HARRY POTTER MARRIES WAR HEROINE
In a country devastated by war, many of those left to pick up the pieces have considered it a lost cause. Even without the marks of dark wizards in the sky, the war’s death count and the continuing decline in birth rates have taken their toll. Where is a saviour when we need one?
In short, is Harry Potter prepared to help us once again?
Apparently so, if the wizard’s surprise announcement Monday of his impending marriage is any indication. Today, he is set to marry his long-time best friend and fellow war hero, Hermione Granger, in a small private ceremony. Sources close to the couple say that the match is a surprise to even them. But closer inspection of the situation reveals his possible motivations.
Potter’s former fiancé, Ginevra Weasley, has been a patient in the Spell Damage ward at St. Mungo’s Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries for a year and a half, the victim of a Death Eater attack at the end of the war that left her in a coma. As a result, many of the hero’s closest friends thought he would never marry.
“Harry was devastated,” says Seamus Finnegan, Potter’s friend and former Hogwarts roommate. “None of us expected him to ever recover.”
Mr. Potter himself seemed to agree. In a rare interview last spring, just after the incident, he stated, “Ginny is my one love. I only pray she’ll come back to me soon.”
It appears this sudden change of heart may be the result of recent pressure exerted by the Ministry of Magic for young wizards to marry and start families. They have even begun to offer incentives – from none of which the wealthy young Potter has elected to draw benefit – to entice the growth of our greatly decreased population. Has Harry Potter once again decided to sacrifice his own life for the benefit of many?
Other sources disagree.
“Harry and Hermione have always loved one another,” says Ronald Weasley, the other best friend of the famous trio, also brother to Mr. Potter’s former fiancé. “It’s just a shame Gin had to get hurt for them to decide to get married.”
Is it true love at last or just one final effort to assist his society in finding its footing? Either way, these wedding bells are cause for celebration. “The Boy Who Lived” is all grown up, and we hope he’s now “The Man Who Loves.”
Hermione laid her copy of the Daily Prophet down on the vanity in front of her, then turned to her friend. “I mean, really! We’ve ‘always loved one another'? What were you thinking?”
“Are you done yet?” Ron asked, throwing up his hands in frustration. “I’m only here because Harry sent me. And I didn’t lie! You and Harry do love one another. I just didn’t say how
you loved one another. I had to say something
Hermione sighed and reached up to rub her face, but then stopped short. Mrs. Weasley would probably kill her if she had to redo the bride’s makeup one more time. “I suppose you’re right. Maybe it will make everything seem more believable.” She paused and offered him a small smile as a peace offering of sorts, adding, “Harry sent you?”
Ron nodded, “He wanted me to give you this.”
She reached out, and he dropped a small object into her hand. It was a ring. And not just any ring: an absolutely gorgeous diamond engagement ring. There was nothing particularly special about it – she’d seen similar on the fingers of many of her former classmates or their fiancés – and she knew that Harry’s real
engagement ring, his mother’s, was still at St. Mungo’s on Ginny’s finger. Still, it was a really nice ring, and she smiled in spite of herself.
“He figured it might look funny if you didn’t have one,” said Ron, apparently oblivious to the thoughts that were going through her head. All the better.
“Thanks, Ron,” Hermione said, sliding it onto the proper finger. She stood up, carefully disentangling the voluminous skirts of her wedding dress from where they’d been draped around her stool to avoid wrinkling. She smoothed the simple bodice with one hand. It wasn’t exactly what she would have chosen for her real wedding – or this one, if she’d had more time for planning – but, like the ring, it was really nice.
“I best get back,” said Ron, grimacing as if the sight of her standing in front of him actually looking like a girl was the most terrifying things on the planet.
Hermione didn’t even more to stop him. The last thing she needed was to dwell on Ron. She had much more pressing things: like the fact that she was marrying Harry Potter in less than an hour, and she had to pretend she really wanted to.
It had only been three days since Remus brought them the news. Everything had moved so fast that she could barely even remember the plans being made. Supposedly she and Harry had been engaged for months, hiding it from their friends because of Ginny. And their supposed plans had to be pulled together from nothingness. The dress was Fleur’s, with alterations made to keep it from being obvious. All of the wedding’s attendants were male, and they would each wear their best dress robes. Mrs. Weasley would handle the food, and the ceremony would be held at the Burrow.
It was all just a little too
simple. It had kept the reality from really setting in too fast, which she’d considered a blessing until that moment. Now Hermione was standing in her wedding dress, alone in Ginny’s bedroom, without
Ginny, with makeup that was sure to smudge if she cried again…. She felt the urge to run, but since she could barely walk at all in the shoes she’d also borrowed from Fleur, she opted for the next best thing and stuck her head out into the hallway.
Charlie was coming up the stairs. He smiled at her. “You’d better not let Mum see you out of that room. You know it’s bad luck for the bride and groom to see one another before the wedding.”
“I think I’ve already reached my quota of bad luck,” she said dryly. “Have you seen Fred or George?”
He pointed behind him at nowhere in particular and shrugged. “I just saw Ron, though. Do you want me to grab him?”
“Oh yeah, so he can make me feel even more inadequate. I’ll pass, thanks.”
“Whoever said you were…” Charlie started. Then suddenly he stopped and looked at her. Under his scrutiny, Hermione felt almost like some freakish creature in Hagrid’s class waiting to be poked and prodded. This was fitting, she supposed, since Charlie made his living working with Hagrid’s favourite creatures of all. He looked over his shoulder, back at her, and then he said, “My brother’s an idiot.”
“What do you—?”
“I just hope you don’t hold it against the rest of us,” Charlie continued, striding up the final few stairs to the landing. He reached over her shoulder and pushed the door open the rest of the way. He was close enough that she could see the thin little scar that snaked its way down the side of his neck and into the collar of his robes. This one didn’t appear to have been made by a burn, and she found herself wondering exactly how
dangerous his daily work was. Her eyes snapped back up to his face when he said, “Let’s get you back in here before Mum flips, and I’ll go find Fred and George.”
Hermione went back into the room and sat obediently on her stool while Charlie did his best to arrange her skirts for her. He was being so sweet about it that she didn’t have the heart to tell him he was only making a mess of them. She watched him silently, allowing a little smile to come to her face; the dragon tamer reduced to bride’s maid, how droll.
“Charlie?” she said, when he had stood to go. When he looked back at her questioningly, she asked, “Do you
think I’m crazy?”
He reached out and ran his hand down the side of her face, tucking one of her curls behind her ear. It was a quick motion, but Hermione was surprised at the little shiver that ran down her spine. “I think that sometimes circumstances are beyond our control, and we have to take the first path that looks navigable. No one can blame you for that, especially not me.”
He didn’t linger, and, as promised, the twins came shortly after. It seemed odd to her just how much their energy could calm her. That serenity only lasted a blissful few minutes, though, because Mrs. Weasley returned with her parents. They’d been upset at the late notice about her marriage – about her having a boyfriend at all, much less one with whom she was that serious – but Hermione had decided she couldn’t risk telling them the truth. If her parents acted on their outrage, it could ruin her chances at pulling off this ruse. And she was committed now – nothing would stand between her and her wand.
When it came time for her to walk down the aisle, Hermione once again felt the urge to bolt; Harry’s idea to go hide out with her cousins in America wasn’t sounding so bad. But she knew there were hundreds of people waiting anxiously for her. After all, she was marrying the most famous wizard in the world, save Merlin himself. And her dad did look awfully proud holding his only daughter on his arm.
But it wasn’t the thought of any of that that kept her walking. No, she walked down that aisle thinking only of Ginny. For the first time in ages, she thought she detected a hint of genuineness in Harry’s smile, and she knew he was thinking it, too. She managed to take his offered hand with only a tiny tremble in her own.
They’d elected to be married by a representative from the Department of Witch and Wizard Services and had chosen the shortest possible personalized ceremony, under the guise of simply being desperately in love and wanting to be married as quickly as possible. Thankfully, that had all been handled by owl, and they hadn’t had to show their desperation. Their opportunity to physically profess their “love” came faster than Hermione would have liked, despite also being anxious to get it over with.
“Harry James Potter, you stand before the witch who is the Golden Snitch in the Quidditch game of your life, the core of your heart’s wand, the mate of your soul. Will you stand by her, in magic and in body, for as long as you have breath?”
“I’ll stand by her as long as she needs me,” said Harry quietly, slipping a simple band onto her ring finger. Hermione doubted that anyone else but the ceremony’s officiator could hear him, and the man didn’t seem to be paying much attention anything other than reading his lines.
“Hermione Jean Granger, you stand before the wizard who is the key ingredient in the love potion of your life, the rarest book in your heart’s library, the mate of your soul. Will you stand by him, in magic and in body, for as long as you have breath?”
She didn’t even try to smile or keep from crying. No one would think it out of character; all the brides she’d ever known had cried at their weddings. Well, except for Luna, but no one would ever argue she was a normal witch, not even Ron. She slipped his ring onto his finger and, through her tears, said, “I’ll stand by him as long as he’ll have me.”
“According to Section Seven of the Proclamation Governing the Union of Witches and Wizards, and by the authority bestowed upon me by the Wizengamot and Leonid Bertrau, Minister for Magic, I would like to announce to all witnesses Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter.”
A loud cheer went through the crowd, and flashbulbs started going off continuously, but Hermione barely noticed. All she could see was Harry’s face slowly bending down to meet hers. He only paused for a moment, somehow communicating through his eyes that he understood
, and then he kissed her. There were no fireworks, but her brain didn’t implode either. She had to admit it wasn’t bad. It had been awhile since she’d been kissed, and she didn’t mind it so much if she made herself forget who was doing the kissing.
It was surreal the number of people they had to greet as husband and wife. Their small private gathering had turned into a social and political affair without them realizing it. They wouldn’t have stopped it if they’d known anyway – the more people they had convinced it was real, the better – but it was disorienting to expect a hundred people and get nearly a thousand. Hermione wasn’t sure how they all managed to squeeze into the Burrow’s yard, though she suspected Bill and Charlie of stealthily employing some very clever charm work as they roamed the edges of the party tent.
Hermione held Harry’s hand the whole time, partially for show and partially out of a fear of having to converse with any of the Ministry officials on her own. What if the men and women asked probing questions about their relationship? They’d barely had time to plan a wedding, much less lay out the details of their supposed yearlong courtship. They’d memorised a few key dates, of course, but allowing closer examination at this point would not have been prudent.
“Where will you be living?” asked a witch who appeared to be a reporter, her quill raised expectantly above a notepad.
“In Hermione’s flat,” Harry answered easily, grinning widely. Merlin, was he a good actor. “We’re in the process of remodelling my home to make it more suitable for a family than a bachelor.”
“So you’re planning on starting a family soon?” jumped in another nearby newsman. His words were loud enough that others turned to look at them as well. Mrs. Weasley – who had picked up on even the hint
of babies from half the tent away – looked positively ecstatic through her evident shock.
Hermione felt her cheeks grow warm. “We aren’t planning on any children right now,” she said carefully, looking up at Harry for support. He simply nodded at her words, but she could tell the question had thrown him as well. “We have our careers to consider, of course. And when we do decide to go that direction,” she added pointedly, “rest assured that we will not be discussing it with you first.”
That comment got a few chuckles, and she let out the breath she hadn’t realized she’d been holding. The crowd was starting to thin out as everyone either left for the evening or headed farther into the tent where the food and drinks were housed. Hermione thought she saw Fred, or maybe it was George, following the flock of reporters as they went to find a table, but she decided to pretend she hadn’t.
Harry drew her into a hug and whispered in her ear, “You’re doing great. Thank you.”
“I should be the one thanking you, Harry,” she whispered back. “You wouldn’t be here if it weren’t—”
“I’ll always be here,” he interrupted, placing one hand on either side of her face. He bent and placed a soft kiss on her lips. “Whatever it takes to keep you safe.”
“All right there, lovebirds,” said Ron, looking greatly amused at the moment he’d just witnessed.
Luna smiled at both of them. “I’m so glad the Crimping Damphlies stayed away. That would have ruined your wedding for certain.”
Hermione smiled back and hugged the witch, despite being suddenly in the mood to hex something large and red haired. Ron moved in to get a hug, and she didn’t stop him. He was her best friend, after all, despite the last couple years’ worth of awkward footing.
“Good thing I was already taken,” he whispered, his voice still edged with humour. “Else you might have had to marry me, and you know we’d have killed each other. At least you and Harry can be civil
.” On the last word, he pulled back and winked at her.
“Oh look, Ron,” said Luna, pointing to the other end of the tent. “There’s Marta Ellington.”
As the two waved at the newly married couple and retreated, Hermione couldn’t even offer them a smile in return. She felt frozen, rooted to the spot, which thankfully was no longer surrounded by family or friends or reporters – no one but Harry. He looked at her strangely, but she barely noticed. All she could think about were Ron’s words.
“Hermione?” said Harry.
This time, she actually followed her first instinct. She ran.