May 31, 2003
As the first rays of sunlight peeked through the gap in the curtains, the light fell upon Harry Potter, who stirred in bed. Ginny lay next to him, curled up in the foetal position. Her rhythmic breathing and the dramatic rise and fall of her chest told Harry she was still deep in slumber, and that it was probably still early morning. She looked so peaceful and beautiful laying there that Harry didn't have the heart to disturb her.
He knew she should not have spent the night, but old wive's tales be damned; he was through with wasting precious time, especially where bad luck was concerned. Harry believed in fate, and fate had brought him and Ginny together- forever.
Harry carefully pulled his arm out from beneath Ginny and peeled back the bedcovers before quietly, and cautiously removing himself from the bed. He stood at the bedside in his rumpled pyjamas and ran his hands through his hair. He quickly retrieved his glasses from the nightstand and put them on, seeing the world in clarity. Orion lay, curled up, next to the fireplace on his bed.
Harry crossed the room and peered out through the curtains. Dawn's scarlet, amber, fuchsia, and indigo hues were present on the horizon. A smirk played at the corner of his mouth; surely there was time, wasn't there?
He rummaged through the drawers in his bureau and pulled out an old sweatshirt and a pair of jeans with a hole in the knee. He disrobed in silence and dressed in the old clothes before tiptoeing from the room, thankful he had not woken Ginny.
Harry hurried downstairs, through the main hall to the kitchen, where he stopped briefly to put his trainers on. Quietly he exited the house and jogged across the lawn toward a small gardener's shed at the edge of the mountains. With a wave of his hand, the lock was disengaged and he pulled open the wooden door.
Inside the shed, propped up on the kickstand, was Sirius's old Motorbike. Harry's black helmet and dragon-hide gloves rested on the handlebars. He smiled with a wild excitement and reckless abandon, and nudged the kickstand with his foot before pushing the bike out onto the lawn.
He looked up toward his bedroom window, fearing he would see Ginny, standing there with her hands on her hips and a frown on her face; the very image of her mother, but she was not there, so Harry advanced the bike toward the old, dirt, road that curved its way around the mountains. He realized, as the bike's tires crunched on the gravelled road, that it was going to be a beautiful day once the morning clouds lifted.
Harry stopped pushing, threw his right leg over the bike and sat on the seat while he strapped his helmet under his chin and wiggled his fingers into the black gloves. He pulled the black, tinted visor down over his glasses and with a swift, firm kick, started the bike.
The machine roared to life, and Harry revved the engine, just for good measure and tore off up the road between the mountains, heading away from Hogsmeade.
In the short time Harry had been riding the motorbike, he'd become more and more confident in driving it until now it was almost second nature, like flying on a broomstick. The bike careened over hills and into gullies, all the while Harry wore a wide grin. He could envision Sirius doing the same, at top speed, no less. Scaring small animals, impressing children, asking good-looking girls if they wanted a ride. Yes, Sirius was the epitome of cool and Harry now felt proud to own the motorbike.
The houses were getting further and further apart now, and Harry figured it was probably safe to fly the bike. He took a quick look in his side mirrors and depressed the button that would lift him off the ground.
It felt as though his stomach were in his throat as the bike rose off the ground and began climbing into the air. Harry felt weightless, and his mind was clear of anything that had happened over the last year. He steered the bike around the mountains toward Hogwarts.
One year ago today he had been alone in a hospital room at St. Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maladies and Injuries. He'd awoken in the middle of the night, alone and terrified, wondering if he were dead or alive, or somewhere in between. He did not have any clue that five long years had passed, or that life had continued without him. He only knew that Ginny could fix whatever it was that was wrong, merely by her presence. He couldn't have anticipated what really happened.
It had taken him a long time to realize he didn't blame Ginny. She had been taken horrible advantage of when she desperately needed something or someone. It had taken Harry an even longer time to realize he could not blame himself. Whose fault was it that Harry was robbed of time? He could not harbour any guilt for something he had no control over. Ginny didn't blame him, why should he blame himself?
Harry would never know how he would have reacted if he had learned the truth by sincere methods. He had eavesdropped. If he had only listened to Ginny's explanation, things would have been different, right? He knew he had a temper, he knew he made rash decisions, and often saw what he wanted to see. He had been immature, and foolish, and it had almost cost him the love of a lifetime. Ginny was not without fault, but what good would it do to cast blame now? They had fought for each other, to get back together, and stay that way for the rest of their lives, and Harry would let nothing keep them apart now.
He had grown up five years in only a few short months, it wasn't perfect, but he had done the best he could. Ginny understood him like no one else; she was patient, good, and caring. She had loved Harry in one form or another, for her entire life and her devotion to Harry was deep and unfathomable. Whether or not Harry deserved her or not, he didn't know, but he had her. She had agreed to be his wife and he would never hurt her, turn his back on her, or do anything to endanger her in any way for as long as he lived. She loved him, and he returned that sentiment to the fullest, deepest extent he could comprehend. He would do anything and everything to make her happy and give her the life she deserved.
Ginny was not only his friend and his love, but she was his soul mate. They shared a bond, a tight, compact, precise bond. When Harry had saved Ginny in the Chamber of Secrets, they had forged something between them, unbeknownst to either one. An unbreakable connection that neither of them would realize until much later.
Both of them had gone through so much to get to this place in their lives. Their paths had crossed ever so briefly on September 1, 1991, but destiny did not bring them together for some time yet. Yes, their fates intertwined and intersected dozens of times, but it was not until Harry had lost Sirius, known the pain of possession by Voldemort, and heard the awful truth that he would be forced to commit murder, or die trying, that he decided to do something about it. Ginny had stood by him, endangered her life, and showed such loyalty to him; how could he push her away just when he needed someone most?
That desire to trust her, and subsequently, spend more time with her, put into motion the course of events that would bring them to where they were today. One year after Harry's awakening. This date would be one that Harry would never forget: resurrection, second chances, and true love. No matter what, his parents would be with him today and Sirius too. He could always feel their presence is his life. They were there one year ago today, when Harry arose from the coma, and they would be with him today, resting their hands upon his shoulders.
The sun had fully risen over the horizon and was beginning its preordained path across the sky. Harry knew it was time to go home, if he were late getting back, Ginny would be having kittens.
Harry made a wide turn and began his descent through a dense, low cloud. A thick layer of condensation coated his visor. He sped up to blear the moisture from his field of vision and approached the town of Hogsmeade once again. Curls of smoke erupted from chimneys, signalling the start of another day. He neared the Hogsmeade Train station, spotted a stretch of straight road below him, and decided that was a good place to bring the bike down. He had not perfected his landings yet. He slowly eased off the accelerator and set the bike down in a cloud of dust.
It was an even, smooth landing and Harry kept the bike under perfect control. He drove his motorbike back through Hogsmeade, passing through the village before the shops had opened. Harry waved to a small, pyjama clad child, peering out the window of a house. He navigated through town, and sped up as he reached the outskirts and Rose-Tree came into view.
Harry quickly returned the motorbike to the shed and met a delivery Owl with the Saturday Edition of the Daily Prophet. He ducked inside the house for the correct Knuts and paid the Owl. He hushed Dobby, who was ascending the steps from the basement, tucked the paper under his arm, and hurried through the kitchen.
He crept through the house quietly, watching out for squeaky spots on the floor and kept an ear out for any sign that Ginny might be awake. He silently ascended the stairs and stopped outside the sealed bedroom. Harry pressed his ear to the door and listened carefully, there was no noise from within the room. He opened the door and peered inside; he could see that Ginny's back faced the door and the covers were wrapped snugly around her.
Harry snuck inside the room and closed the door behind him. He set the newspaper on the table and undressed, loosely piling the clothes on the floor at the side of the bed. He stepped into his pyjama pants and slipped beneath the covers once again. He removed his glasses, set them on the bedside table, and cringed when Ginny's voice broke the silence.
"Where have you been?" It was demanding, but Harry could hear the smile in her voice.
"Nowhere," Harry offered innocently.
"You lying git! I smell petrol. You've been out flying," Ginny accused, rolling over in bed to face Harry. "Without me!" she added indignantly, playfully slapping Harry.
Harry blushed. "Er yeah, I have been," he admitted, pulling her into his arms. "I just wanted to think, that's all."
"Is something wrong?" Ginny asked nervously, suddenly rising up in bed.
Harry pressed a kiss to her forehead and pulled her closer. "No, love, it's fine. Everything is fine. We're fine, I promise."
"I still can't believe you left me here, you great prat. All alone, today of all days."
"Relax, Mrs. Potter," Harry teased.
"I've got news for you, darling; I'm not Mrs Potter yet. I could still go off and attach myself to someone else if I so choose," Ginny chided him.
"Oh yeah?" Harry challenged her. "Like who?"
She raised an eyebrow and pursed her lips together. "Did you get the paper?"
"Mm hmm," Harry drawled.
Ginny reached over Harry, retrieved the newspaper from the bedside table, and tucked the sheets under her arms. "Now, let's just see whom I can run away with then," she teased, skipping over the front page and laying the open paper on her lap. "Oh here we go. Ballycastle's new Keeper is single. Keegan Swift. See, I could be Mrs Keegan Swift."
Harry was lying back, propped up in bed. "Enjoying this, aren't you?"
"Oh yes, very much thank you. Oh, look here, the shop in Diagon Alley has hired a new Apothecary. Rafael Belladonna, ooh, sounds Italian. He's single."
"Point taken," Harry declared, reaching out to grab the paper. "I shouldn't have gone riding without you. Not today."
Ginny laughed, keeping the paper. "I'm only teasing. I thought you'd be glad I like the bike."
"I do!" Harry laughed, pulling Ginny closer. "I was too excited to sleep, I knew it would be a long day, and you needed your sleep."
Ginny kissed Harry's stubbled jaw. "Thank you." She continued to leaf through the paper. "Let's see who's getting married today."
Harry chuckled. "Anyone we know?"
Ginny's eyes scanned the page. "No weddings, but oh my-"
"What?" he asked, looking over at Ginny.
"Olivia Ollivander is engaged, and you'll never believe to whom."
Harry simply shook his head. "No, who then?"
Ginny's lips curled into a smile as she handed Harry the paper. "Stan Shunpike."
"Stan Shun- no! Really?" Harry scanned through the small announcement.
"Well, she did say that she met someone when she went on Holiday last October, and that he had a good job. They probably met on the Knight Bus."
"Wow," Harry said, humorously stunned. So, it was Stan Shunpike who made Olivia Ollivander happy. "Fathom that."
"I think it's cute," Ginny remarked, slapping Harry playfully. She climbed atop his body and burrowed against his chest. "Dare I ask if we're front page news?"
"Oh, let's see." Harry answered, kissing the top of Ginny's head and reaching around her body to read the front page. "Potter to wed Weasley. Yep, that's us," he said as he began to read the article. "One year after awaking from the five-year coma he'd been in since vanquishing You Know Who, Harry Potter will wed his long-time girlfriend, Ginny Weasley, today in a ceremony at the Weasley home."
"Can you imagine how much worse it would be if Luna hadn't taken over the paper when the Daily Prophet filed for bankruptcy after the Quibbler broke the story and got the exclusives about Dean's arrest?" Ginny wondered.
"Yeah, you're right," He read on, finishing the article. "Typical biography of each of us, the Voldemort thing, the coma, rekindling our romance."
Ginny smiled against Harry's chest and grabbed the paper, tossing it to the floor. A Wizarding photo of Harry and Ginny with their arms around each other, making eyes at one another graced the front page. "Say it again," Ginny instructed, giggling at Harry.
"Say what?" Harry asked, watching Orion lumber over toward the bed. He was no longer the runt Harry got as a Christmas present, but a large, strong, full-sized dog now. He jumped upon the bed and curled up with a paw over his eyes.
"Mrs Potter," she blushed, hiding her face in his chest.
"No, no, no!" Harry teased as he began to tickle her ribs. "I tried that earlier and you chastised me!"
Ginny shrieked with laughter at Harry's wriggling fingers. "Puh, puh, puh-lease?"
"It's not legal; you aren't my wife yet. Maybe I should look through the paper for someone to elope with."
"No!" Ginny howled, as she continued laughing. "Please? There's only a few hours until it's official. I can't wait anymore. I can't wait to be Mrs Potter."
Harry smiled, sweeping the tousled locks of hair away from Ginny's face. "Me either, Mrs Potter."
Ginny squealed and smothered Harry's face in kisses. "I never thought I'd ever see this day. There was a time when it was just a part of my girlish imagination and then there was a time when I thought I'd ruined any chance of happiness with you."
"Oh, love, we deserve each other, we deserve happiness. We've earned it," Harry responded, weaving his hands into Ginny's hair and guiding her face toward his, nuzzling her nose softly.
"I know," Ginny breathed, closing her eyes. "There's been time enough for hard questions, time enough for all our fears, there will be tough times we can't predict yet, but when that comes, we'll face it bravely. Time is tough and it's running away from us, but I won't take a second with you for granted. There's been time enough for tears. I want to spend the rest of our lives living out our dreams. I meant it when I said I would never feel for anybody else the way I feel about you. I'm going to make you happy, Harry."
Harry froze, capturing this image forever in his mind; Ginny, professing her love, her brown eyes gazing intently into his, her hands caressing his skin. "Ginny, you already do. I am so in love with you and I'll spend the rest of my life making you happy. You're my one and only. I can't wait to make it official. I can't wait to see you dressed in white, standing on your father's arm."
She smiled. "Me either. Just a few short hours." Ginny paused, unsure if she should share her thoughts. "Your Mum, Dad, and Sirius will be there with us, Harry. I have a feeling they'll be our guardian angels, always protecting and guiding us."
Harry smiled, recalling that 'protected feeling' he experienced on his bike ride. "Me too. I felt them with me when I woke up from the coma, and I know they'll be watching us today. Gin, when I think of how close we came to not making it, I-"
Ginny reached up and pressed her finger to Harry's lips. "No. Hush. You were the one who told me last night you believe in fate, not Muggle jinxes and bad luck. It's bad luck for the groom to see the bride before the wedding, but I spent the night with you last night because we wanted to be together and we could not imagine spending one night apart. We believe in fate. We were meant to be together. We're bonded together. I almost lost you, but you were revived. That's all the proof I need that we belong together. If we keep looking in the past, we won't see the beautiful future that lies ahead of us. Let's go get married."
Harry stood under an arched ivy trellis in the backyard of the Burrow, surrounded by his friends and family, and the family that wasn't there: Lily, James, Sirius, Dumbledore, and Hagrid. He could feel their positive aura surrounding him. He treasured the thought that he and Ginny had guardian angels out there somewhere, and hoped that wherever they were, his family could see him today.
Harry had thought the Burrow looked beautiful when Ron and Hermione renewed their vows, but now that paled in comparison to how it looked today. The trees and flowers were in bloom and Mrs Weasley, Hermione, Penny, Katie, and Angelina had decorated a beautiful scene with flowers and bows and glittering fairies flitting about.
The wizened old wizard who had presided over Ron and Hermione's vow renewal stood behind Harry with the same leather bound tome in his wrinkled hands, decorated in golden runes. Ron stood faithfully at Harry's side and gave Harry a pat on the back when Hermione exited the back door of the Weasley home. She wore pale lavender dress robes, and clasped a beautiful purple and white bouquet in her hands. She grinned broadly and wiped away a solitary tear when she made eye contact with Harry.
The Superintendent Registrar signalled for the enchanted music to begin playing and Hermione began to walk slowly up the aisle between the rows of chairs. Almost as if on cue Mrs Weasley began to wail and Remus leaned forward to pat her shoulder. Harry knew it was time and couldn't contain his excitement any longer. Where his hand was clasped over his forearm, he could feel the scratchy woollen yarn surrounding his wrist and his grin widened.
It seemed so many months ago that Ginny had appeared at Number Twelve Grimmauld Place in the middle of the night, in the pouring rain, with his birthday present wrapped in heavy brown paper and red yarn. Although Harry tried, he could not discard that yarn. It seemed silly and odd, but it was metaphorical in afterthought. That string had bound him and Ginny together; it brought them through the darkness of their relationship toward something lighter, something better. It made Harry want to give Ginny a second chance, and hope that she would give him one too. After he had tied it around his wrist, it was a constant reminder that she was near and that she loved him no matter what.
The back door opened again and Arthur and Ginny stepped out onto the patio. At the sight of her, Harry's breath hitched in his chest and hot tears stung his eyes. She was by far the most beautiful thing he had ever seen.
Her hair was styled up in descending curls with little white rosettes pinned up in it. Her white dress robes clung to her body in all the right places and flared out slightly as they neared the floor. Ginny's arm was through her father's and she had a bouquet of lavender roses clasped in her hands. Harry forced himself to take a deep breath as he let go of the red string bracelet. It was funny how their life was like that bracelet; fine-spun yet tough, simple but meaningful, rough but persistent. A silly piece of string had become what tied them together, just as their Wizarding bond had so many years ago.
As Ginny and Mr Weasley began walking down the aisle, Harry remembered the words of Dumbledore's portrait back in August. "True love is the most amazing thing in the world. Real true love is only breakable by time. If destined lovers do not meet in this lifetime, they will meet in the next. Nothing can stop true love. Not everyone is lucky enough to know true love in his or her lifetime, in fact only a chosen few experience it. Sometimes others know our fate better than we do. It is not the divine design for all of us to sustain. Some may know great happiness, but not all will know true love-"
The old man was right. Nothing could stop true love; not even death. Harry was like a phoenix, rising from his own ashes one year ago today, bound to Ginny for the rest of his life.
Arthur and Ginny stood before him at the trellis, startling from his memory. He smiled brightly and watched Mr Weasley kiss Ginny's cheek before turning to shake Harry's hand. Mr Weasley joined their hands together and turned to take the seat next to his wife. Harry beamed at Ginny, looking into her warm, sparkling brown eyes as he interlaced their fingers. He could not contain his smile as he wondered if this was what happily ever after looked like.
As the official began to speak Harry thought he felt a warmth emanating all around him and a strange weight pressing down upon his shoulders, as though many hands were resting upon him. He felt as though he was suddenly surrounded by unseen entities, or generations past. He couldn't quite put a finger on it; it was parental, grandfatherly, friendly, and protective all at once. He turned, almost convinced he would see his parents, and Sirius, Dumbledore and Hagrid, but instead he saw Remus smiling and nodding acceptingly, as though he knew exactly how Harry felt. Harry turned to look at Ginny, wondering if she could feel them too. Their combined presence seemed to acknowledge, support, and bless the marriage that was commencing. He squeezed Ginny's hand and returned his attention to the official. It didn't matter if Harry could see them or not- they were all there.
"No cord or cable can draw so forcibly, or bind so fast, as love can do with a single thread."
Author's Note: An appreciable thank you goes out to my betas Karen and Jill, and thank you to everyone who contributed ideas, thoughts, reviews, and provided inspiration and nurturing through the last year. Thanks to everyone who read and/or reviewed- your feedback has meant so much to me. Ginny's "Time Enough" soliloquy was based on the song "Time Enough For Tears" by The Corrs.