Chapter 38 : From the Heart
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From the Heart
"Bill, help me out here!" called Ron as he slipped on the steps to the loft. Bill joined him and together they pulled Harry up the steps to the loft and rolled him into bed.
"Wait Ron; make sure we leave the hangover remedy for him," Bill remembered. Ron placed three vials of potion on the nightstand. Harry sat up, puked all over Ron’s feet and fell back onto the unmade bed.
"Great, just great," he muttered. Bill laughed. "Scourgify!" the sick was vanished. Harry turned back over in his bed and passed out.
At the Burrow Ginny wasn’t faring any better. Hermione was holding her up as Luna tried to get her shoes off. All three fell on the bed in a heap.
"Ginny’s gonna hate herself tomorrow. We need to leave lots of hangover potion for her," Hermione sniggered. "Her team mates are right; she’s quite entertaining when she’s drunk." She left a couple bottles of the blue potion on Ginny’s dresser.
Ginny rolled off the bed onto the floor with a thud, but didn’t wake. "Come on, once more." grunted Hermione. With some effort, Hermione and Luna lifted their friend onto the bed again and pulled the blankets over her.
Harry and Ginny didn’t see each other until lunch the next day; both looked rough to say the least. Each of them was the owner of dark circles under their eyes, flushed cheeks and a decidedly surly disposition. Neither of them was moving much faster than a sloth, and any loud noise made them cringe in pain.
"Have a good night?" asked Ginny, tufts of hair hung loose over her face. Her normally sparkling brown eyes, barely open, displayed utter tiredness and lack of sleep.
"Yeah, I think so, but I’ve no idea. I remember getting to The Leaky Cauldron, and the first hour of the party, then nothing, can’t recall anything after that," Harry mumbled; his face was drawn and very pale. "How about you, have fun?"
"What I remember of it was fun. I woke up sicker than a dog, no memory at all of what happened." Ginny sighed and avoided looking directly at Harry. "Any time I ask what we did, ‘Mione and Luna just laugh, tell me I’m a fun drunk and walk away. I think it’s a conspiracy to keep me in the dark," Ginny grumbled as she tried to force down another sip of tea.
"I get the same treatment. Ron won’t spill, and Bill openly mocks me. I don’t have a clue what happened." Harry shook his head in bewilderment. "Look I might as well fess up. I have these and no memory of getting them." He lifted his shirt, exposing at least half a dozen bite marks on his chest.
Ginny sighed. "I understand. I wish our friends had watched over us a little more. I’m not mad. I got these and don’t remember anything." Ginny pulled down the collar of her t-shirt, showing a set of four love bites. There’s one on my stomach too."
Harry rubbed his face with his hands, and then reached for Ginny’s hand. "Relax its fine… Same behavior from both sets of friends. It can’t be good."
"It seems like they’re in cahoots." Ginny furrowed her brow in thought.
"Right now, I just want to get through the rest of today without puking," Harry groaned.
"Me too, my balance is still way off. I can’t imagine how bad I’d be if I didn’t take the potion." Ginny half-smiled.
The second half of the day flashed by as the wedding preparations continued. Delivery vans brought supplies and flowers. Dresses and tuxedos arrived later. The wedding party headed down to the tree and practiced the ceremony until they had it down pat. After the rehearsal the large group headed for the tents and the waiting dinner. Neither Harry nor Ginny ate normally, due to their post party condition, but they were able to keep down some of the food offered. The hangover remedies helped, but didn’t do much to quell the nausea that plagued them even this late in the day.
The after dinner entertainment wasn’t planned; at least not by Harry and Ginny. George stepped to the front of the tent and conjured a large white movie screen.
"Hello everyone! Settle down! So tonight our innocent little baby sister is finally on the verge of marrying the sweet little Boy-Who-Saved-The-World." He grinned wickedly. "The real question is…just how innocent and sweet are they? Well after last night, not as pure as we thought."
He waved to the screen, "Bill if you please." Bill stepped forward and images flew from his wand to the screen... Ginny chugging from a bottle of wine... Harry with a bottle of fire whiskey in each hand… The crowd started giggling. Ginny holding a green drink of some type... Harry pounding back a mug of lager... More pictures embarrassing the couple flashed up to the screen.
Ginny turned her head, Harry blushed. He pulled her into his lap. She put up a feeble attempt to stop him. More pictures flashed up. Harry dancing on a table... Ginny dancing on the bar... Harry having fire whiskey poured down his throat... Ginny holding up a set of skimpy, red silk knickers and garters... The guests laughed at the embarrassed couple.
Ginny blushed more. Harry rubbed his hand through his hair. More pictures... Harry with his shirt off...
"HARRY JAMES POTTER!" Molly screamed, "WHEN DID YOU GET A TATTOO!" The guests roared in laughter. Harry winced at Molly’s shouts. More pictures… Harry, shirt off with a bottle of tequila being poured on his stomach… More pictures... Ginny dancing without her blouse, showing a very sexy black bra... Catcalls cascaded down on her. She hid her face in Harry’s neck. Ginny, Hermione, Fleur and Luna dancing on the bar with a group of men watching…
"This isn’t good, I don’t remember that," she apologized. More pictures, Harry dancing drunkenly with an unknown blonde female…
"Harry, how could you!" she gasped. Harry shifted uncomfortably. New picture, Ginny dancing with an unknown male… A barrage of hoots and hollers befell the couple.
"How could you?" Harry teased back. "We were wasted, lets just get through this. I love you."
"Love you too." She kissed his neck.
More pictures…Ginny and the girls standing in front of ‘Arnett’s Magical Tattoos’… Ginny going in the door...
"GINEVRA WEASLEY! SO HELP ME CHILD, IF YOU HAVE DEFILED YOUR BODY IN ANY MANNER WHAT SO EVER, I WILL GROUND YOU FOR THE NEXT TWENTY YEARS!" Molly screamed at the top of her lungs. Everyone in the tent shrieked at Molly’s outburst.
"You got a tattoo?" Harry gasped.
"Harry, unlike you if I got a tattoo while I was drunk, I’d remember it," she reminded him of his drunken escapade in Miami.
More pictures... Harry on a chair, another girl dancing around him... Ginny on a couch with an unknown man standing over her wearing just his briefs...
The scenes changed. Ron dancing with a drunken Hermione… An inebriated Bill dancing with Fleur... Ginny on a different couch with Harry standing over her in his boxers... The guests screamed again teasing him. Harry on a chair with Ginny dancing on him, wearing just her knickers... Harry giving Ginny a series of love bites…
"Well now we know..." He smiled in relief, knowing nobody else had their mouth on Ginny’s body.
More pictures... Ginny returning the favor to Harry by giving him a set of bite marks... "Whew, that’s good," She said, equally relieved that she was the one that marked Harry.
"Whoooo!" the family and friends called out, tormenting the pair.
More pictures. Ginny passed out in her room... Harry passed out at the loft...
George stepped back in front of the dinner guests and vanished the magical screen. "So, as we can plainly see, our baby sister isn’t quite as innocent as we originally thought." George bowed to her. Ginny stood up and bowed to the crowd, her face flushed.
"As for Mr. Potter, our hero, well now we know his true colors too." George pointed to Harry. Harry also got up and bowed.
Bill stepped up to the front of the tent. "Harry, Ginny, I hope you forgive us for recording your escapades. For the record, neither of you were remotely interested in dancing with the…errr, the entertainers…provided by your friends. And also for the record, once the parties merged, we could hardly pry you two apart." He grinned evilly at his sister and Harry. "Funny that you two don’t remember all this, you should watch how much you drink." The crowd groaned at his admonishment of the red-faced couple.
The dinner broke up. Harry led Ginny down to the old willow tree. He cast a warming charm to keep them from getting cold. They sat holding hands, looking at the moon in the distance. "Ready for tomorrow?" he asked.
"Yes," Ginny replied, "you ready?"
"Yes." He kissed her gently. "We better go in before they send somebody after us." Together the soon-to-be-married couple walked back to the Burrow.
Once inside Ginny gave Harry a quick kiss and turned up the stairs to her room. Harry rested against the counter in the kitchen, thinking about the next day.
‘Tomorrow I marry Ginny.’ he smiled. He heard Mr. Weasley talking to Molly in the study.
"…what it’s all about. All the family is here, we have a full house. And I get to walk my daughter down the aisle. It’s what every father dreams of."
"Yes Arthur, I can’t believe it. We’ll all be there to witness Ginny’s wedding. Oh how I dreamed about this. Years of dreams really, about her, and me, on her day. I’ll cherish the moments forever," Molly spoke wistfully.
Harry smiled again as he thought about Arthur, Molly and all Ginny’s family, witnessing her special day. Harry’s smile evaporated when his reality slammed home, sending his mind into darkness. ‘Who will be there for me?’ he closed his eyes and leaned his head back. ‘I’ve got no mother, no father, no grandparents…’ He shook his head in an attempt to clear the negative thoughts. He decided to walk home; the walk might get him out of the funk he was now in.
"You okay Harry?" George asked as he bumped into Harry by the front door.
"Yeah, just going home," Harry replied, never bothering to look up.
George shrugged it off and went to the den.
Ten minutes later at the carriage house, Ron climbed the spiral stairs to the bedroom of the loft. "Hey mate, asleep already? I thought we…" Ron sighted the empty bed and then quickly looked around. "Harry? Harry!" He spun and raced around looking for his best friend. Harry was not home.
Ron flooed to the Burrow, only George and Bill were still downstairs. "Hey guys, is Harry here? He’s not at the loft." The both shook their heads no. "Did he say anything? Was he acting weird? I have to find him," Ron said urgently.
"No idea." Bill shrugged.
"He was real down when I saw him in the kitchen. Just said he was going to walk home. He looked kind of sad," George described.
"Do you know why he was sad?" Ron urged. "Why didn’t you do something?"
"Ron, it was Harry. If we panicked every time his mood changed we’d all be in St. Mungos," George retorted.
"Why, who was sad?" Hermione asked as she joined the others in the study.
"Harry, he’s not at the loft," Ron explained.
"I have to tell Ginny." Hermione started to leave.
"No, not yet, let her sleep for a little longer. We don’t know enough to wake her." Hermione’s husband held her elbow to stop her retreat.
"Why was Harry sad?" the brunette questioned. "Did someone say something to bother him?" Everyone shook their heads no.
"Wait, you said you saw him leaving the kitchen. George, did he overhear Mum and Dad?" Bill looked to his brother.
"Why would that matter?" Ron queried.
"Dad and Mum were going on about family, and all of us being there to witness Ginny getting married, how we’ll all be there," Bill explained.
Ron looked at Hermione. "You think he’s bothered about being all alone tomorrow? You know, no parents or Sirius?" She nodded her agreement.
"Lets follow his tracks, if he was walking we can follow him," Hermione suggested. She and Ron left the Burrow, following Harry’s tracks towards his home. Halfway down the country road the tracks in the snow stopped in a swirl.
"He must’ve apparated," Hermione mused.
"To where his parents are. Grab my arm." Ron did so. ‘Pop’ she side along apparated them away.
They arrived in front of the house in Godric’s Hollow. Quickly the pair scanned the destroyed house, but there was no sign of Harry. The freshly fallen snow blanketed the ruins, no footprints were visible. Harry wasn’t there.
Hermione sighed. "Come on again." Ron grabbed her arm. ‘Pop’ they disappeared again.
They reappeared at the small graveyard. Again the duo scanned the area, and again no trace of their missing friend was found. Ron sighed. "Now what do we do?"
"I’m not sure, where else would he go? If it was his parents bothering him, this is where they are." Hermione rubbed her temples trying to figure it out.
"Uhhhh… ‘Mione I think I know where he is. I’ll go get him. You go back to the Burrow and keep an eye on things. Mostly make sure Ginny stays calm if she wakes." Ron gave her a hug. "Go on, I’ll bring him to the Burrow." With a small ‘pop’ he was gone.
Harry surveyed the scene before him. His damp and muddy clothing clung to his chilled body. The snow in an area about thirty by forty was melted away, leaving a slime of mud and slush. ‘Damn, this was supposed to be easy,’ he groused. ‘All I want is my parents and Sirius at my wedding, why can’t I have that?’ He kicked a downed branch out of his way.
‘Summoning it didn’t work, probably because it’s one of the Deathly Hallows. They’re supposed to be difficult to get, if you could just summon them, it would defeat the purpose of them…’ he logically concluded. ‘I know I dropped it right near here!’ He fell to his knees for the fourth time and ran his hands through the mud, searching, touching, feeling his way around the next section of muddy forest floor.
Harry remembered the last two times he entered the forest. Most recently, he’d led Ginny down the very path he followed tonight, and described in detail kissing the snitch, getting the Resurrection Stone and seeing all his family. The other time he traversed this path was the night he walked in to die, to face his destiny, to be murdered. ‘Mum, Dad, Sirius you all came to help me when I called for you… When I needed strength, you helped me through,’ he mumbled to himself. ‘Is it so different now? I know you won’t be real, but it’s as close as I can get. I’ve never asked for all this, all I want is my family to witness me getting married…’ His eyes clouded for the hundredth time. His wand cast a soft light. He continued the frantic search for the Deathly Hallow he currently desired most. Mud splattered up his sleeves and onto his eyeglasses, obscuring his already atrocious vision. So absorbed in his search was he, that he never noticed a second glowing wand enter the small clearing.
"Harry, Harry, come on mate. What are you doing?" Ron wandered past the low stone wall, following the lone set of footprints in the snow. "Lumos!" he lit his wand, and listened intently as he entered the forest. Ron kept tracing his friend’s footsteps. He followed the trail down a path to a small clearing. At the center of the area, on hands and knees was Harry, frantically searching for something.
"Hey, Harry… what are you doing mate?" Ron stepped over and placed a reassuring hand on his friend’s shoulder. Harry kept casting warming charms on the snow, making it melt and running his hands along the ground. The mud caked his pants and shirt. His cloak lay in the mud, balled up by a tree.
"HARRY!" Ron grabbed him and lifted him up. Harry stared blankly at Ron. Ron wrapped Harry into a hug. "Talk to me Harry, you’re looking for the Resurrection Stone right?"
Harry nodded, then shook off the hug, dropped to his knees and started to search again.
"Mate, this isn’t what you want." Ron pulled his friend back up to face him. "Harry, it won’t bring them back. You know it as well as I do."
Harry sat down against a large elm tree; he thumped his head back against the tree’s trunk hard several times. "I tried to summon it, but it won’t come, and I knew there was no way to find it under the snow, so I started the warming charms, but then I ended up with all this mud…" Harry looked up after finishing his confession.
"Hagrid’s gonna go spare if you keep messing up his forest," Ron joked.
"Bloody hell Ron, I’ve managed to really mess this up haven’t I?" Harry frowned and stared at the ground. "I just wanted my parents to be there tomorrow. Nobody’ll be there for me… Ginny’s going to hate me for this." He voluntarily thumped the back of his head against the tree a few more times in punishment.
"She won’t hate you." Ron knelt down in front of Harry.
"Look Ron, promise me you won’t tell her about this," Harry pleaded.
"I promise, I won’t tell her..." Ron poked Harry in the chest and stared very seriously at him, "you are."
"How can I face her Ron?" Harry closed his eyes. "She’s going to hex me, and probably call off the wedding...I’ve ruined everything."
"I think you’re being a little hard on yourself. She’ll forgive you." Ron smiled. "She has to; it’s the woman’s job to forgive. We’re the men. We do stupid things and get in trouble. Then the women take pity on us and forgive us for being such gits." Ron shrugged. "It’s the natural order of things. Heck just last month ‘Mione got all crazy when I threatened to toss her mirror out the window for its rude comments about my snoring. But one ‘I’m sorry’ and a few kisses later and everything is all fixed."
"Of course I didn’t go barmy on the night before my wedding. You’ll have to do loads more groveling," Ron decided.
He offered Harry a helping hand. Harry took it and stood up. Ron led them from the forest and past the stone wall that marked the outer boundary of the Hogwarts grounds. "Come on. I’ll side along you to the Burrow." Harry hesitantly took Ron’s arm, ‘pop’ they were gone as quickly as they’d arrived.
‘Pop’ the two men appeared on the walk leading to the Burrow. "Wait Harry… ‘scourgify! …scourgify!' that’s better," Ron said as he vanished the mud from their clothing.
Ron led Harry up the steps onto the front porch.
"Ready?" Ron asked.
"No, does the Bat-Bogey hex hurt? Maybe she’ll just stun me…" Harry looked down at his feet.
Ron opened the door and Harry stepped into the kitchen. A worried Ginny was sitting at the table. One hand shakily held a cup of hot tea. Hermione firmly held Ginny’s other hand in comfort. When the men entered, Ginny leapt up and hugged her brother tightly.
"Thanks for bringing him back Ron." She kissed his cheek. She released her brother and turned to his wife. "Can you two give us some room please?" Hermione led Ron to the study, leaving Ginny and Harry alone.
Harry stood before Ginny. He closed his eyes, tensing his chest and stomach muscles in anticipation of the inevitable hex. He squeezed his eyelids closed even tighter and balled his fists, knowing it would hurt, no matter which hex she threw at him.
Harry flinched when instead of a hex he felt her smaller warm hand take his. "Talk to me Harry. Hermione kind of filled me in."
"No you aren’t."
"Yeah, I am…I…I…I just wanted somebody from my family to be at the wedding, even if it was just their images." He continued hanging his head, avoiding her eyes.
"Harry…" She lifted his chin and directed his attention to her face, which was filled with love and concern. "…no one can fault you for wanting that, but your family will be there, all of us. You’ve been part of our family since the first day we met you."
"But all your names are Weasley, not Potter, and none of you have black hair that won’t stay down. I know how you’ve all taken me in, but…but it still isn’t the same thing," he said forlornly.
Ginny sighed. ‘He’s right, no matter how much we tell him we are; we aren’t his real family.’ Ginny flushed in response to her angry thoughts, ‘This is what it comes down to again, the damn Dursleys. Their parenting, or lack of parenting, has crushed his spirit.’ She sincerely hoped the lousy bastards attended the wedding, because at this point she wanted to get close enough to strangle all three of them for the damage inflicted on Harry. Damage he didn’t deserve.
Ginny peered back at Harry with conviction. "Harry is it that important to you?" she questioned carefully. "If it is, I’ll get everyone together and we’ll search the forest until we find the stone. I’ll push the wedding back until we have it."
Harry smiled wanly. "No, I should get my head checked...it…it hurts though…the emptiness. Do you think it’s odd that emptiness can hurt?"
"I can understand how it could."
"I’m sorry I messed up tonight…If you want to rethink things, I’ll…I’ll understand…" Harry said; his voice filled with dejection and self doubt.
"You think I’d change my mind about you over this? I wondered if, or when, we’d end up dealing with this. After all the wedding plans got finalized I figured maybe it might not affect you, but tonight it did."
"But I just up and left on my own."
"Yes, and it hurts some that you didn’t talk to me," Ginny admitted.
"I was just walking home, and I felt like the whole world was closing in. And I wanted my Mum, not your Mum, my Mum. I thought of the stone, and I apparated to just outside the grounds, and then I began searching. I didn’t really plan it." He searched Ginny’s eyes for forgiveness. "Gin, are you sure about marrying me? I know I’m a hard person to deal with."
Ginny took his other hand in hers and led him to the bench on the right side of the table. Once he sat, she straddled his hips facing him, her face just a few scant inches from his. "I got over the hero worship a long time ago. I am fully aware of the fact that you aren’t perfect. I know you have troubles. I know you still have a lot of bad dreams. I understand that our life together will surely have many trials."
Harry gazed at the woman comforting him.
Ginny continued, "I can also say, beyond a doubt, that you are worth it. Yes, you have a temper, but I do too, and we‘re both stubborn." She gave him a brief kiss. "We don’t have to be perfect; we just have to love each other regardless of our faults…Harry, whatever issues you have, that you think make you less than desirable, don’t matter. We can take all the bad, because we know how terrific the good is. You are more than worth it." Ginny layered more soft kisses on his cheeks and lips. She gently wrapped him in a hug. "I love you, no matter what."
Harry sighed heavily. "I love you too…I wish my Mum and Dad could be here."
"So do I…but they’re here…" she placed her hand on his heart, "…and they’re here." She put her hand on her own heart.
Harry pulled her close for another comforting hug and buried his face in the crook of her neck. "I love you, Gin, so much," he whispered.
Ginny placed a last gentle kiss on his neck. "Why don’t we get you home?" Ginny offered.
Hermione and Ron ambled into the kitchen, sensing the conversation was over.
Ginny spoke as the couple entered, "Hermione, can you floo Harry to the loft and get him settled in? I want to talk to my brother for a second."
Hermione and Harry flooed away in a flash of green flame.
If the day before had been busy, it was nothing compared to this day. Even with most of the details finalized weeks ago, the Burrow still buzzed with activity and excitement.
Both wedding participants slept in late, thanks to the evening ceremony time. The family kept the couple apart all day. When Harry had attempted to levitate to Ginny’s window he was banished from the Burrow and sent back to the loft with Ron, Neville and Bill.
At the Burrow, preparations continued on. Sam Westin and Kingsley directed two teams of Aurors for security, helping to relieve that worry from everyone’s mind. So far the press was being held at bay just past the Burrow’s wards. Bill, Harry and Arthur enlarged the wards to encompass the willow tree, altar and seating area by at least several hundred feet in all directions.
Kingsley made sure two sets of agents from the Muggle Worthy Excuse Committee arrived to answer any questions from townsfolk as to why the road was closed. To any muggles passing by, or those magical people without a proper invitation, the scene appeared to be a construction site; replete with flashing barricades and huge dirt piles, along with various skip loaders and bulldozers sitting around.
To the invited guests the scene was breathtaking, as the last few moments of day settled to dusk. Many rows of white chairs led to the raised platform being used as an altar. At the rear of the platform was a large ice sculpture carved into an arch adorned with delicate carvings of various flowers. A fresh snowfall layered clean unmarked snow across the meadows. Above the seating a myriad of enchanted glowing crystals enveloped the area in a soft, yet twinkling light.
Each row of seats was decorated with dark blue silk bows featuring white accents. The blues and whites complimented the clear night sky. A bright white moon was just becoming visible behind the old willow tree now that evening fully enveloped the countryside. Its glow brought out the luster of the snow and icicles encrusting the willow. The regal old tree sparkled grandly in the night.
As guests filed in, the wedding party finished their last minute preparations. Warming charms on the area kept the temperature to a very spring like seventy degrees. Soon the rows filled to capacity with witches and wizards in full formal robes.
Harry waited at the altar with Ron beside him. He longed for absent friends and family. The front row of chairs on the groom’s side of the seating was conspicuously empty; his Mum and Dad, Sirius, Albus, Remus and Tonks were not going to be there. He tried not to dwell on their absence. The events of the previous night clouded his mind, and try as he might to push the loneliness from his heart, it still encroached. Harry squeezed his eyes shut and refocused on those who were here. He looked over the crowd, so many friends sat in the audience, Viktor and Anastasia, friends from school, Professor McGonagall sitting with Marcus, Hagrid and Grawp, the Warringtons, and to his surprise in the last row, nearly hidden, Petunia Dursley.
Music began to play softly. Bill and Fleur swept gracefully down the aisle. Neville escorted Luna down the aisle smoothly. Hermione glided forward in perfect time to the music and each took their place. When the music swelled and segued into the bridal march Harry’s breath hitched, he couldn’t help but stare.
Arthur was leading Ginny down the aisle slowly, very slowly. Harry swallowed repeatedly trying to keep his composure. The sight of her in a spectacular white silk dress struck him solidly. Her veil hid her face slightly but her radiant smile flashed through. The dress transformed Ginny from a beautiful girl to a magnificent woman, the bare shoulders begged for attention. The bust line accentuated her body, the thin waist showed off her hips. The diamond choker necklace highlighting her neck she’d found in the Potter family vault. It had long ago belonged to Lily’s grandmother. Her ears were adorned with the earrings that matched the necklace. Her hair was pulled back at the sides, and then left in loose curls falling down her back. Aunt Murial’s tiara glistened in the moonlight. By any account she was perfect.
"Harry, keep breathing, in…out…in…out." Ron prodded him in the ribs.
"I’m trying," he answered softly. "It’s really going to happen isn’t it?" He thought back over the years, living in the cupboard wishing for love, finding out he was a wizard, meeting the Weasley’s after Fred and George broke him out, Ginny putting her elbow in the butter, Ginny fighting at the ministry, kissing Ginny in the common room, breaking up with her, Ginny two summers ago at the Burrow, Miami, Ginny playing chaser, the second proposal, Ginny getting detention for sneaking from Hogsmeade, rescuing Ginny in the chamber, Ginny in her bridal gown standing before him. Ginny saying ‘I love you’ after their first official date, the first time he’d ever heard the words directed solely at him.
"Yes, and no one deserves it more than you two," his best friend added.
Ginny watched as Bill, Fleur, Neville, Luna and Hermione stepped off down the aisle. When it was her turn she stepped off quickly only to be held back by her father’s firm grasp at her elbow.
"Ginevra, dear, I know you want to run down this aisle and marry him as fast as you can, but let’s walk slowly. Enjoy this Gin-bug; you’ll only do it once, think about everything it took for you to get here today."
Ginny nodded, her mind flooded with memories. The platform when she was ten, the first time she ever felt safe in his arms after he’d saved her in the chamber, the DA meetings, quidditch at the Burrow, fighting at the ministry, all passed through her mind. Soon she saw Harry waiting for her by the lake, Harry with a dead Cedric, Harry kissing her in the common room, saying goodbye, seeing him dead in Hagrid’s arms, seeing him win over Voldemort, their first date, Miami, the first proposal, the second proposal. She saw the fight under the tree, falling asleep in his arms as he brushed her hair, the kiss in the common room. She stopped walking.
"Thank you for going slowly Ginevra. You gave a proud old man a few last moments with his favorite little witch," Arthur whispered. He lifted her veil carefully so he didn’t mess her hair and kissed his only daughter lightly on the cheek.
"Thanks Daddy, I love you," Ginny whispered back. She stepped forward and took Harry’s hand.
Molly stood and rested her hand on Arthur’s arm. Husband and wife exchanged a brief smile. Ginny turned to see them from the corner of her eye and gave them a wink.
Arthur led Molly across the aisle and settled themselves in the seats normally reserved for the groom’s parents. Harry started at the gesture; his row wasn’t empty any longer. His eyes welled with tears. Ginny’s hand tightened on his, another hand gripped his shoulder and Ron’s voice calmed him. "It’s alright mate, they’ve been our parents for twenty years. We can spare them for the next few minutes."
Harry nodded imperceptibly and wiped away a pair of stray tears. He composed himself and escorted Ginny up two steps to the altar where Kingsley Shacklebolt was waiting.
The minister started the ceremony. To Harry it was passing by in a blur, his mind swimming in thoughts of the moment, Arthur and Molly sitting on his side, but mostly how incredibly angel-like Ginny looked in her dress. It was worth every Lira it cost and then some.
"May I have the rings please?" asked the Minister. Teddy Lupin walked down the aisle smiling widely, his hair changed color about every fifteen seconds or so. He stepped up to the minister and held up the black box containing the rings.
"Did I do good Papa Harry?" he whispered.
Harry bent down to him. "Yes, you did good."
Teddy turned to the crowd. "I did good!" he proclaimed and then ran to sit by his grandmother. The guests laughed lightly.
"Ginevra, your vows please," the minister led.
"My dearest Harry, many people do not believe in love at first sight; I do. Many more people do not believe that fate brings two people together; I do. Often people do not think that love can be strengthened by pain and separation; I do. Few people believe that love truly can conquer evil; I do. I believe each of these truths because today I am marrying the man that fits each belief. You Harry James Potter make my heart swell with love; you make every obstacle melt away before us. I love you completely, with all my heart." Ginny smiled as she finished.
"Harry your vows please," The minister continued.
"I knew them, I did," Harry confessed "Anyone at rehearsal last night heard them. But when Gin stopped in front of me, looking so beautiful, I lost track of them. Merlin, she’s so pretty…breathtaking. But as pretty as she is on the outside, she is even more beautiful on the inside." Ginny looked into his emerald green eyes.
"We all know the story, my story, but today isn’t about me, it’s about her. Ginny doesn’t see me as famous, or destined, she only sees me as just plain Harry. When nobody else could talk to me, she made me see things right. She stole my heart never to relinquish it again. She is the only woman I’ve ever loved." He paused.
"But what most people do not know, is that after the final battle…I was what needed saving." Harry’s eyes glassed over as he thought of Tom Riddle and the death of friends lost in battle. He saw the dead bodies lying in the anteroom of the school.
Ginny saw his eyes and leaned closer to him. "Fight it, he's gone, don’t let him in," she whispered.
Harry nodded slightly, his eyes cleared and he continued, "Ginevra is the person who saved me from Voldemort, from myself. She looked into my broken mind, my tortured soul and put me back together better than I’ve ever been. If it wasn’t for Ginny, I doubt I would be alive today. I am less than nothing without her. I want, and need, to spend the rest of my life with her." Harry gazed into Ginny’s eyes. She leaned up and kissed him lightly.
"Ginny, we aren’t to that part yet," Kingsley corrected her.
"I can kiss him whenever I want," Ginny stated. Kingsley smiled at her response.
"Ginevra, please repeat after me," led the Minister of Magic, "I, Ginevra Molly Weasley, take thee, Harry James Potter, as my lawful wedded husband, to love, honor and obey for all the days of my life."
Ginny repeated the vows. She pushed the ring onto Harry’s finger. It glowed brightly.
"Harry, please repeat after me," the minister continued, "I, Harry James Potter, take thee, Ginevra Molly Weasley, to be my lawful wedded wife, to love honor and protect for all the days of my life."
Harry repeated the vows and slid Ginny’s ring onto her finger. It glowed brightly as well.
"By the power vested in me by the Ministry of Magic I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss your bride." Kingsley finished the ceremony. The magical glow emitted from the wedding rings increased to a blinding white as the magical bond was completed; then the glow subsided and the rings resumed a normal state of brilliance. Harry leaned forward and kissed his wife. Ginny pulled him close and snaked her hands around his waist. He continued the kiss sliding his hands up cradling her face.
"I love you, sorry I messed up my vows," he sighed.
"You didn’t mess them up, they came from the heart. They were perfect. I love you too," she whispered back.
"I now present to you Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter!" The newly married couple kissed again and strolled back down the aisle to applause.
Guests started filing over to the tents, while the wedding party stayed at the altar to finish the wedding photos.
"Ron, Hermione please get the party started. Ginny and I will be there soon. We have a stop to make, and then we’ll be back," Harry instructed. He pulled Ginny into a hug ‘pop’ they disappeared.
Harry and Ginny reappeared behind the church in Godric’s Hollow. Silently they made their way over to Harry’s parents’ markers. The newlyweds stepped quickly through the virgin snow of the small graveyard. Harry laid a set of charms on their shoes and clothing, making the items impervious to the snow and cold.
"We did it Mum and Dad. We got married today, Ginny and I. I know you were watching over us. Can you see how spectacular she looks? I’m so incredibly lucky." Harry hugged Ginny from behind.
"James, Lily, I know you were with us in spirit. Harry looks so handsome in his tuxedo and dress robes. Lily I picked your grandmum’s diamond necklace set to wear during the ceremony, it made me feel closer to you. I’ll do my best to keep him happy." Ginny finished.
"I’m doing a lot better now; I hardly have the nightmares any more…I finally feel like I deserve to be happy…It’s like I had to learn how to live all over again…Bye Mum, bye Dad. I’ll visit again one day, I promise." Harry bid farewell. A flurry of red and gold caught Harry’s eyes from the far side of the small cemetery. Fawkes perched on a large headstone, singing softly, watching over the couple.
"Hello Fawkes," Harry addressed the phoenix. The bird sang louder. "Please tell Dumbledore that we made it." The bird bowed its head. "Also, tell him I made the right choice coming back, and that I do not intend to see him for many, many, years." The bird flapped its wings and soared from the area towards the moon.
Harry and Ginny watched the phoenix vanish into the darkness. ‘Pop’ the newlyweds apparated back to the Burrow.
"Please welcome for the first time ever Mr. and Mrs. Harry Potter!" Seamus announced loudly as the couple entered the tent to enthusiastic applause. The caterers quickly served the dinner. Harry led Ginny to the head table where the wedding party and Mr. and Mrs. Weasley sat waiting.
Harry held Ginny’s chair for her as she sat. Just to tease her he moved the butter dish back from her place setting. He earned a punch in the arm for his cheekiness.
Three quarters of the way through dinner Ron readied for the toast.
"Alright, silence you lot!" Ron called. "Time for the toast!" He stood at the head of the table and spoke to the crowd. "To the couple who seemed destined to be together. but they were apart. And then they were together, and then apart, but not really apart…Then they were together again and then apart, and then apart even more, and then together again, and now together forever." He shook his head. "I need a drink." He gulped a bit of his champagne. "That was the abridged version…"
"Today Harry officially joined our family by marrying the most precious member of our family, my sister, Ginevra. I say officially, because truth be known, he’s been part of our family since the first day I met him." Guests nodded in agreement. Ron continued, "Anyone who doubts the power of love should see them when they’re together. Well, not when they’re snogging, that’s just odd. You know, seeing your little sister kissing some guy’s face. Ewww." The gathered friends laughed. Hermione poked him in the ribs.
"Right, sorry… Where was I? Right, power of love…It is amazing to see them focused only on each other, no matter where they are or what else is happening. So to my new brother and my only sister, I say congratulations. We love you, we wish you the best. You belong together…Nobody else is stubborn enough to put up with the two of you." Guests laughed again. Ron raised his glass and drank, the guests toasted and drank as well.
Thanks, I think…" Harry said through a grin.
The wedding party stepped over to the cake. Harry and Ron stood next to each other on one side of the platter. Ginny and Hermione stood on the other side. Harry and Ginny each took a piece of cake to offer each other.
"Okay then, on three right Gin?" She nodded in agreement. "One…two…three…" Instead of feeding each other Ginny pushed the full piece of cake into Ron’s mouth, Harry did the same to Hermione. Best friends stood wide eyed in amazement; cake and icing dripping from their faces. Laughter rang out in the tent as the guests reacted to the acts. Harry and Ginny then gently fed each other a bite of cake smirking to each other.
Molly waved her wand cleaning the best man and matron of honor. Both laughed off the incident, but vowed revenge. Seamus started the first song and called for the Potter’s to take the first dance.
Harry felt Ginny slip into his arms as they danced for the first time as husband and wife. He tipped his head down and rested his forehead on hers. Emerald green met chocolate brown as the couple spun slowly across the floor. The guests and background slid from focus and gradually disappeared completely as the couple focused only on each other.
"We made it Gin, we made it," Harry said softly. Ginny felt his body relax at the realization.
"Yes Harry we did." She kissed him lightly.
Harry’s eyes teared up and he tried to focus on Ginny’s warm brown eyes. "I lived, he didn’t win."
"No he didn’t." Ginny’s eyes swelled at the thought.
"If I had to do it over again, I would…All of it, the cupboard, the death, the pain, I would do it all again to get here…with you." Harry dipped his head to her shoulder.
Ginny felt the warm tears on her neck; she cupped the back of his head in her hand. Ginny took the lead in their dancing and slowly turned Harry so she was facing the guests and he was facing the gift table. Not that anyone in attendance would belittle him for his emotions, but this was private. Ginny held her husband closely, intimately protecting his most private of moments from the eyes of their family and friends. This was for their hearts only.
Ginny spoke sweetly as Harry regained himself, "You don’t have to, and for the record; you are my hero, my champion. You fought the monster and saved the princess, I’m living my fairytale." Ginny guided his face to hers, leaned her head slightly right and they kissed. The couple continued the slow heartfelt kisses oblivious to their surroundings; failing to recognize the first song had finished nearly two minutes before.
"Heeellllooo Poootteerrrrs…" Seamus announced. Ron’s hand on his shoulder finally pulled Harry back to reality.
"See what I meant about them getting lost in each other?" Ron joked. The guests chuckled.
The second dance started with Harry inviting the wedding party to join in. Soon the dance floor was full of couples enjoying each other’s company and the music. More dances followed.
Ginny stared at Petunia Dursley standing off to the side of the dance floor. ‘Do I make peace or hex the bitch silly?’ she considered the options, leaning heavily towards hexing the bitch.
Harry was watching his aunt as well. "Do you want to meet her?" he whispered to Ginny.
Ginny shrugged. "Come on, let’s get it over with." She and Harry walked to meet Petunia.
"Aunt Petunia, I’d like you to meet Ginevra Weasley, well Potter now, my wife," Harry introduced.
"Hello Petunia." Ginny stifled her anger, put on a smile, and offered her hand to the older woman.
"Nice to meet you," Petunia responded coolly, rebuking Ginny’s handshake.
"Would you care to dance?" Harry motioned towards the dance floor.
"No, I do not think so. I came by to finish the last of the obligation to my sister. I have seen you to adulthood, goodbye Harry." Petunia gave a curt nod and left the reception.
"Wow, you can just feel the warmth can’t you." He shook his head. "Will you at least dance with me my dear wife?" He smiled, ‘Wife, now that I can get used to.’
Ginny laughed and pulled him to the floor for a dance. Harry and Ginny danced with friends and family but would only go three dances or so before finding each other again.
"Hey brother, is it my turn to dance yet?" Hermione took Harry’s hand to dance.
"Of course sis." He smiled back to her. She wrapped her arms around his neck, his hands went to her slim waist and they started moving.
"Congratulations Harry, nobody deserves a happily ever after more than you," she whispered.
"Thanks; it wasn’t too long ago that I didn’t think I’d ever live to see this day," he confessed to his friend. "I got here because of you, without you I never could have made it."
She kissed his cheek. "Harry, shut up and dance," she reminded him.
After a few more dances he found himself with Fleur. "Ahh ‘Arry you are quite zee dancer, are you not? As I told you zat night, you and Gin-ee, zee match eet ees so perfect. I am happy for you, my Veela part ees very ‘appy for zee two of you. ‘Arry you are zo brave, I zaw zat during zee tournament when you saved Gabrielle, and how you fought zee evil, I am proud of you ‘Arry. You and Gin-ee make zee perfect couple."
"Thanks Fleur, I appreciate it. Thanks." She left to find Bill.
Harry’s next dance was with Lynette Warrington. "Having a fun time?" Harry asked the teenager.
"Oh yes. Everything is so beautiful. Thank you so much for inviting me," Lynette answered.
"I’m happy you could all make it." Harry spotted Ginny dancing with Daniel. The boy was on cloud nine. "He’s having fun."
Lynette watched her brother. "Yes he is, but he’s dancing with the most beautiful woman here."
"Hey, I’m not beautiful?" Harry pouted.
"No, you’re handsome, and not a woman, so that disqualifies you on two counts," Lynette kidded him. Without warning she quickly stretched up and kissed his cheek. "Oh, I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have done that," she stammered.
"Shhh…" Harry calmed the girl. "Lynnette it’s perfectly fine. There is no way I was dancing with a young lady as pretty as you without getting at least a small kiss." He winked, then bent down and gave the girl a soft kiss on the cheek as the song ended. "You are going to break hearts young lady. You do know that don’t you?"
"Thanks for the dance Harry."
"Thanks for the kiss." He smiled, giving her a quick wink.
He’d no sooner released Lynette’s hand than Sydney took it. "Hi partner." She smiled. Her soft blue dress certainly complimented her figure. Harry placed his other hand on her waist and stepped off for the next dance.
"Quite the party huh?" Harry said quietly as they moved.
"Yes, thanks for the invite."
"I figure I’ll probably be seeing you as much as Ginny over the next few years so I’d better invite you," he said with a chuckle. "Did shagging Kevin senseless help his attitude any?"
Sydney laughed. "Yeah… It was either that, or the list. I only got to twenty-six items, if Ginny got to forty-one she must have been really pissed off at you."
"You could say that," Harry said watching his new wife dance with Kevin.
"Should I go bust his chops for holding her so close?" Sydney joked as she watched the other couple too.
"Nah, leave him be. His life’s gonna be hell anyway if he stays with you." Harry smirked.
"I’m not that bad…" Sydney pouted.
"May I?" Kevin tapped Harry’s shoulder to cut in.
"Please do, I can’t stand her clinginess." Harry smiled. "Thanks for the dance Sydney."
Ginny took her rightful place in Harry’s arms and the newlyweds spun slowly across the floor.
The call went out for all single men to meet on the floor where Seamus set out a wooden chair. He started a sultry song and Ginny danced to the center of the floor. She sashayed around flirting with any man close to the floor. When she got to her husband she led him to the chair by his collar and forcefully pushed him into the seat. She continued the tantalizing dance causing her mother and father to blush. As the song reached its final third she began dancing on Harry’s lap rubbing her body on his seductively. When the last strains of the song faded Harry stood uncomfortably and Ginny took her place on the chair. Seamus started up a second similar song and Harry slowly slid his hands up Ginny’s thighs making sure he rubbed her as his hand traveled across her stockings. Ginny squirmed at his touch; his hand went higher, her breathing quickened. When he finally got to the garter he drew a sharp breath, his fingers nearly brushed her knickers, she squirmed again. His eyes caught hers; he teased her as his fingers lingered a bit longer than was necessary. He could feel her breathing skip and her stomach quiver. Finally he removed the silk and elastic garter, pulling it back down her leg.
He stood and twirled it around his finger, finally flicking it to the waiting men.
He helped Ginny up from the chair. "You took your sweet time while your hand was up there," she teased Harry.
"Of course I did, why wouldn’t I? Besides that’s what you get for putting it way up there to begin with," he whispered. "I’ll be back there before the end of the night. I promise."
"You better be." She smiled at him, intent clearly visible in her dark eyes.
The second call was for the ladies and soon Ginny was ready to throw the bouquet to the mass of waiting females. The toss arched high into the air and floated softly towards the waiting girls. Just out of their reach it spun and accelerated through the group, several girls scattered. The bouquet climbed again and swooped around the right side before racing towards Jaclyn. It avoided all others and stayed in front of the young woman, nudging Jaclyn’s crossed arms, forcing her to take it. She did and the ribbing on Charlie started immediately.
Harry led Ginny to the head table where her mother and father rested while watching the reception party as it progressed. "Mum, Dad, I wanted to say thanks, and not just for tonight, but for everything. For the talks and advice, and the scolding…" he smiled at Molly, "…even the little things, like coming to the Tri-Wizard Tournament for me, or darning my socks." Ginny squeezed his hand in support. "Well, here. These are for you, and they’re not too much." Harry passed each parent an envelope.
Molly opened her large white envelope and gasped, "Harry, Ginny? Oh come here." She hugged each of them tightly. "Look Arthur, a vacation! Four weeks, anywhere we want, no limitations!"
Arthur held his opened envelope in one hand and its contents in the other. "Thank you Harry, Ginny…I…I don’t know what to say. Thank you doesn’t seem to be enough." The elder Weasley’s eyes looked lovingly at his daughter and his new son.
"What did you get?" Molly asked looking over at the papers in his hands.
"Tickets, to the British Grand Prix automobile race this year, and paddock passes as well. But Molls, look what else." He passed Molly the other parchment in his hands.
"Oh my…" Harry received another patented, crushing, Molly Weasley hug. "Flying lessons…"
"I’ll learn how the aeroplanes stay up!" Arthur pulled his children into a hug that rivaled Molly’s for its strength.
"Mum, Dad, you made all our dreams come true, so we figured we’d try and do the same for you," Ginny explained.
"The wizards at the Firebolt research facility in Varallo, they’re pretty tight with the wizards at the Ferrari Racing headquarters. They got me the tickets and the passes for the paddock. I might be able to swing invitations to the post race party with a little luck." Harry smiled. "I thought you’d like this after seeing the posters in the shop."
The reception continued on. At three in the morning, Harry and Ginny finally said the last of the goodbyes and stepped to the apparition point; leaving the party while it was still going strong.
"Mrs. Potter, are you ready?" Harry requested with a wink.
"Yes Mr. Potter, I am," she responded before kissing him deeply.
"Behave yourself. I don’t want to splinch any of your ‘important’ parts." He swatted her bum.
"Then hurry up, I need to get out of this dress." She grinned mischievously.
"Anxious?" he whispered
"If you don’t apparate us in the next ten seconds I’m going to start undressing right here," she warned.
‘Pop’ the newlyweds apparated away.
Ginny released her grasp as the couple appeared in the center of their suite. The lights from the street reflected through the glass wall at the far end of the suite. Past the windows, the private pool and garden were visible in the darkness. Ginny stepped to the windows, admiring the view.
"Miami… the first time?" Ginny recalled as she stepped through the doors and out to the warm night air. Harry joined her, holding her waist as they looked down on the street below.
"Yes, it was here you changed me forever," he whispered.
"Changed you?" She leaned back into his chest, letting him close his arms around her even tighter.
"It was here that I first appreciated how wonderful waking up to you every morning would be. We’d had our mornings here and there, but a whole week with just you captivated me. All I wanted after that day was to have you all to myself." He turned her and gazed into her eyes. "It was here, that made me want to start the rest of our lives as soon as possible."
"I’m sorry it took me so long to…to sort myself out," Ginny murmured. "We could have…"
"Gin, shhh. We, as a couple, made it through. We each had battles to fight, both out in the world, and in our own minds. All I care about is that we did end up together." He pressed his lips to hers and they danced to no music at all.
After a few minutes of dancing Harry stepped to the room service cart. ‘Pop’ the noise of the champagne being opened brought Ginny back from the balcony edge to her new husband. They sipped the sparkling liquid and snacked on some chocolate dipped strawberries before turning their attentions to each other. Harry pulled her close and the couple danced back inside the suite. Harry summoned the cart to follow them to the bedroom. The slow romantic kisses he gave her wound their way around her body. Ginny melted into his touch her breath hitching in anticipation.
Ever so slowly he started undoing the buttons down the side of her dress, taking his time, kissing her. Ginny kissed him back as passionately as possible. Soon he worked his hands under her dress, sliding it lower, exposing her creamy skin and small bits of white lace. Ginny layered a series of slow kisses on her new husband before slowing and stopping the kisses altogether.
"Why are we stopping?" Harry gasped, fully wanting more.
"You’ll see." Ginny smiled. She held her dress up across her chest with one hand, grabbed her handbag with the other and disappeared into the bathroom.
She emerged a few moments later wearing just the very lacey, very sheer set of lingerie that he’d briefly glimpsed as he slid her dress down earlier. He swallowed in admiration.
"I thought you didn’t like lace?" Harry questioned, drinking in the stunning beauty of the redhead before him.
"It was the only lace in the wedding," She purred back. "I owed you since you invited the Dursley’s. Now, I hate lace so you better get this off me. Oh, and you’ll need this." She tossed him a white shirt.
Harry held up the white silk seeker jersey with ‘Weasley’ embroidered on the back. He looked up confused, then the ‘Mr. Weasley’ joke surfaced in his subconscious and he smiled.
Ginny held out her arms and twirled slowly, showing off her body, barley covered by the small bits of lace and silk. "Somewhere on this body is a small golden snitch. Come on Seeker Boy," she beckoned him closer, her eyes full of mischief.
"You said you didn’t get a tattoo!" He gazed at her as she walked seductively towards him.
"No, I said I’d remember if I got one, and I remember every bit of it." She nipped his ear. "It hurt like hell, but since I went to a magical place, they did a healing charm so I didn’t have near the discomfort you were saddled with." She slipped around behind him and nibbled his other ear.
"Harry dear, it’s been over six weeks and I’m losing patience with you. Undress, put that thing on and…" His furious kisses halted her instructions. He disrobed quickly with her help; she pulled the silk jersey over his head. Ginny pulled him close and their lips met yet again as their hands roamed freely across each other's body. Harry slowly initiated his search for the elusive snitch.
Their passion increased as the romantic activities escalated. Ginny led her husband towards the bed, without breaking the rhythm of their kisses. Harry lowered his wife to the bed where the search continued deliberately until the couple lay naked, and began making love. Not as two nervous newlyweds, but as a couple comfortable with each other’s wants and desires. A new parchment containing paragraphs twelve through twenty three rested on the nightstand, for after Harry found the golden snitch.
A/N- So we finally did get to the wedding I hope it was worth the wait. This story ended up being a much, much, much longer story than I originally planned. And it has taken a lot of time, but time I’ve enjoyed spending. So the big question is ‘Now what?’
As originally planned, this is the end of the story. I have more scenes in my head for times after the wedding that take place in the 19 years (16 years left after this story); some are happy, some are sad. I hope some day to get them down on paper.
I’ve posted a sequel of sorts that has a different organizational style than I've seen before so check it out. It's title is 'Thirty-One Bottles'. There's also a little one-shot that goes with this series titled 'Am I Being Silly'
Last, to anyone who reviewed or marked this as a favorite I am truly flattered.