a vision of white.  The dress robes were made of silk, completely sleeveless except for the over-robe of white gossamer that hung off the arm before reconnecting at the wrist.  Small embroidery of ivy fell with the dress, making Ivy look every inch the wealthy pureblood bride.

Except for the fidgeting.  “You can see my brand,” she complained as she came up to Draco.  Lacerta was wearing a smug look behind her.

“Isn’t it time you were in bed?” Draco snapped at his sister, who he knew at least had something to do with the sheer gossamer arms of the robe.

Lacerta turned up her nose to him.  “Fine, don’t thank me for my help,” she commented to no one in particular.

It was then that Draco noticed that Ivy’s hair had been styled into small curls and held a small pearl comb.  Something predatory in him wanted to both show her off to all of Hogwarts and drag her up to the boy’s dormitory and lock the door behind them.

Sadly, Ivy interrupted his train of thought.  “I feel naked,” she admitted.

“You’re far from it,” Draco whispered huskily, imagining just that.  “And it’s not a brand.”

“I feel like something that’s owned,” she whispered at him, eying the students around them.

“You gave up your heritage for another.  Magic assumes that you did so for good reason and that you would be proud of your new family.  I thought you were quite fond of Lacerta, although I can’t imagine why.”

“She is a little overbearing,” Ivy conceded.  “But she means well.”

Draco wondered if Ivy was blind or if Lacerta was simply on her best behavior.  She was undoubtedly his mother’s favorite child and got everything she wanted.  Draco feared for the man who ever stood in her way of her ideas regarding marriage.  Io however was the sweetest child and was their father’s favorite.  Draco didn’t mind in the least as he simply adored her as well.  She was kind, innocent, always wanting to please others, and was the perfect little pureblood lady.  She could weave her way through a conversation effortlessly and would undoubtedly break many hearts when she came of age in ten years.

“I’m still not certain this is an entirely good idea,” Ivy remarked, looking down at her sleeve.  “Everyone will be staring.” 

“Everyone always stares.”  That, clearly, was the wrong thing to say.  Ivy hated being reminded that she was the Girl Who Lived or, as she put it, “the Girl Who Refused to Die.”  “It’s an excuse to dance,” he offered.

“I don’t know how to dance,” she stated.

“Then I’ll teach you.”

“Professor McGonagall tried to teach us.  It didn’t go over well.”  She toed her white slippers against the oriental carpet.  She was utterly adorable.

“Well, I don’t doubt it.  Now you have a personal teacher.  Come on, it’s a celebration of Yule and of our wedding.  No dragons—“ he reminded her.

“Except you,” she laughed, gently kissing his chin.  He was a few inches taller than her that made him want to protect her all the more.

“Yes, well, this dragon wants to show everyone how happy he is.”

“And strutting me about in these robes is going to do that?”  She glared down at them.  “I look like a bride—wizard style.”

“That’s the point.  It would be tasteless for you to wear a gown as the ball has not been given in our honor.  However, we still have yet to go on honeymoon as we’re still in school.”

Ivy’s head snapped up.  “H-H-Honeymoon?” she stammered.

“Yes,” he answered.  “I was thinking the summer after sixth or seventh year, if that’s agreeable.”

“But we’re not—it’s not—“

Draco kissed her right there in the Common Room not caring that Pansy was trying not to cry and Nott was looking at them calculatingly.  “We are and it is.”

Tears were now running down Ivy’s pretty cheeks, and Draco wiped them away.  No one was allowed to see Ivy’s tears but him.  He was jealous of everyone milling about around them.  “We aren’t—we just pretend.”

“I don’t,” Draco responded sadly.  “I wouldn’t have asked you to marry me otherwise.  What’s the point of a political marriage at the age of fourteen?”

“Survival,” Ivy answered sadly, burying her head in Draco’s shoulder.  He ran his hand through her hair lovingly, closing his eyes in pain.  This was just another reminder that Ivy did not marry him for love.  He’d captured her effectively.  She wore his ring on her finger.  However, he didn’t have her heart.  Not yet.  Perhaps not ever.  And that truth broke his heart, because that’s all he’d ever wanted.  He wanted Ivy—her heart, her soul, freely given.  It was still a dream that had yet to be realized and while the Malfoy in him told him to just take it, he would never do that to her.  He’d win her, he promised himself.  But right now she needed him as her friend, her confidante, and he would not fail her.

“You’re safe.  You’re safe.  You’re loved,” he soothed over and over again.

Bravely, Ivy dried her eyes and let Draco drag her up to the Great Hall.  “Ready to make this one dragon happy?” he questioned with a smirk.

“Yes,” Ivy answered as if she were perplexed.  “Strangely I think that I am.”

Part the Seventh—The Wedding Planner

Ivy’s hand loosely rested in Draco’s, and he couldn’t quite wipe the self-satisfied smirk off of his face.  His mother had sent along a white cloak, which Lacerta had somehow gotten Ivy to wear over a white turtleneck and these odd Muggle trousers called “jeans.”

“We want you to look the part,” Lacerta had explained.

Ivy had glanced at Draco.  “We are meeting the publicist,” he replied, picking neither side, simply stating a fact.

“You need to look the bride.”

“It’s been months!” Ivy argued loudly.


In the end, though, she wore white, even going so far as to procure white earmuffs and white mittens.  “I’m cold,” she said to Draco.  “I don’t know how witches do with just a hood.”

“Warming charms.”

She’d glared at him. 

In the end, Draco had to suffer Rosa Vane’s presence, and Vane had just broken up with her boyfriend, Zacharias Smith, a month before the Muggle holiday of St Valentine’s Day.”

“It’s not that I follow it,” Vane was explaining.  “It’s just the principle of the thing.”  She crossed her arms petulantly.  Vane, in Draco’s opinion, looked like a spoiled toddler who hadn’t gotten a treat.

“Don’t you have until April, though?” Ivy questioned, looking at Draco for confirmation, who nodded.  “Isn’t that when Valentine’s Day actually is?”

Draco smiled widely, and pulled Ivy toward him through their linked hands.  “Yes.  I’m only sorry we’ll still be here.”

Ivy blushed and smiled a little.  She seemed to hesitate and then a second later her gloved fingers were brushing the hair from his eyes.  “Why, do you have something planned, Mr. Malfoy?”

Draco looked into her gray-green eyes.  She wasn’t playacting.  She was being truthful.  He leaned forward and kissed her lips chastely.  “What if I have, Mrs. Malfoy?”

“I would remind you that if this April Holiday is anything like the one in February, that I prefer dark chocolate and don’t care too much for roses and certainly not for lilies.”

“Add Petunias and Ivy to that list,” Rosa cut in in a bored drawl.  “Any flower a family member has been named after.”

Draco didn’t even bother to look at her.  He was too busy with his perfect wife.  “Thanks for the advice, Vane.”

“Really, Draco,” Ivy huffed, pulling away.  “Can’t you two call each other by your given names?  You’re my husband and my best friend.  I mean, really, Rosa, I call your little sister Romilda?”

“Half-sister,” she muttered under her breath.

“It’s not her fault she has a different mother.”

“Her sole purpose is if she had been male was to steal my brother’s inheritance.”  This sounded like a familiar argument and was one of those stories that was broadcast throughout pureblood society when gossip was in short supply.  Roland Vane was the stepson of Laurentium Vane and Rosa’s half-brother through their mother.  He was beloved by the Vane patriarch, though the man had been convinced to marry a Clearwater after his wife Rosalinde’s death, to beget an heir, who turned out to be a little girl, who was two years below them all at Hogwarts.  Ironically, she was now the heiress presumptive to the Clearwater fortune while Roland and Rosa were to share the Vane inheritance.

“Darling,” Draco said, not wanting to think on how cruel life could be, “Mother got a letter from that friend of the Potters’.  He wants to come and visit you this July if you do not object.”

Ivy looked at him in shock.  “Your parents would allow—“

“Of course,” Draco murmured, tightening his grip on her hand.  “He’s family to both of us.”

Ivy looked at him for several hard moments and then nodded her head.  Vane was looking at them curiously.  “Who’s this?”

“A Malfoy relation who, strangely, was in the same year as James Potter all those years ago.  Seems they were friends but because of Ivy’s living arrangements, he hasn’t been able to pay his respects,” he lied easily.

Vane accepted it easily enough.  Ivy was looking down at their joint hands and smiling.

“Is a publicist really necessary?” Ivy asked after a moment to no one in particular.

“The Prophet, apparently, has been getting angry that they haven’t been able to write about your withdrawal from the tournament, as you have complete ownership of your name and image.”

“I do?”

“Yes.  Father filed for it as soon as he had confirmation on our marriage,” Draco informed both Ivy and a listening Vane.

“But that must have taken hours!” Ivy exclaimed, clearly remembering the pain in her right arm from the silk words sewn into her flesh.  They were neatly covered up that day by the turtleneck, but Draco wouldn’t be surprised if the publicist, a Miss Morningsong, would wish to see them so she could more accurately speak on the situation.

“We have a family tapestry,” Draco responded, briefly meeting Vane’s eyes.  They were common in Ancient Houses, and the Vanes might be old enough to have one.  “Your name would have appeared immediately when we were married.  Since I informed my parents the approximate time of the ceremony, they most likely would have been in the drawing room waiting for confirmation.”

“Oh,” Ivy blushed.  “I still don’t see how they’re not angry.  I would be in their place.”

The three of them were coming up to the Three Broomsticks, and Draco saw the Vane’s eyes were darting about, looking for an acquaintance.  Good riddance to her.  She wasn’t wanted here anyway.  While he and Ivy were still in school, they were still permitted a slight honeymoon period.  The Slytherins had been wise enough to give him a berth, knowing that he would want to spend time with his wife and be a little anti-social.

Many of the upper years were looking at him with more respect, their eyes asking the question that no one in Slytherin House would verbalize: How did you tame the Girl Who Lived?

The simple answer was, simply, that he hadn’t.

Vane’s grating voice cut into the conversation.  Draco wished he could silence her.  Perhaps with a pillow.  “It’s a pureblood distinction, Ivy.  I’m certain Mrs Malfoy will give you etiquette lessons.”

Draco’s gaze snapped to Vane.  How was his wife best friends with this—this—horror?  “Don’t speak to my wife like that,” he commanded, voice menacing.  “I will not hesitate to end all association between the two of you and I doubt your father would not find such a development very satisfactory.”

Vane’s ears went pink.  Draco, clearly, had hit upon the truth.

As if by providence, he saw Granger out of the corner of his eye.  “I see one of your fellow dorm mates who is in much more need of your talents than Lady Draco.  Go see to the deficiencies in Granger’s knowledge on society and comportment.”  The two stared at each other long and hard and then, with nary a word, Vane turned and called out to Granger, of all people.

Fancy that.

Ivy had her jaw hanging open.

What next came out of her mouth had certainly not been expected.  “Lady Draco?”  The two were standing in the middle of the main drag of the village.  Ivy had released his hand and her balled up fists were on her hips, her elbows poking at the insides of her cloak, making her resemble her owl Hedwig somewhat.  “Is this like Mrs. Draco?”  Oh, she was definitely angry.

“Nearly.  Our family is technically titled.  It doesn’t work like the Muggle system.  I’m Lord Draco Malfoy, you as my wife are Lady Draco Malfoy.  Father and Mother are Lord and Lady Malfoy.”

“That’s nothing like the Muggle system,” Ivy agreed.  She sighed and wiped a hand down her face tiredly.  “Why’d you say it?”

“She was being obnoxious about the fact that you are ignorant about pureblood society.  It is not her place to insult you.”  Not while he was there.  She clearly had in the past, given Ivy’s non-reaction.  Draco really wanted to smother Vane now.  Or cast one of the Unforgivables.  He needed the practice, after all.

“But I do know nothing.  She is helpful,” Ivy tried, though only half-heartedly.  Draco couldn’t decide if it was because she knew it was a losing battle or if she secretly agreed with him.

Draco came forward and kissed her.  “Let me defend your honor.  Oh, and you’re getting French lessons this summer.  No ‘But’s’,” he laughed, taking her hand and dragging her into the Three Broomsticks.

The Three Broomsticks was, naturally, crowded.  When Ivy finally found the table, he was surprised not only to see Miss Morningsong, a twenty-something witch with brown hair pulled back, but also Rita Skeeter.

“Mrs Draco, Mr Draco,” Morningsong greeted, her full mouth pulling into a smile.  “How nice to meet both of you.  I hope you don’t mind, but I took the liberty of setting up an interview that I will fully monitor.”

Ivy was just staring at Skeeter.

Morningsong looked at her worriedly.  “It would be better if you gave it than if I did it.”

“I have the power to say ‘No’ to the final product?” Ivy questioned, her hand reaching for Draco’s in support.

“No,” Rita immediately said.

“Absolutely,” Morningsong contradicted.

“All right,” Ivy agreed, taking a seat and pulling Draco with her.   “Use a normal quill,” she said to Skeeter.  She then turned to Draco.  “Could you grab me a Butterbeer before we begin?”

He kissed her for good measure.  He wanted Skeeter to know just how much this marriage was not about politics, at least on his end.  And he just wanted to kiss her.  She was the love of his life after all, and he was only fourteen.  He had to be forgiven his hormones just a little bit.

When he finally made his return from the busy bar, Ivy had taken off her mittens and earmuffs but was still wearing her wedding cloak, which was lined with rabbit fur and embroidered with snowflakes.

“Right.  Let’s get this started,” Draco said.  He knew that Skeeter was an unregistered animagus and he wasn’t going to stand for any of her nonsense.

“So when did you fall in love?” Rita asked first, her horrible glasses making her eyes as large as two glittering bugs.

Ivy laughed outright.  “It was a long process for me.  Who knows when it started?”

“I was eleven,” Draco finally admitted.  “It was when I first met Ivy at Madam Malkin’s.  I’m afraid that trying to impress her rather backfired as she didn’t talk to me for several years.”

Ivy’s face visibly softened and she reached for Draco’s hand under the table.  “You were a bit of an idiot.”

“All I said was that Hagrid was an oaf!”

“And a half savage!”

They glared at each other before Morningsong cleared her throat, breaking the tension.

“This is clearly a very passionate marriage, then,” Skeeter remarked gleefully.  Draco just wanted to roll his eyes.  This entire set up was ridiculous.  He wanted to grab Ivy’s hand, run out of the pub with her, and find a quiet spot where she could lie down and put her head in his lap.  He’d love to just run his fingers through her short hair.  But first—

“How do you feel, Draco, about Ivy’s short hair?”

“Beg pardon?” he questioned.  Had Skeeter really just ask what he thought she’d asked?

“How do you feel about the fact that your wife has Muggle hair?”

Ivy tensed beside him.  He squeezed her hand.  “I think,” he answered coldly, “as I’m sure most of your readership does as well, that my wife is beautiful.”  And she was.  She was the most beautiful woman he had ever set eyes upon, including the celebrated Narcissa Malfoy, his own mother.

“But does it not fly in the face of pureblood tradition?” Skeeter said, as if she was a cat who had caught the canary.

“These questions were not approved, Miss Skeeter,” Morningsong jumped in.  “I’ll remind you that you are here by an invitation and that it can easily be revoked.  Do you want this exclusive or should we give it to someone else?”

“Give it to someone else,” Ivy said suddenly, her voice cold.  “Skeeter has no respect for persons—or hair, which is strange, given that her own hair is cut off at her ears.”  She put on her earmuffs and then her gloves carefully.  “Wonderful to meet you, Miss Morningsong.”  Then she was allowing Draco to help her out of the booth, and they were out the door.

Part the Eighth—A Morning At the Races

Draco, this time, was in Gryffindor Tower.  It was all so—red.  The tapestries were red.  The furniture was upholstered red.  The carpets on the floor were red.  The fires in the fireplace—well, Draco wondered how Ivy didn’t get a headache.  He understood house pride, but this really was a bit much.  Vane—Rosa—Vane—Rosa had invited him in at Ivy’s insistence.  It was the day of the Second Task and Ivy refused to go unless Draco escorted her.  “I was supposed to be doing whatever it is,” she explained.  “I don’t—I don’t want to be alone.”  Then she had kissed him, hard, making Draco forget anything but her.

He was sitting in a plush chair by the fire, because it was a bit drafty.  Also, he didn’t want to stand about looking like an idiot.  Unfortunately, Longbottom and Weasel were also sitting there.  Longbottom was avoiding his eyes.  The Weasel wasn’t.

“What’s it like to bang the Girl Who Lived?” he asked by way of a greeting.

Draco stared at him coolly.  Really?  This cretin was asking that?  They had never exchanged a civil exchange in their lives, and now he wanted to know what it was like to be intimate with his wife?  It was in the utmost bad taste.  It also didn’t help that Draco had been wondering exactly the same thing…

…Not that he’d ever admit it and he would never use such common terms.

Draco would make love to his Hadrianne.   There was no suitable alternative.

“Ron,” Longbottom groaned.  “We are talking about my ex.”

The Weasel rolled my eyes.  “Well, you would never tell me and admitted that you never did it!  What were you waiting for?  Marriage?  Looked like she got tired for waiting, mate, and upgraded.”

Well, that was an unintentional compliment if Draco had ever heard one.  It wasn’t difficult to be an upgrade from Longbottom personally, but he was from an old family and upon his seventeenth birthday was set to become the acting head of a Noble and Ancient House.

Draco wondered briefly what it felt to have parents who had completely regressed.  He imagined it wouldn’t be pleasant.

It never crossed his mind that his own aunt, Bellatrix Lestrange, was largely responsible for it all.  She even had the misfortunate of serving time in Azkaban for it.

“I don’t think she married him for the ‘upgrade’,” Longbottom muttered.

“Why ever not?” Draco finally contributed.  “I am an upgrade.”

Longbottom lunged forward, but the Weasel held him back.  “Mate, I’m all for giving the git a black eye, but you know Potter’s temper.”

Oh, this was an interesting turn around.  His beautiful wife had a temper that was legendary throughout the house that sent the boys in her age group cowering in fear.  She was no simple lion!  She exerted control and power, inspired fear, ruled over the other little meek lions.

“He stole my girlfriend,” Longbottom griped.

“You lost your girlfriend,” Draco pointed out.  “She broke up with you because you wouldn’t believe her about that stupid goblet.  If you had ever really had her, she never would have married me.”

And wasn’t that the truth of it?  It made his stomach roil in anger.  He got lucky through circumstance.  Ivy didn’t care for him.  She didn’t want him.  No, she had needed him in a moment of weakness and hadn’t felt enough for her boyfriend not to let him take her begrudgingly into his arms.  Draco knew that one day she might come to resent him, but she was safe and she was forever his.

For now, that was all that mattered.

He kept on reminding himself that if his mother loved him, clearly he was lovable.

A small voice inside his head told him this was a weak argument, but he tried not to listen to that particular voice.

“Ready!” Ivy called out, and Draco turned in his seat to see her gliding down a staircase.  She was this time wearing black slacks, black boots, a black turtleneck,  but an emerald green cloak with white snowflakes embroidered on it.  A black set of earmuffs and mittens had made an appearance.

“You’re a sight for sore eyes,” the Weasel complimented and Draco quickly sent a stinging hex his way.  “Ow!” he shouted, but Draco didn’t much care.  He’d already made his way toward Ivy, ignoring the stares that Longbottom was sending her way.

“Mrs. Draco,” he greeted, taking her hand.  “You look lovely.”

She was chewing her bottom lip.  “Mr. Hadrianne,” she finally said, as if to tease him.

A big smile filled his lips and she offered a small smile in return.  Ivy was learning to be comfortable with him, which really was all that mattered.

“Your mother keeps on sending me cloaks.  Lacerta insisted that I wear this one with black.”

“Lacerta was right,” Draco agreed, making Ivy twirl so that the cloak billowed out behind her, revealing its black stitching on the inside.  “You look enchanting.”

“I look like a teen witch,” Ivy complained, but Draco really didn’t understand the reference.  He supposed it might have been Muggle.

Sometimes, he really hated Muggles—especially when his wife referenced them and then he had to pretend to know what she was talking about.

He never wondered if that’s how Mudbloods felt with the wizarding world.  He just usually assumed that they were all stupid.

Ivy, although Muggle-raised, was far from stupid.

An outsider would assume that Draco was naturally prejudiced.  Draco, instead, would have called himself naturally perceptive.

After the two had eaten some breakfast, they made their way down with the horde of students to the Black Lake.  “This doesn’t look good,” Ivy muttered under her breath, clutching Draco’s arm.  “What do they have to do concerning the Black Lake?”

The three Champions were lined up, all in bathing costumes, as if ready to jump into the lake.  “That looks cold,” Draco remarked, pulling Ivy closer and fussing over her cloak.  “I think I like you safe and dry, Mrs. Draco.”

“I think I like being safe and dry, Mr. Hadrianne.”

“Mr. Hadrianne,” a cool refined voice said from behind that.  “I think I like that.  Don’t you, Mr. Narcissa?”

Draco turned to see his parents and little Io standing in front of them.  His mother was resplendent in ice blue robes and little Iolanthe was wearing gold robes that set off her hair beautifully.

“Are you my new sister?” she asked Ivy, her small, heart-shaped face turned upward to get a better look at Ivy.

Laughing, Ivy nodded.  “I believe I am.  And who might you be?”

“Iolanthe Luciana Malfoy,” she responded proudly.  “Mama said that you must love Draco very much.”

Draco felt his ears go pink.  Unfortunately, Iolanthe wasn’t quite finished yet.

“She says that’s why a Princess—that’s you—would marry the son of a Duke—that’s Draco—and not a Prince.”

“Well,” Ivy responded to the pronouncement.  “I don’t know about you, Iolanthe, but I don’t know any princes.  And Draco is handsome enough to be a prince, even if his features are a little pointed.”

Lucius laughed at her pointed commented, which only made Draco blush even more.  Narcissa was smiling down at them, radiating maternal intent.

“So you do love my brother?” Io asked.

Draco wanted to groan.  This was not one of Iolanthe’s fairy stories that he read to her every night when he was home.  No, this was unfortunately real life, and princesses of the wizarding world didn’t always marry for love, even if the Daily Prophet proclaimed they did.

Ivy looked momentarily uncomfortable but then pasted a smile on her lips.  “Why else would I have married him?”  She threaded her fingers through Draco’s and looked up at him, smiling.  “If I’m a princess, you really are Mr. Hadrianne.”

“If you say so, Mrs. Draco,” he replied indulgently.

Narcissa just smiled at the two of them, declaring them adorable, before pulling Ivy forward for a “heart to heart,” as she called it.  Draco was actually a little afraid.  He knew that look in Narcissa’s eyes.  It meant plans, tea parties, and a world of pain for him if he even contemplated getting in the way.

Iolanthe was bobbing next to Ivy, who had taken her hand.  Draco could only look on and sigh.

“Let the ladies to themselves,” Lucius advised, the father and son standing next to one another.  “Your mother has so many parties to plan, and you really must suffer through all of the post-wedding teas given as you did not give your mother a proper wedding.”

“There wasn’t time, considering.”

“No,” Lucius stated.  “No, there wasn’t.”

The two lapsed into silence before Lucius gestured to their seats.

“The Minister for Magic wants his acquaintance with your wife renewed,” Lucius began conversationally.  “I asked him to wait until the summer, given the sudden nature of your marriage, but the publicist pointed out that this could be an ideal photo opportunity.”

“I doubt my wife will see it that way,” Draco growled.

Lucius was looking in the opposite direction.  “No.  She does not appear to be fond of the media, which is curious.  Still, nothing needs to be decided until after the event.”

“Hadrianne will be shaken.”  Draco could just imagine it.  Ivy crying, Ivy in his arms, Ivy letting him kiss her passionately so she could forget the horrors she almost went through…  He hoped reality lived up to his fantasy, though he did mentally chastise himself.  He didn’t want to scar his youngest sister.

Soon enough the Second Task was beginning, and Ivy was dutifully by his side, allowing him to wrap an arm around her shoulders.  Draco saw some photographers from the corner of his eye, but paid them no attention.  Ivy’s image was owned exclusively by the Malfoy family and couldn’t be published without their consent.  When Ludo Bagman announced that something the “Champions Loved Most” was at the bottom of the Lake, Ivy visibly grimaced.

Then the gun went off and the waiting began.

However, it wasn’t long enough. 

Fleur Delacour surfaced and Ivy began to breathe hard.  When forty minutes later, Cedric Diggory appeared with Cho Chang, Ivy was shaking and muttering to herself.  She was pulling at her hair, and Draco immediately put a silencing spell up around them.

“Hadrianne, I’m here.  You’re safe,” he murmured, holding her close to him, but nothing helped.

Iolanthe looked frightened and so Draco did the only thing he thought to do—he picked Ivy up and carried her back toward the castle, his family following behind him.  Draco didn’t look back when Krum surfaced with what Draco assumed that Granger was in his watery embrace.

All that mattered was this beautiful, broken girl in his arms.

“I need a calming drought,” he called to no one in particular when he entered the Slytherin Dorm Rooms, which were thankfully empty.  He laid a now weeping Ivy on his bed, and stripped off her cloak, ear muffs, and mittens.

“I’m here,” he murmured, running a hand through her hair as he lay beside her.  “I’m here, Hadrianne.  I love you.”

“They—they—took someone.  They put them at the bottom of the lake!” she sobbed, and Draco just held her closer, wondering at the cruelty inflicted on Ivy.

His mother was the one who came in with the calming drought, most likely gotten from Professor Snape, and Ivy drank it dutifully with only a little prodding.

“What if they had taken you?” Ivy muttered, before letting herself drop off to sleep.

When students began filtering back into the dorm, his family came in around the bed, blocking it from view.

“She’s pretty,” Iolanthe noted with a child’s innocence.  “Her hair’s shorter than mine though.”

“It will grow, I’m sure,” Lucius commented.  It almost frightened Draco a little.  “She really didn’t put her name in that goblet, did she?”

Draco was still running his fingers through her short hair.  “No, I don’t believe she did.  I don’t believe she did at all.”

Part the Ninth—A Maze of Emotions

“Rosa Vane,” Draco teased his wife, one bright afternoon.

She laughed delightedly.  “Hardly.  Once perhaps.  But you saw to it that she’s no longer my friend.”

“Well, then, who else would have been your captive?  Longbottom?”  The name still stung Draco, no matter how much he pretended otherwise.  Still, this was a game that he started.  He was desperate for Ivy to say that he would be the one at the bottom of the Black Lake, even before they were married.

“Don’t be ridiculous.”

Draco grinned smugly to himself.  He turned on his heel, facing Ivy, and started walking backward.  “He was your boyfriend.”  He paused, taking in her blush and the way her eyes were looking down and away from him.  “You know, you’ve never told me about him.”

“You’ve never told me about Parkinson,” was her near timid response.  Ivy was rarely timid and if she was, it showed her genuine fear at the situation.

“Pansy Parkinson,” Draco announced grandly, arms flung wide, “believes me to be the love of her young life.”

Ivy laughed despite of herself.  Draco felt a flutter of hope in the pit of his stomach.  “I beg your pardon?”

“The Malfoys are seen as rather desirable.  I was seen as a rather desirable bachelor even at age eleven,” Draco explained, sobering, remembering her own reaction to him.  Ivy had never wanted to be Mrs. Draco Malfoy.  That had been painfully obvious and the truth still ripped a hole through his gut.

He cleared his throat, hoping that Ivy hadn’t noticed his momentary inattention.  “So, she did what any girl would do in that situation when I wouldn’t pay her the least amount of attention—she told everyone I was.”

Ivy looked up, her chin length hair swishing slightly.  “So there was never anything—“

“Nothing whatsoever,” Draco assured her.  “I promise that my affections were engaged elsewhere.”

“Even when you were eleven?” she teased, a half smile forming on her utterly kissable lips.

Especially when I was eleven.”

“Should I be jealous?” 

Jealous?  Had Ivy really just said that?  Draco nearly stopped in his backward walk, he was so astounded.  He wanted to gape at her, run away, leap up and shout, and take her in his arms and snog her senseless all at once.  Hardianne Ivy Malfoy was admitting in jest to being jealous.  So far this was the second best day of his life—and, yes, he had ranked the top five.

A smile curved its way onto Draco’s mouth.  “I don’t know, Hadrianne.  Only you can say if you should be jealous of a scrawny eleven year old with choppy black hair, hand me down clothes, and a shy smile in Madam Malkin’s.”

Ivy gaped at him and actually stopped walking.

Draco laughed, grabbed her hand, and kissed the back of it gallantly.  “Told you I was in love with you,” he teased before gently kissing her lips, which were still unresponsive due to her shock.  “Love you.”

“I know,” she murmured.  It had become a common response that no longer held the same sting as it originally did, but still left something aching within Draco.  Her hand still clasped in his, he let his thumb roll over their wedding band, a rare Malfoy heirloom, which depicted a Pegasus in mid flight weeping.

The bands were certainly unconventional, but they were a constant reminder of why their union had formed and how strong it would always be.

“Tell me about Longbottom,” Draco pressed.

“Oh,” Ivy muttered to no one in particular.  “I’m not sure how it happened.”

Draco simply waited for her to continue. 

“He’s not particularly handsome,” she admitted.  “But he was kind and didn’t seem to care that I was the Girl Who Lived.”  She paused and then the words seemed to be pouring out of her.  “Everyone was always looking at me and it made me feel so uncomfortable.  Seamus, even Dean, boys from the upper years.  I’m not stupid.  I know what they were thinking.  Ron Weasley was the worst.  I know his family is terribly poor but my wealth and my status are not the way to rectify the matter,” she ranted, seemingly glad to get this all off her chest.  “You know?”

Draco nodded his head, not wanting to interrupt her.

“Neville was a sweet bumbling boy from first year.  Goodness, I think one of us cast Petrificus Totalis on him at the end of first year which is why he gained those ten points for Gryffindor when we stole away the House Cup at the last moment.”

That was an excellent choice of words, Draco thought.  Gryffindor had stolen that cup.  Draco had done everything to gain points and ingratiate himself with his professors, doing more than any other first year, and he took it as a personal insult that Dumbledore would just hand that all to his favorite house—even if Ivy did benefit from it.  It was rather like being between a Muggle with one of their metal wands and a mating Veela.

“He was safe,” Ivy continued wearily.  “So safe.  He was a pureblood.  He had money.  He kept everyone from looking at me.  Not that you don’t do the same, of course.  Now I’m really out of their reach.”

“Glad to be of assistance,” Draco replied with a smirk.  Anything to annoy those self-righteous Gryffindors.  Still, something was nagging him about the whole Longbottom episode.  Ivy’s explanation seemed to be enough for her, but it was hardly enough for Draco.  “Did you fancy him?”  You did want to marry him, he thought bitterly.

“No.  He was simply comfortable.”  Draco knew that Ivy found him anything but comfortable and when she kissed him goodbye that night, he entered the Slytherin Common Room with an actual smile on his face.

“Off to see the wife?” Tracey Davis asked discerningly.  She was a girl with deep auburn hair and large brown eyes who Montague was rather fond of.  Draco supposed she was pretty, although she didn’t hold a candle to Ivy.  No one could.

The finale of the Tournament came too soon for Draco’s liking.  His parents had once again arrived with Iolanthe, who had sat herself initially in Ivy’s lap until his mother had removed the girl.  “Take care of your wife,” Narcissa had urged, and Draco wrapped an arm around Ivy’s tense shoulders as Lucius looked over at them calmly.

“I hope Diggory wins,” Lacerta mused.  “He’s so handsome.”

Narcissa rolled her eyes.  Her nails were perfectly manicured and she was actually wearing blood red robes, which was unlike her.  “This summer, you thought Viktor Krum was handsome.”

“He was.  Until he started dating the mudblood.”

Ivy looked at her, completely shocked.

“Language,” Lucius reprimanded smoothly.  “Always remember where you are, Lacerta.  Even if you may not care to.”

“Ivy’s part of the family now,” she responded petulantly.

“Ivy,” Narcissa stated, “has her own beliefs and traditions.  We are also still in public, darling.”

Great.  Just great.  They had to be having this conversation now and showing off their bad side to Ivy.  Or what she would see as bad.  Ivy was a little closed minded that way.  He blamed it on her Muggle aunt.

Draco blamed that particular Muggle for nearly everything.

Iolanthe bounced from the other side of Ivy.  “Master Llewellyn told me never to say that word outside of classes.”

Ivy looked at her in horror.

“Isn’t that my French—?”

Draco drew a hand down his face in exasperation.  “He’s multitalented.  He taught me French and Russian.”

Glancing quickly at Iolanthe and then Lucius Malfoy, Ivy turned her attention to Draco.  “Is that the language you go on in with Krum?”

“Yes,” he agreed, his voice in its usual drawl.  “All purebloods know at least two languages.”

“I’ll only know one after this summer if I have a knack for it!” Ivy explained.

Draco kissed her nose.  It seemed to be the thing to do when she was agitated.  “Darling, there’s always next summer.”

“After OWLs?  And I don’t want to learn Russian.”

Lacerta looked over at her, completely surprised.  “Then what do you want to know?”

“German,” she stated matter-of-factly.  “Definitely German.”

The first gun went off and Diggory went off into the maze.  Draco couldn’t gain Ivy’s attention no matter what he did and he was amazed that she actually made it to the end of the tournament.

That is, until Diggory turned up dead.

Ivy just sat there, as still as the dead, as people hovered over his body, the cup clasped in his dead hand.  Draco barely noticed when his father kissed his mother and said he had to go to the usual before disappearing.  Narcissa had looked only mildly concerned though she showed Lacerta back to the dorm.

Draco?” she inquired.

“I’ll see her back,” he promised, knowing that his mother wanted Iolanthe as far away from this as humanly possible.

When she finally stood, it was not to take promotional shots with the Minister, but to pose for a few with Draco holding on to her, showing her support.

“Lady Draco,” one reporter called, “do you have a comment?”

Ivy looked at Draco, searching his face, before turning back to the bright lights.  “I knew from the very beginning this would end in death.”  Her voice was hollow, emotionless, and Draco had to lead her back Gryffindor Tower, as he doubted she would have been able to walk otherwise.

She seemed—lost.

Without a thought, she let him into Gryffindor Tower, where everyone fell silent at the sight of her.  Ivy began to lead him toward the girl’s dorm, but the stone steps turned to a slide and he barely made it a step and a half.  “Hadrianne,” he said.

She sighed.  Pulling out her wand, she called Accio Firebolt before thrusting the thing at Draco, who flew to her room.

“I don’t want to be alone,” she admitted brokenly.  “It could have been me.”

Draco kissed her again and carefully undressed her, certain not to look, and changed her into a Quidditch jersey and pajama bottoms.

Granger came in and actually shrieked at him.  Serves the Mudblood right.

Ivy didn’t seem to notice any of it.

Carefully, Draco took off his own boots and discarded his cloak.  After a moment’s consideration, he also took off his button down shirt to leave his undershirt on.  His mind kept on screaming, you’re going to sleep with Ivy in your arms, but he tried to quiet it.  His wife needed him.  That bloodtraitor in training had to go and get himself killed and shock his bride.

“It could have been me,” she murmured as she closed the drapes around them.  “What if it had been poisoned?”

“It wouldn’t have been you,” Draco reminded her.  “I was there, remember?”

“You married me when everyone else wanted me to be a gladiator,” she spit out the word.

“Muggle?” he asked.  Not again.  Those horrid flies had too many references.

“Muggles who fight to the death.”

“Sounds barbaric,” Draco commented.  Like everything else Muggle.  Didn’t the Irish eat their children?  There was a poem about it that he had to read once upon a yesteryear.  It was quite disturbing.

Ivy breathed out, snuggling against him.  “The Roman Empire fell thousands of years ago, Draco.”

“Maybe,” he conceded, “but they’re still remembered.”  You still remembered them, is what he meant to say, but he didn’t want to alienate his shell-shocked wife.  He was holding her in his arms and she was letting him, her lips upturned.

Draco kissed her gently.  He would never get tired of kissing her.

“Don’t worry.  I’ll keep watch while you sleep.”  He’d silenced the bed and put alarms on it for the morning.

‘You will?” Ivy asked, utterly bewildered.

“Of course.  That’s what husbands do, isn’t it?”  At least with the help of magic.

Part the Tenth—If I Fell In Love With You

“Hades,” Draco called from the maser bedroom in the heir’s suite.  He’d been moved in there that summer and his room connected to Ivy’s through a sitting room and library, where they could each study.  It felt a little strange being here.  His parents, he knew, occupied these chambers until he was three and his grandfather Abraxas died.  Ivy was so close and yet so far away.

He’d taken to calling her Hades, much as she pretended to hate it.  “I thought Persephone was Queen of the Underworld.”

“Does Persephone sound anything like Hadrianne?”  A name, which Draco could admit, still sounded odd on his tongue.  Hades was his name for her.  No one else would ever call her by it.  His entire family was now calling her “Hadrianne Ivy” during formal occasions, but to him, she was simply “Hades.”

“Nearly there!” Ivy called back and Draco made his way into the drawing room.  He was wearing dark purple robes that his mother insisted on.

“Trust me, you want to create a united front with your wife,” she’d said.

At least Ivy was no longer wearing white.  Today, for the first time, she was being allowed to wear another color, specifically, the dress she had initially purchased for the Yule Ball.

“Okay, ready,” Ivy proclaimed as she stepped out of the room.  She was a vision in a silk lilac dress that was covered in brocade that allowed the silk to show through.  The dress had long sleeves and came down to just above the knee.  Draco’s mother had worn robes like these, he knew, and they were coming back into fashion.

Frankly, Draco wanted Ivy to kick off her mauve heels and let him carry her to the couch, where he would kiss her all day.   It was a much better use of their time.

Draco, you’re staring.”

“You’re beautiful,” he replied simply as she put in pearl earrings.  “I’m beginning to hate that your uncle is single.”

“He doesn’t think of me like that,” she mock scolded, coming over and lightly kissing him.

Draco doubted that.  Any man with two eyes would think of Ivy like that.  She was simply too stunning for words.  And she was all his.

Still, it rankled him that the dress had been picked out with Longbottom marginally in mind.  None of them had known there would be a ball, but still.  She would have worn it for him.  Draco probably would have taken Parkinson just to get her to shut up as it wouldn’t have even entered his mind that Astoria wanted to be asked, and he would have spent the entire evening just staring at Ivy, and wishing she was on his arm, instead of somebody else’s.

And it had all come true with a little luck and Pegasus tears.  He really was the luckiest bastard.  Not that he was saying anything about his parents’ marriage…

“The wizard has eyes, Hades,” he replied, swooping in for another kiss.  For now…

She pulled away and wiggled her left hand in front of his face.  “Yes, my godfather does.”

There it was.  A Pegasus in flight, its two eyes made of diamonds, and its wings wrapping around the finger to create the band.  It was truly beautiful and Draco regretted not being able to give it to Ivy on their wedding day.

“At least my scar is covered up,” Ivy said, pushing her hair behind her ear.

Draco picked up one of the many pins that were lying about and pinned up hair back for her.

“Thank you, dear,” she said, offhandedly.

“It was nothing,” he breathed, taking in her beauty.  Her brand was now her scar and her hair had been cut into a bob around her face, which apparently were now all the rage among half-bloods.  The witch assured him that it would grow out in a year or so and that his wife would be the epitome of the pureblood lady.

Frankly, Draco liked this bob.  It made Ivy different from every other pureblood lady.  It made her his, not that he’d ever say it aloud.  He knew how to stay out of the dragon’s den—most of the time.

Ivy was now gliding about looking for her purse.  “Where did I put it?”

“You don’t technically need it.”

“Aunt Narcissa says,” she began through ground teeth before the two of them caught each other’s eyes and began laughing.

Draco came up to her and kissed her nose.  “This is your home.  You don’t always need your purse.”

“But don’t I?”

“Well, Mr. Hadrianne thinks you don’t.”

“Well,” she said, wrapping her arms around his neck.  “Since he’s such an expert on fashion and female deportment…”

Draco nodded solemnly.

“I will simply have to take him at his word.”

Then she was kissing him again, soft, soft, so soft and so perfect, and Draco held her in his arms, vowing never to hurt her, never to make her cry.  He loved her too much to ever cause her pain.  Is this what all lovers felt?  Is this what Aeneas felt for Dido before he sailed away from her?  By the gods, Draco could never sail away from Ivy.  He’d literally rip his heart out and leave it on the shore behind.  Not that he countenanced such alliances but that horrible relationship between Krum and Granger must not have been very strong for him to just leave like that, with barely a goodbye.

Draco had overheard Granger tell Ivy all about it.  “It’s for the best.”

“But he’s your boyfriend.”

“Yes, but it’s not like it was forever.  Were you and Neville forever?”

Fortunately not.  But he and Ivy were forever, but sadly this kiss had come to its natural end.

“Come,” he said to mask his disappointment, “let’s not keep Cousin Sirius waiting.”

Her hand slid easily into his and they made their way into the back garden.

The whole family was present and Lacerta, once again, was complaining about something.

“He’s running from the law,” she said petulantly.

“Lacy,” Lucius responded, “there was a time when I may have had to run from the law.  You know the ministry is corrupt.  Please do not allow such corruption to taint your view of your mother’s cousin.”

“But I thought you hated him.”

Draco helped Ivy into a garden chair partway into the shade and listened to the argument.  By the looks of things, Ivy was as well.  The hat she’d managed to snatch up on their way out was partially hiding her face from view but her head was definitely inclined toward the conversation.

Lucius was now grinding his teeth.

“You shouldn’t listen to Daddy’s private conversations.  I told you that you couldn’t keep them a secret,” little Io said from her place near the flowers.

“Wisdom from the mouth of babes,” Lucius sighed.  He turned to Lacerta.  “He is Ivy’s godfather and as such a welcome member of this family.”

“My godfather’s in prison,” Lacerta exclaimed petulantly.

“I would change that if I could, but you know I can’t, petal.”

“How is her godfather out of prison, then?” Gods, would she just give it a rest?  Draco sometimes wondered how the two of them were related.  She was such a spoiled, prejudiced little thing.  And blonde.  That almost seemed to make it worse.

“My godfather,” Ivy finally put in, “had a great deal of luck.  Perhaps yours might one day, too.”  She smiled at Lacerta, who was now smiling back.

“I have tons of luck,” Sirius said, who had snuck up on them through the trees.  “Always did.  Rather a bad habit of mine.”

The man was looking bedraggled but he had put in an effort.  His lank black hair looked recently washed and was tied back with a ribbon, and he was wearing out-of-date robes and a waistcoat.  The man would do in a pinch.  It wouldn’t do, though, to have him to dinner with other guests, even if they were the right sort.  The wizard also didn’t look like he’d take charity terribly well.

“Cousin Sirius,” Narcissa greeted, holding out her hand.  He dutifully came forward and lifted it to just beneath his lips.

“Cissy.  Wasn’t expecting an invite.”

“You’re Hadrianne Ivy’s godfather, are you not?  She’s not a prisoner here.” 

Sirius turned and looked over at Ivy and Draco and his jaw clenched.  “No.  Not as such.”

He then went and greeted Lucius, both completely cold to one another.  He was introduced to Lacerta and Iolanthe and finally he was there, standing in front of Draco.  “I remember you.  You wanted my hippogriff killed.”

Draco looked at Sirius, his eyes widening.  “You mean that monster that maimed my arm.”

“I mean that innocent creature you nearly condemned to death.  Ivy, how could you possibly marry the sniveling idiot who tried to kill Buckbeak, when you’re the one who saved his life?”

Draco turned toward her.  “It was you?”

Ivy put down her tea.  “Well, it was just a scratch.”

“Just a scratch?  My arm nearly fell off!”  Really, the thing had turned all green and putrid on him, for heaven’s sake!

“You were exaggerating to make me notice you,” she stated dismissively.

Draco harrumphed.  “Glad that strategy worked, Hades, because I never employed it!  My arm was seriously injured.”

Ivy looked at him—hard.  “It’s true you didn’t seem to fancy Parkinson fawning all over you.”

“No, I don’t much care for it.”  Who would?  The witch was a menace.

Sirius stepped closer.  “Are we quite done now with our marital spat?”

“That was hardly—“ Ivy began, while Draco simultaneously raised his voice and said, “Now see here!”

“I need to talk to you, Ivy, if the Malfoys will allow it?” he looked toward Lucius and Narcissa.

Narcissa bowed her head.  “You may walk in the gardens.”

And they walked away from Draco, which was insupportable.  Ivy was beautiful at a distance and he didn’t mind watching her, but he didn’t like how Sirius kept on gesturing at her and how at one point she took a step back.

“That’s the limit,” he growled, and he marched off toward them.  He just caught his mother smiling at his father.  Usually he’d give three broomsticks, but now was not the time.

“Okay, this doesn’t make any sense,” Sirius was saying before putting his arms up in the air.  “Oh, now, what do you want?”

Draco turned his nose up.  “You’re making my wife uncomfortable.”

“See!” Sirius gesticulated.  “That is what I’m talking about.  You didn’t put your name in the Goblet of Fire but why marry a Malfoy?”

“I could be an excellent husband, for all you know,” Draco spat.

Ivy, however, said nothing.

“I mean, he’s a Malfoy.  Yes, he had some priceless tears, but I could have gotten them for you.  Neville could have gotten them for you.  Hell, if you explained yourself to Snape, he probably could have gotten them for you.”

Ivy lifted her chin and looked her godfather in the face.  “Perhaps I didn’t want them from anyone else,” she stated.  “Draco found me crying and he didn’t laugh, didn’t accuse, he made it better.  Perhaps I wanted a husband like that, one who would instantly believe me just because I told him it was true.”  There.  She wanted him—what?  She wanted him?  “I chose him, Sirius.  I chose Draco Malfoy.”

“But you can’t love him,” Sirius argued.

“Who says I can’t?” and with that, Ivy marched away, leading a star struck Draco along with her.

THE END.

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