I am proud to announce that this is the final chapter in my premier fanfiction endeavor, Out Of The Darkness. Thank-you to everyone who has been a part of this, reviewers with lovely comments and suggestions, my friends who all kicked my butt when I didn't post and were very nice to me when I hated a certain part.
I owe a great deal of love to Trisken Leigh, liz22463, sinson, HermioneGrangerTwin, Caramel Boost, and jennyelf who all reviewed for Chapter 15!! Thanks guys!
Also, I include Fleur and Bill's child in this chapter, but I realize that she technically shouldn't be born yet; I fiddled with the years because I really wanted her in it!
P.S. if you want a good mood setting song… put James Blunt's "You're Beautiful" on repeat. That's what I wrote this chapter listening to. However jennyelf has reminded me of the wondeful song "At The Beginning" and I agree that this is also a perfect song for this chapter.
One final note, a small part of this fic mentions a clock and I just wanted to mention that if you look at a real clock the mistake could actually be made…I realize that means nothing to you, but I was very proud of my clock reading abilities seeing as my sister literally can't read one! By the time she has figure out the time...its five minutes later and she has to start over! However, I love despite this disability.
Disclaimer: Why would I steal from my idol?
Chapter Sixteen: My Happy Beginning
Two weeks, fourteen days.
In that sense, it seemed like a long time. But for Ginny it slipped through her fingers in the blink of an eye. It wasn't as though they'd put everything off until the last moment, in fact Ginny was sure they'd been preparing for the wedding for years but somehow there was a plethora of unseen to problems.
Two weeks to confirm everyone's invitations, and pray to every deity that her dress would fit correctly. Two weeks to find a new band after the first one broke up at a most inconvenient time, and decide between butter cream cake and vanilla cake.
Two weeks to forget her meeting with Draco…
Ginny shivered even now, thirteen days later as she sat at her desk, putting finishing touches on the bridesmaid's gifts.
When she had finally gathered herself enough to get home, Ginny had stumbled through the door and found Harry pacing anxiously. As soon as she had seen his face Ginny broke down sobbing again, but Harry's arms were around her instantaneously and the pain lessened.
The evening had been passed on the couch, arms entwined as Ginny tried to digest the memories. Harry never left her side even for a moment; he was always there whispering promises in her ear. Swearing it would be easier in the morning.
But before morning was the night, and with darkness came dark dreams, so many that after each Ginny woke up screaming and she wasn't sure she wanted to sleep again for fear of falling back into the nightmare.
But Harry was still there. Even when Ginny woke in a cold sweat, he was holding her against his strong chest until she stopped shaking. And when morning finally arrived, Ginny couldn't remember if her last dream was terrible or not. Harry had been asleep this time, his arm curled around the small of her back protectively, pulling her against his chest.
He was her savior and Ginny had felt such gratefulness watching him sleep, taking in the black hair that was even messier then normal, reaching out to stroke it lightly and nearly weeping from joy as the small movement woke him and he greeted her with a kiss and the emerald eyes asking if she was alright.
And Ginny was all right…now at least. It was difficult to deal with her guilt. After all it was she who had not trusted Harry's judgment, she who had violated Draco's private memories, she who had cause the pain for both of them.
"Don't you dare blame yourself." Harry had said strongly, pulling Ginny under his chin while they lay there. Ginny hadn't said a word but he still knew, "I would have done the same thing, and Draco knew what he was getting into when he accepted the terms…you didn't force anyone into anything." Ginny had nearly cried again. Harry could be so selfless it was almost painful.
Ginny had felt his throat swallowing thickly and looked up in surprise. Harry had had tears moistening his eyes.
"If there's anyone at fault its me…I should have stopped you…you didn't need to see it and I-I…"
"No!" Ginny had immediately exclaimed. She couldn't believe Harry would blame himself for this, but that was exactly what he was trying to do. But if anyone was without fault it was him.
"It wasn't anyone's fault." She conceded quietly, kissing his shoulder softly and curling herself back to him. Harry's arms had tightened and although Ginny knew he still wasn't completely convinced, they were both placated enough to let go of their self-hatred on this matter.
But now, the day before the wedding, Ginny was too exhausted to care about anything except for tying the last ribbon around this damn box and falling asleep beside Harry.
"Oh thank Merlin." Ginny sighed, stretching her arms above her, wincing as the cramps began to stretch. She had been sitting at this desk all day, making calls, sending letters, checking reservations, and finally wrapping these gifts. But she'd had the better end of the deal; Harry had been forced to make all the personal visits that couldn't be made by letter. Ginny had had the vague thought that he would receive better service then someone else…she had been right, although Harry was absolutely worn out.
Ginny glanced at the clock.
One more hour until our wedding day…Ginny thought excitedly even as a small nougat of apprehension settled in her stomach. She had never been this nervous in her life. The mere though of standing in front of all of their family and friends reading their self written vows gave Ginny a heart attack. It had seemed like a perfect sentiment when Harry suggested writing the vows themselves…until Ginny thought about pouring her heart out with Ron standing in her line of vision as Harry's best man.
Ginny shook her head to clear out any remaining worries. The decision was made and it was the right one, she knew that for certain.
"Harry?" Ginny called as she exited the small office in their flat.
"Nnggh…" Was the intelligent response from their bedroom. Giggly quietly, Ginny entered and covered her mouth with both hands to stop from laughing harder.
Harry was sprawled face down across the entire double bed apparently having collapsed while changing because he had on only one boot, his pajama bottoms and the shirt he had been wearing all day was unbuttoned, flapping on either side of him, but hadn't actually been removed.
"Tough day?" Ginny asked sitting on one of the only vacant areas on the bed. Harry moaned again. Ginny laughed and moved to take off the boot, sock, and partially disrobed shirt.
"Why are sales people so cheerful?" Harry asked, the words slightly muffled from the pillow he was burying his face in. Ginny smiled as she stroked his hair lightly, relishing the way the inky black strands slipped through her fingers like water. It was shorter now for the wedding, reaching just barely to his ears, but still long enough for Ginny to play with.
Harry reached back with one hand, clasping her wrist, and then rolled over skillfully as he pulled her on top of him.
"I thought you were tired?" Ginny laughed, letting herself rest on his chest, feeling the slow rhythmic breathing and taking in the calming effect.
"Mhmm." Harry murmured, pressing a kiss onto her collar bone before rolling again so they lay side by side on the covers, "I guess you're right…wouldn't be fit for me to fall asleep at the alter would it?" Harry's eyes were alight with playful happiness.
"It wouldn't be so bad…" Ginny protested, smirking, "I'd just ask Ron to announce that we were letting you have a nap since we were busying shagging last night." Harry shuttered for a moment at the idea and then swiftly jumped under the sheets, pulling them up to his eyes.
"No fun tonight!" He proclaimed, and Ginny laughed before joining him under the sheets.
"Good night Harry…" Ginny tucked herself tight against him and sighed contently as his strong arms embraced her.
"Good night my almost-wife." Harry replied and before Ginny shut her eyes, she saw the smiling tugging at his lips and responded in kind.
Sunlight spilled through the open window and Ginny stretched luxuriously, feeling fully rested for the first time in a few weeks.
I'm getting married…The though made Ginny shiver with part excitement part fright. She couldn't believe that this day was finally here. She had dreamed about this since she was literally ten years old and had met the infamous Harry Potter on the Hogwarts Express.
Even before she'd known who he was, Ginny had fallen in love. Of course it had been that childish, random infatuation of love, but love nonetheless. For some reason when Ginny had spotted that raven hair, so much shorter and messier then, and seen him turning round and round clearly lost, she had had the urge to rush over to him and pull him along with her onto platform 9 ¾.
To her immense delight, Harry had gotten the courage to ask her mother how to get onto the platform. Of course Ginny had also known and wanted to impress this new boy with her knowledge, but as she took a breath to speak, Ginny had found that her windpipe was frozen shut.
Upon learning he was the Harry Potter, Ginny had wanted to rush onto the train get another look, to remind herself what the young hero looked like. She had wanted to convince herself that he was indeed Harry Potter…because the scared young boy in the station had not given her the impression of him having defeated a Dark Lord.
Then of course, there was also the extreme disaster when Harry showed up in their house the next summer completely unannounced. Ginny had huddled outside the door, listening after she had fled from the breakfast, her cheeks blushing furiously as she heard her brothers telling Harry about her crush while chuckling.
And now, lying in this bed, Ginny blushed again, thinking of that horrendous poem she'd sent. She hadn't even been the one to come up with the idea, thought the actual poem was original.
A third year girl had been telling her friend about it right next to Ginny, proclaiming not so quietly that whoever had the guts to send Harry a poem would no doubt win his heart. Foolishly Ginny had believed it and rushed off to find one of Lockhart's fake cupid messengers. She never realized that the girl meant Ginny to do it and embarrass herself until she heard them laughing about it a week later.
But then when Ginny awoke in the Chamber of Secrets, horribly sick and scared, she had been so relieved to see Harry that she wasn't even remotely embarrassed clinging to him and sobbing.
Ginny smiled and rolled over, expecting to find Harry sleeping in for once.
When all she saw were rumpled sheets, Ginny sat up quickly and surveyed the room. It was completely empty. Frowning Ginny slipped from under the covers and crawled to the other side of the bed.
The clothes Harry had laid out last night were gone, but Ginny saw a small piece of parchment on his pillow from the corner of her eye.
Snatching it quickly, Ginny brushed her long hair from her face and began reading it.
My dearest Ginny,
Hermione is bloody insane. This is a fact. I am writing this to you at FIVE AM. As in 'in the morning'. Approximately six hours after we fell asleep. She has woken me up (quite viciously I might add) and insisted that I get up and go sleep at their flat. Something about me not being allowed to see you until the wedding. Complete bollocks.
However she is being quite insistent and has both my wand and her own (which is currently pointed at me to speed this letter) so I am afraid I'm going to have to leave you until this afternoon. And go sleep at their flat. Which I might remind you has only ONE bed. And Ron snores.
Now Hermione is tapping her foot so I really must finish. I'm just going to say that I hope you retain more of your sanity in marriage than our dear Hermione has. You really should have picked a more normal maid of honor.
Until I see you at the alter, all my love
Ginny chuckled quietly and folded the letter, walking across the room to place it on their bureau. It might be nice to have the apartment to herself to relax until the ceremony…
"You're finally up!" Hermione burst through the bedroom door and Ginny started so badly she dropped the letter, "I thought you might be sleeping until the whole thing was over!" Ginny stared at Hermione bug-eyed as the brown haired girl strode over to the closet and pulled out the simple sun dress Ginny had planned to wear before putting on her wedding dress, and threw it to Ginny who only caught it because of her Quiddich reflexes.
"We're running a bit late so you really need to hurry getting dressed…oh maybe we should bring breakfast with us, there really is a lot to do!" Hermione continued to move around the room, picking up all the bags Ginny had laid out for the wedding.
"Have I gotten everything?" Hermione asked, finally stopping and turning to face the still confused Ginny.
"Umm…" Ginny's sleep slowed mind couldn't keep up with Hermione's frenzied pace, "What are you doing?"
Hermione's glare rivaled Professor McGonagall's.
"Trying to get you ready for your wedding in time…you could help me a bit you know." Ginny smiled, still confused.
"But the wedding isn't until two, we've got plenty of time." Ginny glanced at the clock wall, "It's only 7:55…in the…morning?" Ginny trailed off unsure as Hermione shook her head pityingly.
"Take another look." Hermione replied, a slight know it all tone taking over, "It's 11:35."
"WHAT!?" Ginny screeched, running over to look more closely at the clock. Damn it she was right! Stupid clock…why is the minute hand the same length as the hour hand?
"What are you standing for?" Ginny jumped and looked back at Hermione who was tapping her foot impatiently, realizing that this mean she only had two and ½ hours to be completely ready.
"Bloody HELL!" Ginny shrieked, running into the bathroom. Hermione just stood there sighing and shaking her head.
"Mum…are you almost done?" Ginny asked anxiously. She glanced at the clock again. Ten minutes until the start of the ceremony and the sounds of guests taking their seats weren't helping Ginny's nerves in the slightest.
"Ginevra if you look at that clock one more time I will set this hairdo on fire." Mrs. Weasley threatened and Ginny's head snapped straight. She wouldn't put it past her mother to do that even on her wedding day.
Hermione, Gabrielle, and Fleur were all bustling around, making last minute adjustments to their brides maid outfits, fixing makeup, and in Fleur's case chasing after little Victoire who was running around throwing the rose petals she was supposed to be saving for the isle.
"You are almost ready, yes?" Fleur asked worriedly, coming towards the vanity where Mrs. Weasley was attacking Ginny.
"And…done!" Mrs. Weasley waved her wand once more and Ginny felt her hair firm into place, but when she reached a tentative hand up to touch it, the locks still felt natural and not stiff in the slightest.
"Don't fuss dear, you'll ruin it." Mrs. Weasley chided good-naturedly. Rising slowly, Ginny smoothed the folds of her wedding gown and turned to face the room of four.
All movement ceased and even Victoire, who had been caught by Gabrielle, stopped struggling to be put down.
"Oh Gin…" Hermione sighed, moving forward to grasp her hand. Her eyes were shinning and she quickly removed a tear before it disrupted the makeup, "You look stunning, magnificent. I can't even begin to explain."
"Mon dieu…" Gabrielle breathed, smiling widely.
"Tu es le femme le plus belle au monde." Fleur added, coming to stand next to Hermione and took her other hand. The pair both smiled softly, no doubt thinking of their own wedding days.
Ginny sniffed and bit her lip, willing her eyes to stop watering; she couldn't cry now and ruin her make-up. Mrs. Weasley clearly had the same idea.
"All right, all right." She sniffed a moment and smiled sadly at her daughter, "Let's not get emotional until the photos have been taken." Ginny laughed and walked over to the full-length mirror, wanting to see the final outcome of their months of preparation and shopping for the perfect dress.
Ginny's breath caught in her throat as she observed herself. She wasn't a particularly vain person, but this she could say. The months of painstakingly careful decisions were worth it.
Ginny was absolutely stunning.
She ran her fingers lightly over the intricately embroidered bodice on the strapless dress that gave Ginny a perfect shape she was sure she could never achieve on her own. Tracing over the delicate thread, Ginny couldn't believe the detail. Each flower on the bodice was hand stitched and every flower was unique. The entire dress was a pale cream color that set Ginny's skin glowing. The skirt flowed out from lightly v-cut bottom of the bodice in a large ruffle that sat about midway down her legs while the rest of the fabric settled neatly at her feet. Ginny turned halfway and looked over her shoulder to admire the back of the dress which was equally incredible.
" It's perfect." Ginny murmured, turning her head up to the ceiling to force back the tears. She had always dreamed about her wedding, but now that it was actually here she couldn't believe one day could be so wonderful.
"Hmm." Mrs. Weasley muttered frowning. Ginny turned around, surprised to see her mother's face slightly unhappy.
"We need something other then that necklace…" Ginny's hand flew up to the simple diamond pendant that Hermione had lent her.
"What?" all the brides' maids asked, clearly distressed that something was off.
"But," Ginny turned back around to the mirror, "I love this necklace! And it's my something borrowed!" Upon hearing of the Muggle tradition from Harry, Ginny had immediately loved the concept.
"What if you borrow this?" Mrs. Weasley asked slyly, pulling a flat box from her handbag. Ginny stared at the blue velvet cover.
"What is it?" She asked, reaching out to stroke the cover lightly. Looking up at her kind mother, Ginny saw more tears forming.
"Oh nothing, nothing." Mrs. Weasley said thickly, pulling out her handkerchief once again, "Just an heirloom I found the other day in Auntie Muriel's house…that women really did stockpile!" Holding the box out to her only daughter Mrs. Weasley added gently, "Take it…"
Ginny accepted the box hesitantly and paused before snapping up the lid which stuck for a moment before giving way to reveal its hidden gem, literally.
"Merlin!" Ginny muttered, taken aback. She heard Hermione gasp while looking over her shoulder.
On the unassuming silk lining of the box lay the most perfect jewel Ginny had ever seen. It was a large ruby, roughly the size of the top knuckle of Ginny's thumb, and surrounding it was a twist of gold metal that encased the spectacular jewel, the shape reminding Ginny of a ribbon. Making a square on the ruby, four tiny diamonds held it in place and sparkled as Ginny stroked the impossibly thin chain.
"Passed down through the generations…I can't imagine how Muriel hid this from all of us, but she left it to me in her will." Mrs. Weasley was beaming as she gently removed the simple diamond from Ginny's neck and replaced it lovingly with the ruby necklace, "Someday it will be yours, but for today it is technically 'borrowed'…" Ginny looked at her appearance again.
The ruby stood out brightly against her pale skin, the only vivid splash of color in her whole ensemble. It was perfect.
"Oh Mum." Ginny said, throwing her arms around the aging witch, who hugged her back just as fiercely.
"May your marriage be as long and happy as mine is, my dear…" Mrs. Weasley whispered. After a moment the pair pulled apart, Mrs. Weasley straightened her shawl and then resumed her brisk manor.
"Come on now…your father will be waiting outside the door for you Gin, the rest of you need to line up in front of them." Mrs. Weasley smiled once more and squeezed Ginny's hand before slipping out of the room.
"Alright…"Hermione moved to give Ginny one last quick hug, "Let's get out there!" And so all three girls strode quickly after Mrs. Weasley, looking lovely in their matching pale blue dresses. Hermione paused at the door, halfway out, and smiled at her best friend one last time before slipping into the hallway.
I'm alone for the first time today…Ginny mused, taking a moment to sit and put up her feet. The heels she was wearing were lovely, but she would most certainly be dancing barefoot. At least Harry had benefited from the dancing lessons so she wouldn't have to worry about.
Taking one last deep breath Ginny stood once more and moved swiftly from the room, pausing at the door to observe the messy dressing scene they had left behind. All of the chairs were out of place, and many surfaces were covered with beauty products, bobby pins, and anything else imaginable. Ginny smiled, it looked like a hurricane had blown through.
Opening one side of the doors Ginny stepped out and promptly smashed into a quick moving figure.
"Oof!" Ginny teetered in her unstable heels, one hand leaning against the door to stable herself while the other was groping blindly at thin air for balance.
"Weasley." A hand reached out to steady her and Ginny found herself upright and stable once more. Gathering her senses Ginny turned her head to thank the person. But she was startled into silence as she saw the blonde figure in front of her.
"Malfoy." Ginny said, confused, "What are you doing here?" He smirked, though not unkindly, and crossed his arms.
"I was under the impression that I had been invited to the wedding…unless you'd like to revoke it?"
"No of course not, "Ginny replied quickly, observing for the first time the clearly new dress robes, perhaps bought for the occasion. They were midnight blue with very elegant silver stitching; the blue made his hair seem to shin even more brightly blonde and the stitching matched his eyes so they were even more frozen then usual, "You just startled me that's all."
Draco raised an eyebrow but said simply, "Shall we?"
Ginny nodded and the pair began walking towards the hall where the wedding would take place. Draco paused at the door leading to where Mr. Weasley was waiting for them. Courteously Draco swept his hand in front of him, indicating for Ginny to go in but she shook her head a moment.
"You'd best go in first…unless you're planning on being the bride?" Draco did not look amused.
"Very well, "Draco turned to leave, but he stopped and turned, a hand resting on the door jam.
"Congratulations Ginny…you two deserve each other." Draco's face showed no sarcasm, but Ginny couldn't decide if that was a dig at both of them or a true sentiment.
She wanted to believe him and decided to take it as it was.
"Thank-you Draco." He nodded once and walked swiftly into the hall. Ginny could only catch a glimpse of the filled chairs, but already she was nervous.
Even so, Ginny couldn't help but reflect on the short encounter with Draco. It was strange, Ginny found that when they weren't shooting insults or hexes at one another, she rather enjoyed Draco's presence…or at least it wasn't unpleasant.
But all thoughts flew away from Ginny as she heard the starting cords from the organ. Little Victoire was the picture of innocence in lavender as Fleur hurried her into the hall. Ginny laughed as the small child dumped the entire basket of rose petals onto the nearest guest before sprinting up the isle to Bill.
"Ready Ginny?" Her own father asked and Ginny smiled, nodding. Mr. Weasley gazed upon her lovingly, no doubt remembering when she was two and running around the yard chasing gnomes, shouting that she wanted to marry it. It was one of his favorite stories to tell much to her embarrassment.
"You're next." Hermione whispered quietly, beaming at the bride once more before disappearing into the room last behind Fleur, as custom for the maid of honor. Ginny took a deep breath and accepted her father arm, clutching it tightly in the hopes to not fall down.
Here we go…And as Ginny stepped into the bright light that spilt out from behind the mahogany doors. But Ginny couldn't see it because she was already blinded by the raven haired angel whose green eyes were paralyzing her from 100 feet away at the alter…
"What else can I say?" Ginny asked, tearing up as her vows came to a close, "You've made me more happy then I thought I could ever be. I love you Harry, that has been a constant from the moment I met you and nothing can change it. I am yours in every sense of the word..."
The whole ceremony had been put on fast forward for Ginny, she was shocked when the ministry official overseeing the event turned to her and asked her to read her vows. The first few lines had been stuttered in nervousness, but as Ginny feel deeper into the spell of Harry's presence, she even forgot there were others nearby.
So she was startled to hear the official say, "And if you would also Harry…"
Ginny smiled at him encouragingly, she had longed to hear what he would say from the moment he had suggested the idea.
Taking a deep breath Harry began.
"Ginny…you are the most magnificent person I have ever met, the only regret I have ever had with you it not realizing earlier how incredible you are. I was oblivious for six years, and it's taken us another three to get this far…
"But you are worth every second, everything I have done has been for you, and I know I have everything I need for the next thousand lifetimes. You are my heart and soul, you are indescribable and I can't live without you. You are practical and I love your sensibility, you are a romantic and I love when you cry watching sappy witch-flicks…you are everything in between and I don't deserve you. But for some reason you have chosen me to be blessed with your presence and I cannot be happier." Harry paused to swallow, but continued a moment later with a more amused expression.
"I should have realized the passion you are capable of, the love which I have been blessed to share, all the way back in my second year…" Ginny narrowed her eyes.He wouldn't…
Oh but he would, Harry's eyes were laughing although his face was completely serious.
"I've written a small piece in the same form as one I received then, so I hope you will forgive the small plagiarism darling." Harry took a deep breath and looked out at the crowd for the first time reciting clearly and loudly.
"Her eyes are as brown as an amber stone,
Her hair as bright as a fire
I can't believe she is mine, she's really divine
The one who conquered my heart."
Ginny couldn't decide in she wanted to punch him, laugh with the crowd, or cry from the intense look of pure joy his eyes held. No doubt she looked the same way.
Ginny settled on loving him as the official announced, "You may now kiss the bride…"
Eagerly, she pressed her lips against his familiar ones. But this kiss had a promise of the future and Ginny could already see it…a small house…at least three kids…and the two of them, growing old and gray together. There was no better image.
As Ginny stood there, swearing to love Harry forever through that small, simple action and him promising to hold her until eternity passed, she was reminded of the fairy tales she'd heard as a child.
Right now she felt like a princess, Harry her Prince Charming who saved the world and still came back to love her. Her happily ever after…
But no one ever mentions the after, like it isn't important. They were immeasurably wrong. It was better then any tale, it was the future, the possible impossible, the life she couldn't wait to begin.
"My happy beginning." Ginny whispered against Harry's lips , pulling back only enough to look at his beautiful face.
"I love you." Harry replied, his emerald eyes slightly blurred by tears of joy.
"That's all I need…" Ginny promised, and they sealed their future with another kiss as their family cheered, the music of happiness pouring in from all sides.
In case people are interested, in my profile there are links to pictures of the dress and necklace for Ginny's wedding!!
I would like to take a moment to thank some very important people…they have reviewed almost every chapter (which is quite a feat) and have always given me excellent comments which have helped to improve my writing!
Biobuddy Dude/sinson: you rock! I miss bio…but fanfic shall live on! Plus who else will threaten me with bodily harm if I don't write?
Trisken Leigh: heheh oh my love, you are a wonderful writer and are always wicked nice to me! Je t'adore:F
cMEk: what to say about this awesome chicky? She is amazing that's what! Hehehe seriously I love you!
Caramel Boost: I haven't ever met you but you are my best reviewer! Your writing is amazing and you've helped me improve mine! Thank-you so much for your support!
And now I officially announce…