What Really Matters by Bluest Witch



Summary: ¨What matters here is that you and I will get bonded for life, and we´ll get to share the moment with the people we love¨

This is the story of Harry and Ginny´s wedding, a spin-off from my first fic, That Look In Your Eyes. Fun, bantering, surprises and a lot of laughs.
Rating: R starstarstarstarhalf-star
Categories: Post-DH/AB
Characters: None
Genres: None
Warnings: None
Challenges: None
Series: None
Published: 2019.08.08
Updated: 2019.11.14


Index

Chapter 1: The Day Before
Chapter 2: She Said Yes
Chapter 3: Diva Dave
Chapter 4: The Same Love He Felt For Her
Chapter 5: Make Sure You’re Marrying The Right One
Chapter 6: A Wedding To Celebrate
Chapter 7: The Applause Of Their Loved Ones
Chapter 8: Audrey
Chapter 9: Let's End This Party In Style


Chapter 1: The Day Before

Author's Notes: Someone asked me last year ´to write the one shot of the wedding´. Well, it´s nine chapters long, but I hope you still like it. Remember that English is not my first language.
A million thanks to Arnel, who is a wonderful beta.


Chapter 1


The Day Before


The Burrow, August 10th, 2000


“I just can’t believe it.”

“Believe what?” she said.

“That tomorrow we will be married,” said Harry, staring up at the sky.

They were laying on a conjured blanket on the grass under the trees at the far side of the Burrow, their favourite secluded, private spot. Ginny looked at him, a smile playing on her lips.

“Are you getting cold feet, Potter? Because if that’s the case, we can simply let the fake plan become real and just throw an ordinary, boring joint birthday party.”

Harry rolled on his side, propped up on one elbow and looked at her, too. “Nope, Weasley. I can’t wait to be your faithful, devoted husband.” He arched and eyebrow and smirked. “Perhaps you were the one wishing I was having second thoughts? Maybe you are the one getting cold feet,” he teased.

Ginny grinned. “Not in a million years. I’m not going to let go the perfect opportunity to marry a tall, handsome…”

“And I’m the one who’s supposed to have bad eyesight.”

“…funny, smart…”

“Smart? You’re mistaking me for Hermione, maybe you should marry her-“

“…brave, good cook…”

“Your mother’s better than me.”

“…and wonderful, marvellous, amazing lover,” she finished, winking at him.

Harry felt his cheeks flushing, but he retaliated on. “Oh, so that’s why you’re willing to tie the knot? Purely for carnal reasons?” he tutted.

Ginny nodded. “Those, and the chocolate gateau.”

“Same thing, really,” Harry laughed. “You’re incredible.”

“I am, and that’s your reason for marrying me,” she said, joining him in the laughter and stretching over the blanket.

She’s right, thought Harry, but even she doesn’t realise how incredible she is. And what difference she has made to my life.

He had spent the last two months, since she proposed to him at St. Mungo’s, in a permanent state of awestruck wonder. He was so used to bad things happening to him, to living rough, to losing and grieving, he now felt he was truly living someone else’s life. Things began to look better around them, too. After Avery’s capture, only a few Snatchers and several second grade accomplices remained at large, and they all seemed to have given up active fighting. The climate at the Auror Office was visibly more relaxed. Some of the volunteer foreign Aurors were talking about returning home once the first batch of trainees qualified, which would happen in the course of the next months. Wizarding society was finally enjoying a much awaited calm and peace, and the predominant mood was joyful. All in all, Harry Potter was, for the first time in ages, or possibly forever, experiencing something that could be called happiness, and the girl laughing at his side was responsible of a big part of it.

I am going to marry Ginny Weasley. If someone had told me this two years ago…

“You still can’t believe it, do you?” asked Ginny, reading his thoughts.

Harry nodded. “Sometimes it feels like it’s not real, and someone’s going to wake me and get me out of this dream.”

For all response, Ginny suddenly moved closer and pinched his arm.

“Ow! What did you do that for?” he protested, rubbing the place.

“To prove you that you’re not dreaming,” she clarified with a mischievous grin. “I’ve roused you from enough nightmares; now I am extremely pleased to let you know that you are wide awake. This-is-happening. Or at least-“ she checked her watch- “it will happen if we get a move on. Aren’t you supposed-“

As if on cue, a silver otter landed in front of them, raised its head and spoke with Hermione’s voice.

“Ginny, wherever you are, I expect you are getting ready to go out, because if you’re not, I am going to be most disappointed. I have a plan for us tonight and you being late will simply not do, so come to the Burrow AT ONCE. Oh, and if Harry’s with you, Ron says, and this is his choice of words, ‘mate, you’d better get your lazy arse at Wheezes real fast or Neville and I are going out without you, and believe me, you’ll be sorry if you miss this.’ “

The silver otter dissolved and disappeared. Both of them groaned, but got up from the floor and busied themselves Vanishing the blanket and cancelling the privacy spells around them.

“You know, at moments like this it’s when I think Hermione’s destined for something big. Not even my mother can order me to do something and get me going immediately. And same goes for you,” said Ginny.

“Oh, your mother also has that power over me,” he laughed, “but you’re right. You should see her at the Ministry, she doesn’t get intimidated even by the oldest, most pompous members of the Wizengamot, and there are some nuts up there that are really hard to crack. I reckon that, after dealing with hate and prejudice her whole life, and fighting a war against them, she still hasn’t let her guard down.”

“Or pulled in her claws,” agreed Ginny. “That’s why I made her my bridesmaid. Her sewing spells are crap compared to Luna’s, but she’s the one you want by your side organising a wedding, specially a secret-until-the-very-last-minute one.”

“Why, will you need one of her pep talks before walking down the aisle?” he said, chuckling. “Maybe you are so used by now to Gwenog cheering the team up before matches, you think you will need a talk before going downstairs to get married,” he teased her.

“Oh, I won’t need her for that, I will not walk down to you, run is more the word,” she smirked. Then she grimaced. “But I could use some encouragement before I break the news that we’re marrying to my family.”

“Are you worried about your parents’ reaction? Or is this about your brothers? I don’t think your older brothers will mind, and as for George, well, in fact-“

Ginny shook her head. “No, it’s not them. Granted, my brothers will be shocked, but they all love you, I don’t think they are going to cause trouble and if they do, I’ll just tell them to bugger off, or they’ll find themselves on the wrong end of my wand. But there will be another member of the family present tomorrow, one that I had not thought to invite.”

Harry racked his brains for a moment, thinking about who could be, and suddenly paled. “No. Do you mean…?”

She nodded in response. Harry groaned inwardly and winced externally.

“My mother told me this morning she’s taken the liberty to invite Aunt Muriel to the party. Some crap about how we should be grateful for sheltering the lot of us under her roof two years ago. And… she said yes.”

Back to index


Chapter 2: She Said Yes

Author's Notes: This is definitely not the typical stag and hen's do. I researched the places where the characters go, they all exist in real life, although Her Upstairs closed some time ago (which is sad, because tha place looked terrific)



She Said Yes

“Oooohhh, this is bliss,” said Harry.

“I couldn’t agree more,” Neville replied.

“Told you I had the best idea for stag party, didn’t I? said Ron. “Whoa, that felt great. Could you please do that again, Miss Chen? It’s just what I need.”

“These people really know what to do with the hands,” said Harry.

“Yeah, no doubt they’re professionals,” agreed Neville.

“I was really sceptical the first time Hermione brought me here, on her birthday, but hats off to her. It was amazing; I would even go so far as to say this has saved us from one or two rows. Of course, never tell her I said that.”

“Cross my heart,” said Harry.

“But don’t hope to die, please,” said Neville nonchalantly. “We have enough work as it is-“

“In the police, yes, Neville,” said Ron with a covert, warning look, but the man who was attending Neville showed no sign of surprise. Clearly very professional, Harry thought, closing his eyes. But even so, one could never be too careful among Muggles, and Neville was the least used to that. Ron had improved a lot after two years dating Hermione; thanks to her, the boy who once yelled into a fellytone was now a man who had dared to travel on a plane to literally the other side of the world, knew how to order takeaway food on the phone and enjoyed the occasional beer with Paul, Hermione’s father, at the latter’s favourite pub. Sometimes he slipped ordering a Butterbeer instead of an ale, but he passed it off saying it was an Australian drink he had got used to.

Immersed in his thoughts, he did not notice that Miss Kane’s hands no longer were touching him until he felt a towel being placed over his body. He opened his eyes and glanced sideways. Neville and Ron were being covered, too.

“Gentlemen, you must lay here for a while, so the oils can do their work. I will return in an hour, just in case you lose track of time. Bathrobes are ready by the cabin showers. Please proceed to the jacuzzi after showering,” said the man at Neville’s side.

“Yes, I know the drill. Thanks, Olsen,” said Ron in a sleepy voice. The three therapists left the room and closed the door, leaving them in a pleasant semi-darkness, low music playing from hidden speakers. Nobody talked for a while, and Harry was drifting into a slumber, when a loud snore, followed by a chuckle, alerted his senses.

“And I’m the one that always woke up and found himself Silenced in Gryffindor’s dorm,” said Ron, snickering. Neville snored again loudly, and the two burst out laughing. “Oi Nev!” called Ron.

“Wssup?” he said, and then muttered, “‘am relaxin’”.

“Well, you relax a bit noisily for the rest of us,” chuckled Ron. “Wake up, it’s time to get up and shower.”

Neville groaned, but did as he was told. Picking up the towel and covering himself with it, he said, “I reckon I was so tense when you brought us here, I ended up letting go when I saw that nothing happened.”

“What do you mean?” Harry said.

“Well, I’ve never been to a place like this. A Muggle spa, of all things! I don’t think there’s anything like this in the wizarding world. Never heard a bloke saying he needed a massage -not that I’m complaining, my neck’s as good as new-“

“You should be used by now, Neville,” said Harry. “After two years at the Aurors, a stiff neck, really?”

“I didn’t get it at training. You try to write the Avery report twice and then tell me,” said Neville, scowling.

“That’s what Dictation Quills are for, Nev,” said Ron, smirking.

“Yeah, and I used one… which turned out to be from Weasley’s Wizard Wheezes from the look of it. Thank Merlin I checked the report before turning it in to Gretchen. The damned thing had written a love declaration for her! Signed by me!” Neville exclaimed, turning pink.

Harry and Ron howled with laughter. “So, it worked! I wondered, you know, since Schmidt didn’t say anything,” said Ron, grinning from ear to ear. “Yes! George is gonna be pleased, it was my idea.”

“Very nice of you to pick me as guinea pig, mate. Should’ve figured you were behind it. How did you dare! Gretchen is my mentor! And she doesn’t even go out with men!!! If she had read it…” Neville shook his head and shuddered.

“Would’ve ‘fessed up in a beat, don’t worry. Come on, I’ve already made up for it bringing you to a spa!”

“Oh, did you? Next time, try to make up with something more… manly, will you?” muttered Neville.

“Look, spas are not exactly popular among Muggle blokes either, to be fair. But Hermione says that is changing too, and in any case, nobody here bats an eyelid whoever you are. A goblin could walk through that doors and I bet Olsen would just ask him if he had a reservation,” laughed Ron.

“Yeah, but I didn’t know that, did I? And I was… very conscious of my… my body.” Neville blushed a bit and he turned around to hide his face.

Harry chuckled. “Why, did you sprout gills or a third eye, Nev?”

“Very funny, Harry,” he answered. “I was talking about the scars.”

The scars. Neville was right; discreet as the staff might seem, Harry doubted three young people -four, if they counted Hermione, who was also a client- as scarred as they were and clearly related between them would not raise some suspicion. His eyes wandered from his own chest to Ron’s missing fingernails, the brains’ scars in his arms, and Neville’s face. He began to wonder if they should Confund the staff when Ron, who remained totally unconcerned, spoke.

“Oh, that. Well, actually, Hermione came up with an explanation. The first time we came here, I was troubled by that, because both of us have a fair share of them, too. She made up a story about all of us being injured in a school bus accident. But like I said, no one cared.”

Harry let out a breath, relieved. “Great! So, shall we try the jacuzzi?”

“Yeah,” said Neville, looking equally unburdened. “I can’t figure what on Merlin’s name is that, but sounds fun.”

“Oh, it’s like heaven on earth,” said Ron. “And there’s still the manicure.”

“Gee, Ron, a manicure?” said Harry. “Are we applying next for beauty redactors at Witch Weekly, or what? What’s wrong with our hands?”

Ron scowled to him. “Not that I should bother to take care of that, but just this one time, I thought you would appreciate having soft hands instead of rough. Or at least,” he said, with pink ears “although I don’t want to hear anything about that, I think my sister will.”

Neville snorted and laughed out loud. Harry blushed hard, but did not lower his eyes.

“Lead the way, please.”


oooOOOooo


“Whatever I had imagined for my hen’s party, Hermione, you’ve exceed my expectations, that’s for sure,” said Ginny, picking at the chips on her plate. “By the way, the food’s superb! This honey chicken stuff is wonderful. You’re about to get an Outstanding for this night.”

“Nothing but the best for us,” said a smug Hermione. “This is the first hen night I’ve partly organised, so I did a little research-“

“Don’t tell me there are books that actually teach you how to do this, Hermione,” interrupted Ginny, giggling.

“Of course not, silly- but actually, I think there should be, it would be interesting to have some guidelines or suggestions to mark such a milestone-“

“Well, of course prenuptial customs vary from one culture to another,” said Luna, who was sipping from a glass that contained a lavender drink. “I see you didn’t go for the Malaysian custom of making the bride and groom fast before the ceremony and instead opted for the Mauritanian traditional overstuffing the bride with food, Hermione.” She nodded before going on. “I think Harry loves curves.”

Ginny laughed. “That’s right, Luna, he does,” she said.

“But that’s- I didn’t choose this because of it, I mean, we had to have dinner anyway, and the cinema diner looked fun, with the American menu,” spluttered Hermione, looking nonplussed. “Don’t tell me you picked an ancient ritual for your part tonight! We agreed to stick to modern Muggle customs!”

“I thought about it,” said Luna, while Ginny kept laughing. “But the Scottish Blackening of the Bride did not appeal to me, for instance. I can see the point of it -covering the bride and the groom in dirt which is supposed to prepare them to overcome whatever difficulties they may encounter in married life- but I think Ginny and Harry have already got past a fair share of troubles so they’re more than ready to embrace what their new life may bring. And she’s not Jewish, so there’s no need for her to dip naked in a natural body of water. It’s funny how traditions about the same thing can be so opposed, isn’t it? Some people take baths, others get covered in dirt; some fast while others have to eat as much as they can,” said Luna, with a pensive face.

“That’s all very interesting, Luna,” Hermione said, back to her businesslike mood. “But I told you, all the Muggle girls I asked said this is a night to basically have all the fun you aren’t supposed to have later, and grab the chance to do one or two crazy things.”

“Hey, I plan on having fun and doing crazy stuff after the wedding!” protested Ginny. “But I admit, this has been brilliant so far. I’ve never been to a cinema before and it’s wonderful! Watching a moving from a stuffy sofa while eating popcorn and sweets is something wizarding world should copy. I’m definitely returning. And the moving was just brilliant! I didn’t understand everything about it- why were they queuing and dancing in that hall?- but the end was just the best! Pity we didn’t see the front of them, though.”

“It’s called a movie, Ginny,” laughed Hermione. “And they were queuing at some kind of office for unemployed Muggle people. It’s supposed to be a boring, formal place so dancing is a bit unexpected. I’m glad you liked the cinema, I wanted something special so I chose the Portobello Electric. Did you know it is one of the oldest working cinemas in Britain? It first opened in 1910 and it was built in Edwardian Baroque style-“

“Yeah, yeah, we know your research was wide and thorough,” said Ginny.

“Well, it was,” replied Hermione, a little defensive. “Not all the cinemas have sofas and beds, you know. They look a bit like the Wizengamot, with raised chairs, but facing the screen.”

“Thank you for picking this one, then,” said Ginny, with a shudder. “Anything that doesn’t reminds me of that place. I had enough of it at the trials.”

“And I requested The Full Monty specifically because I found out many hen parties are now held at boys’ striptease shows since the success of the movie. But I feared they could be a little… tasteless, and I wanted everything perfect for us-“

Ginny nearly screamed in excitement. “There ARE actual places you can see NAKED boys dancing??? Why has nobody said anything? All the things I’ve heard in the locker room, and no one mentioned this? Are we going to one tonight?” She was jumping in anticipation. Meanwhile, Hermione and Luna kept silent, the former glancing at the latter, who was stirring her drink calmly.

“Well, you see…” the older witch said, “Luna told me she would take care of that, and refused to tell me where we are going next so it could be a surprise for me, too.”

Ginny turned to Luna. “So- Are you taking us to see a naked boys’ show?” Luna smiled and sipped again her drink.

“Well, the show will be great, that I can assure you. But I did not know the bit about nudity being a requirement, so I’m sorry but the showmen will be fully clothed. And in fact… very smartly robed,” she said with a full smile.


oooOOOooo


“Now, fill the bowl of your pipe. You must press the tobacco inside and refill, then press it again until it’s two thirds full. Not too tight, but not too loose either. Got it?” said Neville. He demonstrated filling his own pipe expertly and pressing the tobacco with the tamper.

Ron quickly followed suit, but Harry hesitated; he had never smoked before and truth be told, he was not too keen on trying it, but at the same time he did not want to be the discordant note of the night.

Neville looked at him and pointed to a packet. “Since it’s your first time, I recommend the vanilla flavoured tobacco. It’s not too strong, well, pipe tobacco it’s always stronger than the cigarettes, but you don’t fill you lungs, pipes are more about savouring and relaxing. It’s a ritual to be enjoyed after a good meal, with friends and a glass of fine Firewhisky, like we are now.”

“A true wizard’s trait,” said Ron. “My father always says every wizard should know how to hold his liquor, carve a roast and smoke a pipe.”

Neville nodded in agreement. “Indeed; that’s what my great Uncle Algie always says, word for word. He was the one who gave me Trevor. Told me cats were for witches,” he chuckled.

“Was he the one who taught you how to do this?” said Harry, struggling to fill the pipe.

“Merlin, no, ‘twas my great Aunt Enid. Uncle Algie never stood the smell of tobacco, said it made him gag. Aunt Enid smokes in pipe since she got her brooch at her seventeenth birthday. Tried to start a smoker’s club in her last year at Hogwarts, but Headmaster Dippet put his foot down. Easy there, now, Harry. You don’t want to get it all tight; put the pipe to your mouth and take a draw to test if the air flows freely.”

Harry did as he was told and proclaimed it to be fine. Neville proceeded to teach him how to light the pipe -which was not as easy as he would have thought. Finally, after what seemed a long, detailed ritual, he put the pipe to his mouth, took a puff in- only to complain loudly when he felt his tongue burning. He swore and put down his pipe while Ron and Neville, who had started smoking from theirs at a total ease, laughed at his discomfort.

“Slow and easy, Harry, it’s the clue to avoid tongue bite,” Ron said. “You should’ve paid attention when Bill taught me. If all your first times are as awful as this one, I feel sorry for my sister!” He chuckled at his own joke.

Harry scowled at him, unable to make a retort as his tongue still burned, and took a swig from his glass of Firewhisky, which turned out to be the worst idea because it literally was like throwing alcohol to the flames. Howling with pain while the others laughed louder, he grabbed his wand to cast an Aguamenti over an empty glass, but the burnt tongue prevented him from saying the incantation and the pain did not let him concentrate to do it non-verbally. In the end, he resorted to fishing out the ice cubes from the glass of whisky and stuffing them unceremoniously in his mouth.

“Aaahh, th’ be’er,” he stuttered. “You’tto, coud’ show some’ mcy,” said to his companions, who were wiping tears and clutching stitches in their sides.

“Wait to talk till you spit that out, mate,” said Ron, still chuckling. As Harry shook his head and grimaced of pain, he finally pulled out his wand and offered to cast a healing spell, which Harry accepted eagerly. Finally freed from the pain and the ice, he downed a glass of freshly poured water, sighed in relief and said, eyeing the pipe disdainfully, “I don’t think I like smoking at all, mates. Reminds me too much of my uncle, sorry. He used to smoke Havana cigars and it was a blessing he didn’t tolerate my presence because the smell of that thing always gave me a headache. And believe me, it lingered a lot, the odour.”

“We can put out our pipes and clear the air if you’re uncomfortable,” offered Neville, but Harry dismissed the offer with a hand gesture and took the Firewhisky bottle to refill the glasses.

“Nah, this smell I can cope with, and night’s been great so far, I don’t want to spoil it. You two carry on.” He raised his glass and beckoned the other two to do the same. “I want to make a toast for the outstanding best man and groomsman. I’m very lucky to have both of you in my life. To Ron and Neville!”

The three cheered and drank. “Mate, save something for tomorrow, will you? I don’t want to get too emotional so soon.” Ron put his hand over his heart dramatically. “This is a night for confidences, laughs and one or two advices for the future husband.”

Harry stared at him. “Like what? You’re not going to give me the sex talk, are you? It’s your sister the one who I’m going to have sex with!”

“No, of course not! Ginny’s my little sister-“

“And Hermione’s my sister by choice, I’m not letting you tell me anything you could have done or made with her. I’ve actually seen more of the two of you together than I could be comfortable with. So sex talk is out of the question. End of story,” said Harry vehemently.

“Well, unless our great Snake Slayer wants to offer some good, family unrelated wisdom of his own, would you, Neville? You’re always surrounded by girls at the parties,” said Ron waggling his eyebrows and causing the latter to choke and cough over his pipe.

“Erm, I didn’t know… said knowledge was required from me,” said Neville, with reddening cheeks. “You told me to take care of the dinner and drinks, I arranged the whole thing at this private parlour at the Leaky because I know Harry doesn’t like clubs. And that’s all. Groomsman’s job description doesn’t include giving advice of any sorts, unless you want to know how to grow a Venomous Verbena in a pot.”

“C’mon Nev, traditions must be followed!” protested Ron.

But something in the nervous shifting and blushing of Neville made Harry think that maybe his friend did not want to delve into the subject due to unwillingness, but because…

“Merlin, Neville, you… you haven’t been with anybody yet, have you?” said Harry.

Ron gasped. Neville’s face was so hot one could have fried an egg on it, but he raised his chin and looked at them defiantly. “And what if I haven’t? I wasn’t aware this was some requirement one had to have fulfilled after a certain age.”

“Hey, it’s no trouble, really, Neville. It’s only that, you know, since after the Battle, having female company has certainly been not a problem for you, mate. I supposed, you know, that surely you have had a lot of … opportunities… to be with someone, er, intimately,” said Ron, with evident discomfort.

Neville took his time to answer; it was evident he wasn’t comfortable with the topic. “No, it hasn’t been for lack of… opportunities, as you put it. Godric knows I’m tired of fans and being awarded the Order of Merlin only worsened it. At first, I didn’t mind them much; actually, being popular was a lot of fun. But when some girl wanted more… Invariably, they never attracted me. It’s not that I’ve never felt… sexual attraction, you know? It’s more like… every time it’s happened was towards someone who I already had feelings for. But unfortunately they didn’t want anything more than friendship so… here I am,” he shrugged.

A heavy silence followed Neville’s revelations. Harry shifted in his seat and Ron took a pair of quick puffs from his pipe, but it was Neville again who broke the silence. “I… Please, don’t tell anybody this. It’s really no one’s business, even if I think this doesn’t make me less of a… man, or whatever.” He left his pipe on the table, hunched over it and rubbed his face with his hands to hide his embarrassment.

Immediately, Harry and Ron protested, the latter was louder. “How can you think this makes you less worthy, or whatever? Hey, we’ve seen you fighting, rebuilding Hogwarts, being a real leader! That’s what defines you!”

Harry nodded in agreement. “You’re worth a thousand men, Nev. We’re proud of you. You’re a good friend and a nice person, and any girl would be lucky to be with you, but you’re simply waiting for the right one! And I’m telling you: when that happens, we’ll be-“

Exactly what they would or would not be remained unknown, because at that moment, someone knocked at the door. The three of them looked at it at the same time a voice said “Hey, it’s Hannah. May I come in?”

Harry was going to answer, but out of the corner of his eye, he saw movement and turned his head to stare open mouthed at Neville, who, upon hearing Hannah’s voice, had straightened as if hit by an electric jolt and was now combing his hair quickly with his fingers. He then repositioned himself comfortably in the armchair, cleared his throat and said aloud, “Yeah, come in.”

Harry looked at Ron and saw he was wearing an identical gobsmacked expression. The door opened and Hannah Abbott entered the room smiling at them as she used to do every day at every customer of the pub; but Harry thought her smile went slightly wider when she addressed Neville. “I’m about to finish my shift, and I wanted to check on you before going home. Is everything ok? Do you need anything else?”

“Er… no, it’s fine; thanks for everything, Hannah, the dinner was fantastic,” said a beaming Neville.

“Oh, I’m happy you liked it. You said it was a belated celebration of your birthday so I told the cook to put an extra effort in it.”

“Yes, yes, it was eleven days ago, but you know- lots of work at the office, the three of us couldn’t get together sooner…”

“Kingsley should give you some holidays,” observed Hannah. “Thanks to you all, this country is now a better place to live. It doesn’t seem fair, to deprive you of enjoying it, I think.”

The mention of Kingsley stirred Harry into action. Something was going on between those two, that much was evident, and Merlin be damned if he was not going to give it a nudge in the right direction. He caught Ron’s eye and raised an eyebrow. Back me up. Ron nodded imperceptibly.

“Now that you mention Kingsley, Hannah, actually you can tell him tomorrow in person, at my birthday party -mine and Ginny’s, you know, at the Burrow. You’re coming, aren’t you? I think Ginny said she had sent an owl to Tony and you with the invitation.” This was a lie, but hell, if Molly had invited Aunt Muriel, he was perfectly entitled to extend a little bit of her hospitality if that meant they could help their friend. Even if it was not clear how, because last he had heard, Hannah Abbott was in a relationship with Anthony Goldstein since the summer after the Battle, two years ago.

Hannah’s face changed. “Oh, well, you see, I had no idea we were invited… Tony left for Israel six weeks ago.” She looked at the floor, uncomfortable. “I thought Neville had told you… he often comes in for lunch-“

“I didn’t know if you wanted the people to know, Hannah,” said Neville softly.

“Gryffindor chivalry,” said Hannah, with a little smile. She got serious again. “Tony and I broke up three months ago. We… weren’t going anywhere. You could say we weren’t in the same page. He wanted to live in Israel, to complete his studies, and wanted us to marry and go together. But I didn’t want to move abroad and leave my father alone. Tony never liked my job here, and thought it wouldn’t be a great deal for me to give it up, too. I know this is not glamorous, but I really love waiting on people, and it pays the bills and leaves me enough time to study on my own. I haven’t discarded completing my education. In fact, I will take two NEWTs later this month, at the open call at Hogwarts.”

“Oh, are you? Brilliant! I know you’ll ace them-“ said Neville, but shut up when he saw the incredulous stares his two friends were giving him.

Hannah let out a giggle. “Thanks! Hopefully I won’t set a flock of flamingos loose again, like I did in my OWL. By the way, I was meaning to ask you for help; I’ve been revising for Herbology and there’s a couple of things I still struggle with. You were really good with magical cacti, weren’t you?”

“Oh, I won’t call myself an expert…” Harry saw Ron swearing quietly under his breath and subtly kicking Neville undercover of the table. He winced and added, “but of course I’ll be happy to help you.”

“Brilliant; you can fix revising meetings tomorrow at the we- birthday party,” said Harry. “Because you’re coming, of course, aren’t you? I won’t take no for an answer.”

“Oh, well, if you insist… I planned on taking a break anyway. What should I bring? Is there something I can get for Ginny and you?”

“It’s fine, we told people to bring only food and drinks, no gifts please.”

“That’s really thoughtful from you both. How about pies and a case of mead, then?”

“Sounds perfect, Hannah. I will send your invitation first thing tomorrow in the morning. It doubles as a Portkey that will get you through the wards, so be ready to grab it at four in the afternoon.”

“I’ll be there. Now, I should really get going. Thanks for the invitation, Harry. Have a good night, you three.”

Ron and Harry raised their hands in farewell, but Neville got up from his armchair. “See you tomorrow!” he said. Hannah smiled at him and closed the door.

“Well, well,” said Ron, “talking about right girls, it seems to me we shouldn’t look that far, don’t you think, Harry?”

“Indeed, Ron. The whole thing was weird from the ‘Harry doesn’t like clubs’ bit.”

“Hey, it’s true you don’t! That’s why-“

“Do not lie to us, Longbottom. You know Harry enjoys -or, more likely, tolerates- clubs from time to time. We should have suspected even before; I highly doubt Cackling Cacti need to be tended so often at lunchtime. Spit it out, Neville,” said Ron, leaning back in his armchair and picking his pipe again.

Neville turned to Harry with begging eyes, but he smirked and shook his head. “I want to know why it’s worth facing my fiance when I tell her I sent one extra invitation. Do you or do you not fancy Hannah Abbott?”

With an air of defeat, Neville plopped back on his armchair. “I’ve liked her for ages, since the year we were fighting the Carrows. She was in the DA too, and specialised in treating small injuries, so I gave her and Ginny an awful lot of work. But she wasn’t interested in me then, so I let it be. We’ve been only friends… we still are, really.”

“I’d say it’s about time to do something about that status, then. What are you waiting for?” said Harry.

“For Merlin’s sake, she just broke up with her boyfriend of two years. I’m not some desperate creep, jumping on her the moment she’s free!”

“Well, seems like some advice is in order, though not in the direction we expected,” said Ron, grabbing the bottle to refill his glass. “Mark my words: the night’s about to get more and more interesting.”


oooOOOooo


“Mark my words,” Hermione said, “the night’s getting more and more surprising by the minute.”

“Definitely,” agreed Ginny. “If I thought the cinema was cool, I fail to find words to describe this.”

This was a club called Her Upstairs, that was nothing at all like the ones she had been to with her teammates and friends. Never before had she been greeted at the door by a big, stocky cheerful man with heavy makeup and clad in what Hermione had explained later that was a Muggle maid uniform, complete with a lace apron and heels twice the height of the ones she owned. It wasn’t that the concept of a queer man was alien to her; wizards wearing witches robes -clothes were not that different, really- were not unheard of in the wizarding world, but she had never seen a Muggle one and she had no idea they could be so… exuberant?

And nobody had told her they could sing, either. Nor that they did so spectacularly. Currently on stage was a lean, tall man in a blonde wig and a hot pink, strapless fitted dress with a big bow proclaiming that diamonds were a girl’s best friend, something she strongly disagreed with, but the show was really entertaining. Four men in black suits danced around or took turns to twirl and dip the singer. The audience was not silent: they clapped and cheered at the best moments and the artist punctuated her performance with bouts of merry banter between the spectators and him- her.

“Marilyn Monroe,” said Hermione, gesturing to the singer.

“Who, the singer? Do you know him?”

Hermione chuckled. “No, of course not. Monroe is a famous Muggle actress, died long time ago. They are imitating one of her more popular songs. It’s a scene from a movie. A big part of the show here is based on popular Muggle songs.”

“And how do you know this? Have you been here before?”

“Merlin, no,” said Hermione laughing. “But I’ve seen something similar on TV. Although what is puzzling me is why Luna, of all people, has, and clearly not once by the looks of it.”

It certainly had been a shock, Ginny thought, when all the staff had greeted Luna by name. Not only that, but they had been directed to a table in front of the stage that bore a Reserved sign. A waitress had attended them immediately and, seeing that Ginny and Hermione had no idea of what to order, suggested a pair of colourful cocktails that came in glasses with a sugary edge and, for some reason, a paper umbrella. She made a mental note of asking Hermione later, and idly thought how much her father would enjoy this.

Luna, however, did not hesitate in ordering a Beet Cooler, which came in a tall glass with slices of onion, garlic and a spring of dill. After taking a sip, she had sprung out of her chair to go find “Dave” who she stated was looking forward to meeting them.

“I don’t know, maybe this Dave person will give us a clue? Did she mention someone with that name before?”

“Not that I can remember,” said Hermione. “But here she comes, and he… or she must be Dave.”

Luna had reappeared hand in hand with a young black man dressed in a long, sequinned black dress and a big Afro wig. His manicure and makeup were impeccably done, and he moved with grace.

“Girls, this is Dave. Although tonight we should call her Davinia, it’s her stage name. Davinia, you remember Hermione Granger and Ginevra Weasley, don’t you?”

“Of course, who hasn’t heard of them? They’re famous, Order of Merlin and all. It’s a pleasure to be your host tonight. You can call me Dave, I’ve not gone up on stage yet,” said the newcomer affably.

Hermione and Ginny’s jaws dropped open at the same time. “It’s… it’s a pleasure to meet you too, Dave- Davinia, sorry,” said Ginny. “But… have we met before? Are… are you, you know… like us?” She heard Hermione gasping, and turned on her seat to look at her, eyes wide open, pointing at Dave.

“Oh my God, you’re David Buhle! Ginny! He’s Diva Dave!”

Back to index


Chapter 3: Diva Dave

Author's Notes: I wrote this chapter between tears of laughter XD
I am sorry if any LGTBQ+ people think Dave's character is badly done. I am a big advocate of diversity but I had not written something like this before.
Lyrics are of course from Gloria Gaynor's I will survive.
Kudos and thanks to Floreatcastellum, who is a fantastic Brit picker. I know you said teenagers are not given The Talk, but I could not resist the temptation.


Diva Dave


Merlin. Diva Dave! It had been ages since the last time Ginny had seen him, no wonder she had not recognised him. David Buhle, a Muggleborn wizard four years her senior, had been at Hogwarts, sorted into Ravenclaw, and was the most accomplished singer the school choir had had in decades. At the Yule Ball, tipped off by Flitwick, the Weird Sisters had invited him to the stage; he had literally taken possession of it, discarded the silk black robes he wore and revealed a red gown under them. He then proceeded to execute a heartfelt rendition of Charm My Breath Away in a duet with Myron Wagtail, followed by a Muggle song called What’s Love Got To Do With It that Donaghan Tremlett, also a Muggleborn, accompanied with his bass. At first, only those Muggle raised sang along, but they eventually got the audience dancing and cheering, including the faculty and a slightly tipsy Madame Pince. Buhle had graduated with honours at the end of that year amidst rumours that he was going to be the next Celestina Warbeck, but nobody in the wizarding world had heard from him since the first months of the war. Looking at him in the flesh was like seeing someone being brought back from death.

“Merlin’s. Saggy. Balls. David- Davinia, oh my God! I’m so pleased to meet you again! You were my idol at Hogwarts! I thought you had left the country, or…”

“Shhh, let’s sit down, we can’t have this conversation aloud,” said Dave, gesturing at their surroundings. He and Luna sat down at the table. “Can’t fit a wand in this dress, if you’re so kind, Luna…”

“Yes, of course.” She drew her wand surreptitiously and soon a Muffliato dimmed the noise of the club.

“Is that the new spell you told me?” he asked. Luna nodded. “Hmm. Nice one.”

“Dave, what happened to you? Nobody’s seen you in ages. And how did you meet Luna?” asked Hermione.

“Oh, that one’s easy. St. Mungo’s just two streets away,” said Dave.

Luna, who had been drinking her cocktail, smacked her lips in appreciation and nodded. “I was wandering around one night after visiting my father. He had been rescued the day before and was still very fragile. The Healers didn’t want to bet on his recovery. I felt very lonely and depressed, and I was just walking with no direction. Dave found me and recognised me from the school. We had been friends back there.”

“Birds of a feather,” laughed Dave. “We were different from the rest, and that brought us together despite the age gap. I’ve been the odd one all my life. From well before getting my Hogwarts letter, I knew I was special. I loved to put on my mother’s makeup, wearing her shoes, pretending to be the star in a show... My father would punish me if he found me with her things, so I learned to hide them; sometimes accidental magic helped. It’s a good thing it was McGonagall who delivered my letter.”

Ginny nodded. She could imagine how a formal, tight and severe-looking witch would have impressed David’s parents far more than little, squeaky Flitwick or decidedly ambiguous Dumbledore. She smiled at Dave. “Bet your parents thought Hogwarts would transform you into something like her.”

“And they weren’t mistaken. I Transfigured my uniform trousers into skirts as soon as I learned how to do it.” The table exploded in laughter. “Between my two peculiarities, they thought being magical was the least problematical, and certainly McGonagall represented the type of strict, old fashioned education they thought I needed. And actually, it was exactly what helped me to develop my personality and skills. No one looked twice at my skirts or the colourful robes I used on weekends. McGonagall told me that as long as I attended classes wearing standard uniform pieces, stayed out of trouble and my class work was satisfactory, I could do what I wanted. Dumbledore had long conversations with me about diversity. At school, both straight and homosexual couples were perfectly normal. And dear old Flitwick, God bless him, discovered my talent at singing and recruited me for the choir. Plus, he was living proof that you can be different and still be respected and successful. Hogwarts was the first place where I could really be me, my first home.”

“But every embroidered picture has an ugly backside, hasn’t it?” Luna observed, stirring her cocktail.

Dave sighed. “Always spot on, Luna. Wizarding society isn’t free of prejudice. I was Muggleborn, and as such, some people hated me, specially that year when the Chamber of Secrets stuff happened.” Ginny lowered her eyes. Dave noticed and called her attention by snapping her fingers in front of her. “Hey, you! I don’t give a shit about your role in the story. As far as I’m concerned, you were a victim, just like I easily could have become one.”

Ginny scrunched her face. “I still don’t have to like it.”

“I know, dear, but you survived, didn’t you? That’s what counts. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. We four at this table, are the product of conflict and resilience. I could have died in the war, but I chose to hide in the Muggle world, and help others. This club was a convenient place to smuggle people, before going to safe houses or abroad.”

“But the war’s over now, don’t you want to return to wizarding world? At Hogwarts, everyone said you were destined for something big,” Hermione said.

“Her Upstairs is my home now, dear, and that’s big enough for me.” He smiled and looked at the stage, smiling fondly at the showmen. “They’re my family. It’s where I can be mostly me by day, and a different character every night.”

“But you can’t do magic around them, can you? Don’t you miss it?” Ginny said.

Dave shrugged. “I can do magic at home, though it pisses Jules off, because the TV goes on and off; and I can’t pick up the cell phone, it goes flat,” he laughed. “Jules found me one day doing my laundry by magic. I had forgotten to cast the Muggle-Repelling. There I was, having a great time singing and charming the clothes to hang and iron themselves when I turned around, and there Jules was, white as a sheet, eyes popping out of their sockets.” Dave chuckled at the memories, and the three witches joined him. “Nearly had a stroke, the poor thing, until I explained that I was harmless and that there was a choice between going on as if nothing had happened or having me Obliviate the memories. Chose the first option and it’s made my life easier.”

“When you say easier, what do you mean?” Hermione asked.

“See, I haven’t given up on the whole magical stuff. Once Jules knew, owls could find me at home, and that meant I could get a subscription to the Prophet, for instance. That’s how I knew about the elections the Ministry held after the war. Nobody recognised me because I went like David Buhle, not Davinia or Dave. I voted for Shacklebolt, I wanted to do my bit for our world, even if I’m not living in it. And now that peace has finally come, and a lot of Muggleborn are returning, I definitely want to keep in touch with the people I knew. But I’m not going to be the next Celestina, because I am Davinia, and this is the place I want to be.”

Ginny nodded in agreement. An idea formed in her mind. “Dave… would you be opposed to the idea of attending my birthday party tomorrow? No compromises, of course, but McGonagall, Flitwick, plenty of people you met at school are invited. Would you like to join us? It’s Harry’s belated birthday party, too, but he won’t mind. The more the merrier.”

Dave beamed for a moment, but then looked down. “Fridays are busy here. I have to be ready at nine… unless… would you mind if I leave early?”

“Course not, Dave. Portkey invitations will activate at four o’clock, I’ll send yours tomorrow. You can use the Floo from home or Disapparate out of the wards anytime you need. Oh, and don’t worry about gifts. We’re asking people to bring only food and drinks.”

“You’re so sweet, dear, but if I’m going, it’s on the condition that if Davinia wants to sing as a gift to you, you will shut up and allow her, are we clear?” Dave winked at Ginny, and then, glancing over his shoulder, said “Looks like I should be getting ready to go up the stage. You three, enjoy your cocktails, I hope you’ll like my show. Luna, will you want to join me if I call you on stage?”

Luna’s face lit up with joy. “Ohh, like that time over Christmas? It was fun!”

“The very same song. Tonight calls for good old Gloria.” And getting up, he gave the three witches a wink and a little bow, before slipping away to the backstage.

“It’s nice of you to invite Dave to your wedding, Ginny. He will be able to reconnect with old acquaintances. It’s a pity he doesn’t want a career in the magical world, but at least this will help him to get in touch,” Hermione said.

“He’s happier here,” said Luna. “I’ve been at this club several times since the night Dave found me, and I saw how they all care for one another; they’re like a big family. And this one hasn’t let him down like his real one did, so it’s no wonder he’s keeping loyal to them.”

Ginny nodded. “Who can blame him? He’s right; this is the place where he can be mostly him. I just thought he would like to meet some folk tomorrow, and I really liked his performance at the Yule Ball; if he’s willing to sing too, I’m not going to say no,” she said, sipping from his cocktail.

“Harry missed Dave’s performance at the Ball, he was out with Ron, avoiding both Percy and their dancing duties,” observed Hermione.

“I missed it too,” said Luna. “Nobody over fourth year invited me, so I saw no point in staying over Christmas break and returned home with Daddy. Harry was the first person who invited me to a party, as friends, in my fifth year. He has always been nice to me; I’m happy you two are getting married. Looking forward to have your relationship intensified by the Bond, are you?”

“The Bond? Do you believe that it exists?” Ginny asked.

“Wasn’t that an old witches’ tale, the magic of the Bond making your love eternal? It’s not as if divorce does not exist in the magical world,” Hermione pointed.

“Oh, but those couples shouldn’t have married in the first place. The Bond does not make miracles, nor erases all troubles or difficulties, but when the love is authentic, it makes sure you will eventually overcome them,” insisted Luna.

“I’m sorry, Luna, but it still sounds like an old tale to me-“

“Don’t you want to marry Ron someday? Are you afraid the love between both of you is not authentic?” said Luna with genuine concern etched in her features.

“That’s not… I didn’t mean… of course I want to!” spluttered Hermione.

Ginny choked in the middle of sipping her drink. She swallowed hard. “Do you? Really? Would you marry my prat of a brother?”

Hermione scowled to her. “Ginny, I think it’s high time you stopped calling your brother-“

“Do not try to understand siblings rivalry, Hermione,” said Ginny making an impatient hand gesture. “You know perfectly well that I love my brother. Just sort of, well, not all of the time. But do you love him enough to marry? See that big head of his everyday on the pillow beside you?”

It was difficult to tell in the dim light of the club, but Ginny could have sworn Hermione Jean Granger was blushing to the roots of her hair. However, her pride was greater than her embarrassment: she lifted her chin and announced, “Yes, I would, because he loves me and I’m sure he would do anything to make me happy… and I want to make him happy, too.”

“Wow, maybe this cocktail has more booze in it than I thought,” said Ginny, lifting her glass and sniffing it. Hermione looked scandalised.

“I’m not drunk!”

“I’ll be the judge of that,” stated Ginny. “So tell us, Granger, who’s going to propose? I’m assuming it will be you, since I don’t think my dear brother has the guts to drop on one knee. We all know it was you who went for him first time you kissed; has he at least been brave enough to tell you the three little words? Go on, spill.”

“Well, if you must know, actually he was the first to say ‘I love you’. Without any doubt or embarrassment, by the way. And I have to say, your brother is not afraid of declaring his feelings for me… quite frequently and passionately. So yes, he is the person I see myself sharing my life with.”

Sweet Merlin,” whispered an amazed Ginny, but then she recovered promptly. “Now, I’m not saying I’m not thrilled to get you as sister-in-law, but Hermione, you can have whoever you want! What makes Ron so special?”

A smile tugged at the corners of Hermione’s mouth. “Do you really want to know?”

“Maybe he’s an incredible lover,” piped up Luna.

“He has Prewett genes, proclivity is granted, although that doesn’t guarantee a fine dexterity,” said Ginny dismissively. Hermione snorted in a very unladylike manner and reached for her glass.

“I haven’t drunk enough to have this conversation. All you need to know is that I love Ron Weasley precisely for the reasons that I refuse to consider any of the people these days who surround us, attracted by our fame. Because he met me well before all this started, before the war, the medals, the Ministry career. He’s been with me through thick and thin, has been at my lowest and my best moments. He sees me like I really am.”

“He also left you, Hermione. And you two have rows every other day. The fact that he’s my brother doesn’t blind me-“

“But he came back,” said Hermione fiercely. “He returned to me, and begged for forgiveness, and fought by my side. He saved our lives. And yeah, we are both stubborn, prideful people who are possibly doomed to a lifetime of bickering, but he also respects me and treats me like I’m the most incredible thing that has ever happened to him. And-“ Hermione stopped mid-sentence, lifted her cocktail, drank a long gulp from it, stared up again at Ginny and Luna, and proclaimed, “he likes… no, he loves my hair.”

At this, Luna nodded as if all the clues had been suddenly revealed, while Ginny could only stammer “Hair?- what’s… hair got to do with it?”

“Sshhh, not now. Davinia’s up!” said Luna, turning to face the stage, where a radiant Davinia had appeared and was greeting the audience: clearly, hers was the performance everyone was waiting for. She immediately engaged in conversation with the public, making them laugh and clap at her jokes. At one point, she looked down at the table where the three witches sat. “Tonight, my dear friends, I want to honour those who have survived. And nobody like great old Gloria to do so. Let’s go!”

Music blared from loudspeakers, and Davinia sang:

At first I was afraid, I was petrified
Kept thinking I could never live without you by my side
But then I spent so many nights thinking how you did me wrong
And I grew strong
And I learned how to get along
And so you're back
From outer space
I just walked in to find you here with that sad look upon your face
I should have changed that stupid lock, I should have made you leave your key
If I'd known for just one second you'd be back to bother me
Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to hurt me with goodbye
Do you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die?


The whole club was standing up, cheering and singing along. Davinia stopped singing, keeping the music on, and asked the audience, “Now dearies, it’s your turn! Tell me, what have you survived? Tell me now!”

Ginny did not know what to make of the song. The lyrics seemed to refer to a breakup between lovers, but at the same time, she felt that there was more to it than it transpired. And certainly people felt the same way too, because encouraged by the song, a man in the next table raised his arms and said “I survived bullying!”. Everybody cheered him. At the farthest corner, a woman cried “I survived cancer!”, and she got the loudest ovation.

“Well, that’s good of you! You. Do. Deserve. The. Best!!!” said Davinia, evidently in her element. “Now I want you to join me while I sing this ode to survival. Every one of you, feel free to come on stage, but first, there’s one friend of mine who has survived a real war and tonight I ’d like to have her here by my side. Everybody, please greet my friend Luna!”

And Ginny, astonished, saw Luna rising from her seat and walking up the stairs up the stage without a hint of indecision or shyness, between applause from the rest of tables. She took another one of those tools Muggles used instead of a Sonorus Charm and spoke to it.

“Hi, people of Her Upstairs! Let’s chirp together!”

And everyone at once joined Davinia and Luna singing the next lines:

Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive, hey, hey
It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to mend the pieces of my broken heart
And I spent oh-so many nights just feeling sorry for myself
I used to cry
But now I hold my head up high and you see me
Somebody new
I'm not that chained-up little person and still in love with you
And so you felt like dropping in and just expect me to be free
Well, now I'm saving all my lovin' for someone who's loving me!


The audience was wild, nobody was sitting down; they were all jumping and singing the song in collective joy. Ginny even saw tears running down some faces: the words must have been meaningful for them. And then the audience cried even louder.

Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Do you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive!!!!!!


With the crowd now completely devoted, Davinia addressed Ginny and Hermione again. “Come on, my friends! Aren’t you survivors too? I know you are! Get up here and tell us!”

And at this, to Ginny’s great shock, Hermione, former Head Girl, worker at one of the most uptight Ministry departments, the same witch who had given the word formality a new meaning, drained her cocktail, grabbed Ginny’s hand, who could do nothing but tag along, and made her way up onto the stage.

“Ladies and gentlemen, please greet Ginny and Hermione! Let’s go!”

And oh, how they sang, even if Ginny did not know the lyrics like Luna and Hermione clearly did. But they were now repeating the same lines, and soon enough she was delivering the chorus along with the rest.


Go on now, go, walk out the door
Just turn around now
'Cause you're not welcome anymore
Weren't you the one who tried to break me with goodbye
Do you think I'd crumble
Did you think I'd lay down and die?
Oh no, not I, I will survive
Oh, as long as I know how to love, I know I'll stay alive
I've got all my life to live
And I've got all my love to give and I'll survive
I will survive
I will survive!!!!

This is really cathartic,
Ginny thought; she was reminded of those dark days after the Chamber, when she had vowed to herself not to let it ruin her life, when she had sworn to grow stronger so no Tom could ever hurt her again. Do you think I'd crumble… did you think I'd lay down and die? No! Of course, I wouldn’t! I survived! I DID SURVIVE!

In the heat of the moment, she did not notice that she had actually spoken the last words aloud until Davinia clapped her in the back and asked her “Yes, Ginny! And what did you survive, tell us!!!”

“I survived Tom! We defeated him! And we WON! Take that, Tom!”

“FUCK TOM!” Davinia cried. The audience went wild, between cheers and applause. At her side, Hermione grabbed the Sonorus thing and raising her fist, declared to the crowd: “Fuck Tom! And fuck bloody Bellatrix! I survived her!”

I should get Hermione drunk more often, was Ginny’s last wild thought before the stage was flooded with people, all jumping, singing, and hugging them. Of one thing she was sure: she would never swap this moment of shared joy, empowerment and victory, for a thousand naked men.

oooOOOooo


“And please, no matter how much you want to, never be the first to initiate anything, you know, physical. Let her lead the way, that will show how much you respect her,” said Harry, draining his glass.

“Well, that’s rich coming from you, isn’t it, Mr. Snogged My Sister in front of the whole damned Gryffindor Tower,” said Ron sarcastically, snatching the bottle to refill the glasses.

Neville groaned and took another big swig from his drink. “Bloody hell, guys, let a man breathe. I don’t need to be taught like a toddler-“

Harry interrupted him, addressing Ron again. “Hey, I wasn’t really thinking, that day after the match. She ran to me and her eyes were blazing and everyone was cheering and I suppose the adrenaline rush made me do it, and I’m lucky she felt that way too because if she hadn’t, I could have ended with giant bats flying out of my nose… or worse.” Harry was reminded of Zabini’s fate and shuddered. “I think you know it, but rest assured: nobody could make Ginny do something she doesn’t want to and live to tell the tale.”

“Six older brothers, remember? We had to make sure she knew how to care for herself. Clearly succeeded.” Ron raised his glass in a toast to himself.

“I don’t know if you can take all the credit, but she certainly could defend herself, that year under the Carrows’ regime proved it,” said Neville quietly.

“And the months after, too,” said Harry. “Don’t forget that Easter Hogsmeade trip, in her seventh year. The place was swarming with Aurors, yet if it weren’t for her, that scum would have got away. I was so fucking proud of her-“

“Yeah, I could tell. If I hadn’t turned up, you two would’ve become a pair of eels, the way you were looking at each other.”

Harry smirked. “Could’ve got yourself lost, don’t you think? You only delayed us getting back together.”

“I know, mate, but Hermione’s bet was for a summer reconciliation, and I wanted to help her win. Should’ve known better than betting against my mother, I reckon,” said Ron, scowling. “She really gets us all. Frightening really, if you stop to think about it.”

“Nah, your mum’s great,” said Harry. Being the closest thing to a mother he had known, she could do no wrong, in his opinion. Even if she had firm beliefs about propriety that could be a little inconvenient, given the fact that he was dating her daughter and ways to circumvent such expected proper behaviour were very much welcomed.

Welcomed by Ginny even more than me, he thought, chuckling to himself.

“You only say that ‘cos you’re her favourite son, git,” said Ron, ruffling Harry’s hair, who protested and tried to get away.

“I’m not! I can’t be, at least not until tomorrow. After the wedding, I will be legally her son-in-law… and hey, we will become brothers! Aren’t you excited, future bro?”

“Of course, I am,” said Ron dismissively, “I will never have to share my bedroom again. Or at least,” he smirked evilly, “not with you.”

“You can’t stop rubbing that on my face, can you? I love your parents, but really, they are a little bit old fashioned, with their issues about keeping the door open and not letting unmarried couples sleep together. You’re so lucky,” sighed Harry, “Hermione’s parents are so understanding.”

Ron shifted in his seat, looking uncomfortable all of a sudden. “Yeah, well… they had to be, didn’t they?” He grinned sheepishly at his friends. “It was a question of… practicality, more than understanding, really. And trust me, at first, way too much embarrassing to enjoy it.”

Harry and Neville looked at each other with a baffled expression. “Mate, I don’t think we follow you,” said the latter.

Ron leaned back in his seat and ran a hand through his hair. “It all happened in Australia. We were staying at her parents’ house, she was to sleep in the spare bedroom, and they made up a bed for me on the sofa. I knew Hermione wasn’t sleeping well, due to the anxiety caused by the search of her parents and the reunion; she used to wake up several times during the night, and seek me; if I woke up, too, I pulled her into my arms and went back to sleep.”

“Yeah, ‘sleep’,” chuckled Harry.

Ron glowered at him. “Believe what you want, git. So, I was telling, that first night at their house what awakened us were her screams. She was having a nightmare, a bad one… you know.” Ron made a meaningful gesture, and Harry understood; Malfoy Manor still weighed heavily. “When her parents appeared in her bedroom, I was already there hugging her, and let me tell you, it was awkward as hell, but eventually they let me stay in her bedroom, because it soon transpired that it was the best solution.”

“You could’ve brewed a potion, cast a privacy spell. Didn’t you think about that? Or did you conveniently forgot?” Neville asked, arching an eyebrow.

“Very funny, Longbottom. I will pretend the Firewhisky’s talking for you-“

“It could talk for all of us, really, the bottle’s gone,” pointed Harry helpfully.

“Open another, then. And no, Neville, we bloody well couldn’t do magic, since her parents were afraid of it because they thought that magic was what had gotten us in that situation: in the far side of the world, careers interrupted, their memories erased and just recovered, and oh, luckily they got her daughter back, with only two years lost, a bunch of scars and a proclivity to scream every night because she dreamt she was being tortured again. They felt like I, a stranger, knew their own daughter better than them.”

Silence fell between them. “Sorry, mate, didn’t know,” muttered Neville.

Ron shrugged. “It’s all right, you couldn’t.”

“I can see why you say it wasn’t an enjoyable experience,” said Harry, opening the second Firewhisky bottle in an attempt to dispel the suddenly sombre mood. “Way too much uncomfortable.”

Ron grimaced. “Oh, no, that was only the beginning of it.” He picked his glass, drank the remaining liquid and motioned to Harry to refill it. “I need to drink more to have this conversation.”

Harry obliged, and Ron took a big swig before speaking again. “You know how none of us have received a proper… sex talk from a parent, don’t you?” At his friends’ shocked faces, he clarified, “Yeah, obviously not you two, yours couldn’t, but not mine, nor anyone’s as far as I know, have talked about that with their children, we just pick up things as we grow, ask our brothers and friends…”

“Read those leaflets at Pomfrey’s office,” piped up Neville.

"Books our friends deem interesting," observed Harry.

“Right, well, not Paul. On behalf of her daughter, plus some crap about believing in sanitary education, he took as a duty to educate me in respect, consent… and safety. As if I was a kid being taught how to clean my teeth.”

Neville looked nonplussed, but Harry winced. “Safety? Do you mean…?”

Ron groaned. “Oh, yes. I do.”

Neville looked between the two of them, unable to shake the shocked expression. “What are you talking about?”

Ron drank again from his glass and stared at Neville. “I’m saying that while I was living under his roof, Hermione’s father took me out for a walk, made me sit down in a park bench and proceeded to explain to me how I was expected to respect his daughter in every aspect of our physical relationship, including, but not limited to, avoiding my little swimmers to reach a destination that made him become a grandfather before due time in a distant future, and of course only if Hermione wanted it first. And in order to achieve that, he gave me a packet of condoms, and thank Merlin and all the warty warlocks before him, he went no further and just told me to read the instructions inside the box before I could die from embarrassment.”

Harry could not help it; he gave a great snort of laughter, covered his face with his hands and began to snigger silently. He heard Neville asking, “Con-what? I still don’t get-“

“Condoms, Longbottom. Muggle little plastic wraps for the ready dick. Think of it as a raincoat, but keeping the… rain, inside,” explained an ill-tempered Ron.

“Oh, I… I see, yes, how that could be a… a really distressing situation, er-“ Unable to keep talking, Neville exploded with laughter, and Harry abandoned all concealment and joined him until he had to wipe tears from his face.

“And after that,” said Ron, ignoring his friends’ merriment, “he took pity on me and led me to a nearby pub, where we were able to drown the mortification and awkwardness in beer. Turned out he was a great connoisseur and we ended up having a good time, but heavens, what a price!” he said, shaking his head. The other two just doubled their howls.

“Gryffindor through and through,” said Harry. “If the price one has to pay to go to bed with his girl is getting her father’s ‘blessing’, I should even be grateful of the fact that the first time I’m going to sleep with your sister will be tomorrow night. I don’t think Arthur-“ he stopped, suddenly conscious of the fact that Neville and Ron were staring at him dumbfounded. “What?”

“But… but I thought you said… maybe you didn’t, but… tomorrow, first time with Ginny? That’s not… Blimey,” spluttered Ron. “We were under the impression that you two had-“

Something clicked inside Harry’s brain, and he hastily clarified, “Er, no, I meant… We have slept together, just not- stayed over the night, you know, waking up in the same bed the morning after-“

Ron covered his ears. “Told you, no need to know.”

“But I wasn’t talking about that!” Harry exclaimed, feeling her face flushed. Ron let his hands fall. “Of course we’ve had sex, a lot less than we would have liked by the way, because of certain plonkers who like to call themselves friends but have made a hobby of interfering between their sister and her boyfriend, even when said boyfriend changed his status to fianc.”

“I wasn’t supposed to reveal that information, so I had to act like I didn’t know it,” Ron shrugged, knocking back his glass and grabbing the bottle for refills. He offered to Neville, but he, giggling madly, refused with a hand gesture. “Yeah, looks like you’ve had enough. Harry?”

“Top it, please, if we’re going to talk about this…” Ron snorted and did like he was told, spilling some in the process. Hangover is bound to be huge tomorrow, he thought, but he made a mental shrug. It was his stag night, after all.

“What was your point, then?” Ron asked, after capping the bottle.

“Well, see, sex isn’t everything, is it? I mean, it’s great, you know-“

“No details, remember?”

“Wasn’t going to tell. What I was saying… I’m looking forward to sleeping, just that, share a bed, hug her, spooning, whatever, and waking up together. We’ve never had the chance; it’s always been stolen moments, always in a hurry, never staying overnight. Bloody curfews, bloody shifts and bloody nosy brothers.” He glared at Ron, who blew him a kiss in response. “The most we’ve managed is naps under the trees, on a blanket, in broad daylight. Godric,” he took off his glasses and rubbed his face, “I’m sounding really pathetic.”

“You’re not,” said Ron, to his great surprise. Harry put his glasses back on and looked at his friends; none of them seemed likely to take the mickey out of him. On the contrary, both wore thoughtful expressions, albeit it could be simply because of the alcohol in the case of Neville. But Ron seemed a tad sober. “It’s amazing, priceless. Just hold her and stay… you’ve seen Hermione’s hair, have you?”

“Hard not to, she’sss got a fair amount of it,” piped up Neville, slurring the words a bit.

“All the months on the run, inside that tent, I used to watch her trying to tame and plait it before going to bed,” he revealed, without a hint of embarrassment. “Believe me, I was longing to touch that hair. On our first time alone, I asked her to let me comb it. It was a few days after the Battle, it had been a hard day of funerals. We were mentally exhausted, she had been crying. I thought it could be a way of soothing her nerves as well as satiating my curiosity.”

“I like it when Ginny runs her fingers through my hair,” interrupted Harry. “Makes me feel like drizzling honey.” I should cut out on the booze. I’m already sounding like a pathetic drunken poet.

“Well, it was like red hot peppers for her, because next thing I knew, she was on top, snogging the daylights out of me.” Harry complained loudly again, while Neville just slipped down in his armchair, giggling.

“Good thing you were alone when you decided to play hairdresser then. I’ve walked in on you snogging too many times for my liking,” said Harry, raising his glass and taking a sip.

“Good thing indeed, ‘cos that was the first time we had sex, mate,” said Ron matter-of-factly. Harry sprayed his mouthful in surprise. Neville laughed so hard that he spilled the contents of his glass. Ron ignored both of them and grabbed his wand to clean the resulting mess.

“We agreed not to talk about intimate details, didn’t we? I absolutely did not need to have that image in my mind, along with the ones I already had,” groaned Harry.

“And you won’t have any. You seriously didn’t figure out when we had done it? How do you think I managed to cast a Patronus that summer? There weren’t many happy memories to rely on.”

“I used to remember my Oscillating Orchids blooming for the first time. Worked like a charm for me,” said Neville.

“No offence, mate, but maybe once you’ve got through other type of first times, blooming orchids are going to look lame,” replied Ron. “Anyway, I strayed away from the point.”

“Which was…?” Harry asked.

“That sex isn’t everything. Sleeping together, combing her hair, eating together… sharing things in general, those can be the best sensations in the world.”

Harry nodded. “I can’t wait to get married for that. I want to wake up with her, travel together, cook dinner for both of us.”

“And shag like rabbits, admit it,” said Ron pointing an accusatory finger to him and making him roll his eyes.

“Yeah, Ron, whatever. But also just sleep together.”

“Never sleep on an argument,” said suddenly Neville. Both Ron and Harry turned their heads to look at him. “You wanted me to give him advice, well, I’ve just remembered that. That’s what my Gran always tells my Aunt Enid. She and Uncle Algie are always having a row.”

“He has a point,” said Ron thoughtfully. “I reckon Ginny has our mother’s temper, so yeah… brave of you, wanting to tie the knot with her. Marriage isn’t always wine and roses.”

“Wait until she discovers how much you snore. It’s going to put a damper in the whole romantic idea of sleeping together,” scoffed Neville.

“Actually, his snores are a blessing. Nightmares are much worse,” said Ron with a grimace. “I should have warned my sister; I’m the one who’s been sharing a room with you since we were eleven years old. I know you better than her.”

“That’s not true, it’s different with her, that’s all,” said Harry. “We’ll get to know each other better once we’re living together. Ginny’s the one I want to spend the rest of my life with. I love her, I don’t need to know anything else to marry.”

“Oooohhh, that’s sweet,” said Neville, feigning to wipe a tear. “Save that for your speech tomorrow, will you?”

“Speech? What speech?” Harry asked.

“Speeches, in plural. The groom, best man and the father of the bride, it’s traditional that they deliver a speech near the end of the reception,” explained Ron. “You knew that, didn’t you?”

“Of course not, how could I? I’ve only been to Bill and Fleur’s wedding before, and there were no speeches.”

“There would have been, but Death Eaters chose that moment to gatecrash the party,” recalled Ron. “Look, it’s not that bad. You’re supposed to thank everyone for coming, thank my parents for raising your bride, tease me mercilessly and throw in one or two sex jokes. My father, he won’t know until tomorrow, so he probably will say how happy he and my mother are and be done with it. And mine’s more or less the same as yours but I get to tease you even more. Don’t fret; Hermione’s revised it and crossed out the worst jabs so you won’t try to kill me-“

“I’ve half a mind to kill you right now,” said Harry irritably. “You have yours written down and already revised? And you didn’t think to warn me? What am I going to say? You know I hate speeches, always decline when someone asks me.”

“C’mon, Harry, it’s not a big deal,” said Neville. “That bit you said before, it’s perfect. Just throw one or two jokes and some nice memories and that’s all, really. You know, when did you meet, when did you realise that you loved her-“

“Day after the Battle, it was,” said Harry automatically, and shook his head. “But I can’t talk about it. She had told me some private information about what happened under the Carrows’ regime. All you need to know is that while being wandless, she took down her attacker kicking his balls, got his and her wand back, and hexed him before leaving. And I just was so proud of her that all I could think was ‘that’s my girl, I love her’. I probably did from well before that, but that day it just dawned on me.”

Ron and Neville were staring at Harry open mouthed. “Wow,” said the latter. “I can see why you can’t use that. How about first time you told her that you loved her? Is it cheesy enough?”

Harry groaned again; he was beginning to dread heavily the whole affair. “Not that, either. It was on her seventeenth birthday.”

“Well, that’s nice -“

“It’s not, Nev, we were both naked for the first time.” Ron immediately clamped his hands to his ears. He pointed at him. “See? No way I’m telling that in front of her family!” He buried his head in his hands.

“Yeah, of course…,” he heard Neville saying. “Hmm, the proposal story? Was it romantic?”

“Are you kidding me? At the hospital, after narrowly avoiding death and upsetting her because she wasn’t on the emergency contacts list and wasn’t allowed to see me? She decided to propose so she wouldn’t have to find herself again in the same situation. Not romantic in the usual way, although I don’t regret one bit of it.”

“You have quite a story, the pair of you,” said Ron, who had unclamped her hands from his ears. “How about the way you used to look at her dot in the map the months we were on the run?”

“How did you know? I’ve told no one, not even Ginny.”

“Oh, please. T’was dead obvious, all that time staring at the sodden map. Even I noticed.”

“Well I’m not telling that in front of people, it’s very personal.”

Neville sighed. “What about the other way round? First time she said ‘I love you?’”

“Er…” Harry racked his brains. “Um, er, she hasn’t.”

“WHAT?” exclaimed Ron and Neville at the same time.

“Well, she always tells me she’s fond of me, or that she fancies me-“ Or says nothing and snogs me, he thought. “Or when I tell her, she says ‘ditto’. Until now, I hadn’t realised she hasn’t actually said the words… Why is that so important? You’re looking at me weirdly.”

“Mate, to say ‘I love you’ is a big step, everybody knows that. I can’t believe you two are getting married tomorrow without having said it properly,” insisted Ron.

“This is a fucking disaster,” blurted Harry. The alcohol was messing with his capacity to think clearly; he suddenly felt like suffocating. “The wedding is tomorrow and I don’t have a speech, my snoring is going to ruin everything and my fiance has never told me she loves me. Maybe you’re right. Maybe we should postpone, or even cancel it-“

“Whoa, calm down, Harry! We haven’t said any such a thing,” said Ron.

“No more Firewhisky for you, mate,” said Neville, picking up Harry’s glass.

“Do you think we’re rushing? That we’re doing this for the right motives? Perhaps we should wait, shouldn’t we?” He was pulling at his hair now; for all the confidence he had felt only minutes ago, now it seemed that everything was carelessly thought, hurried, wrong. And not all the hasty decisions he had made in his life had turned out well. The memory of the Department of Mysteries fiasco in his fifth year came up suddenly and reminded him painfully of that. He looked at his friends; Neville and Ron were arguing over who was in charge of bringing the Sobering Solution.

“You only had to nick some from the shop!”

“Stop it!”, cried Harry. When the two of them looked at him, he asked “How can I know we’re doing the right thing?”

“C’mon, Harry, of course it is! You’re made for each other, your love has survived a war, separation, even splitting up twice-“ Neville hissed at this, and Ron clamped a hand to his mouth and swore under his breath. Harry felt a heavy weight of dread inside him.

“Well, that just proves it! What if we fall out again? Oh, Merlin, fuck! We can’t do this!”

“Oh, no, no, no, no!”, said Neville forcefully. “Just stop to think straight and tell me one fucking concrete motive why you shouldn’t do it.”

“Well, Neville, for one, I don’t really know if she loves me because I just realised she hasn’t said so!”

“And what are we waiting for? Fuck’s sake, let’s go and ask her!” Ron got up, drained his glass, grabbed his cloak from the hanger and went to the fireplace. “They were going to spend the night at the Burrow, we can wait for them there if they haven’t arrived yet.” Pausing in the act of snatching the Floo Powder, he returned to the table and took the Firewhisky bottle.

Harry opened his mouth to object, but Neville slammed his cloak in his arms, seized him by the shoulders and directed him to the fireplace, where flames were already rising high and invitingly green. He was shoved unceremoniously into them, so he had no choice but to yell “The Burrow!” His heart beating fast, taking care of tucking his elbows in, and looking at the rapidly passing fireplaces, he could only think of what would he do if Ginny Weasley did not feel for him the same love he felt for her.

Back to index


Chapter 4: The Same Love He Felt For Her

Author's Notes: Sorry for the delay! But good news, the story is now completed and corrected. I will upload chapters as soon as I have a little time, ideally one per week.
A million thanks to Arnel, my wonderful Beta.
We left Harry having cold feet… Will Ginny be able to calm him?
I must say that, perhaps because I'm Spanish, I don't put too much store in the Three Little Words, but apparently, in British culture, it's a very important thing. So I tried to fit it in the story the best I could.


“And I had been crying, it was one of those awful days after the Battle, tired from rebuilding, exhausssted from funerals and grief…”

Ginny had to admire Hermione; after one cocktail and two Firewhisky shots, the only thing that denoted she was tipsy was some slight slur in the words. The girl she had witnessed swearing in front of a crowd seemed to have retreated back into her almost normal self. Now they were in her room at the Burrow, in their pyjamas, drinking shots from the bottle Luna had produced out of her bag, and she was talking again as if she was delivering a formal speech.

“…suddenly stopped combing my hair and said he had been looonging to do that since we were living in the other tent. That he used to watch me plaiting my hair and imagine himself doing it. Can you imagine how I felt? So of course, I had no choice but to turn around and shag him senseless.”

Okay, she’s still capable of swearing, thought Ginny, stifling the giggles with her hand. “All right, Granger, but no, I still can’t understand what’s up with the whole hair affair. Bet that even my brother couldn’t see that coming.”

“He didn’t,” agreed Hermione, chuckling. “But trust me, his ssshock didn’t last long, he r-roseto the occasion…”

“Urgh, Hermione, it’s my brother, spare me the details. I already figured by myself that he’s not a prat at everything and believe me, I’m happy for you. But again, hair?"

“Isn’t it evident, Ginny?” said Luna, who looked as serene and fresh as if all she had drunk was pumpkin juice. “Hermione usually complains about her hair, so it’s probably the part of her physical appearance she likes least. Also, she probably felt her body was nothing to be proud of, and was very conscious of it, because she’s fought all her life to be appreciated for her intelligence and not her body, so when Ron said that, she knew your brother liked her the way she was, bushy hair and all. And that turned her on.”

“Like a hot ssstove, that’s it, Luna,” declared Hermione, making Ginny laugh again. “You’re right. I thought I wasn’t special, I’m not beautiful like Lavender was, plus I had lost weight, my skin was scarred and still bruised. But Ron… when he t-touches me, I see in his eyes he doesn’t care, makes me feel special…”

“You two certainly can’t keep your hands off of each other for long, it’s disgusting, really. Poor Harry’s always complaining about how much he has had to put up with you two,” said Ginny.

“The way you say it, one could think we’re every moment at it, really, it’ss not that.” Ginny snorted. “We’re not! The way he usually stares at me is nothing sexual, it’s an amazed expression, as if he–”

“As if he couldn’t believe his luck,” finished Ginny for her, nodding. “Yeah, I’ve noticed. Like I said, he’s not always a prat. And somehow, it works. I’m really happy for you two, you know.”

“The four of you are very lucky; finding a match for a soul is not as easy as it was for you,” said a thoughtful Luna. “I don’t think my match is going to knock at my door; my heart keeps telling me I should travel abroad. Maybe it’s waiting for me in the jungle, or the Siberian steppes. Isn’t it exciting? I get to see the world and learn Magizoology in the meanwhile.”

“Of course, it is, if that’s what you want, Luna,” said Ginny, squeezing her hand. “Although I will always have a soft spot for you and Neville. Pity neither of you felt that way.”

“Oh, no, even if he wasn’t completely besotted with Hannah, it could never have worked. I’m not a match for him. I wasn’t one for Dean either, although for a while, at Hogwarts, we were good for each other. But we both knew it couldn’t last; I think that’s the reason he’s out on a gap year. Maybe he feels that his match is waiting for him out there, too.”

“I really hope so, Dean is a perfect good friend, but go anything further and you find yourself dealing with a cross between an octopus and a puppy dog. I don’t know how you put up with him, Luna. When we were going out, at first I found him very attentive and flattering. But soon it became unbearable, and nothing I said made him change. It was so different with Harry! He used to be like an oyster in his shell, and I’ve never have had to swat his hands away, quite the opposite, you know what I mean.” She winked at her friends and drank another shot.

“Oh, that’s why Dean and I were good for each other back then, we found sex to be the perfect way to escape stress and grief, and I did not mind his hands because he was really good with them. His mouth, too,” declared Luna matter-of-factly, like she was talking about the weather for tomorrow. Ginny sprayed the Firewhisky in surprise and Hermione fell on her back howling with laughter.

It’s always the quiet ones, she thought.“Well, ladies,” she announced, refilling the shot glasses with her wand; her hand was not very steady, due to the alcohol she had consumed. “I see the moment to tell dirty jokes and talk about sex, compulsory at every hen’s do, has come. So if you please, raise your shots and let’s have a toast for my sweet sister-in-law, who, like a good Frenchwoman, is everything but sweet in the bed, and has recently taught me a bunch of nice little charms to enhance such delightful activities, which I’m happy to share with you.”




oooOOOooo




“Shhh, be quiet, you sods…”

“I still say we should have gone upstairs.”

“Are you mad? My parents sleep in the first floor, too. Do you want to wake them?”

“We’ll be careful!”

“Like hell, we will. We have the same chance of being careful as a hungry troll in a kitchen. It’s a miracle they haven’t heard us arriving by Floo.”

“And how do you figure Harry’s going to be able to talk to her?”

“We’ll tell her to meet him out here, won’t we?”

“Oh, of course, it’s not as if yelling her name under her window is not going to wake your parents, Ron!”

“Are you a wizard or what? Just send up a Patronus! And you call yourself an Auror?”

“You don’t get to cast it– not now that I know what are you going to think about, eurgh.”

“Well, you don’t get to, either! You, Nev, think of the orchids, go.”

“Actually, poor things are dying, I try to focus on cacti instead…”

“Oh, please, Longbottom, just pick a damned pot and do it now.”

Neville scrunched his face in concentration, raised his wand and a silvery bear materialised in front of them. Neville whispered something is his ear and the animal gave a curt nod and silently ambled into the house. The three friends remained back, staring up at the lone lit window. No sound came from it; they should have Imperturbed it.

“What if they’re sleeping?”

“It doesn’t look like they are, lights are on–”

“Again, keep it down, do you want to wake up my parents?”

“Maybe if we get a broom from the shed, we can watch through the window, and check if they’re asleep.”

“My sister and my girlfriend are in that room, Longbottom, I’m not letting you see them in nightclothes–”

“Oh, shut up, you know that I–” But it was Neville who did shut up, because the window had been opened, revealing three heads wearing identical surprised expressions.

“Hi, girls,” said Ron cheerfully. “Thought we’d drop by, to say, um, hello.” He raised a hand. “Hi, sweetie-pie, you look gorgeous.”

“Yeah, and since we’re here, Harry had something to tell Ginny, so…” Neville said. Ginny made a shocked noise, and poked her head further out. “What do you want, Harry?”

“Hi, er, um… could you get down here? We don’t want to wake up your parents.”

“Yeah, wait a sec, better not go downstairs… Accio broom!” They heard a noise and from the direction of the shed, they saw a worn, old-looking broom zooming up to the window. Ginny’s head disappeared for a moment, only to show up again wearing a cloak and flying out of the room. She landed between the three men, tossed the broom to Ron and faced Harry.

“What’s up, lion?” Ron and Neville snickered, and Ginny made a rude gesture to them.

“Hey, that’s a poor way to treat us, after all we’ve done for your specky git. Who, by the way… Oi, you!” said Ron, cuffing Harry in the back of the neck. “Ask her and let’s get this done!”

But Harry felt like his tongue was tied up; whether from the alcohol or the vision of his fiance, or both, he didn’t know. He choked and let out a strangled noise.

Neville huffed impatiently. “Well, Ginny, you see, lover boy here seems to have got cold feet, for reasons we find utterly ridiculous, so we brought him here so you could sort it out between the two of you.”

Ginny turned to stare at Harry with wide open eyes. “Is it true?”

Harry shrugged and finally opened his mouth to croak “Do you… do you love me?”

Ginny’s jaw dropped open. “What kind of silly question is that? How can you–” She spun around to point an accusing finger to her brother and her friend. “Is this your fault? What sort of jiggery-pokery have you made him believe?”

“Oh, fabulous, kill the messenger, sis,” said an offended Ron. “We only said it wasn’t normal that you’d never told your fianc that you loved him.”

“Was it before or after Harry staring at the map to find her?”, asked Neville, scratching his head.

“I think it was after, no, before the snores–”

“Enough,” said Ginny furiously. She pulled out her wand. “Both of you, out. Take that broom and either go and join Hermione and Luna or get back to the flat, I don’t care. Just get out of my presence. You,” she said seizing Harry’s hand, “come with me.”

She dragged Harry to the orchard, towards the trees where they were going to celebrate the wedding ceremony; they looked formidable and old, and both had agreed that they really did not need anything more ornamental or elaborate. When they arrived under the trees, she released his hand and turned to face him, arms crossed.

“Now, explain.”




oooOOOooo




He was babbling. After coming out of his stupor, he had stammered some nonsense about speeches and then launched himself in a cascade of words– Ginny could only make out something about nightmares, motivations, rushing and requisites. It was annoying; she did not understand how they were interrelated. And now he seemed to be spiralling, spitting out things like doing it for the wrong reasons and we really don’t know each other or what if we end up regretting this. Every time Ginny tried to get a word in or make a point, she could not. It was evident that he was panicking more and more, and there were few things that could get him out of that state, so she went for tried and tested. Ginny steeled herself, grabbed his head between her hands, kissed him so fiercely that he had no choice but to stop talking, and snogged him until she felt his body beginning to relax.

Then, for good measure, she let her hand fall and squeezed his bum.

As expected, Harry jumped a little in surprise, and then immediately seemed to catch up to her intentions. He broke the kiss and looked down at her with a sheepish grin.

“You think I’m a fool, don’t you?”

“No, I think you’re acting like one, that’s not the same, happens to the best of us. And now tell me how much have you drank and what made you risk awakening my parents to talk to me so urgently.”

Harry scrunched his face and rubbed his eyes under the glasses. “Now that I am here with you, it really looks all a bit foolish.” He sighed. “All right, ‘spose it began with the speech. Nobody said I have to deliver one! And that’s not the worst of it… I’m supposed to… to joke and use sexual innuendos and reveal personal things and nothing they suggested would I dare use, and then Neville asked for the first time you said you loved me and I realised you hadn’t, and they acted like we were missing an essential piece and I couldn’t think straight, suddenly all seemed hurried, precipitated, wrong! And all the times I’ve fucked up something because I acted on impulse came to my mind, and how different things would’ve been if I had stopped to think! And then they pushed me through the Floo and here I am,” he said, staring at his feet and kicking a pebble.

Ginny gaped at him, her head spinning. “Okay, I don’t think I’ve entirely got it, but it looks like the main issue is the fact that I have never pronounced the three little words, isn’t it?” Despite her annoyance, she smirked at Harry, who nodded and resumed kicking pebbles. “Harry, please, look at me.”

He did as he was told, and she stared into his eyes; she saw desperation and, she could not believe it, but was it possible that he looked a little afraid?

“Harry, anybody can say ‘I love you’; I get told nearly daily by my parents, brothers and friends, and lately by you of course. Anyone can say those words.” She grinned and took his hands into hers. “That’s the reason I prefer to show it.” And leaning towards him, she kissed him again. They broke apart, and waited to see his reaction.

“You’re right, I’ve been stupid. It’s only that, I’ve also realised…” He shuffled nervously, and avoided her eyes. “It’s not something I’ve ever heard that much.”

And then it hit her. The epiphany was as if a heavy curtain had been vanished, revealing an embarrassed little boy trying to hide behind it. Of course, he had not heard it. His parents told him, for sure, but he was so young that he could not remember. The Dursleys would no sooner tell Harry that they loved him than volunteer to host the Ministry’s Hallowe’en party. And, she, his girlfriend, had carelessly neglected saying it just because she thought it was something outdated and unimportant.

Oh, for the love of sweet Godric. It’s me who’s been a total and utter fool, not him.

She sucked in a breath, shook her head, and pondered what to do next, but while not completely drunk, the alcohol she had ingested did not let her think with clarity. But that she could remedy. Rummaging in the pocket of the cloak, she pulled out two vials, uncorked one and drank it, then offered Harry the second. He accepted it, but did nothing but eye it with distrust. It was a mark of how much Ginny knew him, that she scoffed and said, “It’s ok, Harry. That’s Sobering Solution, brewed by Hermione Granger, former Head Girl, who can burn soup but make the finest potions, and I am your girlfriend, and I know exactly why you switched from treacle tart to chocolate gateau as your favourite dessert. In fact, that’s Hermione’s dose, she’s bound to have an awful morning tomorrow until she’s able to brew some more.”

“And why should I drink it?”, asked Harry.

“Because although I’m impressed by how your instincts are not completely dimmed by the booze, I want you to be completely conscious of the moment you’re just about to live.”

His eyes widened in surprise, and he wordlessly unstopped the vial and drank it in a single gulp, then tossed away the empty receptacle and stared unwaveringly to Ginny.

“Do you remember the first time you told me that you loved me?” asked Ginny softly.

Harry nodded. “Vividly; it was on your seventeenth.”

Ginny took his hands on hers. “And my answer?”

He nodded again. “That you were fond of me, too.” Harry let out a chuckle, but quickly got serious again, gazing at her with intensity.

“Well, that was a lie–” said Ginny determinedly. Harry looked like his heart had stopped beating, so she went on, “–because it was an understatement. For I loved you then, and I love you now, and I loved you all the months we weren’t together, even the ones when I actively tried and failed to forget you. I knew it when you ditched me after Dumbledore’s funeral, and in front of us lay a dark path neither one of us knew where would it lead. It’s ironic that now that we have upon us a much brighter perspective I still haven’t properly said how much do you mean to me. I’m sorry. I thought my actions alone would be enough. I certainly despised the power within these words: I love you, Harry.”

His smile lit up his entire face. Releasing her hands, he pulled her into his arms, sweeping her off her feet, and kissed her with urgency. They stumbled into a tree trunk and Harry knocked his head against a low branch. He swore and unintentionally dropped her. Ginny slipped and fell on her bum. “Ouch!”

“Are you ok?” asked Harry, rubbing his head where the branch had hit him and crouching down to help her. Ginny giggled. “I am now,” she said, and pulled him down on the grass, straddling him and resuming the snog, which Harry seemed only too happy to do. When they broke the kiss, they stared at each other and laughed at the same time.

“So much for big moments’ grandeur, we seem to be doomed to end up sprawled on the grass in most of them.”

“It’s all right, this is only us; no bloody Skeeter is going to write about it,” said Ginny, sitting up on the grass. She traced his cheek with her forefinger. Harry leaned into her hand, kissing the palm. She remembered something. “Harry?”

“Yeah?” He answered distractedly.

“What was all that about looking a map?”

“Oh, it’s nothing…” He tried to cover it, but she could feel the heat of his cheek in her fingers, so she put a finger under his chin to make him look up at her. Ginny cocked her head to the side. “Really?”

“Well, it’s silly, I hadn’t told anybody, but turns out that Ron had noticed, and he babbled in front of Nev. I used to stare at your dot in the Marauders’ Map while I was on watch in the tent, those months on the run. I wondered…”

“What was it?” she asked softly.

“Told you, it was silly… I wondered if somehow you would be able to sense it. Like I said, pathetic.”

“Not at all,” said Ginny, and she saw his eyes widening in surprise. “It was no more pathetic than me, thinking about you in my bed almost all the nights, wondering where would you be, and if you were thinking of me, too. At least you had a map and a dot to stare to. I had nothing but an Undesirable No.1 poster I nicked from the Entrance Hall. Who’s pathetic now?”

“It’s not a competition.”

“Yeah, better stick to Quidditch, no risk of being pathetic there.”

“No, unless it’s Ron failing to block a shot because he’s ogling Hermione.” And they burst out laughing.

“Talking of the devil, was my brother responsible of messing with your head? ‘Cos I’m definitely murdering him if it was.”

“No, let him be. He did say something about how the two of us would get to really know each other from tomorrow on, my snores and nightmares and all that, but he reckoned we had come through enough things, we had better chance of surviving coexistence. I think that’s when the alcohol made me panic…” He did not finish the sentence. She guessed why; he needed reassurance.

“You’re wondering if we’ve rushed into this without thinking.”

Harry shrugged. “I think it’s more like I wanted this so badly, I never stopped to think if we really should wait a bit longer.”

“Well, do you want to? Like I said this morning, we can simply let the fake plan become real.” She leaned back and pulled him up so she could sit in his lap; Harry cocked his head and grinned sheepishly.

“Truth is, I don’t. I don’t want to wait more. I really want to be married to you and get to know you better and do all the things we haven’t had the opportunity to. And it’s not all about sex like your brother suggested. I’m looking forward to waking up in the morning by your side, for instance. That is, if you don’t chuck me to the sofa because of my snores –or my dreams,” he chuckled.

“Unlikely: what’s Silencio for, then?”

“Yeah, we used to do that to Ron all the time at school.” They laughed together, then fell into silence. Eventually Ginny broke it. “This is not like the Department of Mysteries, Harry. It isn’t the spur of a moment; I meditated this a lot before proposing–”

“I didn’t, though.”

“True, but not every time you act on impulse turns out bad. On the contrary, you are notoriously good at it: you jumped on a dragon to flee from Gringotts and saved three lives including your own.” She smirked and pressed on. “The way I see it, it’s like a great adventure, and it will have its best and worst moments… but I want to do it anyway.”

“Neville reckons we should avoid sleeping on an argument.”

“Well, I plan to sleep on something much more agreeable,” she chortled. “I think that’s common, but rubbish advice, anyway. We’re both hotheaded people, chances are we would go to bed in the middle of many arguments. Let’s hope they will do for interesting reconciliations,” she said, winking at him.

“That’s certainly something worth hoping for.” He gazed at her with a hungry intensity, the kind of look that made her insides burn. But if there was a thing she definitely did not want tonight was hurriedly made sex, so she tried to distract him. “Want to know the latest of Luna’s theories? She believes the magic of the Bond will make our love eternal.”

Harry snickered. “Sounds like soap opera bullshit to me.”

“True, but Luna has been known to be right every once in a while… let’s say this is the case; that would mean our relationship is going to be really heightened from tomorrow on… intriguing thought, isn’t it?”

“Gin?”

“Yeah?”

“Any more heightened than I am now, and I will explode, believe me.”

Ginny glanced down at his lap at let out a giggle. “Cool down, Potter,” she said mischievously. “Do you remember what I said about keeping only the worthy traditions? It’s almost midnight.”

Harry raised an eyebrow. “It’s not an ungodly hour for sex.”

“No, but remember that the groom should not see his bride on the wedding day until the moment she walks down the aisle.” Harry’s head flopped back and a frustrated groan escaped his lips. Ginny got up, laughing, and gave him a hand to help him get on his feet.

“We don’t even know if there’ll be an aisle,” he protested, trying to kiss her.

“I’ll just tell people ‘here comes the bride, make way’ then,” she replied, ducking and giggling. “Come on, let’s find our accomplices so we can have a bit of beauty sleep. Look for me tomorrow: I’ll be the one in white.”

“Odds are there could be more than one woman in white: guests believe they’re attending a birthday party, not a wedding.”

Ginny spun round, a smile tugging on the corners of her lips. She stepped up and gave him a light, brief kiss. “Then make sure you’re marrying the right one.”


Back to index


Chapter 5: Make Sure You’re Marrying The Right One

Author's Notes: Author’s notes: Big day has come! As always, a big thank you to my wonderful Beta Arnel, who is the best, and to everyone who is leaving reviews. You make my days brighter.
Lola Amaya is an OC from my first fic, That Look In Your Eyes. She’s half Spanish and half Welsh, and I was dying to write more about her.
Check my Tumblr account, bluestwitch, for more info, inspiration, etc!


“Flowers?”

“Check.”

“Chocolate?”

“By the flowers.”

“Champagne, glasses?”

“They’re ready, over on the table. Sobering vials are on the counter, in case you need them too. I nicked a few more from the shop. George won’t mind, once he knows what they’re for.”

“George would’ve replaced them with puking stuff if he’d known what they’re for. Come to think of it, how can I be sure you haven’t done it?”

“And ruin your honeymoon? Please, I’m a prankster, not a complete moron.”

“Now it’s settled: I’m Sneakproofing this the moment you leave.”

“Which will be now, gentlemen: we have a tight schedule to stick to.”

“You two go first, I have to set the barriers.”

“We can do that in seconds, let’s do it and leave together.”

“Not the one I’m going to try.”




oooOOOooo



“Flowers?”

“Check.”

“Something blue?”

“By the flowers.”

“Something new?”

“The sandals, box by the cabinet.”

“Something borrowed?”

“That’ll be my earrings, I’ve got them.”

“Ok, and the dress is old. Pass me the dressing gown, please. Better not let them see it until I tell them everything.”

“Do you want your hair done now?”

“Yes, please. And then… it will be showtime.”




oooOOOooo




The Burrow was splendid, in Harry’s opinion. A complex meteorological charm had been performed by Bill and Charlie to ensure no rain or wind would spoil the day. The chickens had been cooped up, and the garden had been pruned and de-gnomed, but the occasional gnome still could be spotted, and there were no ornamental bushes, only streamers draped over the trees with gold and purple bunting crisscrossing the space between them and the house. Several tables groaned with the weight of a buffet prepared by Molly, and two more stood empty in anticipation of the food and drinks the guests had been asked to bring instead of gifts. Chairs, benches and recliners were scattered around the tables and a big new shiny wireless presided the setting. Though neither as gleaming nor as neatly tidied as in Bill and Fleur’s wedding, he liked it better that way because it reminded him of other summer gatherings, of which Harry had great memories. He recalled both his and Ginny’s seventeenth birthday parties, and smiled as he remembered the latter, when the two of them had had a hard time keeping a straight face every time they caught each other’s eye, trying –and often failing– to contain the stupid, big grin that threatened to betray what they had been doing just before the party. The main difference was that today, he would have to explain to all the guests the exact reason behind the goofy smile he was sure to be sporting. His cheeks were actually beginning to hurt from grinning too widely, and not even a small but nagging worry about Ginny’s family acceptance could put a damper in his mood.

Anyway, it’s Ginny’s job to deal with Aunt Muriel, he thought chuckling to himself. Friends for him, family for her, that had been the deal. That’s why he was standing with Neville and Ron near the gates, inside the protection of the barriers, waiting to greet the guests that would begin to arrive in five minutes’ time via Portkey. As an additional safety measure, the three of them carried ultra-sensitive, professional branch Sneakoscopes and the gates were charmed to remain shut in the event that anyone suspicious tried to cross them. All those precautions were still necessary not because they feared any Dark attack, but to prevent reporters, specifically Rita Skeeter, from entering inadvertently. Harry and Ginny trusted all the friends that had been invited, but there was no telling what lengths Skeeter would go to to grab hold of an invitation.

Ron, however, was optimistic everything was going to be fine. “I told George that now that things look calm, we should diversify the line of defensive products. We worked out how to apply the magic of a Sneakoscope to the invitations; if they pass the test today and no bloody reporters get inside, we could make a range of sneak-proof products, now that people don’t need to defend themselves against Dark magic, but against good old pranks.”

“But wouldn’t it be like throwing stones to your own roof?” Neville asked. “I mean, if you find a way to detect and avoid pranks, it would ruin your business, wouldn’t it?”

“No, if our products are the only ones that could go undetected by then.”

“But then, the sneak-proof stuff would not really be completely proof–

“Oh, stop it, Nev, it’s only something I’ve thought.”

“Brace yourselves, here they come,” said Harry, when a series of blue lights began to fill the land beyond the gates, at both sides of the lane. Soon a crowd of people, old and new friends, Ginny’s teammates and Harry’s workmates, began to line up in front of the gates, between cries of greetings and excited chatter.

Harry opened the gates and addressed the people queuing in front of them. “Welcome everyone! Sorry for the security inconveniences. Please cross the gates one by one. Tables are on your right, leave the food and drinks on the empty ones and feel free to help yourselves to whatever you like. Jordan! Where are you?”

“Right here, mate! Wouldn’t have missed this for all the gold in the world,” said a voice from the back, and people parted to reveal a familiar dreadlocked, beaming face.

“Wireless is all yours, unless you brought music of your own.”

“You know me so well,” laughed Lee Jordan, showing a big, Muggle-looking suitcase that Harry had seen before filled with vinyl discs and a turntable.

“Lee Jordan? Are you the same from Potterwatch?”, cried a voice from the back.

“The one and only. Who wants to know?” Jordan asked.

“My name is David Buhle, and you knew me by Diva Dave at Hogwarts, and I am your unconditional admirer! Make way, please.” The crowd began to murmur excitedly and parted to make a path for Dave, dressed in black fitted trousers and a sequinned black top. “Hi! Ginny invited me,” he said, offering his hand to Lee and Harry in quick succession. “I’m dying to sing for you! Providing this young man wants to help me, of course,” he said, winking an eye to Lee.

“Wow, of course I remember you, you had the best voice, mate! Can’t wait to help!”, said a delighted Lee.

“What are we waiting for, then? Let’s get this party started!”, roared Harry. The crowd cheered in agreement and one by one, began to cross the gates, clapping backs and shaking hands with the three friends. Ron and Neville showed the way to the tables and the garden was soon filled with music, laughs and the sound of conversations. The last guests to arrive were the group of Hogwarts teachers, who had chosen to Apparate or, in the case of Hagrid, travel on the Knight Bus.

“I am certainly getting old for bumpy Portkey landings,” lamented a relaxed looking Professor McGonagall, who was carrying a plate of Scottish cream buns and a bottle of Firewhisky in a basket. “And anyway, I could not risk dropping these,” said gesturing to it.

Harry chuckled and hugged his former professor. “Well, I hope you don’t feel too old to enjoy a good party, Headmistress. Thanks a lot for coming, all of you, it means a lot to Ginny and me.”

“Harry, my dear boy, there’s no way I would have missed it!”, exclaimed a jubilant Slughorn, Banishing a box full of bottles of what looked like mead to the table. Neville coughed to cover a snort. Pomona Sprout turned to look at him with a twinkle in her eyes. “The Auror Office wearing you down, Longbottom? My offer to come and work at my greenhouses still stands, you know.”

“Each day that passes the temptation to accept it grows, Professor,” replied Neville, bowing his head. “But for today, let’s relax and enjoy the party.”

“Bin’ lookin’ forward to it,” declared Hagrid, crossing over the fence instead of through the gates. None of the three Aurors looked troubled by it, because it was impossible that anybody could be Polyjuiced as a half giant. Harry greeted his old friend and peered into the big bowl he was carrying. “Hagrid, how come you didn’t bring your rock cakes? I’m a little disappointed, you know.”

“Oh, shut up, I know tha’ yeh great lumps hated ‘em,” he guffawed. “‘‘Tis an ol’ punch recipe, yer ears will clap when yeh drin’ it, yeh see.”

“That’ll be a sight, a bunch of people with clapping ears,” said Ron amused. “Come on, Ginny should be ready any moment now, let’s join the party.”

He directed the group to the garden, sparing a meaningful glance to Harry, who nodded. “Go ahead, I’ll be there in a moment.” Neville gave him the thumbs up, and Harry turned to look beyond the gates again. He checked his watch: she should be here by now.

“Come on, Amaya, you said you wouldn’t be late,” he whispered through gritted teeth. He squinted his eyes, scrutinising the yard, but nothing happened until two minutes later, when he heard the faintest of a pop noise followed by the buzz of the Sneakoscope. A disembodied voice chuckled from behind the fence and the figure of Lola Amaya, in black leather trousers and a white shirt, was revealed suddenly in front of them. Immediately, the buzz stopped and Harry let out a breath, relieved.

“Couldn’t resist making an entrance, could you, boss?”

“Wouldn’t be me if I hadn’t checked your security measures, nio,” she said unfazedly. She jumped over the fence and chucked a small parcel to Harry, who caught it in midair. “Your order. Fitting charms included and all. Should’ve arrived sooner, but my Nain and Taid made me stay for lunch.”

“You still had time. What kept you back?”

“Hey, a good tortilla de patatas takes its time cooking it,” she said, gesturing to the covered dish in her hand. “Which reminds me, here’s my gift.” She gave him a purple envelope.

“You needn’t to, but thanks. What is it, by the way?”

“Something that will make that honeymoon of yours a little more tasty and glamorous. You will find enclosed directions to my friend Hamish, who lives in Las Alpujarras, halfway between Granada and Almera. He’ll give you a tour of La Alhambra and you’ll stay a night at the Parador. If you fall in love with my hometown, like my mother did, Hamish can help you to find a house, he’s the oldest of the expat wizards in the area.”

“Kind of an interested gift, isn’t it? You’re trying to lure both of us to stay there,” accused Harry with an expression of amused incredulity. “You know, it would be easier if you just stayed in Britain.”

“I’ve given this country a few years of my busy life, but despite all my grandparents’ efforts to make me remain, the sun calls me, nio,” stated Amaya simply. “Gretchen wants us to try Germany, but I know it won’t work for me either. I’ve told her to go back to Spain together, but I can tell she misses her home, too, so… time to close a nice story, I suppose,” she shrugged.

Despite her offhand comment, Harry knew it was going to be hard for her. “I promise I will try to visit often. And I’m going to miss you a lot. Nobody barks orders like you, that’s for sure,” he smirked.

“Now it’s your turn to be the boss, and I swear to God, I’ve trained you well for that. I won’t repeat this, but I am quite proud of you, and I’ll miss you too, hijo de la Gran Camacha!” She punched Harry in the shoulder, her eyes surprisingly bright. “Now, stop being lazy sentimental sods. I have come to a wedding and I’m hoping to get sloshed, dance all night and have my reputation properly ruined. So let’s go and see your gorgeous bride.”





oooOOOooo





“Ginny, the guests have arrived and I can hear them asking for you. It’s time to go down,” said Hermione, peering through the window in her friend’s bedroom. She turned around and looked at her. “Ready to face them?”

“Am I?” Now that the time to reveal their plans had come, she felt nervous, and could not help but wonder if all the secrecy and deviation from traditions were really a good idea, and if her family was not going to feel let down.

She saw Luna stepping in front of her, raising her hand to fix a loose bud in the flower headband she had arranged to hold the hair off Ginny’s face. “I think both you and the whole idea looks amazing,” she said.

Hermione planted herself in front of her, her hands on her hips, in a businesslike attitude. “Ginny, come on, this is not the time for doubts. Are you a Gryffindor or not?”

“Am I?” Her mind seemed to have stuck at the same sentence.

Hermione huffed, exasperated. “Of course you are! Come on, Ginny. You fought a war. You survived attacks and grief. I’ve seen you winning against players that had twice your size or your experience. Do not tell me that now that you’re going to live one of the happiest moments of your life, you’re regretting it in any way or form. Tell me, whose idea was this?”

“Mine,” she heard herself saying.

“Do you love Harry Potter?”

What kind of idiotic question is that?, snapped a voice in her brain. “Of course I do!”

“That’s more like it! Do you want to spend your life by his side?”

“Hell, yes!” A bubbling excitement began to replace the nerves. She could do it. It was easier than scoring avoiding the Arrows Beaters. Much more pleasant than getting up after a Bludger injury. She refused to bring up anything from the war to compare. The past was in the past, and she wanted to embrace her future.

Hermione looked ecstatic: her eyes gleamed, and she seemed ready to punch the air. “So tell me,” she roared, “ARE YOU A GRYFFINDOR OR NOT?”

“I. Bloody. AM!”, screamed Ginny, and Hermione actually punched the air. She made a sign to Luna, who nodded and picked up the bouquets of wildflowers she had made that morning, and opened the door. Ginny took a deep breath, walked out of the room and began to descend the stairs. She crossed the kitchen without looking around and did not stop until she got to the sitting room.

“Okay, you two, let the boys know we’re ready, and call my parents and brothers–”

“What do you want to call me for, dear?”

Molly Weasley could have not appeared quicker if she had been summoned to the room. She was holding a chicken pie, and she obviously had just changed into nicer robes. Actually, Ginny noted, she did not think she had seen before that mint green dress… nor the peacock feather she was wearing in a matching headset, that was definitely new. She narrowed her eyes, cocking her head, and made a sign with her hand to tell her friends to go out. They quickly exited the room, leaving the two witches alone.

“Mum?”, said Ginny uncertainly.

“Oh, honey, I’m so happy for you!” Ignoring the shock that reflected her daughter’s face, she put down the pie she was holding and engulfed her in a hug. Then she released her and tugged at the belt of the dressing gown. “Let me see what you’ve done to my dress.”

“But… but–” spluttered Ginny. Closing her mouth, she swallowed and took off the gown, revealing her mother’s bridal dress in a shorter, summer version: sleeveless and cut just over the knees. But it was the same embroidered tulle, the loose body she loved, and the closer thing to a bridal gown she was thrilled to wear. Veils and trains were simply not her thing, and she hoped her mother, who was currently appraising her at arms’ distance, would be okay with that.

“I’m sorry I had to cut off some of it, Mum, but I promise I will return it to its original state if you want,” said Ginny nervously. Molly just nodded, speechless, and finally, overcome by emotion, pulled her daughter in a tight hug, tears falling down her cheeks.

“It’s your dress now, honey, you can keep it like that, I’m so happy you chose it to wear in your wedding day! I suspected it, you know–” she said, letting go of her and extracting a handkerchief to dab at her eyes, “from the moment I saw it hidden behind the rest of your hangers in your closet. It’s been eons since the last time you borrowed it to play. Then you announced a big joint birthday party for today and I just knew it was an excuse. Your father didn’t believe me, but even he had to admit that you two seemed entirely too cheerful after the terrible accident Harry and Ron had at work. Because that was the turning point, wasn’t it?”

“It definitely was, I mean… both of us had thought about it before, but we hadn’t discussed it yet. However, the joint birthday plan was mine… Mum, are you really ok with all this? Who else knows?”

“I only told your father, because the more people knew it, the greater the risk someone slipped and yes, we are ok with that. Granted, we would have enjoyed a big glamorous wedding like Bill and Fleur’s, but you two wouldn’t. We’re aware that both of you are very protective of your privacy and don’t like big productions, specially Harry, always in the point of view of the press. To be frank, we’re both relieved that you haven’t simply eloped and be done with it. I’m pleased we get to enjoy this day together… after all, you’re my only daughter, but I realised some time ago that you no longer were my little girl.”

“Oh, my goodness, Mum, I’m going to be married.” Tears of finally unrestrained emotion began to roll down her face, and mother and daughter melted in a hug. Ginny felt so relieved and happy that she did not notice that the room was filling with her family, until George clapped and demanded loudly that someone tell him what was going on and why weren’t all out enjoying the party.

Ginny let out a nervous, shaky giggle. “Oh, well, about that… it’s not really a birthday party.” She locked eyes with her father, who beamed first and went to hug her too, while Molly dried his tears away.

“Oh, fantastic, it’s family hugs day,” said George with sarcasm. “Bill, you do Charlie, I’ll do Percy, Angie and Fleur can do it together, and where’s Ron? Come on, let’s get this over so we can go back to–”

“Your sister and Harry are going to marry today,” said Arthur, letting go of Ginny, who noticed then that her father had also dressed more smartly than he would have for a birthday party.

“WHAT???”

The exclamation had been Bill’s, and the rest, save Luna and Hermione, seemed about to voice their surprise too, when, with a big WHOOSH, the fireplace roared with green flames and out of them stepped Aunt Muriel, dressed in purple robes and a hat with a rather ruffled black feather plume. She stood in the middle of the room, brushing ashes off her clothes, and complaining loudly about how the quality of Floo travel had decreased since her youth, oblivious of the fact that all the family plus Luna, Hermione and Angelina, was reunited in front of her.

“I’m telling you, Arthur: I’m going to the Ministry first thing on Monday, and that old blighter at the head of the Floo Network is going to hear me. Clerebold, his name was, wasn’t it, Arthur?”

Arthur cleared his throat. “Erm, yes, but, Muriel–”

“No buts, Arthur; it’s intolerable the amount of ashes one has to put up with, it’s a miracle nobody has perished by suffocation.”

“Indeed, Muriel. It’s only that we have a much more pleasant matter in hands.” Muriel raised her head and stared quizzically at the assembled group in front of her, until she saw Ginny. “Merlin’s beard, girl. Don’t you think you’re overdressed for a birthday? It’s not like it’s your wedding day, you know.”

Ginny let out a nervous giggle. She heard her mother say, “As a matter of fact, that’s what it is, Aunt Muriel. Ginny’s going to marry Harry Potter today, that’s why I invited you. They wanted a small, discreet celebration and–”

“Have you gone completely and utterly mad?”, snapped Muriel. She pointed an accusatory finger to Molly and Arthur. “That’s not how a respectable family does a wedding, hidden like thieves! I see no ring in the bride’s finger! I haven’t heard any engagement announcement! You know what people are going to think, don’t you, young lady? Nice way to disrespect the family–”

Anger boiled inside of Ginny. How dared that old bat to judge them? She was going to reply, but her mother was first. “Times change, Aunt Muriel, and I assure you they mean no disrespect. As for your fears, let me tell you that they are unfounded.”

“Are they?”, asked Charlie. “Because, let’s be honest, first thing we’ve all thought is “Merlin, my sister’s pregnant!”

“How. Dare. You, Charlie Weasley!”, said an infuriated Ginny. “All of you, too! I’m not getting married because I’d be pregnant, because I’m not!”

“Hey, don’t mix me in this, little sis. It’s impossible you’ve been knocked up, given the amount of booze I saw you drinking last Saturday,” pointed George. “As for me, I think it’s a great idea, and I’m sure Fred would be of the same opinion. So what are we waiting for? Let’s do this wedding!”

“Not so quickly, young man!”, cried Muriel. “I must insist that the honour of the family be respected and upheld! I won’t permit–”

“It is not a question of what you would permit, Muriel,” said Arthur softly, but firmly. “Molly and I are the parents, and we couldn’t be happier with our daughter’s decision, which in no way besmirches or defiles our reputation. She’s of age, and she doesn’t need our permission, anyway. Harry has been considered a part of the family for many years, and we are ecstatic to finally be able to call him our son.”

“I, too, will be honoured to call him my brother-in-law, Aunt Muriel,” intervened Percy. “Harry is a very respected member of our society, and I know for a fact that our esteemed Minister–”

The fireplace roared green again, and out of it came none other than Kingsley Shacklebolt, coughing and shaking his hat, that looked covered with soot.

“I’m having a word with Clerebold, the filth in the Network is getting out of hand,” he murmured. He pulled out his wand, waved it and the soot and ashes vanished from his robes and the floor. Kingsley then looked around and became aware that he had just arrived in the middle of a family reunion. “Good evening to you all. I’m sorry I couldn’t come earlier, there was a last-minute call from the Russian Embassy that I had to attend, but now I’m free. Are we celebrating the ceremony inside? I believe Harry said you wanted me to officiate it in the orchard.”

“Well, this is the last straw, really,” huffed Muriel. “Not one of the members of my family have dared to marry in a civil ceremony! You should be ashamed, girl! Without proper engagement! And I wasn’t born yesterday, you’re with child, that’s for sure–”

Ginny saw red. “For the last time, Aunt Muriel…”





oooOOOooo





Even without Ginny, Luna, Hermione and the rest of the Weasley family, who had been called to the sitting room, the party was already in full swing. Lee Jordan had taken possession of the wireless and music blared from it, and Dave was examining the discs and asking him about them. Hannah Abbot was arranging the food she had brought and charming the bottles of mead to float unsupported, helped by an eager Neville. Dennis Creevey, a camera hanging over his chest, was talking to Professor Flitwick about his NEWTs, while Gabrielle, who was staying the summer at Shell Cottage to help with baby Victoire, eyed him with interest from a nearby bench. Hermione’s parents, who had boldly accepted the invitation in an attempt to get more acquainted with magic, were talking to Minerva McGonagall, who was congratulating them for raising a daughter with such high moral values. Andromeda Tonks, who had arrived in the morning to help with the party, was chasing a boisterous Teddy who, at two years old, naturally found that being quiet and well behaved were unnecessary demands. The toddler spotted Harry in the midst of a group of his first Gryffindor Quidditch teammates and ran to him, crashing against his legs.

“Oomph, what do we have here? If it isn’t Mr. Teddy Lupin! Guys, have you met my godson?”, he said, taking him up.

“Ooh, he’s cute,” said Katie. Oliver and Alicia greeted him, and the latter raised her arms to invite Teddy to be held, but he shook his head and cuddled against his godfather, who clapped him in the back.

Andromeda caught up with them. “Sorry, Harry. He’s been asking for you since he woke up from his nap. I’ll take him to the orchard so you can enjoy the party.”

“It’s all right, Andromeda, I can hold him for a while–” he was interrupted by the sight of Ron, giving him the thumbs up. “On second thought, I need to say something, could you please take him back? Come on, Teddy, go with Grandma…”

But Teddy refused to leave Harry’s arms, and Ron’s gestures were more and more desperate, so in the end he gave up. He perched Teddy on his hip, looked around him and located a bench that seemed convenient for his plan. “Wait here, there’s something I need to say.”

He strode to the bench, got onto it, still holding Teddy, and cleared his throat. “May I have your attention, please? I have something to announce.” The buzz of conversations and laughter slowly died as the crowd noticed him in his high position. Neville, who was nearer to the wireless, made a sign to Lee to turn down the music. People exchanged amused glances. “What is it, Harry? Old Vold hasn’t returned, has he?” said a voice from the back, that Harry identified as belonging to Savage, Ron’s mentor.

“Merlin, no, and in any case, we’re off duty.” All laughed, and Harry kept on. “Erm, there’s more than one reason Ginny and I have invited you all today. Yes, it was my twentieth some days ago and Ginny’s nineteen today, but today we also… we wanted to fulfil a dream and share it with family and friends–”

“Puppet!!!” squealed Teddy, pointing to a gnome that was peeking through the branches of a nearby bush. He fidgeted to release himself from his godfather’s hold, so Harry stepped down off the bench and freed him. The toddler gave a cry of delight and set off to pursue the gnome, who jumped in surprise and began to run, zigzagging between the guests, much to the amusement of them.

Harry got on the bench once more and tried to get the people’s attention again. “Erm, as I was saying, Ginny and I–”

“Where’s Ginny, by the way?” asked Gwenog Jones, who was at the front of the group of Ginny’s teammates. “We still haven’t seen her, is she all right?”

“Yes, she’s fine, dazzling, I dare say–” He was interrupted by an almighty shout coming from the house, that made all the people turn their heads. Even Teddy stopped in his chase of the gnome, who took up the chance and dived into a hole in the floor.

“For the last time, Aunt Muriel, I AM NOT PREGNANT!!!

All of Ginny’s teammates spun their heads to glare at Harry, who opened his palms in a gesture of peace. “Hey, you heard her, she’s not–”

“REASON? DO YOU NEED REASONS? I LOVE HARRY AND THAT’S ENOUGH REASON FOR GETTING MARRIED TODAY!” People gasped and stared incredulously at Harry, who laughed.

“Godric, I love that woman, too. And, well, now that my beautiful bride has broken the news for me, I’m pleased to invite you to join us in the celebration of our marriage, which will take place in a few minutes in the orchard. If you will follow Ronald, Neville and me, please.” Someone whooped and the crowd erupted in applause and cheers. Harry got down off the bench and was immediately engulfed by a group of people congratulating him.

“Thank you, thank you, but please wait until after, I’m still single.” The guests surrounding him cackled. A distressed Andromeda appeared suddenly at his side, thrusting Teddy into his arms. “Look after him, I need to get something from home, you can’t get married without it!” And without further explanation, she ran to the gates and Disapparated just out of the limits of the protective enchantments.

“What the…” But he could say no more, because Grace, who shared a room with Ginny at the team’s residence, clapped him in the back. “So you’re finally joining the Harpies family! Ginny says you’re a decent Seeker, can’t wait to be your opponent in our little fun matches after training.”

“Looking forward to playing against you,” said Harry. Minerva McGonagall chose that moment to congratulate him, and then rounded on Grace. “Miss Stewart, as the one that discovered Mr. Potter’s talent for Quidditch, I grant you that he is being modest. Had he not elected to make a career in the Auror Office, rest assured he would be your opponent in many professional games.”

“That good, huh? I do love a good dare.”

“Harry, yeh daft boy! How could yeh say nuthin’? Would’ve worn mine bes’ suit!” Harry turned around, with Teddy in his arms, and saw a frowning Hagrid, hands in his hips, unmistakably annoyed.

“We don’t care, Hagrid, we only wanted to share the moment without fanfare, look at us, in jeans and shirt–”

“Not now that I am here, no,” said Andromeda reappearing in front of him, a hanger with a covered garment in one hand, and her wand in the other, removing ashes from the item. “Salazar’s sake, the Floo’s a nightmare, should’ve Apparated back. Here you go, I should have given this to you months ago, but it kept slipping my mind.”

Harry left Teddy in the floor and took the hanger. He unzipped the cover to reveal an old, navy blue, striped waistcoat that wouldn’t have looked out of place in the seventies. Puzzled, he looked at Andromeda, who had picked up her grandson again, for an explanation.

“Remus had it in his wardrobe, but it wasn’t his, it was your father’s.” Harry gasped and stared at the item with a new reverence. “He said that he had borrowed it for a job interview, and James told him to keep it as long as he would need it. Then they died and Remus preserved it with the idea of giving it to you someday, when you were older, but after school you went on the run, and then…” Andromeda sniffed, and swept a furtive tear from her eye; it was not like her to show her feelings in public, so she immediately recomposed herself. “I just thought you may want to wear it, so you could have something from your father today.”

“Oh, my goodness, Andromeda, this is…” His voice broke, a lump swelling in his throat. Since the engagement, he had thought often of how much he was going to miss today not only his parents, but also Sirius, Remus, Tonks, Fred and many others. Not a day passed without thinking of them in many moments, but today, their absence was harder to bear. He had dealt so far with the dull, deep ache inside him by telling himself that he knew for a fact that those who had loved him had not truly left him, and that somehow, they could see him now and absolutely approved the big step he was going to take. But being presented with something that, like the letter from Lily he had found at Grimmauld Place, had belonged to his father, was proof that he had existed, he had worn it at any point of his life, was too much for him. His vision blurred and he hugged Andromeda tightly, leaving his gratitude unsaid; he knew she valued the gesture anyway. She hugged him back and patted his back, and Harry perceived that she, too, was putting in the hug the words she would not say aloud.

Hagrid, it transpired, seemed to have no qualms against manifesting her feelings, because at the mention of the dead, he had pulled out a tablecloth-sized handkerchief and was sobbing unabashedly in it, while Teddy stared astonished from his grandmother’s arms.

“Gamma no cry. Haree no cry! Big man no cry! Wanna find puppet!” Teddy’s voice broke the awkwardness and solemnity of the moment, and they split up between chuckles, swiping off tears.

“The boy’s right, enough cryin’ fer t’day. Wanna look fer the gnome, Teddy?” Bending down, he offered him his hand, and the toddler took it after a moment of hesitation. They set off together in the direction of the orchard, leaving Andromeda and Harry free to try the waistcoat. It fitted him perfectly and combined well with the jeans and the white shirt. Andromeda took a step back to admire her work, and stood there twirling her wand and biting her lip. “I’ve had an idea, but you tell me if it’s too much, won’t you?”

She waved her wand, conjured a small red lily, and proceeded to put it in his buttonhole. “A red lily,” he heard her saying, “to remember your mother.” His eyes filled with tears again, and only Ron and Neville calling him to come at the front of the assembled crowd, prevented him from succumbing to them.





oooOOOooo





With a complaining Muriel finally acquiescing to attend the wedding, if still with much reluctance, and Ginny’s brothers not objecting at all –though George joked about defending the honour of her sister in an old fashioned way, until her mother cuffed him on the back of the neck– the family eventually began to head to the orchard, but they had to stop in their tracks to let Andromeda, who had exited the fireplace with a garment in her hands, run back to the garden. Just as she was leaving the room, an excited Dave, followed by Lee, entered.

“Quickly, who can make a call through the Floo– Oh my goodness, Ginny, you’re gorgeous! Harry’s pants will melt the moment he sees you, darling, and wait until you see him, your knickers’ gonna fall! I know because mine nearly did.” Ginny gave a great snort of laughter, and Aunt Muriel harrumphed something about scandals under her breath.

“Thank you, Dave, I’m glad you came today. Only family and close friends can use the Floo to make calls to people out of the family, the rest must be accompanied by one of us.”

“Fine. Please, one of you, call for Donnie at Whistler House. We need him here, to boost this party! You should have given me some warning, darling.”

“We didn’t want to go over the board, Dave, just something small and fun.”

“Well, you just got this thing upgraded, dear, I swear people won’t forget this evening in many years to come. Now please somebody call Donnie!”

“I’ll do it,” said George, but Bill stopped him. “Who’s this Donnie? We can’t let an unknown person come here, might be a reporter, or worse–”

“Donnie is neither, you all know him, he’s Donaghan Tremlett, from the Weird Sisters. He’s Muggleborn too, I helped him to hide, and now he’s going to help us tonight. Call him please: Donnie Tremlett, Whistler House.”

George threw a pinch of powder into the fire, and did as he was told. After a minute waiting, a head with vivid long purple hair appeared floating in the green flames. “What is it? Who’s calling?”

Dave knelt before the fireplace. “Donnie! You lazy sod, call the club, tell them I can’t make it there tonight, say I can’t unstick my arse from the loo, puking too, whatever! They’ll manage with Marine and Sasha. Then grab your magical bass and keyboards and come here! You won’t believe where we’re going to play!”

Donnie just stared nonplussed, opening and closing his mouth like a fish out of water. “But Dave, they’re going to complain, and that bass is not tuned–”

Dave made an impatient noise. “Bullshit, Donnie. This is the Weasley-Potter party we’re talking! Get your ass down here at once!”

“Ok, ok, I’m coming!”

“Dave,” said Luna softly, “we must go on, people are waiting. Keep the fire green, so Donnie can cross without trouble.”

“But of course, go ahead. Lee, you’re in charge of the ceremony, put something classical on the turntable, we’ll join you later. Now, go! You have a wedding to celebrate!”




Notes: Nain/Taid are the names given to grandparents in Welsh.
Nio: kid boy.
Tortilla de patatas: potatoes omelette. Forget paella, guys. This is the real Spanish deal.
Hijo de la Gran Camacha: son of the Great Camacha, one of the witches -Las Camachas- featured in Cervantes’ work ‘The Dialogue of the Dogs’. The three Camachas witches lived in my hometown around Cervantes’ time.
The phrase is not meant as an insult. Although hijo de puta (son of a bitch) usually is, in Spain it can be used as an appreciative term, depending on the context. I’m choosing this last instance. Maternity should not be used as an insult.

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Chapter 6: A Wedding To Celebrate

Author's Notes: The moment has come at last! Please join in the celebration… oh; I forgot I’m not the officiant. Thanks to Arnel, of course, and to every one of you that left reviews or favourited. You are the cherry to my ice cream.




Like Harry’s birthday three years ago, the leaves of the trees under which Ginny and Harry were going to be Bonded now shone with gold, courtesy of McGonagall, who had stated upon arrival at The Burrow’s orchard that there was some truth in golden things, or sun colours in general, bringing luck into the wedding day. Harry refrained from pointing that neither the golden balloons nor the yellow attire of the Lovegoods had prevented the Death Eaters’ invasion of Bill and Fleur’s wedding party, because her former professor had enthusiastically taken charge of the last minute decoration and organisation and was having a great time. She had directed the crowd to sit on Summoned or conjured seats (“does neither of you possess a wand, or what? If you don’t have a seat, conjure one; for Merlin’s sake, this is an orchard, not St. Paul’s Cathedral”), leaving an aisle in the middle and free chairs at the front for the family, and was supervising Lee’s choice of music.

“No, no, no, Mr. Jordan, the March for the Turkish Ceremony is not adequate for the bride’s entrance, she’s coming down to meet her future husband, not an army ready to fight. Pachelbel’s Canon would be a much more suitable piece. And I must say, it surprises me that you have such a wide repertoire. I did not think you had good taste for the classics.”

“Well, you know, Professor, sometimes, with the appropriate company, I like to enter my chambers with liveliness.”

Andromeda was taking advantage that Teddy was distracted looking for puppets with Hagrid to put white lilies in the buttonholes of Ron and Neville, and now that she had them in their designated positions, she was inspecting the aisle critically.

“I don’t like it so… bare,” she said, and with a swift wand movement, the aisle was filled with white and purple petals.

“I don’t understand why aisles are so important, really. It’s simply a lane,” said Harry, who was feeling progressively nervous each minute that passed waiting for Ginny.

“It’s supposed to symbolise the union of two families, separated by the aisle,” answered McGonagall, who had arrived at the front with Minister Shacklebolt.

“Well, in this case it’s only one family, with a lot of friends,” said Harry sarcastically.

“Let’s find another analogy. Think of it as the last space both of you will walk as single entities, and the first you will make together as a new family, beginning a shared life project,” said Kingsley. Around him, everyone was silent. Harry mulled it in his head; he found he liked it. The aisle now had a new meaning for him.

“I can see why you won the elections, Minister,” said Andromeda. “You have quite a gift with words.”

“Let’s hope it doesn’t abandon me while officiating. I haven’t had time to prepare a speech… and now it’s too late; here comes your future family in law, Harry; the bride must be ready to go next.” Harry turned around and saw Bill and Fleur, Charlie, Percy and George, who was holding hands with Angelina, striding down the aisle, followed by Molly. Aunt Muriel closed the procession, complaining loudly of everything in sight. He smiled ruefully at his future family.

“I’m sorry we didn’t tell you before, guys, but we thought it’d be better–” But he could not keep talking: Molly Weasley launched at him with open arms, hugging him tightly.

“Harry, you must know by now you can’t hide anything from Mum,” said Bill. “Don’t ask me how, but she knew, and Dad, too. They can’t be happier, so you have our blessing, if you were going to ask for it. Don’t tell Ginny, though. She would hex us all if she heard anything about us giving consent.”

“Strongly opinionated, your bride is. Are you sure you want to do this, Harry? You still have seconds to run away.” George smirked, and then grimaced when Angelina elbowed him in the ribs. Both Molly and Fleur rolled their eyes. The latter was opening her mouth to retort when suddenly music blared from Lee’s turntable, and Ginny and Arthur left the house and walked down to their end of the aisle, where the bridesmaids stood, waiting for them. The bride’s appearance caused a stir among the guests, but Harry only became dimly aware of it, for in that moment Ginny looked at him, with the same hard, blazing stare he had only witnessed on a handful of unique moments, and suddenly the rest of the world disappeared for him.

“You’re supposed to wait for her looking straight ahead, not at the aisle, mate,” whispered Ron in his ear.

“I’ve missed a lot of things in my life, Ron,” Harry managed to answer, without taking his eyes from Ginny’s. ”I’m not going to miss this.”

oooOOOooo

“Gin, a word before we go,” said Arthur when everyone left them alone, before it was their turn to leave the house.

“What is it, Dad? I hope it’s not to tell me I should have waited or requested your permission, because let’s be honest, it’s a bit late for that,” she joked. Now that mere seconds separated her from joining Harry, she was feeling nervous, and joking helped to soothe her.

Arthur shook his head. “On the contrary, dear, I want to thank you for letting us participate, for wanting to share this moment with us, for choosing a man who loves you, and will do anything is his power to make you happy. I know you’re only nineteen, but in those years you have endured more than many people in all their lives. So no, we’re not upset you made a decision without asking us, because although you will always be our little girl, we know you are a grownup woman. Married life, my dear, is not a state of permanent blissful happiness; there would be trouble, and days where neither of you would stand the other; however, I trust you are prepared to deal with it. No, you did not need to seek our permission–don’t cry, darling, Merlin knows we’ve cried enough–but you two have our blessing anyway.” Ginny was trying with all her might not to let the tears fall; she let out a watery chuckle when she saw her father pulling a handkerchief out of his pocket, dab at his eyes and then blow noisily in it.

“No matter how tragic the cause of your tears is, you always end up blowing out bogies, true again,” recited Ginny.

“Great sentence, whose is it?”

“A wise woman I met at–Oh, listen, music! That must be our cue.”

Feeling a jittery anticipation in her stomach, she picked up her bouquet, and taking his father’s offered arm, they exited the house and headed down the garden to the orchard. She was concentrating in not tripping on the way, so at first she could not see anybody, but then she raised her head, and… Oh!

The setting looked fantastic. The crowd was sitting with their heads turned in her direction, many smiling, others giving the thumbs up, her teammate Gillian engaged in a contest of wolf-whistling with Charlie and George. Luna and Hermione were waiting for them at the nearest end of the aisle, both wearing sandals and simple but stunning summer dresses, Luna in a soft yellow, Hermione in a flowery print. Ginny beamed at them. She was briefly able to appreciate the last minute decorations, until she saw him.

He was staring steadily at her, his mouth open, his face wearing an expression she was very acquainted with– he could not believe his luck. Ron whispered something in his ear and she saw him answer him without glancing away from her. Then his face lit up with the broadest grin she had ever seen, and Ginny suddenly saw the world as if she was standing inside a tunnel, with Harry in the end point of it.

Dave was wrong; her knickers did not fall, but she suddenly wished that it would be socially acceptable to run and jump in the arms of her love, instead of calmly walking on the arm of her father the last steps of her life as a single person, her eyes never wavering from his.

oooOOOooo

Dying and coming back from the dead was worth for this. The long time spent fighting, running, enduring fatigue, battling despair and uncertainty, was worth this. What he was living right now must be the reward for the tortures, the hunger, the losses, the pain. I’m the luckiest guy in the world, he thought for the millionth time. His chest threatened to burst with joy when she finally stood at his side, her face glowing, her hand seeking his. He had to make an effort to hear what Kingsley was saying, because all his brain seemed to process was how much he wanted to grab her hand and run away together, to a place where they could be alone.

A place where they would not be the centre of attention. Where no toddler could tug on his jeans… “Teddy?”

“Lost puppet,” said Teddy, bottom lip quivering, clearly seconds away from one of his tantrums. Ginny let out a nervous giggle and Harry looked around to see Hagrid trying to bandage what looked one or more bites from a gnome that was scurrying away as fast as its short legs allowed. Andromeda launched herself forward, trying to catch Teddy, but he began to cry and clung tighter to Harry’s leg.

“It’s all right, Harry, pick him up,” said Ginny merrily. “Poor boy must think this is boring.” Harry bent down, but Kingsley was faster; ignoring the comments and giggles around him, he squatted down in front of Teddy and offered him his hand.

“Young Edward Lupin, it’s a pleasure to meet you. Would you like to be my assistant officiating the ceremony?” It might be because of the reassuring tone of voice, or the surprise at being addressed like a grownup person, but to everybody’s amazement, the toddler stopped crying, stared at him with big, round eyes and allowed the Minister for Magic to pick him up.

“For heavens’s sake, a brat interrupting the ceremony, what would be next, a banshee reciting the vows? Scandalous…” Though she did not bother lowering her voice, nobody paid any attention to Aunt Muriel, so she eventually reduced her complaining to a low muttering.

“Now, Edward, as I was saying, Harry and Ginny are here, in front of family and friends, to tell the world that they want to live together and love, care and help each other.”

Teddy frowned in concentration. “They happy,” he said, pointing at them with his finger.

“Indeed, Edward, that is what they intend to do, live happily ever after, as in the fairy tales. In order to do so, first they must say some magical words.” Teddy nodded seriously, completely entranced by Kingsley’s voice. The Minister addressed then the bride and groom. “Please join your hands, and answer my questions. Do you, Harry, and you, Ginevra, come here today of your own free will, to lawfully get married?”

Harry had thought he would stammer the words, but holding hands with Ginny seemed to have done the trick to steady him. His ‘I do’ sounded firm, and he saw her beaming again; her voice was equally sure.

“I call upon these persons here present, to stand and speak if they know of any impediment for the marriage of this couple. They may talk now, or forever keep silence.”

Everyone at once looked at George, some smirking, others scowling; Molly and Angelina seemed ready to tackle him down if he dared to stand up. But George just smiled innocently, battling his eyelashes to complete the effect.

“Harry James Potter, do you take Ginevra Molly Weasley to be your lawful wedded wife, to be loving, faithful and loyal to her in living your married life together?”

“Of course I do,” he said, and felt her hands squeezing his, her grin going wider.

“Ginevra Molly Weasley, do you take Harry James Potter to be your lawful wedded husband, to be loving, faithful and loyal to him in living your married life together?”

Ginny took a deep breath. “I do.”

“Excellent. Now see, Edward, as this is a joyous occasion, they have gifts for each other. Rings, please.” His words sent Ron into action; he began patting his pockets, until he eventually located the little parcel Harry had given him before the ceremony. He unwrapped and gave it to Kingsley. Teddy clapped at the sight of it. “Presents!” Everyone laughed. Kingsley opened the little box and revealed two thin gold bands of a pale yellow-white gold. He whistled softly in appreciation.

“Welsh gold! Fine and fitting rings, indeed, given the fact that you’re going to live in Wales. Now, please, repeat after me…”

“No need, I- I know it by heart,” Harry said blushing. He took the smaller ring and placed it in Ginny’s finger. “I give you this ring as a symbol of my love and our bonding. Wear it with happiness and pride– now and always.”

Tears glistened in Ginny’s eyes, but she managed to keep them from falling. She took the other ring. “I haven’t learned the words,” she said with a sheepish smile, “but I, too, give you this ring as a sign that I love you and that we are bonded. I know for a fact that you will wear it happily and proudly,” said with a wink, and Harry could not help giving a snort of laughter; Teddy gave a peal of giggles and clapped loudly.

“Wait, Edward. I have to say the final magical words. By the power vested in me by this magical community, I declare this couple lawfully bonded. You may kiss–” Kingsley did not get to finish the sentence, because Ginny had jumped into Harry’s arms and the two were kissing fiercely. The guests stood up cheering and clapping, Teddy joining in. Hermione had tears running down her cheeks, which she did not bother wiping; Ron and Neville whooped and hugged, patting their backs as if they had achieved a big goal.

“Ladies and gentlemen, I am pleased to present to you Mr. and Mrs. Potter!” At this, the two finally broke the kiss, grinned at each other and turned around to greet the people. Smiling serenely, Luna raised her wand, and a rain of golden confetti began to shower the couple. Fleur pulled out hers and imitated Luna, and one by one, the rest of the crowd followed suit.

Dumbledore’s words came to his mind. “You think the dead we loved ever truly leave us? You think that we don’t recall them more clearly than ever in times of great trouble?” Dumbledore was wrong, Harry thought. He recalled them better in this time of great joy; it was as if he could sense them, standing next to him, clapping with the rest. He looked at his new wife. She took his hand, made a head gesture in the direction of the aisle, and together they took the first steps as a bonded couple, under a rain of purple and gold confetti and between the applause of their loved ones.

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Chapter 7: The Applause Of Their Loved Ones

Author's Notes: I apologise for the delay: it’s impossible to keep a schedule of updating AND reforming, painting and cleaning the flat (while living in it). Exhausting is an understatement.

A lot of thanks to all the nice people reviewing and commenting, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs :-D
Special thanks to my wonderful Beta Arnel, the nice people of the Discord chat that solved my doubts, and of course, to Floreatcastellum, who has been a great source of inspiration as well as information.

First dance song is Flying Without Wings, from the album Westlife, by the band with the same name. It was released just before the action takes place, so it makes sense. I love the lyrics. If you want extra info about this fic, search in my Tumblr (bluestwitch) the tag what really matters.


Eventually, there was no one left waiting to congratulate the newlyweds. The guests were now spread around the garden eating and drinking, some seated on the chairs and benches, many standing up in groups, engaged in conversation. After hugging Harry again and declaring her ecstasy at finally being able to call him her son (which caused much rolling of eyes from her offspring, Ron muttering I always said he was the favorite), Molly had Summoned from the kitchen not one, but three splendid cakes: one for Harry’s birthday, in Gryffindor colours; another Harpies’ themed for Ginny’s, and lastly a traditional wedding tiered fruit cake for the two of them that they cut together causing yet another round of cheers and clapping.


As the sun began to set, Andromeda, Professor McGonagall and Professor Flitwick charmed a lot of candles to float over the garden. They gave a soft, golden light that made Ginny feel transported to Hogwarts’ Great Hall, to another party celebrated in it: the Yule Ball. That made her remember Dave, and she wondered where he could be.


Her wondering was answered when she heard a loud thump, and turned to see one of the tables being Transfigured into a wooden stage, and Dave, Lee Jordan and Donaghan Tremlett climbing up onto it with a set of keyboards and a bass. Pointing at his throat, Dave cast a Sonorus Charm and addressed the assembled guests.


“GOOOOOOD EVENING, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN! First of all, I want to offer my congratulations to the happy couple for getting married and achieving it without Rita Skeeter getting her fat arse here!” The crowd erupted in laughter and Dave winked at Ginny. “But while certain traditions have been ignored, we must not let others fall in disregard. I know what you’re all thinking: would the groom be sober enough to consummate tonight?”


All around Ginny and Harry people spluttered, choked on their drinks or sprayed mouthfuls everywhere. George was shaking with silent laughter, Aunt Muriel was clutching at her chest as if she was having a heart attack, and a giggling Andromeda lifted a sleepy Teddy from the bench where he was laying down and went inside the house, no doubt to put him to bed. Ginny looked at Harry: his face was so hot that she could have fried an egg on it.


“Don’t worry, Harry, it’s David’s character, he means well.” He could only nod.


“Well, let’s find first if he’s not drunk enough to dance!” said Dave. “All of you, please cheer Ginny and Harry in their first dance together! I hope you like this song, it’s from a Muggle band that nailed it in the lyrics. Donnie, Lee, let’s go!”


Everybody's looking for that something
One thing that makes it all complete
You find it in the strangest places
Places you never knew it could be



Ginny tugged on Harry’s hand and dragged him to the space in front of the makeshift stage. She could tell he was tense, never wanting to be the centre of the attention, but hell, it was their wedding day, and she was not willing to miss the opportunity to dance with him. She turned to face him and lifted her hands to put them behind his neck, seizing the chance to deposit a brief kiss in his lips. Harry relaxed just a bit, enough to put the hands in the small of her back and shift awkwardly from side to side.


“Dance with me, please,” she said.


“I’ll probably step on your feet.”


“I don’t care.”



Some find it in the face of their children
Some find it in their lover's eyes
Who can deny the joy it brings
When you found that special thing
You're flying without wings
You find it in the deepest friendship
The kind you cherish all your life
And when you know how much that means
You've found that special thing
You're flying without wings



The song was slow, the lyrics full of emotion. She was dimly aware of the people surrounding them… it was perfect–


“Ow!”


“Sorry, sorry! I’m no good at this–”


Ginny saw George laughing his head off, and Angie shaking her head. Ron, on the other hand, seemed immersed in deep thought. At his side, Fleur met Ginny’s eye and raised an eyebrow in interrogation. Ginny nodded imperceptibly, and she went to where Bill was talking animatedly with Savage. Fleur whispered in his husband’s ear, pointing at the dance floor, and he excused himself, took his wife’s hand and they began to dance. Other couples followed their initiative. Harry let out a breath of relief.


So impossible as they may seem
You've got to fight for every dream
'Cause who's to know
Which one you let go
Would have made you complete
Well, for me it's waking up beside you
To watch the sunrise on your face
To know that I can say I love you
In any given time or place



“The song is right,” he said.


“Why, exactly?” asked Ginny.


“You’ve got to fight for every dream, however impossible it may seem. We wouldn’t be here now if we hadn’t. This moment alone, this whole day, it’s been worth all the fighting, all the waiting… though I can’t wait,” he lowered his voice to a whisper, and spoke in her ear, “I can’t wait to know if waking up beside you and watching the sunrise on your face would make me feel complete… or flying without wings.” He left a soft kiss on her neck, and she sucked in a breath. Harry chuckled, and dared to twirl and dip her, surprisingly achieving it without dropping her.


“Would it be rude if we leave now?” whispered Ginny when she regained a vertical position. She felt her cheeks flushing, all her body tingling. Merlin, I want to be alone with this man!


“Very, very rude. You’ll have to be a little more patient,” he said cheekily.



It's little things that only I know
Those are the things that make you mine
And it's like flying without wings
'Cause you're my special thing
I'm flying without wings
And you're the place my life begins
And you'll be where it ends
I'm flying without wings
And that's the joy you bring
I'm flying without wings



The song ended on a long, vibrating note, and the crowd clapped. Dave bowed in reverence and spoke again to the audience. “Now that we have fulfilled the tradition, enough with the fluff, dearies! Let’s shake those hips, raise those arms, jump with me! I don’t think anybody knows Tina Turner, but let me tell you–”


“We do!” Hermione’s parents cried excitedly, each holding glasses of champagne. “We’re Muggles,” Paul clarified.


“Extraordinary! Come up with me! We’re going to show everyone how Tina cheers up a party!”



oooOOOooo



The party was a great success, everyone had told him so, but despite how much he was enjoying it, he found himself wishing he could leave with Ginny and be alone with her. Once or twice she had tried to push him into the house or the shed, her eyes twinkling with mischief, but there always seemed to be a friend or a relative in the way, congratulating them again or telling them they were having the time of their lives. Harry did not mind that they were; he only wished everyone would vanish so he could have the time of his life with his wife, too. And then something happened that made him wish it even more strongly: Arthur stood up in a pause between songs and clinked his glass with a fork.


“Now, my dears, it’s time for the speeches!” said Dave. The crowd roared. Arthur climbed onto the stage and shook Dave’s hand. “Ladies and gentlemen, the father of the bride, Arthur Weasley!”


The guests, except Aunt Muriel, who seemed to have passed out in her chair, spilling her mead, faced the stage and clapped. Arthur cleared his throat, cast Sonorus at it and began to read from a stack of notes.


“Good evening, everyone! I would like to start by thanking you for coming to celebrate this special occasion– though of course, most of you didn’t know it would be extra special upon arrival.”


People laughed, but Harry felt dread creeping up inside him. He must be next… and he had not prepared his speech in any way or form. Arthur was not supposed to be aware, he should not have had fucking notes ready. Merlin’s balls, he was so at ease, he might have even rehearsed it…


“When I found Harry eating breakfast in our kitchen eight years ago, I had no idea he would like the homemade raspberry jam so much that he would marry my daughter to make sure he could get a free supply.”


Ginny doubled up laughing, and Harry cracked a smile against his will. He remembered the moment: he had just arrived to the Burrow for the first time, rescued from Privet Drive by Ron and the twins.


“His capacity to deplete our pantry notwithstanding, he’s a good lad, especially now that his head is not so much in demand–” Savage and Amaya high-fived each other– “and I’m sure he will do everything in his power to make my daughter happy. Please note that I say make her happy, and not take care of her, because my daughter needs no one else to protect her, and anyone who says different, beware or you’ll find yourself being attacked by your own bogeys in the shape of wheel-sized bats.”


“Yeah, don’t you all forget that!” Ginny roared.


“I must tell you that even though Harry and Ginny intended to surprise Molly and me today, my intuitive wife guessed what they were planning, which brings me to my first advice to my new son. Now that you’re bonded, Harry, bear this in mind: she’s always right. Even if it doesn’t seem likely, she will be right.”


“I already knew it, but thanks anyway, Arthur!” said Harry with a chuckle.


“And well, despite what you may think, knowing what they were planning to do did not shock nor upset us, because it’s been a long time since we knew, in maybe the most painful way, that the little girl that once used to be shy around her new husband had grown into a brave, fierce and loyal woman. She has endured pain and grief, she has fought and defended, healed and let herself be healed, at an age at which no human being should be made to do that. We couldn’t be prouder of the person you’ve grown into, and we respect your decisions.” Harry spared a glance to his wife, and saw that Ginny’s eyes were full of tears, but like he had expected, she did not succumb to them; lifting her chin proudly, she put a hand over her heart and then blew a kiss to her father.


“And as for the person elected for her, in the eight years we’ve known Harry, we’ve come to consider him as another son, although he of course had his own parents, and very fine people they were. Wherever they are now, I know that they will be as happy and proud of him as Molly and I are. Please raise your glasses to make a toast for James and Lily Potter.”


“To James and Lily,” said everybody, raising their glasses.


“To James and Lily,” repeated Harry and Ginny, voices broken by the emotion.


“Thank you. And finally, I would like to end my speech thanking Harry and Ginny. For wanting to share this day of joy with us, although they could have easily eloped and be done with it. It means so much for us that you included us today. After everything you’ve been through in the last few years, you deserve all the happiness. We couldn’t be prouder of you. My final toast is for you: may all of your days together be as joyful as this one, and if they are not, may you see the dawn of a new one and be still smiling. To Harry and Ginny!”


Everyone toasted them, and this time Harry knocked back his glass in an attempt to build some courage. Arthur left the stage, and Dave reappeared on it.


“Wow, that was quite a speech, ladies and gentlemen. The bar has been set high for the next one, but I’ve been told he’s a man that is not easily intimidated. Everyone give me a cheer for the groom!”


He felt Ginny’s hand squeezing his; stepping up, she kissed him lightly in the lips and whispered, “Come on, lion, you can do this.” She emphasised her exhortation with a slap on his bum.


Feeling a little bolder, he got on the stage, where he was greeted by Dave, and turned to face the guests. His new brothers-in-law were huddled together, wearing identical smirks. Harry dreaded that they were waiting to mock him. Arthur and Molly stood a little way apart, smiling kindly at him. Behind them, Hermione was giving him the thumbs up. But it was Ginny who he tried to focus on, trying not to feel intimidated.


“Good evening to you all. My name is Harry Potter, as you should probably know– if you don’t, please stand in front of my fellow workmates and state who you are, what are you doing here and how the hell did you manage to fool the Sneakoscopes. I promise they’ll be gentle, if not really kind.” People laughed, and Neville, Savage and Amaya whooped.


“Thanks to a certain redheaded plonker who I happily and naively elected as best man, I was not made aware until last night that I had to deliver a speech. As everyone knows, I’d rather face a dragon than speak in front of an audience, but I see Charlie forgot to bring one, so I’ll try to do my best.”


“You only needed to ask!” cried Charlie. Everyone laughed.


“Well, I’ve been told that I must thank everybody for coming. I also want to say sorry for not telling you that you were in for a surprise, but this way tomorrow’s Prophet is going to be lighter for the owls to carry. Which I’m sure the owls will be grateful for; also, Hagrid, you’re fine as you are, trust me when I say your best suit needs shaving.” A thunderous laughter at the back of the garden informed him that Hagrid had appreciated the joke.


“Apparently, there’s a long list of people I must thank, including the plonker, but I’ll get to him later. To Arthur and Molly, I have nothing but my endless gratitude. Not only for sticking with me through thick and thin, at great personal risk, but for being the best surrogate parents one could hope to have. I’m sure that wherever they are, my parents are grateful, too. I owe them my life, but you two filled it with things that were worth living for. Please everybody raise your glasses: to Arthur and Molly!”


“To Arthur and Molly!” chorused the guests. Molly began to weep quietly in a napkin. Harry did not like to see her like that, so he quickly added, “Oh, Arthur, and you were wrong, it wasn’t the jam, it was for the treacle tart.” Molly snorted into the napkin.


“Next, I would like to mention how grateful I am for my new brothers-in-law, who have accepted me as one of them, teased me like one of them, got me drunk like one of them and perhaps because of that camaraderie, they did not curse my balls off when I began to date their little sister. Although lately they have done everything in their hands to keep said balls well apart from said sister, for no reason other than they thought that it was great fun, so I’d say we’re even.” The five Weasley brothers howled with laughter. “But bad news, boys: Auror training provides one or two tricks for keeping undesirable intruders off, and your sister knows two or three more without any training at all.”


Ginny raised her arms in victory. “Thanks, Fleur Weasley, ma chre belle soeur!” Fleur giggled and blew a kiss to Ginny, ignoring her husband’s glare. “'Eet waz my pleasure.”


Harry waited until the racket dimmed to talk again. “I should mention now that I feel profoundly blessed for having some very good friends in my life. This wedding wouldn’t have been possible without them, quite literally because they’ve saved my neck in more than one occasion. It seems that they’re not fed up with me entangling them in crazy adventures, because not only they didn’t complain, but in fact they agreed enthusiastically to collaborate on getting this done. So, to Kingsley Shacklebolt, Lola Amaya, Luna Lovegood, Neville Longbottom, Hermione Granger and Ronald Weasley, also known as The Big Plonker, my endless gratitude and recognition. We wouldn’t be here without you!”


“Well, to be fair, maybe none of us would be here without you either, mate!” said Neville scoffing.


“That may be true, but it doesn’t diminish my acknowledgement. Now, I don’t want to make this long and tedious, but I can’t end without thanking the most important person of all, the reason we’re all here, the one responsible of having you here celebrating a wedding with not so much of a hint of dress robes. I could say many things of her, but to be sincere, it’s the type of stuff I’d rather tell just her alone.” All the Weasley brothers began to catcall at once, and Ginny smirked and winked at him. “And I know she doesn’t mind, because she gets me. She could have anyone better than me, one that doesn’t risk his neck that often for a living, for instance… but she chose me. I woke up in the hospital and there she was, barking at me because I had forgot to update my emergency contacts list. In that moment I really thought she was going to dump me and what’s worse, after having screwed up so badly, I would have completely understood why. But instead of that she proposed. And I could not believe my luck; two months have passed and I still look at her and wonder if I’m dreaming or not. She assures me that I’m awake, but I still can’t wrap my head around the notion that I won’t need to stare at a dot on a map anymore, because she’ll be at my side.”


Harry stopped to swallow, and went on without glancing away from Ginny, who was staring steadily at him, her eyes bright. “So, I’m happy to spend the remainder of my life looking at her and wondering what did I do to deserve her. And that’s all I wanted to say… so please, join me in a toast for Ginny, my wonderful, brave and amazing wife.”



oooOOOooo



I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry. I’m not going to cry… Ginny Potter, ne Weasley, used all her willpower to prevent the tears from falling while her brand-new husband was making his way back to her after his speech. Knowing that Harry did not like big displays of affection, she kept her greeting to a minimum, but made sure to whisper in his ear how exactly was she going to thank him when they got to be alone. His eyes rounded with surprise for one fleeting moment, and then they darkened with that hungry look that usually made her heartbeat go wild. He seemed about to comment, but there was no time; her brother Ron was getting on the stage, invited by Dave, and hell– was that a bloody lectern?


It was. Ron pulled a long sheet of parchment out of his pocket, placed it on the lectern and pointed his wand at his neck to cast the Sonorus Charm. In front of him, Hermione paled and began to hiss frantically at Ron, until he dismissed it with a hand gesture and a booming, “It’s ok, honey, I know it’s the rough draft, couldn’t find the other, but it’s all in here, isn’t it?” Hermione rolled her eyes, picked up a chair and collapsed on it. Ginny heard Harry groaning quietly, and she squeezed his hand. “Didn’t you tell me to have a little patience? It goes both ways,” she said. He just groaned again.


“Good evening, friends and family, my name is Ron Weasley, also known as The Plonker, though in my defence I have to say this: mate, there’s so many things you don’t know about, perfect normal stuff like this, that I just lost track of what you knew and what not. Next time take a page out Hermione’s book and go to a library!”


“And depriving Hermione of the pleasure? Never,” said Harry amidst laughter. Now that he had taken the weight off his own shoulders, he seemed to be willing to participate in the remainder of the tradition.


“And by the way, that bit he said about us having a laugh off keeping your bits apart from my sister, all I have to say is that he’s forgetting that I, and five more people besides me, were once Polyjuiced into him.” Harry’s jaw dropped. When he recovered, Ginny heard him muttering “Oh, no no no no… He won’t dare–”


She simply clamped a hand to her mouth, trying to stifle the giggles.


“Now, there’s no way Fleur and Hermione would tell us what they thought of the experience, because they’re kind, nice people, and nobody knows the whereabouts of Dung Fletcher to go and ask him, but both me and my brother George agree that there’s nothing my sister would miss… and George swears that Fred wasn’t impressed either.”


“I’m going to kill him, I swear I will,” groaned Harry, who had covered his face with his hands to hide his embarrassment. All Ginny could see were his ears, which were so red that she would not have been surprised if they had begun to smoke.


“So yes, ruining their opportunities to be alone has been our favourite pastime since they began to date… but we sincerely thought we were doing Ginny a favour. And well, if they’re still going at it like monkeys when they get to dodge all the obstacles, that means it’s true that the absence makes the heart grow fonder… or the small grow bigger.”


Hermione was livid. “Ron! I crossed out that bit!”


“I know, honey, but it was so funny I couldn’t resist!”


“One day,” shouted Harry, still hiding his face, “one day you’ll be the groom and I swear to God, I’m going to get you back, Ron!”


Later on, Ginny said she did not know what made her say that. She reckoned that her habit of making Ron shut up was so ingrained in her that it was automatic, that they all had drunk, that she just could not stand how unfair was the teasing, but truthfully, she had no clue. But all agreed that it was then when the tide turned and everything snowballed.


She scoffed and retorted, “That would be, now that we’re talking about bits and bobs, only if he have the balls to go and propose, which judging by the fact that it was Hermione who took the first step, may be never.”


A chorus of admiring “Ooohhhh”, catcalling and bouts of laughter arose around them. Ginny expected from Ron some sort of indignant splutter and flushing in response, but to her amazement his brother just stood there, grinning like a Cheshire Cat.


“And what makes you think I’m not brave enough to do it? Of all people, you, who took the initiative to propose, should understand that just because I haven’t done it yet does not mean that I wouldn’t, but that I recognise she’s equally entitled to do it.”


“Who are you and what have you done with my brother?” said Ginny. The rest of her family had similar expressions of incredulity, except George, who was following the exchange with a face of hilarity. He caught Ginny’s eye and said, “Hermione must have rubbed off on him so hard she’s transplanted some of her brains into that thick skull of his.”


“The whole concept of proposing is patriarchal, from the necessity of asking permission from the father to the dropping on one knee–”


BAM. The chair where Hermione was sitting fell back with a loud clatter when she suddenly stood up, and there was silence while everybody looked at her taking up the stage and flinging herself at Ron’s arms, who did not hesitate to kiss her fervently and, like their first kiss two years ago, sweep her off her feet.


“Why I’ve always got to watch them do that, I’d never understand,” grumbled Harry with a grimace.


Hermione broke the kiss, motioned to him to put her down and whispered something in his ear that made Ron’s eyes seem about to pop out. “ARE YOU SERIOUS?” He had forgotten to cancel the Sonorus, so his shout seemed to reach the distant hills. Hermione giggled, but nodded, eyes sparkling.


“Quick, where’s your father– PAUL!!!” Hermione’s father raised his hand and made his way to the front of the crowd, hand in hand with his wife, both laughing and looking like they had enjoyed the wine a little too much. “Hey, Paul, hey, Jean! Do you mind if I marry your daughter?”


“I don’t think there’s anyone best suited for the job, so go for it, son! And good luck, you’re going to need it!” he declared, while Jean whooped in agreement.


“Dad!!!”


“AMAYA! WHERE’S AM–” Lola Amaya gave a cry from the back and without further ado, pelted with all her strength a small box in the direction of the stage. Ron caught it as if he was blocking a Quaffle, then turned to Hermione and began to bend his knee, but Hermione stopped him holding him by the shoulders.


“Not here– somewhere private– Merlin’s pants, Ron, it’s Harry and Ginny’s day–”


“Oh, go on, I’m used to witnessing your most intimate moments, just please refrain from conceiving your offspring in front of me,” said Harry with a mixture of coolness and amusement, causing howls of laughter between the guests. Ron straightened, grabbed Hermione’s hand and pulled her into the house, closing the door after entering.


“HERMIONE JEAN GRANGER, DO YOU–”


“For goodness’ sake, Ronald, cancel the spell first, everyone’s listening!”


“OH SHIT- RIGHT- FINITE.” Silence fell over the place; people did not dare to murmur, all eyes on the house. Minutes seemed to stretch into hours, until-


“SHE SAID YES!” cried Ron’s voice from inside, this time without the amplifying quality of the spell, and celebration erupted in the garden. People cheered and whooped, Hermione’s parents embraced and Ginny was astonished when her mother asked her father to pay up, wondering how on earth had she dared to make a bet about this in the first place, and win it on top of everything. She looked at Harry, who was beaming.


“Did you know he was planning to propose?” asked her.


Harry shook his head. “I saw him earlier talking to Amaya, who was in charge of purchasing our rings, and he’s been a little weird since the other day, when George–” He clamped a hand to his mouth. “Whoops– I’m not supposed to say anything.”


“George? What’s George got to do with this–” Ginny spun around looking for her brother, “and what the hell is going on with him, by the way? He looks like he’s fighting with Angie.”


Harry glanced at the spot where the couple stood exchanging glares, and rubbed his neck in an awkward gesture. “Oh, well, they’re, umm, see, George forbade us to tell anyone, but they, well, have unresolved issues between them… Oh, crap, it’s not like they’ll be able to hide it much longer, but–”


Ginny looked at Angie, who was shaking her head furiously, and at her hand, clutching a glass of Gillywater, and suddenly all pieces fell into place. She gasped in realisation, and panic showed in Harry’s face.


“Shhh! Don’t say anything! I don’t know if they’re ready to tell.”


“I won’t tell a soul, but holy crap, I’m so happy for them!”


“Talking about jubilation, here comes the other couple of the day… Wait, who’s the woman who is with them?”


“Who?” asked Ginny, turning to face the house. To her bewilderment, she saw Hermione and her brother, accompanied by a young black woman who looked not far from fainting. They came to a halt in front of the stage. Ron put his fingers in his mouth and let out a loud whistle that made every head swivel in his direction.


“Attention everyone, this girl is looking for–”


“Audie?” Dave said, surprise etched in his face. “What’re–” He could say no more, because the newcomer had thrown herself into his arms, sobbing. The crowd was so quiet, they could have heard a pin drop. Which was why Percy Weasley’s incredulous voice could be heard loud and clearly.


“AUDREY?”



A/N. Yep. I love unexpected twists ;-)

Back to index


Chapter 8: Audrey

Author's Notes: Only one more chapter to go now! Hope you’re enjoying the story.
As always, a big thank you to Arnel, my patient Beta, and to each and one of you who are reading this and leaving reviews, because you’re my rainbow in the sky.


“Percy! Oh, thank God you’re here! I thought I had mistaken the destination…” The woman named Audrey released Dave and stared nervously at Percy, who was gaping back at her. “I’m sorry to gatecrash a party, you told me it was your sisters’s birthday, but I never, ever expected… I thought it was a smaller gathering, I never imagined… and you,” she said turning to point at Dave, “What are you doing here?”

“Audie, I’m a wizard, for goodness sake! I was invited! The question is not what am I doing here, but what’s my sister doing at a magical home!!! How did you get here?”

“I got the Floo from Percy’s flat… I remember how you used it… by the way, I didn’t know it was that messy! Apart from scary, of course. I got awfully filthy, but this kind woman,” she gestured at Hermione, “offered to tidy me up with magic–”

“Yeah, we’re having a word with Clerebold about that,” said Ron flippantly.

Audrey addressed Percy again. “I know you didn’t want me to come, but your reasons were so ridiculous! At least you could try! I’m not saying it will be easy–”

“Good evening, young lady.” Arthur Weasley approached the little group where the woman, Dave and Percy stood and offered his hand to the woman. “I believe introductions are in order. My name is Arthur Weasley, and I am Percy’s father,” he said warmly.

The woman seemed to pale, but took the offered hand. “M-my name is Audrey, sir, and I am… I am… well, Percy’s neighbour–”

“She’s my girlfriend, Father,” said Percy. Harry heard Ginny gasping, and sensed, more than noticed, all eyes fixed on his brother-in-law, including Audrey’s, who beamed. Percy took a deep breath, lifted his chin and went to stand by her, taking her hand in his. He then addressed his family. “Everyone, this is Audrey, she’s Muggle, and we’re dating.”

“Blimey, Percy!”

“Wait, what?”

“Holy cow–”

“Well, blow me,” said Ron, rounding up the chorus of surprised expressions from his family. “It’s always the quiet ones–”

Ginny began to giggle uncontrollably, leaning on Harry for support.

“Oh, my goodness, this is too much… We only planned one surprise, then got three more for free!” she said to him, while they watched how Molly hugged Audrey and then introduced herself and the rest of the family. They all took turns shaking her hand.

“…and they’re Ron and Hermione, they just got engaged–”

“Sorry to walk in on your proposal, you must think I have no manners,” apologised Audrey.

“We’re sorry for drawing our wands on you, but old habits die hard,” explained Hermione.

“Oh, it’s no trouble, you couldn’t know–”

“This is my daughter Ginny and Harry Potter, her husband, they got married today,” said Molly. Harry and Ginny waved at Audrey, and she opened her eyes in surprise.

“Are you the Quidditch player? Percy has told me everything about what you do! You’re famous! I can’t wait to see you flying, it sounds fascinating! I love Muggle football, but this must be incredible! And you two just got married? Congratulations, and sorry again for intruding. Your new name’s Potter, then? I think I’ve heard it before, but I don’t know… rings a bell from the war time, maybe a refugee mentioned it…” She said all this very quickly and obviously excited.

“Wait, so you don’t know who Harry Potter is?” asked Bill, deeply amused. Audrey shook her head. “And you think our sister is the only one who is famous, don’t you?”

Audrey nodded, clearly unsure. “David and Percy… they’ve told me a lot of things, but not everything.”

“This is like a dream come true for me,” said Harry, delighted. “I hope the newspaper headlines would say ‘Ginny Weasley, Quidditch star, marries a bloke from the Auror office.’”

Ginny roared with laughter. “Welcome to the family, Audrey,” she said offering his hand. “Congratulations, Percy, your girlfriend is a real charmer. I’m sure we’ll get along very well. Percy, you prat, why didn’t you tell anything?”

“Oh, well, it’s a long story,” said Percy blushing. He caught Audrey’s eye and she squeezed his hand. “We’ll have time to tell the full story when you two get back from your honeymoon –I mean, you have one, don’t you?– but long made short, I used to think that I was a Gryffindor… “ he swallowed, and went on “but it turns out, she does not need to be Sorted, or even be magical, to be a true one.”

Audrey’s smile seemed to split her face in two. She pecked Percy in the lips, hugged him and whispered something in his ear, which made him go redder than a tomato.

“Sometimes things like this are a blessing in disguise,” observed Arthur, evidently ecstatic with the newcomer. Harry could only imagine the barrage of questions he had for her. A Muggle, no less! “This way you get to know the family all in one place.”

“George and Angie are still missing,” observed Charlie. “Maybe they went to get the fireworks ready.” Harry and Ginny exchanged glances and turned around to stifle a laugh.

“Oh, there they are,” said Molly, pointing at the orchard, where the couple looked to be engaged in conversation. “George, darling, and you, Angelina, come and meet Aud- oh, dear, they’re quite… busy, aren’t they?” For George had suddenly grabbed Angelina in his arms, spun her around, dipped her and proceeded to lock lips with her.

“They do seem to be paying little attention to us, Mother,” said Percy amusedly, without a hint of his usual stiffness.

“Wow, Percy, sarcasm suits you,” deadpanned Bill. “Wait, here they come… and something tells me this day still has surprises in store.”

George and Angelina arrived then, a little out of breath. George addressed the whole family. “Dear Mum and Dad, brothers and sisters, and lovely stranger, Angie and I are very pleased to announce that we are NOT going to tie the knot, wed, drop anchor or bond in any other way or form save for the propagation of our genes by means of the offspring due to be born around next Christmas.”

All the family, save Ron, Ginny and Harry, stood baffled, until Molly spoke. “George, darling, I think I’m going to faint. Could you be clearer?”

“Angie and I are moving in together, we’re going to be parents!”

It was pandemonium. Molly cried and hugged Angelina, Arthur did the same with George. Bill, Fleur and Ron jumped and cheered. Hermione was dabbing at her eyes, and Percy was explaining Audrey the situation. Charlie was shaking his head with a expression of incredulity.

“All I have to say is, don’t look at me next,” he said. “There’s nothing but dragons in my life and I’m happy to stay like that.” Everyone laughed. George released his father, went to Harry and Ginny and engulfed both of them in a bear hug.

“Thank you, guys, for having the wedding Fred would’ve approved of. It’s been perfect, full of shocks and bombshells.” He dropped his voice, so only the two of them would hear him, and said “I have a last present for you. I’ll distract everyone with the fireworks. Shed’s open, grab the brooms, and get lost.”

“Making up for years of sneaking up on us, are you?” Ginny tutted. “I swear parenthood is already making you a softie,” she teased. She returned the hug. “Congratulations, big brother.”

“Yeah, congratulations to both of you, and thanks for the… present,” grinned Harry. George nodded, and then turned around. “Charlie, Ron, come help me with the fireworks! But before we go, one more thing…” He faced her mother. “Sorry, Mum, but you can blame Fred for this, it was his idea…” He pulled out his wand. “Petrificus totalus!”

Molly went rigid as a board, and would have toppled backward if Arthur had not held her in place.

“Believe me, it’s better that way,” George said to his perplexed father. “Come on, guys, let’s end this party in style!”



A/N. In my head, Percy, Audrey and Dave have a full storyline prior to this revelation. I don’t know if I’ll ever write it, but what you must know for this story to make sense is that Audrey is a Muggle, Dave’s sister, who unknowingly to both Percy and her brother acted as a mediator helping Muggleborns to hide. Eventually Percy and Audrey fell in love but he felt that the Statute of Secrecy might isolate her from her Muggle friends. Which of course Audrey found ridiculous, because yes, she’s a true Gryffindor despite being Muggle. ☺

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Chapter 9: Let's End This Party In Style

Author's Notes: Aaaaand that’s all folks! Thanks to each and every one of you who have stuck with me until this final chapter. It has been a pleasure to share my thoughts with you, and a delight to receive your kind reviews. This story is dedicated to you all, who have been encouraging me from the other side of the screen. The world would be a better one with more people like you.
As always, kudos to Arnel, who has been incredibly patient and a supportive Beta.
The lyrics on this chapter have been liberally adapted from The Parting Glass, a traditional Scottish song. Harry’s present is a real Muggle thing, you can see it in my Tumblr (bluestwitch).


“Wow, that one was big,” said Ginny, watching two Catherine wheels collide and make a huge golden Snitch, that soared over their heads.

“My favourite are the sparklers; George must’ve changed the wording before setting them off. Hats off to him, they’re impressive,” said Harry, watching a sparkler spelling Mr & Mrs Pooper in the starry sky.

“Yeah, but coming from George, they do seem a little lame, don’t they?” she said, pointing at another sparkler that was writing the words The Boy Who Got Chased.

“Maybe he overdid it a bit, putting my mother in a Body-Bind, this is actually pretty bland stuff–”

A series of rockets crossed the space over them, and new sparklers wrote in the air the words Just Allowed To Shag. Perhaps to reinforce the message, once the sparks dissolved, new ones arranged themselves in the form of two hands doing a very rude and explicit gesture.

“On second thought, maybe it’s not a bad thing Mum can’t see this,” said Ginny conversationally. Harry snorted.

“Quite the day, uh? We got a lot more than we bargained for. Our wedding, plus an engagement, Percy’s girlfriend and a new nephew or niece in the way.”

Ginny turned his head to stare at him. “Four. I saw Hannah and Neville disappearing in the orchard when we were grabbing the brooms. It’s about time, don’t you think?”

Harry gaped at her. “How on Merlin’s most sweaty cloak’s name did you know about them? Neville only told us yesterday!”

“Oh, please,” said Ginny dismissively. “In my sixth year, Nev always waited for Hannah to patch him up if she was available. We even joked that maybe he confronted the Carrows more than it was necessary in the hope he got some slashing for Hannah to heal. Not true, of course, but there was no denying that he fancied her, but Hannah only had eyes for Anthony. I don’t know what’s happened with him, looks like they must’ve split up…”

“Yeah, three months ago. He’s moved to Israel, Hannah told us last night.”

“So that’s why you invited her– to help Neville.”

“Yup. Reckoned he could use a little nudge, he’s not exactly as confident with girls as we used to believe.”

Ginny eyed him with amusement. “I’m sure Hannah will give him more than a nudge… they seem to be good for each other. I’m happy for them.”

Harry seemed about to say something when a bright, big Quaffle soared in their direction, making them swerve with the brooms to avoid it. When they came back side by side they saw that the Quaffle was chasing the Snitch and new sparklers were spelling in the sky the words Chase Him Ginny! She laughed at the innuendo.

“You said you had another surprise for tonight, Potter?”

She saw Harry smirking. “Wanting to follow George’s advice, Weasley?”

“I’m now a Potter, remember?”

“That’s going to take a while to get used to,” laughed Harry. His eyes gleamed and Ginny noted that he was eyeing her legs appreciatively, the skirt of the dress having hitched up her thighs. She grinned mischievously and winked an eye to him.

“See something you like?”

“I’ve never seen you riding a broom in skirts, and it’s certainly an… interesting view.”

“Enough to make riding yours uncomfortable, Potter?” He laughed again.

“I’ll survive.” But his eyes told a different story: his gaze was now darker, more intense, with a hunger she knew very well… and she was not immune to it. Her body was tingling and despite the cold air up there, she felt hot. Very hot. She licked her lips, but before she could say anything, she heard distant singing coming from the party, Dave’s voice booming over the rest.

A wizard may drink and not be drunk
A wizard may fight and not be slain
A wizard may court a pretty witch
And perhaps be welcomed back again
But since it has so ought to be
By a time to rise and a time to fall
Come fill to me the parting goblet
Good night and joy be with you all
Good night and joy be with you aaaaaall


Harry snickered. “I think we shouldn’t have worried about not having enough booze.”

“And I think we are wasting valuable time up here when we could be engaging in more interesting activities, so if you could tell me where are we going…?”

Harry tutted. “I was under the impression that you were all in favour of foreplay.”

“Potter, I’m so turned on, I could slip off this broom.”

This had the desired effect. He took a breath in and said “Follow me.”



oooOOOooo



“Our spot, Harry?” asked Ginny, a note of surprise in her voice.

“You don’t like it?”

“No, I love it, but… I thought you would have picked a place where my brothers had no chance of finding us. I wouldn’t put past them to try and sabotage our–” Harry shook his head and smirked. He left the broom in the grass and came close to her, grabbing her hands in his.

“They can’t, so they won’t,” he whispered, kissing her softly in the lips. “Actually, Ron and Neville helped me to prepare this, but even they can’t get back… I’ve used an Auror trick.” He moved his lips to her neck and was pleased to hear a low moan from her.

“Ron’s my brother and an Auror, too.”

“True, but he’s not a Potter, unlike me… and now you.” He could not help a smug smile, and stopped kissing her to look at her face. Ginny was staring back with wide open eyes. Recognition dawned in her face.

“The cursed barrier at the foot of the Astronomy Tower…”

Harry nodded. “Same concept, less creepy. Barriers can be set up so nobody can cross them without a mark… or a badge…” He raised their linked hands for her to see them, and saw her opening her mouth in surprise.

“Or rings with a name engraved inside,” whispered Ginny.

Harry nodded. “It’s a bit foolish, but I was so excited about our rings, from the moment Amaya told me she could find a pair made with Welsh gold, I couldn’t stop thinking about them and I had the idea of using them for the barrier.”

Ginny gave him a benevolent smile. “What got you so excited?”

“Like I said, it’s foolish,” said Harry scrunching his nose. “Oh, well, when I was a kid at Muggle school, one of the teachers got married and she used to show around her wedding ring. ‘A Welsh gold ring, like the one Princess Diana has.’ I guess it stuck with me; in my imagination that was a fantastic kind of ring, full of magical properties, worthy of royalty… all the things I wasn’t and didn’t have.”

“Until you knew that you were actually a wizard, of course,” she said grinning. Harry snorted.

“Well, yeah, but I’m no prince, don’t get your hopes up,” he said laughing. “The thing is, we’re going to live in Wales, so they seemed fitting. I know you wouldn’t like to be a princess– but anyway, you’re my queen, and nothing but the best for you.” Ginny was looking at him steadily, her eyes bright in the pale moonlight. He took a deep breath. “What takes me back to my surprise… it’s my birthday present; I don’t know if you’ll like it, but it’s the best I could afford.”

“Where is it?” said Ginny, looking around.

“Close your eyes, I’ll take you. Don’t open them until I say so.”

She obeyed, and Harry led her past a cluster of trees into the same clearing that overlooked the river, the one they used to call their spot, that had witnessed so many reunions. He noticed the moment they crossed the barrier: the soft humming in the air quietening suddenly, skin erupting in goosebumps that did not last. He had got it right, the barrier did not expel them. A dark shape loomed before them in the middle of the clearing. Harry stopped. He rummaged in the pocket of his jeans and pulled out one of Ron’s most treasured possessions: the Deluminator.

“You can look now.” Ginny opened her eyes, and Harry clicked the Deluminator, releasing balls of light he had previously nicked from the candles. They floated over the clearing, flooding it with a soft light. Ginny gasped.

“Harry…”

“Do you like it?” he asked, and he was unable to leave his anxiety out of the question. He had spent the last weeks looking for it in Muggle shops, modifying it with magic, putting up the final touches just this very morning, but he could not help but think that it was more a present for him that for her; he was the one who had wanted to make a dream come true, to know what it was like to share it with her…

“It’s… it’s gorgeous!” Ginny’s face lit up with joy, and Harry let out a relieved breath.

It really looks gorgeous, like it’s made for this place. The tent was an octagonal green dome, high enough that they did not have to duck to get in and out. Harry swished his wand; all around the perimeter, curtains parted to reveal mesh windows that offered a view of all the surroundings, and a hinged door opened to let them see the interior. Ginny peeked at it from outside the door. It was sparsely furnished, but the effect was cosy, because although magically expanded, it was not overdone. He had left only one partition for the bathroom at the back of the bed so they would be able to look at the scenery through the windows when they woke up.

“I love this! But I thought you hated camping, Harry… when did you change your mind?” asked Ginny.

“I know it looks like I should hate it, but that’s because nearly all the times I’ve been in a tent were while running away or doing stakeouts at work. Except for the Quidditch World Championship …”

“Not even then,” interrupted Ginny. “We had to run from the tents in the dead of the night because of those charming Death Eaters…”

Harry chuckled. “Right, not even then. But the first thing I thought that time, when we got into the tent, was this is so cool! I was fourteen; it all was a big adventure for me. All the times I shared Perkins’ tent with Hermione and Ron and stared at your dot in the map, what I would’ve given then to have you at my side, just the two of us, no war, no worries…” He stopped, dazzled by the sight of his girl –no, his wife– looking steadily at him, a hungry look in her eyes. Her hair was tousled from the flight; he pulled a few strands of hair off her face. He swallowed before talking again. “And I know that this is not a house nor is the man’s duty to buy one, I can’t afford it anyway, until the goblins release my vault… One day, before you’re done with the Harpies, we’ll buy a house together, but in the meantime, I wanted to give you something that we could call ours, even if it’s only a tent and not a proper home. We can take it to Spain on the honeymoon, or leave it here if you prefer, but this is something I could buy and offer to you–”

He became aware that he was babbling again when Ginny brought his head down to kiss him, but this time, far from just making him shut up until she could make her point, she went on, burying one hand in his hair, the other in his back pressing him against her. When she moved both hands to his chest and began to unbutton his waistcoat frantically, Harry suddenly caught up.

She’s trying to make a point she doesn’t have words for.

Growling with lust, he grabbed her by the thighs. Ginny took advantage of that to straddle him, and they stumbled together through the door, stopping only when they crashed into the bed. He released her, and she rolled up the dress to get her wand out, of all places, from the blue garter she wore under it. Harry had already discarded his father’s waistcoat, the Deluminator and his wand, and while she had her back to him, he pulled her into his arms.

“Stay still, I’ll get you out of that.”

The dress had like a hundred buttons on the back, but Harry only needed seconds to wiggle Ginny out of it, unbuttoning only the few at the top and then taking it off over her head as if it was a T-shirt. As soon as she was freed from the dress, Ginny spun around, grabbed his shirt and pulled it out of his jeans, wrenching it open and making the buttons to scatter. She went for his belt next –but suddenly stopped, snarling, and looked around. She picked her wand and…

“Merlin, Gin, did you just Vanish my jeans?

“Shut up and come here.”



oooOOOooo



It was the light, filtering through the mesh windows, what woke her up. They had been so exhausted after christening their new bed that they had fallen asleep cuddling right after. But Ginny realised upon waking, still with her eyes closed, that she was not hugging him. She was instead cocooned inside the covers, exactly like she used to do every night in her own bed. Ginny even wondered for a moment if it all had been a dream, until she opened her eyes and saw Harry, clutching what seemed like one of the sofa throws, staring at her.

“Morning, lion,” she said smiling. She freed an arm from the covers to bring his head down and kiss him, only to grimace and break apart when the kiss turned into a snog.

“Eww, morning breath.” She giggled. “They never tell these things, in the romance books.” Harry looked at her with a smirk in his face, and pointed a finger to his neck.

“What?” she said. Harry opened his mouth to talk, but no sound came from it. She stared blankly at him for a moment, and then suddenly remembered. “Oh, bugger. Sorry!” Ginny turned around and retrieved her wand from the bedside table. She muttered a Finite in the direction of her boyfriend– no, my husband, she thought with a jolt. Harry cleared his throat.

“Snores or nightmares?” Despite the light tone, he seemed worried.

Ginny smiled. “Nope, no dreams this time. You were snoring so loudly, the ceiling threatened to collapse over us, and you woke me up.” She ran a hand through his hair, and he closed his eyes and sighed. “Took me a while to fall asleep again, after Silencing you.”

“Is sleeping with me that bad?” he asked. Ginny shook her head.

“You look adorable when you’re asleep… at least when you have your mouth closed!” She let out a snort of laughter. “I just couldn’t stop watching you,” she confessed, and it was true. Of course, she had seen him sleep before. Naps in snatched moments, usually on a blanket under the trees. Merlin knew she had watched him thrashing and yelling with nightmares enough times while he was napping at her side…

“You were so relaxed, so different… I couldn’t stop watching you,” she repeated.

“That’s funny, it’s what’s just happened to me. I felt cold and woke up and I saw you had stolen all the covers. But you looked so peaceful and beautiful that I didn’t want to disturb you so I took a blanket from the sofa. And then I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was watching you.”

“Merlin, look at us, what a pair of soppy fools we are,” said Ginny shaking her head. “I must ask Luna if that Bond thing is the cause of this, because what would be next? Planning a romantic and cosy Valentine’s Day? I think I’d puke.” Harry snorted and then gazed at her with a mischievous smile. “Oh, no, Potter, don’t.”

“Do not what?” Harry snaked an arm under the covers and tried to pull her closer.

“Don’t look at me like that, because I know what comes next, and I’m not having sex until I go to the loo and have a shower, I’m filthy,” she said swatting his arm playfully. Harry laughed.

“You’re gorgeous anyway,” he argued, trying to kiss her, but she ducked, laughing, and throwing back the covers, jumped from the bed and went to the bathroom. She had seen it briefly the night before, but now, in the daylight, she discovered something she had not noticed before: behind a curtain, a gleaming bathtub with clawing feet, big enough for two, stood invitingly with a pile of fluffy towels in a stool beside it.

“I’m going to cook some breakfast, do you want eggs or porridge, Gin?”

“I’ve had a better idea, lion.”

Harry’s head peeked around the partition, sporting a hopeful smile.

“Would you like to have a bath together?”



oooOOOooo



“Ooooohhh, ooohh, yes… easy now! Oh, yes, just like that…”

“No, don’t move!”

“Can’t help… Oohh!”

“Stay still, or I won’t get…”

“I remind you that it was your idea… Ow!”

“I definitely did not expect you to slip on the foam and split your head open against the rim of the tub,” said Ginny, without a hint of amusement. “Now don’t move, and let me heal the cut before I tend to the bruise. Good thing you brought a first aid kit; we would’ve never heard the end of this from my brothers if we showed up at The Burrow with you looking like this.”

“First thing you learn with Amaya is to bring a kit wherever you go,” said Harry. “She made me stay a whole week at St. Mungo’s until I knew my way through emergency stuff.”

“I could’ve passed that test straightaway, with all the practice I got on my sixth year,” observed Ginny. Sadness reflected suddenly in her face.

Harry sighed. “I’m sorry.” He really shouldn’t have said that, and bring bad memories into this brand new stage of their life. He tossed aside the melted iced bag Ginny had Conjured and looked at her with his good eye. Wand in one hand and a wad of gauze in the other, Ginny paused in the act of examining the wound, that still bled, and scowled at him.

“Why are you apologising?”

“I wanted this to be perfect and blissful… and I’ve already fucked it up. Not a day of marriage has passed and–”

“Oh, please, Harry, what are you talking about? You just slipped and fell, that’s hardly fucking up anything!”

“I brought in bad memories. There’s blood everywhere. Ruined our first morning together. And I snored.”

“Yeah, and I stole the covers. So what? We’ll get separate duvets and ear plugs.”

“But…” Harry blushed, and could not carry on. He suddenly felt like a child trying to please, to be praised and patted in the head. It was embarrassing. Merlin’s beard, what am I doing? This is Ginny. No need to be a whining prick, she gets you–

“You’re afraid that if you fail, I’ll get upset and disappointed.”

She had done it again. Her uncanny ability to read his mind without using Legilimency. “You always know what I’m thinking. How do you do it?” he asked.

Ginny cocked her head to the side. “I don’t always know,” she said smiling. “At least I really hope I don’t, because it’d be boring living with someone who will never surprise you. You weren’t one to voluntarily share your feelings, so I suppose I got good at trying to guess the reason behind your moods. This one’s easy. You always want the best for me. You’ve worked hard to have the perfect wedding night, finding this tent, making it a home for the two of us. And you’re always remarking how lucky you feel for having me. It’s as if you think you don’t deserve me– as if you don’t deserve anything good that happens to you. I’ve always wondered why…” Ginny gazed at him with curious eyes, and then shrugged. “I have the rest of my life to figure it out. And you have it too, to learn that I’m not going to get upset or run away every time something doesn’t go according to plans, or isn’t marvellous, blissful oblivion, blah, blah. In fact, I’m really looking forward to seeing you getting pissed at me.”

“So far it’s been mainly the other way round, yeah,” he chuckled.

“Wait until I sulk at home because we lost or training sucked. We’ll see if you don’t chuck me and volunteer to do Azkaban duty.”

Harry laughed. “You’ll have to lose a whole season for that.”

“Hey, I’m a Harpy, that’s for the Cannons,” she said with mock contempt. Ginny focused her attention again at the cut over his eye, and pointing her wand at it, muttered a healing spell. Harry felt the sting that meant the skin was mending; he tentatively tried to open the eye and noted with satisfaction that the bleeding had stopped. He saw Ginny nodding in approval and turning to get the dittany out of the box.

“I reckon I feel lucky because it wasn’t supposed to be me, the one you married,” he blurted. He heard her sucking in a breath and looking at him with round eyes of surprise. “After I ditched you and went on the run, I mean… I used to imagine you marrying another man, not me… I wasn’t supposed to live, and when I did… that you wanted to get back with me felt incredible, like something out of someone else’s life. It’s been like that since then.”

Ginny just stood there with her mouth open wide, so Harry kept on. “And like I said last night, you’re amazing and could have been with anyone better than me, a reckless git–”

Ginny closed his mouth, upset. “You’re not–” she retorted.

“We’ve been married for less than twenty four hours and the bathroom looks like a battlefield, Gin. This is definitely not flying without wings, like the song said.”

Ginny stared at him with her brows furrowed and suddenly spluttered with laughter. “No, but we can get the brooms later for that.” She conjured another ice pack and gave it to Harry to put it on the lump. “Keep that over the eye for a while, and listen to me.” He obliged, and resumed looking at her with one eye. She busied herself cleaning the blood that covered his face, neck and arms, and then spoke.

“Hasn’t it occurred to you to think that I, too, could be feeling lucky to have you?”

Harry was nonplussed. “Erm… I suppose no. I mean, why should you? You’re amazing, could be with anyone–”

“Bloody hell, Harry, for someone so smart, you’re sometimes a dim twat. Listen to me, what are the odds that someone marries the crush of her childhood?”

Harry shrugged noncommittally. “Never gave it any thought.”

“Well, I did, and they’re slim to none. And have you heard that old saying, ‘never meet your heroes’?”

“Yeah, I think Hermione mentioned it in our second year, after we told her about Lockhart. Ron was deeply amused.”

Ginny nodded in agreement and took off the ice pack to apply the dittany to the scar. Harry felt the coolness that confirmed that it was working and sighed. His head still throbbed because of the lump, though. He closed his eyes to rest a bit; he might need a pain potion once the bruise had been treated…

“And what would be the odds that the crush of your childhood, the hero that saved you from death, actually became your friend, and that friendship made it past the awful early teen years, and eventually transformed into love? And that love overcame a lot of obstacles, including but not limited to splitting up twice? With the difference that you ditched me because you were stupidly noble and protective, but I dumped you out of insane jealousy and silly insecurities. And yet, instead of hating me, you stayed friends and had the patience to wait for me to realise that I couldn’t just stop loving you.”

Harry opened his eyes in surprise, gaping at her until he could stammer, “I couldn’t… I’ve never hated you–”

“You easily could have, but chose not to. And that’s the best bit, but there’s more. You support me; you’re my best fan. You actually feel prouder of me than my own parents! Do you know how many of my teammates have struggled to find a supportive partner? It’s not something to take for granted. How many people would be delighted to live in a house on the team’s grounds?”

“I’m sure it’s something anyone would jump at the chance–”

Ginny laughed. “Just because you’re dying to play after work in a professional Quidditch stadium doesn’t mean everyone feels that way.”

“Oh, well, there are fools everywhere, I reckon,” he shrugged, hoping that Ginny would leave it at that; he was not comfortable hearing praise that he felt undeserving.

But apparently, Ginny had more. “You never try to keep me under a glass dome… yes, I know you tried to, at the Battle, but apart from that, you don’t treat me like a porcelain doll–”

“Now, that’s not true,” Harry protested. “You’re not fragile in the slightest, but sometimes I do wish that you could be safe and protected; I just grit my teeth and let you have your way because I’m afraid you won’t want to look at me again.”

Ginny’s eyes gleamed in triumph. “That you do, and it’s the reason I’m so lucky: because you have my wishes in consideration, even when you’d like to act differently. I didn’t have a chance to make a speech last night –not that I wanted to, watching you squirm and sweat before yours was enough to put me off it– but if I’d had made it, I’d have remarked that I, too, felt lucky to marry you, because love is not meant to be a permanent blissful oblivion, but something that you make work every day, and I know you’re more than willing to do so, even if it clashes with your own ideas, or feel different. And,” she said, taking his head in her hands and kissing him, heedless of his injury, “that’s why I love you so much.”

If anything, that only made Harry feel luckier, but this, he decided, was not a battle of wills, so he just grinned and pulled her into his arms. They just stayed there for a while, until Ginny leaned back, combing his hair back and feeling his scalp with her fingers. As always was the case when she did that, Harry felt like melting.

“Don’t seem to have more lumps, and the one over your eye looks smaller, so I’ll just heal it with the paste and then we can have a bit of breakfast and pack. When do we have to be at the airport?”

Harry opened his eyes; he had almost forgotten that they were supposed to begin their honeymoon today. “We must be in Gatwick at five, we have time to pop at the Burrow for lunch before if you want to see your family–”

“To see our family.”

“Our family,” he corrected himself. “It’s so new, it’s got to take some time to get used.”

Ginny’s eyes rolled up so high that they seemed to fell backwards. “You were practically adopted years ago, you git. Now rest here while I clean up the tub and make some breakfast, and then we can pack.”

“Do you want to keep the tub after this awful first use? Just Vanish and get rid of it, I’ll get a cabin shower that doesn’t reminds us of this bloody morning. Pun intended,” said Harry, glancing to the tub, which stood there stained with blood from the wound. It was incredible how much a small cut in the head could bleed, and the hot water had just worsened it. The bathroom looked now like a scenario from one of those movies with serial killers that Dudley liked to watch.

“No way! I like the tub, and I definitely want it at our home. It’s no one’s fault that you slipped, and most definitely it’s not going to kill my mood. Even in the farfetched case that the tub was a sentient creature, it should be given the chance to make it up to us, providing better memories, so we’re keeping it.”

“Gin?” he asked softly.

“Yeah?”

“I can’t wait to make those new memories with you.”



Eight years later


“Did the boys wake?”

“I don’t think so, they were fast asleep, and unlike the other times, it’s happened so quick, and you barely raised your voice. Which is definitely a first for you,” he chuckled, helping her out of the bathtub. “They’re in for a big surprise when they wake up tomorrow… Godric, what a mess. This tub seems to have a penchant for gore.” He cast a cleaning spell on her; that would have to do for the time being…

“Well, at least today it’s my blood, not yours,” said Ginny, heading for their bed, carefully held by her husband. He had put clean towels over the mattress and she sank in gratefully, enjoying the comfort, although she was no longer tired, but fully alert, wired up by the adrenaline. The bundle in her arms emitted a soft whimper. Ginny snuggled it closer and, as she was expecting, the baby began to look for her breast.

“Looks like this one has come to the world in a hurry for everything,” she said, observing how the baby latched firmly to the breast after only a few struggles. There was no answer to that. Ginny looked up to see Harry sitting on the bed in front of her, gazing at them with an expression she knew very well. She grinned and stared back at him: it was one of those moments to treasure forever.

“The luckiest guy in the world, huh?” she said. Harry did not show surprise: he just nodded like he was expecting her to say that.

“I was remembering our first morning after getting married, in the tent. The conversation after I fell in the tub. I told you to get rid of it and you said we were keeping it and making better memories. Certainly couldn’t have imagined that our daughter would be born inside!”

Ginny laughed softly so as to not startle the baby. “We weren’t even sure of wanting to have kids back then. I remember my mother wrapping the tie of the wedding cake to save it for when we had children and me thinking ‘oh my, the preserving charms should be good’.”

“And then James happened. Funny how life is what it happens while we were busy making other plans…” He stared at her wistfully, and Ginny knew he was remembering the incredible chain of events that had led them to be the parents of three kids, when parenting had been an undecided issue at the time they had married, a decision that had simply been pushed forwards to an undetermined time.

“I still feel lucky, despite life taking all sort of choices out of our hands. I’d never be sorry for having a family. It’s worth it,” he said.

“Tell me that again in a month, when we’re sleep deprived and trying to keep the boys in line while changing their sister’s nappies,” she chuckled.

“Well, you were the one that said that, apart from luck, you have to work hard to make love run. I won’t mind,” he said. Ginny shot him and incredulous look and he laughed. “All right, I’ll complain a lot. But it’s really worth the effort. I love you, Gin. I’m more than willing to keep doing all this if I’m with you.”

She felt like her heart swelled with emotion. Tears filled her eyes and, unable to speak, she grabbed his hand with her free one and pulled him closer to kiss him in the lips. A noise downstairs told them that someone, probably Rose or Molly, had arrived via Floo. They broke apart. Harry’s eyes were glistening, too.

“Thank you for everything.”

“Thank you, too. We’re in this together. And I couldn’t have chosen a better partner.”

Footsteps echoed in the staircase. “Neither could I,” he said, and they grinned at one another before turning to the door, where Molly and Arthur had appeared, eager to meet the new addition to their beautiful family.


THE END

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