THE BOY WHO WED by Rita Skeeter
If, like me, you remember the days when we all most avidly thumbed the pages of our world's most esteemed publications to learn of the unravelling love life of Harry Potter, this article will act as a milestone. Secretive and withheld as ever, access to this prestigious event has been limited. Nevertheless, your resident risk taker Ms Rita Skeeter has managed to score what one might describe as 'a scoop' with several inside sources offering interviews to fill in the blanks where myself and my photographer were so unceremoniously asked 'where our invitations were'.
To set the scene, a sleepy village on the outskirts of Hampshire, rolling green countryside, a wizarding manor (rumoured to be the estate of current Minister for Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt), a glorious summer's day. All this idyllic beauty a stark contrast to the fiery temper of bridezilla and overrated Harpies Chaser Ginny Weasley (alas, now inexplicably Ginny Potter) and what could be described as her 'gang' of bridesmaids. I'm sure we all remember from our Hogwarts days the cold and unfriendly demeanour of a certain group of girls, everybody knows who I am talking about, and the spirit of these such groups was encapsulated by this bride-to-be and her mish mash of attendants.
Hermione Granger takes the role of Maid of Honour, a choice many have speculated simply cries out 'attention seeking' on the part of the new Mrs Potter. Of course, the wizarding world remembers all too well how this insufferably intelligent witch spent a large part of her fourth year at school toying with our beloved Harry's emotions, eventually casting him aside like a used shrivelfig when a considerably more famous play-thing presented himself in the form of Quidditch legend Viktor Krum. Surely, acting as Maid of Honour at the wedding of one's first boyfriend - the heart of which one no doubt broke into a million pieces - is not the sort of healthy and stable move we would expect from one of the Department of Magical Law Enforcement's top recruits?
Ms Granger is accompanied by the dulcet tones of Quibbler enthusiast (read into that what you wish) Luna Lovegood. Despite the wedding's colour scheme of soft pastels, Ms Lovegood is enrobed in a violent shade of yellow and has seemingly made her own additions to the bride's lovely bouquet, in the form of several large and overpowering sunflowers. We're sure the impeccable arrangements of Prophet favourite florist Susan Bones were not created with Ms Lovegood's additions in mind. Although, looking at her earrings, we might like to add that Ginny's bouquet got off lightly.
The disjointed bridal party is finished off by none other than record holder for most swear words used in one Quidditch season, Holyhead Harpies Chaser Millie Hughes. We can only assume Ms Hughes was selected by the bride in an effort to make herself look better. Either that or she took a bludger to the face just minutes before the ceremony. We here at the Prophet wish Ms Hughes the speediest of recoveries if so, and our apologies if that was, in fact, her real nose.
The bride herself, seen in this exclusive photograph, is wearing a dress which one might describe as simple and classic and others would call dull and uninteresting (see page 25 to have your own say in our Prophet poll). It is laughably pure white, and perhaps a bit too low cut for somebody with such obscene amounts of freckles marring their complexion. But I can exclusively reveal from one of my inside sources, that we very nearly did not see the now Mrs Potter step out in this number (rumoured to have been made for her by hand by Madame Malkin herself, who refused to speak to me about last week's reports that Ginny needed last minute alterations to allow for her secret, hidden baby bump). You read that correctly. The overbearing bride was heard not hours before the ceremony, complaining loudly and unceremoniously about the garment, claiming it was unfit for purpose. Make what you will of that, but we here at the Prophet feel this is only further confirmation we are soon to hear the pitter patter of tiny Potters.
In keeping with this theme, the newlyweds certainly attempted to distract their guests from their own turbulent relationship with what we here call 'the aww factor'. Four-year-old son of a werewolf, and Harry Potter's godson, Teddy Lupin acted as ring-bearer, managing to most surprisingly fulfill his duties impeccably for a child his age (said an inside source), which begs the question, how is Harry Potter doing it? Raising a small child so successfully can only be an indicator that he is letting his work as an Auror slide. This miniature orphan of war was joined by the young couple's niece, who unceremoniously littered the area with rose petals, causing the environmentalist within us to worry about the impact this could cause to the surrounding scenery.
The wedded couple emerged a suspiciously short amount of time after the start of the ceremony to general applause, presumably peppered with questioning cries of how on Earth this had been allowed to happen? We approached Mr Bill Weasley for comment on this happy family occasion and I am ashamed to have to report we were rebuffed most cruelly by his French wife, who did not seem to be sharing in the delight of the day, and instead wielded her crying baby in our general direction. Mrs Molly Weasley, mother of the bride, was similarly unwelcoming and brought any further reporting we had intended to a halt, which only further arouses suspicion of what this shady family are trying to hide.
But of course, the man of the moment, the reason young girls over the country have all been crying into their pillows tonight, Harry Potter himself, is the star of my article. As you can see from the accompanying photograph (a Prophet exclusive), Harry has embraced his role as an Auror in looks if not anything else. It can only be an intimidation tactic towards Potter's enemies which has caused him to choose such an unkempt-looking grooming routine. Perhaps somebody should tell Harry beards are out? Similarly, we here at the Prophet had hoped our favourite Boy Who Lived might have taken the time to get a haircut before the big day but alas, he does not seem to prioritise such endeavours before marrying the supposed love of his life. Mr Ronald Weasley (Harry Potter's best man) appears overly smart and well-groomed in comparison. Whatever soars your broomstick though Ginny!
We wish Mr and Mrs Harry Potter a lifetime of happiness together, or at least until one of them hasn't made the front page in a few weeks.
"Why is this in with all the wedding stuff?" Ginny sighed with a grin as she waved the article in Harry's amused face. "Why did we even keep this?"
"Because otherwise how would we remember what a complete, er, what was the word?" He took the article from her and scanned it briefly. "What a complete bridezilla you were."
"Yes, because I was the one who almost threw a tantrum when the caterers couldn't make individual sized treacle tarts." She rolled her eyes at him where they were sat cross legged on the floor, surrounded by boxes.
"Hey, you only get two weddings," he teased, reaching into one of the boxes.
"Don't let Skeeter hear you say that, she thinks this was it," Ginny grinned, gesturing to the article.
From the moment Harry proposed, they knew they wanted to get married at The Burrow. A small, intimate ceremony with their closest family and friends amongst the quirky settings of Ottery St Catchpole. They also knew they would never in a million years be allowed to get married in peace with, not just Rita Skeeter, but a large majority of the wizarding world snooping around, wanting a look at the Chosen One and Holyhead Harpies first string Chaser (Ginny sometimes attracted more attention than Harry did these days).
The solution was straightforward. They had the wedding they wanted, small and perfect at The Burrow, and then, a few days later, they had their 'public' wedding. The one the Daily Prophet and most of the wizarding world knew about and the one Rita Skeeter had written her article about.
"She also thinks you're pregnant, although she seems to have conveniently forgotten about that one in her more recent articles. I'm sure she only wrote that so she could use the phrase pitter patter of tiny Potters." Harry chuckled as he removed the photo album from the box of wedding memories.
"Oh yes, wasn't the last one all about how I'm severely underweight and setting a bad example to young Quidditch fans?" Ginny sighed and then noticed what Harry was holding. "Harry, we're supposed to be packing into the boxes, not taking things out."
"I know," he hummed, still looking down at the album and turning over a page. He smiled at it and caught Ginny's eye; she didn't have the heart to tell him to put it away so they could get on with packing.
She scooted over on the floor so she was sat beside him and able to see the album too. "I love that picture of you," she said, noticing the page he was on.
The photograph was of Harry, waiting at the front of the altar and saying something to Ron before turning and catching sight of Ginny at the other end of the aisle. His expression shifts from grinning to stunned speechlessness.
"That's the memory I use now if I have to cast a patronus," he said quietly, wrapping an arm around her shoulders and kissing the top of her head.
Ginny muttered into his side, "if I knew marrying you would turn you into such a sap-"
He cut off the rest of her sentence by wrestling her down on top of him. "What was that? Can't hear you!" he laughed as she spat out a mouthful of her own hair.
"Harry, you're almost as soppy as Ron these days!" she giggled, looming down over him.
He paused for a second and then threw her a wicked grin, sitting up and bringing her with him, holding onto her forearms. "I have only one thing to say to that."
Ginny gave him a challenging stare; she loved it when they bantered like this.
"His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad, his hair is as-"
Harry was unable to finish the rest of the song because Ginny had covered his mouth with her own lips and was snogging him into submission.
"I've not had that reaction before. Marriage is mellowing you out."
"You wish, Potter." Ginny retrieved the photo album from where it had been cast aside in their impromptu wrestling match and opened it in her lap.
"Now this one we need to save for his seventeenth birthday," Harry said, picking up the photo album and showing Ginny the photo he'd been looking at.
It showed four-year-old Teddy, looking adorable in tiny dress robes, his hair jet black and both his hands holding a small ring box. He was staring at the ring box with such severe concentration that his tongue was sticking out and he was walking at an exaggerated slow pace, as if he were holding a very full cup of potion and he didn't want it to spill.
"Andromeda told him he had to be careful. He took her so literally." Ginny laughed at the photo and their eyes met as they both gazed wistfully at the album.
"I could sit here and look at this all day," Harry started, checking his watch, "but we need to be out of Holyhead by three if we want to make it to The Burrow tonight with anything done."
Ginny rolled her eyes at her husband, because he had been the one to open the album in the first place, but she obliged and returned the photo album and Rita Skeeter's hilarious article to their box, moving to pack some other items around them.
She still hated packing, more than anything, but packing with Harry and knowing it was for them to move together was slightly more bearable.
They'd lived in their flat in Holyhead together for nearly three years now, other than the year Ginny had been playing international and they'd been all over the world. But this had originally been Ginny's flat and Harry had moved in with her (after they both realised they slept better when they shared a bed). Today they would be moving into a home that was completely theirs, from the start.
It hadn't been part of the plan, to move house only four months after the wedding, and on New Year's Eve. But when the house in Hampshire came up, with its perfect location, a mixture of wizards and muggles living nearby, just within their budget and with enough rooms to one day start a family, they felt it would be stupid not to go for it. The house was much bigger than what they were used to and Ginny thought they'd probably be rattling around inside it for at least the first year.
"Hello! Your help has arrived." A voice sounded from the fireplace in the living room and Ginny got up from her place on the bedroom floor, picked her way through the maze of boxes and rushed into the living room to greet her brother. "On second thoughts, maybe I am working today."
Ginny scoffed as Ron looked around the room at the mess of boxes and bags. "This is nothing, you should see our bedroom."
"How do you have so much stuff?" Ron asked incredulously, picking up a muggle toaster and inspecting it curiously.
"That was an engagement present from Dad!" Ginny cried indignantly, snatching it from him and stuffing it back into one of the boxes labelled 'kitchen'.
"And have you ever used it?" Ron smirked.
"No, I don't think it even works," Ginny admitted.
"That's not true, she didn't realise you have to plug it in," Harry said from the doorway, his arms folded and one socked foot crossed over the other.
"Plug it in what?" Ron looked just as confused as Ginny had been at the time.
"Ask Hermione," Harry patted Ron on the shoulder sympathetically. "Speaking of, where is she?"
"Stuck at work. Something about a policy redraft? Mate, I do not miss the Ministry one bit." Ron gave Harry a sympathetic look. "But I got you the next best thing." He gestured to the fireplace just as it glowed green, as if the timing has been choreographed.
"Luna!" Ginny cried in surprise, running to the fireplace where her blonde best friend was emerging, gazing around the room in wonder. Ginny threw both arms around her and squeezed her tight. "I thought you were still in New Zealand?"
"I could only stay for three full moons, then I had to come home," she explained in her usual dreamy fashion, giving Harry a hug too. "I was at the Ministry, organising a portkey to Japan. Rolf swears he's heard the cry of a Grumpallo in a forest out there."
"Who's Rolf?" Ginny asked.
"What's a Grumpallo?" Harry enquired at the same time.
Ron just grinned. "I bumped into Luna as she was leaving, told her what I was doing today, she insisted on coming to help."
"Why didn't you tell us you were coming home?" Ginny cried, pulling Luna further into the room. "Sorry it's such a mess here, moving day."
"Oh I can tell, this place is full of changing vibes."
"And boxes," Ron muttered under his breath.
"You're coming to mum's New Year's Eve party tonight," Ginny told Luna, making it clear she didn't get a choice in the matter. "Nobody's seen you since the wedding, this is great!"
"None of us will be making it to the party if we're still battling through boxes here," Harry grumbled, checking his watch again.
"Yes dear," Ginny teased, kissing him on the cheek and pulling Luna towards their bedroom. "You can help me pack my clothes up."
"Me and Ron'll start Flooing the stuff in here through," Harry called from the living room.
With four of them, it didn't take long for the boxes of their stuff (including the furniture, which they'd shrunk down for the journey) to move from cluttering up their tiny Holyhead flat, to looking lost and lonely in the middle of the kitchen of their new house.
"There's a lot of… space," said Ron, looking around him.
"Are you sure it was this big when we bought it?" Harry joked, bringing the last box to the middle of the room and placing it down.
"We just need to, er, spread out a bit," Ginny said confidently, but she was looking at the sheer amount of empty space and wondering how on earth they were ever going to be able to fill it.
Ron and Ginny worked together to move the shrunk furniture to the correct rooms, where they returned each piece to its original size. The large living room swallowed up the sofa with ease, and there was only one bedroom which actually contained a bed, the other four lay bare and empty.
"Of course it'll be a bit of a project, to fill it up and get it ready for when we eventually have kids," Ginny explained as Ron gazed doubtfully at one of the empty bedrooms.
"Don't worry, you've got around two years before that happens," Luna spoke from behind them, where her and Harry had finished unpacking the kitchen.
"How do you know that, Luna?" Harry asked, equally confused. Of course they'd discussed it between them, and decided they wanted to wait at least three years before they tried to have a baby.
"Just a feeling," she replied, wandering into the room and standing in its centre, her eyes closed. "Yes, definitely here. But not for a couple of years."
Ron shared a confused look with Harry who whispered something in his ear and Ron's expression cleared. Ginny was more used to Luna's way of being than the boys were, but that didn't stop her feeling a bit unnerved that this room was giving Luna 'a feeling'.
Luna's eyes snapped open. "Can I paint something in here? For when it's your nursery."
Ginny glanced at Harry who nodded and Ginny nodded back. "We'd love you to, Lu."
She beamed angelically.
"Luna, when we said we'd love you to paint our nursery, we didn't mean you had to do it right now." Ginny chuckled at her keen friend, who had a smear of sky blue on her cheek and a paintbrush in her hand. Ginny had been unpacking in the kitchen with Harry and Ron, the only room that was bearing some resemblance to a lived-in home.
"Oh it has to be now. Don't look yet, it's almost finished!" She rinsed her brush out in the sink and skipped off again.
"Are you sure this is a good idea, Gin?" Ron hissed. "What if you end up with Harry's face painted on your nursery wall?"
Ginny gave him a withering look. "I trust Luna."
Harry nodded then hesitated. "She wouldn't do that would she?"
"Come on, we need a bedroom to come home to tonight." She took Harry's hand and pulled him from the kitchen and up the stairs to make a start on their bedroom.
About two hours later, when Ron had left and they had a bedroom that looked like a bedroom, Luna appeared in the doorway. "It's finished," she said, a paintbrush still dangling from her hand.
"Can we see it now?" Ginny asked excitedly; she knew how artistic Luna was and could only imagine what she had created.
Luna simply beamed. Ginny shared a look with Harry, who looked warier than he needed to. She grinned and took his hand, pulling him forward and following Luna.
"It should bring you good luck," said Luna, as they reached the doorway and she stepped aside, allowing Ginny to see the room. She entered cautiously, still holding Harry's hand.
Luna's painting covered two walls and spread across the far corner. It began as a sky blue tone at the top, patches of fluffy white clouds dispersed evenly, and faded down into greener hues. Tall trees took up the entire height of the room, their leaves spreading wide across the length and gently cascading down towards what was unmistakably a forest floor. It was a soft green, with smatterings of yellow flowers.
Amongst the flowers, was a tiny niffler sat inspecting a gold coin, holding it up to the light with interest. Nearby, a pure gold baby unicorn frolicked in the shade of the wings of a storm grey hippogriff. A scarlet fairy rested on the tip of a baby griffin's nose, who was attempting to bat the fairy away playfully.
Between the fluffy clouds, a golden snidget whizzed around with ease and a mischievous pixie attempted to catch it. Glowing with gold plumage, a phoenix soared past the large oak tree in the corner of the room. In curly script, just visible amongst all the magical creatures, were the words dream big, little one.
"Luna, it's beautiful," Ginny breathed. "Thankyou so much. Harry, look!"
"This is stunning, thank you Luna." He clasped her hand in thanks.
"The niffler brings good fortune and the unicorn represents purity," Luna explained, pointing them out. "I'm going to go now, leave you two in your new home."
Ginny ripped her gaze away from the painting and followed her back to the fireplace.
"Come to Mum's tonight, around eight. Bring Rolf too if you want?"
Luna smiled. "That would be nice, he is very friendly. You would like him a lot." She ran her hand down the edge of the mantelpiece lovingly.
"Do you like him a lot, Luna?" Ginny asked her friend. It was impossible to tell what Luna was thinking sometimes.
"Oh yes, he's very pleasant."
"Very pleasant, okay. I look forward to meeting him."
"That's nice," she said, reaching for the Floo powder. "Goodbye Ginny."
"Bye Lu, thanks again for your lovely gift!"
Luna span away and Ginny watched her go until she realised she'd been staring into the flames. The fire burnt low and Ginny watched the small flames flicker for just a second longer, thinking about how this was their fire. It seemed so silly, after all it was just a fire, but it reminded her of the uncertain months where she couldn't be sure she and Harry would ever heal together, a strong contrast to the stable place they were both in now.
Suddenly, Ginny needed to see him.
She found Harry, still looking at Luna's painting. He ran his hand over the nose of the unicorn and jumped when he heard her behind him. They shared a smile as he looked up and she circled her arms around him from behind, tucking her head into the crook of his neck. He held onto her arms and rested his head against hers.
"What are you thinking?" she murmured into his ear.
"This room, it's the best one in the house. Our house."
"We have a house, with a nursery," Ginny smiled. "We're such grown ups."
"It's been quite a year," Harry replied, turning around in her arms so they were facing. "We got married, we got a house, look at us go."
She laughed and fell against his chest where he held her close and kissed the top of her head. "Who knows what's going to happen next."
Both of their gazes fell on the niffler in Luna's painting and she knew what they were both thinking. Ginny knew she wanted to start a family with Harry, they'd talked about it so many times and she knew how much it would mean to him to become a father.
They wanted more than one child, because Harry wanted them to have siblings. Ginny had promptly shut down his suggestion that seven seemed like a great idea because she'd enjoyed growing up with her six brothers so much. It took her pointing out that she was the one who would have to carry these seven children for him to change his mind.
But they were going to wait, enjoy being a married couple first for a few years before they really did hear the 'pitter patter of tiny Potters'.
"Teddy can stay here, you know, before it's a nursery. He'll love this." Harry gestured to the painting.
"I can't wait to show it to him," she replied as he kissed the side of her head.
"We need to get ready," he murmured into her hair and, instead of pulling away, Ginny tilted her face upwards and kissed him softly.
†"THREE… TWO… ONE!" Everybody in the garden cheered and George let off his customary fireworks.
Ginny leaned in to kiss Harry, which wasn't an easy feat given that he had a sleeping Teddy balanced across his body. He wrapped an arm around her and they watched the fireworks explode above them.
"I knew he wouldn't stay awake," Harry grinned, adjusting Teddy on his hip. The little boy stirred at the movement and gazed up at the fireworks, his head tucked into the crook of Harry's neck. Ginny watched his little face light up with the bright, colourful flashes, his hair identical to his godfather's and she thought about what Luna had said.
Ginny hoped that one day, she would relive this sight with a child who was really theirs, rather than shared with Andromeda like Teddy was. She imagined Harry holding a little baby, their little baby, rocking him or her to sleep in their new house, Luna's beautiful painting in the background.
"What is it?" Harry asked quietly, noticing her watching him.
She moved closer towards him and Teddy leant his head on her shoulder as Harry wrapped his arm tighter around her.
It had been five years since the war ended, five years since they'd all had to start from scratch and learn to live again, five years since her and Harry had picked up their schooldays relationship and turned it into something loving and healing for them both.
"I was just thinking what a difference five years makes."
And it was just the start, just the first five years of their lives together.