Chapter 30. Well, they say that all good things must come to an end...and here is the end of this story. Yes, that's right. I've gone as far as I think I can go with this before it starts to get boring, and I'd much rather finish on a good note!
Harry smiled and crossed his arms over his chest as he watched Ginny flash her left hand to a group of girls for what seemed the fiftieth time that night, with always the same reaction. There would be a collective cry of amazement, then 'oohs' and 'ahhs', and then a whole lot of jabbering on about things that were spoken in a language that Harry was yet to understand.
"Pretty intimidating huh?"
Harry smiled and turned to Ron beside him. "It's just like déjà vu every time I watch it. Girls talk so fast and all at the same time. How are we meant to even have a chance to understand what they're saying?" he asked, taking a sip of his Butterbeer.
Ron laughed and leant against the kitchen bench, watching his sister in the living room. "They need to come with bloody interpreters or something. Although Hermione's talks English 40 of the time, so that's not so bad." He said with a smirk, looking at his girlfriend next to his sister.
Harry snorted as Ginny pulled herself away from the group of excited girls, grabbed Hermione's hand and dragged her over to the boys. Harry laughed as he saw the expression on Ginny's face.
"Oh god! Why did we agree to have this engagement party anyway? Who's dumb, idiotic and totally ignorant idea was this?" Ginny demanded, linking her hand with Harry's.
"I believe it was yours dear." He said, smiling down at her.
Hermione laughed at Ginny's blush. "Oh come on. Don't tell me you don't absolutely love showing off your ring to all things with eyes present." She teased.
Ginny opened her mouth to retort, but didn't get the chance as Harry was grabbed by the shirt from behind and dragged away, forcing their hands to break apart.
"Hey! Where are you taking him?" Ginny demanded as Fred and George pulled Harry away through the kicthen.
"Just for – a little – chat!" Fred called, trying to fight a struggling Harry.
"This is illegal you know! I demand a hearing! An appeal...something?" Harry cried, trying to get away from the twins.
"Shut up loser. Come on Ron!"
Harry continued to struggle as he was pulled away from the party congregated in the Borrow living room, out the back door and out into the garage. He was shoved inside by the back, throwing him into a rather humid room with nothing but a table, one single chair and a light hanging over the top.
"Sit down." George commanded, shutting the door behind them.
Harry looked around apprehensively. Fred and George were standing on either side of the door, their hands clasped in front of them and their chests out importantly. They were apparently trying to come off intimidating, but their smiles and shuddering of suppressed laughter was giving them away.
Harry turned back around to face the table and jumped as he noticed three shadows, their faces just recognizable.
"Harry James Potter, please take a seat."
Harry sat down, recognizing Bill's voice from the middle of the three figures. He placed his hands in his lap and looked up at the figures a little more, wondering what on earth this was about.
After a moment's silence, Charlie emerged out of the darkness and placed his hands on the table across from Harry, his expression hard and his eyes boring into Harry's. "You, Potter, have been summoned here by the law firm of Weasley and Weasley Incorporated, to be interrogated about an upcoming event we have heard is to take place. Our resources have informed us that you have taken an innocent girl into this operation with you." He said.
Harry raised an eyebrow. "What?"
"Just go with it Harry." Whispered Ron from somewhere behind Charlie.
Harry sniffed in amusement and looked up at Charlie. "Well, I suppose this is true." He said.
Charlie frowned a little. "Is it your intention to flay this trust this certain young, anonymous girl is putting in you to your fullest, selfish intentions? That you plan to use her for schemes that shall not be mentioned at this time?" he asked.
"No, of course not!" Harry argued, trying not to smile.
"Is it your intention to become a fat, couch potato and have this young girl wait on you until your bodily functions become so foul, so grotesque, so unmanagalbe that – '
"Charlie, yuck!" came Bill's voice of outrage. He stepped out of the shadows and shoved his brother aside. "Harry, please state your intentions for all present." He said, picking up the role that Charlie had just been bumped from.
Harry cast a glance around. "My intentions? You make it sound like I'm committing some kind of crime." He said.
"That, young insolent, is exactly what you are doing!" cried Charlie, stepping back into view. "Being an only child without a younger sister to consider, we would not expect you to understand this. But Ginerva is our only sister, and as such a supreme responsibility to protect her and pummel any dolt that breaks her heart is strictly our responsibility." He said.
"I don't think Ginny would appreciate it if she knew that you were all so patronizing." Harry said with a smile. "She's 17 and can make decisions without you all standing over her like intimidating body guards all the time." He said. He was sure he saw a flicker of a smile cross Bill's face.
"None the less,' came Ron's voice as he stepped forward into the light ', for the sake of piece and to keep this little prank going, just stare your intentions with our sister." He said, his hands in his pockets.
Harry looked over his shoulder at Fred and George, who had neglected their imposing stance for a more relaxed posture, leaning against the wall. He turned back to the other Weasley brothers and sighed.
"My Intentions?" he repeated again. "Well, they're quite simple really. To love her with all my heart until the day we die. And even then I will still love her. Ginny is my friend, my fiancé, my lover...whatever. It doesn't matter what title it is. All that matters is that I can care for her and look after her always. My intentions are to create a family with her. A family that I never had. To grow old waking up with her, and to fall asleep with her holding me. I want to die with this woman loving me, and I don't care if you guys feel worried or threatened by that, because I am not here to take her away from you. I here to join your family, not to have her join mine." He said, his confidence never failing.
A stunned silence followed this outburst for quite a long time. Charlie's mouth was wide open and free of discretion, Ron had a large smile on his face and Bill seemed to have the faintest sign of a tear in his eye.
Finally feeling a tad uncomfortable after this interrogation, Harry cleared his throat and shifted under their heavy stare. "So, can I make my phone call now, or am I free to go?" he asked.
Finally, Charlie's mouth grew into a smile. He walked around the table to Harry's side, pulled him out of the chair and threw his arms around Harry in a bone-breaking bear hug.
"Uh, Charlie? Oxygen – a must!" Harry breathed.
"Welcome to the family brother!" Charlie said.
Harry didn't even have time to process the meaning of this sentence for himself as the rest of the Weasleys all gathered in a group hug, smothering Harry in the middle of it all. Harry wheezed out a laugh as they all squeezed, feeling something corny and mushy fill up his chest.
Finally, they released him and stepped back. "Sorry for all the formalities Harry, but it was necessary." Charlie said, clapping Harry on the shoulder and steering him out of the shed and back outside into the warm, July night.
"Necessary? And you! Being in on it!" he said, pointing at Ron as he fell in step beside him.
Ron laughed and held his hands up defensively. "Hey, you would've done the same in my position. And besides, I didn't want to be like Percy and be a snoot. I still maintain the git is adopted." He said.
"Got that right little bro. No way does he share the same genetics as us." Said George. He ran forward and opened the door for Harry, allowing him and Bill to walk in first.
As soon as Harry entered, he felt that flush of excitement hit him all over again like it had since he had first arrived that evening. The fact that Mr. and Mrs. Weasley had been so supportive of Ginny and Harry's decision was really enough to set Harry's mind at ease. But when they decided to throw this Engagement party for them as well, it just set his spirits higher.
He followed Bill and Fred back into the living room and took a look around before throwing himself back into the party.
First, his eyes locked on Allison, who was in deep discussion with both Hermione and Mr. Weasley about something apparently quite amusing. They were standing over by the fireplace in a close triangle. It must have been something to do with work, for Mr. Weasley was quite enthusiastic about what he was talking about.
In another large group some distance away, Xavier, Remus, Trinity, Mrs. Weasley and Tonks were also in group conversation. It pleased him to see Xavier mingling amongst people he hardly new. Harry had become quite fond of Xavier in the short time he had known him. He smiled as he noticed Xavier throw Allison a quick glace, smile, and then turn back to a raving Tonks.
Harry wondered how long it would take for his Godmother to pull her finger out and realize what was going on. He was well aware that Xavier was quite keen on her, and also had the slighterst suspicion that Allison felt the same. She was reluctant, and Harry knew why. They had gone out on many dates in the past fortnight and Harry could tell that Allison, whether she liked it or not, was falling for her workmate's charms.
He trailed his vision over more people in attendance, before his vision finally came to rest on Her. He could find her instantly in any crowd and not because of her startling red hair, but because of something else. If he had sat there for another hundred years, he still would not be able to define what it was that distinguished her from everyone else.
As if sensing his gaze, Ginny looked around at him and smiled. She tucked her hair behind her ear and winked at him. Harry smiled, mouthed an 'I love you' and winked back at her.
She smiled, mouthed the same and went back to her conversation with Ron as if nothing had happened.
Harry smiled, sighed and walked into the living room.
"Ok, everyone quiet!" Allison said, tapping her glass with her wand. "Oi! Shut the hell up!" she yelled. Instantly, everyone quieted down and turned their attention towards Allison, who was standing on the sofa, holding Xavier's hand for balance beside her.
"Good, now that I have your attention, I felt it would be smart, intelligent and absolutely fabulous of me to start the toasts this evening." She announced, smirking.
"Modest too." Xavier muttered beside her.
The corner of Allison's mouth twitched, but she went on. "Now, I personally think it's absolutely spiffy that all you lot could show up to celebrate Ginny and Sparky's engagement. Myself, I'm actually quite amused she actually said yes to the dunderhead, but hey – that's just me."
There was a collective round of laughter as Harry threw a cork at Allison, before she continued. "But, all joking aside, I would like to take this time to fully congratulate the couple we are honoring tonight. Ginny, you're a great woman who brings out the best in everyone. I'll be glad when I get to call you my Goddaughter-in-law." She said, raising her glass to Ginny.
Ginny laughed and mimicked Allison's gesture in gratitude.
"And well, to Harry – 'she stopped, looking down at her godson. She laughed to herself and looked over at Remus. He too seemed to know exactly what she was going through right now. "I haven't had to make this speech in a good near 20 years.' Allison said, looking down into her cup. "Circumstance within the couples haven't changed much either. One with Red hair, the other with messy black." She said, looking up at Harry and Ginny.
Allison sighed and raised her glass up once more. "Arthur, perhaps you or Molly could help me out here somewhat." She laughed, looking over at the two eldest Weasleys.
"Oh yes! We er, as Allison said thank you all for coming." Arthur said, leaping out of his armchair to stand in front of Allison. "Well, lets see, what can I say that hasn't already been said?'he thought out loud, looking at Harry and Ginny.
"Well, I know I can speak for both Molly and myself when I say that we are very pleased to have Harry becoming a true part of this family. You know how we feel about you boy, otherwise I wouldn't have given you my blessing when you came to me." He said, giving Harry a smile.
The party laughed, Harry blushed and tried to hide behind a giggling Ginny, and Arthur went on. "Ginny, we are proud of you for making such a decision with maturity. And well, without anything else to add that isn't already given...to Ginny and Harry!" Arthur said, raising his glass.
"To Ginny and Harry!"
Harry sat down with a grunt and rested his legs up on Allison's knees, leaning back into the chair and closing his eyes.
"Oh, my feet." He moaned.
Allison rolled her eyes. "Oh honestly, how much mingling is there to possibly do? There's not that many people here tonight." She said, giving him a look.
"That's not the point. And besides, who says there needs to be a million people for there to be a lot of standing up? All the blood has pooled at the bottom of my feet." He whined, opening his eyes once more.
"You are the biggest winge – oh, Remus! Get over here!" Allison suddenly cried, waving her hand vigorously indicating that Remus Lupin – who was all the way in the kitchen – come and sit with them.
Harry watched as Remus laughed, shook his head and excused himself from talking to Fred and Ginny.
"You summoned, oh wonderful speech-maker?" he asked, sitting on the arm of Allison's chair.
"Yes, good puppy. And er, just how was my little impromptu speech anyway?" she asked, looking at both Harry and Remus with a look of apprehension.
Remus smiled. "Impromptu." He said, shrugging.
"That, is not helpful." Allison growled, shooting Remus's smile a glare.
"It was fine Allison. And quite unexpected if you ask me." Harry interjected, sensing how tense Allison was feeling about the subject. "Thank you for that." He said, patting her hand.
Allison pulled her gaze away from Remus and smiled at Harry. "Really? I just – I had so much I wanted to say, but it just didn't come out as well as it sounded in my head. I'm better at writing things down, not saying them." She admitted.
"Maybe you should have asked Xavier to speak for you. He certainly has no problem with articulating himself." Remus said, a twinkle in his eye.
Allison frowned at him. "Oho. Don't you even start Lupin! Just because Xavier and I have gone on several dates in the past two weeks, does not mean that – '
"Several?" Remus sang, his eyebrows raised. "Sounds serious Harry. Call the minister and book the church.
"Lupin, you are two seconds away from find yourself the victim of an unfortunate Rectal Broom accident!"
Harry tuned out the bickering and simply gazed at Ginny. He could just see her sitting on the bench in the kitchen, her red hair falling to her shoulder blades and her smile lighting up her entire face. No, the entire room.
He lifted his feet up off Allison's knees ("Lupin, I do not have google eyes for Xavier!), stood up and walked into the kitchen. He tugged on Ginny's elbow and leant his head down.
"Come outside with me for a bit?" he whispered.
Ginny nodded. "Um, I'll be right back." She said, waving at Trinity and Tonks as she followed Harry out into the garden. She giggled as he dragged her around the side of the house and into the shadows.
"Harry, what – "
"Shh. You're spoiling the moment." He murmured, leaning in and kissing her neck as he pressed her against the wood panels of the house.
"Harry...everyone is on the other side of this wall. This paper-thin wall." She pointed out, but made no move to stop his hands which were roaming.
"Oh well. I am rather good at memory charms you know." He said, sliding his hands under her shirt.
"H-Harry...' Ginny shivered, but ran her hands through his hair all the same. "Harry, we're being rude. We c-cant leave our guests – 'she stopped as Harry's lips covered hers. She kissed him back with vigor as he pressed her more against the wall.
Harry pulled back slowly and stroked her face. "You're so beautiful." He whispered, looking at her face, memorizing every detail.
Ginny smiled and kissed him. "Thank you." She said, feeling rather tipsy after their small make-out session. She let him study her face for a moment, before running her hands up and down the sides of his torso. "We really should go back inside." She said reluctantly.
Harry exhaled slowly through his nostrils and nodded, taking her hands in his. "Can we pick this up later perhaps?" he asked, giving her a smirk.
Ginny took his hand and placed it somewhere rather interesting on her body. "That enough insight?" she whispered, releasing his hand after a few moments.
Harry groaned, spun around and threw her arms around his neck. She squealed and hopped on for a piggy-back ride back into the house. Harry set her down once they were in the kitchen and found themselves, once again, by themselves. It seemed everyone had congregated back into the living room to watch an amusing show by Bill and the Twins.
Ginny hopped up on the bench top once more and brought Harry to her, so he was standing in the V of her legs. She wrapped her hands around his neck and sighed. "What are you thinking?" she asked.
Harry smiled. "A million things all at once." He admitted. He looked back into the living room and smiled at the scene.
He could see the backs of Bill and Fred (maybe George? He couldn't tell from behind) periodically as they danced stupidly. He cast a glance over Molly and Arthur, their hands linked and their faces red from laughing. They're going to be my In-laws he thought. The very notion felt a little foreign at first.
He then looked at Ron and Hermione, who were sitting very close to each other with equally large smiles on their faces. This picture brought a smile to Harry's face as he had a flashback to all the past those two had shared. It warmed him up to see them starting a new life together that didn't involve hourly arguments.
Trinity and Xavier were next, their eyes cast on the twins as if they had never seen such a display in their entire lives. Xavier personally seemed to be having an internal struggle somewhat between maintaining his professional, calm demeanor and abandoning himself to the fun of the night. And Trinity, still as gorgeous as ever, was rubbing Remus's knee behind her, up on the sofa.
Remus and Allison. Two of the most influential people in Harry's world. There they sat, side by side on the sofa, their faces flushed with laughing and apparently the aftermath of their little play fight.
"They mean a lot to you, don't they?" Ginny suddenly asked, noticing who Harry was looking at.
Harry smiled. "Can I explain it to you?" he asked. At her nod, he went on. "Remus was the first contact I had with my parents. Well, aside from Aunt Petunia of course. No, Remus was different. He was the first one who took the time to show me things. To talk to me like I was equal and not inferior. Remus taught me a lot of things. Tolerance, patience...' he trailed off, blinking.
"And Allison, whoa." He breathed, shaking his head with a smile. "Allison is absolutely outstanding. She's just...I don't think I can explain it to you." He said, understanding what Allison had said about finding it easier to explain one's self in writing.
Ginny smiled and kissed his forehead. "I think I can get a small inkling." She giggled.
Harry smiled, forgot about the party in the next room and turned his attention back to Ginny. "Sorry. I do tend to waffle on don't I?" he chuckled, shaking his head.
Ginny smiled. "No, it's all right. I like it when you get all sentimental. Make me feel all mushy inside." She said, squirming a little in emphasis. As Harry's laughter died away a little, Ginny looked at him once more. "Do you wish your parents were here tonight?" she asked.
Harry looked at her and raised an eyebrow. "I thought they already were." He said, placing a hand on his chest.
Ginny smiled and kissed his nose. She tilted her head back and looked upwards. "Thank you for coming Mr. and Mrs. Potter!" she cried, but not too loudly.
Harry laughed and hugged her. "Thank you for loving me Ginny." He said after a long embrace.
Ginny laughed. "Well, it's not like I could control it all that much. But you're welcome all the same." She said, stroking his hair. She loved running her fingers through his jet-black hair.
Harry opened his mouth to comment, when –
"Excuse me snoggers! Get in here and entertain us with wishful thinking and wedding plans!" came Allison's voice.
Harry and Ginny laughed. Harry took Ginny's hand as she hopped off the bench and followed her into the living room.
As he took another look around the arrangement of guests, he couldn't help but smile. Although after such terrible times had passed, he knew that a lot of lives would not be repaired, nor totally fixed in anyway. But looking around at his family, he couldn't help but feel that things were falling into place. That finally he could have some peace.
That finally, he could have a family all of his own.
A/N – (tear). I tried to finish this as well as I could, but it still seemed to be lacking something. I hope you all enjoyed reading this as much as I enjoyed writing it!