The sun was westerning over the Burrow as Seamus came down the back steps of the house and headed out across the yard. Eyeing the preparations with a practiced eye, he nodded as he came up behind Ginny and slid his arms around her waist.
Smiling as she leaned back against him, she relaxed in his embrace. “Someone’s very sure of himself tonight. My family’s running all around, someone’s going to see us if you keep that up much longer.” Closing her eyes, Ginny just relaxed against him and sighed.
Chuckling, Seamus nuzzled her neck, eliciting a small gasp from her. “According to you, we’ve got our trump card if someone notices and takes offense.”
Turning around, Gin put her hands on his shoulders and glared at him. “We’re not giving up those two just to get you off the hook with Mum or my brothers. I shouldn’t have told you what I sussed out this morning when we met with Harry and Hermione. It’s not like she told us anything definite.”
Nodding, Seamus shrugged. “Have it your way. Once you pointed it out to me, it was fairly obvious. Hermione’s glowing like a beacon, you can almost feel the happiness radiating off of her. And this is the first time I’ve seen Harry truly happy and content.”
Smiling, Gin smirked. “Trust me, I know Harry well enough to know what probably happened. He skipped over all the preliminaries and went right for the ‘we’re together forever’ part of it. Eventually he’ll get around to asking her properly, but I can see in her eyes that she’s already said ‘yes’ and as far as the rest of the world is concerned, Harry Potter is off the market.”
Laughing, Seamus nodded to Charlie as he came around the edge of the broom shed, acknowledging the look of surprise on his face. “Should I warn off the Patils? I thought Harry would never stop blushing the other day when they offered to take him back to their family’s summer house up by Loch Marie.”
Shaking her head, Ginny’s eyes narrowed. “I think they were just putting him on, though you never can tell with those two. I think it’ll be interesting to see what happens when the next witch offers herself to Harry while Hermione’s standing there. The days of her just standing there and fuming are over, I do believe.”
Tilting his head, Seamus heard the sounds of music coming from the family Quidditch pitch. “Enough of that, I’ve got a surprise for you. Close your eyes and come with me.”
Following along, Ginny kept her eyes closed as she held tightly to his hand. Stopping as she heard the sounds of drum and bagpipe, she smiled. “Mr. Finnigan, I’d know that sound anywhere. Exactly how did you get the Weird Sisters on such short notice?”
Smiling, Seamus nodded to the drummer as he was adjusting the setup of his kit. “It’s not well known, but both the drummer and the lead singer have younger sibs at Hogwarts. Since they both have stage names, the younger ones can lead a fairly normal life. It seems that during the battle, both of the girls snuck back in to fight with their houses. Hermione saved one of them while she was laying waste to Death Eaters and you saved the other one. So, when I mentioned to young Kaitlin that we were having a wake for your brother Fred…”
Shaking her head, Ginny chuckled. “She was only too happy to dragoon her older sib into playing.” Kissing Seamus soundly, Ginny threw her arms around his neck. “This is fantastic. Fred loved their music, though he’d never admit it.”
Smiling, Seamus nodded. “Yea, but I think I’m on your mum’s shite list. I was there with your father when she suggested contacting that Celestina Warbeck. Fortunately, he was the one to tell her that a band was already booked.”
Shaking her head, Ginny smiled. “Poor Daddy. He knows everyone else in the family would rather listen to the Scapa Flow Mermish Chorus than her, but that woman was singing at the Halloween Ball the night Daddy proposed to her, so Mum’s been gaga over her ever since.” Giggling a bit as Seamus rolled his eyes she slapped his arm playfully. “Just you be careful there, Mr. Finnigan. It might not look it, but I’m just as overly romantic and sentimental as my Mum.”
Grinning, Seamus shrugged. “Oi, I suppose we can be thankful that it wasn’t Peeves singing one of his bawdy ballads when your Da proposed. I shudder to think of your Mum inviting him to the house every Christmas to sing carols.”
Giggling helplessly, Ginny held onto Seamus as tears began to stream down her cheeks. Seamus wrapped his arms around her and watched her tenderly as she kept repeating, “Centaurs We Have Heard on High” while she tried to compose herself.
“Hey there, you two keep that up and someone might suspect that there’s more to this than just event planning.” George’s voice broke into their moment as he walked over, levitating a large cloth covered object towards the small platform that had been constructed earlier in the afternoon. The smile on his face, didn’t quite reach his eyes, but he looked better than he had anytime in the past two weeks. “All right, Mr. Impresario, where do you want the Guest of Honor?”
Nodding, Seamus stuck out one hand to greet George, while keeping the other wrapped around Gin’s waist. “Looking good, George. Put the party boy up on the platform, I’ve got a small table set up there, put him so the table’s right in front of him.” Smiling at the puzzled look on Ginny’s face, Seamus nodded and whispered, “All in good time.”
George finished levitating his delivery to the dais and gently lowered it into place. Turning around, he nodded to Seamus. “Angelina wants to say something towards the end tonight. I think it would be good, she was as close to him as anyone outside the immediate family the last year or so.”
Smiling, Ginny nodded. “You mean she was the only witch he ever went out with more than twice,” she teased as George nodded thoughtfully.
“You’re probably right on that. I think the two of them were both very fond of each other, and they got closer during the war. She went with him twice on missions for the Order that I know of.” Shaking his head, George closed his eyes for a second.
Looking worried, Seamus glanced at Ginny before walking over to George. “George, I need you to focus a bit. We’ve got things pretty well set, and you know how important tonight is to everyone. Tonight will go a long way towards helping everyone to begin to come to terms with these loses. No one lost more than you did, that night, and nothing is going to make it hurt any less but time.”
Sighing, George’s shoulders slumped as he opened his eyes. “I know. Fred was doing exactly what he wanted to do that night, and he’d be the first to tell folks to live their lives to make it all worth the cost.”
Trying to smile, he nodded to Ginny who was standing there, watching him with concern in her eyes. “Making her happy will go a long way towards helping the family heal, Seamus. She’s the heart of this circus, and if you can make her happy and whole, the rest of us will follow along.” Shrugging, he slapped Seamus on the back. “No pressure there, mate.”
Smiling wryly, Seamus nodded. “None at all. Let’s see, she has brothers who are all overly protective, a mum who took down Bellatrix LeStrange, her ex-boyfriend who defeated the Dark Lord is just as protective of her as her brothers are, and her best friend is Hermione who can find more ways to make my life miserable before breakfast than I can count. I can’t see any reason why I should be worried.”
George placed his hand on Seamus’ shoulder and leaned over to whisper to him. “She loves you, mate. You’ve got nothing to worry about at all.”
Nodding, Seamus looking into George’s haunted eyes for a second. “She loves you too. She’s lost one brother; it’ll kill her to lose another. If you can’t find any other reason, start living again for her sake.”
Nodding slowly, George sighed. “I’m trying. I still expect for him to be there, finishing my sentences, setting up my jokes. Sometimes, it’s as if he’s still there, but I can’t find him.” Smiling wryly, George nodded. “Just what I need, going mad on top of everything else.”
Nodding, Seamus looked over towards the Burrow where Harry and Hermione had just arrived. “Talk to Harry. He’s got a different perspective on these sorts of things. He still feels guilty about everything that’s happened, but I think he can help you with some of it. And you can help him by letting him know it’s not his fault.”
Looking over at Harry and Hermione, George shrugged. “If nothing else, giving them the mickey about finally figuring things out should be entertaining for a moment or two.”
Smiling, Seamus nodded. “That’s the spirit, but be careful. Whatever else has happened, it’s not your same old Hermione you’re dealing with these days. Finally figuring out how she felt about Harry has caused quite a change in the Queen of the Library.”
Snickering, George nodded. “Well, that answers one question about what did or didn’t go on between Miss Granger and ickle Ronniekins.” Nodding to his sister, George headed over to greet Harry and Hermione.
Ginny walked quietly over and slipped her arm through Seamus’. “Think he’ll be all right?” she asked in a quiet voice.
Nodding slowly, Searmus smiled as he watched George slip something into a goblet of pumpkin juice before he handed it to Hermione in exchange for the pensieve. “If he survives the next twenty minutes, I think he might just be fine.” Exchanging a meaningful look with Ginny, he shrugged. “I’m not going to tell if you won’t.”
Grinning, Ginny nodded. “Tell what? Let’s get a good, safe seat to watch the early fireworks. I’m thinking a liquid Canary Crème.”
Shaking his head as an ear-splitting hiss erupted from the area near the back door of the Burrow, Seamus laughed. “They were working on something called ‘kitten cola’ and it must be perfected now.” George had handed the pensieve back to Harry and was currently running for his life from an enormous cat with chestnut fur and a murderous expression on her face.
Giggling, Ginny shook her head and grabbed Seamus’ arm. “Let’s go over and talk to the band, that way we have a firm alibi. You might want to mention to George that he should concentrate on forms that can’t do bodily harm if they fail to see the humor in the prank.”
Nodding, Seamus smiled. “Good thought. Though I don’t think her heart is really in it. If she was really trying to catch him, she could of on that last straight stretch by the broom shed.” Taking Ginny’s hand, Seamus led her over to the drummer, who was watching the chase around the orchard with fascination.
Nodding, the drummer stuck out his hand. “Seamus, it’s good to see you again. Is it always this lively around this place?”
Shaking his head, Seamus grinned as he shook the older wizard’s hand. “Orsino, you know as much as I do.” Nodding to Ginny he smiled. “This is her house, actually, so she could probably tell you more about it. Orsino Truston I’d like you to meet Ginny Weasley. Ginny, this is Orsino Truston, drummer for the Weird Sisters”
Nodding, Orsino took Ginny’s hand and shook it while he winked at her cheekily. “I can see now why Seamus here was so insistent on our doing this performance. Though with young Kaitlin and my sister Cassie doing the initial groundwork, we’re all happy to be here.”
Looking surprised, Ginny smiled. “Cassie? As in Cassie Tudor-Jones?”
Smiling, Orsino nodded. “Yea, the little scamp is my sister. Spoiled completely rotten, she’s the youngest of seven and has the entire family wrapped around her little finger.” The musician began to stare at Seamus as he began to laugh uncontrollably and Ginny started to blush a brilliant shade of red. “Was it something I said?”
Shaking her head as Seamus collapsed to the ground, still laughing, Ginny smiled apologetically. “I have no earthly idea what Mr. Finnigan finds so amusing, but on behalf of my family, I’d like to thank you and your mates for coming and helping make tonight a success.”
Making a display of counting on his fingers, Orsino shook his head and smiled. “I’m certain you don’t, Ginny. Give our regards to your parents and your older brothers.” Looking down at Seamus who was just regaining control of himself, Orsino reached out a hand to help the younger wizard to his feet. “And it’s no problem for those two requests. Myron’s from Dublin, so we know the one, and we’ve done the other every year at Hogmanay since we played our last hear at Hogwarts.”
Chuckling as he regained his feet and brushed himself off, Seamus nodded appreciatively. “I’m glad. I didn’t think the one would be any trouble, but the other is a bit obscure here in England. Up in Scotland they know it, but down here…” he shrugged.
Nodding, Orsino smiled. “It’s probably more popular with muggles, but Myron’s a halfer like you so he grew up in the pubs of Dublin before he got his letter to Hogwarts.” Looking up as his name was shouted, he nodded and turned back to Ginny and Seamus. “Got to go, Myron wants a sound check.” Turning to Ginny he smiled. “Thank you for saving Cassie. I can’t believe she snuck back in after they evacuated her.” Shaking his head, he smiled. “You’d think she was a bloody Gryffindor rather than a Ravenclaw.”
Shaking her head, Ginny smiled. “Gryffindors lead, someone has to follow along.”
Laughing, he nodded. “That’s why I was a Hufflepuff. We usually had to put you back together after it was all over.”
Laughing, the pair walked off hand in hand back to the house. Leaning her head against Seamus’ shoulder, Ginny smiled. “Thank you.”
Wrapping his arm a bit tighter around her, Seamus smiled. “For?”
Smiling she nodded towards the dais. “For telling me what George’s secret is?”
Sighing, Seamus rolled his eyes. “I can see that Christmas is going to be a battle of wills.” Taking her hand he lead her up to the dais and put his hands around her waist. Lifting her up, he set her on the table.
Smiling, Seamus just waited while Ginny fidgeted. Finally she broke the silence, “Are you going to show me?”
Nodding, Seamus chuckled. “Patience isn’t your strong suit I gather. It actually all started with Colin last summer.”
Suddenly serious, Ginny nodded, remembering the young wizard from her class who didn’t survive that fateful night. “What does Colin have to do with things?”
Smiling, Seamus nodded towards the large cloth covered object on the dais with them. “Colin took some photos of Fred and George when they were doing one of their publicity events, before the war started. The twins liked them so much that they paid Colin to blow them up and then got a portrait specialist to start work. It seems that Professor Sinestra from school is a very accomplished artist along with her teaching career. When they asked her, she smiled and said one word before agreeing to do it.”
Smiling wistfully, Ginny looked at Seamus quizzically. “What did she say?”
Grinning, Seamus leaned over and whispered in her ear. “Umbridge”
Laughing, remembering the twin’s exit from Hogwarts, she shook her head. “I don’t think anyone other than Filch liked that dreadful woman.”
Nodding in agreement, Seamus pulled out his wand. “She’d been working on the portraits for almost a year, but since the final battle, she hurried up the one of Fred and was able to cast the waking magic on it.” Turning, he pointed his wand at the cloth and whispered “Wingardium Leviosa”.
The cloth raised itself slowly, revealing a portrait of Fred Weasley, dressed in his dragonskin finest, leaning against a pillar while he arranged a selection of the twin’s finest pranks on a low table beside him. Looking up, Fred smiled and nodded. “Hello little sis. How’s my favorite sister doing?”
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