Title: Now and Forever
Spoilers: PS/SS, CoS, PoA, GoF, OotP, The Refiner's Fire, The Time of Destinuy, Beginnings. Written between Order of the Phoenix and Half-blood Prince.
Characters: Harry, Ginny, Ron, Hermione
Ships: H/G, R/Hr, RL/Tonks
Summary: The family dinner – and the end of this story.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended.
Author Notes: This is the last chapter of "Now and Forever" - I hope you've enjoyed it! Many thanks to my brilliant Brit-picker, Kelpie, and my fabulous betas, Alexander, Asad, Iris and Rich! Thanks too to Mark Anders Harrison for help with a Latin incantation, and Mike McKean for his help with a sports question!
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West Alexandria OH 45381
Two nights later, Harry and Ginny stood in their doorway, watching their guests arrive. The twins were the first to Apparate to the path in front of the house. They approached the door with twin grins.
"What have you done to yourselves?" Fred said in mock horror when he looked at them more closely. "Is there a hex on you, or a pox or what?"
"It's called a suntan, you great prat!" Ginny said, pulling her tall brothers into a group hug.
"Where do you buy those? We could market them as a great prank! Imagine, a redhead waking up with dark skin one day. What a horrible shock!" George said, holding his sister at arm's length and studying her face.
She shook her head and laughed. "It's not horrible at all!" she said, shooing her brothers inside as Remus and Tonks arrived with baby Matthew in Tonks's arms.
"Look at you!" Harry said, kissing Matthew as he hugged Tonks. "You've grown so much since I saw you last!"
"Babies have a way of doing that," Tonks said. "And you! You look so well-rested! And the tan suits you, Harry! Where did you go?"
"We'll tell everyone at the same time, all right? Come on in."
Molly, Arthur, Ron, Hermione and Dumbledore arrived in quick succession. Molly gasped when she saw the colour of her daughter's skin. "What happened?"
"It's a suntan, Mum, don't worry. It will fade soon," Ginny said as she led her parents inside.
"Ah, Harry," Dumbledore said. "I see your holiday agreed with you."
Harry beamed. "Yes, it did."
"Wonderful. I want to hear all about it!"
"At dinner, OK?" Harry said as he closed the door behind his grandfather.
When everyone moved into the dining room, Harry hesitated. It was his house. He should sit at the head of the table! But there were three older men here, any one of whom deserved the seat at the head of the table. And if he sat in that chair, Ginny would wind up at the far end of the table away from him. He didn't want that. He looked at her in confusion.
"Come on, love," she said, taking his hand and leading him to the head of the table. She sat down in the chair to his right, which made him smile. She leaned toward him and murmured, "I didn't want to sit at the far end away from you."
She hasn't learned Legilimency, has she? He gave her a grin as he sat down.
"And no, I can't read your mind, but I can read your eyes," she said with smug satisfaction. "I was right, wasn't I?"
He smiled and said with great deliberation, "Yes, dear."
She giggled. "Oh, well said!"
Fred groaned. "George, did you hear that? The hero of the wizarding world has surrendered to our sister!"
George started to make some cheeky remark, but held his hands up in surrender when Ginny turned to him with an eyebrow raised, almost daring him to say something rude. He cleared his throat. "Better her than someone else."
"True," Fred agreed. "Ron, pass the potatoes?"
Food was soon being passed around the heavily-laden table. Bits were tossed to Hedwig, who was perched on the back of Harry's chair, and Ginny's cat, Trouble, who prowled under the table from person to person, rubbing against their legs until he was given some little treat, which he always accepted with great delicacy. Merlin sat on his perch observing everything, but taking scraps from the table didn't interest him.
"So where did you go?" Hermione had an eager light in her eyes. "You said you'd tell us over dinner."
"We went to Maui," Harry said, sharing a grin with his wife.
Molly frowned in confusion. "Maui? Where's that?"
"That's in the middle of the Pacific!" Arthur said at the same time. "However did you get there?"
"It's one of the Hawaiian Islands, Mum," Ginny explained, "and Harry flashed us there."
"I didn't know a phoenix could flash that far," Hermione said, looking at Harry in wonder.
"He was exhausted. He collapsed when we got there," Ginny said. "Scared me half to death!"
"And she kept refusing to look round to see where we were," Harry said, grinning at his wife. "She was so worried about me, bless her."
"I didn't want my shiny new husband to be damaged just hours after we were married!" Ginny patted his hand. "But he was fine," she told the others. "He just needed to catch his breath."
"Why Maui?" Hermione said. "What's it like?"
"We went to Maui because nobody there had any idea who I was," Harry said.
"Except for that one bloke," Ginny corrected.
Harry grinned at his wife. "Yeah, well, he didn't bother us long."
"What happened?" Remus said, leaning forward to see them better.
As Harry told them about the man who'd recognized them and taken their pictures, he got up and retrieved a fat envelope from the sideboard. "The only good thing about that was that he got a lot of nice pictures of us." He passed the photos around. "I'm going to ask Trent or Colin if they know how to make them move, but even if they can't do that, they're nice pictures."
As the family ate dinner and looked at the photos, Harry relaxed, enjoying both the food and the company immensely. Ginny had taken up the story of their trip, telling the family all about the sights they'd seen and the adventures they'd had there. When he'd finished eating, Harry passed around the pictures he and Ginny had taken as she continued talking about their trail ride, snorkelling, the whales. Eventually, she got around to talking about the things they'd seen in the shops, which was Dobby's cue to bring in the gifts Harry and Ginny had brought for the family.
"Thanks, Dobby," Harry said, taking the packages from the elf. He handed half the stack to Ginny to distribute. "We knew it might be a long time before you lot got to Hawaii, so we brought a sampling of the islands to you."
Fred and George held the matching t-shirts Harry had handed them and looked at the pictures on the front. "Erm, Harry? You want to explain this, mate?" Fred said, frowning at the strange image.
Harry and Ginny looked at each other and laughed. "The state fish of Hawaii has a long, complicated name. This fish, with all his Muggle name badges, is showing how his name is pronounced." He looked at Ginny again and together they said, "Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apu-a-a," which made everyone laugh.
Fred and George looked at each other and grinned, then pulled the shirts on over their robes. They stood up and read aloud, "Humu-humu-nuku-nuku-apu-a-a" over and over until the rhythm of the word started them dancing, their hands above their heads, silly grins on their faces.
"I knew they'd like those," Harry said with satisfaction.
"What's this, Ginny?" Molly said as she, Hermione and Tonks each unfolded lengths of beautiful cloth. Each was a different colour, but all had patterns of gorgeous flowers or brilliantly-coloured parrots.
"These are sarongs. You can use them when you're at the beach, or when you get out of the shower, or wear them around the house on hot days," Ginny said, pulling hers out of a nearby drawer and demonstrating several ways of tying it around her body. "Or you can just use it as a decoration if you want. We knew Hawaiian clothing wouldn't be something you'd wear often here in England, but they were just so beautiful . . ."
"I love it!" Tonks said, wrapping hers around herself and tying it awkwardly over one shoulder.
Ginny laughed. "If you tie it like that, you won't be covered at all. Let me show you."
"It's beautiful!" Hermione, of course, had tied her sarong successfully on the first try.
Ron looked her up and down and grinned. "Yeah, you can wear that around the house, but nowhere else!"
"Ha-ha," Hermione said, walking around with her hips swaying, enjoying the swing of the gorgeous fabric.
Ron's eyes widened. "Hermione, if you wear that someplace else—"
She glanced at him over her shoulder and giggled. "I'll just wear this for you, love."
Ron relaxed visibly. "Oh. OK."
Remus and Dumbledore were given packages of Kona coffee, along with the warning that it was much stronger than what they were used to. Dumbledore was also given a silly hat with an embroidered image of a man with a long white beard sunning himself on the beach.
"I thought you might like the inspiration," Harry said as he handed the hat to his grandfather.
Dumbledore studied the old man on the hat and chuckled. "He seems to be having quite a nice time. Thank you, Harry!" He put the hat on his head and beamed. "A perfect fit."
Harry handed Tonks a little t-shirt for Matthew that said, "My brother went to Maui and all I got was this t-shirt!" Tonks smiled and gave it to Matthew, who hugged it, then started waving it around.
"He likes it!" Tonks said.
Harry smiled and took his seat again while Ginny showed the family how the Hawaiians dance.
"Harry can do the men's dance!" Ginny said suddenly. "C'mon, Harry, show them!"
"I'm no good at it, Gin," he protested. "It looks silly!"
"And your problem with that is . . .?" Ron's eyebrow quirked up in a teasing expression.
Harry sighed. "OK. You just do this." He stood up and bent his knees, then did the knee snaps and hand motions he could remember, jumped to do a quarter-turn and repeated the motions. Fred, George and Ron mimicked him, laughing hard the whole time.
"Harry, you rock!" Tonks said, her hair flaring to a brilliant shade of turquoise to match the sarong draped around her shoulders.
"It's a fun dance to do," Harry admitted. "Shall I teach it to Matthew?"
Tonks laughed. "He already knows the bouncing-on-bent-knees part of that dance," she said, offering the baby to Harry.
"C'mon, little bro, let's work on it." Harry took Matthew in his arms and sat down, then held the baby's hands and pulled him to his feet. Matthew laughed and cooed as Harry held him in strong, gentle hands while the baby "danced" in Harry's lap. When Matthew finally grew tired of dancing, everyone applauded.
Harry cuddled his little brother and watched his wife, her hips still swaying in a lovely hula as she taught Hermione, Tonks and Molly the dance. Harry glanced around the table at the rest of his family. His family. He smiled. He was married to the love of his life. The war was over and he was finally beginning to recover from it. And he had a big, rowdy, loving family. Harry Potter was a happy man at last.
AN: For those who pay attention to time lines, I messed up in Epilogue 2 of "The Time of Destiny" when I said Matt Lupin was Head Boy. He's only four or five years older than Jamie and Siri Potter, so he'd be a Prefect when they arrived at Hogwarts, not Head Boy. I never was good with numbers. sigh And the date I picked for Harry and Ginny's wedding is the right day of the week (and of the Easter holidays) for the year 1999, when this stuff would have happened according to the time lines of canon. All the factual-sounding information about Maui is true. I based Harry and Ginny's honeymoon "tourist activities" on things my husband and I did on vacation in Maui in 2007. I hope you enjoyed this story! Thanks for your reviews! And be sure to look for "Star Sons – Dawn of the Two" on and B&, and watch for its sequel sometime in early 2009!