Disclaimer: HP ish not mine. No, really.
Beta'd by the fantabulous DWS. Check out her new fic, Oh, Ron! 'Tis laughworthy.
Harry Potter was about to receive the Order of Merlin, First Class, and he was not best pleased. He'd just spent a year and a half hunting down bits of Voldemort's scattered soul, and barely two days before had finished off the Dark Lord once and for all. He'd spent most of the past forty-eight hours in St. Mungo's, recovering from wounds gained in the last battle.
Or rather, The Last Battle. People were already pronouncing it with capitals.
He'd barely had time to recover from his injuries before Scrimgeour decided he needed to officially recognize Harry as a hero. Harry himself would much rather have been off with his friends, drinking a butterbeer and enjoying a well-earned rest.
Or, even better, talking with or kissing Ginny.
They'd only seen each other briefly – she'd come to visit him at St. Mungo's soon after he'd woken up, and shy greetings had turned into a rather athletic snogging session that set back his recovery a few hours.
Snogging Ginny. Definitely a better use of his time than this stupid ceremony.
"-loyal to his friends, courageous and clever-" Scrimgeour said, breaking momentarily into Harry's reverie. The young man cringed.
He really wanted to kiss Ginny again. Hell, at the moment he'd be ecstatic just to be near her or hold her hand. Or cuddle.
Mmm, cuddling with Ginny.
Intimate cuddling with Ginny.
Harry's eyes glazed and he lost himself in his, er, imaginings so completely that a sudden burst of applause made him jump. Scrimgeour had turned to face him, and the crowd gathered before the stage had surged to their feet, clapping loudly.
Oh, right. The award.
Bloody Order of Merlin…
"Time to give your speech," someone hissed – one of Scrimgeour's interchangeable minions. Er, aides.
"Right, my speech," Harry agreed, standing. He paused.
Oh, bloody hell.
Everyone was waiting expectantly, though, so he trudged up to the podium by Scrimgeour and cast the Sonorus Charm on himself. "Testing," he murmured, and it sounded loud and clear over the Quidditch pitch the Ministry had shanghaied for the afternoon.
People applauded, apparently approving of his ability to master the oh-so-difficult charm. Or possibly they were applauding his ability to speak, full stop. Or maybe they were applauding because they were brain-dead sycophants who'd clap at anything to garner the good will of the Hero of the Day (TM).
"Right," Harry said, inexplicably nervous. He'd defeated the darkest Dark Lord in living memory – public speaking shouldn't have made him want to run away screaming in terror.
Yet it did.
"Um," he added. "Er. Thanks."
There was a long silence, and out of the corner of his eye Harry saw Scrimgeour close his eyes and shake his head in silent despair.
The crowd watched expectantly, waiting for something else – a speech of more than four syllables, for instance.
He stared, wide-eyed, at the rows of people gathered to watch him speak. And then a patch of red caught his eye. The Weasleys were arrayed a few seats back, most of them laughing at his ineptitude.
Later, Harry would say that what he did next was part of a moment of insanity brought on by the terrifying sight of that sea of carroty hair.
"Look, everyone, I'm a Hogwarts dropout with more guts than common sense, and I want to spend time with my girlfriend and not with you all. If you want a ceremony, give someone else a bloody medal."
He caught the aforementioned girlfriend's eye, gazed at her lovingly, and asked, in a warm and heartfelt tone, "Ginny, d'you want to go demolish Grimmauld Place with me?"
The previous silence had nothing on this one. This was the silence of complete and utter disbelief.
Then Ginny stood, grinning widely, and said, "It's a date, Potter. I'll bring the explosives."
"I got the sledgehammer, then," Harry said happily. He tossed the medallion Scrimgeour had handed him off somewhere into the crowd, only wincing slightly at the resulting, "Ow!"
"Sorry," Harry told the medallion's victim insincerely. "Now all of you I don't know can bugger off and never bother me again. The end."
"And we'll live destructively ever after," Ginny added, envisioning what they could do to the hated Black Manor. And that was only the beginning…
She and Harry grinned at each other. "Last one there is a bouncing ferret," Ginny said, and the two disappeared with simultaneous loud pops.
The crowed was stunned. At long last, though, Ron said, "Those two are seriously weird."
"They seem happy enough being strange and scary," Hermione pointed out sensibly.
And really, most people there thought, that's all there was to say. Except for Dennis Creevey, who'd been mildly concussed by the Order of Merlin medallion and wasn't thinking of much except the pretty fireworks going off behind his eyes.