Disclaimer: J. K. Rowling owns all things Harry Potter.


Coming Home

Epilogue

Molly put the final touches on Ginny's hair, and then said, "There. Now you can look."

Ginny examined herself in the full-length mirror. She was not as slim as she had been for her first wedding thirteen years earlier, and she had acquired a few wrinkles around her eyes. But her robes were cut to flatter her figure, and their ivory color enhanced her pale complexion and made her hair flame-bright. She would do.

She turned to Molly and murmured, "Thanks, Mum."

"Oh, it was nothing, dear. You look beautiful." Molly pulled Ginny into a hug. "This is the right thing for you. It's good to see you so happy again."

There was a knock at the door, and Hermione entered. "Everything is ready in the garden," she said. "The flowers are gorgeous. Neville outdid himself."

"Of course he did," Molly said. "That is why Ginny asked him to do it, right, dear?" Ginny just nodded. She was experiencing an strong feeling of déjà vu. Hadn't they had this very same conversation when she had married Harry? She couldn't remember for sure.

Ginny wondered again if it had been a mistake to have the wedding at the Burrow. Narcissa Malfoy certainly thought so. She had expected Draco's wedding to be the event of the decade, a showpiece that she could brag about to her friends. Of course, she had also expected Draco to marry someone she thought to be more suitable. Draco and Ginny had insisted that only family and close friends attend, and that the ceremony be kept strictly secret. They were to be married on Sunday, then take Monday for themselves. Then they would return to the Burrow to spend a couple of days with Evan before seeing him off on Thursday for his first year at Hogwarts. On Friday, they would hold a press conference to announce their marriage, then leave for a three-week honeymoon. Only the two of them knew where they would be.

Needless to say, Narcissa was viciously unhappy with this plan, especially when she found out that none of her friends were to be invited. Not only had she threatened to boycott the ceremony, she had also hinted that she might leak the details to the press.

Draco had responded with his usual smirk. "I would like for you to be there, Mother, though I certainly won't force you to attend. But if you tell anyone, and I mean anyone, who has not been invited, you will certainly regret it."

"On the contrary," Narcissa had said coldly, "I think it would be quite amusing to watch you two dodge the press. It would at least make the wedding an event."

"Don't speak too soon, Mother," Draco had said, smirk firmly in place. "You know of Marietta Edgecombe, I believe?"

Narcissa had paled at this. Marietta was a well-respected witch but was still forced to cover her face at all times because of a certain curse that had left her disfigured by purple pustules.

"Ah, I see you know what I mean. That curse, as I'm sure you know, was cast by Hermione Granger-Weasley, and she has improved on it over the years. She set it to activate upon opening the invitation. Once you have done that, if you mention the wedding to anyone else..." Draco had let his voice trail off. Narcissa had glared at him, but agreed to keep quiet and to attend the wedding. She had known very well that the details would eventually make it to the press and it would make her look bad if she didn't attend.

Ginny and Draco had quickly settled on having the wedding at the Burrow. They wanted somewhere private, and neither of them liked the idea of Malfoy Manor. The Burrow's garden was a riot of color at the end of the summer, and Neville could mold it into a showplace, as he had for Ginny and Harry's wedding. Not to mention the added benefits of being protected by wards and feeling like home. But now that Ginny was here, preparing for the ceremony, she wondered if she had made a mistake. She had married Harry here as well, at the same time of year, and everything was conspiring to remind her of it.

She should not be thinking about the past now of all times, she told herself. She should be thinking about Draco.

Ginny was snapped out of her contemplation by a knock at the door. As she somehow sensed, it was her father. Arthur came in smiling, and shut the door behind him.

"Are you ready, dear?" he asked, hugging her tightly and kissing her forehead. Ginny just nodded again and hugged him tighter. The sensation of déjà vu she felt was extremely strange.

"We should begin soon, I think. The children have nearly torn the garden apart with all their running around. Priscilla and Eric are already covered in dirt, and poor Pembroke is nearly exhausted from trying to settle everyone else down. Not that anyone is paying the least bit of attention to him."

Ginny calmed a bit. This was something different. None of the children had been born yet when she had married Harry. "I sent Isaac to find Evan so we could get started," Arthur continued. "He should be here soon."

Isaac Porter, it had turned out, was a wizard, just as Ginny, Evan, and Remus had suspected two years earlier. Ginny had worked hard to get him admitted to Hogwarts instead of one of the American wizarding schools, and she had even traveled to Chicago to tell the Porters about magic and convince them to send Isaac to a school so far from home. Ginny didn't understand why, but she was sure the boys shared a magical bond and she would do anything she could to help them keep it. Flo and Isaac had come a couple of weeks earlier to learn more about the wizarding world before Evan and Isaac left for Hogwarts, and to attend the wedding, of course. Flo and Molly had hit it off instantly, and the wedding plans were progressing smoothly largely due to their efforts.

Now Flo stuck her head in the door. "Molly, Hermione, could I see you for a few minutes? There is a slight problem with the cake," she said. Then she spotted Ginny's wide eyes and added, "It's nothing to worry about, Ginny. Fred and George just found where we were keeping it and they... Well that doesn't matter. It isn't anything we can't handle." Then the three women left Ginny alone with her father.

Arthur smiled at Ginny. "Are you ready for this, dear? It's a big step."

Ginny remembered her father asking the same thing before her first wedding, and she answered in the same way she had then. "Yes, it's a big step. It's a leap of faith. But I love him and I am willing to jump."

"Good," Arthur beamed. "That's all I wanted to know."

Then there was another knock on the door, which was almost timid. Ginny called out, "Come in!" and Evan entered, carrying a small box wrapped in ivory and gold. He looked uncertainly at Arthur, who seemed to sense that mother and son needed some time together.

"I'll just go make sure the children are calmed down, then," he said, slipping out the door. Neither Ginny nor Evan noticed him leave, as they looked intently at each other.

"This... This is for you," Evan said uncertainly, holding out the package.

Ginny took it and unwrapped it slowly. It contained a small wooden box whose lid was intricately inlaid with a pattern of ivy and roses. It reminded her of the locket Evan had given her two years ago, containing pictures of himself and Harry. She wore the locket at all times, and now her hand automatically reached up to touch it. She opened the box to find that it was lined with crimson velvet, but was empty. She looked up at Evan, slightly confused. "It's beautiful, Evan, but..."

"It's for your locket," he said quickly, looking away.

"My locket?"

He nodded. "You're getting married. You... You probably shouldn't wear a locket with Dad's picture anymore. You should wear something from Draco instead." Evan's speech was stilted and unsure, and Ginny's heart almost broke. "I got the box so you had somewhere special to keep it. You can still keep it out somewhere, and then when you see it, you will remember Dad."

At this point, Ginny was crying. She engulfed Evan in a huge hug, and he began crying too. "Oh, Evan. I wouldn't forget your Dad. But this will be a wonderful reminder. And it will also remind me of how much you love me."

"I do love you. I want you to be happy," Evan said, wiping his tears away. He pulled away from Ginny and looked at her piercingly. "You're happy to be marrying Draco, aren't you?"

Ginny nodded, smiling through her tears. "I love him very much. More than I can say."

Evan smiled a little, then looked serious again. "Now that I am going to Hogwarts and won't be around most of the time, I told Draco that he has to take care of you. He said he would. I told him he'd better." He paused for a moment before continuing. "I think he loves you as much as I do."

"I'm a very lucky woman if he does," Ginny said with a sniffle, hugging Evan one more time. She pulled away from him then, and reached up to touch the locket. "Will you...?"

Evan silently unclasped the locket. Together they put it into the box he had given her. Just then, there was a knock and Remus entered the room. "It is time. Are you two ready yet?"

Ginny sniffled a bit in response. Remus quietly removed all traces of tears from their faces. He straightened Evan's tie. He turned to Ginny and smiled broadly. She had a slightly nervous expression. "You look lovely," Remus said. "You will take Draco's breath away." Evan nodded in agreement.

"Are you ready?" Remus asked.

Ginny took a deep breath, composing herself. "I'm ready," she said, turning to her son. "Are you?"

"Ready as I'll ever be," Evan said, offering her his arm. Ginny gently closed the lid of the locket box. Then they left Ginny's childhood room, so Evan could escort her down to the garden where Draco and her future waited.


A/N 1: Evan's gift to Ginny was inspired by a comment from Kerichi.

A/N 2: This story is the longest thing I have ever written, with the possible exception of my dissertation. All of the encouraging reviews I have received have made it a much more pleasant process. I would like to thank everyone who has reviewed. I would especially like to thank Kerichi, mandi-danielle, lady lorethei, Distempered, padfootedmoony, and Golden Fawkes, who have been particularly faithful reviewers. I am traveling an obscene amount this summer (six trips between Memorial Day and the end of July, when I am moving to another state), so I don't expect to have much time to write. I might, however, post an out-take from "Coming Home" if I have the chance. I hope everyone has a good summer, and enjoys the new book. Thanks again for reviewing!