Author's note: A "Cadence" in musical terminology refers to the end of a musical phrase. Musicians will be familiar with a V-I (dominant - tonic) cadence, which is the most satisfying to the listener, as well as the most often used. Occasionally composers will lead into the tonic chord with an inverted tonic in the (6/4) position, which feels to the listener like a continuation of the dominant. After reading Deathly Hallows, I felt as though Jo decided to end her seven-movement symphony with a V-1(6/4) - and then throw in a VI chord as the epilogue, rather than ending on the tonic and adding a coda. To my fellow music geeks, this is my tonic chord. Feel free to wash it down with gin.
Also, on Molly: A reviewer on another site questioned my rather libertine take on her attitudes toward teenage sexuality. My response was and is: "About Mollywobbles: We don't get a whole lot of canonical evidence one way or another about her ideas on pre-marital sex. I've read a bunch of fic where Molly's simply apoplectic at the idea of her children pairing off like this. I took another tack. Figuring that she went to school in the 60s, she'd be a bit more laissez-faire on the subject in general, and especially considering that these children had just saved the world as she knows it."
Hope you all enjoy it. Please consider a review. Thanks! -Christopher
Chapter One: A Proper Cadence
The trio headed to the common room, and suddenly Harry couldn't remember feeling happier in his life. He gingerly placed himself in an armchair by the fireplace in the resplendent peace of the nearly empty room, taking it all in. Here was everything he'd ever dreamed of; finally, no more Dursleys, no more Voldemort. Here there was no saving the world, no worrying that he was in danger of being killed – or worse, expelled – at any moment. In the heart of every man -- even Riddle in his own, twisted way -- there is a fervent desire for peace. And Harry had found peace.
His two best friends in the world, with whom he had conquered Basilisks, Dragons and one of the most powerful wizards the world had ever seen, had found their own peace. A warm smile filled Harry as he watched Ron and Hermione on a couch doing battle with their wills, as through whispered words of affection they allowed the ice dam that held seven years of pent-up longings to melt away -- rather than risk it breaking, drowning their budding romantic relationship. Looking around the room, he saw the regal scarlet and gold Gryffindor banners. He caught the approving eyes of several portraits who, a little more than a year earlier, following his unfortunate absence from an important Quidditch match, had seen him … right about there …
And the warm smile that Harry wore overtook his entire being. However, there was one thing missing from this scene. He visualised, flicked his wand effortlessly, and a resplendent white stag appeared and floated down towards the Great Hall.
"There certainly may be time," Harry thought, "there may be days and months and years. But it had bloody well better start now."
Upon seeing his Patronus breeze through the portrait hole, Harry knew that that had been the right course of action. He was not about to share this moment with anyone else. The stag nuzzled the recipient of its master's message, delivered it, and Ginny got up from the table without a word, but apparently not without notice. The Great Hall stood as one, applauding, hooting and hollering, and generally making a scene. Ginny, blushing, tried to sit back down, but was interrupted by her mother patting her wand.
"Ginevra Weasley, unless you want to be hexed into next week, I suggest you follow that Patronus this instant and tend to that man of yours." The rest of the Weasley clan broke into the kind of cathartic laughter that only grief can bring. Dutifully – and it may have been the only time in her life one could have described her as such – Ginny followed the stag up to the Gryffindor common room.
"He's in there waiting for you, dear," was the greeting she received from the Fat Lady, as the door opened to her whole world.
"Harry!" she exclaimed brightly, and ran over to see for herself that The Boy Who Lived had really, truly done so again.
"Harry, I – Oh my … When did this happen?" She stopped to look at her brother and her best friend, fingers entwined, talking in whispers about nothing at all, punctuated by soft kisses.
"About the time you'd expect. Right as the battle was starting!" He delivered that last line sharply, and straight to the new-formed pair. Ron's face blossomed into a cheeky grin that Hermione quickly kissed off him.
Ginny seated herself gently onto Harry's lap. She kissed the scar on his forehead, then his lips, then his cheeks, and then his eyes, which were by this point moist with tears, not unlike her own.
"Harry, you brave, sweet, kind, brain-addled git," she said through her tears. "Were I in my right mind at present, I would – "
"Ginny," Harry cut her off, "please yell at me. Please rant and rave and send me your worst Bat-Bogey Hex ever. But I'd appreciate it if you could hex me into next week tomorrow. I'm exhausted and simply need you near me right now I think more than I've ever needed anything in my life."
Ginny's anger, what little there was mingled in with grief, happiness, relief and her own exhaustion, melted away at this plaintive request. She understood. She, too, for the first time in a year, had found peace.
Ginny and Harry remained wordless, soaking in each other's presence, each other's smells, and the salve of each other's love – so missed in their year apart. They had sat together on that chair for about twenty minutes when the door to the common room opened. Molly Weasley breezed through the door as easily and comfortably as if she were still Molly Prewett. A wry smile came upon her as she saw Ron and Hermione, whose lips had finally found each other in a proper snog.
"About bloody time," she said, and her smile broadened into quiet laughter as she saw her son and his girlfriend nearly jump out of their skin.
"Mum, I … We … It isn't what it looks like!" Ron sputtered.
"Hermione, dear," answered Molly, disregarding her son completely, "why don't you take Ronald up to your room? You may enjoy a bit of privacy, as it seems your lips have finally followed where your hearts have been for years."
"But, Mrs Weasley, the klaxon. Ron can't just waltz up to the girls' dormitory, " Hermione countered.
"Honestly, dear, did none of the girls tell you? A simple levitation charm is all you need. Tsk! What has happened to Gryffindor sisterhood in thirty years?" Molly shook her head, chuckling.
Hermione beamed, ran over and hugged Molly tenderly, planting a kiss on her cheek. She then grabbed Ron by the hand and led him to the girls' staircase.
'Indeed,' thought Molly, as she watched them ascend to the landing. She then turned to Ginny, who was curled up on the sleeping Harry's lap.
"How is he, dear? And how are you?"
"Getting the first decent sleep he's had in ages, Mum. As for me, I honestly haven't a clue about how I'm feeling."
Molly approached her daughter, tenderly stroking her ginger fringe. "Feeling about …?"
"Feeling about any of this. Fred's gone, so are Tonks and Lupin," she answered matter-of-factly. "I've seen several of my classmates die today, and I don't know whether to cry or scream or throw something. I just know that the most useful thing I can do is to be here with Harry. And so, right now, that's what I'm going to do."
"Right. Well then, dear, help me get him to his room. Up you go, lad." And the two most important women in Harry's life lifted him by his arms and led him to the dorm that he, Ron, Dean, Seamus and Neville had shared for so long.
"Help him out of those robes, dear, and put him to bed," said Molly, matter-of-factly. "And don't you dare leave his side until he's well and rested. It'll be better medicine for both of you than Mungo Bonham himself could prescribe." With that she turned and went back down to the Great Hall.
Her husband, Arthur, was waiting for her at the Gryffindor table.
"How are the children?" he asked, rising to greet her with a kiss.
"Did you know that none of the older girls ever taught Hermione that levitation trick to bypass the klaxon? Poor Ronald looked a bit gobsmacked when I shared that titbit with her, mind you."
"About bloody time," said Arthur, and Molly nodded in agreement.
"Quite. And I sent Ginny and Harry to bed as well." And she proceeded to tell her husband everything.
It was several hours later that Harry awoke to find himself in bed, undressed, and wrapped up in the similarly clad Ginny's arms and luscious red hair. Revelling in this scene for a moment he smiled, until his reverie was interrupted by a faint pop followed by a house-elf's whisper.
"Master Harry, Miss Ginny." It was Kreacher.
"Master Harry, you're awake. There's a banquet about to begin in the Great Hall, Master Harry, and Mistress Minerva asked specifically that you and Miss Ginny attend. It is in honour of the great Harry Potter, so brave he was in avenging Master Regulus and defeating the Dark Lord!"
"Yes, thank you, Kreacher," Harry replied, and began looking for his robes.
"Oh, Master Harry. Kreacher has already washed your robes and placed them at the foot of your bed. And yours, too, Miss Ginny." Ginny herself had stirred awake.
"Thank you very much, Kreacher," she said. "That was very kind of you, you didn't have to do that."
"Oh, Kreacher is proud to serve the brave witch who faced down nasty Mistress Bellatrix. Proud indeed is Kreacher. We will expect you shortly then, Master Harry?"
"Yes, of course. Please tell Professor McGonagall that we will be down in a moment. Are Ron and Hermione there already?"
"Yes, Master Harry," replied Kreacher, "Mistress Hermione and Master Ron are waiting for you at the head table." And with another faint pop, Kreacher left to deliver his message.
"What in the name of Merlin's fuzzy pink slippers happened to him?" asked Ginny, quite incredulous at seeing a much different elf than the one she had met at 12 Grimmauld Place.
"Hermione, actually. She convinced me that by being kind to Kreacher, he'd come around. And come around he has," Harry replied, quite pleased. The young couple got out of bed, and fumbled around a bit before one of them found a lamp.
"They're going to want you to give a speech, Harry," said Ginny, who had begun to get into her freshly laundered robes.
"Yes, I imagine they will. They're going to be quite a bit of that for the next few weeks I reckon." There was a moment's pause. Then Harry continued.
"Yes, love?" Harry grinned at hearing her call him 'love'.
"It's going to be pretty hectic for us for the next little while." Ginny lit up when he said the word 'us'. "People are going to want to pull me here and there. I'm going to be asked to functions and appearances. Folks all over Britain are going to want a piece of The Boy Who Lived Yet Again, and I'm really going to have to give that to them. They're going to try to push you out of the way, and – "
"Harry, I'd love to see them try." And Ginny patted her wand and flashed the wickedest grin Harry had ever seen on a Gryffindor. "I'm not leaving your side, Harry, it's as simple as that. And anyone that asks me to, from you to Ron to Rita sodding Skeeter, is going to find themselves with a face full of Bat Bogeys."
Harry returned his her smile, knowing that an army of Aurors couldn't provide as good a protection as his beloved Ginny.