A Romance In Reverse by DukeBrymin



Summary: ***Winner of the Best Overall, Most Unexpected, and People's Choice Award in the Carpe Diem Challenge*** It was a small wedding, and the honeymoon was, fortunately, delayed.
Rating: PG starstarstarstarstar
Categories: SIYE Challenges, The Carpe Diem Challenge (2017-1)
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2017.03.19
Updated: 2017.03.19


A Romance In Reverse by DukeBrymin
Chapter 1: Chapter 1
Author's Notes:

The Ending

"Witches and Wizards, we are gathered here today to celebrate the wedding of Harry James Potter and Ginevra Molly Weasley."

The crowd was rather rambunctious, which was not really a surprise, considering that it was made up mostly of Weasleys and their friends. But they were all happy for what was going on, although Ron still had a small grudge against Harry, although no-one really knew why. Not even Ron.

The old, white-haired officiant was pleased to see the love shining between the two. He had performed the ceremony for many, many couples, but had never seen such an obvious love. It was almost tangible--he could practically feel the bonds between them.

After having pronounced the Blessing upon the happy couple, he started waving his wand in the intricate dance of the Joining Ritual. But halfway through, he stopped. "Most odd," he murmured to himself.

Harry and Ginny looked at the old man in surprise, but were ignored as the official started waving his wand in a different sort of motion. The results of this spell seemed surprising to him, and he performed another one, slightly different but still rather intricate. The couple looked back at each other, then at the official, who seemed to have finished his spell.

"What is it?" asked Harry, worried that here, at the culmination of all his hopes and dreams, something would happen yet again to deny him happiness. Ginny gripped his hands tighter and moved closer to him.

"Well, it seems that there's something already binding you together," the old man said.

Harry and Ginny looked at each other in consternation. "What do you mean?" Ginny asked quietly.

"I mean," he said softly, smiling. "You're already married."

oooooooooo

Earlier

Harry couldn't stand it anymore. He was at the Burrow, planning to leave to go hunt for the Horcruxes the next day. And Ginny was just one floor below him. They'd talked, after Dumbledore's death, about what Harry had to do, and what Ginny would have to do, and what they would have to do. They'd been together now for over two years, and Harry knew that he'd never find anyone else who would mean as much to him as Ginny did. Harry's suggestion that they pretend to break up was not received well, but then, he hadn't really wanted to do so anyway, so he was rather easy to convince otherwise.

Finally he got out of his camp bunk and quietly crept over to the door. Keeping an eye on Ron, who was snoring noisily, he carefully turned the knob and opened the door. Door open far enough, he slipped through and gently pulled it shut behind him. He turned around and barely managed to stop himself from screaming like a little girl. Ginny was standing right in front of him, a grin on her face. "Looks like you had the same idea I had," she whispered.

Harry gave a small grin back to her and reached for her. She came into his arms and kissed him deeply, but when he made to pull her even closer, she backed away. "Come with me, Harry," she said, and pulled him along behind her as she went down the stairs.

Out in the orchard was a hammock, and the two teens climbed into it carefully, knowing of its tendency to dump people onto the ground whenever it wanted to. Once arranged, they lay next to each other quietly, gently touching and murmuring, until Ginny got that look in her eyes.

"Harry," she said hesitantly, "will you do something for me before you go, please?"

"Gin, you know I'd do anything for you. What do you want?"

"I want to sleep with you, Harry," she said softly.

"Um, Gin, I thought we were going to wait until we were married, weren’t we? I mean, I want to marry you when we graduate--you know that, right? And I wasn’t planning on our doing anything like that before we were married."

"No, Harry, that's not what I meant, you silly. Of course we’re going to wait. But tonight I want to just be able to sleep in your arms." Ginny looked down for a minute. "Harry, I know what you have to do, and I know it’s dangerous. And I want to be able to spend as much time as possible with you before you leave tomorrow. And that means I want to sleep in your arms tonight.”

Harry was silent. He hadn't expected this, but now that Ginny had broached the subject, he realized it was something he very much wanted himself.

"Are you sure, Gin? What if... what if your mum or Ron catches us?"

Ginny chuckled a bit. "Harry, don't worry. My mum has already got our wedding planned out--it’s not like it’ll be a surprise to her when we announce our engagement. And I honestly don’t care about Ron. Besides, when you tell everyone you’re off to kill parts of Tom’s soul, everyone will forget all about anything they might have seen.”

Harry thought about what she had said, then silently pulled her closer and leaned back, closing his eyes for one last night of peace.

oooooooooo

Much earlier

Standing there on the dock, in drenched clothing and holding Ginny, he finally realized what love was, and leaned down, and kissed her. She broke into a brilliant grin, and reached up and kissed him again, more forcefully.

"If you two would stop snogging for a moment, I have to check you over", grumbled Madame Pomfrey, and the two teens separated reluctantly, although they continued holding hands. Pomfrey smirked at that and scanned them with her wand. "Well, nothing's wrong with either of you," the Matron continued, "but go in and each take a vial of Pepper-Up potion." She cast a drying charm on them both and gently pushed them toward the small tent that had been set up for her use.

The couple moved off together, hand-in-hand, ignoring the various exclamations of the crowd. Lost amongst the cheers, and boos, and cat-calls, was Ron's complaints about his sister having kissed a boy. But honestly, nobody really cared what he thought.

oooooooooo

Slightly earlier than that

Harry shivered on the dock, wishing he could strangle whatever idiot decided that it was a good idea to make people swim in the Black Lake in the middle of winter. But those thoughts were rather distant; the thought that most occupied his mind was of finding Ginny and getting her back. He had been devastated when he realized this morning that she was the thing he'd miss the most. Well, not that this was a surprise, not really. He'd been realizing more and more lately how much she meant to him, and how much happier he was while she was around. And Susan and Hannah had already talked to him about his relationship with the younger girl. Of course Harry had not understood very much of that conversation, punctuated as it was by giggles and grins. But this morning, when he couldn't find Ginny, and saw that Cho was missing too, he had all of a sudden clued in to what was going on, and his heart just about shattered.

Prepared as much as possible, with Gillyweed, which Susan had suggested, and a rough idea of where the Mermaid Village was, courtesy of Hannah, and a knife, lent to him by Cedric, he stood waiting for the blowhard Bagman to finish so he could dive in and rescue his best friend.

oooooooooo

Even Earlier

Harry didn’t initially want to go to the Yule Ball. He hadn’t had any experience dancing, and thought the whole thing might be a little too stuffy. But Ginny looked so excited about it that he just couldn’t burst her bubble. Of course he asked her, as soon as he could after making that decision. Who else would he have asked? Cho Chang? She was pretty, but not as pretty as Ginny. Besides, Cho and Cedric had been making eyes at each other, and Harry would never presume to interfere there. Susan or Hannah would have been fun to go with, Harry thought, but while he was good friends with them, they both seemed to not be very interested in him. At least, they never flirted with him like they did with Justin or Dean. If Harry had thought about it, he would have found it strange that they actually had flirted with him his entire first year, but as soon as Ginny joined their House, they had stopped. Of course, Harry had only been eleven, and even less knowledgeable about girls than he was now.

When Ginny came down the stairs in her new dress robes, Harry found it a little hard to speak--this was a different Ginny to the one he was used to, and he decided that he was actually the luckiest boy in the castle that evening.

oooooooooo

Even earlier than that

Being in Hufflepuff proved to be very advantageous. Since Harry hadn’t gone anywhere near the dragon (a strategy that was cheered by his House and roundly derided by everyone else), he had no golden egg to work with. But Hufflepuff loyalty kicked in, and Cedric mentioned that he might want to prepare to rescue something from the Bottom of the Black Lake.

So Ginny and he spent time in the Prefect’s Bathroom learning to swim, and, at least for him, learning to appreciate bathing costumes.

oooooooooo

And still earlier

The Tri-Wizard Tournament was certain to be a spectacular. . . spectacle. That’s all that Harry and Ginny assumed it would be. They were interested in it, who wouldn’t be? But mostly because they figured that Hufflepuff had as good a chance as any to put forth a Champion to represent the school. And they did! Cedric’s name came out of the Goblet just as they’d hoped, and they about screamed themselves hoarse in celebration. But when Harry’s name came out, the yelling stopped, and they found themselves at the losing end of a very unwelcome stare-off. Harry’s magical vow, given immediately, that he hadn’t entered himself and hadn’t wanted to be in it at least made it so the Hufflepuffs stopped glaring, but the rest of the school seemed to think that if he were smart enough to figure out how to enter himself, he’d also be smart enough to figure out a way around a magical vow.

Vow or not, Harry was forced to compete. As a side note, Molly sent a round dozen Howlers to the tournament officials calling into question their morals, capabilities, ethics, and personal hygiene.

And Molly Weasley Howlers or not, Harry still had to compete.

“Harry,” Ginny said one day, as they were re-reading the rules. “Do you care about doing well in the tournament?”

Harry sat back and thought for a minute. “Well, no. Not really. I mean, Fame? I’ve already got it, and don’t really want what I have. Money? I’ve already got enough, you know?” He thought for a moment more. “I guess the only reason I’d want to do well is to show everyone that I can. To kind of…”

“Prove yourself to them?” Ginny answered.

“Yeah. I mean, I’m famous for something I didn’t do, this would mean at least that I would be famous for something I did do.” Harry thought some more.

Ginny interrupted his thinking. “Do you think that will make a difference?” she asked quietly, wondering if she was going about this the wrong way.

Harry started to answer, then stopped himself. After another minute he chuckled softly. “No, not really. I mean, the people believe whatever the Ministry tells them. Or the Daily Prophet. And they’re bound and determined to show me in the worst light ever. I mean, if I showed them I could walk on water, they’d just report that I didn’t know how to swim.”

Ginny giggled at that, then sobered. “Then maybe we could just focus on your surviving?”

Harry looked taken aback and went to reply to her, but then he noticed her eyes shining. Ginny never cried, but he could tell she was exceedingly worried about him. He leaned forward in his chair and took her by the hands. “Ginny, I promised a long time ago that I’d take care of you always--” Ginny smiled, remembering their very first meeting and the promises they’d made then, “--and I can’t very well do that if I’m banged up by a dragon, or a nundu, or whatever they choose for the first task.”

Ginny grimaced at the reminder--their research had showed that 97% of the time, the first Task involved a very large, very dangerous animal.

“So what do you think we could do to ensure that I make it through that first task without any damage?”

Ginny smiled at him again and pulled him close for a somewhat awkward, although very comforting, hug. “Well, first, let’s go talk to Professor Sprout and see what she says.”

oooooooooo

Much, much earlier

Dear Mum and Dad,
Just as I expected, I was sorted into Hufflepuff. I know, Weasleys have been in Gryffindor since time began, but the Sorting Hat thought I should be in Hufflepuff, and, let’s face it, I wasn’t going to argue being in the same House as Harry.
Besides, this way I can beat Ron at Quidditch!
More later, I’m rather tired,
Love you,
Your Ginny-bear


Left unsaid was what the Sorting Hat had actually said to Ginny, which gave her quite a bit to think about, and a secret smile that lasted for most of that year.

oooooooooo

Somewhat earlier

Ginny’s growing concern was starting to really bother her brothers. Her mother wasn’t too thrilled either. They finally reached an agreement whereby if Ginny hadn’t heard from Harry by the middle of August, they’d take a trip to Little Whinging to see the boy.

She didn’t. And they did.

The Dursleys didn’t like magic. Not at all. And especially they didn’t like magical people coming in and telling them they couldn’t treat the boy as they wanted to. Nevertheless, Harry departed Number Four, Privet Drive, for what would prove to be the last time, leaving the Dursleys with ringing in their ears, and a fear of redheads that would last for the rest of their lives.

oooooooooo

A tiny bit earlier

Dear Ginny,
Thank you for inviting me to spend time at your house. The Burrow is amazing! And your mum is a fabulous cook! I couldn’t believe she let me eat as much as I wanted! And your dad is something else. It was so fun to see him all excited about rubber duckies and things.
Oh, I have to go--Uncle Vernon is yelling for me.
Harry


oooooooooo

Slightly earlier

HARRY!
Sorry for yelling (doesn’t it look like yelling when you write all in big letters like that?), but Mum says you can come visit for a couple of days. Can you?
Please write back quickly and let me know!
Love, Your friend always,
Ginny


oooooooooo

Moderately earlier

Harry was finally grateful that he’d decided to stay at Hogwarts. It had still been a toss-up until he’d been sorted into Hufflepuff. The Sorting itself had just about made him want to run away--the Hat had wanted to put him into Slytherin first, but he had argued against it, saying that he just wanted a friend, and he didn’t think the people in Slytherin looked very friendly. Finally the Hat gave in and sent him to the House of the Badgers. As he had walked over towards the cheering table, he looked desperately to try to see a friendly face. Two girls, whom he had seen Sorted earlier, smiled at him and beckoned him to come sit between them. And from then on he had friends at school with him.

Ginny’s letter made him feel all warm inside. Well, and slightly guilty. She had noticed his mistakes, and he decided that he didn’t want her to think he couldn’t write well. Old habits die hard, but die they do when you re-copy your homework three times, forcing yourself to write your best. They kept up a weekly correspondence, where he told her everything he was learning, and she told him all the things he wanted to know about the magical world but was afraid to ask.

Toward the end of the year, there was a big disturbance having to do with the third-floor corridor, but all the Headmaster would say was that Professor Quirrel would not be returning next year. Harry dutifully reported it all to Ginny, but she was just as puzzled as he was. Sure, there had been a time or two when Harry had wondered about that mysterious corridor, but the Hufflepuff way was to work together, and they were all too busy working together at passing their classes, including the behind-the-scenes Potions tutoring from Professor Sprout, to worry about going somewhere out-of-bounds.

oooooooooo

Almost a year earlier

Dear Harry,
Thank you for writing me so soon. Mum was surprised, but I knew you would keep your promise. I’m sorry that the people on the train weren’t very nice. I hope you’ll be able to find some friends soon. I guess it would kind be of scary, not knowing anyone and it being your first time and all. I guess I’m lucky to have a bunch of brothers that I could at least ask for help. I would have hoped that Ron would have been nicer to you, but he’s kind of turned into a meany recently, so maybe that’s not surprising.
I know, I’ll send a letter to Fred and George and ask them to at least talk to you. They probably won’t work out as day to day friends, since they’re in third year now, but they could at least introduce you to people.
Oh, although maybe you’re not in Gryffindor? Fred and George are, so if you’re not then they might not know too many people in your house. But I’ll ask them anyway--they’re pretty friendly and should be able to do something.
Let’s see, answers to your questions. Or maybe just things I thought while I read your letter…
Mrs. Figg is part of a group called the Order of the Phoenix (and you probably shouldn’t tell anyone--it’s supposed to be a secret, only I listened at the door once while they were meeting in our kitchen). She doesn’t go to all the meetings, I guess, and my mum was so busy preparing for a meeting that she made me go over to be babysat. I was six, I guess, so you were probably seven, right? I’m just really glad I did, so I could meet you. So no, I’m not just one of your imaginings. We really did meet, and I really did promise to be your friend and always take care of you. Guess I didn’t do a very good job since then. But now that I know where you are, I can do better, right?
I guess writing with a quill can be hard to learn at first--I figure that’s why you spelled some words wrong--I have to be really careful when I write ‘cause it’s such a pain to try to go back and correct things without re-writing the whole thing. What do you use in the Muggle world? Dad says they use something called a biro, but that just sounds like a toy to make circles with. That’s a joke, you should laugh now.
That Drako boy is probably a Malfoy. He sounds like he’s related to the family that Dad hates most of all. I’m not sure why, although I think it’s something to do with You-Know-Who.
Anyway, I’m going to send this off now--your owl is so beautiful! She’s so smart too, she’s been waiting here in my room for me to finish my letter.
Love, your friend always,
Ginny


ooooooooooo

A Teensy bit earlier

Harry almost missed the train. It might have been worth it, though, he thought to himself as he sat in the otherwise-empty compartment. He wasn’t sure what to think about Ginny’s mum--she seemed nice enough, he supposed, but she didn’t seem predisposed to listen too much to children. Of course, any listening at all was better than nothing, so he decided to count that in the plus column. He wasn’t as pleased with her having separated Ginny from him so brusquely. Honestly, she didn’t have to pull so hard. Just when he was enjoying the second kind hug he could ever remember!

But at least he could write to Ginny. He hadn’t known where to send anything before, and of course hadn’t been completely sure she hadn’t been a hallucination. And he was afraid to ask Mrs. Figg about it, obviously. What if she complained to Aunt Petunia about his making up stories? But now he could! He was rather grateful that he hadn’t tried to find her address--come to find out magical people sent letters by owl! And he had Hedwig! He decided that as soon as he had some time this evening, he’d write his first letter to his first friend.

Some minutes went by with the train speeding out of London. When they reached the outskirts and the novelty of seeing the buildings began to become slightly less engrossing, he realized something--he could start a letter to her right now! It’s not like he had someone sitting with him to keep him company.

He laboriously opened his trunk and pulled out parchment and a quill; thankfully he was small enough to be able to climb up into the overhead racks to reach it. A momentary worry crossed his mind as he tried to figure out how he’d get it down once they reached Hogwarts, but the prospect of writing a letter to his friend quickly banished that thought.

Sitting back down he just about cursed when he realized he would need ink for his quill. The second ascent was soon accomplished, not without his promising to himself that he’d buy those self-inking quills next time, if he had enough money, and he started scratching out his thoughts:

Dear Ginny,
I was so happy to see you today. I onestly thought I had maybe dreamed you up or something. Sometimes I have to spend a lot of time in my cupboard so I make up stories about my family and I was afraid maybe I had made you up too.
I’m a little scared to go to Hogwarts. I mean, its got to be better than the Dursleys, right? But what if I’m not very good at magic? I bet everyones better at it then I am. But I guess I can make it through a year. Cause then you’ll be there, right?
I dont really know what else to write. I’m not a very interesting person, I guess.
Oh, I’m back. You probably didn’t even notice, but someone came into my compartment. He said he was Ron Weasley, but when I asked if he was your brother he got upset and left. Is he your brother? He doesn’t seem very nice. Sorry, that’s probably not very nice to say, but he was kinda rude.
I’m back again. This time it was someone named Drako Maufloy or something like that. And he had two other boys with him named something like Crab and Goil. They didn’t seem very nice either, although that Drako did try to shake my hand. I was going to shake his, but noticed that I had ink on my hand from this quill (their not very easy to right with) and didn’t want to be embarrassed. But I guess that was the wrong thing to do too, cause he went away all upset too.
I don’t know what to do, Ginny. It seems like nobody’s very friendly here. If I hand’t found you this morning I think I might just not even get off the train when we get there. Cause at least I could come back to London and try to find you.
Well, like I said, I don’t know what else to write. Oh, maybe you could tell me again how you were at Mrs. Figg’s house? That was so long ago that I’m not really sure I remember correctly. Something about a phoenix?
Anyway, please write back,
Your friend,
Harry


Harry rolled up the parchment and tied a bit of string around it. On the outside he wrote, in big block letters, and making sure not to misspell anything: Ginny Weasley, The Burrow. He wasn’t convinced that that was enough of an address, but figured the worst that could happen was that Hedwig would refuse to deliver it.

He was about to wake up his owl, when he realized he didn’t have any way of letting her out to fly. The windows were openable, but they were going so fast that he didn’t want to just throw his owl out into the slipstream. He decided he’d just wait until they arrived. And maybe by then he would have decided for sure if he were going to stay at Hogwarts and not come back on the train again.

oooooooooo

Earlier that day

Molly rounded the pillar to find a sight she definitely hadn’t been expecting. She’d half-expected to find Ginny hiding there, ready to jump out and yell “Boo!”. Another part had expected that her daughter had in actuality snuck off through the barrier to the Hogwarts Express--she’d already done that twice in an effort to start school with her other brothers. But none of her parts had expected to find her daughter in a tight embrace with a small, black-haired child, who was bleeding from a scrape on his leg.

“Ginny!” she yelped in surprise.

Her daughter started, then turned to her. “Mum, it’s Harry!”

oooooooooo

Earlier
September 1st, 1991, to be exact


Harry was conflicted. Half of him was terrified. What if it were all a dream, and he woke up from it to find himself back in the cupboard under the stairs, with a broken arm? What if all those amazing magical experiences were just so much wishful thinking? What if his two friends were just figments of his imagination?

The other half of him pointed out that he was holding a steamer trunk, wearing clothes that he wouldn’t normally (some of them even fit!), and even more importantly, the Dursleys were currently absent.

So, on the whole, it was better than normal.

“...packed with Muggles…” he dimly heard over the hustle and bustle of the crowds of people hurrying through platforms 9 and 10. Attention caught, he scooted to the side and climbed up the plinth to try to see where that intriguing phrase had come from.

Plowing their way through the crowds was a veritable shoal of red-headed figures. Harry wasn’t sure if they were the source of the words that had made him prick up his ears, but regardless, he viewed the approaching family with a great deal of trepidation and excitement.

It was easy to follow their progress, not just because of the flame trail of their hair. The reactions of the other passengers were a dead giveaway--the sidelong glances at the five (five!) children, the quizzical responses to the strange words (perhaps they really were the ones to blame for the whole “Muggle” sentence), and the multitudinous trunks being dragged along all combined to make this procession quite a spectacle.

But Harry didn’t care about that. All he cared about was the smallest figure of the red-headed throng. Could it really be her? He unconsciously leaned forward, trying to make out her face, and in doing so, managed to slip off the base of the column he was grasping.

Ginny noticed something strange out of the corner of her eye--it looked like a little boy was climbing up a wall. But before she could really focus on the image, the boy slipped off and fell to the ground. It looked rather painful to her, and she reflexively pulled her mother’s hand. “Mum, someone fell down!”

Molly Weasley had been looking forward to this day for at least the last three months. Getting all her boys off to school meant a couple of things for her. First, the house would be a little bit quieter. Although, come to think of it, having the boys all gone would probably make it a LOT quieter, since Ginny’s outbursts were usually caused by her siblings, so having those potential sources of irritation gone was bound to help her girl be less strident.

Second, with four fewer mouths to feed, she would be able to devote a little more time to her other pursuits, not to mention being able to cut down her weekly grocery budget. That, in turn, would allow her to start stocking up on the yarn she’d need to knit the Christmas sweaters. And Arthur would be happier because she’d be able to spend a little more time with him--he wouldn’t have to compete with the boys for her attention.

Of course, there was another result that she wasn’t looking forward to as much. Ginny, while not having so many brothers to bother her, would also not have her built-in playmates. So she’d need a little more love and attention than normal. Not that this was a chore for Molly; she loved her children and wanted them to be happy. But this was a situation she’d never encountered before, so she felt a little nervous about how things would work out.

“What was that, Ginny?” she asked, having been startled out of her ruminations and constant haranguing of the boys to not lose things and stop yelling and watch out for the trains and apologize to that poor man!

“I saw someone fall off that pillar, Mum!” Ginny repeated, trying again to drag her mother over to the scene of the accident.

“Are you sure?” Molly responded, trying to decide whether she had time to investigate, or if she hadn’t better focus on getting her hooligans to the train on time.

“Mum!” Ginny stated forcefully, familiar with her mother’s usual state of multi-distractedness. “A little boy was climbing up on that thing and he fell off it and I--” she took a breath, “--think he might be hurt!” She didn’t really know that for sure, but she also knew it was probably the best way to get her mother to pay more attention.

Well, if there was one thing Molly cared about, it was the welfare of children. “Percy, get your brothers through the barrier, please,” she directed to the oldest of her collection, then hastened to follow her daughter, who had slipped out of her grasp, through the crowd.

“Fred, George,” came the slightly nasal voice of the oldest Weasley boy present, as he automatically took over for his mother. “You two go through first, then I’ll send Ronald through.”

Two of the boys, who looked to be identical twins, glanced at each other, then at their brother, wondering if they could get away with direct disobedience since their mother was no longer watching.

“Don’t even think about it,” Percy replied. “Or I’ll tell Mother about your joke shop idea!”

The twins gulped and turned toward the barrier. They never should have gone to Percy with questions about money and business. Sure, he’d been able to help them understand some real-world truths, but he now had something to hold over their heads, and they weren’t quite sure whether it was worth it.

Ronald, apparently the youngest boy, was too nervous to do much beyond follow behind his older brothers and hope to not get lost. He’d been to Kings Cross station before, obviously, but had always been able to just follow his mum around and not worry about stuff. But now he had a trunk to mind, and his mum had gone off with Ginny for some reason, and it was all of a sudden dawning on him that he was going off to school. And he wasn’t really sure he was ready for that.

Harry had, indeed, done himself a slight injury when he fell from the plinth. His right shin was scraped up and bleeding slightly, and his palms stung from where he had caught himself. He didn’t bother crying about it--he’d had that response stifled for a long time--it had never made things any better before, why should it start now? He painfully dragged himself behind the plinth so as to be out of the walkway and painstakingly pulled up his trouser leg to see how much damage he’d done to himself.

A shadow falling over him interrupted his inspection, and he flinched away from it. But the next thing he knew, there was a small, redheaded girl kneeling next to him looking at his scrape. His heart started beating faster, and he felt like he couldn’t get enough breath. Could it be? He had hoped and hoped and prayed (to what, he wasn’t quite sure, but figured it couldn’t do any harm), but this came unbearably close to reality. Timidly he reached out a hand.

Ginny sucked in a breath when she saw the blood on the leg of the small child and knelt down next to him without even noticing who it might be. The scrape didn’t look too bad, although there was enough blood there to cause her brother Ron to be a little sick to the stomach. She drew in a breath to reassure the child, but as she turned to talk to him, she finally noticed the green eyes, and the black hair, and the hand reaching out and tremulously touching her shoulder.

oooooooooo

The Beginning

“Arabella!” came Molly Weasley’s voice through the floo.

oooooooooo

“Of course I can watch your daughter, Molly. Send her right over!”

oooooooooo

It was a small wedding. In fact, as weddings go, it would be hard to conceive of a smaller one. The bride wore a white lacey blouse over a cute pair of denim shorts. The groom wore an oversized t-shirt and a matchingly-oversized pair of denim pants, with several possibly-strategic rips.

There weren’t any witnesses. Well, actually there were, and in the magical world they were probably more acceptable witnesses than any Muggles might have been. Mr. Tibbles and Sleekfoot didn’t object at all.

The vows were simple. Very simple. The bride and groom did not use pre-set vows; instead they just spoke from the heart. That didn’t seem to matter much. Or maybe it mattered more than anything, as the magic binding them together seemed to be much stronger than that usually found in wizarding weddings.

“I, Ginny Weasley, promise to always love and care for my friend, Harry, and to always be his best friend.”

“I, Harry Potter, promise to be Ginny’s friend forever, and to take care of her if I can, and never make fun of her.”

The kiss was, well, to put it bluntly, not very romantic. In fact, it was on the cheek, not on the lips, and the groom wasn’t exactly sure what to do about it other than think that it was probably the best kiss he’d ever received.

The honeymoon was delayed.

Twelve years.


oooooooooo

Author’s Notes: Okay, well, here you are. Something new from me. I know it’s not what you were waiting for, but at least I have been enjoying writing again. And some of the craziness has died down. Since you last heard from me, I changed jobs and we moved from the Desert Southwest to the Intermountain West, from a five-bedroom home into a two-and-a-half bedroom apartment (and two storage units). The only really big thing left to do is to find a house, but at least we’re together and happy. Well, as much as we can be, with every single member of the family suffering from either anxiety, depression, or both. Anyway, this was written for the challenge of showing how Harry and Ginny got together earlier than in canon. And to try a different style of writing. Yes, there are huge swaths of story missing. No, I’m not planning on filling in the blanks. But there’s perhaps more about the initial meeting. We’ll see if that gets written. Thanks!



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