Disclaimer: Harry and the rest of the Dream Team don't belong to me. They're JKR's; I'm just playing with them.
Note: Ok, so lots of thanks and acknowledgments go out for this one. Don't worry, folks, "Identity" and "From the Window Ledge" shall be updated soon, but this fic just wouldn't leave me alone. First off, Kaedi Weasley is the creation of my friend Legalien. You should read her stories, they're fabulous. Wren Gallagher is an OC that I'm currently writing an endless story for, called "Identity." She's pretty cool, so y'all should definitely read her story if you care to take the time. Madison Bradford is an American OC of mine that I haven't written yet, but she's in my head and I didn't want to leave her out of such a special occasion. Oh, and I totally think Neville and Luna should have gotten together. I think that's it. Anyway, I hope that you enjoy this fic as much as I enjoyed writing it. Please leave me reviews, they make me very happy-and much more likely to update.
"Ouch, Ron! Are you trying to spear me?" Harry rubbed the spot on his shoulder where he'd been pricked through the cloth of his black suit. "What, are you getting back at me for the time I let you down too hard from the ceiling when you were all smashed on that stupid love potion? Yeah, this is a right good way to do it, and its perfect timing, too. I appreciate it, honestly."
Ron Weasley grinned back at his best friend. "Well, actually, you slamming me to the floor was just retribution for me punching you in the ear. So no, this particularly pain wasn't intentional, mate. However, if you're not good to my sister…" Ron's voice trailed off warningly, over Harry's very verbal groan.
"Just get that bloody rose thing on my suit, won't you? I don't understand why girls go into such hysterics over the tiniest details in weddings, but they do. If I come out without that flower, there'll be hell to pay." Ron started to laugh at Harry's agonized look. "Just you wait until next summer, pal. Then you won't be laughing anymore," Harry added fiercely. As if Harry had just hit him with a Depressing Curse, Ron's laughter abruptly ended while his ears went brilliantly red over this mention of his forthcoming wedding to Hermione. They had had to postpone the celebrations of their nuptials over complications with getting Hermione's parents back from Australia and settled in their own lives again. Thankfully things were going well now, but Hermione and Ron would have never been ready to join Ginny and Harry in a double wedding, as they'd hoped. After talking for a long time about it, Harry and Ginny had decided to go ahead. They'd waited long enough, and they weren't going to wait any longer.
While Ron struggled with the pin of Harry's boutonnière, Harry gazed around the room with a pleased expression. This was the way it should be, this was right. He and Ron were standing in their old dormitory of Gryffindor Tower on August 31st, the day before students would be arriving for the new term. Professor McGonagall had looked surprised when Harry and Ginny had asked to be married at Hogwarts, but had swiftly agreed. It was only fitting that the two should be wed in the place that had brought them together, and where they had spent very happy, if tumultuous, years. At this very moment, Ginny, too, was in her old dormitory with her bridesmaids-Hermione, who was acting as maid of honor, along with Fleur Weasley, Luna Lovegood, Wren Gallagher (a close, longtime friend of the Weasley family and George's fiancée), and Kaedi Weasley, Charlie's wife of a few months. Even from across the tower, Harry could hear the girls' delighted cheers and squeals of glee.
Ron shook his head at a particularly loud show of joy, and said, "Merlin's beard. They're all cracked, every last one of them. Except perhaps Luna, I haven't heard her screech like a bloody banshee yet. To hell with this, Harry. Hold still for a moment." Tossing aside the pin that continued to elude Ron's skill, Harry's red headed best man simply picked up his wand and used an easy sticking charm to affix the rose to Harry's lapel.
"That was actually quite brilliant, Ron," remarked George conversationally from where he lounged on one of the beds, looking like a graceful fox. He looked much happier now that he was engaged to Wren, even though he still missed Fred dreadfully. Neville gave a toothy grin in agreement with George's statement, while Charlie and Bill completely missed the moment as they were cooed over a picture of Bill's newborn daughter, Victoire, in the corner. Both men managed to look both idiotic and incredibly manly at the same time as they made fools of themselves over the small baby's moving picture.
Percy stuck his head in the door and said pompously, "Ten minutes, Harry. It's time to start the procession down to the Great Hall. Everyone's arrived and settled in their places. The wedding march shall begin in precisely 9 and one half minutes."
"Erm, thanks, Percy," said Harry embarrassedly. The only way he'd managed to dodge having Percy as a groomsman was to make him head usher, a title which Percy took to mean Mr. In Charge of Everything, which he took to with great delight along with the help of his wife, Penelope. It was actually a role that Harry was quite grateful that Percy took charge of-he was so details oriented that he did a great number of the small, necessary things for Harry and Ginny's wedding, giving them more time to be together. Anyone that gave them time together was instantly fine in their books.
Standing quickly at Percy's beckon, Charlie and Bill hurried to the door; they were eager to both see their wives in finery as well as keen to avoid Percy's wrath-he'd already harangued them for tying their neckties incorrectly. Harry was the last to leave the room, and as he turned and gazed around at it, he knew that he was seeing it for the last time. He'd never again have any business being inside a Gryffindor dormitory. Strangely enough, this didn't bring him any sadness. This chapter of his life was ending and a new one was beginning. These years at Hogwarts had been good years, but maybe the future would be even better. With Ginny at his side, he knew it with all the certainty in the world. Besides, walking down the stairs to his wedding with a bright future ahead of him was much easier than walking into the forest to his death. This wasn't an ending, really.
Harry and his friends made it down to the Great Hall without any trouble. Ron leaned over to Neville and Harry and said reminiscently, "Remember how lost we used to get? It took Harry and me a solid week to learn how to get down to the Great Hall without getting lost when we first came. I thought Hermione was going to kill us."
"A week?" said Neville in amazement. "It was my fifth year before I could get places without getting lost. I'm glad I know my way around now, though. Being an assistant teacher means that I've sometimes got to get from one end of the castle to the other quickly, especially now that Professor Sprout can't move like she used to." He confidently jumped over the very trick step that had trapped Harry in his fourth year.
The men had reached the entry way that led into the Great Hall, where Hagrid was waiting for them. "Ready, lads? Blimey, Harry, gettin' married…I can 'ardly believe thet…" Dressed in his horrible brown and orange suit, Hagrid proudly opened the enormous double doors with a flick of his massive wrists. Soft organ music came rushing towards Harry and his friends as they walked down the middle aisle towards the place where the Minister of Magic, Kingsley Shacklebolt, was standing. He would be performing the ceremony, by special request of Harry and Ginny. Off to the side, the portraits of Albus Dumbledore and Severus Snape were standing on golden tripods, that their subjects might observe the long-awaited wedding.
Dumbledore's blue eyes were just as twinkly as ever, but they didn't look bright from mischief or humor, but rather from unshed tears. He nodded quickly at Harry and said softly, "Well, well, my dear boy. Pardon me; you are no boy, but quite an able man. Congratulations, Harry. I can only imagine how you must be feeling now, when I consider my own emotions on the subject. May your futures together be bright."
"Thank you, Professor," said Harry croakily as Professor Snape's painted self sidled self consciously into the painting. He looked slightly embarrassed, as if not quite sure what to do with himself in this situation. He merely nodded at Harry, for once saying nothing bitter or caustic. Knowing Severus as he did by now, Harry nodded in reply. Words weren't necessary for the two men any longer-in fact, it was probably best that they didn't use words. Both were far too apt to say things that they didn't mean. Despite their past history, Harry thought he saw Snape give him a hesitant smile before Harry turned to face the people that had assembled to witness his wedding to Ginny.
Even though Harry and Ginny had planned the wedding to be a gathering of their closest and dearest friends, they were surprised at just how many friends they had. They wanted everyone to be there to witness their special day. In the front row sat Mrs. Weasley, blowing her nose heartily into a handkerchief while Penelope sat beside her, her bulging stomach soon to loose its burden. A little farther down the row sat Andromeda Tonks with little Teddy in her arms, his hair bright purple for the special occasion. He waved his fat little hand at Harry, who waved back with absolutely no self-consciousness. He was already a fool where Teddy was concerned and no help for it.
And there, sitting where the Gryffindor table was usually positioned, was Professor McGonagall. For once without her severe look, she sat up straight in her emerald dress robes, looking in amazement at the room about her. Where just three years ago there had been bodies and curse burns, now the Great Hall was decorated with white and blue flowers, and the whole area was lit with the golden light of thousands of candles, the very ones that would float there tomorrow to greet the students. The sky overhead reflected the fall sunshine that poured in from the windows-a golden and enfolding light. Yes, it had come a long way. They had all come a long way.
Towards the back of the room, Aberforth Dumbledore settled heavily into a seat, his hair looking clean and dust-free. He didn't know it, but his own twinkly blue eyes were an exact match to his brother's portrait. Next to him was Rita Skeeter's replacement, a young woman named Madison Bradford. Her good-natured smile flashed just as quickly as her quill as she winked in Harry's direction, obviously overjoyed by the events that she felt privileged to cover. Harry had every confidence in the young woman; she was an ardent supporter of his and was sure to be both classy and honest.
And on and on it went as Harry saw person after person that he had fought and actually died for. Professor Flitwick was sitting in a special chair that would elevate him to the right height for him to see over people's heads. And there was Madame Rosmerta, who was wearing jeweled shoes and already crying heartily into a handkerchief while she held the arm of a clearly inebriated Professor Trelawney, who was far too busy sobbing into her own handkerchief to notice her neighbor. Viewing his colleague with no small amusement, Firenze stood near the back of the hall, his palomino flank and bright eyes shining calmly. He had already assured Harry that the planets viewed this day favorably.
Yes, these were the people that he loved, and that loved him. Today was a new beginning for all of them, not just for him and Ginny.
Harry's only regret as he stood there waiting for his bride to appear was that the rest of the people he loved couldn't be there. He missed his parents as he never had before, and the longing he felt for Sirius, Lupin, Tonks, Fred and Mad-Eye was so fierce that his very soul seemed to ache. If only they were there, to be witnesses to what their sacrifices had bought.
But then, the music swelled and Hagrid proudly opened the double doors down at the end of the Great Hall again. The first to walk down the aisle was Wren Gallagher. Her wild brownish-blonde hair was escaping the bun that she had attempted to place it in, but her emerald eyes sparkled fiercely. Her pale blue dress swished around her ankles, looking very like the water that she loved so well.
Next was Fleur, who looked just as beautiful as she had at her own wedding day. Her golden hair cascaded in fat curls, and the little bit of extra weight that she was still carrying from her pregnancy made her look soft and appealing, rather than taking away from her flawless and astonishing beauty.
After her came Kaedi, Charlie's wife. The tiny young woman looked proud, and she stood taller than she had in years, her dark hair gleaming in the candlelight. Despite a huge scar on her face and a past of torments, a calm and gentle happiness now shone through her eyes, and a sense of victory permeated her every step.
Looking dreamy and unbelievably ethereal, Luna was next. For once she wasn't wearing any strange jewelry and she looked beautiful to Harry. Luna's faithfulness to him through the years meant more than any bizarre creature's horn, no matter what its magical properties were! Now, if only she and Neville would get a move on….
Finally, the maid of honor came down the aisle-Hermione. Harry heard Ron catch his breath as he caught sight of his future bride. Hermione's bushy hair had been tamed and fell in glossy waves down her back. Her blue dress was simple, and it accentuated her classic beauty. Her warm eyes were bright with tears as she locked gazes with Ron, and Harry knew that they were both longing for the day that they would be wed. But then Hermione's eyes turned to Harry, and he saw her sisterly affection for him shining on her face. She had wanted this for him, had wanted him to experience this love and peace. For so long Harry had been certain that none of them would survive to experience such bliss; and the fact that Hermione and Ron, his dearest friends, could both now witness the culmination of so many hopes and longings was almost more than he could take.
But then, Harry's breath was truly taken away as he saw an angel in white beginning the long walk down the aisle towards him. His own Ginny was holding her father's arm proudly as she appeared to be restraining herself from running into Harry's arms, just as she had on the night that he had first kissed her. Ginny's white satin dress was made with empire seams, and at its waist a simple blue ribbon encircled her slenderness. Her bright hair was bound up on her head, its redness softened slightly by the ethereal veil that floated around her head and then fell to the floor in crisp, floating waves.
He didn't know it, but tears were falling swiftly down Harry's face, a sharp contrast with his fierce and delighted grin. He had never experienced so many motions in such a short time in his life, not even at the Battle of Hogwarts. How could one man be gripped by such joy and pain all at once? Who knew could know it, that there would be such a time when they were so inextricably entwined that he couldn't tell one emotion from another? It was just like how he sometimes couldn't tell where he ended and Ginny began; their souls and hearts were bound.
And then she was there before him, and Mr. Weasley was putting Ginny's slender hand into Harry's own strong one. Arthur cleared his throat as he looked deeply into Harry's eyes, and the young man could read Mr. Weasley's thoughts just as clearly as if he were practicing Legilimency against the older man. Mr. Weasley was saying within his soul, "This doesn't worry me, Harry. I'm not afraid at all. You're a good man, and I trust you with my Ginny's life, just as she trusted you when she was deep in the Chamber of Secrets. You took care of her then, and I know you'll take care of her now. Bless you, son."
Too choked up to say anything, Harry merely gripped Arthur's hand for a moment in thanks. He was saying thank you for taking him in, and for making Ginny into the precious woman that she was. Then Arthur went to join his sobbing wife in their pew, and the ceremony began.
Kingsley's deep voice echoed through the hall as he said, "Welcome, all of you. This wedding is especially significant for all of us, so I must ask for your understanding and compassion. I'll do my best to get through this." Harry, glancing at his mentor's face, saw with great surprise that tears were running down Kingsley's calm face. He got a hold of himself, and then continued. "We have all watched Harry and Ginny become what they are. Many of you have witnessed more than I have, as I came later into the story.
"First, with Harry: he was a scared little orphan, who knew nothing of his world or past. He has morphed into this strong young man I see here before me, a young man that has saved our world time and time again, and to whom we owe everything." Harry blushed, but Ginny's hand found his and squeezed it warmly. "He has weathered the storm, and become all that we could wish for him to be. But being the wizarding world's savior pales in comparison as to what he'll become in just a few minutes: a husband. Those of you who have experienced this most sacred of unions understand all that it means and entails, and I know that we have long wished him such companionship and, yes, bliss. He had lost much in life, and I know that we are all happy that for once, he is now gaining. We wanted this for you, even more than we wanted you to end the evil that threatened us. God bless you, Harry. May you continue on a path towards a greater peace and happiness than you have ever before known. The future is yours now."
Kingsley turned to Ginny. "As for you, young lady-this day has been a long time in coming for you, hasn't it?" Gentle laughter went through the room as it was Ginny's turn to blush. Everyone there had seen long before Harry had how much she had cared for him. This day was truly the end of an era for her, and she had finally attained her heart's longing. "I met you when you were a young lady of fourteen, Ginny, and I shall never forget it. You were flinging Dungbombs at the door in the headquarters in the Order of the Phoenix, in an attempt to hear what we were saying. Never mind the fact that it was a top secret meeting, you wanted to know about it. But Molly never found out who flung those pestilential things, did she?" Molly shook her finger at Ginny, who stared unabashedly back at her mother in defiance. But the two women smiled at each other and then turned their attentions back to Kingsley. "You didn't see me come around the corner and catch sight of you that day. I saw then a young woman with a fire and a spirit that few people had ever possessed before. You had, and have, such strength in you. You see what you want, and you're willing to give everything to try and make it happen. It is that passion that made you a leader in several rebellions, and I don't think you ever realized just how much your will kept everyone's spirits alive in a darkened time. To be honest, I didn't think that Harry would ever wise up," more gentle laughter, this time at Harry's expense, "but he finally did, and the world will be a better place for it. You, with your love and strength, are a treasure to all of us. No matter what your responsibilities will be as a wife, I have every faith in your ability to succeed."
The next few minutes seemed to fly past. Harry and Ginny vowed to love, honor, and cherish one another for all the days of their lives, in sickness and in health, in wealth and in deprivation. Everyone in the room could tell that they meant every word, and there was hardly a dry eye in the castle. Even Argus Filch looked mildly moved.
Kingsley then motioned for Ron and Hermione to come forward and give Harry and Ginny the wedding rings. First, Harry placed a delicate silver ring that was set with one brilliant diamond and two shining rubies onto Ginny's finger. Her eyes sparkled in appreciate and love, and then she placed a heavy silver ring onto Harry's finger. On the inside of the band, there was engraved a snake to symbolize the Chamber of Secrets where he had saved her, and a lion to represent Gryffindor. Finally, there were was a phoenix that lifted two hearts together.
Drawing his wand, Kingsley told Harry and Ginny to hold each other's hands, the ones that bore the rings. "Harry and Ginny, repeat after me. Harry, say 'with this ring, I thee wed.'"
Harry's voice, deep with emotion, said strongly, "With this ring, I thee wed." A jet of blue light flew out of Kingsley's wand, and wrapped around the couple's joined hands. Harry's emerald eyes glowed with joy.
Then Ginny's warm voice, in a tone that rang through the massive hall, said "With this ring, I thee wed." This time, it was a jet of white light that came pouring like liquid from Kingsley's wand and joined the couple even more tightly together.
Then, a final jet of golden light issued from Kingsley's wand, this time accompanied by his voice as he said, "By the power vested in me as the Minister of Magic, I now pronounce you man and wife. What God had brought together, let no man tear asunder." The light faded away at his last word, but Harry and Ginny could still feel it there, drawing them in and binding them together. They were one now, forever.
"Harry," said the Minister, his eyes shining like onyx, "you may kiss your bride."
Harry and Ginny's lips met in a kiss that said it all for them. It was hungry, gentle, and yes, loving beyond belief. He didn't hold her captive for long, but his eyes promised his wife more for later. She gripped his arm tightly and answered his unspoken word with promises of her own.
Then the noise of the room broke over them as they returned to themselves. Every single person in the audience had stood to their feet and was cheering loudly, some of the younger members screaming as if they're just sung solos at a rock concert. Harry looked down at his bride and grinned, and then began to lead her back up the aisle. They were followed closely by Ron and Hermione, then the following couples of Luna and Neville, Charlie and Kaedi, Bill and Fleur, and Wren and George.
Outside of the hall, Harry pulled Ginny back into his arms and kissed her soundly again. "I wish they could have seen you," he said softly in Ginny's ear. "I wish my mum and dad and everyone could have seen this day."
"Don't worry, Harry," Ginny replied. "Maybe they did."
Unseen but still close by, the spirits of Harry's loved ones lingered around him as he held his new wife close. "Oh, Harry. Didn't you hear us when we promised in the forest that we would stay with you, until the very end? We're here now, my son. We were there, when you were married your Ginny. I approve, you know. She's a great deal like another special lady I know." James' voice was wracked with emotion as he saw the tenderness with which his grown son held his wife close.
Lily leaned against her husband's arm, as Lupin and Tonks gazed longingly at their son. The group didn't notice, and therefore weren't able to stop, Sirius leaving them to go tie Draco Malfoy's shoelaces together. Fred went to go stand behind his twin, and he looked approvingly at Wren. His face was peaceful.
"Don't worry, my dear," Lily said as tears gently rained down her face. "I think deep down, Harry knows that we were there."
All of the guests, the seen and the unseen, continued out of the castle to celebrate Harry and Ginny's wedding in the warm, autumn light.
A/N: Review, please! All those who review get a cookie and one of Hagrid's critters!