O that 'twere possible,
After long grief and pain,
To find the arms of my true- love
Round me once again!…
A shadow flits before me-
Not thou, but like to thee.
Ah God! that it were possible
For one short hour to see
The souls we loved, that they might tell us
What and where they be.
By Alfred, Lord Tennyson
Chapter XXXI: Welcome to the Future
Hogwarts Professors, Harry Potter and Ginny Weasley entered the Headmaster's office. This was an odd thing to do, seeing that they were already two weeks into the summer holidays. They were surprised to find that in the room sat Arthur Weasley, Minister for Magic, Olympe Maxime, Headmistress of Beauxbatons, Gregory Gregorovich, Headmaster of Durmstrang, Pierre LaRue, French Minister for Magic, Viktor Krum, Bulgarian representative for Magical Games and Sports and Oliver Wood, Head of the Department of Magical Games and Sports.
"What are they doing here, Dumbledore?" asked Gregorovich.
"As you know, Harry Potter has every right to be present at this meeting, as does Ginny Weasley. They are both members of my staff," replied Dumbledore.
"This is not a staff meeting Dumbly-dorr," said Madame Maxime. "I am quite aware of the reason why Mr Potter is present, but why Miss Weasley?"
"It's quite simple," said Dumbledore.
"She's here to calm Harry down," said Arthur, with a slight smile.
"Calm me down?" exclaimed Harry. "Why would I need calming down?"
"This group of people here today are present because they wish to attempt another resurrection of the Triwizard tournament," explained Dumbledore.
"WHAT!" shouted Harry. "ARE YOU COMPLETELY INSANE? DO YOU NOT REMEMBER WHAT HAPPENED LAST TIME? DO YOU NOT REMEMBER THAT CEDRIC DIGGORY DIED? OR THAT VOLDEMORT USED IT TO HIS ADVANTAGE? IT WAS BECAUSE OF YOUR STUPID TOURNAMENT THAT HE WAS REBORN IN THE FIRST PLACE! HOW CAN YOU EVEN THINK OF PUTTING MORE STUDENTS THROUGH THAT AGAIN? IT'S FAR TOO DANGEROUS! DID YOU NOT STOP TO THINK THAT MORE PEOPLE COULD DIE? You can't let them do this, Arthur, Dumbledore. No more people can die."
"Ssh, Harry," Ginny whispered to him as she took his hand.
He turned into her embrace and she held him close for a moment. She kissed him briefly before raising her wand, and promptly Bat-Bogeyed everyone except Dumbledore and her Father.
"I really believe that you have lost your minds," she said. "After all the pain that tournament has caused, after all the lives that have been lost. It is a tradition that should be laid to rest, just like all those it killed. Come on, Harry," she said, lowering her wand and heading for the door. "I promised Andy and Marion that we'd be there for lunch."
"Ok," said Harry following her. "I'll see you in September, Albus."
Ginny rang the doorbell of Andy and Marion's house in Keswick.
"Ginny!" exclaimed Marion, as she opened the door.
She pulled Ginny into a fierce hug.
"And Harry as well!" she said, shaking his hand enthusiastically.
They entered the house and found Andy in the living room, along with the girls. Ginny found herself being hugged repeatedly. To figures stood quietly in the doorway.
"Everyone," Ginny said. "This is my brother Ron, and his fiancée Hermione Granger. Ron and Hermione, this is Andy, Marion, Joanne, Amanda and Louise," she said, indicating them one at a time.
"Pleased to meet you," said Hermione politely.
"Come in, come in," said Marion. "Make yourselves comfortable."
"So, what are your plans Ginny?" asked Andy.
"Well, we'll stay here for lunch, then I want to take them into the town this afternoon," she said. "Tomorrow I want to head out over Gowbarrow way, but I also want to take them up Helvellyn."
"You've missed the hills, haven't you?" said Andy.
"Very much," said Ginny.
"Have you missed us, too, Ginny?" asked Louise.
"Of course," said Ginny, picking the little girl up. "I actually have something I want to ask you three."
"What?" asked Amanda curiously.
"Well," said Ginny. "In two or three years time, I'm going to get married and I want you three to be my bridesmaids."
"Really?" asked Joanne.
"By the way, Jo," she added. "You did an excellent job of keeping my secret, unlike someone I know."
She glared at Harry who grinned back.
"The world deserved to know the truth, just like you deserved the reward," he said. "And that's all I have to say on the matter."
"Yes," said Marion. "We saw the paper, and we saw it a couple of weeks ago too."
Ginny stood by the trig point at the peak of Gowbarrow Fell. She was alone, as Ron, Hermione and Harry could not keep up with her, and so still had a short way to climb. Ginny gazed across the open fell, and allowed feelings of old to wash over her. This was where she had seen the final group of Death Eaters. This was where she had stood when her heart was finally broken. This was where she prepared herself for the moment when all hope as lost.
Ginny awoke on the morning of the thirty-first of January. She had worked out a couple of days previously that it would be her two-hundredth day of walking. She had looked at her mileage total and realised that on this day she would reach her two-thousandth mile, somewhere around the midpoint of her walk. She felt a funny flip in her stomach as she thought of two thousand miles. That was Harry's promise to her.
"I would walk two thousand miles so that we could be together."
Ginny sighed sadly, preparing herself for another day of disappointment.
She was heading for Gowbarrow fell. A wide, sprawling mass of open access land on the shores of Lake Ullswater. She wore her walking clothes as usual and after getting off the bus at the National Trust car park near Aira Force waterfalls, she set off up the hillside. She kept glancing at her map, watching closely as she walked mile after mile, slowly edging towards the two thousand mark. She wasn't expecting to find anything, but she felt it would be an achievement to have walked so far.
She passed the summit of the fell. Whilst there she paused for a moment gazing at the view. She looked all around her and realised with a start that there were a group of men and women standing about further down the side. Ginny's heart leapt briefly, hardly daring to believe it. She couldn't be sure, but she believed she had found the final hostage.
Walking bravely towards the group she took out her wand and casually hexed and stunned them. Sprinting across to where they lay, she found the tell tale rabbit like hole beside a rock. Ginny took a deep breath, preparing herself to find the person who would break her heart in two, the person who would finally prove to her that Harry was dead, gone forever…
Ginny was awakened by the sensation of two strong arms wrapping themselves around her waist.
"You ok?" Harry asked her.
"Just remembering," she said. "Harry, do you know why I have brought you here?"
"I think so," he said. "Although it looks quite different."
"Everywhere here is more beautiful in summer," she said quietly. "Even though summer brought a lot of pain."
"Follow me," she said, leading the other three over to where she had found the prison.
She opened up the hole once more and the four dropped down into its dark depths. Ginny, still clutching Harry's had, noticed that his eyes had glazed over.
Ginny spotted a person slumped on the ground, facing the far wall. The person appeared to be male, and was dressed in very grubby looking wizard's robes. He had long black hair that was grimy, matted and dull. He was very thin and Ginny wasn't sure if he was even alive.
"What is your name?" she asked shakily, her voice sounding quite strange, almost strangled.
"Why should I tell you?" a hoarse, croaky voice replied.
"Because I won't be able to let you go until I have your name," Ginny said, her voice still sounding odd. "And I'm sure that you have many people who are anxious to see you. Family, friends, a special young lady perhaps."
"Ginny," the man breathed.
Ginny froze. Her insides felt as though icy water was pouring through them.
"Who?" she asked, sounding even more choked than before.
"Ginny Weasley," he said. "My girlfriend, fiancée even. I should never have left her."
The man remained facing the wall.
"I'm sure she understands," whispered Ginny. "You did what you had too."
"She's sick," said the man. "Nobody knows how long she has left to live, and yet I left her, all because of my stupid destiny. She's more important to me than anything. Anything!"
The man coughed.
"I just hope she has waited for me," said the man. "Wait, that's stupid. I know that she'll have waited for me. But maybe she doesn't know I'm alive. Nobody knows I'm alive, well those who do are happy to leave me here to rot. She might have moved on. Forgotten about me. No. If she loves me just half as much as I love her then she won't have forgotten. I just want to be with her again, and have her tell me that she loves me and still wants to marry me."
Ginny looked at the man's head, tears building in her eyes.
"Ginny knows you're alive, Harry," she said, her voice slightly more normal than before.
"You remember, don't you?" whispered Ginny, her eyes stinging slightly.
"Like it was yesterday," Harry said. "Nothing has changed. The colour, the damp, the smell, it's as if I never left."
"I can't believe that you had to live here," said Ron, gazing around him at the mud hole.
"It must have been awful," said Hermione.
"You have no idea," said Harry, sliding his arm around Ginny's waist. "And that is why Ginny is so wonderful."
"Harry…" she interrupted, but Harry stopped her.
"No," he said. "You saved me from this. You saved two-hundred-and-eighty-six others from this. You deserve every bit of praise that people have given you… and more."
"I love you," Ginny whispered to him.
"I love you too," Harry replied.
Another three weeks passed, bringing the day of Ron and Hermione's wedding ever closer. That day would bring hours of planning to head, to the final moment when they would be married. Harry, being the kind of person that he was, had offered to pay for the wedding.
"It's traditional for the bride's family to pay," argued Hermione. "I know that my parents didn't leave me much, but that's what I want to pay with."
"I know that it's traditional for the bride's family to pay," said Harry. "That's why I'm offering. Save the money your parents left you for when they have children. Buy them things from their grandparents. You are like my sister, Hermione, and God knows I have far too much money. I will give you however much you need for the wedding of your dreams."
Hermione threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tightly.
"I don't know what to say," she whispered.
"You don't have to say anything," Harry said. "Just have a great day, and be happy."
Later, Hermione told Ginny what Harry was doing.
"Your Harry is wonderful," Hermione said.
"I know," said Ginny.
"I still can't believe that he's really going to pay for everything," said Hermione.
"You know what Harry's like," said Ginny. "He has more money then he will ever need, and he never wanted a fortune. He'd much rather spend the money on his family, and his friends than himself."
"You're right," said Hermione. "Harry's always been like that."
And so the day of the wedding approached. Ginny and Hermione were staying at Hermione's grandparents' house overnight to get ready there. Harry was staying with Ron at the Burrow.
The doorbell rang. Ginny rushed to open the door.
"Hello," she said. "You must be Hermione's Aunt Janet."
Ginny held out her hand to the woman. They shook.
"That's right," said Aunt Janet.
"I'm Ginny. How are you two?" she asked the two girls who were Hermione's cousins, and were to be bridesmaids along with Ginny.
"I'm ok," said Maddy.
"Me too," said Kim.
"Excellent," said Ginny. "So, your Grandma is in the living room. We're going to help with your hair and your dresses."
"Where's Hermione?" asked Maddy, the older of the two.
"She's upstairs having her hair done," said Ginny. "I had mine done first so I could help with you two."
Maddy and Kim rushed off to greet their grandmother.
"You didn't tell me your last name, Ginny," said Janet.
"Weasley," said Ginny.
"Isn't the groom's name Weasley?"
"Yes. My brother Ron. I had six brothers."
"Yes. Percy, my third brother was killed a few years ago."
"Oh, I'm sorry."
"Don't be. It's all in the past now. We've moved on from it. You'll see all my other brothers today. Bill's the oldest, then Charlie, then the twins Fred and George and then Ron, of course. Ron's only a year older than me."
"So which of your brothers is the best man?"
"None of them," said Ginny. "Ron asked his best friend Harry."
"Oh, I see."
"Ron didn't think it would be fair just to choose one brother and leave the others out. Besides, Bill and Charlie are a lot older than us, and Fred and George just cause too much trouble. They own a joke shop, you know."
"And for too long we've been the guinea pigs for their products. I still blame Harry."
"He gave them the money to start the shop. Anyway, we'd better go help Joan with the girls."
An hour later the doorbell rang again. Janet went to get it, but reappeared thirty seconds later.
"Ginny, it's for you," she said.
Ginny was busy making adjustments to Maddy's dress.
"If they have red hair, tell them that I don't know where they're hidden, so bugger off," she said.
"There's only one," said Janet. "He has black hair and glasses."
"Oh," said Ginny, a grin spreading across her face. "In that case."
She leapt up and ran to the door leaping into Harry's arms.
"I look like a poodle," she said.
"I think you look adorable," said Harry, kissing her gently, before lowering her to the floor.
"What are you doing here?" asked Ginny. "Shouldn't you be keeping an eye on Fred and George?"
"I asked Molly to watch them for a few minutes. They've been ransacking the house looking for these. I thought it would be safest to bring them to you," said Harry, pulling two wands from his jacket pocket.
Ginny took them and pushed them up her sleeve.
"Thank you," said Ginny.
"So what's your dress like?" Harry asked.
"I'm not telling you. You'll have to wait and see just like the rest of them."
Harry pouted. Ginny reached up and kissed him. It was a deep, passionate kiss, which didn't last long enough in Harry's opinion.
"And you'll get that every time you pout," said Ginny.
"I'll try it more often then," said Harry.
Ginny grinned and kissed him again.
"I'd better go," she said. "I've got loads of stuff to do."
"I missed you last night," Harry said.
"I missed you too," Ginny said.
She raised her hand to his face.
"I'll see you later," she said.
They shared another lingering kiss then Harry turned and walked to the end of the road until he was out of view.
"I love you," Ginny whispered after him.
She turned around and re-entered the house, closing the door behind her.
"What was all that about?" asked Janet, smiling slightly.
"Harry had found a few of Fred and George's products with their suits, so he brought them to me, where the twins won't find them," said Ginny.
"I didn't mean that," said Janet.
"Did I not tell you?" Ginny said. "Harry's my fiancé."
"That's complicated," said Janet.
"Not really," said Ginny. "The groom is my brother, the bride is my best friend and the best man is my fiancé. Harry, Ron and Hermione have been best friends since they were eleven, and I joined their little group when I was fifteen."
"Did you all go to the same school?" asked Janet.
"How much do you know about the school that Hermione went to?" asked Ginny.
"Only that it was a boarding school called Hogwarts and that's where she met Ron," said Janet.
"Right," said Ginny.
They went back into the living room and Ginny noticed that Maddy was trying to reach something on the table, but her arms weren't long enough. Ginny was about to go and get it for her when she saw the object, it looked like a comb, fly into Maddy's hand.
"What on earth?" whispered Ginny.
"Nothing happened," said Janet anxiously.
"How old are you, Maddy?" asked Ginny.
"I'll be eleven next week," said Maddy.
"I'll see you on September the first then," said Ginny. "And please don't cause too much trouble."
Ginny looked at Joan, and the old lady nodded. It seemed as though she had known for a while. They heard footsteps coming down the stairs. It was the hairdresser. She left through the front door, and Hermione appeared in the living room.
"Bet you didn't know that Maddy was magical," said Ginny.
"Really?" squealed Hermione "Oh that's fantastic!"
Janet, Maddy and Kim looked at Hermione and Ginny with confused expressions.
"Hogwarts is a school of Witchcraft and Wizardry," said Ginny. "It's a truly wonderful place with some terrific teachers, Albus Dumbledore, Minerva McGonagall, and Harry Potter."
"And you Ginny," said Hermione. "And you'll be going at the best time as well."
"What do you mean?" asked Janet.
"Well, everything's just about back to normal after the war," said Ginny.
"War?" asked Joan.
"The Second War against Lord Voldemort," said Hermione.
"Not all wizards are good," said Ginny. "Lord Voldemort was once a student at Hogwarts. He was good looking, intelligent, charming but manipulative. That was when he went by the name of Tom Riddle. Few knew what became of him, but he became Lord Voldemort. Many people in our world still fear to speak his name, even though he has been truly dead for over a year."
"We are two young to remember the first war," said Hermione. "It ended on Halloween 1981, with the deaths of Lily and James Potter. Voldemort could not kill Harry Potter. The curse rebounded and Voldemort disappeared. Harry fought him, when he was eleven. Harry rescued Ginny from him in the Chamber when he was twelve. And when Harry was fourteen, he witnessed the Dark Lord's return. They battled again a year later, and two years after that, Harry finally defeated his lifelong foe, but the war was nowhere near over."
"The seventh years had all left with the teachers to fight," said Ginny. "Dumbledore, the Headmaster, left me in charge. I couldn't go and fight for two reasons. One was that I was still suffering the effects of a poison that I had been fed over a year previously and the second was that…"
"Harry wouldn't let her," Hermione interrupted. "That was why Ginny was targeted, because of her relationship with Harry."
"And because of the chamber, and because I'm a Weasley," said Ginny. "Anyway, when Hermione and Ron returned with a depleted number, it was revealed that two-hundred-and-fourteen of our side were lost in battle, but a further two-hundred-and-eighty-seven were taken by the Death eaters and executed at a secret location. The trouble was, the authorities hadn't been able to identify the dead. The Daily Prophet simply gave a list of all those who didn't return. Harry was among them, as was my brother Charlie. To be told that a person you love is dead is the worst thing that a person can go through, but Dumbledore gave me hope. In a poem that he asked me to read to the school, there was a hidden message. The last line said: Do not stand at my grave and cry, I am not there, I did not die. I had some hope that maybe Harry was alive so I hopped on my broomstick and flew away. I didn't know where I was going; all I knew was that I had to find them. Those two-hundred-and-eighty-seven people were not executed. They were held hostages, in the Lake District in Cumbria."
"Ginny found them all," said Hermione. "The trouble was that we all thought she was dead as well, once she disappeared. She is a true hero, just like Harry Potter, the Boy-Who-Lived. Hogwarts is back to normal now. Everyone is happy again."
"What is it like at Hogwarts?" asked Maddy.
"Well," said Hermione. "There are four houses, Gryffindor. Hufflepuff, Ravenclaw and Slytherin. When I was there, the houses were rivals, constantly battling with each other, but when Ginny was in charge, she did something that not even the four founders could do. She united the houses."
"We still have house points," said Ginny. "And we still play Quidditch, but the enmity is gone. The houses are friends."
"What's Quidditch?" asked Janet.
"It's a sport played on broomsticks," said Ginny. "Hermione will you run upstairs and get your copy of Quidditch Through The Ages?"
"Yeah," said Hermione, and she dashed off.
She returned less than a minute later and handed the book to Maddy.
"Now, Quidditch," explained Ginny. "Has seven players on each team, and three types of ball. There are three chasers. I play chaser. We play with the quaffle, which a ball about the size of a football. What we do, is throw it to each other and try to get it through one of three hoops, which are guarded by the keeper, which my brother Ron plays, you met him last night. He plays professionally now. Then there are two beaters, which my brothers Fred and George used to play. They carry a small club each, which is similar to a rounders bat. They use it to clobber the bludgers; there are two of them, away from their team and at players from the other team, to make them drop the quaffle. The final player is arguably the most important. It is the seeker, which Harry played. He was the youngest seeker in a century, and he was very good. I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up playing professionally one day; he's certainly good enough. Anyway, the seeker's job is to catch the golden snitch. The Golden Snitch is a walnut sized ball with wings. It's incredibly fast, and almost impossible to see. Whoever catches the snitch earns their team one-hundred-and-fifty points. The game ends when the snitch is caught."
"It sounds dangerous," said Janet.
"It is," said Ginny. "But that's part of the fun."
Maddy was looking at the book intently.
"How do the pictures move?" she asked.
Ginny and Hermione smiled at each other.
"Magic," they said together.
Ginny took her wand from her pocket.
"This is a wand," she said to Maddy. "Every witch or wizard needs a wand, otherwise they can't do magic."
"Wandless magic is possible," said Hermione. "But it's very difficult and very few people are able to do it. I know of only two living people who have mastered it: Albus Dumbledore, of course, and Harry Potter. Harry will be teaching you Defence Against the Dark Arts next year. It's a great subject and Harry's a fantastic teacher."
"You'll be able to do loads of fun things like duelling, and you'll learn really useful spells too," said Ginny. "I'm teaching a new class this year, which is a secret really. It's based on what I taught whilst I was the Head. Dumbledore thought that the students needed to be taught how to live. So that's what I'll be doing."
"I can't wait to go," said Maddy.
Ginny and Hermione smiled.
"Sometimes I wish that I could go back," said Hermione. "Part of me feels a bit cheated really. We never got to fully enjoy our time at Hogwarts. We had to grow up too quickly, because of the war, especially Harry. Our childhood is something we'll never get back."
"At least we survived," said Ginny. "There were a great many who didn't. We should be thankful for that and be grateful that it's over."
At ten to two in the afternoon, Ginny arrived at the church in the back of an elegant Daimler, along with Kim, Maddy and Joan. Janet had gone ahead to the church with her husband and met them there. Philip, Hermione's grandfather was to give her away. Ginny, Maddy and Kim had to pose for a few photographs, before she could go and find Harry. He was waiting at the back of the church. Ron had had to go to the altar once the car arrived, but Harry had stayed to say hello.
"I love your dress," he said after kissing her quickly.
"Thank you," she said. "You're looking pretty handsome today."
"I try," said Harry.
Ginny smiled. Her dress was red, a shade of red that matched her hair exactly. There was a gold panel on the bodice that was embroidered with red thread, and to Ginny's relief, the dress wasn't much of a tent. Harry and Ginny heard a car pull up behind them. Harry headed for the altar to join Ron, whilst Ginny headed outside.
Once again there was the ritual posing for photographs, and finally, they were allowed to walk down the aisle. Maddy and Kim went fist, each carrying small posies of red roses. Ginny followed, with larger posy full of white carnation sprayed with gold glitter. Hermione wore a long white gown. Her hair was curly, like Ginny's and her veil was set into her hair with white roses. Her bouquet contained both red and white roses. Ron and Harry's waistcoats, underneath their jackets, matched the bridesmaid dresses. Ginny grinned at her brother as she walked passed, and stood facing the altar. Philip joined Hermione and Ron's hands and the wedding began.
Bill got up to read a passage that Hermione had chosen from the bible.
"Love is always patient and kind. It is never jealous. Love is never boastful or conceited. It is never rude or selfish. It does not take offence and is not resentful. Love takes no pleasure in other people's sins, but delights in the truth. It is always ready to excuse, to trust, to hope, and to endure whatever comes."
At eight o'clock that evening, the wedding reception disco began. The meal was over, plenty alcohol had been drunk, so everyone was in the mood to party. Ginny and Harry were still watching Fred and George closely, and although no trouble had happened yet, there was still plenty time. Ron and Hermione got up to do the traditional first dance. Ginny and Harry stood behind the twins, with their wands out, just in case. Being stood behind the troublemakers, they couldn't see the grins widening on their faces. Halfway through the song loud bangs were heard coming from the walls of the room. Weasley's Whizbangs were going off everywhere. The effect was quite beautiful, and Harry and Ginny were at a loss to explain how it could have happened. They had been tailing the twins all day.
"Easy," said Fred.
"We got Bill and Charlie to set them up," said George.
"And they were only too happy to help," said Fred.
"Funny that," said George.
"You thought we'd be the ones causing the trouble," said Fred with a laugh.
"We're not that stupid," said George.
"We're not dumb enough to try anything with the two of you watching us like hawks," said Fred.
"It looks amazing though, doesn't it," said George.
And the twins wandered off laughing.
"Oh well," said Ginny, stowing away her wand. "It could have been worse."
"I love the idea of fireworks inside," he said. "And besides, it's so hard to be mad at them for these fireworks not after all the joy that they caused."
Ginny laughed remembering the day the fireworks were let loose in the Hogwarts Castle.
"Anything to make Umbridge have trouble," she said.
People were joining Ron and Hermione on the dance floor now. Harry took Ginny's hand.
"Come on," said Harry. "Let's dance."
Harry wrapped his arms around Ginny, and she laid her head against his chest as they swayed gently to the music.
"There was a time," said Ginny. "Not so long ago really, that I wouldn't whether it would really be possible to be this happy."
"It's been a difficult journey," said Harry. "On a long road, but everything worked out in the end. We're alive, and we're together, and Voldemort is never coming back. We've made the world safe for children to grow up in, we've made a happy world for our children to be born into."
"Our children?" she asked.
"Well, I figured we'd have children," said Harry. "Not right away obviously, because I don't think I'm ready, but someday I want to be a Daddy."
"You'll make a great Daddy," she said. "But we'd better be married first."
"You're not going to get out of marrying me that easily," he said. "I just want to wait a few years, until we're a little bit older, that's all."
"I understand, Harry, and I agree."
He kissed her gently.
When the song ended, they went to sit down with Molly and Arthur, but were briefly waylaid by Lavender Brown.
"Hi," she said.
"Hi, Lavender," said Ginny.
"Hello," said Harry.
"I just wanted to say congratulations," she said. "I didn't really get chance the night of the ball."
"Thank you," said Ginny.
"I also wondered, who taught you to dance, Harry?" Lavender asked.
"Ginny did," Harry said.
"See you later," said Ginny, leading Harry over to where her parents were sitting.
"Where did you learn to dance?" said Harry. "It never occurred to me before."
"During Ron's first year of Hogwarts, I was pretty lonely," said Ginny. "I'd always had at least one brother around, but that year Ron was away as well. And with there being only three of us at home, Mum had a lot of free time on her hands, so we spent a lot of 'girl' time together. She taught me to dance."
"Oh," said Harry.
Ginny smiled and squeezed his hand. They sat down opposite Molly and Arthur.
"How are you two?" Molly asked.
"Great," said Ginny. "Doesn't Hermione look radiant?"
"She certainly does," said Molly. "What did you do this morning?"
"I discovered that Maddy, the older of the two bridesmaids is magical," said Ginny.
"How?" asked Molly.
"I saw her accidentally summon something off the table. Poor Janet was terrified when she realised that I'd noticed," said Ginny, with a laugh. "We spent ages telling her about magic, and Quidditch and Hogwarts."
"Did you tell her about the wars?" asked Arthur.
"Yes," said Ginny. "They're a big part of our history, we couldn't exactly leave them out. Besides, children appreciate what they have better, when they know that many people gave their lives so they could have it."
"They should all be told," said Molly. "We all gave a lot up to get rid of Voldemort."
"Do you have anymore news on the Triwizard Tournament, Arthur?" asked Harry, changing the subject.
"Only a little," said Arthur. "They're still talking about trying again, but certainly not in the next few years. You got through to them, to some extent at least."
"Good," said Molly. "That tournament was never a good idea, and after what happened last time…"
She shook her head.
"To even think about bringing it back," she carried on. "They must be out of their minds."
"I like to think it was Ginny's Bat-Bogey hex that really got through to them," said Harry.
"Even Krum was there," said Ginny. "I can't believe that he'd want to try again."
"No," said Arthur. "He was pressurised by his Ministry. Madame Maxime however, was there of her own accord."
"Foolish woman," said Molly. "Why do they insist on continuing to put children's lives in danger? All the Quidditch they play is bad enough. All the death should have ended with the war."
"So," said Arthur. "Has Dumbledore got anything interesting planned for Hogwarts this year?"
"He was on about some kind of maze at Halloween," said Harry. "Which I'm not to keen on."
"And there was that Christmas boxes idea as well," said Ginny. "Sometimes I think that he's bonkers."
"I don't think," said Arthur. "I know."
"He's going to try and get some kind of annual ball going, I think," said Harry. "He'll probably try and get all the teachers to dance as well. It'd be alright if there was a teacher there that I'd like to dance with."
Ginny punched his arm.
"Hey!" he exclaimed. "That was uncalled for!"
Ginny just smiled sweetly.
"If that's your attitude, I'll just dance with Snape, how about that?" she said.
Harry put his arms around her.
"You know that I'm only joking," he said pouting.
"What did I tell you about pouting?" said Ginny sternly.
Harry pouted harder, and Ginny kissed him, just like she had that morning. Molly and Arthur disappeared, muttering something about going to talk to Mrs Longbottom. When the kiss eventually broke, Ginny lay back against Harry, and he kissed the top of her head gently.
"I love you," he said.
"I love you," Ginny replied quietly.
It was well after midnight when the do finally showed signs of coming to a close. All the wedding disco classics like YMCA, Celebrate, Grease, and of course the ABBA medley, had long been worn out. The children were growing tired. Little boys were no longer running around like aeroplanes and sliding across the floor on their knees, and the little girls had stopped performing all the dance moves immaculately. Many of the adults were staggering about, drunkenly, and Ron and Hermione had been waved off on their honeymoon.
The DJ was muttering into the microphone, but nobody could really tell what he was saying. Maddy and Kim seemed to have plenty of energy left; it was probably the euphoria of the day that kept them going. Harry and Ginny had wandered around making light conversation with the numerous Ministry officials who had been asked to attend.
"Consider it your public duty," Arthur had said.
"Urgh," Ginny had replied. "I hate being famous."
Harry had simply laughed and guided her away, before she hexed anyone.
Ron and Hermione's wedding reception had been a fantastic evening. Everyone had had a great time, and for the first time in a long time, people were able to celebrate without the feeling of guilt that there were people still suffering. Many people still found it hard to believe that it was two teenagers that had given the wizarding world its freedom. Harry Potter had destroyed Voldemort, the one who caused all the pain and fear, and Ginny Weasley had given hope, by bringing home all those who were thought to be lost forever. And to those two teenagers the wizarding world was endlessly grateful, for without them, happiness would never have been returned, they would have lived forever in fear.
Nobody disputed the fact that Harry and Ginny deserved happiness, and that they deserved it more than anyone ever could. They had given up their childhood to fight a war that they should never have had to fight. The end of the war brought the long awaited end of blood-prejudice in the magical community. The houses of the great school of Hogwarts no longer fought, and a world divided, became a community united. It was high time to let the children be happy, and to let the world be free.
The DJ and Ron and Hermione's wedding announced the last dance. Harry and Ginny joined the rest on the dance floor. Wrapped in each other's arms, they swayed gently to the music, knowing that as long as they had each other, everything would somehow always be all right.
Another turning point
A fork stuck in the road
Time grabs you by the wrist
Directs you where to go
So make the best of this test
And don't ask why
It's not a question
But a lesson learned in time
It's something unpredictable
But in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
So take the photographs
And still frames in your mind
Hang it on a shelf in good health
And good time
Tattoos of memories
And dead skin on trial
For what it's worth
It was worth all the while
It's something unpredictable
But in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
It's something unpredictable
But in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
And as the guitar and strings on the record played the gentle melodies, Harry lowered his lips to Ginny's and they shared a kiss that was so special, and so beautiful that it could never be forgotten.
It's something unpredictable
But in the end is right
I hope you had the time of your life
A/N There it is. A marathon of a chapter by my standards. And now it's over. The song at the end is Good Riddance (Time of your Life) by Green Day. The line "I look like a poodle"actually happened. When I was a bridesmaid, the sister of the bridesmaid opened the door to let us in to change and the first thing she said was " I look like a poodle." There are several references to Peter Kay Live at the Bolton Albert Halls in the final section, so don't sue me for those either.
So, all that's left to say is thank you for reading. I hope you've enjoyed my story as much as I've enjoyed writing it. I'm sure that I'll be back with one one-shot or another sooner or later. But please review and tell what you've thought of 2000 Miles. I read every review, and as yet I've not had a bad one. I know that I've promised you some flash-forwards, but I'm not sure when I'll have time to write them. When I get back to school, it'll be noses to the grindstone for my exams at the end of June, but I'll do my best.
I guess what we're all really waiting for right now is July 16th. The thought of that is what's going to keep me going of the next few months. Anyway, please review everyone. Thank you for sticking with this story, and I hope this final chapter hasn't disappointed you.
HAPPY NEW YEAR!