A Marriage Most Convenient

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Chapter 35: What the “F” is Phillipa Doing Here?


It is very difficult for the prosperous to be humble.” – Jane Austen.


If a man is healthy, wealthy, and wise, he should have the world at his fingertips. He need never want for anything more.” – Draco Malfoy.


It’s amazing what people will do for money, and it is amazing the things they will do without it, too.” – Hermione Granger.


Don’t tell a single soul, but I think I might be poor now.” – Phillipa Malfoy


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Draco’s aunt could hear a joyous round of applause splattered with a healthy dose of cheers as she stood just inside the main parlor. She watched from one of the long windows as the newly married couple, along with their now legitimate daughter, made their way toward the doors.


She looked over to her son, daughter-in-law, and grandchildren and said, “Smile everyone, they’re on their way in now. We must greet the happy couple, mustn’t we?”


“I don’t think we should have come, Mother,” Talbert complained. “We weren’t invited and after everything that we’ve done, we won’t be welcomed.”


“Shhh,” she hushed him. She opened the doors just as Draco’s new family reached them. She frowned at him, folded her arms across her chest and heard her nephew say, “Oh, Fuck.”


Hermione hit his arm, took their daughter from him and handed her off to one of the many ginger haired Weasleys standing by the door, and then she pushed Draco inside the room, and she hurried and closed the door. “Don’t say words like that in front of Alice and our guests! It’s our wedding day!” Hermione criticized.


Draco pointed at his aunt and said, “Well look who’s here! I think this qualifies as an ‘Oh Fuck’ moment if ever there was one!”


Phillipa looked from Draco back to her son, nervously, and she said, “Draco, Draco, Draco, listen to your new wife. Really, my boy, such language!”


Lucius and Narcissa made their way into the room, along with Harry Potter and Ron Weasley. Harry took Hermione’s elbow, took her aside and said, “George is going to take all the guests around the front of the house, and one of the servants will show everyone how to get to the ballroom from there.”


“Where’s Alice?” she asked, fretfully. “I don’t know to whom I even handed my daughter! I just know it was a Weasley!”


“She’s with Charlie,” Ron answered with a laugh.


“Why are you here, Phillipa,” Narcissa asked, walking into the center of the room. She sat down on one of the sofas, straightened out imaginary wrinkles in her long dress, and then added, “Well? You certainly weren’t invited.” She patted the place next to her and said, “Sit next to me, Lucius.”


“I know, Narcissa, and I have to say, I’m hurt,” Phillipa said, her hands clasped to her bosom. “Even though Draco isn’t my nephew by blood, I’ve known him all his life and my only son is his only cousin! How could you exclude us from the wedding?”


“How indeed!” Draco interjected! “You’re trying to steal my inheritance! You’ve caused a hell of a lot of problems, you’ve called my wife bad names and my daughter a bastard! Why the hell would I invite you to my wedding?”


Hermione walked up to Draco and clasped his hand, which was good, because it was heading toward his wand in his pocket. Lucius nodded to Hermione and then sat next to Narcissa. Hermione pulled Draco down to sit on the other sofa.


Phillipa laughed, nervously. Talbert walked closer to the doorway, placing his children behind him and his wife in front of him. He pulled on his tie. Phillipa said, “That’s all water under the bridge my boy. I’ve decided not to pursue the whole ‘overturning the will’ thing. I sent you an Owl this morning, telling you as much. Didn’t you receive it?”


Hermione and Draco looked at each other surprised. Before either could say anything, Lucius narrowed his gaze and said, “What do you mean?”


“I’ve pulled the petition to the Wizengamot, Lucius. I’ve decided that family is too important to piddle and fart over money,” she said with an anxious giggle.


Ron looked at Harry and laughed. “She said piddle and fart,” he said. Harry smiled.


“I don’t believe you!” Lucius snapped. “You’re a money hungry harpy. My brother regretted marrying you from day one, but you trapped him and he couldn’t get out of it, and then he had the gall to die young and leave you as my problem! Something else is going on here! Something significant and I want to know what!”


“Nothing, Lucius, really,” Phillipa said sweetly. “Can’t a woman have a change of heart? I no longer want to challenge the will! My husband left my son and myself with plenty of money. We have enough to pass on to my grandchildren. Enough lives have been unsettled over all of this business! Now you and Cissy won’t have to have your divorced overturned if you don’t want to, we won’t have to tie up the Wizengamot’s time with a silly family squabble, the original will can stay intact, and Draco married before he was thirty, so he’ll inherit someday and your precious little Alice is now legitimate!” She turned to Harry and smiled and added, “She’s a beautiful little thing, don’t you know.”


“Yes, I know,” Harry said with disdain.


Lucius looked at Draco, confused. Draco looked at Narcissa, perplexed. Narcissa looked at Phillipa, confounded. Narcissa stood up, stomped her foot and said, “What’s really going on here you stupid bint!”


“That’s where Alice gets the whole foot stomping thing from,” Hermione said pointing toward Narcissa.


Lucius nodded and said, “Draco inherited it, too.”


Hermione stood up, walked over to Harry Potter and said, “Harry, perhaps you should tell Lucius, Narcissa and Draco about your wedding present to us, but first, I have something to say to Draco’s aunt.”


She walked over to Phillipa and said, “Phillipa, I really can’t have you here at my wedding. I’m sorry, but you were horrendous to me. However, your son, his wife, and his children may stay for the reception if they’d like.” She turned to Ron and asked, “Ron, will you escort Phillipa outside, place up some of those wards you’re so handy with to keep her out, and if Talbert and his family want to stay, show them to the ballroom?”


Ron smiled, kissed Hermione’s cheek, and opened the double doors of the parlor, leading to the foyer and said to Phillipa, “After you, you old bat.”


Phillipa fumed with anger, but finally she said, “Fine, Talbert, let’s go. It’s useless to talk to these people. We’ve tried to mend fences, but they won’t take the olive branch we’re offering, so we’ll leave.”


“Frankly mother, stick to one hyperbole or another,” Talbert complained. “And I’m staying, and so are my children. I know I went along with this, and I was a right bastard, too, but I never really wanted any of this. I think I’ll stay for the reception. Come on kids. I bet they have cake.” He ushered his children out of the room.


His wife stood alone for a moment, and then joined her husband, saying, “My place is with my husband, besides, I don’t want to give up what little we have.”


Phillipa, red faced and angry by this time, turned toward the room and said, “FINE, Draco Malfoy! You can take your wedding, your new little Mudblood wife, and your little baseborn daughter and you can all go to hell in a hand basket!” and then she stormed away.


Ron leaned back in the room and asked, “May I hex her arse, just a little bit, just on her way out, for calling Hermione a Mudblood?”


“NO!” Harry and Hermione shouted at the same time that all three Malfoy’s said, “YES!” Hermione wanted to laugh at the fact that it was the three former ‘Death Eaters’ who wanted to hex someone for calling her a Mudblood, but then she realized they would probably find any excuse to hex the woman.


Hermione waited until Phillipa and her family left the room, then turned to Harry, jumped into his arms and said, “Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Harry! I was so afraid at first that you might not have picked the right thing, but you did. I shouldn’t have doubted you!”


“I told you I gave it a lot of thought,” Harry said while swinging her around in his arms. “I hope this is the end of this!”


“What’s going on here?” Draco asked, standing from the sofa and pulling his wife away from her best friend.


Narcissa looked at Hermione confused, and asked, “And what did Talbert’s wife mean by the phrase, ‘I don’t want to give up what little I already have’?”


“Tell them, Harry,” Hermione said, excited.


“It all boils down to the fact that Ingrid gave Alice a book, she asked me to read it to her, and all your problems were solved!” Harry said with his hands up in the air as if to say, ‘Ta da!’

“Potter’s gone soft in the head,” Lucius said, sitting on the sofa, crossing his leg, and looking at his nails. “Talking about books and such.”


Draco sat back on his sofa, leaned toward his father and added, “It’s the scar. I think it’s caused permanent damaged. He’s never really been right.” He tapped his index finger to his forehead.


“Let’s not make fun of the poor man in front of him,” Narcissa concurred.


Hermione laughed as Harry frowned. “Well, you can’t blame them,” she scolded. “You didn’t do a good job of explaining it.”


Hermione sat back down next to Draco. She explained, “As you know, Ingrid left Alice an antique book that was hers when she was young. It was the sequel to ‘Alice in Wonderland’. ‘Alice through the Looking Glass’ was the book, and the night we went to Harry’s after that day at the Ministry, the day Ingrid died, Alice brought that book with her.”


“Yes, I ran upstairs and got it for her that morning,” Draco recalled.


Harry walked to the side of the sofas and said, “Alice brought it with her to my house, and after dinner, she asked if I would read it to her and the other kids. I told her to let Ginny give her a bath first. While she was bathing, I took a good look at that book, and I noticed it wasn’t an ordinary book.”


Hermione sat forward and interjected, “It was magical.”


“Precisely,” Harry infused. “There was an intricate coloured drawling in the front of the book. It was over two pages long. It showed blond little Alice, her little kittens, and her living room, and then it showed the mirror over the mantle and all the images in their opposites, but something struck me as odd. Here, let me show you. I have it shrunk down in my pocket.”

Harry stood up, took the book from his dress robes, and pulled it out. He touched his wand to it and enlarged it with a spell. He made it even larger than it should be. He placed it on the coffee table between the two sofas and pointed at the illustration with his wand. All four Malfoys (since Hermione was now a Malfoy) leaned forward to have a better look.


“If you’re familiar with the story, you know that everything is opposite for little Alice when she goes through the looking glass. Her white cat is black; clocks are backwards, and so on and so forth. This illustration shows the very same theme. Look right here.” Harry pointed at the corner of the illustration. “In the drawing of the mirror are the words, ‘enter here’, with the letters being backwards.”


Hermione reiterated, “See where it says ‘enter here’ backwards? That shouldn’t be there. There’s nothing on the other side of the mirror, or the real side, this Alice’s side, that says ‘enter here’ so why would the words appear on the drawing of the mirror, even backwards?”


“Then, I looked at the inscription.” Harry folded up the drawing and showed everyone the very back of the book. “Odd that an inscription should be in the back, when most inscriptions are in the front of books, but it goes with the theme of everything being backwards. It says, ‘Alice, for things to be put to right, sometimes you have to start at the end, and then go forward again. Use this book to do just that. I love you forever, your Nanny’.”


“What the bloody hell,” Draco asked, confused. He looked at Hermione and said, “I find it hard to believe that Potter, who was never the brains of your organization, figured any of this out without you. Hell, I still don’t really know what it all means.”


Hermione hit Draco’s arm lightly.


Narcissa smiled and leaned back on the sofa and said, “I know what it means, and so do you, Lucius.”

“I do?” he asked. “Frankly, I’m as confused as my son, and believe me, I hate to admit that.”


“Thanks a lot, Daddy dearest,” Draco said sarcastically.


“I’m just saying,” Lucius added.


“Yes, well don’t,” Draco spat.


“Gentlemen, let Mr. Potter finish,” Narcissa said, smiling. “Or shall I?” Harry nodded. Narcissa stood. “I know what this book is, because my very own mother had one. It’s very rare. Ingrid, though a squib, was a pureblood, so she must have inherited this. This book is a time turner, in and of itself!” She clasped her hands together.


Hermione smiled and stood, too. “They’re very rare indeed,” Hermione added. “Only three were made, supposedly by Lewis Carroll himself, who was believed to have been a wizard. Each book could turn back one single act in a person’s life. For example,” she turned to Lucius, “you could have evoked the magic of the book, entered the illustration, and you could have completely erased your divorce!”


Hermione turned to Draco and said, “Or I could have used it and never married Kevin, or you could have used it and torn off my mask at the ball, or all sorts of things!”


“But each of those things ran the risk of changing many things…” Lucius said, tapping his finger to his chin.


“Exactly!” Hermione repeated. “If Harry had given it to Draco, and he had used it to determine my identity the night of the ball, who’s to say that means I would have married him still, or told him about Alice? There are so many variables.”


Hermione stood up and then sat between Lucius and Narcissa and said, “Harry could have waited and given the book to Alice to use someday and let her use it as she saw fit. Perhaps she would have used it to turn back time, so she would have known her grandmother, grandfather and father from the moment of birth on, but really, she’ll really never remember Kevin, or a life before this summer, because she’s so young. He felt this was the best solution, because the book can only be used as a time turner once.”


Hermione looked over at Draco and continued.


“Harry had to weigh every variable, think through every little thing. He even thought about changing Draco’s great, great, great, great grandfather’s will, because the spell would have allowed Harry to travel back that far, but that wouldn’t have guaranteed anything. If he did that, Draco wouldn’t have been at that ball, at age twenty-five, at the insistence of his mother, to try to find a wife, because he had to marry because of the will, so that might have meant no Alice at all.”


“Now I’m more convinced than ever that Potter didn’t solve our problem on his own!” Draco spouted. “Seriously, I’m not sure even I’m bright enough to figure out what would have been the perfect solution to stop Phillipa.”


“What did you do, Mr. Potter?” Narcissa asked.


Ron slipped quietly back into the room as Harry said, “I did go back in time, but not very far. Mr. Malfoy just mentioned something earlier, something about how his brother was tricked into marriage. What was that, Mr. Malfoy?”


Lucius stood. “My younger brother was tricked into marrying Phillipa because she became pregnant, so of course, my parents insisted that he marry. It was a marriage most convenient, at least for her, because she did it for his money. He was a stupid fool,” Lucius snarled. “My father was so outraged at the time, that he even paid a bundle of galleons to the Ministry to have their marriage postdated to the time of the ‘conception’ so that their child wouldn’t be illegitimate, so that it could inherit someday. Just think, if he hadn’t done that, we wouldn’t have any worries today.”


Hermione smiled and pulled on Draco’s sleeve and said, “See?”


“I’m still in the dark,” Draco admitted.


“Yes, well, no surprise there,” Harry said with a roll of his eyes. “Listen, Lucius mentioned something similar to that fact that very night,” Harry reminded him. “Ron pointed that out to me. He said that Mr. Malfoy had mentioned that even if Hermione’s marriage to Kevin were annulled, we would still have to petition the Wizengamot to postdate Draco and Hermione’s marriage certificate, because that’s what your parents had to do for your brother and Phillipa. You said if that didn’t happen, Alice wouldn’t be deemed legitimate, and even though Draco would still inherit if the old will was never overturned, Alice never could, if that wasn’t done.”


“Actually, Potter,” Lucius began, “I said short of killing Phillipa, that we would have to petition to have that done, because even if we were successful in keeping the old will, then yes, Alice would still never inherit otherwise. Thank goodness, Hermione is the best friend of the ‘King of our World’ so the Minister of Magic himself has deemed that Alice is completely and one hundred percent a Malfoy, postdated wedding certificate or not, so she’ll get everything someday, if she marries by age 25, which are the conditions set forth for women by the will. Still, I don’t see what one thing has to do with the other.”


Hermione turned to Draco again and said, “Please tell me that you see what’s going on now.”


“Sorry, still confused, just like dear old dad, and a bit bored by now,” Draco said. “I’m also hungry, and would like to get to our wedding reception.”


Narcissa threw a pillow at Draco’s head and said, “Seriously, Draco, use the brain that’s in your head! Mr. Potter must have gone back and changed the date of Phillipa’s wedding license. She had Talbert’s birth made illegitimate, at least by the will’s standards, so even if it were overturned, he couldn’t inherit. He probably can’t even really inherit his father’s estate!”


Hermione turned again to Draco and said, “Please tell me you see now!”


“Of course I see. I would even say bravo, brilliant, and well done, but damn, Hermione, its Potter.” Draco stood up, looked at Harry, and said, “And I still can’t believe you thought of it.”

“He didn’t,” Ron said from the corner. “I did. I thought of it, and I even went back and did it. It was easy. It became a simple, clerical error, which was conveniently brought to Phillipa’s attention two days ago when she went to see her solicitors at their meeting at the Ministry the other day, by my brother Percy. Percy told her he wouldn’t tell a soul, if she would drop the case.”


Hermione smiled at Ron and he winked at her.


“So it’s that simple? It’s over because, why?” Draco asked.


“Draco, really, even I’m a bit ashamed that you’re this slow,” Lucius drawled. “Apparently Phillipa doesn’t want it to be common knowledge that her own son’s inheritance from my brother, vast though it may be, small though it may appear to them, isn’t really his. If it were brought to the attention of say…me, that Talbert wasn’t really in line to inherit, then the next male heir would inherit my brother’s previous fortune.”

Draco laughed, clapped his hands together, looked at Hermione and said, “Hey, Granger that would be me! Let’s tell them we know! I could use a new house and a couple of new cars.”


“No, Draco,” Hermione said, laughing. “We’ll let them keep what they have. Phillipa doesn’t even know that we know, and in the end, does it matter? You don’t need that money. You have your own money, you have me, you have Alice, and someday, when old Lucius over there dies, you’ll have all of his money now, too, thanks to Harry.”

“Yes, I do have that to look forward to,” Draco said wistfully.


Lucius threw another pillow. This one hit Draco square in the nose. Lucius sighed, stood up and offered Ron his hand. “Thank you, Weasley. That was brilliant on your part.” He shook Ron’s hand, turned to Harry and offered his hand to him as well. “And Potter, as always, it’s been a memorable occasion, one which I don’t care if we ever repeat, but still, thank you.”


Harry said, “I did it for Hermione and Alice.”


“I would expect no other answer from you,” Lucius relayed.


Draco sat with his arms crossed, his legs crossed, his foot bobbing up and down and he said, “I’ve been maligned, abused, and now I really just want some wedding cake, some spirits, a dance with my lovely bride, and then a rollicking old wedding night. May I please leave this fucking room now?”


Hermione took a pillow from the couch, hit Draco over the head and said, “Please, watch your language.”

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