7 Wedding

The next morning, they made short work of the invitations for their magical friends. Narcissa had a few owls that she could easily call to take care of the deliveries, and she let the young couple use. Harry made a mental note to himself to buy a new owl soon.

"I think we should also invite Dudley, at least," Harry said pensively, after sending the invitations.

"Are you sure? He wasn't very nice to you before the war." Hermione sounded surprised and disturbed by his suggestion.

"I think he was starting to change, though. He seemed almost nice when they left."

Hermione sighed. She knew it was a lost battle. She could just as well help him do it right. "There's not enough time to send the invitation by mail. The wedding is in two days, you know."

"I know their phone number. Will you dial for me?" It was evident that he didn't want to talk with the elder Dursleys.

She nodded reluctantly. Harry wrote the number down and Hermione lifted the handset and dialed. Harry stayed at her side, trying to hear everything.

A male voice answered. "Hello?"

"May I speak with Dudley?" Hermione asked.

"Just a moment, I'll call him." They could hear him yell, "Dudley, you have a call. Lift the handset in your room!"

A moment later they heard a younger voice, "Dad, you can hang the phone. I've got it." They heard a click and them "Dudley speaking. Who is it?"

"Mr. Potter would like to speak with you. Is that alright?"

She could hear Dudley gasp. "Of course it is alright! I would have called him myself if only I knew how."

Hermione passed the handset to Harry. "Hello Big D. How are you?"

"I'm fine. Went back to school to finish my studies. How about you?"

"I'm much better than fine. I'm getting married in two days and I thought you might be interested to come to the wedding."

"You – married? Wow! I'll come gladly if I can."

"It's not too far. It's in a church near Four Oaks, in Kent. I think you can find a bus or a train that reaches there. The church is only a short walk from both stations."

"I think I know the way. I've also got my driving license last summer and Dad bought me a small, second-hand car. I can use that. I thought you'd marry in a magical wedding, though."

"Actually, we're already magically bound, but I promised to give her a nice wedding, so that her family could attend too. Her parents are not magical."

"Well, I'm glad you called. I wouldn't have minded if it was a magical wedding either. I would have liked to be present in any case."

Harry gave him the exact address and hung the phone. "He sounded really glad that I called."

Hermione was not quite content yet. "Well, I hope he behaves. At least he was nice on the phone."

With the invitations out of the way, it was time to tackle another issue, almost as important – the wedding dress. Hermione's mother had already done some preliminary research, narrowing the number of shops and models to be considered, but it was still a time consuming activity, and it needed to be done in quite a hurry, which excluded any dress that needed more than strictly minimal modification to fit. Narcissa was also eager to join them, if only to get a glimpse into this aspect of Muggle life. Hermione thought that another point of view could also be useful.

While the women were busy with their shopping, Hermione's father took Harry to shop for their wedding clothes. Fortunately, a black tuxedo is much simpler to find and to measure than a wedding dress. Still, Harry found this experience quite enlightening, learning of the different materials and workmanship – things he had never given a thought to before – yet Dave made sure that Harry would look his best during the wedding in high quality clothes of best fit.

With their new clothes packed, Dave took Harry to a classy restaurant. "While most people are busy with the upcoming holidays, we can take advantage of the less crowded restaurants," he smiled at Harry. "Normally, one has to book a table at least a few days in advance, while now, and for only a few more days, we can just walk in, as we've just done."

Harry paid only half his attention to his father-in-law, as the luxurious place attracted the rest of his attention. "Have you taken Hermione here?" he asked.

"Once or twice, probably when she got her letter, and last summer, after we reunited again. Why do you ask?"

"I think she'd love it here." He was silent for a moment and then added, "I believe Cissy may also like it. She's quite oblivious to everything Muggle."

Dave smiled. "You think of taking them both here?"

Harry nodded. "I should also take Lil, though. Shouldn't cause any of them to be jealous of the others."

Although Dave didn't like the idea of multiple mates, he had to admire the young man for being so considerate. Evidently, Harry didn't treat his additional mates as just sex partners, but more as real wives. He wondered briefly what it could mean for Hermione, and then dismissed the thought. He could see that Harry wouldn't let anybody come between Hermione and him. If nothing else, the bond would assure that, as Cissy had already explained.

/\/\/\

Two days later, Harry was waiting anxiously in the back room of that church, as guests started filling the seats. It was no surprise that he didn't know most of them, since they were Hermione's extended family and some of her parents' friends and business associates. He still had some of his friends present there, though. Ron and Neville came, along with their mates, as did Dean and Ginny – all wearing clothes appropriate for the occasion and for the cold weather. Ron took upon himself to report to Harry about every guest that came in.

"McGonagall has just arrived with Professor Slughorn and Poppy. There's also a young man, about our age, a blond, who came here with a tall, slim woman, who's much older. They seem familiar, but I don't know where I saw them."

"Dudley and... Aunt Petunia?" Harry tried to guess.

"What are they doing here? I thought you no longer had any connection with them. You said they despised you," Ron blurted.

"I invited Dudley and he seemed eager to come. I wonder about my aunt, though..."

Ron didn't pay him much attention, as he peeked out once again. "Oh, I also saw Kingsley coming in with that dark nice girl who is assigned as your mate. I hardly recognized him in Muggle clothes."

Harry smiled. He already longed to meet Lil. Despite the short time he had known her, she was now an important part of his family and he missed her.

/\/\/\

It seemed like an eternity to him, but only a few minutes later, Harry was called out. Waiting near the altar for Hermione to come, he looked at the guests. Indeed, Petunia was sitting at Dudley's side, holding a handkerchief to her moist eyes and looking very excited. His eyes met hers and she seemed a little startled, yet Harry nodded slightly and half smiled, as if welcoming her presence.

The doors opened and Hermione walked in, wearing a modest yet elegant white wedding dress that was still very classy and accentuated her curves nicely. The many hours used on searching for the right dress seemed well spent. Harry could see nobody but his wonderful beloved as she approached, put her hand in his and moved closer to the altar.

The ceremony itself was insignificant for Harry. He said what he had to say and acted as expected, yet all he really cared was that Hermione was now his without the slightest shade of doubt, in both the magical and the mundane worlds, just as he was hers. That was all that mattered at the moment.

Once it was over, everybody came to congratulate the new couple. Harry noticed that Dudley was waiting for most of the guests to move on before approaching.

"Congratulations, Harry. I hope you don't mind that I brought Mum as well. She insisted on coming and I didn't want to bother you with a phone call when you were certainly too busy to answer." Dudley seemed both happy for Harry and somewhat apologetic.

"That's fine. I would have invited her, had I known she would like to come. Now, Aunt Petunia, Dudley – I'm glad to let you meet Hermione Potter – my newly wedded wife."

"You have a very beautiful wife. I wish you both a long and happy life. After all you've been through together, you deserve it. Don't you agree, Mum?"

Petunia, who had kept silent until then, stepped forward and hugged Harry reluctantly. He hesitated for a moment before returning the long overdue hug.

"I'm so glad for you, Harry, yet it should have been your mother who was present here. I'm so sorry to have disappointed her in the way I acted while you were living with us. I'm not sure I can ever forgive myself for my behavior," she wept into his hug.

"That's alright, Aunt Petunia. Maybe it was for the best, making me tougher for the challenges that life had for me."

She shook her head and then lifted it and stepped back. "Congratulations, Harry, Hermione. You deserve the best after the ordeal you've had to endure, and I wish you all the best."

"Thank you, Mrs. Dursley. I really hope we can all look forward to a much better future," Hermione responded.

"Keep in touch," Dudley added, before they had to move.

/\/\/\

Much later, after the reception was over as well, when they had all returned to the Granger home, Jean noted, "Some of the guests wondered about the closeness between Harry and 'that brown skinned girl,' as they said. I told them she was a good friend from school. She does look more mature than her age."

Both Hermione and Lil smiled. "There wasn't much you could say, as they're all non-magical, and none has seen me before," Lil added.

"Luckily, an eccentric aunt didn't get that kind of attention," Narcissa added with a smirk.

"Actually, my real aunt was at the wedding as well, although she didn't join us at the reception," Harry noted.

"She was?!" For a moment, Jean looked as intimidating as Hermione could sometimes be.

"She seems to regret the past. She was just happy for us and congratulated us as warmly as she could," Hermione explained.

"Did you invite her?"

"We invited her son, who was eager to come. It looks like she insisted on joining him," Harry said. This seemed to mellow Jean's expression.

"Well, it has been quite an exhausting day. I think we all need some sleep," Jean said. She looked at Dave, who seemed to almost fall asleep on the chair. He rose heavily and joined her. "Goodnight, dears," both said, giving a quick hug to the newly wed, before mounting the stairs.

"We should also retire now," Hermione said, after her parents closed the bedroom door. "Come, Harry, I need you to help me get out of this." She stood up, still clad in her wedding dress, and mounted the stairway carefully. Harry followed.

Lil looked at the departing couple and sighed. "I really missed them, you know. Isn't that odd?"

Narcissa smiled at her. "Not at all. Harry's so easy to fall in love with, and so is Hermione, in a different way."

"Yes. In a way, I feel they are more my family than all my blood relatives," Lil agreed.

"Welcome to the club," Narcissa said, hugging her in a motherly manner.


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