Chapter 16! Here we are, at the end of another story. Blimey, I sure do write a lot, don't I?
The day was better than anyone could have expected. With the days of summer slowly drawing to a close, warm and pleasant afternoons were becoming somewhat of a treasured rarity. Harry had been most worried about their being rain or wind or any other inconveniences to ruin the day, but so far nothing had gone wrong at all.
He looked up at the cloudless, blue sky and squinted against the sun. There was only a feint breeze. Harry smiled and tugged on the ends of his shirt. It was to be a very good day – and for more than one reason.
He shoved his hands in his pockets and looked around the backyard. Early on in the arrangements, Harry and Ginny had both decided that they didn't really want to get married in the stuffiness of a church, or have to wear anything too fancy and other such details, so they had come to agreement to have a simple, low key wedding. So, with that, Harry had suggested that they have it at the Burrow. It was a home for both of them, and somehow seemed mutual ground.
So, here they were, out in the backyard of the Burrow, setting up things for the quickly approaching ceremony. Chairs were being set up opposite an alter, with an arch with vines wrapped around it and flowers. There were a few people wandering around, and some of them Harry didn't know. He guessed they were relatives of Ginny's.
Harry spun around and blinked as Hermione ran across the lawn toward him, her brown hair flaying out behind her. She was already half-dressed in her violet, summer dress and was missing her shoes.
Harry smiled as she lurched to a stop in front of him, looking quite harassed. "What?"
"Aren't you ready? You should be ready! Even Ginny's ready and you're not ready and how can everyone else be ready if you're not ready and…"
"Hermione! Breathe." Laughed Harry, grabbing her by the arms and making her stop her rambling. "Everything is going to be fine."
Hermione took two deep breaths and began bouncing on the balls of her feet. "I am maid of honor, Harry, and have a supreme right to take away the hassle of making sure everything is perfect from the bride. And I'll ask you again, why aren't you ready?"
Harry blinked. "But, I am ready." He said, looking down at himself. In keeping with the low-key theme of the wedding, he was wearing just a pair of black trousers and a light, very pale blue shirt with no tie. "What, you don't like it?"
"Oh, no, of course I do. You look lovely." Said Hermione, reaching up and fussing over his collar. "I suppose I'm just a tad jittery."
Harry snorted. "You are?"
"Believe me; I really didn't expect to be. I think just the thought of you marrying Ginny today… well; it's all rather romantic, isn't it? Not to mention that it's you I'm going to be letting go of today."
Harry smiled, understanding. He had felt sort of the same way when she and Ron had gotten married; as if he were the one handing her over instead of her father, and the same with Ron. It was a rather complex situation that probably no-one would understand – but then, they weren't really meant to.
He rubbed her arms and looked down at her properly. The dress was a typical bridesmaid's. It was lavender and had thin straps. The neckline was low and exposed the collarbone, and it was a very light, silky material.
"You look very pretty."
Hermione smiled. "You think so?"
"I wouldn't say so if I didn't think so."
"Hmm, and you haven't even seen me with my hair done yet."
Harry laughed and hugged her. "Ah, thank god you're here, Hermione."
Hermione smiled and kissed his cheek. "Well, love to stay and chat but I have beauty spells to work."
She gave his hand a squeeze and moved to run off. Harry watched her go for a moment.
"Tell her I love her, and that she's beautiful without all that beauty stuff!" he called.
Hermione waved over her shoulder and disappeared through the back door and into the house.
Harry sighed to himself and looked back up at the sky. Yes, it was to be a very good day.
"I want to hit him."
Bill rolled his eyes. "Don't be absurd."
"I'm not, I'm serious. I'm going to thump him the second I get a moment alone with him."
"Hmm, all alone and not where he's in perfect view of your little sister who will deck you to within an inch of your life for laying a hand on her husband?"
Charlie smiled and took another sip of his drink. "Yes, pretty much."
The two eldest Weasley boys were sitting in Bill's old room, getting ready. Charlie was already dressed and was sitting in the armchair near the window, looking out into the backyard while Bill pulled on his trousers behind him.
"Why can't you just be happy for her?" asked Bill, doing up his fly.
"I am happy for her."
"So happy you want to commit homicide."
Charlie laughed and looked at his brother over his shoulder. "You can't honestly tell me you haven't, at any point of time during their little affair, wanted to hang him up by his toes and use him as a punching bag."
"Yes, all the more reason to belt the snot out of the little sod."
Bill shook his head and smiled, scratching his bare chest. He walked over to stand by Charlie and looked down into the yard. Harry was standing near the huge oak tree, talking to their mother. He had a look about him that suggested he was both nervous and excited at the same time.
Bill sighed and ran a hand through his long red hair. "Look, all joking aside, you are happy for them, aren't you?" he asked, looking down at his little brother.
Charlie smiled and took another sip of his drink. "Well I'd tell you, but then it would put a crack in the broody, arrogant façade I'm trying to wear."
Bill rolled his eyes and reached for his shirt. "You're such a drama queen." He said, pulling the black shirt over his head.
"Well, someone has to be." Said Charlie.
Bill laughed and then there was a knock at the door. Both men looked around to see Ron standing in the doorway, dressed in his white shirt, black tie and trousers like Harry and looking dramatically happy about something.
"Come on, we've got to hurry." Said Ron, jerking his head out into the hall.
"Oh right, the Circle." Said Bill, pulling his hair up into a ponytail.
"Hold the Unicorns, little brother, we'll be there in a sec." said Charlie, getting to his feet.
Ron nodded. "Yeah, just don't take too long. Ginny's ready to have kittens as it is without you two being late for this." And he disappeared again.
Charlie downed the last of his drink, put his glass down on his bedside table and then made his way out of the room with Bill. The two of them were still only half ready, weren't' wearing shoes and Charlie hadn't combed his hair.
The two of them were only a few doors from Ginny's room, when Hermione came out of no-where and barreled into them.
"Ah! Cripes Hermione…" groaned Charlie, for she had stood on his foot with her heel.
"Sorry, cant talk." She cried, looking very stressed. "Things to do, people to harass… where are you two going?" she asked, eyeing them suspiciously.
"To see Ginny." said Charlie, rubbing his toe.
"Oh, right. The Circle. Well, don't take too long! Heavens, this is just what we need…more delays…"
Bill laughed as Hermione disappeared down the stairs muttering to herself and trying to tie her hair up. "Women. Honestly, all this wedding stuff sends them all barmy. You should have heard Fleur this morning, 'Bill, does ziz dress make me look fat?'" said Bill in a perfect imitation of his girlfriend.
Charlie laughed. "And there's no right answer to that question, except running for the next room and locking the door."
Bill smiled, lead them up the hall and stopped at the door that had been home to the only teenage girl to ever live in the Burrow. Bill sighed, gathered his wits and knocked on it.
"Come in if you have red hair!" came Fred's voice.
Charlie and Bill smiled and pushed the door inward.
Ginny's moderately large room suddenly felt quite cramped with all the bodies in there. Fred and Ron were sitting on the bed, dressed and ready, Percy was over at the window with his back to the room as he looked out the window and George was talking to Ginny.
"Hey, get in here and hurry up. Harry's already tried three times to get in here." Said Fred, spotting his brothers at the door.
The two eldest moved into the room and Bill shut the door behind them. Bill went straight to Percy, but Charlie couldn't take his eyes off his sister.
She was dressed in a simple, full length white dress without a veil or any frill, bow or lace. It was just a simple, satin dress that looked rather like a nightgown. Her hair was out and hung over her shoulders and halfway down her back. On the left side, there was a small braid made from a few strands of red hair. She was glowing and she looked absolutely beautiful.
Not that he expected anything less.
Ginny looked up at him as he crossed to her and George and smiled. He put a hand on her cheek, brought her forward and kissed her on the forehead.
"Hey Red." He whispered.
Ginny laughed and threw her arms around him. Charlie simply squeezed her tightly; not wanting to let her go, but knew that he would have to in just a few short minutes.
"Alright, let's do this before Mother gives herself an aneurism." Said Percy, his voice of reason cutting through the air like a whip of authority.
George laughed. "I can't believe I'm about to say this, but I agree with you, Perce."
"Ow, did you hurt yourself?" asked Ron with a smile, getting up from the bed.
"Children enough." Said Ginny in a very scary imitation of her mother. "Let's get back to me, shall we?"
The six boys and one girl all moved into a cramped circle in the middle of the room. They all took each other's hands and smiled at one another, letting a comfortable silence fill the room for a moment.
"Shouldn't Mum and Dad be in on this too?" asked Fred, looking around at his siblings.
Charlie shook his head. "No, this is just for us."
"Shall we start?" asked George.
"Who wants to do it?" asked Ron.
Everyone looked at each other expectantly.
Bill sighed. "I'll do it." He said. "Unless anyone has any objections?"
When no-one said anything, Bill nodded and bowed his head. The rest of them did the same and almost as a collective, they all took in a deep breath and let it out again. Bill felt Ginny's hand in his left and Percy's in his right. Ginny was trembling a little, but from excitement, nerves or simply from being cold, he couldn't tell.
He cleared his throat. "All powerful Merlin, we thank you for conjuring up such a beautiful day to which our sister Ginny could enjoy when she marries the love of her life. We also thank you that, by divine intervention, you could allow our work schedules the flexibility so that we could all be here and witness this occasion."
"Amen to that." Muttered Fred.
Bill smiled. "We ask that you grant this marriage protection from the horrors our world can throw at us, and that you keep them safe and sound not only from outsiders, but from each other."
"Bill!" hissed Ginny.
Everyone laughed, but Bill continued. "Merlin, we know that Ginny will be happy, even though she is marrying probably the biggest nerd in the world who can't even make farting noises under his armpit."
"Hmm, loser." Chuckled Ron.
"Can we stop with this unnecessary humor please?" bristled Percy. "Ginny, forgive Bill, he hasn't taken his medication."
Bill sighed. "Okay! Merlin, just divine this relationship to have fun and love and trust and honor and respect…"
"And sex, Bill, you forgot fantastic, mind-blowing sex." Whispered Ginny.
"GINNY!" shouted the boys.
"In your greatness we thank you Merlin, blessed be!" finished Bill loudly.
"Blessed be!" echoed the others.
They all lifted their heads and blinked. "Well, I can definitely see why we don't want our parents present for these things." Laughed Charlie, looking at Ginny in amazement.
She rolled her eyes. "Honestly, I'm not a prude. Now, thank you for the Circle, but now you all have to get out why I try and put these ridiculous heels on."
The boys all kissed her on the cheek one at a time, before filing out of the room. Ginny watched them all go and shut the door once Ron finally left and looked back into her empty room.
It meant a lot to her that they did the Circle for her. Given, that it was a tradition that they were to perform before any wedding any of the six of them had, but she still felt it gave her the confidence boost she needed.
She crossed to the window, leant on the sill and looked out into the yard. People were starting to take their seats, most of them with red hair. She smiled as she spotted Hagrid amongst the crowd, booming loudly to Harry. He looked as nervous as she felt, yet happy all the same.
This is it. She thought. This is really it. I'm going to be married! To Harry!
Ginny jumped as there was a knock at the door. "Er, come in."
The door creaked inward and her father stuck his head in the room. He spotted her instantly a smiled, moving into the room completely and shutting the door behind him. He was dressed in his best robes and looked very handsome.
He simply stared at her in amazement for a moment, before sighing. "Where's that girl gone who used to tug on the pants of my trousers, hand me her sippy cup and demand more juice?"
Ginny rolled her eyes and smiled. "Did she ever really exist?"
Mr. Weasley crossed to his only daughter and embraced her warmly, stroking her hair. "Oh, believe me, she existed. And I've never been more proud of her than I am right now."
Ginny laughed and pulled back, sniffing back a sob. "Dad, you're going to make Hermione's lovely make-up run all over my face." She said, wiping a finger under her eye and checking her mascara.
Mr. Weasley kissed her cheek. "You ready?"
Ginny sighed and shrugged. "You bet I am."
"Then grab your shoes and bouquet and let's do this. We have a wedding to attend."
"Will you stop checking your watch? That's the fifth time this minute you've looked at the bloody thing."
Harry let his arm drop to his side and glared at Ron beside him. "I'm just…"
"Yeah, you're just obsessing." Muttered Ron, fiddling with the top button of Harry's shirt. "Just relax. Looking at the time won't make it pass any faster."
Harry frowned and looked back out at the people. He was standing up at the alter, Ron beside him. Everyone was now taking their seats (or in Hagrid's case, bench) and Ginny was nowhere in sight. Harry had lost track of time since early that morning, but even more so now.
"She's late." Said Harry, craning his head to look at the back door of the Burrow.
"She's a woman, of course she's late."
"You were just up there with her! Wasn't she ready?" demanded Harry, giving his best man a stern look.
Ro rolled his eyes. "If you don't stop snapping at me, I'm going to smack you as hard as I can possibly muster."
Harry sighed and ruffled his hair. "I know, I'm sorry. I'm just a bit…"
"Antsy? Worried? Paranoid?"
"Stop trying to help me, Ron!"
"What on earth are you two fighting about now?" came a new voice.
Harry and Ron spun around to see Minerva McGonagall standing there, her robes in immaculate condition and a curious expression on her face as she looked at the two boys in front of her.
Harry and Ron exchanged a look. "Well, Ron's just being a git." He said.
McGonagall tsked. "Will you two ever just learn to let things go?"
"No." the men said together.
The old witch rolled her eyes and conjured up a podium in front of her. "Well then you will have to improvise for now. Wedding days are no time for tiffs and disagreements… especially ridiculous ones like yours."
Harry watched her set herself up for a moment. "Thanks Professor, you know, for doing the ceremony for us today." He said.
McGonagall stopped her fussing and looked at her former student for a moment, before smiling. It was startling how such a simple gesture could make such a difference to her face.
"Harry, this is an honor I never would have imagined myself fulfilling. And I know that if you had the option, you would not have me doing this, but someone else…"
Harry stopped her with a wave of his hand. "Professor, you are my first choice." He said. "You're right. Dumbledore isn't here, and in his unfortunate absence I could think of no-one better."
McGonagall bowed her head respectfully. "Bless his soul." She said, going solemn for just a moment. She shook herself and smiled up at Harry. "Well, get back into place. We're starting." She said ushering him back into his spot.
Harry's eyes widened and he looked around at Ron, who had been looking at his feet with the expression of someone who had been eavesdropping but was trying to act like they weren't.
"Ron! Did you hear that? We're starting!" he cried, grabbing Ron by the collar of his shirt and looking at him in panic.
Ron laughed, took Harry's hands and put them down at his side. "Okay, this is where we remember to breathe. Oxygen is good Harry; oxygen is your friend…"
Harry nodded hastily and took deep breaths. "Yes, you're right… I'm fine… I'm totally ready for this."
Everyone seemed to sense something, as the crowd of guests took their seats as McGonagall conjured up a red carpet and laid it down the middle of the two sections of seats.
"Are you sure? You look a little peaky. Would you like me to fetch you a paper bag? Or maybe a good sedative?"
"Shut up, Ron!"
"Good lord. I didn't realize there would be so many people here today."
"You did invite them, dear."
Ginny gave her father a look over her shoulder, before turning back and peering around the corner of her house. Everyone was taking their seats, Harry was glaring at Ron for some reason, her mother was busy chatting away to Andromeda Tonks sitting in the row behind her…
"Alright sweet pea?"
Ginny jumped, momentarily forgetting her father was standing behind her. "What? Of course I am! Why would you think that I wasn't?"
Mr. Weasley smiled. "Maybe because we're hiding behind the house instead of going out there and actually having a ceremony."
Ginny opened her mouth to protest, but shut it again and sighed.
"It's okay to feel jittery and nervous."
"No, its not." She said, straightening up and leaning her back up against the wall. "I said yes because I wanted to marry him, to make it official, and here I am hiding behind the house like some little girl, afraid to go to school because someone teased her about her pigtails."
She felt horrible for such insecurities. She wanted this, didn't she? Hadn't see been looking forward to this day for the past month? Her sudden hesitation seemed to have appeared from inside her gut in a time span of just a few seconds, and now it sat there with a nagging tug that would not leave her alone. Was it normal for brides to feel this way? Or was there something else at work?
Mr. Weasley, sensing her irritation, stepped forward and slung her arm through his. "How about we go out there, stand at the top of the aisle and we'll see what happens from there?"
She smiled up at him, the simple touch of his hand on hers making her feel that much better. "If you're ready to give me away, that is."
"Yes, well, lets not get onto what I think."
Ginny laughed and allowed him to lead her out from behind the house to where Hermione was standing. She caught her Maid of Honor's eye and conveyed everything she was feeling through a simple look.
Hermione, already brilliant without adding the ability to read Ginny's body language to her resume, smiled reassuringly at her best friend. "Don't worry,' she whispered out of the corner of her mouth 'I was feeling exactly the same. It's not just you."
Not entirely sure if she was comforted by this fact or not, Ginny simply smiled back.
The atmosphere suddenly went very still and a feint music began playing from somewhere to her left. Ginny fiddled with the bouquet in her hands and looked at her guests, a few faces standing out more than others. There was Bill, one leg crossed over the other, looking very complacent about the whole affair. There was Luna Lovegood with Colin, looking at the flowers nearby with fascination. There was Seamus Finnegan, giving Harry a supportive thumb up…
Ginny felt her knees weaken as she spotted him. It wasn't that he was looking simply smashing in his outfit, or that he was smiling at her with that cheeky smile he reserved for only her (he wasn't even looking at her, but was talking to Ron)… no, it was because he was there, at the end of the aisle, waiting for her.
He was just waiting for her, and this thought was reassuring. He would wait for her to be ready, no matter what her decision was at this moment. She didn't have to marry him today, and he would wait for the day when she did want to. There was no pressure.
Feeling much better, Ginny hit Hermione on the backside. "Get going." She whispered.
Hermione smiled, stood up straight and began her walk down the red carpet.
"Ready my love?" asked Mr. Weasley in Ginny's ear.
Ginny smiled. 'Let's go."
Harry smiled as he watched Hermione walk up the aisle. He could feel Ron stiffen beside him, and knew without looking that his best friend had that dopey, love struck, I-cant-believe-that-woman-is-my-wife look on his face he always got whenever he even thought about the woman.
But even as Hermione gave them both a wink as she passed and took her position opposite her, Harry couldn't help but shiver in anticipation as the music changed and everyone stood up out of their seats.
He stood up straighter and turned a little… and saw her.
And only her. Everything else around him had become a blur. He didn't feel the breeze on his face, or the sun on his shoulders... he only saw her. She walked toward him, her eyes never wavering from his. Every step she took, bringing her closer to him, was slow and light. She was floating.
Ginny hoped with everything she had, that this would not be the last time Harry would look at her in that was ever again. It was an expression that suggested she was the only thing in his life that even mattered. She was walking toward him in a daze of blurred reality, and her father's arm through hers was the only thing anchoring her down and preventing her from floating away.
Five steps, four steps, three steps… Harry counted the distance until she was standing beside him. He smiled down at her, feeling his knees go weak for some reason.
"Who gives this woman to this man?" said McGonagall. Her voice was like a crack back into reality.
"I do." Said Mr. Weasley.
Harry held his hand out, and Mr. Weasley took Ginny's hand and placed it Harry's. He closed their fingers around each other, smiled at both of them and then made his way back to his seat and his wife.
Harry smiled at Ginny. "Hi."
She giggled. "Hi." She whispered.
They turned to face McGonagall.
"Where are your shoes?" whispered Harry out of the corner of his mouth.
Ginny smiled and wriggled her bare toes on the grass. "Later." She muttered.
"Friends, family, and honored guests, we are here on this marvelous Sunday afternoon to witness the much overdue union of these two fine individuals." Announced McGonagall.
Harry spluttered. "Much overdue?"
"Hush." Said Ginny, slapping him in the chest.
McGonagall cleared her throat again. "Today we bind these two souls into one. It is a day where their journey of love, commitment bondage truly begins."
Harry heard Fred mutter "Bondage, eh? Kinky.", and then heard the slap of someone –no doubt his mother- making him shut up. Harry saw Ginny shuddering with giggles out of the corner of her mouth, but tuned back into what it was the Headmistress was saying.
"… all of you to help celebrate this union. Now, if anyone present can show just cause why they feel these two should not be married, speak now or forever hold your peace."
Harry wondered why everyone had broken out into giggles, before he spun around and spotted that Mrs. Weasley had stood up out of her seat and was looking around at everyone threateningly, her hands on her hips.
Ginny giggled as her mother; looking satisfied that no-one was going to say anything and ruin the most important day in her little girl's life, smiled at McGonagall and waved her hands dismissively.
"Continue Minerva." She said, sitting herself back down.
"Yes, thank you Molly. Well, if no one has any objections I will continue. Now, I have been informed by both Harry and Ginny that they didn't want to waste time with a long speech from me, so did you two want to start with your vows?"
"I'll start!" cried Ginny, throwing her arm up in the air as if she were answering a question in class.
Harry smiled as she sighed and looked up at the sky, apparently trying to remember what it was she wanted to say to him.
She smiled at him. "Harry, I love you more than anyone else I've ever met, and it's always been that way since I was ten years old. I've always been prepared to follow you anywhere you lead, because I know that going into hell with you would be better than going to heaven without you. I want always to have you be by my side. I want always to take every step of your lives with you there with me. And I want always, to love you as much as I do today."
Harry felt that mushy feeling in his chest again. He knew it was probably very feminine and not at all rugged and manly, but he just wanted to drop to his knees and wrap his arms around her and thank Merlin for granting him the fortune of having met this woman at all.
McGonagall cleared her throat. "Harry, do you have something you would like to say in response?" she whispered.
Harry jumped, suddenly remembering himself. "Oh, yes! Er, where's Remus?" he asked, looking around.
"Here, I'm here!"
Harry smiled as his old friend stood up near the front and walked up toward him, searching his pockets.
"Blast, I know I had it in here somewhere."
"Do hurry old chap, we're on a tight schedule." Muttered Harry, grinning at Ginny. She was watching him with curiosity.
Remus searched through the pockets of his jeans, his shirt and finally cried in triumph. "Aha. Here you are, fresh off the print from this morning." He said, pulling out a folded piece of parchment from his back pocket.
Harry took it, gave Remus a smile of thank and watched him go back to his seat. He turned to Ginny, cleared his throat and looked down at the parchment, the words written on it familiar from a memory that wasn't his own.
"Ginny, at school we didn't always admit the way we felt about each other, although mostly everyone else could see it. I can't pinpoint the exact moment I knew that you were the one for me. Was it while you were in the Library, chewing on one of those many sugar quills you love? Was it when I saw you at the final Christmas at Hogwarts, with your hair up in those braids? Or was it when you yelled in my face for being such an insensitive git for the millionth time?"
Ginny giggled, but he wasn't finished.
"I suppose it doesn't matter. The lines of time are blurred, making the span of my feelings for you become one simple existence than makes me want to be a better man than anyone thinks I already am. I gave myself to you years ago, and I still do. Everyday I look at you and find that I love you just as much as I did seven years ago. Ginny, my love is all that I really have to give to you, as well as my honor and promise to always be by your side. So take these vows with you always – along with the smashing wedding ring I brought it. Trust me, its going to make you want to… well, do something rather inappropriate that we can do later away from the public eye."
Everyone laughed, including Ginny. She rolled her eyes at him, but at the same time found him totally adorable. But when had he had the time to write those vows? And why on earth had Remus had them?
The rest of the ceremony become somewhat of a blue to Harry. Later, he would vaguely remember putting a ring on Ginny's finger, letting her put one on his, doing some matrimonial spells he had learnt for the occasion and finally saying a few more vows. All he had been focusing on was her. Her smile, her hair, her dress…
"Well, with all the honor that I can exhume, I now pronounce this couple husband and wife. Harry, you may kiss the bride."
Ginny burst out laughing as he grabbed her, dipped her and pressed his lips insistently against hers. She threw her arms around his neck and kissed him back, listening to the applause of the guest and the cat-calls of the twins somewhere to her right.
Harry let her up and took her hands. "Sorry, did I startle you?" he chuckled.
Ginny smiled, linked her arm through his and kissed his cheek. "No, not at all. How are you feeling?"
Harry sighed and began walking up the aisle with her, smiling at people as he passed. "Like I could pas out actually. Your vows were fantastic."
"As were yours."
"How are you feeling?"
"About the same as you, and luckily I'm not about to turn into my mother."
Harry smiled and looked over his shoulder to see Mrs. Weasley sobbing hysterically into her husbands shoulder, looking very happy at the same time.
"Oh well,' he said, kissing her temple. 'There are worse things, my wife."
"Oh Ginny, my baby, all married and grown up…"
"Mum, I can't breathe! Get a hold of yourself woman!"
"I have every right to smother you; it's your wedding day! Oh, and you looked so beautiful… but honestly, Ginny, couldn't you have covered up that ridiculous dragon on your arm?"
"Harry thinks my tattoo is sexy."
"And that's all well and good, but on your wedding day? In your lovely wedding dress?"
Ginny shrugged her mother's arms from around her and frowned. "It's not a wedding dress, it's a wedding gown, mother."
Harry sniggered, but stopped instantly as Ginny kicked him under the table. He had no desire to make any sort of input into the argument of two Weasley women… not if he wanted to keep his head attached that is.
They were all now seated and happily enjoying a feast not seen since Hogwarts. The alter and seats had been cleared away and replaced with one long table along the back of the yard, with a large space and then sets of round tables for the guests to sit. This was, according to Harry and Ginny, the best idea for the reception. The afternoon was getting late, and fireflies were bussing around, making everyone smile at the pleasantness of the evening.
Harry looked at his wife beside him and smiled. Wife. It was becoming more and more real every time he thought about it.
Without looking up from her meal, Ginny said 'Harry, dear, is there something you would like to say? You have been looking at me like that for the past twenty minutes."
"Say it again."
Ginny rolled her eyes. "I should just record my voice and give it to you to play at your leisure."
"Just say it will you? Humor me." He said.
Ginny sighed, turned in her seat and smiled at him. "You're my husband." She giggled. "And I'm your wife, and we'll live happily ever after with ten kids and five dogs and a cat. Satisfied?"
Harry sniggered, leant in and kissed her. "I love you, thank you."
"Well,' boomed Ron suddenly, getting out of his seat and grabbing everyone's attention 'seen as most of you are simply filled to the brim with the fantastic food we've been provided with, I think its only fitting for our newlyweds to have their first dance."
Harry groaned as everyone began cheering. "Dancing…"
"Get up off your arse and dance with me!" laughed Ginny, launching herself out of her seat.
"But, in front of all these people…" Harry muttered, letting her drag him around the table and into the area left open for them.
"You danced with Parvati at the Yule ball in front of hundreds of people!" she sniffed indignantly.
Harry smiled and wrapped his arms around her waist, bring her closer. "I'm yet to see your point."
Ginny went to hit him, when she saw him look over at Ron. Harry gave his best man a nod, and Ron smiled, got up from the table and went over to the radio at the other end of the table.
"What are you doing?" she whispered, looking up at him with curiosity.
"I picked a song, I hope you don't mind."
The music started up and Harry began leading her in a slow dance. Ginny didn't really know the song, but the words of it were perfect. She smiled and rested her head in his shoulder, wrapping her arms around his neck as they swayed together.
"Our first dance as a married couple." She muttered.
"Hmm, I know. Kind of weird, isn't it?"
"Well, I don't know about you, but I was rather expecting to feel somewhat… different about all this. This morning, I was more hysterical that Hermione two days before exams. I was so worried about how this, us getting married, was going to change something."
Ginny smiled. "But it hasn't changed anything, really."
"No, only your last name."
"Ah yes, Ginerva Molly Potter. Has a nice ring, doesn't it?"
Harry laughed and twirled her, receiving another round of applause from the guests. "Speaking of rings… how do you like yours?"
Ginny smiled and admired her left hand. There, on her fourth finger, sat the golden band Harry had given her. It wasn't extravagant, but that was the way she wanted it. It had a simple row of seven small diamonds embedded into it and Celtic writing along the rest of it.
"Its beautiful." She said, kissing his cheek.
Harry sighed and planted a hand on the small of her back, bringing them that little bit closer. "Look, I really meant what I said in those vows, but there was so much else I wanted to say."
"Say it to me now then," She said. "While no-one else is listening."
Harry had a quick look around. A few people were now dancing around them. Remus was dancing with Hermione, Molly with Arthur and Ron with Gypsy. It was perfect.
He sighed and took her hand in his. "Ginny, I don't think you really know what my life was like before you came back in it. I was totally obsessed with my work. I had no real friends, I didn't go out all that much, I didn't laugh… it was like I was just existing. Just waiting for my next assignment. I felt flat and lifeless, and I didn't really realize that until you came back.
'You brought the laughter back, Ginny. You brought the smile back to my face and the warmth back into my heart. You gave me purpose… you made me feel alive again." He said, taking her face in his hands.
Ginny smiled. "I did all that for you?"
"That and so much more. I can't even imagine my life without you now." He said, smiling warmly.
"Well, I'd say that's a good thing, because now you're stuck with me. Until death do us part." She said, wrapping her arms around his middle and hugging him.
Harry sighed. "Urgh, does this mean I have to share the bathroom with you for the rest of my life?"
"Not if you add an extension to the house."
He laughed and they fell into silence for a moment. Harry was enjoying her warmth against him and was trying desperately not to tread on her bare feet. Apparently, the story with that was that she had become so frustrated with the shoes and how they wouldn't simply just not sit properly on her feet; she had sent them up in flames, extinguished them and thrown them out the window. This certainly explained why Percy had suddenly dropped to the ground while in the middle of a conversation with Andromeda.
"Can I ask you a question?" she said suddenly.
"You just did, but you can ask another one if you want."
"Why did Remus have your vows in his pockets? Why didn't you have them?"
Harry paused. "Oh, er, that was a last minute thing." He said shiftily. "See, I'd been trying to memorize them, but I forgot it all at the last minute. So I made him go back and get them for me."
"Why didn't you get Ron to do that?"
"Because Ron couldn't."
"Because Ron wasn't there."
Ginny frowned and looked up at him. "What? What are you talking about?"
Harry sighed. "Those vows… they're what my Dad said to my mum on their wedding day." He admitted quietly. "I'd asked Remus to tell me what they were, seen as he was there at Dad's side when he said them, and I forgot them this morning. So, I asked Remus to go back into the Pensieve he had shown me the wedding in and write them down for me."
Ginny gaped at him. He looked very embarrassed and wouldn't look her in the eye for some reason. "Your parent's vows?" she muttered.
Harry nodded bashfully and laughed. "I thought it would be a good idea." He shrugged.
"Oh, Harry,' she laughed, kissing him. 'It was a fantastic idea. And I loved it."
Harry laughed as she hugged him. They were still swaying together with the steady beat of the music. "Well, if you loved the vows, imagine how much you'll love the honeymoon."
Harry listened distantly to the sounds of Ginny bidding everyone goodbye from around the other side of the house. He was in the shed, putting the last minute touches on their leaving transportation for the evening. He hoped she liked what he was doing…
Harry looked up as the shed door rolled open with a clatter and Ron walked in. "Hey." He said.
Ron smiled down at him and shoved his hands in his pockets. "Hey, how goes the preparations?" he asked, looking at the motorbike Harry was bent down beside.
Harry sighed and sat back on his heels, jiggling the socket wrench in his hand. "Well, I think I've tuned her as much as possible. I greased the axles a little more and I filled her up this morning.' He looked up at Ron. 'You think she'll be okay with this? Riding off into the sunset in the wake of a perfectly good wedding day on a 1976 motorcycle?"
Ron laughed. "I think she'll love it. You know how she is, with her bad boys and all. Put some leathers on and you'll fit the image just right."
Harry smiled, dumped the wrench on the dirt floor and grabbed up the leather jacket he had slung over the seat of the bike. Ron laughed as Harry pulled it on, showing off how well it fit.
"This has been probably the laziest, low key, untraditional wedding I have ever bloody been to, mate."
Harry smiled. "I should hope so… that's what we wanted. But what I don't understand is how come no reporters bombarded the fortress."
Ron smiled and went to open the shed door as Harry began pushing the bike out. "Yeah, well, that probably has to do with Dad telling them all that if they came within fifty miles of this place he's take their paper franchises of the market completely." He said.
Harry laughed. "Ha! And here I thought it was because of that speech you made."
Ron hit Harry across the back of the head as he passed and slammed the door shut behind them with a wave of his wand. "That happened to be a well thought out speech, thank you very much!"
"Uh huh, sure." Said Harry, opting not to say anything else.
It was completely night now, and the day's festivities were drawing to a close. Harry had never had such a good say in all his life, and he was sad to see it end. But, the thought of getting Ginny alone in the hotel he had booked in Italy for a month for their Honeymoon was a very good thought to hold onto.
"I just can't believe it." Said Ron suddenly as they made their way around toward the front.
"What, that you gave a bad speech?"
"No, that you're married! And to my sister. I mean, think about it, you're actually my brother now… oh, you know, not that you weren't always." Added Ron, shoving his hands back in his pockets.
Harry looked up at Ron and smiled. "Thanks, that means a lot."
"Well, maybe I should have put it in my speech then."
"Yeah, and left that part out about how I used to moan about Ginny in my sleep when I was seventeen. I can't look your parents in the eye ever again!"
Ron laughed as Harry rested the bike against the house, dusted his hands and together they walked around to the front of the house.
Harry bit back the urge to laugh at was he was seeing. Ginny was standing on the front porch, being practically smothered by woman after woman, kissing her and hugging her, giving her congratulations and otherwise simply obsessing over her for the simple reason of her being the bride. Hermione was trying to shoo them away, but to avail. Ginny, with Daniel in her arms, wasn't putting up much of a fight anyway.
Harry sighed and looked at Ron beside him. "Should I go save her?"
"I say no. But, since when do you listen to me?"
Harry laughed, clapped Ron on the shoulder and rushed over, barging his way through the crowd.
"Here now, move aside… out of the way… come on, move…oh, sorry Remus, did I hurt your toe… Hagrid, could you possibly throw me up there or something?...Ginny!"
Ginny laughed as Harry finally stumbled out of the crowd and fell at her feet. She handed Daniel to her mother and helped him up.
"Oh dear, did you ruin you… wait, where did you get this jacket?" she asked, eyeing him with what he recognized was her appraising look.
Harry smiled, took her hand and cleared his throat, turning back to the crowd. "Alright everyone, that's enough. Oi! Shut the hell up!" he yelled. When everyone went silent, he sighed happily. "Good. Now, on behalf of myself and my new wife,' he took a moment to have a little snigger, before continuing 'I would like to thank you all for coming. It means a lot to have you all here, and it means even more to know that the twins could find it in themselves not to pull any pranks for the occasion."
"Yeah, our wedding gift to you." Called Fred, giving Harry and Ginny a thumbs-up.
Ginny snorted. "Look, short version: thanks for coming, kudos for the presents, and bon voyage to us both as we ride off into the distance toward our honeymoon destination!" she said, pointing down the road.
Everyone laughed and Harry hugged her again. "Very inspiring." He muttered to her.
"Yes, well, you would have stood there all day with that BAFTA speech you were about to give. Now, explain to me where you acquired this sexy-as-all-hell jacket and why haven't you worn it before today?"
Harry laughed, grabbed her hand and went to lead her around the house, when…
"No! Ginny, throw the bouquet!" screamed someone.
Ginny sighed and looked at Harry in apology. She went back to the top step and spun around, flowers clutched in her hand. "Okay, are we ready? Are the claws out?"
Harry exchanged a look with Hermione a smiled as most of the single women (and there were surprisingly quite a few) barged through the crowd to stand in catching distance. Hermione looked at them down her nose as if she thought the whole ordeal quite undermined the female integrity and intelligence, but Harry very clearly remembered her throwing her own bouquet not so long ago, and how into it she had been.
Ginny feinted a few times, before finally tossing it hard over her shoulder. But, she threw it a bit too hard, as it went sailing over the tops of everyone's heads, and someone in the middle of the caught it with one hand.
Ginny spun around to see who had caught it, craning her neck as Harry came back to her side. The crowd parted, revealing the person who held the flowers in her hands… and it took every ounce of willpower for the newlyweds not to burst out laughing.
Tonks was standing there like a dear caught in headlights, blushing to the roots of her short blonder hair. But what made it even funnier, was the fact that she was standing right next to Charlie.
"Hey Boss,' called Harry 'Good catch!"
Tonks glared up at him as everyone sniggered. "Not a word of this, Potter, not a single word."
Everyone went into a teasing frenzy, and Harry kissed Ginny's cheek and took her by the shoulders.
"Wait here." He muttered. "Oh, and you'll want to put some pants on or something. You know, get out of your wedding dress."
"It's a gown…" she started to argue, but he bounded off, through the sea of people and out of sight before she could finish.
She sighed and looked down at herself. While Harry had changed out of his earlier attire, she had opted to stay in her gown. She did feel very good in it after all. But, she suspected that she should heed his advice, so with that she pulled her wand out of the travel bag at her feet, muttered a few charms and transformed her gown into a pair of cargo pants and a black, singlet top.
Hermione came up to stand beside her, cradling Gypsy in her arms. "Hey, you changed." She said. "Where's Harry?"
Ginny shrugged, slipping her wand in her back pocket. "He went that-a-way." She turned to Hermione and smiled. The older girl's hair was coming out of it bun, yet she still looked fantastic. "Thanks Hermione, you know, for everything you did today."
Hermione laughed and threw an arm around Ginny, trying not to crush the baby as the two women embraced. "Ooh, anytime. I'm so happy for the two of you."
Ginny smiled and went to say something else, when the roar of an engine suddenly filled the air.
Everyone spun around and cheered as, to Ginny's utter amazement, Harry came flying around the corner on a large motorcycle looking very much the expert. His hair flew around his face and he had a cocky grin on his face.
"Oh my." Was all Ginny could say.
Hermione snorted. "Who's he trying to be? Fonzie?"
Ginny didn't much care who this Fozzie chap was. Instead, she barged her way through the mass of people until she was standing right next to the motorbike. Harry simply killed the engine, kicked up the stand, and swung his leg over the bike. It leant on an incline, perfectly innocent.
Harry smirked at her, ignoring the oohs and ahh's from everyone else. "You like our ride?"
Ginny gaped at him, a smile creeping up her face as he folded his arms over his chest. "Where on earth did you get a motorcycle?"
"My Godfather actually." He said, rubbing the handle with the cuff of his sleeve. "Sirius made me the sole benefactor in his will, and what should I find in his vault in Gringotts amongst mountains of gold, but a shiny new motorcycle!" he laughed at her expression. "Oh, I'm sorry, did I forget to tell you all this?" he added innocently.
Ginny laughed and hit him in the arm. "You arse! Why haven't you said anything before now?"
"Well, I wanted to pleasantly surprise you. Now hop on wench, we're horrendously behind schedule." He said, getting back on the bike.
Ginny let out a squeak of excitement, summoned their luggage and shrunk it, slipped it in her pocket and climbed on the back of the bike behind him, wrapping her arms around his waist.
"Oh now, don't you drive too fast!" cried Mrs. Weasley, looking at them with concern.
"Oh belt up mum, ride her as fast as you can Harry!" cried Bill, giving Harry a thumbs up.
"Ooh, I could comment…" muttered Harry so only Ginny could hear.
He simply zoned out as most members of the Weasley family came up and bid Ginny goodbye. Harry let his eyes wander over the crowd, marveling at how many people really had turned up. His eyes scanned the heads, left to right… but he did a double take as something at the back caught his eye.
He stared, feeling his chest hitch. Was he hallucinating? Too much wine and Meade? He had to have been.
Because people do not usually see their dead parents standing at the back of a crowd.
Harry knew it was them, but how they were there he couldn't say. There were like mirages, fading out the longer he looked at them. There was the main focus of his life, his father, his hair as unkempt and unruly as Harry's own. And his mother, her arms around his father's neck as she hugged him. They were smiling at him, their eyes gleaming with a pride Harry had never seen before. James grabbed Lily's hand and spun her around as if they were dancing, both of them looking back at each other, smiling as if they shared a secret, and them looking back at him.
Harry's shock wore off, and he smiled at them. He lifted his hand up off the handle as if in a dream and gave them a little wave.
"Who are you waving at?" Asked Ginny suddenly, her voice making him jump.
He looked at her over his shoulder and smiled at her expression of curiosity. "Its…" he stopped as he looked back at the spot where his parents had been.
There was no-one there.
He sighed and smiled. "Nothing. Just waving is all."
"Well, enough waving. Let's just get out of here!" she cried, letting out a cry.
Harry laughed, turned around properly and brought the engine back into life, but not before he wiped away a tear from his eye.
Ron stepped up and stood beside Hermione as Harry brought the bike back into life and revved the engine. Ginny was waving happily to people, blowing them all kisses and both of them looked ridiculously happy.
He sighed and loosened his tie. "Well, there ends another era." He said, watching as the newlyweds bid their last goodbyes and slowly began rolling off down the road.
Hermione looked at him. "Ends? Oh no."
Everyone jumped as Harry skidded to a halt, turned around and flew back up the street. And with one final wave, the bike lifted off the dirt road and rose steadily into the air.
Hermione smiled and watched them disappear into the night. "Oh no, this isn't the end. It's only the beginning."
A/N – WOW! Long, and I wanted to put so much more in! And there ends another story. I hope you all enjoyed the ride!