Disclaimer: The Potterverse still belongs to JKR and her lackeys and minions in the corporate world. I just snuck in under the fence to pee in the pool..
A/N: Thanks for following this story through to the (not so) bitter end. There are side stories that go with it, just click on my profile and check them out. Happy reading!
Time to Start Living
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry
Six Months Later
The wedding was a private, intimate affair. At least it was supposed to be, however when the saviors of the Wizarding world were to be married, plans could rapidly change. Harry and Ginny originally intended to have the actual wedding at the newly remodeled sweat lodge in Godric's Hollow so that Harry's parents and Sirius could be in attendance. The 'must invite' guest list had quickly grown to over 500 people, which necessitated a few compromises. Harry and Ginny had gone through the second ceremony at the lodge, with only the parents, Ron, Hermione, Dudley, and Sirius in attendance, but it had not been publicized. That had happened the previous evening, with Professor McGonagall performing the ritual.
The bride was beautiful (of course!), the groom handsome, and the groom's mother properly impressed with the new look of the sweat lodge. After several consultations with Pablo, the two had come to the conclusion that it was the magic, not the decorations, that gave the lodge the power to summon the departed. The lodge was now attached to the new cottage which Harry built, and appeared to be a parlour. The cottage was meant to be Harry and Ginny's hideaway, a place they could go to get away from the world.
Ginny had not worn her formal wedding robes, Mrs. Weasley insisted that Harry not see Ginny in them until the wedding at Hogwarts. Instead, she had a different, slightly more subtle set made for the private ceremony. When Harry saw her in that set of robes, he wondered how much more impressive the formal ones could be. Harry on the other hand, would be wearing the same robes for both ceremonies. That was one of the great things about being a guy, wedding plans sort of take care of themselves. Just appear where your intended wants you, on time, and reasonably sober and you are good to go.
That was Harry's thought as he was helping Ron tie his bow tie. Dudley had no problem with his, he had been tying them for years. Harry and Ron, to the encouragement of Dudley, were struggling, accompanied by hoots of laughter from Lupin and the Weasley twins.
"Harry," said George, "You ought to be really familiar with all of this…"
"Especially since you do it so often," added Fred
"Third time…" George put in.
"Is supposed to be the charm", said Fred, then they both cracked up.
"Easy for you to say, "said Harry. "How many people do you know who go through 3 wedding ceremonies in 7 months and have never slept with their wife?"
"Works for me," said Ron. "She is our little sister, after all. As far as we're concerned, she could stay untouched forever. We might wonder a bit about you, but look at the respect that you would gain from us."
"What? And deny Molly a bunch of grandchildren? I figure that she will be asking when the baby is due about the time we get back from the honeymoon. Not that it will be such a chore to make her happy after all…."
"Keep talking like that mate, and we will set those fireworks off a bit early," said Fred
"Yeah, right inside your robes," added George.
"Why aren't you guys piling on Ron? I mean, he is marrying Hermione today. I don't think that he will be exactly celibate tonight."
Bill stuck his head in the door just in time to hear the last exchange. "That is because Hermione is not our little sister, and we just think that she is getting a really good deal marrying Ron. And he is one lucky puppy marrying her. You, on the other hand, are a cad who is about to despoil our sister. Now, if the clowning around is over, it is time to meet your fates."
A few minutes later, with Harry and Ron standing at the front, the Wedding March began playing. This was a concession to the Grangers, who wanted something traditional in Hermione's wedding. The wedding was also well attended by relatives of Hermione who could be trusted with the secret that there was a whole different world co-existing with their own. Due to the recent cooperation between the magical and muggle governments, the Prime Minister was there, in the same group as the Minister of Magic. The two couples had, in fact, saved both worlds.
As the brides came down the aisle, accompanied by their fathers, Ron and Harry gaped, open mouthed. The girl's outfits were a cross between formal robes and muggle wedding dresses, lots of lace, silk, and hand sewn pearls. These had been Madam Malkin's crowning achievement. Harry was sure that he had never seen anything more beautiful than his bride. He was sure that Ron had the same thought about Hermione.
The actual ceremony was short and sweet. The duties were shared by a Unitarian minister friend of the Grangers and Minerva McGonagall. Vows were given, rings exchanged, and the bonding spell performed. For Harry and Ginny, this was the third time they had gone through the binding, and it had deepened the bond that they already shared. Harry wondered if they would be able to communicate wordlessly. But that was a subject that they could explore in depth later. For now it was enough to know that she was finally his wife, and that they would be spending the rest of their days together.
After the ceremony, Minerva changed the Great Hall from a wedding chapel into a reception hall. Tables were set up in much the same way that the house tables would be, with Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione, McGonagall and the Unitarian minister, the Reverend Bosco McDowell sitting at the head table. Harry thought that the good Reverend must have been well prepared as to the oddities that he would be seeing. He asked him about it.
"It takes more than magic and a few elves to shock a Unitarian minister, after all, we have very open minds," the Reverend told him. Besides, I have known of your world for quite a few years, my niece went to Hogwarts, and I officiated at her wedding. I must say that the school lives up to its reputation. I always thought that Elissa was exaggerating, that it was a magician's school. I never really expected it to be a real wizard's school. Her wedding was at my church, this is my first time here."
Minerva got a wicked twinkle in her eye. "Reverend McDowell, would you like a tour of the school?" When Bosco jumped at the opportunity, she summoned Dobby to take him around. "Dobby, make sure that you introduce the Reverend to the Fat Friar. They might want to talk shop."
Before the Reverend left with Dobby, he gave McGonagall his card and offered his services as a spiritual counselor to any muggle-born students who might be having a hard time adjusting. Minerva took the card and asked him if it would be alright to hook his fireplace up to the Floo network. "This could open up a whole new area of wizard-muggle relations," she said.
After the meal and cake were eaten, all of the dancing finished, Harry was able to get together with Dudley for a few minutes. Dudley had accepted a contract with the Ministry to hunt down the Dementors, and either destroy them or drive them out of Britain. They had shown a remarkable unwillingness to leave on their own, so it had been a long, hard job to destroy them. He had made good strides, and Dementors were definitely an endangered species in the UK. This had come about when the Ministry had taken the advice of the American Department of Wizardry and Sorcery.
"So, what are you going to do when you have driven the last Dementor out of Britain?" Harry asked.
"I'm going back to Texas. Harry, I never really fit in as a muggle here, nor do I really fit in as a wizard in Britain. I don't have the background, and over here I will never be anything more than Harry Potter's cousin. I know that I did quite a bit in the last battle, and I appreciate the portion of the reward money, it is enough to live on the rest of my life if I wish. But I want to do something for me, and I believe that America is the place to do that. I am going to found the American branch of the House of Dursley. Jack says that he knows this cute little witch, actually a cousin of his, that he thinks that I would get along famously with. I don't know if she will be the one, but someday we will have family on both sides of the Atlantic. For now, I am enrolled at the University of Texas, El Paso. They offered me an athletic scholarship in boxing and football.
"But you have never played American Football."
"I told them that, but they say that I could probably make a good defensive lineman, whatever that is. They told me that it had to do with hitting people, and that is right up my alley. As far as the classes, I enrolled in the mining and geology program. I may end up working with Jack when I graduate."
The two cousins shared a arm-grip, then Harry and Ginny said their goodbyes, Ron and Hermione had already left via portkey. With a dual shout of "Accio Firebolt!", the two called their brooms, much as Fred and George had done when they escaped Umbridge, mounted them and flew out the doors into their future.