Chapter One – Beauty in the Moonlight
"We can't be together."
"It's for some stupid noble reason, isn't it?"...
"He'll know, he'll find out. He'll try and get to me through you."
"What if I don't care?"
"I knew you wouldn't be happy unless you were fighting Voldemort. Maybe that's why I like you so much."
August 14th, 1997
His eyes had been on her all night. Normally it was her tresses of red hair that caught attention, but this was a Weasley wedding after all, and violent locks were conventional here. In her bridesmaid robes, dancing with her father, she looked very pretty indeed.
He sat in the small, gnarled garden, luminescent with small fairies flying to and fro, helping the colourful lantern, the bright stars and waning moon above in the creamy blue sky light up the area. Even the small broom shed was decorated, garlanded with a mixture of pale flowers and ominously magical ones, as the whole garden was. He looked up to the small field where he had played Quidditch a thousand times, some guests now milling up their for private conversations, away from the din created from the music, laughter and the general happiness a wedding created, a rare occurrence due to the destructive state their world was in at the moment.
An elderly veela sat at the bar, men many years younger approaching her all the time, despite her age. Her beautiful old face turned harsh at their requests to dance, disturbing her peace as she chatted to her ten year old granddaughter and the witch serving drinks. The short wizard blew into his saxophone as his dark skinned band mate crooned over to the dancers, a slow song for the swaying couples. The newlyweds were nearby, Fleur's hair shining like the stars; Bill's healing face gleaming with happiness, too. She was near them, dancing with Mr Weasley. He traced her steps, watched her shoes press into the grass, her hair danced in the slight breeze, her laughter as she chatted to her father. Swilling and sipping his drink, his thoughts were interrupted.
"Harry!" It was Fred. "Have you even been listening to me?"
"Not really," Harry said, now turning his attention back to the table where Ron, Hermione and the twins sat. The Burrow's garden had been set up for Bill and Fleur's wedding reception, the whimsical garden littered with their friends, family and colleagues.
"Well, if you're gonna run off on everyone for Merlin knows how long, you should be appreciating us while you can," George told him
Harry had been at the Burrow for a little over a week, and upon hearing of Hogwarts not reopening, he had felt the need to inform the Weasleys' of his, Ron and Hermione's imminent departure. This had mixed reactions. Fred and George had lightened it by making dirty insinuations of where they were going and what they were doing there. Mr Weasley had merely told them not to hesitate when asking for help. Mrs Weasley had been surprisingly accepting. She had cried a little, but realizing what they were doing in basics, she had devoted her time and energy to cooking them food to take with them. Ginny hadn't been as easy to get this idea by. After hearing the news, she tugged Harry into the only conversation they had had all summer.
"Let me come with you," she had demanded in a whisper on the staircase, her head peeking out of her room she was sharing with Hermione.
"No," He had replied. "It's too dangerous."
"We've talked about this Harry, I don't really care."
"We've also discussed that I do." He had said sadly. "No."
"I think we're very appreciateable," Fred said, jerking Harry once more back into reality. Hermione shot Fred a look of pity.
"That's not even a word, Fred," She told him.
"What's wrong with being creative?"
"How's the shop going anyway?" Ron asked his brothers.
"Booming, as usual," George told him.
"Especially since last week," Fred said.
"We had a bunch of fourteen year old girls clean us out of love-potions," George explained. "They were discussing the best way to slip Harry Potter one, because apparently, it didn't work last time."
Ron snorted into his drink.
"Jealous?" Harry asked him wearily as the song finished. "Come with me to get
Ron got up and he and Harry shuffled through the crowded garden towards the bar to fetch drinks.
"So, they still don't know about you and Ginny?" Ron asked him quietly.
"No," Harry grunted. "And I'd prefer it stay that way."
"I thought you guys had broken up," Ron said. "Why does it matter then?"
Harry turned to look at him. 'I dumped her, that doesn't mean I don't like her." He said. "Just because you didn't feel the need to interrogate me about it doesn't mean your brothers, especially Bill and Charlie, will feel the same way."
"Oh," Ron said. "Yeah, I wouldn't really fancy getting on their bad side."
"Also," Harry asked him. "Could you imagine what your mum would be like?"
"She'd hug you to death," Ron said. "I see what you mean, mate."
"In basics, your family is kind of intimidating," Harry said.
"I can see how they would be," Ron laughed as they reached the bar.
"Two butterbeers, thanks," Harry asked hired witch standing behind it.
"Anything for Harry Potter," She smiled and pulled up two bottles, and she winked at him and Ron walked away.
Ron burst out laughing as they went back to the table.
They got back to the table, and Harry's seat had been taken by Ginny. Ron smirked at him and sat down in his own between Ginny and Hermione. Harry pulled out his wand and summoned a chair through the night air over to him, and he sat down between Hermione and George. Ginny was deep in conversation with the twins about how the Cannons were going in the Quidditch league.
"We would have won the game against Portree if the ref had have picked up that blagging foul, I think," She said seriously.
George thought carefully for a moment. "I don't think so…"
Harry watched her over the table. Her hair flew a little in the faint breeze. It was really a lovely colour, he decided. As were her eyes. They were brown like Hermione's, but they were prettier somehow. He began counting the
freckles on her nose.
"D'you reckon the bar witch will give us something a bit stronger, George?"
"Naah, you know that Mum told her not to."
"Tell her it's for Harry," Ron said. "She tried to hit on him before."
Ginny looked up at him. Blushing, he turned to face the twins.
"Yeah," Harry said. "Just say it's for me and she'll give it to you."
The twins jumped up and made their way over to the bar, leaving an awkward silence. Ron drummed his fingers on the table.
"So, stuff, eh?" He said abruptly.
"You're a buffoon, Ron," Hermione said to him as Fred and George got back, holding what looked to be big glasses of firewhiskey.
"Claudia gave us these," Fred said indicating towards the bar witch.
"Under the condition that we send Harry over there," George finished for him, pulling Harry out of his chair.
"Naah, I'll pass thanks twins," Harry said, sitting back down.
"Got your eye on someone else, eh Pot-Pot?" Fred asked him. This caused not only Ron but Hermione as well to snort into her drink as both Harry and Ginny blushed. The twins didn't seem to notice this though.
"Mind your own, thanks," Harry said to the twins, who looked curiously irritated. They quickly resumed their Quidditch conversation.
"This is our last song for the night, you cool cats." The lead singer of the wedding band chimed. "Then we will be saying goodnight, leaving you to party 'til the early hours of the morning."
The guitarist strummed a chord softly as people scampered and partnered off. Harry had danced with Mrs Weasley, Hermione, Claudia the bar witch and even little Gabrielle Delacour throughout the night.
"Dance with me Forge?" Cried a drunk twin.
"Certainly, my dearest Gred!" His just as drunk copy said, standing up and embracing his twin as they moved out to the dance floor.
Ron shrugged and motioned to Hermione, who stood up blushing and got up to dance with him. Ron shot a pointed look at Harry as they went.
Ginny snickered to Hermione's retreating back. Harry looked around to her. He had been avoiding her gaze since before, turning away when she returned his stares. It was the first time they had really been alone together since they were at Hogwarts.
She turned to face him. He didn't shy away.
"Just one dance?" He asked her quietly. She just peered up at him. "Going away present of sorts?"
"Are you sure that it wouldn't put me in danger?" She questioned him ruthlessly.
"It won't." He replied.
"Sure then." She smiled as he took her hand and lead her to the dance floor.
Pulling her close, he caught sight of the twins.
"Look at your brothers.' He murmured into her hair. It smelled nice.
Fred and George were embracing tightly, hands on each others butt, calling each other pet names loudly. Clearly, they thought they were being funny. It was gaining shocked looks from Fleur's family, and her and Bill's friends.
She laughed softly into his shoulder. He caught Ron's eye over the dance floor and Ron grinned at him. Hermione turned to look too, giving the knowing smile that only she could give. Motioning rudely to them with his hand, he turned back to Ginny.
"I reckon Ron'll finally get his act together tonight and finally tell Hermione what he thinks of her," Harry muttered to her.
"He better," Ginny said. "It's really rather annoying. But you didn't ask me to dance so we could talk about my brother."
"Maybe I did," Harry said slyly. "I've missed our chats this summer. I was kind of hoping that one little one would make up for it."
"But why haven't you talked to me the whole time you've been here?" She asked, looking him determinedly in the eye. "We could have just talked." He looked at her intensely for a moment.
"If I talked to you, I'd want to kiss you. Like I do now," Harry told her. "I wouldn't have been able to stand just talking to you. But we're leaving tomorrow, so I think I should be able to restrain myself." He smiled at her sadly.
"If you wanted to kiss me, then kiss me," she said as if it was the simplest thing in the world.
"You know I can't." He said. "I told you. You understand."
"That doesn't mean I agree with it." She said slightly angrily. "Can I please come with you?"
"I can't put you in dang-" He began.
"Bullshit, Harry." She said. "I can look after myself." He just surveyed her silently for a moment, staring unrelentlessly at her.
The song then finished, and all the dancing couples broke apart.
He saw Mrs Weasley peck Mr Weasley on the cheek. Fleur smiled up at Bill happily. Ron and Hermione stood in a tight embrace, Fred and George doing the same next to them, mocking their little brother. Harry glanced over to Lupin and the pink haired Tonks, holding hands as they sat at their table. Ginny stood in front of him, staring up at him.
"Let's all say goodnight to the happy new couple!" The wedding singer called out into the crisp night air. Applause broke out as Bill and Fleur walked towards where a portkey stood for them. Fleur turned around with her bouquet, and eager females formed a crowd behind her. Harry looked straight into Ginny's eyes as the flowers flew past the group and into an unsuspecting Hermione's arms as she conversed with the twins. Ginny turned her head and saw Hermione, half pleased, half horrified holding the flowers as if they were going to explode. Fred and George burst out into laughter.
"Hey Ron!" One called, and Ginny burst into giggles. Harry turned his head and laughed quietly, too. They watched the drunk twin's teasing as Bill and Fleur took hold of their portkey, and as Mrs Weasley wailed in anguish and put on some old wizarding records.
Harry turned back to her. She looked back up at him. He kissed her, hard and short, long enough for her to taste the alcohol on his breath, and for him to taste it on hers. He pulled away quickly; no-one had seen. She looked up at him curiously, face radiating in the moonlight.
"Why did you stop?"
He broke out into a grin.
"Let's get out of here." He said, leading her by the hand up to the field where they had so often played Quidditch, and into the nearby woods.