Chapter 1 : Prologue?
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"Ready Mate?" asked Ron Weasley.
"Absolutely" responded his best friend, Harry Potter. "Nervous?" Harry asked, looking at himself in the mirror of the room they shared. He straightened his emerald green tie while he waited for an answer.
"No. Well maybe a little..." Ron sheepishly replied, slipping on his black dress robes. "Shall we head downstairs?"
"We should. Your Dad and everyone is waiting for us" Harry answered, fixing the necklace that his best friends gave him so that it was on the outside, not inside his shirt like usual.
"Harry you know you can call him Dad now too" Ron said to his friend's back as they walked down the old staircase in the Burrow.
"I know Ron. It's just after all that has happened ..." Harry softly answered, slowing down as he walked past Ginny's old room. He wanted to knock and go in, but ...
"We need to step up and put this behind us. It doesn't do us any good to live in the past. I'm sure the girls are doing the same" Ron added as they walked into the kitchen to see his father, Hermione's, and his brothers Bill, Charlie, Percy, and George. Neville Longbottom was nervously pacing near the sink, but the rest seemed relaxed.
"Master Harry" they heard the bullfrog voice of Kreacher his house elf say. He had been in the pantry helping with the final preparations.
"Kreacher you know we have this all covered. Today you have a different responsibility. One far more important" Harry gently said.
"Thank you Master Harry. Kreacher will do his best" he answered puffing out his chest.
"There is no one else we would trust with this" added Ron. "The four of us want to thank you again for everything. If it hadn't been for you ..."
"Let's not think about that" Arthur Weasley quickly said, effectively cutting off his son before he said out loud what they had just been their topic of conversation. The men were having a drink discussing that very thing. If Kreacher had not done what he did, breaking his promise to Harry, none of them would be standing there right now.
"Scared?" Bill wondered. He was the first of his brothers to get married and he thought he was reasonably calm for it. His brother Charlie, who was his best man, told him later about how he really wasn't.
"Maybe just a touch" Harry answered for himself and his best friend.
"Do you need one too?" George asked holding up his half full glass of fire whiskey.
"Nothing for me thanks" Ron said, waving his well intentioned brothers off. "I want to remember every minute of this day. After all we have been through, between the war and afterwards ..."
"I agree" Harry added. "We have waited long enough. I don't want anything else to happen to prevent us from getting married today."
Everyone else looked down, ashamed at what Harry was referring to. And grateful that it had eventually worked itself out.
"Shall we go outside?" Percy asked them as he headed towards the door. They could hear the 'pops' in the distance as the wedding guests began to arrive, so he knew they needed to be out there to help everyone find their seats. The four brothers were acting as ushers.
"Arthur. What about ..." Hermione's father Richard asked into his ear as he passed.
Ron's father just shrugged his shoulders and tried to put a smile on his face as he entered the pavilion erected for the double wedding. 'Yes we are fortunate to be here today. We might have lost all four of them because of her meddling. His daughter had reminded him since then that Love will find a way ...'
* * *
Meanwhile upstairs Hermione and Ginny were preparing to put their dresses on. Hermione was being assisted by her mother, and Luna Lovegood was putting the final touches on Ginny's hair.
"Ginny are you sure you don't want to wear these?" Luna asked, holding up a pair of earrings made from wine corks. "I have a matching necklace."
Smiling at one of her best friends, Ginny shook her head no. "Thank you anyway Luna. I have here what I will be wearing." She gestured to the top of her old dresser to a pearl necklace and matching earrings Harry had bought her to wear today.
"Those are beautiful" Hermione's mother Jean Granger told her as she watched her daughter put on an identical necklace, courtesy of her fiance.
"Thank you Mom. Ginny and I love them" Hermione replied as she stepped into her dress. The two women were wearing matching floor length strapless ivory colored dresses. The only differences being Ginny's had emerald green trim, and Hermione's had blue to match their fiancé's eyes.
Everyone's heads turned when they heard the door open. It was Hannah Abbot come to check on them. Seeing the distraction Hermione's mother leaned over to whisper to her daughter "did she change her mind?"
"Not yet. And I don't think she will" Hermione whispered back.
"How are all you ladies doing?" Hannah asked.
"Anxious" answered Hermione.
"And excited" added Ginny. For as long as she could remember, she had told everyone who would listen that one day she will marry Harry Potter. In a few short minutes that dream would be fulfilled. "How are our guys?"
"They all seem fine. The only one nervous is Neville. I don't know why" Hannah replied to them.
"Why is he nervous? Are there any nargles down there?" Luna asked in her dreamy voice.
"I bet he's thinking about you two getting married soon" Ginny told Hannah.
"Only two more months to go, and I will have my brave Gryffindor" Hannah laughed.
Jean Granger glanced at Hannah while applying Hermione's lipstick. "Why do you call him that?"
Hannah looked at Hermione, who shook her head no to indicate she had never told her parents much about the final battle. "Mrs. Granger, it is because of what Neville did. We were all outside of the castle and there was a break in the battle. Voldemort - Tom Riddle - was telling us how his side had won. We needed to act a particular way. Neville spoke for all of us, saying that he would rather die than surrender."
Hermione's eyes welled up, thinking back to that day. She wiped the edge of her left eye with a tissue she conjured.
"There stood Neville telling old Voldemort what he could do with his offer to change sides. Before he knew it, the sorting hat - it's a big floppy hat they put on our heads the first time we enter Hogwarts to tell us which house we will belong to - was rammed onto his head and set it on fire. He had petrified Neville, and we watched in horror as he was about to be burned alive!"
"Oh my goodness" exclaimed Jean Granger putting her hand over her mouth.
"Somehow Neville broke free" Luna said with her voice much less dreamy than usual. "He tore off the burning hat and pulled from it the sword of Godric Gryffindor. With one slash he killed Voldemort's pet snake Nagini, giving us the chance to win!"
"I've never heard of anyone doing something so brave" Jean said hugging Hannah. Her back was to Ginny, who was clutching the dresser trying to fight back the tears. 'If she only knew ...' Ginny thought.
"Hey you'll ruin your make up" Hermione said as she hugged Ginny. Both women then lost it, holding each other up as the tears flowed. Remembering Harry's sacrifice he made for all of them.
"Hey come here you two. We can't let you go downstairs like that" Hannah said waving her wand at Ginny. Luna was next to Hermione, helping fix the mascara that had run down her face.
"I'm sorry sweetheart. Did I say something wrong?" Jean Granger asked her daughter. She could see the pain in Ginny's eyes echoed in Hermione's.
"No you didn't Mom. There's more to the story. One day Ron and I will explain it to you and Dad" she replied trying to keep from crying again. Knowing that if she looked at Ginny, they probably would both break down.
They heard the door open again, and the two brides fathers came in. "Both of you look incredible" Ginny's father Arthur said.
"I agree. We've never seen you look prettier" added Hermione's father Richard.
"Thank you Daddy" both girls said to their fathers.
"I think this is our cue" Luna said to them. She waved her wand and the short trains which were attached to the bottoms of the wedding dresses rose off the ground. "That should keep them clean."
"Thank you Luna" Ginny stated giving her a final hug before going.
"Me too" added Hermione before her Mom and the other two left, leaving the brides and their fathers alone.
"Are you ready princess?" asked Arthur.
"Daddy it seems like I have waited forever for this. Hermione too" Ginny said as she hugged her father for the last time as a single woman.
"Before we leave I have something to ask you" Arthur began.
"Let's go sweetheart" Richard Granger told his daughter extending his arm to her. He guided Hermione into the hall leaving the two to talk.
"Yes Daddy?" Ginny asked, fearing the question he was about to ask.
"Don't worry. This has nothing to do with do you and Harry love each other, or should you two be getting married" Arthur stated.
"Thank you Daddy" Ginny told him squeezing his hands in hers.
"No honey this is something else" he said his face becoming more serious. "Do you think you could find it in your heart to forgive ..."
Ginny cut her father off, placing a single finger on his mouth. "Dad, please don't spoil today by asking me that!" she whispered. "We all know what happened. And why. I think the bigger question is will all of you forgive her for it? Because as far as Harry and I are concerned, she has gotten what was coming to her. The four of us have moved on, and she will not be a part of it. That is the price she paid."
Arthur looked down at his only daughter and nodded. He knew this was a fight he could not win, but he felt obligated to ask. "Could you do it for me?" he pleaded.
"Ron and I love you Daddy. We would do almost anything for you. Hermione and Harry feel the same way. But after what happened, there is no way she will be a part of our weddings" Ginny said as she slowly collapsed onto the bed, rolling over and burying her head so she didn't have to look at her father.
"Do you really hate your mother that much?" he gently asked as he sat next to her.
"No" she whispered into her pillow. She lifted her head and looked into her father's eyes. "Please don't ask me to do that. Not today."
Arthur could see how badly Molly had hurt her daughter. And their son Ron. He did not want to press the issue and cause them to leave the family completely. And he would not blame the four of them if they did.
"Princess I'm sorry I asked. Your mother begged me to, and I felt I owed her that" he said to Ginny. "I won't make you choose. This day is all about you and Harry, and Hermione and Ron. The rest of us are just glad you want to share it with us. Now let's not think any more about it. I heard my favorite daughter is getting married today to the man of her dreams, and my youngest son is getting someone he doesn't deserve."
"Hey we heard that!" Hermione exclaimed from the hallway. She and her father had been out there waiting.
"Thank you Daddy. For everything" Ginny said as she gave her father a hug rivaling her mother's. "Now it's time to go and get married!"
Arthur helped Ginny get up and used his wand to take the wrinkles out of her dress. He held out his arm, and they moved to follow Hermione and her father downstairs. In the kitchen they found their Maid of Honor Luna Lovegood and Hermione's mother Jean. Hannah also waited until the last minute, just to make sure her best friends were OK.
"The guys will love you in those dresses" she said as she hugged both of them before going to find her seat.
"I bet they will love them more when they come off" Luna dreamily said as she left to walk up the aisle to wait for the brides. As she did her thoughts went to someone she had recently met - Rolf Scaramander, son of the famous naturalist. She did not notice the stifled laughs behind her.
"Ready ladies?" Richard asked hearing the music change indicating it was time. Arthur patiently waited with his daughter as Hermione and Richard left the kitchen.
"Shall we?" Ginny announced, almost pulling her father to the door moments after the door shut behind Hermione.
"In a minute. Let Hermione get in place, and then we can go" Arthur responded. When he heard the music change again he knew it was time. "I heard there is someone waiting for you. Should we go and try to find him?" he joked.
"Absolutely" Ginny replied with a huge smile on her face. Her father opened the door and they stepped out into the sunshine.
Looking back on this day, their families were amazed that it took place. After such innocent things had happened ...
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