|SIYE Time:2:50 on 22nd July 2017|
The Only One
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Category: Post-DH/PM, Holidays
Genres: Fluff, General, Humor
Story is Complete
Summary: After ten years of marriage, Harry still manages to surprise Ginny – in a good way, of course.
Hitcount: Story Total: 6973
Disclaimer: Harry Potter Publishing Rights © J.K.R. Note the opinions in this story are my own and in no way represent the owners of this site. This story subject to copyright law under transformative use. No compensation is made for this work.
Written for the Anniversary Challenge over at the LiveJournal community of hpgw_otp. My prompt was Tenth: Tin/Aluminium. Please do drop by the site to read all the other fabulous entries.
House points to anyone who can guess which movie inspired the setting for this story. Thanks to Chreechree, the queen of all betas.
Regarding the children’s ages, I calculated them based on the fact that Al was 11 at the time of the Epilogue, and my assumption that H/G did not get married right away. If I got the ages wrong, well, I only have JKR’s excuse – ‘Oh dear, Maths’. ☺
The Only One
“Mummy, where’s Daddy?”
That’s what I’d like to know, thought Ginny as she ran up the steps of Ottery Primary with her children in tow.
“I’m sure he’ll be right along, Lily, honey,” she told her daughter, whose white robes floated around her as she skipped beside her mother.
“I hope Daddy didn’t forget,” said Albus quietly from Ginny’s other side. At almost eight years of age, Albus was the more introspective of her two boys; his older brother, James, seemed to have inherited the Weasley penchant for gregariousness, while the youngest, Lily, was an even-tempered child with a sunny disposition. “He didn’t, did he?” He looked earnestly at his mother, his bright green eyes reminding Ginny of her husband’s own emerald ones.
“I’m sure he didn’t,” Ginny replied, in what she hoped was a reassuring tone. She smiled at Albus. “He didn’t miss last year’s and the year before that…”
“And the year before that, and the year before that…” added James helpfully, pulling on his brother’s beard.
“Stop it, James!” Ginny scolded and adjusted Al’s false beard, which was now more than slightly askew. “Your brother’s right, Al. You know that Daddy would never miss your play.”
At least not deliberately, she added silently. After over a decade of being an Auror, Harry now held a position of authority in the Ministry of Magic, and this meant more demands on his time than he really wanted. He always made sure, though, that he was present for the major events in his children’s lives, and the annual Christmas play at the Muggle primary school that James, Albus and Lily attended (much to their grandfather’s delight) was considered one of the most important occasions in the Potter — and the Weasley — household.
Has it really been ten years? Ginny thought wonderingly, feeling as if it were only yesterday that Harry had fumbled his way through a wedding proposal in the middle of a post-celebratory snog after Ginny’s Quidditch team, the Holyhead Harpies, had won the England Cup. She looked at the platinum wedding band and the matching engagement ring on her left hand with satisfaction. Sometimes she still couldn’t believe that she was now Ginny Potter, married to the love of her life and mother to three charming children, one of whom was currently shoving his way quite energetically towards a group of his mates that he had spotted.
“Hey, Alex! Adam! Wait up!”
“James! Be careful and say sorry to the nice lady!” she shouted as her irrepressible son bowled over an elderly woman wearing a blindingly yellow cardigan and hot pink knickerbockers. The woman frowned at Ginny, who smiled apologetically and then proceeded to weave her way around the halls filled with chattering, excited children and their even more excited parents. She finally spotted her best friend and sister-in-law standing in front of the auditorium doors. Hermione beamed at Ginny, while Hugo and Rose eagerly sprinted towards their cousins.
“Hi, Ginny.” The brunette shifted her arms, which were laden with humongous orange things which looked vaguely like claws.
Ginny bussed Hermione on the cheek, taking care not to let herself become impaled on whatever her friend was carrying. “Hullo, pet. What on earth are those things?”
“They’re part of Hugo’s and Rosie’s costume.” Hermione nodded towards her children, who were dressed from head to foot in blinding Chudley Cannons orange, something their father was probably inordinately proud of. “Lobster claws.”
At Ginny’s raised eyebrows, Hermione laughed. “Don’t ask.”
Ginny looked around, chuckling at the children, who — if the way Hugo kept poking it in horrified fascination was any indication — were now in awe of Albus’ fake beard. “Where’s Ron?” she asked at the same time that Hermione said, “Where’s Harry?”
They smiled wryly at each other. Hermione spoke in a resigned voice. “I left word at the Auror office, but…”
“…they’re still in a meeting with Kingsley,” Ginny finished, before sighing in frustration. “Harry told me that he would try to get off early.”
“So did Ron,” admitted Hermione, shifting the claws to a more comfortable position.
“And so I did,” said a deep male voice behind them. Both women turned around to see a tall, ginger-haired man striding towards them.
“Daddy!” shrieked Rose, flinging herself into Ron’s arms, while a giggling Hugo attached himself to one of his father’s long legs.
“Hullo, Rosie girl.” Ron kissed his daughter on the forehead before putting her down. “You too, sproglet,” he said, prying Hugo off his leg and settling the happily chortling boy on his shoulders. “All right, you lot?” He nodded to everyone else before kissing a smiling Hermione. “I’m not late, am I? I was in such a hurry that I nearly Apparated on top of a bunch of Muggle sprogs dressed like porpoises, for some reason. Good thing they were all too busy practicing a dance to notice me.”
“No, actually, you’re right on time,” said Ginny, moving forward to give her brother a hug. “Isn’t Harry with you?” she asked, looking over his shoulder.
“Er — no,” said Ron hesitantly. “Kingsley asked to speak to him right before we were supposed to leave for here, but I’m sure he’ll be along soon.” Seeing Ginny’s puckered brow, he added, “Harry was bloody annoyed that he was delayed. He’s been talking about this bleeding play for weeks.”
“Language, Ron,” admonished Hermione, tapping him lightly on the arm with one of the claws.
Ginny glanced down at her children while Ron pretended to be mortally wounded for Hugo’s benefit. Lily was giggling with Rose and did not seem to have heard her uncle’s news, but Albus’ eyes were downcast.
“Don’t worry, Al,” murmured Ginny, bending down to look her son in the eyes.
Ron put one hand on his nephew’s shoulder. “Your dad’ll be here. He’s been telling me all about this role of yours. One of the stars of the show, eh?”
Albus gave a shy grin, and Ginny smiled gratefully at Ron; she would never have thought that her sometimes boorish brother would grow up to be such a great uncle, not to mention a wonderful father.
“Daddy, I’m a star too,” Hugo insisted, tugging at his father’s hair.
“Yeah?” Ron tilted his head up to grin at the miniature version of himself. “And what are you again?”
“I’m the Christmas lobster!” said Hugo, puffing out his chest importantly.
“No, we’re the Christmas lobsters,” Rose corrected him with an eye-roll worthy of her mother.
Ginny stifled a laugh and looked questioningly at Hermione. Her sister-in-law shrugged and held up the papier-mâché claws in answer.
“How could I have forgotten?” chuckled Ron. “Without the Christmas lobsters, there wouldn’t even be a Christmas, right?”
“Damn right!” agreed Hugo as his sister nodded with enthusiasm.
“Hugo Weasley!” cried Hermione in horror. “Where did you learn that word?” She whirled on her husband. “It was you, wasn’t it? What did I say about cursing in front of the children?”
“Sorry, luv,” said Ron. He looked up at his son. “Hugo, I don’t want to hear that word from you again, okay?”
“Okay.” Hugo nodded solemnly. “Does that mean I also can’t say bloody and bugger and shi—”
“Er,” interrupted Ron, shooting a panicked glance at a narrow-eyed Hermione. “Let’s go look for Granddad and Nana Molly, yeah?”
“We’ll talk about this later, Ron Weasley!” Hermione called out after him as he hurried away, Hugo clutching at his hair and yelling for people to clear out of the way, while Rose chattered happily beside them.
Ginny gave in to her amusement and laughed heartily. “Glad to see that you can still strike fear in Ron’s heart, Hermione.” Her sister-in-law shook her head and joined in, just as a small, flaxen-haired, brown-eyed girl dressed in flowing blue and white robes skipped up to them.
“Hullo, Mrs Potter, Mrs Weasley, Lily,” she said politely. She then turned to Albus and smiled sweetly at him. “Hullo, Albus.”
Albus shifted from one foot to the other and scowled. “’Lo,” he muttered, edging away from the little girl.
“Al, that’s not nice,” chided Ginny, hiding a smile. It was quite obvious from the way she was beaming at him that the little girl was quite smitten with her son. Ginny was suddenly struck by a memory; at one point during her mad childhood crush on Harry, before she learned how to hide her infatuation better, she must have looked as besotted as Albus’ friend. “Hullo, Victoria,” she greeted her warmly. “Come to get Al, then?”
“Oh yes, Mrs Potter,” said Victoria, nodding her head eagerly. “Mr Faversham told me that it was time for all the actors to go to their places.” She grabbed a disgruntled-looking Albus’ hand. Unlike Ginny’s ten year-old self, Victoria was evidently not shy about displaying her affections. “C’mon Albus, we still have time to practice our special song!”
“Go on, dear.” Ginny gently pushed her son to get him going. “Lily and I will be right along.”
Albus’ ruffled his fringe with the hand that Victoria wasn’t clutching tightly, reminding Ginny strongly of his father, who still had the tendency to rake his hands through his already messy hair whenever he was flustered.
Where are you, Harry? she wondered again, scanning the crowd for her missing husband as she followed her son up the stairs and backstage. She wasn’t angry at his absence, but she was beginning to become slightly peeved and just a bit worried.
All thoughts of Harry’s whereabouts and well-being disappeared temporarily as she was greeted by total bedlam backstage. Children were all over the place, dressed as shepherds, sheep, barn animals, and, for some reason that entirely escaped Ginny, various vegetables, fruit, and sea creatures. All of them were shouting and talking and laughing at the top of their voices. Hermione immediately made a beeline for Hugo and Rose, the other parents scurrying out of her way as she brandished the lobster claws she had made in front of her.
Albus’ teacher, a harassed-looking man with a thinning pate made his hurried way towards Ginny. “Oh, Mrs Potter, thank goodness you’re here!” he cried out, skidding to a stop in front of her.
“Is something the matter, Mr Faversham?”
“One of our teachers, Miss Harrington, has come down with chicken pox, of all things, and so we’re currently short of backstage crew,” he explained. “Since you’ve been so helpful in the past, I was wondering if you could lend a hand tonight?”
“Er, all right,” said Ginny. “What do I do?”
“I just need someone to make sure that the children are in their proper places before the curtain rises. You know how they get — they’ll wander about aimlessly unless someone’s supervising them.” Mr Faversham thrust a clipboard at her. “Thank you!” he called out over his shoulder as he hurtled away to avert a disaster in the making. “Logan Meyers! Do not pull that rope, especially with your teeth! Logan! NO!”
Ginny smiled wryly, looking around for her own children. James and his mates were lounging about by the improvised manger, prodding the cardboard trees and shrubbery and generally ignoring Mr Faversham’s attempts to shoo them away from the props. Albus was in one corner, his face resigned as Victoria chattered to him, still gripping his hand quite firmly in her own chubby one. And Lily was now gadding excitedly with her best friend, who, Ginny had been quite bemused to learn, was named Moonbeam Twilight Jenkins. She suspected the child had magical parents, but she hadn’t had a chance to meet them yet.
“Ginny? Shall we go take our seats?” asked Hermione, her arms now unburdened of their previous unusual cargo.
“You go on ahead,” she answered, holding up her newly acquired clipboard. “I’ve volunteered to help out.”
“I’ll be glad to help, too.”
“It’s all right,” said Ginny, smiling. “You should go watch the play with Ron and Mum and Dad.”
“All right, if you’re sure.” Hermione gave her a doubtful glance. “Should I save a seat for Harry?”
Ginny’s earlier misgivings resurfaced. “I suppose you should,” she said, biting her lip. She knew she sounded irritated, but she couldn’t help it. Not only was Harry about to miss the children’s play, but he would also be missing—
“Five minutes!” Mr Faversham shouted, herding a giggling pair of pineapples towards the centre of the stage. “Can I ask everyone who’s not supposed to be here to please leave? Thank you for your— JAMES POTTER! Please stop poking that—”
“Go on, Hermione. I need to save Mr Faversham before my firstborn gives him a coronary.”
Hermione laughed. “Okay, see you after the play.” She made to walk away and then stopped. “Oh, and make sure that Hugo’s claws stay on, will you? I didn’t have time to put a Temporary Sticking Charm on them,” she whispered, “so they may be a bit loose, and I don’t want them to fall off in the middle of the—”
“Two minutes!” screamed an increasingly agitated Mr Faversham, his face now as red as the jumper he was wearing. “Two minutes, people!”
“I’ll take care of it, Hermione,” Ginny reassured her. “Now go before Mr Faversham decides to have a coronary, with or without James’ help.”
Half an hour later, the play was well underway and going smoothly, more or less.
James, one of the three Magi, kept referring to his gift of frankincense as ‘Frankenstein’ — which Ginny supposed he picked up from watching old Muggle horror movies on the telly with his father — causing the audience to chuckle every time he did so. Lily looked like the angel she was supposed to be as she flit around the stage, proclaiming the birth of the baby Jesus to the fidgety shepherds and the even more fidgety sheep, who were all very young and therefore had the alarming tendency to meander off the stage and had to be constantly shooed back by the teachers.
The Granger-Weasley children made a sensational entrance into the manger scene, with Hugo accidentally flinging one of his lobster claws into the orchestra pit, nearly decapitating the pianist — the beleaguered Mr Faversham — in the process. Ginny could hear Ron’s bellow of laughter even as she guiltily realised that she never did put the Temporary Sticking Charm on Hugo’s costume like his mother had requested.
Albus appeared nervous when he took his place on stage, tugging at his beard and almost pulling it off as he approached the manger, but he soon lost his inhibitions and became quite engrossed in playing his part. It was during Albus’ slightly off-key rendition of Away in a Manger that Ginny heard the faint but unmistakable sound of someone Apparating behind her.
Since the school was mostly Muggle, it was quite unusual for anyone to perform magic, let alone Apparate, so she fumbled for her wand and looked cautiously around. All of the children were on stage, and the teachers were on the other side of the wings. The only one she knew who could Apparate so quietly was—
“All right, Ginny?” said a soft voice in her ear. An arm snaked around her waist, and she relaxed into its familiar solid warmth. “Sorry I’m late.”
“How’d you know I was here, Harry?”
He shrugged. “Hermione sent me a Patronus to tell me you were backstage, so I concentrated on you and crossed my fingers that I wouldn’t Apparate on top of an unsuspecting teacher. Did I miss much?” asked Harry, kissing the back of her neck and making her shiver.
Ginny turned her head and smiled at him. “No,” she murmured back. “The Christmas lobsters have arrived safely at the manger, and Al’s just started his song.”
“There’s a Christmas lobster?”
“Apparently, there’s more than one, and we’re related to both of them.”
“Oh. That’s all right, then.”
They remained silent for a few minutes, listening as their middle child warbled his way through the chorus. “Ouch,” chuckled Harry, wincing when Albus hit a particularly sour note. “Our Al’s a lot of things, but a singer isn't one of them.”
“He obviously inherited his singing voice from you, because I happen to sing like an angel,” she replied loftily.
Harry snorted. “You may look like an angel, but you certainly don’t sing like one,” he teased.
Ginny’s retort was cut off when she realised that Albus had finished his song. She and Harry clapped enthusiastically along with the crowd, and then she turned back to her husband. “You weren’t complaining when I was singing in the shower the other day,” she pointed out with a raised brow.
“Only because I was too busy appreciating the fact that you and I were both naked in the shower together,” he shot back, winking at her. “Speaking of which, any chance we can do that again tonight?” He turned her around and brushed her hair back from her face with a loving hand. “After all, it is our tenth anniversary.”
Ginny blinked back sudden tears. “You remembered,” she whispered, happiness coursing through her.
“Of course I did,” said Harry, smiling. “How could I not? Ten years ago you gave me the best Christmas present ever by marrying me.”
“I thought you’d forgotten,” admitted Ginny, smiling back at him. “You were so busy with the Ministry, and I got caught up with my article and making the children’s costumes, and then you were late in getting here…”
“I was only late because I had to pick this up.” Harry fumbled in his pocket and brought out a small leather case. He opened the lid to reveal a shiny round object nestled in dark green velvet.
Ginny stared at it in puzzlement. “It’s a — er — ball?” she said uncertainly. On the stage, the main players, along with the various assorted vegetables, fruits, crustaceans and sea creatures were swaying energetically to the tune of their final number, Joy to the World.
“It’s an aluminium Snitch,” he corrected her, carefully tipping it into her hand, which reflexively closed around it. She carefully opened her hand, and the Snitch whirred and hovered a few inches above her palm. “I had it especially made in Quality Quidditch Supplies. Hermione told me that the traditional tenth year anniversary gift is aluminium or tin, so I thought this would be a perfect gift for you, since our first kiss was after a Quidditch match and I asked you to marry me after you won the England Cup.”
He looked so earnest and proud of himself that Ginny squashed the tiny flicker of disappointment that had come over her because her gift was not something more… extravagant. After all, not only had Harry remembered their anniversary, but he had even made the effort to find the appropriate present. She should be ashamed of feeling anything but appreciation for his thoughtfulness.
“Ginny,” said Harry with a smirk, “I hope you’re not thinking that your husband’s gone round the twist with this barmy gift of his.”
“No! Of course not!” she denied, capturing the Snitch and examining it closely. “I love it.” It really was a cunning little thing, with its intricate feathery wings and gleaming, polished surface. “Thank you, Harry.”
She raised startled eyes to him. “What?”
“Kiss it,” he repeated, his green eyes twinkling behind his glasses. “I promise, there’s a method to my madness.”
She hesitated, then shrugged her shoulders and pressed her lips to the smooth metal. To her surprise, the Snitch fell open, and Ginny gasped as it revealed a ring that had sparkling white diamonds set across the entire band. Harry picked up the two halves of the Snitch and placed them in his pocket along with the leather case, while in the background, the audience roared in approval as the final notes of the children’s Christmas carol faded away.
Ginny noticed none of this; she was too mesmerised by how the ring seemed to blaze with an inner fire even in the muted light. “It’s beautiful,” she whispered, staring at it in awe.
“I did some more research, and I found out that diamonds are also considered suitable for the tenth anniversary,” said Harry softly, slipping the ring on her finger.
She bit her lip and looked up at him. “Harry, you didn’t have to—”
“I wanted to, Ginny,” he interrupted her. “This ring is called an eternity ring because it symbolizes everlasting love, and, at the risk of sounding corny, I got this for you because I hope you know that you’re the only woman I will ever love,” he declared, tenderly wiping away the tears that had fallen from her eyes. “I love you.”
“Oh Harry, you’re the only one for me too,” she cried out, launching herself at him and kissing him passionately.
When she and Harry finally broke apart, she suddenly realised that they had somehow missed the fact that the play had ended and that they were now completely surrounded by hordes of curious little children, all of them silently watching them with wide eyes. It was quite disconcerting, Ginny decided, having a giant swede stare at you with giant fake swede eyes.
A voice shattered the silence by groaning, “Aw, Mum! Didja hafta kiss Dad in front of everyone? That’s just gross!”
Harry broke out laughing, and Ginny rolled her eyes in exasperation. “James Sirius Potter, come here!” she said sternly, marching over to where her eldest son stood, making horrible faces and miming vomiting, much to the delight of his mates.
While she attempted to discipline an unabashed James, she met Harry’s eyes over the heads of Albus and Lily, who had rushed forward excitedly to embrace their father.
“Happy anniversary,” he mouthed, giving her a brilliant smile.
She smiled back.
Happy anniversary indeed.
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