Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the characters/concepts from it. I make no money from the writing/publishing of this story.
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Draco Malfoy squinted against the slicing wind and swirling snow to read the small scrap of parchment clutched in his gloved hand before it disintegrated. He looked up and around at the seemingly barren mountain summit before him and then shouted out the words he'd read.
At once, the winter night air shimmered and rippled to reveal an impressive and ancient castle built into the ice-covered rock.
Draco smiled behind his balaclava and pulled at his heavy cloak as he began to trudge the short distance to the entrance. The massive wooden door creaked open to grant him entry the moment he came to it and he hurriedly stepped inside.
The door shut and he looked up as he shook off the cold and hastily pulled off his face mask and gloves to see the owner of the castle approaching him with a wide smile.
“Ah, Draco, my old friend,” the man said warmly, extending out his arms. “Vesela Koleda!”
Draco smiled back as he embraced him in a brotherly hug. “Viktor,” he said fondly, stepping back with a nod, “Happy Christmas Eve.”
Viktor Krum nodded in appreciation of the reciprocated holiday greeting, but then waved a hand to usher Draco further inside. “Ve vaste time,” he said rather sternly. “Come. She is here.”
“She’s here?” Draco asked redundantly as he began to follow Viktor through the castle corridors. The Bulgarian nodded again.
“Everything is ready,” he confirmed. “Ve vait only on you.”
Draco strode swiftly at his side past rich tapestries and ancient paintings hanging upon dark stone walls. “I got away as soon as I could,” he said. “I had to make sure the coast was clear before-”
Viktor stopped and held up a hand to halt Draco’s explanation. “You are here now. That is only important thing.”
Draco took in a deep breath. “Thank you,” he said sincerely. “Thank you for having us here, for doing this, for taking on the risk…”
“Ve are like brothers, you and I,” Viktor said, clapping a hand to Draco’s shoulder and squeezing, “and she like my sister. It is an honor for me to do this. This is proud day.”
Draco’s mouth tightened as he reined in the emotions that threatened to express themselves on his face and he gave a silent, grateful nod. Viktor returned the same, restrained smile and removed his hand from Draco’s shoulder to resume their walk through the halls.
They continued in silence until Viktor slowed them to a stop before a set of large, ornately carved doors.
“Ready?” Viktor asked him, setting a hand to one of the doors. Draco took in another deep breath but nodded and Viktor pushed. The warm light of a thousand burning candles broke over them as the doors swung open and they stepped inside. The scent of frankincense hung in the air as Draco swiveled his head around at the beauty of the festively decorated chapel they’d entered.
His eyes traced quickly over the candles and rows of poinsettia flowers flanking a carpeted aisle that ran the length of the room until they settled on the two women standing at the other end of it.
The name fell out of him in a desperate whisper as he stared at Hermione Granger, dressed in a flowing, white gown, across the chapel. She stared back with the same look of hopeless longing as the other woman leaned over to whisper something in her ear.
Viktor stepped up and took Draco’s gloves, mask and cloak from him even as he continued to gaze across the room.
“Go,” he ordered him and Draco took first one step and then two before breaking into a sprint when Hermione began to run to him.
When they met in the middle, Draco lifted her with the force of his embrace and whirled her around. Hermione clutched at his face and kissed him hard as they spun. Viktor watched the display as he moved to the head of the chapel to the side of the other woman.
“They are going to hurt themselves,” he joked to her in Bulgarian. She clucked her tongue at him but smiled serenely at the young lovers embracing before them.
“Would you not greet me in the same manner after three months apart?” she asked in Bulgarian as well. Viktor didn’t answer, but his expression sobered as he nodded.
Draco finally lowered Hermione to her feet and she pulled back from their kiss to look up at him.
“I missed you so much,” she said, a tear trailing down her face. Draco rubbed a thumb tenderly over her cheek to wipe it away.
“And I you,” he said. He bowed his head and pressed their foreheads together.
“How long do we have?” Hermione asked him, her eyes closing at the comfort of his body held so close to hers.
“The Dark Lord gave us all Christmas Day and Boxing Day off,” he replied.
Hermione lifted her head and opened her eyes. “Two days?” she asked, guarded hope and happiness leaching into her voice.
Draco gave her an adoring smile. “And three nights,” he confirmed. “Every second of which I intend to spend with you.”
Another set of tears escaped down Hermione’s cheeks at that and they embraced again in a tight hug. A throat cleared and they both looked up to see Viktor and his wife smiling at them.
“You are velcome to stay as long as you like,” he said. “Ve prepared a room for you.”
“Thank you,” Hermione said, “thank you both so much for this.”
Viktor merely inclined his head in acknowledgement and then waved a hand toward a small altar erected at the head of the chapel.
Draco and Hermione both looked to the altar and then back at each other to exchange matching expressions of gleeful anticipation. Without a word they shifted together to face the direction of the altar and Hermione slipped her arm through Draco’s.
Viktor moved swiftly to stand at the dais as they lead one another down the aisle and Viktor’s wife scooped up a large bouquet of poinsettias from a nearby table. She met the couple just before they came to the top and handed it to Hermione.
“Thank you, Nevena,” Hermione said sincerely as she looked down at the bright red flowers now in her grasp. Nevena smiled warmly and tucked another single poinsettia into Hermione’s hair before placing a kiss to each of her cheeks and then stepping aside to take her place as a witness. Draco took the pause in their march to glance at Hermione at his side.
“You look gorgeous,” he told her. She smiled up at him.
“I love you,” she said. Draco’s arm tightened around hers.
“When this war is finally over and I’m free, I vow to spend every day of my life showing the world just how much I love you.”
“You are getting ahead of me,” Viktor laughed, “I haven’t gotten to the vows yet.”
Draco and Hermione both exchanged amused and slightly sheepish looks, and then continued the short distance to stand before him. He smiled at them as he pulled his wand and waved it to begin the ceremony.
Nevena watched silently as her husband performed the ancient rituals for the secret wedding and then stepped forward to take the poinsettias from Hermione’s hold when it came time for the vows. At Viktor’s direction, Draco and Hermione turned to face each other, their eyes alight with the golden flickers of the candles surrounding them, and clasped hands.
“You cannot possess me for I belong to myself,” they spoke in unison the words they’d practiced for months in secret, “but while we both still wish it, I give you that which is mine to give.”
Viktor handed them each a glinting ring and they continued their vow together as they slipped the bands onto each other’s fingers.
“I pledge to you that yours will be the name I cry aloud in the night. And the eyes into which I smile in the morning. I pledge to you the first bite from my meat and the first drink from my cup. I pledge to you my living and my dying equally in your care. And tell no strangers our grievances. This is my wedding vow to you.”
They intertwined all of their fingers again and Viktor waved his wand once more. A ribbon of gold light flowed forth from it and wove about to wrap their joined hands.
“I bind you in body, blood, mind, heart, and soul from this day forth,” he said authoritatively. “This is most sacred of bonds. This is a bond of eqvals.”
“This is a marriage of equals,” Hermione and Draco said together.
Viktor nodded proudly as the ribbon of light dissolved into them and disappeared. “My old friends,” he announced joyfully, “you are now husband and vife.”
Hermione and Draco immediately leaned together to seal their new bond with a kiss.
“Whatever tomorrow brings,” Draco whispered against her lips, “no matter how long or far apart we may be…no one can take this from us.”
Hermione hummed happily. “They will never take this from us,” she agreed quietly. They embraced again and held on tight.
“Happy Christmas, Mrs. Malfoy,” Draco said, pressing his face into her neck. Hermione closed her eyes contentedly.
“Happy Christmas, Mr. Malfoy,” she whispered back.