Chapter 20 : Hungover Preparation
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“Oi! Keep it down,” George groaned.
“Oh, poor baby. Did someone have a little too much to drink last night?” Angelina purred in a soft voice while caressing George’s head. Then she tugged at his hair and pulled him into an upright position.
“Damn it, woman!”
“What?” She shrugged and then went back to eating her plate of eggs.
George slumped back down, resting his head on his folded arms.
Charlie's faint chuckle gave way to a low groan of pain.
“Serves you boys right. Leaving and not telling us where you’re off to and then coming home drunk. I have a mind not to help you out.” Ginny’s mum shook her head at Charlie and then George, but went about the room collecting the ingredients to make her instant hangover removal potion.
Harry entered the kitchen shortly after, any signs of a hangover amazingly absent.
“How is it that you are so cheery? You drank as much as we did.” Charlie surveyed.
“Actually I didn’t. Ron kept taking my shots for me.” Harry grinned and went to serve himself an extra helping of eggs and bacon.
“Ugh, keep that away from me.” Charlie moaned.
Harry just chuckled and proceeded to eat his breakfast.
Ginny grabbed a plate for herself and bounded into the seat next to Harry. Slowly the rest of the family ambled into the kitchen to partake of her mum’s cooking, all except for Ron.
Hermione sat at the end of the table and hardly spoke. Ginny took in her extra bushy hair, the bags under her eyes, and her pale complexion and knew that Hermione had not slept at all the night before. She worried for her friend and determined that she would make sure to talk to her later that day, maybe while they were getting ready for the wedding. The Wedding!
It had almost slipped her mind in her musings over her family. She was getting married today; she would shed the name of Weasley and forever become Mrs. Harry Potter. A blush began to creep up her neck and a tiny fluttering started in her stomach. She grabbed Harry’s hand under the table and gave it a small squeeze.
Harry turned to look at her and smiled that beautiful boyish grin of his. He squeezed her hand back and she slowly felt her heart rate slow.
Just then, Ron stumbled in. His hair hung limply into his face, which had a sick green pallor to it. Without looking around, he plopped into the nearest seat, directly across from Hermione, and lay his head down on the table.
Ginny watched as Hermione’s face went, if possible, even more ghostly white. It took a few moments, but Hermione eventually collected herself and Ginny felt a little better about focusing on her wedding day instead of her friend and brother.
Make it stop! The pounding in his head was excruciating. Even when resting it on the table, he could feel the weight of his head. It was amazing that he even managed to get out of bed that morning, but if he knew anything, he knew his mum would be able to sooth this ache, so he set about plodding to the kitchen.
If he took the time to truly focus on how he felt he probably would have acknowledged that he was still a bit intoxicated, but rather than think about that he tried to keep his eyes closed and his stomach from convulsing.
The kitchen was crowded, and the bustle rang loudly through his brain. He took a deep breath in and slowly exhaled it. After perhaps an hour, or it might have been five minutes in his warped sense of time, his mum dropped off a steaming mug in front of his face. He heard her ‘tsk’ as she put it down but Ron ignored her, instead gripping the mug like it was his lifeline.
He pulled his head up from the table and braced himself through the pain. He took a long draught of the potion that smelled of mint and waited for it to take effect. With more suddenness than expected, he could feel his head lighten and the pounding in his brain subside. With one more gulp, he finished the drink and noted with relief that he could see straight.
Once his eyes did focus, he noticed that he had sat in front of Hermione. His ears grew warm and he looked pointedly away. All of his emotions rolled back to the forefront of his mind now that it was clear enough to think. Shite! He had kissed Hermione yesterday.
Then he started to remember last night’s escapades. They came to him as blurry, detached images. George singing karaoke…A small Japanese girl sitting next to him… kissing said Japanese girl… a tangle of sweaty arms and legs… Her hot breath on his neck… A sunrise… A pair of chocolate eyes staring at him in disappointment and regret…
He shook his head and focused his attention on the breakfast that now sat in front of him. The small house elf had just placed it there. Like the night before, Ron felt a strange chill creep up his spine at the sight of the creature. He shook the odd feeling off and tucked into the waffles with gusto.
She had never eaten so quickly in her life. Hermione had to get away from him. Even when she wasn’t looking at him, she could feel Ron’s presence. It unnerved her and excited her at the same time.
Draco came in brushing a light kiss on her cheek before sitting down next to her. Hermione surreptitiously avoided looking at both Draco and Ron, instead focusing on the other end of the table where Ginny was sitting with Harry.
She smiled at the two of them, both so wrapped up in one another. Ginny rubbed her hand along her belly, as if that would make the baby bump grow while Harry brushed a stray tress from her face. She was so happy for them, but at the same time, she was sad for herself. They had no question about whom they should be with unlike Hermione, who was more confused than ever.
Draco’s arm brushed against her own, and she couldn’t deny the tiny part of her that longed for his arms to wrap around her, protecting her from herself. Then there was the man sitting across from her who made her tingle all over. How was she supposed to choose? She inwardly slapped herself. She was not supposed to choose. She had already chosen. She was married, and unless there was irrefutable proof that Draco had kidnapped Ron, she would not go back on her vows.
There was the sound of someone clearing their throat from the other end of the table and Hermione looked over to see Harry now standing.
“Ginny and I have a bit of a surprise for you all. If you would please go and change into more formal attire we will meet you in the garden at 11.” Harry then helped Ginny to her feet and they both left the room.
The buzz in the room increased tenfold as the Weasleys tried to guess what could possibly be going on. Charlie, Bill and George seemed to all be in agreement about their thoughts, while Percy and Audrey were chatting with Fleur and trying to figure out exactly how formal they should now be getting.
“I wish I had known before we left. I left my favorite dress robes at home.” Audrey said to Fleur while Percy just nodded his head in agreement.
Molly sat in her seat in silence, and Hermione had a slight fear of what she might be thinking. Mrs. Weasley lived for her children, and nobody doubted that she would be upset at being denied the pleasure of planning her only daughter’s wedding day. If she figured it out early, would she do anything to stop it?
Victoire, who was sitting on Angelina’s lap, asked, “Can I weyah my lellow?”
Arthur was listening to everyone while Ron, Draco and Hermione all stayed quiet trying to hide their knowing smiles. Draco put his arm around her shoulder in a lazy manner, and without looking up she could sense Ron stiffen in front of her.
Hermione slumped out of his embrace, playing off the gesture by gathering his dirty dishes on top of her own and bringing them to the sink.
Draco came up behind her, wrapped his arms around her waist, and nuzzled his face into her neck.
“I’d better go help Ginny get ready.” Hermione whispered to him as she once again dodged his embraces.
Draco clutched her arm and pulled her to face him. He stared searchingly into her eyes. After a moment, he just nodded and let her go.
She hurried out to the kitchen and practically ran to her room. Gathering the dress robes that they had purchased the other day, Hermione went over to Ginny and Harry’s room. She knocked quietly on the frame and slid the door open.
“Hey, thought I would come and make myself useful.” Hermione said as she entered the room.
Ginny rushed over to Hermione and flung herself at her, hugging her tightly. “I can’t believe I’m getting married today!” She squealed into Hermione’s ear. Ginny broke the hug and then went over to Harry. Shoving him from behind, Ginny shooed him out of the open door. “Now get out, and no peaking until the wedding.” She gave him a saucy smirk and a wink, sliding the door shut behind her.
Turning to Hermione she said, “Now, let’s make me a bride!”
“Whatcha doing in here, mate?” Ron entered his bedroom to find Harry standing in front of the mirror holding up a set of charcoal grey dress robes.
“Got kicked out,” he shrugged, and went back to looking over his reflection.
Ron dropped onto his bed, laid back, and stared up at the ceiling. “So, it’s the big day.”
“If I say yes, are you going to punch me?”
Ron grinned. “Maybe.”
“Then no, I am not nervous.”
They both chuckled, then Ron let out a sigh.
“You nervous?” Harry asked.
“Why would I be nervous? I am not about to get married, let alone about to become a dad.”
“I dunno, just figured with seeing Hermione all the time lately…”
Ron sat up stiffly. “Why would I be nervous about Hermione?” He asked, though his voice sounded hollow, even to himself.
“No reason.” Harry turned away from the mirror and dropped the robes to his side. “If you were, though, it’d be understandable.”
“Yeah well, I’m not.”
“Okay,” Harry shrugged, looked at Ron a little longer, and then started removing the robes from the hanger.
Ron lay back on the bed and closed his eyes, letting forbidden thoughts of his shared kiss with Hermione enter his head. It was amazing how, even after spending the night with someone else, he was still able to feel Hermione’s lips on his, still able to taste her in his mouth, still able to smell the scent of bluebells.
There was loud bang as the sliding door to Ron’s bedroom opened. Ron peeked from under his closed lids to see George, Charlie, Bill and Percy all standing in the doorway.
“So what’s going on?” Bill asked.
“Yeah, why all this secrecy?” Charlie chimed in. The four brothers sauntered into the room and spread out, each taking a point position surrounding Harry.
“Whatcha got planned with our baby sister, eh?” George leered in a mock-American-tough-guy accent.
“I am not a big fan of surprises.” Percy piped up.
Ron looked over to Harry and saw a small grimace. He pulled at his collar lightly and then looked over to Ron, as if he would help.
“Yeah Harry, what do you have planned with my baby sister?” Ron added, though his voice was less menacing and there was a distinct grin on his face.
“Sure thing.” Ron stood up and took his place in the small circle that now surrounded his best friend.
“Spit it out already, we only have ‘til eleven.” George looked at his wrist, where Harry noticed a distinctive lack of a watch.
“We’resortagettingmarriedtoday,” Harry blurted quickly and then winced.
“What was that?” Charlie held his hand to his ear, “I didn’t hear you right? Did you just say that you and Ginny were sorta getting married today?”
Bill pounded his fist into his hand. “That’s what it sounded like to me.”
“Come, c’mon guys, you-you knew we were engaged.” Harry backed up towards the mirror hanging on the wall.
“Well are you, or are you not, marrying our sister today?” Percy’s no nonsense tone broke free.
“Erm… Yes?” It came out as a question.
The room went silent and Ron saw Harry holding his breath and bracing himself.
“Damn right you are!” George patted Harry a little roughly on the back while everyone else broke out in grins.
“Just takin’ a piss Harry, no need to wee yourself.” Charlie chortled.
“Ha ha, guys. Really funny.”
“We thought so.” Bill clapped Harry none too lightly on the shoulder, and then they all proceeded back to their respective rooms to get ready for the day’s events.
“I hate when they do that!”
“Do what?” Ron asked.
“Gang up on me like that. I can never tell if they’re really joking or not.”
“They’re not.” Ron chuckled through an ear-splitting smile.
“Yeah, that’s what I thought.”
A/N: Well I promise that the next chapter will be more action and maybe I will even get to the actual wedding. It is amazing how long three days can stretch out. So what did you think? I love feedback, so please do tell.
Thanks of course goes to my wonderful beta Georgia Weasley who, even though she is so busy, still managed to beta this for me.
And thanks goes to all of you readers and reviewers. You guys are the best!
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