DISCLAIMER: Harry Potter, and all characters associated with the books belong to JK Rowling, with the rights going to: Scholastic in the US, Bloomsbury in the UK and Raincoast Publishing in Canada. I do not own any of the characters or any locations, phrasing or words that are directly associated with the Harry Potter books. I merely borrowed them for the sake of torturing Harry Potter one last time.
AN: Okay, this is complete fluff. Anyone who has read any of my other work may be disgusted by the extreme fluffage in this story, then again, maybe not... To clear up any confusion, please note the following facts: i) Harry, Ron and Hermione have returned to Hogwarts to complete their last year of school in the same year as Ginny. The four of them have now graduated. ii) So, it goes without saying (although I'm going to say it anyway) that this takes place not immediately after Deathly Hallows, but the year following - it is the end of summer; Harry is nineteen, Ginny is seventeen (presumably going on eighteen, but I don't know when her birthday is...) Okay, now I'm done. Enjoy and please read and review.
It was a summer unlike any other for Harry Potter. It was the summer that he had spent in its entirety at the Burrow, for one. It was the summer that he had spent dating Ginny Weasley, completely without fear of Voldemort swooping in and harming her. And, it was the first summer that he had spent with a completed Hogwarts education. Now that the summer was coming to a close, Harry began to realize how wonderful it actually felt to live without fear, to love without abandon. All of the Weasleys were present tonight, gathered around a stretched out table in the garden, all but one. It still seemed impossible to Harry that Fred was gone; he felt that it was just another trick up the twins' sleeves, but the unnaturally solemn look that had dominated George's face for the last year assured him otherwise.
Harry took a moment to scan all the way around the table, noting the happiness that they were all finally allowing themselves to feel. Mrs. Weasley was fussing over something Charlie had said, Fleur was gazing up at Bill lovingly, murmuring nonsense in French, Percy was speaking animatedly with his father about the way Muggle toasters operate – Harry knew that they would be harassing him for the answer any minute now, George had his wand under the table, pointed at Ron on Harry's left, but Hermione was on to him and already countering his spell, and finally, Harry's eyes fell upon Ginny, on his right. She had her head turned away from him and had joined in the conversation about toasters. He heard the words 'useless git' shoot out of her mouth and he smiled to himself as Percy looked genuinely affronted.
"You used to be a pleasant sort of girl, Ginny," Percy huffed.
"Yes, well, you abandoned me with that lot," she hissed back, jerking her thumb towards George and Ron. "What did you expect to happen?"
Sunlight reflected off of Ginny's red hair, appearing even more crimson than usual this evening. As he watched her wildly gesticulate to her father and Percy, the world seemed to disappear around him. Was there ever a time that he was this happy? This genuinely involved in a family? He wasn't alone anymore, which was simply lovely, but still left him wanting. Harry had admitted only to Ginny that the few times he had taken care of Teddy Lupin, his godson, had filled him with an unexpected joy. Teddy was being raised in the Tonks household for the time being, but he was often brought to the Weasleys to see Harry.
Thoughts of a little house in Godric's Hollow, surrounded by a lovely little stone wall with a gate, bright flowers in the garden, the pitter patter of little feet in the grass, all seemed to swarm Harry's head as he caught a glimpse of Ginny's profile. She was angry, but what a wonderful sight it was to see her thus. She shook her head in exasperation and turned just in time to catch Harry staring at her. An amused smile played on her face as she stared back quizzically. Harry knew that in the presence of her entire family, he might want to look away for a moment, but he didn't. Her bright brown eyes searched his for an answer to his odd behaviour.
"Harry? HARRY?" Ron bellowed in his ear.
"Oh, for heaven's sake, Ron!" Hermione spat, gripping his arm fiercely.
"What?" Harry asked, dazed. He turned back towards Ron, regretfully breaking eye contact with Ginny.
"Blimey, mate," Ron muttered after staring at him in apparent disgust.
Harry looked to Hermione for an explanation. She looked a little uncomfortable as she spoke.
"Well, Harry, it's just that Mr. Weasley had been asking you a question, well, he asked several times," she trailed off, gesturing uselessly.
The whole table had gone silent and were all staring at him with a sort of disbelieving shock. Harry felt very uncomfortable all of the sudden. He started to wonder whether he had unknowingly spoken in Parseltongue, or perhaps broken out in Spattergroit. He turned to Ginny for support but she merely smiled up at him with a glazed over look. Harry spun quickly, half expecting to see a Death Eater behind him or worse yet, Voldemort himself, toying with the Weasleys. Upon seeing nothing besides a rather rude gnome, Harry turned back to the table.
"I think I'm missing something," he said rather quietly, his nervous voice becoming lost in the great expanse of the Burrow's garden.
George snorted. "Apparently, mate."
Mrs. Weasley looked conflicted, as though she were waging in some deep inner battle. Fleur watched him with unconcealed joy, gripping Bill's hand tightly in her own. Mr. Weasley's mouth had fallen open, his piece of toast (made with a Muggle toaster, no less) was poised mid-air. Percy looked mildly disinterested, while Ron shook his head as though Harry were a complete loony. Hermione looked at him with gentle concern, again as though he had lost his mind. Harry was beginning to wonder if they had already sent an owl to St. Mungo's when Ginny's hand snaked under the table and gripped his securely.
Ginny's hand in his sent a shock of warmth throughout his entire being. She was his light when there was only darkness; she was the first thing he thought of when he woke up, and she was the last thing he thought of when he fell asleep. Suddenly, he realized why everyone was staring at him as though his head was aflame. All those thoughts about the little house, the children, Ginny…
"I asked you to marry me, didn't I?" he said quietly to Ginny.
Ginny smiled at him brightly. "Yes."
"Yes?" he asked, his heart pounding madly in his chest. Again, the world around him dissipated and Ginny was all that there was. Her smile widened and she bit her bottom lip playfully.
"Yes," she whispered.
Harry smiled stupidly at her, vaguely aware that there was a good deal of murmuring going around the table. George clapped him on the shoulder.
"Good show, Potter! Do you do parties? Graduations? Dare I say it, weddings?"
Ginny scowled at him and George laughed before sauntering off. The mention of the word 'wedding' set both Fleur and Mrs. Weasley off – in opposite directions.
"I love weddings!" Fleur gushed, running over to Ginny's side.
"Now, see here, you two are young," Mrs. Weasley started weakly. She really was torn between complete happiness and motherly instinct. "Don't you think…"
"I've thought enough," Harry replied, still looking at Ginny. It was amazing how just watching her could make him completely ignore the madness around him.
"Me too," Ginny agreed with a stout nod.
"Too much thinking. I prefer to act," Harry continued, smiling mischievously.
Ginny smirked. "Gryffindor trait."
Ron scowled miserably behind Harry. "Too much acting with you two," he muttered. "Never stop with the acting in front of me, no less."
Hermione would have warned Ron about the flash of anger that she'd seen cross Ginny's blissful features just then, but she was too pleased with the prospect of a wedding. A bun floated from the bowl on the table and flew directly into the side of Ron's head.
"I heard that!" Ginny hissed.
Harry ignored Ron. This was typical Ron behaviour. He hadn't the courage to ask Hermione, so why not take it out on them?
"Oh, Ronald!" Hermione said crossly, although her voice held a dreamy air.
"You don't think that's a good idea?" he asked incredulously.
"Of course it is!" Hermione countered, all the while giving Ron the same look she'd given Harry just moments ago.
"You're all bloody mad!" Ron exclaimed before leaving the table in a huff. Hermione rolled her eyes and moved closer to Harry and Ginny.
"Congratulations!" she gushed. She then ran off after Ron.
Mrs. Weasley was still sputtering about how young they were, but finally conceded.
"Oh, hang it!" she exclaimed, getting up and running around the table to smother Harry in hugs and wet kisses. "You know you're already part of this family, Harry, but it would be wonderful to call you 'son'."
Harry went a little red at that and Ginny laughed at his discomfiture. Mr. Weasley had returned to eating his toast in complete silence while Percy tried to coerce him back into a conversation.
"I really love you," Harry told Ginny once everyone else had disappeared from the table, including Mr. Weasley who was still too shocked to say anything other than 'very well, very well'.
Ginny nodded smugly. "Took you long enough to realize it!" she said, smiling. "But, I knew you'd come round."
Harry laughed lightly. He'd never imagined that his life would run so perfectly. He'd never believed that he'd ever get a happily ever after. But, now he knew better. Now he knew that the impossible was possible and fairy tales can come true.
"Are you two just going to sit there and make lurvey faces at one another, or are you going to play some Quidditch?" George hollered at them, quaffle in hand.
"We haven't decided yet!" Ginny called back petulantly.
"Well, if you're just going to hand over the Two-on-Two Quidditch Cup," George started, shrugging carelessly.
"Come on, Ginny," Harry said, standing up and proffering his hand to her. "We can't let the cup go to Ron and George."
"Blasphemes!" Ginny agreed, standing up and storming ahead. "Oh, and Harry," she added, looking over shoulder coyly, "I love you, too."