A/N: Well, after toiling about my house quite lazily, I've actually managed to get chapter six up, if a little late. Yes, I'm on my break (but no snow yet) and so will hopefully be writing at least the next chapter (I must say, I'm anxious to work on this upcoming chapter) and have it up by next week. So lazy, I know. As always, I hope you all like it and please let me know what you think of it. Thanks for reading!
"Next term you begin teaching, right?" Remus Lupin asked Harry with a smile. Harry offered a small grin to Lupin, leaning back in his chair and taking a swig of butter beer. Sitting in the Leaky Cauldron, Harry considered the man sitting before him. The Second War had left its scars subtly, but the struggles and losses of the past years had left barely discernable marks on Lupin as well. There were unspoken lines one his face, one Harry had long since recognized as souvenirs of losing Sirius, and at some particularly weary and tired moments, the quietly mourned, somber shadows in Remus's eyes would be revealed. There seemed no doubt that the loss of three lifelong friends and the betrayal of one would have left long-suffered grief on Lupin, but as of the last year and a half, a change had taken hold as well.
The diminished, often-ill look that had constantly occupied his exterior had seemed to heal over. Though he still maintained transformation into a werewolf every month, he was looking much healthier as of late, and he was hardly as pale and thin as he had once been. In the last months, in fact, new legislation had been brought in and passed by the Ministry, (Harry supposed Rufus Scrimgeour had to be good for something) that had overruled classification of werewolves as dark, highly dangerous creatures to afflicted wizards and witches with monthly handicaps. This basically translated to Lupin finally able to buy a place of his own and find a job, and as Remus put it wryly, "I've finally got a set of robes without patches down the front."
But perhaps, Harry surmised, the most welcome changes were brought on by Tonks, who had restored a younger, more cheerful side of Remus that had scarcely been seen in the past handful of years. His renewed laughter and wry smiles were often contagious now. Indeed, his proposal to Tonks ("Told you I'd marry you," Tonks had said with a wink) and their engagement was proof enough that he had finally come round, to everyone, and Tonks. And so, Harry faced Remus Lupin with a slowly spreading grin, his reply accompanied by a chuckle.
"I start the position next term, yeah," Harry said, now grinning more ruefully at the thought of it. He leaned back in his seat, grinning rather widely now. "And Professor McGonagall's offered Head of Gryffindor too, seeing as she hadn't found a teacher who could handle the lot. She says they're as clever as you, Dad, and Sirius were and twice as bad as Fred and George, so yes," Harry said, seeing Remus's appreciative smile, "It seems I'm in for an interesting year."
Remus shook his head, chuckling. "And, you'll have to lodge at Hogwarts during the year...how did Ginny take to that news?" Harry grimaced.
"After the initial news, she…" he paused, recalling the painful moment Ginny had looked at him in shock and dismay, and then furiously performed a full body-bind curse on him and stormed from the kitchen, looking between the verge of tears and extreme violence. The time he had spent staring in frustration at the ceiling of his apartment had been both miserable and infuriating, until Ron had finally come along some hours later. Harry grimaced at the mere memory. "Well…honestly? She hexed me and I was on my apartment floor for two hours. Not that it wasn't my fault, but…" Remus looked at him, astonished, and then he was unable to suppress a laugh.
"I see," he managed, but met Harry's gaze sympathetically. "I can see Ginny's side of the matter, though, with getting married and then you off teaching."
The familiar worry tugged at the bottom of Harry's stomach. "We'll work it out," he said firmly, but he glanced at his watch. "Speaking of Ginny, Remus, her Quidditch practice ends at half past two, and I can still catch the last half an hour if I hurry…"
Remus stood, smiling as he fished some sickles out of his pocket and placed them on the table. "No, go ahead, as it is Tonks will have my head unless I get back to help…" At Harry's questioning look, he added, "Arrangements for the wedding. Thanks for meeting me, Harry; we should have lunch again another time." Grinning, Harry shook Remus's hand, doled out some coins for the bill, and then ducked out of the building into the streets of Diagon Alley.
Flashes of light greeted him, and he automatically held up his arm to his glasses. An unpleasant sight of reporters and photograghers clutching cameras and quills flocked around him, assaulting him with shouted questions and harried cries.
"Mr. Potter! Mr. Potter! I'm with the Daily Prophet, and could you tell us how your wedding is coming along?"
"Harry! Can you tell our readers how you feel about getting married to your best friend's sister? How does the best friend feel about this?"
"Mr. Potter! Where is your wedding going to take place?"
Still shielding his eyes, he swiftly pulled out his wand and, moments later, was being crammed through the air as he Disapparated, but it was worth it when he arrived just outside the Quidditch pitch that Puddlemere United played at. He sighed with relief at the sight of the small stadium, straightening and fixing his cloak. Ruddy reporters, he thought angrily. Will we ever get time to ourselves? He wondered with frustration as he made his way into the stadium.
But it appeared they would not get any time alone, for a small crowd of smartly dressed wizards and witches clutching quills and parchment were waiting, apparently, for the team to exit the stadium and ask questions about their upcoming match. Grimly, he saw the looks of delight spread rapidly across some of their faces as they aimed cameras on him, watching his approach excitedly. The bright bursts of light and rapid clicks went off in a wave of excitement as he braved the crowd with extreme impatience. "Harry!" A witch cried excitedly above the jumble of whirs and exclamations. "Come to watch your fiancé at work? Can you give us a statement on Miss Weasley, and your upcoming wedding?"
"No," Harry said shortly, forced to shield his eyes yet again and hurry into the doors of the awaiting stadium. Two security wizards stood apologetically at the entrance.
"We're sorry, Mr. Potter, but unless they try to get onto the pitch or into the seats, we can't force them to leave," a tall, bearded young man explained. His well-muscled partner nodded, looking exasperatedly at the swarming reporters.
"S'okay," Harry muttered, all the same casting an annoyed glance over his shoulders at the still shouting reporters. As he stepped into the stadium a cool, strong gust of wind rippled past him and then brought his attention to the players. Raising his eyes almost immediately to the sky, he found darting, soaring figures cloaked out in blue robes and straddling broomsticks.
For a moment he stood, his eyes searching until they found the familiar fiery chaser stealing the Quaffle in a burst of speed. He grinned, and even though Ginny couldn't have possibly seen him yet, he felt like waving madly at them. Instead, he wisely chose to find a seat well away from the entrance, and from the few other already gawking people in the stadium. He tucked his cloak a little higher in the gusts of wind, and turned his gaze upward again with a small smile.
Ginny was a blaze of vibrant red hair against royal blue in the air, clutching the Quaffle expertly and dodging her teammates with fairly blurred speed. She wove her way in and out, passing and receiving the Quaffle, pausing only to recover a dropped pass. She truly was a brilliant chaser, and she'd come a long way, he smiled, from nicking her brother's brooms back at the Burrow. Watching her drop and turn sharply on her broomstick, he felt the usual urge to fly up and join the team, to find his Firebolt and roam through the air in pursuit of a winged golden ball. Wistfully, he remembered the Hogwarts pitch, but he was cheered by the fact that in a few months, he'd be teaching there, and surely even the Defense Against the Dark Arts professor could go for a fly on the Quidditch pitch... And then his eyes were reminding his brain that Ginny was flying around up there at the moment, and that a Bludger was hurtling towards her head…
In the air, Ginny turned at the last second, her mane of red whipping out of her face in time to glimpse the streak of black whistling toward her. She rolled over in the air as it whirled past her, and then looked around for the Quaffle again. Only moments later, her captain's whistle cut through the practice, and the players started heading for the ground. Ginny, however, was hovering far above the ground; sitting quite still on her broom. For a few moments, she sat looking in Harry's direction, and then to his surprise, she did a kind of euphoric loop in the air before slipping down to the pitch. Grinning widely at her antics, he watched the team stand crowded around their captain before starting to break towards the locker rooms. Harry debated over waiting outside amongst reporters (not preferable) or settling into his seat for a few more minutes to wait for Ginny. But then he realized the reporters would have just as much of a field day with her, and she would probably stand being bombarded with questions while waiting for him to come out...With a groan of frustration, he stood up and left the stands reluctantly to face the crowd outside…
It was a few irksome minutes later while he stood with the security wizards, watching the reporters dully as they shouted out pointless questions (Mr. Potter, is it true you and Miss Weasley will be moving to a home in Hogsmeade? Will you be getting any pets? How do you feel about singing cupids at your wedding?). Harry shook his head at them with distaste, and tried focusing again on the exit to the player's locker room. There, a very wind-tousled, tired looking witch was making her exit, her bag slung over her shoulder. She looked up, at first startled by the reporter's flashing cameras, then an indignant look spread across her features. Harry was not smiling as he strode out of the stadium; in fact, he strongly suspected his face mirrored Ginny's. At this thought, he sought Ginny's eyes, but was surprised to see that she had already spotted him, the beginnings of a very wry smile playing at her lips. The crowd turned as Harry came out to meet her, and some began yelling once more.
"Miss Weasley! Mr. Potter! Can we get a shot for Witch Weekly?"
"Harry, are you planning on a big wedding? A lavish public affair?"
"Hardly," Ginny said under her breath with a snort, holding a hand over her eyes as Harry took her arm and they began to hurry away.
"Ginny! Is it true you'll have Celestina Warbeck singing at your wedding?" At this, both Ginny and Harry began laughing in earnest, and as Harry looped an arm around her waist, Ginny looked up at him with the first genuine smile he'd seen since she'd exited the stadium, and they disappeared with a pop.