Category: Angsty Schmoop
For the_eros_affair's sex cheque finale premise: I promise to marry you.
A/N: Thanks to bookshop for giving all of us a chance on this one. Am sucker for weddings.
"Seven years ago you could have had this," she grumbled, wincing as she forced her arthritic knees to bend, setting herself in a chair. "I'd have been seven years younger. You two have no respect for the elderly."
"Special dispensations are for cowards," Harry grinned, his spectral shape twirling about her and her chair in an equally disrespectful manner. "You're so smug about it you have to pretend to be annoyed with us."
Hermione could not help but take a sober tone. "And if I'd died before the universal law went through?"
Draco had nothing of her hair free to tweak as he once used to, bound as it was beneath her sober witch's wimple, and so he merely blew her a raspberry--dry, of course. One of the advantages to being teased by someone ectoplasmic. "Then you'd have been the first ghost on the ministry's council. You wouldn't have gone on without that seen to."
"He's right, you know. We'd nothing to worry about." It meant a lot to her that Harry kept looking at her with his next words, rather than at Draco. "We didn't want to be granted an exception because we're war heroes or what have you. We wanted it for all ghosts."
"And you weren't about to let Harry down, silly bint. At least you came up with a better acronym for your efforts than S.P.E.W. this time."
"I was fourteen," she protested.
"You're still as beautiful as you were then," Harry said, and tears pricked her eyes. They could say things like that, frozen in ghostly semblance at the ages of twenty.
"And besides," Draco said, pretending to be petulant, "you're the one who's made us wait six days after the law went into effect. What was so important we couldn't be the first posthumous wedding on the books, I ask you?"
She blinked back the tears, fetched her handbag from the table, and took out the drawstring pouch, smiling. "This. Here, open it."
Draco had opened his mouth to say something--likely and how are we supposed to do that or somesuch but was forestalled by Harry trustingly taking the pouch. Draco closed his mouth as he saw its spectral sparkle. The contents clinked against each other.
None of them spoke for a time once Harry had the rings on his palm. At last, Harry said, "You made them," and his voice was as choked as Hermione knew her own would be if she spoke, so she had to nod instead.
Draco bit his lips before he said, in a deceptively neutral tone, "Goody-goody Granger, dealing in necromantic magic. Never thought I'd live to see the day. Of course, I didn't, did I." But he ducked his head away so that she couldn't see his face, before saying, "So can we get on with it? This bloke owes me a promise sixty-six years overdue." There was a catch in his voice like an overtight harpstring.
They got on with it. Hermione served as both officiant and witness, there being none else they wanted present for this moment. No press, no spectacle--nothing but the shades of two people who had refused to rest until they had this, and the one person left alive who understood them better than anyone.
She had not said good-bye, had not asked them to say it, had not begged them to stay just a little longer. Could not. When the last words of the ceremony were spoken she knew they would be gone at last, not willfully or selfishly but ineluctably, their needs within the world of the living at last complete.