Chapter Two

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Three o'clock that afternoon found Harry, Ron, Fred and George standing outside the great white marquee in the orchard, awaiting the arrival of the wedding guests. All four of them were clutching seating plans, so that they could help show people to the right seats.

A host of white-robed waiters had arrived an hour earlier, along with a golden jacketed band, and all of these wizards were currently sitting a short distance away under a tree. Harry could see a blue haze of pipe smoke issuing from the spot.

Behind Harry, the entrance to the marquee revealed rows and rows of fragile golden chairs set on either side of a long purple carpet. The supporting poles were entwined with white and gold flowers. Fred and George had fastened an enormous bunch of golden balloons over the exact point where Bill nd Fleur would shortly become husband and wife. Outside, butterflies and bees were hovering lazily over the grass and hedgerow.

It was beautiful really. Perfect for a wedding. But all Harry could focus on was the uncomfortable emptiness from Draco not being around. The last Harry heard was that Draco and Hermione were off plotting. They had become a lot closer and had a tendency, when Draco wasn't spending his time devouring Harry, to get together and plan and prep.

And while Harry was sure it was probably better that Draco spend his time in such a productive way, all he could think about is the jolt of electricity he felt from Draco's fingertips as he buttoned up Harry's dress shirt. The way his hands lingered on his chest and the exposed skin of his neck. The way his nails glided along his abused throat. The way he smirked as he tied Harry's tie. The way his fangs shined against his lip.

Suddenly it was far too hot in his suit and Harry uncomfortably tugged at his collar.

"When I get married," said Fred, tugging at the collar of his own robes, "I won't be bothering with any of this nonsense. You can all wear what you like, and I'll put a full Body Bird Curse on Mum until it's all over."

"She wasn't too bad this morning, considering." said George. "Cried a bit about
Percy not being here, but who wants him. Oh blimey, brace yourselves-here they come,
look."

Brightly colored figures were appearing, one by one out of nowhere at the distant boundary of the yard. Within minutes a procession had formed, which began to snake its way up through the garden toward the marquee.

Exotic flowers and bewitched birds fluttered on the witches' hats, while precious gems glittered from many of the wizards' cravats; a hum of excited chatter grew louder and louder, drowning the sound of the bees as the crowd approached the tent.

"Excellent, I think I see a few veela cousins," said George, craning his neck for a better look. "They'll need help understanding our English customs, I'll look after them..."

The statement seemed alien to Harry. Sometimes he forgets that most people aren't used to everyday exposure to veela.

"Not so fast, Your Holeyness," said Fred, and darting past the gaggle of middle-aged witches heading for the procession, he said, "Here - permetiez moi to assister vous," to a pair of pretty French girls, who giggled and allowed him to escort them inside.

George was left to deal with the middle-aged witches and Ron took charge of Mr. Weasley's old Ministry-colleague Perkins, while a rather deaf old couple fell to Harry's lot.

"Harry!" said a familiar voice as he came out of the marquee again and found Sirius and Lupin at the front of the queue. Although it was clear that Sirius was wearing more than a few glamours just in case. Him and Remus were tightly holding hands with bright smiles on their faces. Harry spared a few minutes to conversate with the familiar couple before continuing on.

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