A/N: HI THERE! Actually had this done just before Christmas then forgot to take the sandisk it was stored on so I could load it that week. So here I am in a New Year wrapping up NOTR. What happened? No drama, nothing exciting. I just couldn't find a way to end it. Writer's block. Tossed 2 different chapters. Wrote about half of this one, liked it and got stuck again. But, finished now. And pleasantly, my muse hasn't yet gone AWOL again.
56 – The Beginning
September 1, 1998
Across much of the planet, children either had their first day of school, were currently attending, or soon would be. In Britain while Muggle kids completed their day, Magicals had slipped onto Platform 9 3/4, boarded the train and journeyed north.
Remus Lupin was now comfortably settled in as Keeper of Keys and Grounds at Hogwarts. For the second time in his job, he brought new First Years to the Deputy Headmistress. Professor Sinestra who was Head of Slytherin House now held the post.
"Welcome to another year at Hogwarts." Headmistress McGonagall said, after the First Years were Sorted. "To those returning, there are a number of changes. The first item I wish to address does go to the heart of other changes. First Years, please pay close attention. Especially those new to our world. You may already have heard the term Muggleborn. This describes a first generation witch or wizard in exactly the same way you might describe Mr. Thomas of Gryffindor House as a young black man. There is a highly insulting way to describe a first generation witch or wizard. The word is Mudblood."
What little noise in the Great Hall there was ended abruptly.
"That is the last time that word will be uttered in this school." McGonagall said into the deafening silence "Discipline for use of it escalates very quickly. From a week of detention for a first offense to loss of ALL ACCUMULATED House Points as a final warning to a repeat offender. To, ultimately, expulsion. My message is simple. If you want to remain in this school, do not use the word. Am I understood?"
Silence with a scattered array of nods met her.
"Your Heads will be distributing rules and regulations along with documents to be owled to your parents." The Headmistress continued "My next comment is regarding Houses. We encourage inter-House competition, such as with Quidditch. However, no House is inherently good or inherently evil. In Magical History you will learn of past members of all four Houses who were saints or monsters. This was part of my reason for naming Professor Sinestra to the Deputy Headmistress post. To ensure fairness, a new Board has been appointed to oversee the school. As before, it contains twelve members. However, now each house has equal representation. And, unlike before, they will be seen here."
"Next, Professor Bones has opted to take a position with Kinnison Butterbeer. We wish her well in her career. Professor Slughorn is returning from retirement as Potions Professor. Please welcome him."
There was some applause. Although, notably, Harry Potter chose that moment to turn his back.
"Another change, due to the passing of Professor Smythe, our Wizarding Government teacher. Please welcome Professor Amelia Black. For our new Muggleborns, Professor Black just this morning resigned as Minister of Magic. I cannot imagine anyone more suited to the role. Professor Weasley, who rejoined the Ministry, is being replaced by Professor Sirius Black in Defense Against the Dark Arts. Last, but not least, Hermione Granger shall be joining the staff as Associate Professor to teach a now mandatory course in Muggle Studies. At such times as she must be in class as a student, the course will be taught by Professor Marrow."
Susan slapped at Harry playfully and teased "No crushing on the professor!"
"HEY!" he protested across the gap between the Tables "She's the hottest Muggle here!"
Susan wasn't a little girl anymore. She didn't blush. Except, every once in a while, he got her.
In response to her glare, Harry crossed his eyes and stuck out his tongue.
Giggling was about as childish as blushing, but nevertheless, she did so.
"Finally" McGonagall continued "the Forbidden Forrest has been renamed the Founders' Forrest thanks to the diplomatic efforts of former Minister Black. The inhabitants, largely Centaurs, have agreed to permit small groups to wander their territory as long as we respect their rights and do no harm. There will be more on this later. Last, in honor of my predecessor Nitwit! Blubber! Oddment! Tweak!"
Quizzical younger students gaped at her, and especially First Years, watched as food magically appeared in front of them. "Is she daft?" one of them asked.
It caused Harry to gag on a mouthful of pumpkin juice.
"Mr. Potter, Miss Bones!" exclaimed Slughorn as he turned the corner.
The couple had been not quite snogging in an alcove in the castle courtyard. Susan subtly shifted herself in Harry's lap and brought her right hand out from its compromising position.
"Wha'd'u want?" Harry demanded, irritably. The withdrawal of her hand from between his legs and the identity of the intruder just plain pissed Harry off.
Jovially, the Potion Professor sat himself in the alcove and patted Harry's shoulder "Mind if I join you?" he asked, after the fact.
"Seems like you already did." Harry gritted out.
Taking that as his opening, Slughorn said "We have had a cycle of classes, my boy. And, I have noticed that you are not among my students. I was quite surprised by that. I heard of your plans to become an Auror. You do know that a NEWT in Potions is mandatory for the Auror Academy."
"I was already sworn in as an Auror to fight in the War." Harry shot back, dismissively "And, even if I wasn't my Order of Merlin gives me automatic admission to the corps. I already had a career session with Professor McGonagall."
Unfazed, Slughorn changed targets "What of you, Miss Bones? Your scores showed every reason to expect you would get at least an Exceeds Expectations."
"Not really interested, Professor." replied Susan. She understood, and even agreed with, Harry's loathing for the man. But she didn't quite share it. "I'm concentrating on politics, maybe law. Potions is a bit risky. Thought I'd get married and have a Quidditch Team."
Harry's hand, which had been gently roaming her back, suddenly stopped and turned to lead. It thumped on the stone shelf so hard that it should have hurt. All he could do was gape at her with a Oh Shit! Expression.
"Well, regardless of that" Slughorn said, warmly "I am restarting my Slug Club, very elite, by invitation only. I do hope you'll come. I'm including you on my list."
Harry gave him a vacant look and inquired "Err… why would we want to sit round with a buncha slugs?"
Susan began to giggle, which quickly turned into a fit that she just couldn't stop.
Harry began to get concerned for her and turned away from the perplexed professor. He didn't know when Slughorn left them. "You alright?" he asked, then adding hesitantly "Err…Sue? Umm … kids?"
"You do want them?" She asked. There was still mirth in her voice. And, truthfully, she'd nearly burst out again. But, she was now very good at Harry mannerisms. "Right, one thing at a time." Susan said calmly, displaying the quite substantial rock that still resided on her right ring finger "This means we're getting married … someday, yes?"
Harry grinned "Still can't believe you fainted."
"Hush." She scolded lightly "Now, never thought I'd end up giving the talk. But, this could be fun. Now children are a result of marriage. Well, not entirely true. You can have children without marriage-"
Harry grew more and more shellshocked as the conversation continued. "And, you want SEVEN!"
"Mostly just wanted to get rid of him." She answered "Figured we'd just work it out for ourselves when the time is right."
He relaxed, saying "Oh…good. Cause being a Dad… well, it scares the hell outta me."
"That, my dear, is the thing that makes me sure you'll do alright." She replied, tenderly.
A week later, Harry and Susan were sitting among Slytherin Second Years in the Great Hall, chatting with her sister, Tina and friend Wendy Weasley. Mail arrived and a white and green school owl dropped an envelope on Susan's Advanced Wizarding Government book. She glanced at it and passed it over "Addressed to you Harry." And went back to her orange.
HARRY JAMES POTTER
It proclaimed boldly. He used his knife as an opener. He frowned at the smiling image of the Potions Professor.
"You! Harry James Potter! And a guest! Are cordially invited to the inaugural meeting of The Slug Club!"
Harry groaned and rubbed his temples "Worse. The bloody thing talks." He complained and tossed it aside "Hey Sue, please tell me you don't want to hang out with Slughorn. Please?"
Thus, the night of the grand occasion, which Harry had never known, was spent variously being henpecked by Hermione to complete homework that was not due for three days. Snogging. Losing two games of chess to Ron. Snogging. Then watching little Wendy Weasley play him to a stalemate. Oh, and did I mention? Snogging!
On a subsequent Saturday, Harry walked into the Great Hall with a nervous Dean Thomas. The scene was rather comical. His fellow Gryffindor was nearly a foot taller and Harry was alternately lecturing him and laughing at him. "Come off it, Dean!" he exclaimed "Rumor has it you're a good looking bloke. Course, I don't see it."
"I'm trying to be serious here, Harry!" he shot back "She's just so beautiful!"
Harry fought with his laughter "First of all, don't be serious with me. Can't have a Godfather younger than me. Then, he'd try to get all Dean with me and *shudder* And my next word of advice is don't tell me that! Tell HER that!"
"What about Neville!" hissed Dean.
Harry shrugged sadly and said "It was six months ago. It's not like she's a widow or something. Now COME ON!" Strictly on physical terms, he could not really have dragged an unwilling Dean anywhere.
Luna Lovegood, the witch in question, was dressed in a bright pink sweatshirt and yellow jeans. On anyone else it would have looked weird. Completing her look was her hair in a ponytail tied together by a flowery cord from which hung her Order of Merlin, Third Class. "Why hello." She said airily.
"Could we join you, Luna?" asked Harry.
She smiled and answered "Of course. We could discuss the Defense League."
"You're not gonna sit, Harry?" asked Dean as he occupied a seat next to her.
Harry slapped his back and said "Nah..gotta see a Unicorn about a skrewt. Err… that is… well see you kids later."
"Filling in for Cupid?" Susan asked in a lightly scornful tone.
He turned, put a hand on her shoulder and pecked her cheek "Kept me up half the night. Luna this! Luna that!" he complained "They'll get together, or some purple pixies from the next plane of existence will feast on his carcass. Either way, my problem's solved."
"Well, now there's a romantic image." She retorted sarcastically.
The Headmistress approached them and said "Might I speak with the two of you privately?" It fell in that range between a request and an order.
"What's he doing here?" Harry asked, disdainful of the presence of the Potions Professor in McGonagall's office.
Slughorn only smiled and said "Harry, my boy! Such a relief! Of course, when you failed to appear last night I reported you missing."
"Huh?" he replied "I was in the Gryffindor Common Room most of the night. And I AM NOT your boy."
Susan confirmed it, equally confused "Except for walking Tina back to Slytherin and me to Hufflepuff. You went back after I turned in?" And Harry grunted in the affirmative.
"The Professor here indicates you were both supposed to be attending a function in his quarters." McGonagall explained.
They shrugged at each other and Susan offered "We're not taking Potions."
"My club!" Slughorn said, eagerly "An opportunity to network among your peers!"
Harry frowned, recalled the invitation "Oh, that." He said "Not interested. Look, Sue said to just avoid you. That's not working. So let's get it all out. I – do – not – want – anything – to – do – with – you!"
"Please explain, Harry." McGonagall requested.
Susan's look only made Harry speak calmly, it didn't slow him down "You were there, when Auror Sharpe brought him in. Remember about the Horcruxes? He taught Riddle how to make them."
"I recall the conversation." Slughorn admitted, "Although I must say, I cannot remember the details-"
Harry interrupted "How to make them. No, you won't. I took what I needed and removed the knowledge. You are not to be trusted. About a dozen people even know what they are. They can't even tell anyone else that. I'm the only one that knows how to make a Horcrux. The book has been destroyed. And I'll never tell."
"Harry, Harry, destroying a boo-" Slughorn scolded.
"Don't waste your breath!" he countered "Already heard it from Hermione."
Susan might not have been able to read Harry's mind without his permission, but to her, he gave everything away in his face, posture and tone of voice. She saw an approaching explosion with more clarity than he himself would have. She curled her arm through his in what appeared to be a simple supportive gesture. What she really hoped was that the Potion Professor wouldn't say anything stupid.
"I am merely interested in helping worthy young people make the right contacts." Slughorn explained.
Harry snorted at that "And feed your own ego."
"A rather cynical evaluation, Mr. Potter." McGonagall chided him "But, as I've said before, I cannot change someone's opinions. At issue here, however, is the admittedly minor disturbance caused by Professor Slughorn expecting your appearance and your absence. I find myself administering a school full of legalized adults and war heroes. None of whom are truly bound by the rules children must follow. And, Harry, like it or not you are the leader, the example. My Professors must have the respect of their students to function."
Harry nodded "And that's exactly why I'm not taking his class. There's nothing I can learn from him, that I can't from Susan's Mum by owlpost. I'll get my NEWT just fine. Sorry, hun, I know that's not tactful. But I'm done."
"Headmistress, I am honestly perplexed by this hostility." Slughorn offered "I am only doing what I have always done. Mr. Potter, young Lily was even a member of my grou-"
That was the mistake Susan had feared. She'd felt the muscles in Harry's arm bunch up and she clamped down hard.
"You ever mention my Mother again!" Harry snarled hatefully.
Slughorn backpedaled in fear and cowered behind an ornamental globe.
"Wait outside, Harry." Susan said quietly, "Please." She bore up under his angry glare. And, when he left addressed the teachers "He expressed it much better to me. Since you're the one that taught Riddle about Horcruxes you're indirectly responsible for his parents' deaths. Though, he's a bit harsher than that. Professor, I mean this, the best thing you can do is leave Harry alone."
McGonagall nodded "Thank you Miss Bones. If you please, head on out, before Harry demolishes the gargoyle." And, after her departure "Horace, consider this an order. You are no longer to solicit the company of either Mr. Potter or Miss Bones."
Other than that, Harry actually had no troubles with his final school year. His class standing was third behind Hermione and Michael Corner of Ravenclaw. His Defense grade was the highest of all time. Not including Harry, Susan finished at the top in Defense. She was tenth overall. They both got Outstanding NEWTs in Potions. A spot in the Auror Corps was offered to both.
"You're gonna get all fat and lazy." Sharpe said, disapprovingly, when Harry turned him down after the graduation ceremony. He went to slap Harry's hat off his head.
Harry caught it effortlessly and taunted "Yeah, and in ten years I might be slow as you. Hey, how's the Mrs?"
"Due to pop any day now."Sharpe replied, proudly "Think we'll buck the trend and avoid the generation of Harrys."
Harry was in full agreement "Poor kids. Imagine, yelling Harry in this place in 2012. Yuck. Anyway, you know I'll be keeping up. Quidditch isn't exactly sitting round doing nothing."
"As you say." The Senior Auror acknowledged, begrudgingly "But, you'll never get another Order of Merlin that way."
Susan came up and pounced on Harry's back from behind "Never you mind, Bobby!" she said gaily "We'll get our exercise."
"Way too much info, Sister Dear!" Frank Bones complained. He came up carrying Tina on his shoulders "But, I guess he'll do. Dad let you make it official yet?"
Harry glanced back at Susan and said "Thought it was automatic. We graduated, right?"
"Oh no you don't, Harry Potter!" she exclaimed, tugging playfully on his hair "I expect dinner, and a proper down on one knee proposal. None of that box in a box in a box shi—stuff—either!"
From her perch, Tina giggled "Suzie said a bad woooord!"
"Yes ma'am." Harry replied in a hen-pecked voice. He straightened, throwing Susan off his back, spun and caught her in the circle of his arms.
A deep male voice coughed "Harrr-ummphh! Now is that any way for the hero of the Wizarding World to be acting?"
"Yessir, oh Godfather, sir!" Harry replied, not bothering to take his eyes off Susan.
Sirius bark-laughed and replied "Good answer! Well, don't hold back. Kiss her!"
"And you always do what your Godfather tells you?" Susan whispered.
Harry nipped at her nose and answered "When he makes sense. Like now."
"EEEWWWWW!" cried Tina, as she covered her eyes.
Neil Bones dug a finger into his youngest daughter's side and said "You've made your old man very happy."
"We did it!" an overjoyed Hermione, at the front of a contingent of friendly Weasleys, yelled. She threw herself into Harry's embrace.
He laughed as they spun around "So, the diploma's more important than the Order of Merlin? Beating Voldemort?"
"You, Harry Potter, are silly!" she exclaimed, her grip threatening to cause his eyeballs to bulge.
Shirley was hugging Susan "I'm so proud of you, lil cuz."
"Lil cuz." Susan grumbled at her, to a round of laughter. Only hair color told bystanders the difference between the pair.
Ron broke away from Eloise and created a Trio-hug with Harry and Hermione.
"Well, oh twin of mine," George said, after the graduates' noise faded. It was just slightly easier to tell them apart, since he was holding hands with Daphne Greengrass. You had to assume she knew the difference. "We can't have these miscreants running round, causing trouble. What say we take them on?"
Fred, who was without accompaniment, replied "Very wise oh handsome one. Can't have them causing trouble OUTSIDE our store. Bad for business! Entry level, I would think. Start them in the backroom. Cashier in maybe six months."
"Yes money is terribly tight." Harry drawled out. To which they all laughed. Financing the use of Muggle weaponry at Hogwarts, supplying food during the siege and paying bounties on Death Eaters had reduced Harry from obscenely rich to merely filthy rich. Yes, much of his cash had been spent. But Amelia had repaid some out of Ministry coffers and he held a one-quarter interest in one of the most profitable businesses in Wizarding Britain.
"Although, I don't think they'd get any work done in the back room together." Sirius commented with a leer.
Amelia belted him in the stomach. "Behave or you'll sleep in the doghouse tonight!"
"Ruff ruff!" Sirius countered, innocently.
Remus offered "Well, you could sleep on the roof, I imagine. Change your name from Padfoot to Snoopy. Don't worry Arthur, it's a Muggle reference, I'll be only too happy to explain."
"Looking forward to it." He replied "Well, I imagine you'll be partying quite a bit. I'll leave you to it."
Harry said "If you want to join us-"
"I know you mean that kindly, Harry." He interrupted "But, we all know that's not happening. And why. All I ask is Ron, Fred, George remember the International Portkey is set for 4AM. We are very proud of you, Ronald." Arthur patted him on the cheek affectionately and caught up with Molly and Percy.
The mood was dampened by everyone remembering that some things would forever divide them.
"If it wasn't for that Mudblood, Bill and Charlie could have been here!" Percy complained.
Without making a scene, Arthur spoke harshly to his middle son "I happen to endorse Professor McGonagall's policy on that word Percival. You will not use it in my company."
A week later, Susan got her 'proper proposal' Everyone, except, apparently, Harry was fully aware she would say yes. Those eight seconds between his asking and her acceptance felt like eight years.
Dates were tossed about. The couple wanted their own special date. Nothing connected with the war, either victories like Voldemort's fall, or Snape's capture. Or the tragedies, like the attack on the Granger home, or Hagrid's murder. Considerations like that closed off a lot of the calendar. Ultimately, one outside factor came into play. Frank's wife, Paula, was pregnant and due at the end of April. "Right, go back a month." Joan Bones decided "Then, add two weeks for safety sake. February 17."
"Yes, she's invited." It fell to Harry to have a couple of unpleasant conversations, about the same person. "Ron, Arthur, it would be rude not to invite my Best Man's Mother. But, seriously, warn her not to disrupt anything. The ceremony, the reception. And I won't let her get away with insulting anyone there either."
The Weasley men looked at each other then Ron asked "You mean you'd really throw her out?"
"Me, personally?" Harry replied "No. I'm the groom. But, I'd give the job to someone who'd enjoy it. Like Bob Sharpe or my new Brother-in-Law. They could both do it without hurting her, much. Except her ego."
There was no mistaking his position "We understand, Harry." Arthur replied.
"Thanks. And there's one other thing." The groom-to-be said "That Switzerland meeting didn't go well. And Fleur has already accepted. She was pretty blunt about it, too. She's glad she won't be seeing Bill. She's fine with the rest of you. Even thought Percy was great with the baby. 'We are coming to celebrate Harry's wedding, not discuss what William thinks are his rights.' Those were her words."
Arthur sighed "To say that Molly will be displeased is an understatement, Harry. But it is your wedding. I wish I could give my word nothing will happen. The best I can do is promise I'll do everything I can. Any opportunity to see my granddaughter is welcome. I hear Amelia is performing the ceremony. That must be an interesting story."
"Thought you knew." Harry was rather surprised "I mean you were Vice Minister."
Arthur chuckled "Under very unusual conditions, Harry."
"Well, interesting loophole, the Speaker of the Wizengamot doesn't actually have to be a member." He explained "So, for one day, a Saturday when its not even in session, they agreed to allow her the post just so she could. She already resigned effective Sunday at 1AM."
Arthur shook his head "She's really something. I swear, she had a lock on power that was complete. Even I have a tough time understanding what she did."
"That's exactly why she did it." Harry countered "If not, she would've gone the way of Fudge, or Voldemort. Or someone else would've gone that route to oppose her. Besides, with all the times I keep feeling silencing wards, I'm pretty sure her main objective is to continue the House of Black."
Ron shuddered "Not an image I need, mate."
"Me either." He quipped "It's why I moved to the far end of the hall and asked Dobby to start on Potter Mansion. Gotta think of my own House. Sue mentioned starting a Quidditch team."
Ron paled and complained "You did that on purpose."
"Yep!" Harry said with a laugh. "Or should I ask about your sex life?"
Ron grinned for an instant. But, Arthur's stern look silenced him.
"Well, Harry, I appreciate your candor. And your discretion and patience with this. I can well understand your position." Arthur said, offering his hand. "Looking back, I wish so many things had been different. And, I think the key moment had been no one listening to you when you commented that Ginny had been acting odd. We were so busy quarreling with each other, that perhaps, right then, we missed a chance to uncover Finnegan's slipping her potions. I think I would like to be living in that world, instead."
Having no real answer to that, Harry just returned the handshake. "See ya, tomorrow night, Mate?"
"Got the cake for the bachelor party, myself." said Ron "Fred's taking care of the witch that'll pop out."
Harry reddened and mumbled "Yeah, sure, later." His eye flickered to one corner of the room. He then escorted the Weasley pair out.
".., that was most enlightening." Susan drawled out as her head appeared, floating in mid-air. "Perhaps I should be there, too. Moral support and all that jazz."
Harry stood up to it bravely and countered "It would be different from the hen party, how? Besides, you're the only one I want to see naked."
"Well, take twenty points for Gryffindor, Mr. Potter." She joked, then more seriously "You didn't tell them about the French Aurors."
Harry put his arms around her invisible body and answered "As long as no one …Molly, that is…. does nothing stupid they won't even reveal themselves. A couple of waiters, a guest at Fleur's table. If she ruins our night, she deserves what she gets."
"In that same mode, Tina has the seating done." Susan said. She guided Harry to the couch he'd been sitting in and still wrapped in the invisibility cloak, straddled him.
Harry groaned "Do I wanna know?"
"Of course, Ron's at the Head Table as part of the wedding party." She explained "The rest of the Weasleys, and Midgin, are seated with Dean and Luna. Tables on each side are stocked with Wighters."
Harry grinned "Your neighbors? Clearly, the Hat knew what it was talking about Sorting her."
"They know exactly who they're sitting near. Won't say a single thing, if she gets mouthy. Just get up to use the loo or something, and run into Sirius, Mum, Dad, one of us." She explained.
Harry was impressed "Sneaky."
"And, speaking -eep!- of -ooh!-" her sentence kept getting interrupted "Harrieeeee! What is that hand doing?"
He offered a nonchalant shrug and replied "Can't tell ya. All I can see is your quite lovely face."
February 20, 1999 was a rather chilly day in London. Too cold to hold a wedding outside. The date changed slightly from Joan's decision, as the 17th fell on a Wednesday. All things considered, Harry was quite pleased by how it worked out. An outside wedding would have been intruded upon by any number of the Wizarding World's version of the paparazzi. As it was, the location, inside the Ministry, gave near absolute control over who could get in.
"You know, The Daily Prophet is going to rant and rave about censorship and other nonsense." Amelia whispered, wearing her political smile.
Harry only shrugged "I think the Centaurs have found a great use for The Daily Prophet and its reporters. The only ones I trust are Luna and her Dad."
"I know you didn't send invitations with any goal in mind, but you could not have done a better job of pushing good relations than if by deliberate intent." Amelia praised.
Physical reality meant that Centaurs had to have their own area. And that the generally shorter House Elves and Goblins had special seating as well. But, here, Harry was openly endorsing the policies Amelia began during her short administration. And that the new Minister was rather dragging her feet on.
"Had to ORDER Dobby to behave like a guest." He joked. Then, as far as he was concerned, the entire assemblage simply vanished.
Susan moved gracefully down the aisle in a white dress that clung to her figure. Her father flipped up her veil, embraced her, and kissed her lingeringly on the cheek.
Harry felt a flash of jealousy, then chided himself for it. He knew he answered all the questions correctly, but he barely heard them. The majority of his brain never took its attention off Susan's face.
"Are you going to kiss me? Or stare at me?" Susan asked, half-sarcastically.
He stroked her bare neck and gently lifted her chin. He kissed her softly. "I was trying to figure out how to do both."
"Corny, Harry, very corny." She complained, mildly "And that is not the wedding kiss I imagined." Then she pulled him down into a much deeper kiss. To which Harry eagerly responded.
On the front steps of the Ministry, the slayer of He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named and his bride consented to be photographed by the general media and to answer a few questions. "Of course" Harry announced "The Quibbler will run pictures of the actual ceremony as they consented to supply a photographer for the occasion."
"Why choose the Leaky Cauldron for your reception?" one reporter called out. "After all it is owned by-"
Harry cut the wizard off "A decent hard-working man whose only flaw is sharing a first name with an evil bastard. A dead evil bastard, at that." He offered a hand to his new wife and led her to the reception.
Hours later, Susan had been sleeping quite peacefully. An itch brought her partially awake. She scratched between her legs, swatted at the annoyance and allowed her consciousness to fade. Some timeless period later, she had no choice but to open her eyes "You, Harry, are totally breast-obsessed." She commented and laughed while his tongue circled her nipple.
"Good morning, Mrs. Potter." He finally said.
She pushed him onto his back and rolled on top of him "Now we did talk about this." She said "Long time ago. Seems like a lifetime. On the train. Good morning, Mr. Bones."
"Haha…" Harry chuckled as his hands slid down her sides, to finally rest on her rear.
Susan pushed herself up, allowing her hair to splay across his face before sitting up and settling back on her knees. "Well rested, are we?" she asked, playfully "How many times was it last night?"
"Twenty." He answered with a quirk "But twelve were your fault."
Susan threw her head back and laughed loudly "Oh…riiiight…I'm the wanton one! Wonder how long the reception went on after we left."
"Everyone had a good time." He agreed "Little Victoire Delacour was a hit."
She frowned a bit "It's a little hard…looking at her…considering."
Harry felt a twinge of annoyance that was driven by Ginny memories. Aloud, he offered "Like I said, you can think of her as Fleur's daughter, if it helps. Forget about the father."
She gave a mostly convinced nod and replied "Guess the best thing was that She didn't show up."
"There are better things to talk about… and dooooo" he drawled out, dragging his fingers up and down her legs "Than Molly Weasley."
Susan shivered pleasurably, her head lolled on her shoulders and her eyes rolled back. Abruptly, though, she grabbed his hands, clasped them together and trapped them between their bodies. "I almost forgot!" she exclaimed "A wedding present!"
"You don't have to-" he replied.
Susan gave an impatient sigh, cutting him off. She pulled the thoroughly wrinkled blanket over her shoulders and called out "DOBBY!"
pop "Yes, Mistress." The elf said quietly and with a respectful bow.
Susan looked over her shoulder and requested "Two things, please, Dobby. I left some papers in my robes, dated about a week ago. Could you bring them to the kitchen? And second, I'm not sure about Mr. Bones, here, but I'm hungry. Bacon, Eggs, Toast, Tea. Say twenty minutes."
"Yes, Mistress." The elf replied pop
Harry grinned up at her and commented "Much less excitable, these days."
"Don't change the subject." She scolded, lightly "Now, we were talking about a wedding present from me to you. And you're not supposed to argue. The proper response is Thank you, dear."
Lying on the bed, looking up at her, mock-scowl, Harry shrugged, pitched his voice as close to hers as he could manage and replied "Thank you, dear."
"Right. All joking aside.." she began, in a heartfelt tone "…In all of our talks, what is one of the most important things you've ever told me? That you missed out on? That you always wanted?"
He looked somewhat quizzical, but took one of her hands and pressed it to his lips. He never used his mind to read hers. Susan hadn't cared for it the few times they'd experimented. But, his abilities did give him a much deeper understanding than normal. Rather like a husband of twenty years knowing his wife's moods. Matching her tone he replied "A sense of family, of belonging that I never knew before Hogwarts. And even more, I have a brother and sister, and parents. They just happen to be named Bones."
"That was beautiful." Susan choked out. She leaned down and kissed him. Which led to several minutes of kissing and snuggling. A bit reluctantly, she pushed herself back up and said "While quite fun, you are distracting me from the main point."
With a mix of playfulness and seriousness, he replied "Sorry, forgot. Please, I'm sure I'll love whatever you got me."
"Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't precisely get you something, per se." she said.
Harry's confusion was summed up in a monosyllable "Huh?"
".ll…" Susan continued, vaguely "you know how I didn't exactly qualify to wear ALL white yesterday?"
He didn't bother trying to keep the smirk off his face "Don't count" he quipped "we knew we were getting married."
"And I won't tell my big brother, either." She shot back "I assume you remember the opening of the second Wheezey store."
"And, possibly, me …err … sleeping over that night?"
He raked her bare chest with his eyes and waggled his eyebrows. "Don't remember much sleeping."
She bent over a bit and slapped his belly with the back of a hand "Yes…well…in the process of not sleeping we rather forgot something. Certainly there's no fault involved. But it does take two. Unfortunately, I won't be able to give you the present for about six months."
Harry began to catch on about half-way through the speech, so over her last couple words he yelled "YOU'RE PREGNANT!" And fainted.
"Giant snakes, no problem" Susan observed, giggling "Army of evil wizards, don't break a sweat. Dark Lord after your hide, big deal. Minor thing like a baby and he's down for the count. OH Dobby! Heating charms on the breakfast please!"