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19 Years by marauder5
Chapter 39: Year 4: Harry and Ginny's wedding
At the Burrow, everyone woke up to the discouraging sight of a dark sky on the day that Harry and Ginny would get married. As was always the case, it was Mrs Weasley who woke up first, but her distraught shout as she looked out the window at the foot of her bed woke her husband, who was lying on his back next to her, and Charlie, whose bedroom was right next to theirs. (When he had been younger, he had slept down the hall, but Mrs Weasley had made him switch rooms when he reached his teens and she caught him bragging to Bill about the two seventh year girls who hade promised to Apparate into his bedroom every night if they passed their Apparation test before Christmas break. Needless to say, Mrs Weasley had been horrified, especially considering the fact that Charlie had only been thirteen at the time.)
After barging into his parents’ bedroom to make sure that they hadn’t been woken up by a murderer leaning over their bed, Charlie spent the following twenty minutes sitting on the edge of the mattress next to his father, listening as his mother wailed about how rain would ruin the most important day of Harry and Ginny’s lives. Every now and then, Mr Weasley would try to cut in with, “Maybe it won’t start raining,” or, “It’s not the end of the world, dear,” but after receiving a few not very happy glares from his wife, he decided to follow Charlie’s example and just listen quietly and wait for it to end.
Perhaps she was hoping that the sky would clear up before anyone else would see it, because in a very uncharacteristic manner, Mrs Weasley ended her complains by saying that no one was allowed to wake anyone else up for another hour or so. Ironically enough, on the day that she actually wanted her children to sleep in, they all seemed to wake up extra early. George and Angelina, who had slept up in Bill’s room (since George still refused to as much as walk into the room he and Fred had shared when they had lived at home) came walking down the stairs shortly after the first three. Angelina was fully dressed, and she looked well rested and cheerful. George, on the other hand, was still wearing his striped pyjamas, and judging by the look on his face, he probably would have liked to stay in bed for a few more hours. Only seconds after the couple had entered the kitchen, they heard Ron shouting gleefully from his room just beneath the attic:
“Get up, you skiver! You’re marrying my sister today, you’d better get up and prepare for it!”
“What a lovely way to wake up on your wedding day,” said Angelina and raised an eyebrow as she and George sat down at the kitchen table.
“He deserves it,” George answered, grabbing a bread roll from the little basket that his mother had just placed in front of them. “He’s been much too calm about this whole thing. You know, I kept asking him last night if he was nervous about tripping or messing up his words, but he was just smiling the whole time. I’m telling you, there’s something wrong with him.”
Angelina giggled while playfully pinching her husband’s arm. “You mean because he’s not a nervous wreck on his wedding day, like you were?”
“Now that’s just defamation!” George complained, his blue eyes twinkling as he rubbed his arm and pushed his chair away from hers. “We weren’t allowed to see each other before the wedding, so you can’t know whether I was nervous or not!”
“I know,” said Mrs Weasley while reaching over to tear the bread roll from his hands before he could take a bite of it. “And she’s right – you were an absolute wreck.”
“Still, I’ve been thinking about adding a few puking pastilles to Harry’s breakfast this morning,” George mused. “He’ll be a pain if he’ll manage to go through this entire day without feeling at least a little bit of anxiety. I’ll never hear the end of it.”
He reached out his hand towards the basket to grab another piece of bred, but Mrs Weasley quickly pushed it out of his reach. “Stop that, George!” she said. “This isn’t for you – it’s for your sister. In fact, since you’re up, maybe you can bring this to the Lovegoods right now? I’m sure the girls will be up soon, and I would hate for Ginny to have to start her wedding day by eating Xenophilius’ breakfa–“ She interrupted herself and blushed before quickly adding: “I mean… since this is her favourite bread, I think it will make her happy.”
George grinned, took the basket and stood up. Sticking his feet into his father’s old slippers, he then walked over to the door and opened it.
“Not in your pyjamas, George!” Mrs Weasley scolded, but he ignored her and stepped over the threshold. “Fine, wear that ugly old thing, then! But if I hear about you adding puking pastilles to the girls’ breakfast – or Harry’s – I won’t be as forgiving!”
After watching through the window how he hurried across the hills towards the Lovegood property, Mrs Weasley, Charlie and Angelina started laying the table. By the time Ron and Harry made it downstairs, a feast had been laid out, and Ron hurriedly sat down and started helping himself to some of it. After showering Mrs Weasley and her cooking skills in compliments, Harry proceeded to do the same thing.
“I’m so sorry,” said Mrs Weasley then, her hand placed over her chest and her head tilted to the side as the watched Harry with a sympathetic look on her face.
“About what?” mumbled Harry with his mouth full of crusty, perfectly fried bacon.
“About the weather,” Mrs Weasley sighed dramatically. “I mean, we can always hope it won’t start raining, but…”
A smile spreading across Harry’s face interrupted her, and she stared at him in surprise while he shrugged and washed his food down with a sip of pumpkin juice.
“Don’t worry, Mrs Weasley. I’ll marry Ginny in pouring rain, if I have to. It’s not the weather that will make it perfect, but the fact that she will become my wife today. That’s the only thing that matters to me.”
Over at the Lovegood property, Ginny had already been awake for hours. She had been a little dissatisfied with the weather when she had first looked out the window, but since then she had been distracted worrying about the wedding bouquet, which her teammate and bridesmaid Heather Perrington had gone to get, and which was not at all the one she had picked out (“As if I’d ever go for pink roses!” she had said to Heather, who had defended herself by replying: “Well, being a bride tends to change people, Gin!”) Heather had taken the flowers and Apparated back to Diagon Alley to sort out the mistake, and Ginny had gone into the bathroom to take a long shower, shave her legs and forget all about the lousy start she had had to her wedding day. By the time she left the bathroom, Heather and George were just stepping through the front door, Heather carrying the new bouquet and George carrying the breakfast basket.
After seeing the new flowers – a much simpler bouquet consisting of only white orchids – Ginny gave her friend a quick hug, took the basket from George and sent him out the door again.
“Thanks for the warm welcome!” he mocked her, and she stuck her tongue out in response.
“You’re not allowed to see me in my wedding dress anyway!”
George pretended to be disgusted. “Ginny, you’re not confusing me with the groom, are you?”
After having a second breakfast (the girls did eat right after getting up, but Ginny said something about athletes having a fast metabolism before happily digging into the goods her mother had sent her, and the others – even the non-athletes – quickly followed her example) it was time to start getting ready. Luna had volunteered to do Ginny’s hair, but Heather had somehow talked her out of it by going on and on about how badly she wanted to do it, and Ginny was grateful that she wouldn’t have to get married with carrots (or something even weirder) in her hair.
Although she would deny it later, Ginny caught herself really enjoying the getting ready part of the wedding. Normally, she’d barely waste a minute on putting on makeup or doing anything special with her hair, but she liked the fact that she could allow herself to get pampered for once. While Heather did her hair, Hermione painted the bride’s nails, and Luna spent almost thirty minutes poking the wedding dress with different sorts of roots that were supposed to bring good luck. Ginny didn’t know whether it was thanks to that luck or not, but somehow, the next time she looked in the mirror, she was prettier than she had ever been – and she hadn’t even put on the dress yet.
As the day progressed and the hours crept by, the time for the ceremony got closer. Everything had gone surprisingly smoothly at the Burrow, but of course, Mrs Weasley was stressed out anyway. Other than a nerve-wracking few seconds after taking a nap, when George shook him awake and yelled: “Oi, Harry, wake up! You’re missing the ceremony – Ginny’s flying off the handle by now!” Harry remained calm, up until the second he walked down the aisle and stood next to the wedding officiant, the same short man who had married Bill and Fleur, and George and Angelina. That was when he first felt a wave of nervousness, and he grinned when he saw the look of content of George’s face. He couldn’t explain why he wasn’t freaking out; he was well aware of the fact that getting married was a big deal, by far the biggest one he had ever experienced.
He hadn’t always been aware of it, but truth was that this was the day Harry had been waiting for, not just since they had set the date back in September, but all his life. On some unconscious level, every moment of his life, from when he had barely learned to walk to when he had rushed through the scenes of a battle while thinking that his life could be over any second, had been leading to this one – to him, standing at the end of the aisle outside the Burrow, his heart thumping loudly in his chest and his fingers entwined with each other. There were only a few short moments left now – moments in which he’d turn his head to the side and see Ron, George and Neville’s encouraging smiles, let his eyes sweep over the seated guests and smile at Professor McGonagall, Hagrid and Mrs Weasley – and then she’d appear, at the other end of the aisle, and their eyes would meet. Harry knew that they would both be smiling, and that those seconds, during which they would just be looking at each other, before Mr Weasley would pull lightly at his daughter’s arm and they’d start walking, were the reason that he had lived all those times when he should have died. They were the reason why he had been able to do all the impossible things he had done in his life; it had all been for this.
The music started playing, and Harry lifted his head. As he did this, a figure in the very back caught his eyes – but it couldn’t be… He blinked and stretched his neck, trying to see the man’s face, but it was impossible. If he hadn’t known better, though, Harry would have sworn it was his cousin Dudley.
He wasn’t given any time to think of this, though, as the bridesmaids were already on their way down the aisle. Hermione came first, wearing a pastel green dress and with her hair softer and curlier than usual. She looked absolutely lovely, and Harry glanced over at Ron and the look of amazement on his face before quickly turning his head back forwards, afraid that he might miss something.
He smiled as Luna and Heather went to stand next to Hermione, and then he saw Ginny. She looked exactly like he had pictured it and she was a million times more beautiful than he could have imagined; he didn’t need to look over at Fleur, who was seated in the front row with Dominique in her arms, to know that even her beauty would pale next to his bride.
Ginny’s eyes were fixed on the ground; she was not comfortable walking in heals, and despite the fact that she was clinging to her father’s arm, she was afraid of falling. She imagined the mortification of tripping in front of all the guests, and she could feel her cheeks burn just from thinking about it. Then, as her father started pulling her forwards, she lifted her eyes and met Harry’s.
As they looked into each other’s eyes, Ginny increased her speed, suddenly desperate to get to him. Now, she was the one pulling Mr Weasley forwards, and he chuckled next to her before whispering:
“Calm down. He’s not going anywhere.”
Ginny nodded, and as she grinned at Harry, she thought of how ridiculous his hair looked – it seemed that someone (most likely her mother) had poured lots of hair potion into it in an attempt to flatten it. But not even on his wedding day would Harry Potter’s hair cooperate, and Ginny considered it fortunate that even ridiculous was handsome on him.
Harry thought that they were walking too slowly. He wanted to hold her already, but just as she had told him once, he would have a whole lifetime to hold her. He could wait a few more seconds. In an attempt to think of something else, he turned his eyes to her dress. It was flawless; flawlessly sown, perfectly shaped and fitting. The skirt swirled around her legs as lightly as if it had been made of air, and the neckline almost melted together with her pale skin – only her freckles made it possible for Harry to make out the line that separated it from the fabric. He wanted to kiss every single one of them.
Then, after what felt like a hundred years, she was right in front of him, Mr Weasley placed her hand in his, and after Harry had placed a quick kiss on her forehead, they both turned towards the little wizard, who raised his hands towards the guests with a smile on his face.
“Thank you,” he said, “for joining us today and for being a part of the uniting of two hearts, which will become one. Today will mark the first day of the lifelong bond of marriage between these two – Harry James Potter and Ginevra–“
Ginny coughed. “Ginny, call me Ginny…”
“–pardon, Ginny Molly Weasley.”
Later on, Harry and Ginny would both agree that the ceremony seemed to fly by; once it was over, Mr Weasley and most of Ginny’s brothers rearranged the chairs and set everything up for the reception. The sky was still hidden beneath an impenetrable layer of silvery clouds, but it hadn’t rained all day, and it seemed they would make it through the party as well without anyone’s hair or dress robes being ruined by rainfall.
As everyone sat to eat, the newlyweds made it through the crowds; each and every step, someone stopped them to congratulate and hug them. They passed through Hagrid’s bone crushing embrace, to McGonagall’s rather stiff one, and what felt like thousands of others, before they finally reached their seats in the middle of the head table.
When Ginny would look back at the day – which she would do thousands and thousands of times in the following years – she would only remember snippets. She would smile as she thought of the way Teddy walked up to her after dinner, bowed and asked her, very politely, to dance. She, finding him too cute to be able to turn him down, ended up having her first dance not with her husband, but with her four-year-old godson! She would remember the mixture of shock and amusement on Harry's face when she covered it in cream while cutting the cake, and how he didn’t get back at her, but instead leaned in and whispered: “I’ll get you in the morning. Right now, you are just too beautiful.” She would definitely remember how strange it felt not to mock him for his mushy comment; for once, she just smiled radiantly at him and kissed his creamy cheek.
She would recall her father’s sweet speech, which made both her and Harry cry, George’s spectacular firework show in the middle of dancing, and how Luna and Xenophilius followed up with a strange performance, during which they sang in harmonies (quite well, Ginny thought, but she couldn’t hold a note herself, so she wasn’t the best judge), they danced, and performed a strange ritual that forced both her and Harry to bite their lips to keep from bursting into laughter. She would remember the distant look on Harry’s face when the danced, and how when she pointed it out, he told her:
“I’m sorry. It’s just… you didn’t see Dudley at the ceremony, did you?”
“Your cousin?” Ginny responded. When he nodded, she continued: “Well, I don’t know what he looks like – I’ve never met him. But I can’t recall seeing anyone I didn’t recognize.”
“It was probably just imagination,” Harry said with a sigh. “You know, your mother insisted we had to send them an invitation, but they never replied to it. I doubt Uncle Vernon or Aunt Petunia would like being surrounded by so much magic.”
“Well, they are the ones missing out,” Ginny said and kissed him. “Both by not keeping in touch with you, and by not showing up today.”
But one of the most vivid memories of the night, both to Ginny, Harry and most of the Weasleys, would be Ron’s speech. He had tried to wriggle out of it, but both Hermione and his mother had been shocked to hear that he hadn’t prepared one about a week prior to the wedding, and rather than contradicting the two women, he had sighed and agreed to do it. It was evident that he wasn’t a very enthusiastic speaker, but his moment on stage was very memorable.
“Hi,” he started as soon as he had captured everyone’s attention. “I’m Ron.” His ears were already furiously red by this point. “I could talk about how glad I am that Ginny and Harry found each other – and I am, believe me – and go in Dad’s footsteps and say that he and Mum gained another son tonight – as if they don’t have enough of those already. But instead, I thought we could relive a memory that can help illustrate what my sister feels for Harry. So I was thinking I would sing a song that is very special to Ginny, Harry, and the very beginning of their relationship. Maybe it can remind you of that first stage when you’re old and you’ve been married for ages… just think of this moment and this song, and you'll remember how you once felt for each other. I've asked my brothers to help, just to make sure even Great Aunt Muriel hears every word of it..”
On his mark, Charlie, Bill, George and a blushing Percy stood up and climbed up on their chairs (Percy did it with a apologetic look on his face and while adjusting his collar). Then, after Ron counted to three, all five of them started singing from the bottom of their hearts:
“His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard,
I wish he was mine, he’s really divine
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord.”
After about ten rounds of the verse, Ron ended his toast by raising his glass of champagne, grinning at Ginny and saying:
“Congratulations, he’s finally yours. Cheers!”
After all the toasts and lots of dancing, all single girls gathered at the dance floor for the traditional bouquet toss. Harry smiled and shook his head at the girls' excitement as he sank into a chair next to Charlie and George, exhausted from dancing for what must have been more than one hour straight. Across from them, Victoire was just pulling at her father’s sleeve, motioning for him and little Dominique, who was sleeping in his arms, to come with her to the dance floor.
“I’m not married!” she told him. “Or Dom! We have to go!”
“I think you should both keep it that way for a few more years,” Bill chuckled and reached out an arm to stop her. Harry laughed too before turning his eyes back to Ginny and the other women.
His wife (he loved being able to think of her as that) was just turning her back to the awaiting singles, calling over her shoulder:
“Okay, are you ready?”
“Aim for me!” shouted her teammate Gaylene Turkowski. “Merlin knows I could use some supernatural push in the right direction if I ever want to end up where you’re standing…”
“Hey, no cheating!” protested Heather Perrington. “Just because you scare off any bloke who gets within a five mile radius–“
The rest of her sentence was drowned out by the noise that followed as Ginny tossed her orchid bouquet over her head and turned around just in time to see her three dorm mates from Hogwarts in the middle of the tugging war. An extra hard pull from one of the girls sent the flowers flying up in the air again, before they landed right in a surprised Hermione’s arms.
Within seconds, George had jumped out of his chair and walked up to Ron, who was leaning against the wall behind his brothers’ table. Now, George flung his arm around his shoulder and grinned contently as he said:
“So how are you proposing? If you’re interested, I’ve got a few ideas for a serenade.” Then he started singing, quietly (most likely so that Mrs Weasley, who was sitting a few tables away, wouldn’t hear: “Her eyes are as brown as a…” Although Harry couldn’t hear the rest of the line properly, he was quite sure that word ‘toad’ had been exchanged for one with the same first and last letter.
Out on the dance floor, Gaylene was giving Ginny a sour look for her ‘bad toss’ while Heather walked up to Hermione.
“So I guess you’re next to get the married, then,” she said with a smile.
“I doubt it,” Hermione said with a shrug. “I don’t think it ever happens like that.”
Ginny walked over to where Harry was sitting and sighed as she sat down next to him.
“Don’t get me wrong,” she said as she slid an arm around his waist, “I love getting married. But I have to admit it’s quite exhausting.”
“Let’s not do it again after this, then,” Harry suggested, and she smiled and leaned her head against his shoulder.
“So have you seen them yet?” she asked.
She lifted her head again and pointed upwards. Harry lifted his eyes, and he knew almost instantly what she was talking about it; floating around above everyone’s heads, just inches below the floating little flames that George had set up to light up the night, soared little golden ornaments that made tears well up in Harry's eyes. There was a lily, glittering as its petals spread out just above the spot where Professor McGonagall and Charlie were dancing. Harry smiled at it. “Mum,” he whispered. Right next to the lily was a stag, galloping in circles around it. “… Dad…” A dog and a wolf were one step behind the stag, and Harry let his gaze linger on them for a few seconds. “… Sirius, Remus.” They were all there with him, like they had promised they would always be.
“Did you do that?” Harry said, turning his head to meet Ginny’s eyes.
“Yes.” She smiled up at him. “Do you like them?”
“You know, I’ve spent most of my life hating being me,” he admitted. “I hated it when I lived with the Dursleys, and I hated the responsibility when I got to Hogwarts. I hated how people expected me to do all these things and fight, and be the hero… I wish someone had just told me that being me would also mean that I’d end up right here one day, with you.”
“Yeah,” Ginny replied, placing her soft hands on his cheeks. “At least you’re here now. I love you, Harry Potter. I’m so lucky that you wanted to marry me.”
“I love you too, Ginny Potter. And forgive me for picking a fight on our wedding day, but you’re wrong. I’m the lucky one.”
A/N: So I can't wait to hear what you thought of this! Thank you so much for reading. I think it's incredible that we've come this far in the story. It's a moment that I know lots of people have been waiting for and I can only hope that you'll like it :) Again, I'd just like to thank you for being a part of this story by reading it, and by reviewing - you're so much more help than you can imagine, and it really does mean the world to me that people willingly read this!
As most of you know, I'm going to move now. I'll take a break from thinking about this story for a couple weeks and then I guess I'll see you when I'll see you. Thank you again for all of your support. Take care until next time!
"His eyes are as green as a fresh pickled toad,
His hair is as dark as a blackboard,
I wish he was mine, he’s really divine
The hero who conquered the Dark Lord."
is a quote from Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, p 238, ch. 13, by J.K. Rowling.