Chapter Ten: The Wedding part I
When Dumbledore entered the kitchen of headquarters on Friday evening he found Remus sitting alone sipping tea and reading the evening edition of the Prophet.
"Good evening Remus. How is Harry today?"
"Hello Albus, I have no idea. He hasn't left his room all day," with a small sigh added, "Damned if I know if he's even up there."
Dumbledore sat across from him, pouring himself a cup of tea. Remus continued, "Ginny came over, earlier in the day. She pounded on his door for a good, long time with no answer.
"Finally she came down and asked me if I could open it for her. I didn't think it was a good idea. I thought though, it would be a worse idea to say no to Ginny. She looked to be in rare form," he gave Dumbledore a sidelong look before continuing, "From what I could tell by a brief inspection he has at least six different locking charms on the door and I believe half that many traps laid on it.
"Nothing too nasty. . . I think I could get through the door with enough time. . ." his look darkened, "But I think that might be a grave mistake for anyone to try."
After a moment of silence he received a reply, "I spoke to Molly earlier," Dumbledore said with a sigh, "Apparently life was far from peaceful at the Burrow last night and this morning.
"Ginny was more than furious and her temper could be a match for Harry's or even mine."
"Do you really blame her Albus? We used her, we used her feelings for Harry and his for her," Remus continued over Dumbledore as he started to speak, "No matter how good our reasons were.
"I seriously doubt Harry will come to any of us now for help or advice. You heard what he said to the twins and Mundungus. He won't ask them for help anymore. He said he would take care of it on his own. Mundungus told me about some of the wizards he met with to get those books; we Do Not want Harry meeting with these people on his own."
Dumbledore sat quietly; he had the same fears as the rest. He wanted to groan at the mistakes that seemed to be piling up when it came to Harry. How to stop Harry from doing whatever he pleased though? Perhaps he should speak to Amelia Bones about revoking the underage Wizarding exemption. Even if he could convince her, it would in all likelihood make matters much, much worse. Never in his long life had he felt this uncertain of his actions, his every decision when it came to Harry made matters so much worse.
Remus watched Dumbledore in silence for a time then said, "I did try to smooth things over with Ginny. Not that I had much luck. She had trouble even being barely civil to me.
"She did say a couple of things though," he said hesitantly, "First she demanded to know why I hadn't at least gone to see Harry once when he was alone at Privet Drive, she seemed furious with herself for not taking matters in her own hands and going to see him.
"Secondly she demanded to know why neither you nor I ever bothered to sit down and try to talk to Harry about things instead of using her to go around his back.
"She didn't even bother waiting for an answer. After I told her I couldn't open the door, she left."
"I wish he would come down and talk to us now," said Dumbledore.
"Even if he came down right now Albus, I don't think there's a chance in hell of getting a word out of him. And if we did I doubt either one of us would like it."
Harry woke after little sleep on Friday morning. His nightmares seemed ten times worse than they had ever been before. He started several times during the night, convinced that his hands were covered in blood. Ginny's blood, Weasley blood, his friends, his family all dead. Dead before he could finish his task. Most of these images weren't entirely new, and by seeing them so often he was slightly desensitized to them. Most, but now though there were new faces mixed along with the old. Faces he had only seen in the moving pictures of the Daily Prophet, all the people that have been killed since his enemy's rebirth.
"My fault, all bloody my fault," he muttered as he rose from the big four-poster.
After a few moments he walked to the washroom and splashed cold water over his face. He woke up a bit more, but the fear and guilt stayed with him. He stripped off his pajamas and slipped into his brown robes, which were beginning to look a bit ragged. The memories of yesterday were coming back to him now. That added to the hurt on top of his already foul mood. He thought of going down to the kitchen for tea, but the thought of facing anyone caused him to stop. He checked the charms and hexes on the door, seeing that they seemed to be untouched he dropped down into his trunk. Harry spent a solitary day first doing memory rituals then going through his Forms. Over and over he did this. The ache of his body, the weariness of it all barely touched his conscience mind. He worked throughout the day and well into the night, stopping only when he passed out on the cool stone floor out of total exhaustion.
Harry leapt up, twin fiery orbs of Living Fire poised to launch in both his hands. He turned about, unsure of where he was. Phantom images still whirling about in his mind, his breath came harsh and ragged. In a moment he realized how badly his body ached. With a groan he clamped his hands down on the fire, and he fell to his knees. After a few moments his breathing calmed. He was able to push some of his latest nightmares from his mind.
He stood slowly, readying to begin the Forms again. Forcing the ache of his body and magic from his mind took a lot longer then ever before. Every time he was close to the mental state of clarity he needed, memories or sharp pain came though and he had to start anew. When he was finally able to accomplish this, his mind was empty as he floated from position to position, from move to move. His mind lost in the void, his magic his only guide. It went on for a time unknown to Harry, till his eyes refocused. He looked around the room, unsure of what happened. It took only a moment for him to realize. A real, full smile appeared on his face for the first time in days. He had done it! He had gotten through his first complete set of Forms. The Warriors had told him it could take anywhere from a couple of weeks to two months or more to get through his first complete set. Harry supposed the reflexes born of his Quidditch training had given him the edge in completing them quicker. Now he could begin the rest of his training regime. He would need to get the weapons to train with before he could begin, that was a problem for later. Deciding on settling on his first completion as a small victory, he decided not to work any longer for today. 'Perhaps a bit of relaxing before the wedding,' he considered.
'Damn, I never asked Ginny what time I have to be there,' he thought foolishly.
After taking a long hot shower that loosened a good number of his tight muscles he dressed in his now customary black. Using his wand he shot warm air out of it, drying his still unruly, longish hair. Using a piece of black ribbon and pulled the front of his hair back into a small ponytail, high on the back of his head. His scar was more noticeable now, without the customary fringe that covered it. Harry had long since decided not to hide who he was, unless of course stealth was needed. He walked down to the living room, hearing voices coming from the kitchen.
Going over to the fireplace he took a pinch of Floo Powder, kneeling before it he tossed it into the small flames, saying, "The Burrow!"
A moment later he was looking out of the fireplace just as Mrs. Weasley entered the room, "Oh good morning Harry dear," she said with apprehension tinged her usual bright voice.
"Morning," Harry said cautiously, "Uh, is Ginny around?"
"No I'm sorry, she, Fleur and the rest of the girls are picking up their dress robes and are all getting their hair and things done.
"I should be with them, but with the problems last night," she sighed, "Trying to figure out how to fix everything in time."
Molly heard the change in Harry's voice even if his expression stayed the same, "Rain, Harry dear. It stormed most of the night, terrible wind and lightning. With the protection spells over the area around the clearing neither Arthur or Bill could cast even a simple weather repellent spell," she sighed deeply, "With everyone trying to get last minute preparations done; the meadow is still a swamp.
"The tables and chairs blew all over the place and tree limbs all over. I don't know how we are going to get everything ready in time."
Harry thought about it for a moment, "Mrs. Weasley, let me get my things together for later and I, uh, I could start getting things ready."
Molly stood a little surprised, with all that happened she would have thought Harry would be resentful of everything and everyone. Here he was offering his help. She considered him for a moment, seeing his chalky pallor and the heavy bags under his eyes, actually looking hopeful to be able to help.
"It's up to you dear; it's a lot of work to do by hand though. The sun is also very hot today; you don't have to do it. We will get it done somehow."
"Well I can use magic you know," as Mrs. Weasley's expression started to darken he quickly added, "Madam Bones gave me full dispensation from the underage wizarding laws. I can use magic anytime I want as long as I responsible about it."
She hadn't known about that, before she could respond though, Harry added quietly, "It would be nice to be able to spend the day outside. I really haven't been able to spend the day in the sun since school ended.
"And I'd really like to do this for Bill and Fleur."
Molly Weasley looked at his too pale and hopeful face. A face she couldn't bear to say no to, she smiled warmly to him, "Alright Harry dear, if you really want to."
Harry returned the warm smile and said, "I'll just get my things together, Falcore and I will be over soon." With that he pulled out of the fire.
Before going to get his things he made his way into the kitchen. There were only half a dozen members in attendance. It quieted as soon as he entered. He didn't recognize most of them, but Moody was there.
"Morning everyone, Moody you know where Remus is?"
Moody observed him cautiously before answering, his blue magical eye seemed to check him from top to bottom, "He started working with the twins today. You need something?"
"No, I'm heading over to the Burrow early, in case anyone is looking for me."
Moody looked at him considering for a moment before saying gruffly, "Keep your eyes open, Dumbledore and I'll be by later on to check the spells."
Harry nodded and left the room. Harry wasn't sure why he had gone into the kitchen to tell Remus he was leaving early, force of habit he supposed. He gathered his robes, gift (he had forgotten to ask Ginny what he was giving) and the rest of his things together. As soon as he was finished he called over to Falcore to join him. A moment later the feeling of being safe in a blanket of fire consumed him. The next moment he was standing next to the hearth at the Burrow.
He heard someone gasp behind him, as he turned Molly said in a slightly sharp voice, "Harry, when did you learn to apparate, and how did you get past the shields?"
Harry smiled at her, "I didn't learn to apparate yet and anti-apparition wards don't work on Phoenix's or house elves."
She looked at him for a moment and said, "I did not know that." She walked over and gave him a motherly hug and passed him a long sheet of parchment. "This is the way everything is supposed to be set up Harry dear. Now don't exert yourself. I'll send Arthur and the boys to help you just as soon as they return.
"Here give me your things; I'll press your robes for later. My, aren't these lovely?" she said as she fingered the rich black robes that he had found in his trunk.
Harry walked down the path to the meadow that they all had played Quidditch on. Falcore sat lightly on his shoulder and the bright sun shone down on them. It was a hot day today, the sun felt excellent though. He had almost forgotten what it felt like. Unrolling the parchment Harry looked it over as he walked. It was a simple drawing showing how the tables were to be set up along with the other details. Harry was glad Falcore sat on his shoulder, he was glad they were outside together. So far it was a most excellent day, soon enough they had made it to the paddock.
Mrs. Weasley was right about it being a swamp. Puddles the size of small ponds covered most of what could be seen of the floor, the rough patches of grass looked drowned and lank. The rest of the ground was covered with the muddy or broken pieces of tables and chairs.
"Must've been some storm," he said absently to Falcore, getting a single chirp in response.
As he walked around surveying the damage he saw the split rail fence surrounding the paddock was broken away in many places. As he strolled, he saw a good number of the whitewashed wooden chairs as well as a few tables were in pieces. He continued forward, passed what had to be a rather large conjured wooden deck that he saw on the parchment was a dance floor.
"Ahg," he groaned as he remembered that Ginny would probably want to dance tonight. This made his stomach give a little flutter, his first sign of nerves. As he passed the raised platform that was set up for the band, he thought he should concentrate on what he was doing before nerves really took hold.
He turned left at the end of the bandstand and headed towards another area. At one end stood a small, mud covered, white gazebo. Between Harry and the Gazebo, there must have been one hundred wooden folding chairs. He supposed before the storm they sat in neat little rows for the guests to watch the ceremony. Now though this area was like the rest, a complete wreck.
The prospect of so much work didn't really bother Harry; he was actually looking forward to it. He paused to figure out the best course of action. After several moments he spun, Falcore sensing what he was about to do took off at the same moment. His wand came out in one motion as he moved. He set a pale blue spell streaming from his wand. It hit the ground in a clear spot between the two areas. The spell trailed against the ground away from him, drying an area three paces wide by five long. A simple Drought Charm, he was slightly surprised he even remembered it. He had never tried it before. The spell was something Hermione found in an old spell book before the second task of the Tri-Wizards tournament. He went into a forward roll onto the dry area and came up casting another. He went through parts of his Forms as if he was in battle with the ground around him. Falcore circled above him, as if waiting to join the battle. It felt good to be out under the sun, not thinking about death and dying for a change. Part of his new found instincts guiding him through the drying.
After a while Harry stopped his minor spell work. He now had what should be a satisfactorily big enough area. Thinking he would practice as many new things as he could today, he used his wand and his hand to levitated tables and chairs to the now dry area.
Pointing his wand and his open hand he cried, "Wingardium Leviosa!"
This turned out to be a very bad idea. He knew it as soon as it was cast. He immediately felt the strain on his magic. He grunted softly as a table and eight chairs flew into the air. He tried to steady the load and settle it back down without damage. Before he could he lost the balance, the spells crossed and the table whipped into the chairs, smashing half to pieces. Breaking off the spell the table and chairs sped down, destroying another couple of chairs.
As he stood trying to figure out how it went so badly wrong, Falcore let out a burst of song that sound surprisingly like a chuckle. Harry frowned up at the bird and shook his head ruefully.
"What if I only use my wand and just open the field a bit to lift them all at once," he mumbled under his breath.
The next moment the table and all the bits of chair rose smoothly off the ground, he floated them over to the dry area. It was still difficult to control so many items at once. The crash of everything hitting the ground instead of landing softly could attest to that. He worked the spell again and again, getting better results and a finer touch as he went along. Some time later he had all the tables and chairs placed haphazardly onto the dry area.
This already was quite a lot of work. Not that he felt remotely tired yet. The dull ache of his magical core was still there, had been there for days actually. But what he had done so far wasn't enough to tire him. The heat of the sun though had him covered in sweat. Without a thought he pulled off his black tee shirt and used it to wipe the sweat from his brow. Tossing it over the back of a fairly clean chair he set about to dry out the rest of the ground.
Finally done with that part of it Harry took another good look around. The entire paddock was now dry, too dry. The grass of the clearings' ground was sparse, and what there was of it looked as if this really had been a swamp a short time ago. The rest of the ground was dusty soil, lifting into the air even with the slightest breeze. Luckily that memory transfer he did several nights ago contained just the spell he needed.
"Gramen Orior," he said pointing his wand at a bare stretch. A patch of green appeared where he had aimed. Harry went over and kneeled next to the spot. Checking his results he saw that the grass was much too long, and it hadn't grown in very thick. Thinking about it for a few minutes he decided on how to slightly alter the spell results. It took several tries to get the effect he wanted, then several more to enlarge the spell enough so it wouldn't take hours.
Not too long later Harry stood in the center of an ocean of blue/green perfection. He stood with a happy little smile on his face, the slight breeze ruffling his hair, and bringing the scent of freshly cut grass. For a change feeling happy and content. Not really considering why he seemed to remember things so much easier now or how altering spells came so naturally. He was just reveling in feeling the joy of working his magic.
A couple of hours later all the tables and chairs were repaired, scrubbed clean, and set into position. It was then Harry realized how thirsty he was. He could really go for a cold glass of pumpkin juice. He started to walk back to the burrow, but stopped abruptly.
'What if I see Ron and Hermione?' he thought suddenly. It just occurred to him that he was a little hurt and angry with them both. He really didn't want to be, but now that the thought had come up, so had the feelings. Since Harry only learned how to conjure hot tea and a few types of biscuits he contented himself with taking a drink of lukewarm water that shot from the end of his wand.
Ginny exited the fireplace at the Burrow, a thin white cloth wrapped around her head and shoulders. It covered all her hair and most of her face, only her eyes peeked through. After spending so much time getting her hair done, and her faced painted she'd be damned if she let it get ruined with soot from the fireplace. She stepped quickly from in front of the hearth, one of her younger cousins would be emerging from it soon enough. Careful not to muss her hair she unwrapped the cloth, looking at the amount of soot on it, she was glad the beautician witch had suggested it. The living room in front of her was fast filling up with women, most all with red hair of varying hues. All were her aunt's and cousins, sipping tea and catching up on family news, though all weren't there yet even now a pair of great-aunt's walked through the door. Almost all of the adult witches apparated to an area just beyond the burrow, outside of the wards. She didn't know where her father, brothers or uncles were. She had heard her mother barking orders to them early this morning; the only boy present was her cousin Willem. He was a precious little boy; he had strawberry blond hair and was as sweet as anything. She smiled when he looked over to him. He was lying on the floor at one end of the room slowly reading a stack of Ron's old comic books.
"Oh there you are Ginny luv," her mum said from behind her, "Here let me have a look at you."
Her mother's eyes scrutinized her closely, from her hair, to the paint on her face, even down to her fingernails, which were also painted. Fleur had insisted on it, Ginny had never tried it before, but she liked how nice her hands now looked. Her mother's smile shone like the sun after a moment, "You look lovely Ginny."
Ginny couldn't help but grin at her mother. She made a pact with herself last night; she would not blush for every small thing, but this little compliment, even from her mother in front of her whole family caused her to struggle.
The Weasley family crowded the living room and the kitchen, chatting loudly and happily. Sipping tea, nibbling scones and finger sandwiches. Ginny's hadn't stopped smiling since she woke this morning. It wasn't often that the whole Weasley clan was able to get together. Her age put her in the middle of her cousins, but the rest were either a lot older, married with children of their own or much younger, years away from Hogwarts. She circulated around the room, chatting with everyone, mostly talking of school, and the summer holidays. A couple of her great aunt's though wanted to speak to her about Quidditch, very impressed that she was the Gryffindor seeker. Apparently they were house players half a century ago, one from her own house and one from Ravenclaw. The pair frowned around the rest of the room, as if disappointed that no other women had played since their own time. She avoided talking about the reason why she was seeker and not Harry. She had made it clear though that this year she would be playing as chaser, her preferred position. That made both smile broadly, as they both played as chasers in their youth. They spoke for a long time about strategy and Quidditch cups that had been won, it was a conversation that Ron would have loved. She had to remember to tell him to talk to their aunts before they left.
Ginny had been talking and eating, chatting happily for a long while, until her father's oldest sister, her aunt Margery called a question over to her, "Ginny dear, we all know that this lovely young lady here," she said motioning towards Hermione, "is Ron's escort this evening. What about you, will there be a handsome young wizard coming later to be your date?"
Ginny froze, she felt like a child caught with her hand in the cookie jar. She felt her face warm, but she fought it back as hard as she could. She just noticed many conversations pause as the women waited for an answer. "Uh, yes auntie Margery, uh, his name is Harry." 'There, that wasn't so bad,' she thought in relief.
"Harry who, dear?" her aunt asked.
Ginny looked at her for a moment, she would have thought her mum would've told everyone by now, but her aunt's just seemed merely curious. "Uh, well, um, Harry Potter."
All conversation stopped abruptly, all eyes turned to her. Ginny froze again, she saw Hermione give her a sympathetic look. She ignored the look; she hadn't spoken more than three words to her or Ron since that night, well three words that weren't shouted.
After a moment, her aunt continued, "You're not. . . you are serious? Molly has told us that he and Ron were great friends. . . Well we'll be happy to meet the boy," she said with a broad smile and left it at that.
Ginny though it wouldn't be so bad, but soon was assaulted with questions, and not just from the young ones. Soon a good number of the adults were calling out questions about Harry too. Ginny felt the impulse to run, she held it off barely and said nervously, "Uh, I should give him a fire-call. I never told him what time to come."
She turned to dash into the kitchen, which was now mostly empty, since everyone seemed to be in here watching her. Before she could take a step, her mum spoke up from behind her, "He's already here Ginny dear.
The women in the room jerked there heads back and forth as if he was in the room and they missed him. Molly was giving Ginny an amused smile before continuing, "He fire-called for you this morning. When he heard about the storm, he insisted on coming over and lending a hand."
That made her grin broadly to her mother, Harry was rightly upset with everyone, and yet he still came there to do the right thing and help. It made her feel even more pride for him. Molly was watching Ginny closely, her eyes twinkling, she spoke before Ginny could, "I made him a lunch basket. Honestly I'm sure that boy would waste away to nothing if I didn't remind him to eat." The affection evident to all those that were there, she continued, "Why don't you take it over to him now?"
Ginny smiled gratefully at her for a moment before all the children were surrounding her, begging to come with her to see the famous Harry Potter. She couldn't make her voice heard over all the young high-pitched voices.
Luckily her mother spoke over them all, "We'll all go over and see how it's coming when Fleur and Gabrielle get here. I'm sure she'll be finished with her hair soon enough. Her tone quieted the children quickly. She leaned towards Ginny, speaking quietly into her ear, "At least he'll be able to eat in peace. And you can warn him of what's coming."
Ginny laughed and nodded gratefully. She picked up the basket, and swept out of the room before someone decided to ignore her mother and join her. She strolled up the worn path, the picnic basket hanging off one arm, idly examining her fingernails. She really liked the way they looked. Ginny had to admit that she was always more than a bit of a tomboy. It was a nice change to be all primped, hair and nails done and a brand new summer dress. She suddenly wondered what Harry would think, her free hand went up to the side of her elaborately braided, twisted and curled hair. 'Since when have you ever cared what he thought of how you looked?' she thought loftily.
That thought lasted only a moment though. Even while she was dating Michael Corner, Harry always occupied a corner of her mind, whether she wanted him there or not. She had cared very much what Harry thought of her from the first time she ever saw him. Part of her was very glad Harry was oblivious of her for such a long time. God, if he had seen some of things she had done back then, she'd never be able to face him now. The more Ginny thought about it though, she realized there was a bit of hurt at not being noticed until she made Seeker.
"Boys," she muttered disparagingly.
Soon enough she came to the edge of the clearing. She heard Falcore's faint singing, and what she thought was Harry laughing. She suddenly wondered if someone had gotten here before her. She frowned at that, and instead of continuing on the trail she crept along the apple trees till she came to the very edge of the paddock. Peeking around a rather large trunk her frown disappeared, it turned to an open mouthed gape.
She saw Falcore high in the air, near the far end of the clearing. Harry was hanging from the phoenix's talons with one arm; with his free arm he was casting spells at the apple trees. Wherever the spells hit, the trees suddenly bloomed with apple blossoms. Ginny couldn't help but smile at how happy Harry looked. As Harry and Falcore turned away from her to spell another tree she was able to get a good look around. Her eyes widened. She was here this morning and had known the conditions. She never expected what she saw now.
The ocean of grass before her was perfect, all the chairs and tables clean and whole. Now the apple trees surrounding everything were covered with pink and white blossoms, the whole clearing looked wonderful. By the time her eyes returned to the spot where Harry had been, she couldn't find him. After a minute of scanning the sky, her gaze returned to ground level. There he was, his back to her, Falcore resting on his shoulder. Ginny noticed how much thinner he looked now, though the muscles along his back, arms and shoulders were clearly defined. She noticed long marks along his back; she thought they must just be dirt. She observed him for quite some time, a strange smile on her face. He seemed to be talking to Falcore. Slowly he turned, his posture changed from relaxed to slightly wary.
She got a look at the front of him now, and made a little sound in the back of her throat when she saw more clearly defined muscles. Harry suddenly called out, "I know someone is out there, please come out into the open," strange that even as polite as he sounded there was no missing the command in his voice.
Ginny hesitated a moment, checking her dress and raising a hand to her hair, making sure that all was in order, then came out from behind the tree. She saw even at a distance Harry's smile return even wider than it had been. They both quickly closed the distance between them, and met in almost the center of the clearing stopping less than a foot apart.
Harry spoke first, "Wow Ginny, you look. . . wow."
Ginny was very pleased inside, that her appearance had left him mostly speechless. Actually there was a warmth that filled her as he continued to be at a loss. She merely smiled at him, letting him be dumbstruck for a while; it was doing wonders for her ego.
"How did you know I was here?" she asked curiously.
Finally he came to himself, and said with a grin, "A little bird told me." Falcore seeming to take offense at the 'little bird' comment, and nipped his ear playfully.
Ginny though was looking at him puzzled. It was obvious she wondered if Falcore truly told him or if he just pulling her leg. Harry lost himself again looking at her; he wondered how girls got their hair to do that. And that make-up, it made her look, not prettier, no not that, Ginny looked pretty first thing in the morning till bedtime. No it made her look older and somewhat exotic. Also the dress she was wearing, it was shorter than anything he'd seen her in, and it fit so snuggly. He never had a chance before to really see her figure. After a bit of a struggle he was able to find his voice again, but not till he looked away from her, "Well what do you think?" he said as he gestured around.
She didn't answer right away; when Harry looked over at her again he saw she was staring at his chest and belly, a dark frown on her face. He looked down; he made a pained face then. He had forgotten the bruises. The bruises from his brutal dueling match of several days past. "Harry what. . ."
He cut her off by lifting his arm, calling "Accio!" His tee-shirt flew into his hand not a second later. Quickly pulling it over his head, he said in a more cautious voice, "So you never said if you like it?"
Ginny frowned, but thought better of questioning him now, making sure her voice was as bright as it had been, "It looks beautiful, perfect!"
"No," he frowned slightly, "not perfect yet, but I have a few more ideas," he said thoughtfully.
She looked at him curiously, but when he didn't say anything else said, "Mum packed you a lunch. Why don't we find some shade and you can eat."
Harry lead them to the nearest tree, when they got there Ginny was frustrated that she wasn't her usual tomboy self, as the pretty summer dress wasn't really made to sit on the ground. Harry caught on right away and with a way of his wand a large yellow blanket appeared. She smiled broadly at him, at his thoughtfulness. She sat carefully; tucking her toned and nicely tanned legs underneath her. She saw Harry look away quickly as she turned her attention back to him. 'He was checking out my legs,' Ginny thought very pleased, 'I should dress up more often.' They spoke casually of tonight's festivities as Harry munched on some tasty sandwiches and gulped from a small jug of iced pumpkin juice. Both it seemed were careful not to discuss the events of when they last spent anytime together.
After eating and talking quietly Harry and Ginny made their way to the fence hand in hand. He showed her his idea for chest high, green shrubbery filled with different color flowers that would block out most of the decrepit looking fence that surrounded the area. The first problem was that the shrubbery would take a lot of time to conjure, and then he had to go back and add the flowers. Ginny was quick to see the problem and point it out.
"Well you're just going to have to help me," Harry said sweetly.
Ginny frowned at him and said, "You know I want to, but you know I'm not allowed to use magic," she gave him a playful smile and said, "We all can't be as lucky as the famous Harry Potter. Honestly, getting dispensation with two years left of school."
Harry took both her hands in his, enjoying this playfulness said, "Well since you are, er, friends, uh with the famous Harry Potter you should know by now that he has a way for you to get away with using magic. For a couple of hours at least."
She looked at him, eyes opened a little wider and smile broadening, "You're serious? You have a way for me to get around the underage wizarding restrictions?"
Harry's smile matched hers, "Yes I am. When Ron," Ginny saw a hint of hurt in Harry's eyes at her brothers name, "told me he was working with the twins I figured he could use it. The twins could cast the Masking Charm on him, and he'd be safe for two hours."
Ginny thought better of discussing her brother, especially when she was angry as well, quickly agreed to Harry casting the charm on her. It was odd, he aimed the spell at her chest but it pulled up over her head and exploded silently into silvery little sparkles that covered her completely, and disappeared a second later.
Ginny gave an odd sort of laugh, "You know I just thought of something. That first night at headquarters, I did magic. I never even thought about it then, I was just worried about you. I wonder why I never got caught for that?" then after a pause, "Or Hermione for that matter."
Harry's smile slipped slightly, but Ginny didn't notice as she was considering her own question. Harry knowing the answer said, "It was a minor spell, not much power behind it. The Fidelius Charm on the place is more than powerful enough to dissipate the magical signatures of such low power spells."
Ginny looked at him for a moment and said softly, "Do you know everything now Harry?"
Harry shrugged his shoulders uncomfortably and replied, "Protection charms were one of the first absor. . . of the first things I studied," looking off into space he said, "Wanted to know as much as I could about spells that would be around me. Don't know too much about the casting really, just the strengths and weaknesses of a bunch of them."
Ginny had heard her parents speaking with Remus and Professor Dumbledore about Absorption Rituals. She was sure that was what Harry was about to say. She didn't know anything about them, but from the few words she had overheard it was a very dangerous thing. Why though she couldn't say. She felt Harry slipping away from her, she quickly said, "Well, are you going to show me what you want me to help with before this charm wears off?"
Harry showed her how to conjure bunches of tiny flowers and how to change their colors. He was pleased at how quickly and deftly Ginny handled the moderately difficult spell. Conjuring the hedges was still the real problem. It seemed as if there were miles of fence; it would take forever the way he was doing it. He had to find a faster way. He asked Ginny to step away for a few minutes as he worked it out.
Nearly an hour later Harry stood alone in the center of the clearing. Eyes mostly closed, arms forward and his fingers waggling slightly. The look of concentration on his face and the sweat on his brow showed how difficult it was to control this conjuring. His body slowly rotated as the shrubbery grew. He was vaguely aware of Ginny not far behind, carefully choosing the colors of the buds she was adding. He once caught her watching him, a small smile on her face. He was vaguely aware that Dumbledore and Moody had just arrived and were watching him work. Falcore had let him know well before they reached the edge. Falcore was also high enough now to let him know a large group of women were making their way here. He just needed to concentrate for a bit longer. Holding this spell wandless for so long was a real test of everything he had worked on. He was having trouble keeping a tight rein on it, his magic wanted to go out of control without the focus point of a wand to keep it in check. With the fatigue that was setting in his body began to tremble and control was becoming more of a problem. He fought to keep his knees from folding up on him. More than three quarters of the fence was done, he just needed a little more time to finish.
Molly and Fleur were the first to arrive, arm in arm, trailed by the rest of the women. Gabrielle, Fleur's younger sister had made fast friends with a few of the younger girls, and walked towards the back of the group. Most of the French family including their parents wouldn't be arriving for hours. When the pair made it up to where Dumbledore and Moody stood, both gasped loudly, seemingly awestruck at the loveliness before them.
It was then Molly noticed Ginny using magic at the opposite end, she was about to call out and reprimand her daughter sharply when Dumbledore spoke quietly, "Try not to disturb Harry yet. He is doing something rather delicate. Something I've never quite seen the like of." If the attention of all the women wasn't on Harry, it was now.
Luckily Dumbledore spoke just in time, as Fleur seemed to want to run out and hug the stuffing out of Harry in gratitude. "But Ginny. Albus, if the ministry sensors pick up her using magic like this," Molly had a dark look on her face.
Moody suddenly chuckled, "Don't you worry Molly, it seems Potter came up with something for that."
Before Molly could ask though, Harry's arms came down, finished with his spell work. He bent at the waist; hand on thighs breathing as if he had just run miles. He thought it was a wonder that he wasn't flat on his face. Fleur disentangled her arm from Molly's and ran gracefully to Harry. He came up just in time to be caught in her arms, receiving two fierce kisses on each cheek. Harry felt himself blush as the emotion driven Veela side of her came to the surface. She took his arm as she realized how unsteady on his feet he was. Ginny hurried over to join them, she was grinning broadly at Harry's blushing. Ginny seemed to see Fleur struggling to hold Harry up, she moved quickly to take his other arm.
When she saw Ginny do this Fleur smiled widely at Ginny, turning slightly to look at her sister said, "You see Gabrielle, our new sister knows how to choose a proper man for herself. You vill learn soon enough."
Harry tried not to laugh, but ended up snorting as Ginny turned a bright red, at the look she gave him though he turned quickly and said to Gabrielle with a little bow of his head, "Bonjour Gabrielle. Il est bon de vous vor."
Gabrielle immediately went pink, and her expression. 'Oh no!' Harry thought frantically, 'Not another little Ginny!' His face let none of it show though, that was until he noticed all the women walking up to them gaping at him.
"Ooh, 'Arry it looks vonderful. You did such a job for me. And you speak French now, your accent needs a little work but it is très bon."
Harry barely heard her, he was a bit frozen at being the center of attention all of a sudden. He glanced at Ginny who seemed to notice his discomfort and gave him an amused smile. She said very sweetly, but low enough that only he and Fleur heard, "Oh Harry I forgot, mum said to warn you of this mob coming to gawp at you."
'This is what I get for laughing at her,' he thought ruefully.
Harry gathered his strength up, pulling away from the two half holding him up, turned to all the people and said brightly, "Hello everyone!" The stares from all around were beginning the get to him.
He received a chorus of hellos in return. Professor Dumbledore spoke up next, "Some very interesting spell-work on your part Harry."
Harry nodded, his smile cooling a bit. Molly must have motioned some of the women away as they stopped surrounding him and began to take a better look around.
"Might I ask how long it took you to alter the original spell to fit your needs?" he asked casually.
Harry thought it sounded a bit too casual and answered slowly, "Uh . . . a few minutes I suppose." He began to stiffen in annoyance as Dumbledore didn't respond; he just gave him the usual piercing gaze. He did notice a few of the witches watching closely, an older pair frowning shrewdly at his answer.
It seemed he was the center of attention again, it was worse now though, as there was a horde of awestruck young witches at the fore of the group. It was then Mrs. Weasley spoke in a low sharp voice, "Ginny, you know you are not allowed to use magic outside of school. Honestly, that's all we need today is the ministry coming to call with one of those letters." She also shot Harry a rare disapproving look.
Moody broke in before Harry or Ginny could respond, "As I said Molly, Potter here came up with something so the ministry is none the wiser. For a time at least." He turned his attention to Harry now, "You know Masking Charms are dead illegal, don't you Potter," his voice turned harsher.
Harry saw Mrs. Weasley scowl worse at him. He said quickly, "Almost all are Moody, those that hide large spells or dark magic certainly are." He shrugged, "But for some reason a spell just to get around the underage wizarding laws isn't."
Moody's eyebrows rose and a grin began to spread, "Been looking into this subject, have you Potter?"
Harry shrugged again, "I didn't come up with the trunk idea right off," this conversation was taking a turn to where he didn't want it. He looked over to Mrs. Weasley and put on his most wide-eyed, innocent face and said, "Sorry Mrs. Weasley, but I, er, it really needed a woman's touch."
Molly harrumphed, though her attitude lifted at his charm and took a good look around her and had to admit it was worth it. "Yes Harry dear, I can see that. You two did a wonderful job."
Harry wanting to escape any further questions and stares quickly said to Fleur and Ginny, "There was just one more thing I wanted to do here, and I think everything will be as perfect as I could make it." Harry made his escape with Ginny on one arm and Fleur on the other. As much as Harry didn't really like it they were still half holding him upright but it was still a necessity at that point.
They spoke quietly as they made their way to the gazebo. Harry and Ginny both were doing their best to keep their expressions as Fleur expressed how happy she was that they were together. Fleur seemed to read their struggles and was clearly enjoying making the pair squirm. Harry quickly described his idea to trail variegated ivy over the posts and attach tiny white rosebuds to it. Fleur absolutely adored the idea.
She joined in the spelling and the three had it completed rather quickly, all done under the careful observation of the children. In truth Harry merely showed the spells and the two had done it as he watched. He was really too tired to join right in. He watched the children supposedly watching the spell-work, but it seemed they more concerned with watching every move he made more than the magic itself. He saw Mrs. Weasley and the rest of the women were walking around the paddock. Checking that all the tables and chairs were correct, it seemed that each one of them would also cast glances his way often.
The three sat on the wide steps of the gazebo talking quietly for a while. They first spoke of the attack on Harry. He held Ginny's hand and with Fleur acting as part big sister and part old friend it was a lot easier to talk. She carefully skirted the subject of Sirius, offering her condolences without bringing up too much of his sadness. Harry finally noticed that Hermione was with the large group of women, when she noticed him noticing her she tried to hide behind Mrs. Weasley. There was that twinge of hurt and his feeling of not wanting it there.
He sighed to himself or thought he did till Ginny asked, "You ok?" then seeing where he was looking sniffed angrily.
Fleur caught on next and said in a disapproving voice, "Yes Bill told me about the meeting, I tell you 'Arry I am as upset as he was about it. How dare they!"
Harry was a bit surprised at the vehemence of her voice, couldn't decide what to say so just shrugged uncomfortably. He sat back a little, staring out into space, trying to just enjoy the day and forget for a while. It was a struggle though; dark sadness kept trying to engulf him now that he wasn't keeping his mind totally on a task. Harry was only half listening as Ginny and Fleur spoke of the new flat she and Bill were moving into, of the honeymoon (it seemed that Fleur wished it could be more than a week long but both couldn't get more time off) and various other things. He looked across the lawn and saw the three were still being observed by the gaggle of young witches, sitting on the deep grass not far off. He noticed that now most of the women were all laughing and talking loudly at a couple of the tables. Someone had conjured several tea sets as they continued to catch up.
'Is that what family's really like?' the wistful thought felt strange in his own mind.
He continued to look around and saw Dumbledore, Moody, Mrs. Weasley and two of the older witched talking, but glancing towards him fairly often. His smile and mood began to ebb again. He wondered what about him they were discussing now. His eyes stayed fixed on that small group till it was noticed that he was watching as close or closer than them.
"Problems between you and the boy Albus?" Ginny's great aunt Adelaide asked quietly.
"You noticed that Adie," he responded quietly taking his eyes off of Harry.
Ginny's other great aunt Adara responded in a far away sort of voice, "He's struggling mightily to hide it as well as he is. I see great rage and sadness storming through him; he fights a constant internal battle.
"He holds the capacity for great love but the fear of it has some hold on him." Those who knew this elderly, maiden witch knew that her words were true, it had always been that way for Adara. Whenever the emotions were strong enough she could read them. Read them as clearly as if they were written on parchment. Sometimes if she was close enough and the emotion strong enough she would receive snippets of pictures. Visions gleamed out of the person's memories or thoughts. Adara owned the very rare gift of empathy and hers was one of the strongest cases in ages.
Dumbledore nodded sadly, "And all I do is make matters worse. It's been a long time since I was a young man, so many mistakes," he sighed unable to articulate his thoughts further.
"How is it a wizard his age can conjure this amount of magic and still be conscious?" Adelaide asked, "Most full grown adults would be hard pressed to be standing after all this," she motioned around them.
The conversation then encompassed Harry's still fast increasing magical strength. Molly informed her aunt's a bit more of his life and times. She painted a clearer picture of the true extent of the sorrow that he fought against. Inadvertently it seemed she showed the true extent of her affection for Harry, and for the first time aloud expressed her fear for him and Ginny. Moody and Dumbledore spoke a bit of Harry's strengths and abilities. Dumbledore also added quietly his trepidation as to the sources of Harry's wide ranging knowledge. As was usual, talk with the two older sisters flowed freely, it had always been that when whenever the sisters were together. People always opened easily up to them. What Harry also didn't know, but both were long standing Order members. Both also possessed the strength of character than ran wild through most of the Weasley clan, and were both witches of some repute.
Harry continued to watch the older people for a while. He was curious as to who the pair of older witches that had joined the heart of his typical watchers were. The feelings were still there, struggling to send him to a place he didn't want to be. The comfort he found though sitting in the midst of his conjuring, holding Ginny's hand and listening to happy conversation were making it a lot easier to him to continue to hold onto his contented state. For the first time it seemed it struck him that his feelings for Ginny had grown from nowhere. Before this holiday he had known her only as a friend. Admittedly his heart was bound to a lovely Asian witch for some time, but never had he felt quite what he was feeling towards Ginny right now. When he returned back to the Dursley's, she was a faint bright spot, and now with every time he saw her that bright spot grew.
A startling thought just occurred to him, 'Didn't she say she was seeing Dean on the way home from school?' he felt his stomach muscles clench in what he thought had to be jealousy.
'No, no, Ginny wouldn't date both of us at the same time.
'Oh, so we are dating now are we?' he thought to himself
He continued his internal discussion without really feeling the effects of doubt. Not with Ginny holding his hand, and turning to smile at him every so often. His eyes continued to drift to her often.
"Harry is anything wrong? You turned very quiet and you have a strange look on your face," her voice tinged with worry.
Harry came out of his own thoughts and responded, "What? Oh no nothings wrong, why do you ask?"
She looked at him now even more concerned, "Fleur asked you a question three times and you ignored her."
"Oh I'm sorry Fleur, I was just thinking."
Fleur smiled at him, but was giving him a piercing womanly look.
"What were you thinking about?" Ginny asked curiously.
Harry just smiled slightly and shrugged.
She began to frown a bit deeper till Fleur said quite casually, "If I might guess my new little sister, is that our 'Arry here was deep in thought over you.
"You see Ginny with men you have to keep a look out for that slightly lost expression, the dopey little smile and now the slight reddening of the cheeks."
Harry didn't think slight was the right word, 'Bloody hell, was it that easy to read? Or was this some kind of Veela power.' After a second to bolster himself he narrowed his eyes towards Fleur and said in a mock crisp voice, "Do you mind?"
She laughed throatily at him and said, "I do apologize, I should have waited till later to mention it, but you must understand that we women must look out for each other."
Ginny laughed with Fleur and now was trying to match the previous womanly gaze. Harry began to squirm before the two women, "Bloody hell it's easier to face down a horde of Acromantula than two beautiful women," he muttered under his breath.
Fleur laughed again, and Ginny at first looked a bit stunned and then beamed at him. He couldn't help but join in the laughter just after Ginny had. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Hermione looking wistfully at them and that twinge of hurt returned. 'I'm going to have to do something about this for today. It's too good a day to let anything spoil it,' he thought to himself.
Harry lost the thought for the time being as his full attention returned to Fleur as she told him how she had cursed Bill this morning. Harry was trying in vain to control his laughter as she explained of the fierce belief of hers and the women of her family in a man not seeing his bride before the wedding. She had used was she called a 'Boogey Bat Hex' that Ginny had taught her to escape being seen. Actual tears started in his eyes as she explained how Charlie and Ron had to catch Bill and keep him from falling down the stairs headfirst. "After all," she said loftily, "I did warn him several times." It was then Falcore let him know that a group of men, smaller than the group of women had just left the Burrow and were making their way to the paddock.
Harry had heard a high-pitched squeal of delight followed by louder, more hurried talking from the women in the paddock. The trio, though, was still sitting and laughing that was until that high pitched squeal turned from delight to terror. Harry was up in a flash and saw at the very extreme far end of the paddock a small boy high in the air on a broom. It was obvious the little boy had no control of the broom and was beginning to head away from everyone. A quick glance over the area showed Professor Dumbledore and several of the witches with wands out. It seemed that between the distance and the protection spells that were erected interfered with all usual attempts at saving the boy.
Harry didn't hesitate raising his left arm as he ran, "Falcore TO ME!"
Falcore immediately arrived in a flash of fire taking his left hand. An instant later he was hovering slightly above the boy on the broom, Falcore keeping up the slow pace.
"Hello there little mate, excellent day for flying isn't it?" Harry asked brightly.
The small boy jerked in surprise and nearly crashed into the top of a tree. "Sorry about that, no reason to be nervous. You think you can hold that broom steady?"
The boy nodded, and a moment later Harry was seated right behind him. "Well since we're flying together maybe you should tell me your name. Mine's Harry."
The cute little boy gaped over his shoulder at him and said nervously, "I. . . I'm Willem."
Harry smiled reassuringly, "So tell me my friend, what are you doing alone up here and flying on Ron's broom?" he asked casually, "I'm pretty sure you're mum wouldn't think you were old enough to fly by yourself."
Willem blushed but his eyes seemed to be fixed on Harry's scar. "I. . . well everyone always talks about flying and Quidditch and everyone says I'm really good on my training broom. . . . I just thought it would be the same thing. I just wanted to see if it was as good as everyone says."
"So you just wanted to see what flying was really like. . .hmm, if I were to show you what flying was really like do you promise not to taking up flying again without your parent's permission?"
Willem's eyes became wide at the thought of being shown what it was like to really fly and by Harry Potter! He quickly promised. Harry smiled at him and told him to hold on tight. Harry hunched forward over him, using his forearms to make sure the boy was held in place. With that done he kicked the broom into a sharp turn, leaned forward and pushed the broom for all it was worth. After an initial sharp intake of breath the boy began to squeal in renewed delight. Falcore raced in front of them, the stunning creature appeared to barely have to flap his wings to keep steadily before them. An odd scarlet nimbus seemed to trail behind the phoenix as Harry urged the broom into a semi-steep dive. At the end of the dive his toes brushing the grass Willem let out a great 'Ya-Hoooo!' at the very top of his voice. Once more they rose, making another sharp turn, as Harry kicked the tail of the broom upwards one final time. The swept down a bit more slowly to much applause as they swept in front of Ginny and Fleur, who had joined Mrs. Weasley and the rest
"That was very nice Harry dear," she said as who had to be Willem's mum came stalking over to scold her son, "But we really could have done without the air show."
He again smiled innocently, "We made a deal Mrs. Weasley, I would show Willem here what it was like to really fly and he wouldn't take up flying again without his mum's say so."
Willem's mother stopped to look at him, eyes widening slightly, gave him an appreciative nod and a smile that was hidden from her son. She did though commence with a rather harsh scolding of the boy. Not surprisingly it sounded very much like Mrs. Weasley and her sons. Mrs. Weasley was giving him a wide and approving smile.
"So your saying that it was the only reason for the flight, you got no enjoyment from it what so ever?" Ginny said sweetly.
Harry laughed, a good hearty laugh, "No, I wouldn't say that!"
"I see you and Falcore are bonding quickly," Dumbledore said from behind him.
Harry turned and said "I suppose so," keeping his expression and voice polite. Dumbledore didn't say anything else, just continued to gaze at him. This action by Dumbledore was beginning to grate on his nerves.
He locked eyes with Dumbledore for several minutes. He heard several of the witches around him saying something to the effect of 'Young wizards are all the same, not a one of them doesn't steal a broom and fly at Willem's age.'
Dumbledore's look changed slightly, Harry realized he must have let some emotion show, his stomach clenched in loss at the fond words of the women around him. Harry dropped his eyes and turned away from him, his mood really ebbing for the first time today. When he lifted his eyes again he met Mrs. Weasley's. The look on her face and in her eyes touched his heart. She reached up one hand and pulled him down into a warm hug and kiss on the cheek. It was a good feeling, that. Almost like family. Just before letting him go she whispered in his ear, "It's not only young wizards that get into trouble that way. Sometimes little redheaded witches do too." He smiled a warm smile at her; in surprise he found he felt wonderful again.
He turned away from her and saw Ginny talking to the two older women that were speaking with Dumbledore earlier. She heard Ginny saying something like is it any wonder that he was named seeker in his first year. Harry grinned embarrassedly at hearing the pride in her voice. Ginny looked over her shoulder at him and gave a warm smile. Harry closed the distance and stood next to her. Ginny took his arm and said, "Harry, I want you to meet my great-aunts. Motioning first to the left said, "This is Adelaide and this is Adara Weasley."
Harry smiled and was about to give a polite bow, but something clicked in his mind. They all saw him freeze, smile fading and his eyes going a bit distant. After a moment the smile returned and said, "The same sisters who wrote 'A Compendium of the Power Struggles of Dark Forces throughout the Ages?'"
Both sisters' eyes widened slightly, giving him pleased smiles, nodded as Harry was bowing a little more deeply than strictly polite. "We wrote that more than sixty years ago Mr. Potter, it's rather a surprise that you found a copy. Not many would even bother reading it any more."
"Please call me Harry," he said politely, "I've been searching out rare books, and that one give a lot of insight into power struggles and strategies of the past. I once heard someone say those who ignore the past are doomed to repeat it. Or something close to that."
"Wise advice, very wise advice indeed," Dumbledore said from behind him.
Harry mostly ignored his headmaster, "I had meant to ask Ginny or Ron if you were relations," he make an indistinct motion with he free hand, "Just never find the time.
He chuckled and said, "I hope you don't mind terribly if I pester you with questions later on this evening."
Ginny spoke up now, giving his arm a sharp tug, "I think you did enough work today and tonight you are my escort," she raised one eyebrow and said archly, "I expect you to be at my beck and call all night!"
Harry held back the snort of laughter at the command and instead stepped slightly aside. He made an elaborate bow and said slightly louder than he had meant to, "Oh, of course milady, please forgive my lapse. You're wish is, of course, my command, for this evening and for many to come, if it pleases milady," he said in a very grandiose manner. As he rose to a smattering of applause and cheers he saw Ginny reddening and he struggled to keep a straight face.
Moody's amused growl came from behind him, "Smooth Potter, very smooth."
Harry was beginning to feel the shock of what he did. Ginny still hadn't said anything, but was looking at him rosy cheeked. Her eyes though were misty, and her soft lips bent in a small smile seemed to beg to be kissed right now. Harry shook himself then chanced a look around. He was surrounded by witches wearing amused smiles. He heard in several different voices the same sentiment, 'What a charming young man.'
'Me?? Charming??? Me???' he thought slightly bemused. The bemusement didn't last long, taking another long look at Ginny. She smiled and he never felt more confident in his life.
Harry stood there bemused, he saw a small group of older Weasley men, talking loudly and laughing uproariously as they made their way into the paddock. Bill flanked by Charlie and Ron trailed the group, after a second Harry started. Whipping his head around he saw Fleur chatting happily with the women he had just been taking to. As his head swung back his wand came out. Seemingly without aiming he called out "Nebulosus Vallo!" A thin, misty white spell sailed out of his wand hitting Bill Square on the chest. He saw Bill's eyes widen, when it hit the spell seemed to spilt in two. One spiraled up; the other down, in less than a second Bill was enshrouded in a thick, pearly white fog. Immediately he heard gasps from the women around him, the twins burst into immediate laughter and some of the men drew wands in confusion.
After a second Bill's voice called out, "What's the big idea Harry!?!"
Harry couldn't help but chuckle before he called back, "I'm not sure Bill, but I think it would be very bad luck for the groom to be hexed by his bride twice on their wedding day!" There were amused chuckles from the women and more raucous laughter from the men.
The twins came closer and he saw they were frowning at him, "Harry," Fred started.
George continued, "It takes all the fun out of it,"
"If you do something like that for a good reason!" finished Fred.
Harry just grinned at them.
Bill next said in a voice that hinted of dread, "Fleur is here? We didn't stop at the house, we thought she was. . ."
He never finished that thought as Fleur's voice rang out imperiously, "Bill Weasley! What did I tell you!" her voice was harsh but her eyes were twinkling wildly.
"My little flower. . ." Bill said in almost fearful voice.
"Don't you little flower me!" As she strode towards Bill she paused at Ginny's side, she leaned in a little and said in a voice that Harry was meant to hear, "A very good choice," she looked towards Harry, eyes squinting a bit, a slight frown touched her lips and continued, "You have to train him a bit, but a very good choice."
Harry didn't have a clue as to what to say to that. He smiled and shook his head. He watched her walked towards Bill, he saw Ron and Hermione standing together. They were a little farther back, both seemed to be watching him. Though Hermione seem to also want to get a better look at the spell he had cast. They looked away from him when they saw his eyes on them. He was considering going over to them until a soft hand snake its way into his. He looked down slightly to see Ginny staring at him. She was smiling at him again. Her sparkling eyes spoke volumes. He had a feeling her expression was roughly the same.
They shared the moment in silence till she spoke in a soft voice tinged with love, "You're having a very good day aren't you."
He fumbled with the words, finally he answered quietly, "This is probably, no not probably, this is the best day I've ever had."
Ginny watched him closely as he spoke. She saw a range of emotions cross his face to disappear in an instant. He was looking at her like that again. Eyes sparkling, locking hers to his. It seemed as if everything around them disappeared. Neither knew how long they had stood that way. Harry felt Falcore's presence, occupying a corner of his mind letting him know all was well. Somehow Harry knew that Falcore approved of all this and if it was possible it made it seem even more right.
They came back to themselves as Fleur called over to Harry, "'Arry, how much can my Bill see right now?"
Harry turned and called over, "He can't see the tip of his own nose!"
She gave him a wicked grin as her head disappeared into the fog, Harry was quite sure Bill was getting thoroughly kissed right now. Grins filled the onlookers before Mrs. Weasley called out sharply, "Bill, Fleur!" her voice was sharp, but her face was blooming in amusement.
"Sorry momma," Fleur said with a giggle a few moments later when her head reemerged from the smoky void.
"Alright ladies! It's about time for us all to start to get ready for the festivities!" Molly called out.
"Gabrielle, Ginny come let us get ready," said Fleur.
"Well, I guess I'll see you a little later," a smiling Ginny said to Harry.
Harry glanced over to Ron and Hermione, who were talking close together while observing them. He said to Ginny, "Can you wait another minute or two?" She had seen him look over and understood. She looked at him for a moment and then nodded.
"Fleur, Ginny will catch you up in a minute," he called after her.
Fleur turned and grinned wickedly at them as she said, "Do hurry Ginny, after all you have all night to steal kisses with 'Arry!"
They both laughed embarrassedly, hand in hand the pair made their way over. Ron and Hermione both looked at them with equal caution. They stood in uncomfortable silence for several moments while Harry gathered his words.
He looked between the two, biting his lower lip, happiness was fighting a terrible battle with the anger and hurt inside him. "I don't want to feel the way I do right now," he began, "I, uh, it's out of my... out of my mind today. For today, nothing's happened. It's a good day, a happy day, let's keep it that way." He looked over to Ginny and after a moment she nodded at him.
Both looked nervously at him and then nodded.
"I really have to go," Ginny said, "I have to help Fleur get ready, and myself too. Coming Hermione?"
"I'll walk you back a little ways," Harry said. Ginny gave him an adoring smile, and took his arm. Hermione and Ron trailed behind them. Near the edge of the paddock a thought occurred to Harry, he said to Ginny, "I know you said no more work today, but there was something I was working on the other day. I wonder, would you mind if I try it now?" He had that playful glint in his eyes again.
She frowned at him, looking at him with stern eyes that sparkled mischievously. "If you must," she said faintly.
He drew his wand, looked Ginny in the eye and said, "Rosaleous." At the end of his wand appeared six perfect roses, tied with a piece of fine lace. He brought them up near Ginny's hair, and then grinned broadly. "Good match from memory, no?"
She looked stunned as she stared at the flowers, and then said very coyly, "Been thinking about me Mr. Potter?"
Harry's cheeks reddened slightly, but didn't drop his eyes from her. "Once or twice Miss Weasley."
Ginny looked at him for a second, reached up and hooked a lock of wavy hair behind his ear before throwing her arms around his neck. Planting a firm, but quick kiss square on the lips. Without another word, she let him go and practically skipped back to the Burrow. Calling over her shoulder, "Coming Hermione?"
Harry momentarily stunned finally turned and saw Hermione looking at him with eyebrows raised, an amused smile on her face. She didn't say anything, but he did hear her giggle as she chased after Ginny. Ron, though, was frowning slightly and said very seriously, "When did you get so good with women?" He sounded disgruntled.
That was not exactly what Harry was expecting from Ron. While trying to decide what to say Harry looked over Ron's shoulder to see all the remaining men looking at them. Most wore small grins, but some, like the rest of the Weasley brothers were scowling at him. Ron seeing where Harry was looking realized what had happened and now was laughing openly at him.
Harry stood uncomfortably until Bill called out in exasperation, "Harry can you take this bloody spell off me now???"
Harry chortled and decided on a little more fun, he called back, "Damn! I knew I should have looked up the counter-spell."
"What!!!" Bill called back, his voice tinged with panic.
Waiting till the twins fell about in hysterics, Harry waved his wand and the spell