Harry Potter is the property of JK Rowling
A/N And now with mixed emotions (Sad to see it end, happy I've finished another good one!) I bring you the final chapter of Fred's Gift (Drum Roll please!) Enjoy...its a long one!
See Notes at the end :)
This chapter is dedicated to the memory of those who lost their lives on September 11th, 2001
Luna stared at the high stone walls of the clock tower and gave her tie a nervous tug. It was strange being back in her Hogwarts robes, she hadn't so much as looked at them since taking them off for the last time the previous September when she had been moved into the hospital wing. She'd been so angry then about being quarantined away from the others she'd tossed them in her trunk and buried them away deep. She hadn't even considered wearing them when she had taken her mid terms, there was no way they would have fit then…she'd known without trying…but when the letter had come informing her of the date and time for her N.E.W.T.S she had felt the situation called for one last wearing of her robes. It was her way of declaring herself, of showing everyone…particularly professor Slughorn…that she had every right to be there. She was after all, despite all she had been through since leaving school, still in the top five percent of her class.
"Nervous?" George asked, sliding his arms around her from behind.
"Some." Luna tried to smile but bit her lip instead. She hated keeping secrets from George, and this was no small secret. Since returning from Shell Cottage she had seen healer Bryton and her pregnancy had been confirmed. She was due around Christmas. But how was she to tell George? After all that had happened…how could she tell him that she was already pregnant again when the idea of it had nearly broken them apart? She had tried several times but always her tongue seemed to glue itself to the roof of her mouth and she ended up standing there like an idiot with her mouth hanging open. It was no easy secret to keep. She was just as sick now as she had been in the early months with Hope and if not for an ironic twist that she still had a tin of the herbs that Verity had gotten for her and that they stayed fresh for a year, she would have been found out by now.
Something had to give, and it had to give soon. She promised herself, after her N.E.W.T.s, after the hearing with the Winzengamot. Then she would tell him.
"There's nothing to be nervous about." He turned her around and Luna put her hands on his shoulders. Hope rested between them in her baby carrier and she kissed her bright red curls. "A few hours and this will all be behind you."
"You're right." Luna looked up and smiled. It was hard to be afraid of anything when looking up into her husband's eyes…until she caught the sound of whispering behind her. But Luna had come too far, survived too much to let them get to her again. She was proud of her daughter; proud of the fact that she had bore the child of Fred Weasley…so let them whisper all they wanted.
"Miss Lovegood." Headmaster McGonagall's sharp voice sliced through the faint din and the whispers broke off abruptly as she broke through the crowd at the bottom of the clock tower and stood behind George and Luna. She shook her head and smiled at them. "Forgive me…its Mrs. Weasley now isn't it."
"Yes Ma'am." Luna let go of George and turned around. "Since January."
"I had heard." She held her hand out to George "Such wonderful news. And this will be little Hope."
George's mouth fell open at the transformation in Headmaster McGonagall. Her face had gone all soft, her eyes were moist and he had never seen her smile like that. Her hands lifted as if she had no control over them and then she dropped them back to her sides.
"Would you like to hold her?" Luna smiled and turned back to George to pull Hope from her carrier.
"Yes…if it wouldn't be too much trouble." A giggled went up from the crowd and the stiff and stern face returned. "But, perhaps in my office Mr. Weasley? Luna, you will be late."
"Oh, right." Luna let Hope slide back into her carrier and then kissed the top of her head again. "Be good for daddy and Headmaster McGonagall sweetie."
Luna gave George a last nervous look, he bent down and gave her a brief kiss before she turned away and went into the school. The crowd of students parted, making a path for her. Luna held her head up and smiled serenely at them as she passed. What were they to her after all; after today she would likely never see them again so what did they matter? She stopped at the bottom of the stairs and turned back to George, and then she winked and began her final climb up the twisting Hogwarts stair cases.
Headmaster McGonagall couldn't miss the gleam in George Weasley eyes as he watched Luna walk away. She turned back to him with a smile.
"Mr. Weasley, follow me please." She turned again, the slight flick of her fingers reminding George of all the times she had done that to him and Fred. The memory was bittersweet, filled with wonderful memories of all the years spent inside the Hogwarts castle walls. But it was painful too; he couldn't help remembering that it had been these very same castle walls that had killed his brother. As he followed Headmaster McGonagall he thought over the past year. Yes, Fred was gone and if he could change that he would. But truth be told, he had found so much happiness these past months. Despite all the fear and uncertainty, he wouldn't have traded them for anything.
"So, you said something about letting me hold her?" Headmaster McGonagall said when they had arrived in her office at last and had taken chairs.
"Of course." George carefully laid Hope in Headmaster McGonagall's arms, his eyes filled with wonder at the soft misty look in her eyes.
"Headmaster…" George began "How long do you…"
Professor McGonagall looked up at George with a smile. "You're an adult now, a married man with a child. Surely it is time to dispense with the formalities."
George blinked for a moment and stared blankly. "Professor?"
The headmaster laughed. "Minerva will do."
George nodded and made a mental note to never, ever call her that lest he send himself into shock.
"Yes Ma'am. How long do you expect the testing to take?"
"That's right; you never sat your N.E.W.T.s did you?" She gave George a grin that spoke plainly of the fact that she knew perfectly well that he hadn't and she remembered exactly why he hadn't.
George smirked a bit "No ma'am, I didn't."
"I expect not much more than two hours." She nodded "Luna has already done the written exams; all that remains is the practical."
George nodded and settled himself in for the long wait. He had been hoping he might be able to spend the time sitting on the grounds or maybe visiting with Hagrid. But Hagrid was off securing some sort of creature for his third years end of term exams and Headmaster McGonagall didn't seem too willing to allow him to wander the grounds.
"You should know George; one of the potions examiners fell ill this morning." She gave him a worried look. "The only replacement we could find was Professor Slughorn."
"That bas…" George reigned himself in barely soon enough to prevent the thin lipped glare of the headmaster. "That man is testing my wife? After what he did last time?"
"She will be fine I assure you. They are in a room with several other examiners and there is only a one in four chance she will end up with Professor Slughorn."
George rolled his eyes. After the horrible luck that had followed them the last ten months, of course Luna would end up getting Slughorn.
"She's beautiful...and she looks so like your brother." Professor McGonagall smoothed a red curl on Hopes head, her eyes liquid grey. " I never told you this of course, but I always had a soft spot for you two. Trouble though you were."
"Could have fooled me." George laughed silently, his mind running through all the times she had yelled at them. "I was always thankful for the fact that if it came down to it Fred and I could have outrun you."
Headmaster McGonagall chuckled. "It's not widely known, but I had a brother. Not a twin, he was younger than me by two years. His name was Anthony. Oh he could make me laugh. He was twelve when we lost him to dragon pox, back then we didn't have all the potions we have now. You and your brother, you reminded me of him."
George felt choked. It all felt so unfair…life, death, pain and suffering. He remembered something his father had said when he spoke as they stood beside Fred's grave. Without the bitterness of pain, how could one savor the sweetness of joy?
"I often think of the day you and Fred left school. What you did gave the rest of us the courage to fight. You and your brother gave us hope." She looked down at Hope and smiled "Such a perfectly named child." She nodded. "How can you look at this face and not see all the possibilities that lie ahead? Happy times, sad times, fresh beginnings…all just waiting for us to decide which path we wish to walk. Giving hope…it's so like Fred."
George looked at her smiled, his own eyes were misting now…he couldn't miss the tears on Minerva McGonagall's eyelashes. He never thought he would see the day that he would see her as a human being…but now he was and the human he was seeing was something wonderful.
"You're right Minerva." He spoke her name without a cringe. She wasn't his former head of house anymore; she wasn't the former deputy headmaster or transfiguration teacher. She was a friend. "It is."
Luna couldn't believe her luck. A one out of four chance… and she would have to be the one to land the one examiner who wanted to see her fail. Surprise, surprise that he had "randomly" selected the most difficult potion in the book. Surprise, surprise that he had made her remove her robes and roll up her sleeves…to insure there was no fire hazard of course. But to stand over her, watching her every single move. To "tut tut" away every few moments in a low aside so she was the only one who could hear. It was over the line and Luna decided she had had enough. She tucked in and forced her mind into a serene place. She imagined herself back in their cottage in Little Matako during the final week before Oliver and CJ's wedding.
The mornings had been so sweet. Hope would wake them early and George would fetch her from her crib and bring her to Luna to nurse. Then, the three of them would cuddle together on the bed until one of their stomachs rumbled in protest. It was perfection and despite her nerves over how George would react to the news, she was already picturing what it would be like to have two children to cuddle in the morning.
"Times up." Slughorn growled into her ear and looked down into her cauldron, unhappy to see that the potion looked perfect. "Put your sample in the vial and turn it in."
Luna couldn't help smirking a little while she poured the wakefulness potion into her vial and handed it into the head examiner at the main table. It was her last exam and she was relieved. Her time at Hogwarts was now officially finished. She waved her wand over her cauldron, erasing the last of her potion and cleaning her station. As she shoved her cauldron into her bag she just caught the sight of Profession Slughorn turning through the doors. She bit her lip for a second in indecision, if she didn't do it now, she would never get another chance.
She pulled her bag over her shoulder and ran for the door, then followed him out into the hallway just in time to see him disappear down the stairs for the dungeons. She hurried to catch up; calling after him as she went…he ignored her, even though she knew he could hear her. But at last they came to the potions room and Slughorn had no where left to run.
"Professor, please…I only ask for a moment of your time."
He continued to ignore her and went about putting his things in his desk. With a deep sigh Luna turned back around to leave, then, she turned back.
"Why do you hate me so much?"
Slughorn stopped for a moment; he turned and looked at her, but only for a second. "I hate no one."
"You give a very good impression of it then." Luna moved towards the desk a step at a time.
"I don't know what you're talking about." He huffed "Now if you'll excuse…"
"I can't excuse you." Luna shook her head and stopped in front of him. "I trusted you and you betrayed me. You told people in Slytherin house that I was pregnant; you were cruel to me while I was still here and you accused me of cheating. Why?"
"I'm very busy Miss Lovegood, now if you'll…" He tried to turn away but Luna stopped him with her hand on his arm.
"No! I can't excuse you! You hurt me badly and now you want to hurt others to get back at me!" Her lips trembled and tears poured down her cheeks as he turned back to her. "I want to know why! I deserve to know why!"
"Because you threw it all away!" Slughorn jerked his arm out of her grasp angrily; his face turned a shocking shade of puce. "You had a brilliant future ahead of you and you threw it all away! Just like…" He stopped and tried to turn away again.
"Just like who?" Luna persisted, stepping in front of him to block his path. "Tell me, who?"
"Just like your mother!"
"My mother?" Luna stepped back, her eyes huge. "What has my mother to do with anything?"
"You're mother could have been a brilliant potions master…she was offered a scholarship, to study with one of the greatest potions masters of the age…and did she take it? NO! She married that fool Xenophilius Lovegood instead and went off in search of nonsense!"
"But she loved my father" Luna was puzzled "what's so bad about marrying someone you love?"
"Because her choice killed her!" Slughorn looked angry for another moment, his breath coming hard. "If she had continued her studies she would have known that using the rising incantation over boomslang skin and lacewing flies would cause an explosion!"
His anger now spent, Slughorn fell back into his chair, his face buried in his hand.
"It's happening all over again." He sighed "You went off and got yourself pregnant and married that Weasley. You're so much like your mother, too much like Louisa, right down to your little girl. How long will it be before I read about your death?"
And Luna understood. It wasn't shame, it was fear. Fear of losing another favored student. He hadn't said it, but she knew Voldemort…or rather, Tom Riddle, had to be a part of this too. How would it feel, she wondered, to become close to a student and have that student become the most evil wizard of the century? How would it feel to have a favored student die because of the very things that you taught them?
Luna pulled a chair up close to the desk and touched his hand.
"I'm not my mother Professor." She said, her voice tight. "I've learned more than her, I have learned from you, I have learned from her mistakes. I would never be so careless."
Slughorn let his hand drop, his eyes were red and Luna could tell that it was with great difficulty that his face was still dry.
He smiled slightly. "Louisa always told me 'Don't worry Professor, I know what I am doing.' And look…how can one possibly know when one doesn't learn enough?"
"And this is why you are trying to block the change in the exitus law." Luna sighed "What could that possibly help?"
He stiffened; he had never thought she would bring it up.
"Young girls belong in school, not off having babies."
"Sir, I understand that you are sad about what happened to my mother. I am too and I wish more than anything it had never happened. I wish that Hope could know her grandmother…and her grandfather. But this law…forcing young women to take a potion that terminates pregnancy against their will…it's wrong…it is so wrong." She stood and looked deeply into his eyes. "With all due respect sir, your thinking is ludicrous. How can you possibly think it is okay to save one life by ending another?"
She looked at him sadly for a moment, then sighed and turned away. She didn't belong here anymore. This was a place for children and the last of her childhood had been taken from her on a November night in Little Matako.
It was time to leave Hogwarts behind forever.
Luna fidgeted nervously as she and George sat on a hard bench outside the chamber of the Wizengamot. The time had come at last for them to tell their story and they would tell everything. They had decided that they would leave nothing out, not a single memory nor a single fear that had lead them to this day.
It had been two weeks since Luna had sent the package to her uncle. She hadn't expected any sort of acknowledgment, yet she couldn't help but wonder why he wasn't sitting in the waiting chamber with the rest of them. Molly and Arthur were there. Harry, Ron, Hermione, Percyand Bill , waited to testily to the reasons behind their involvement in the plans to send George and Luna to the U.S. Professor Slughorn was there, preparing to give his reasons for why the law needed to stay on the books. Luna felt a twinge of sadness over his presence; she had hoped that she might have reached him, at least enough that he might have changed his mind.
But the most important witness sat nestled up to her shoulder. They had fought, and won the right to have Hope in the courtroom. Members of the Wizengamot had fought the idea. She was a child after all, she had no business there. But Kingsley had maintained that she was evidence. How could they possibly understand the law, if they didn't see what the effect of this law was?
The courtroom door opened and the assembled witnesses were called inside. Luna and George would testify last…it would really be Luna's voice they heard…that had been decided weeks before. And so she sat patiently, listening while the others described their fear and worry over the idea of losing their lost brothers child. Molly and Arthur's testimony was heartbreaking as they spoke first of the pain of losing their son, and then the miraculous joy over finding that a part of him had been left behind and a look around the room showed that not a single member of the Wizengamot had not been effected.
Finally, Luna and George sat in the front of the Wizengamot, Hope cuddled in Luna's arms.
"My name is Luna Lovegood Weasley, this is my husband George and this…this is Hope. Hope should not be here today." Luna looked around at the Wizengamot and saw a few nods…she knew they were thinking she meant because a child did not belong in the courtroom…but that wasn't what she meant at all.
"Because of this law, Hope should have died last October."
The Members who had been nodding began to shift uncomfortably.
"My story begins at Hogwarts many years ago. There were two brothers who cared about the same woman. One of these brothers gave up the woman out of the love of his brother. Terrible things happened and the two became estranged. One of the brothers became bitter and let himself be ruled by hatred…and it is because of this hatred that Hope was nearly killed. It wasn't about my uncle wanting me to have a shot at a better life; it wasn't even about his shame that I was tarnishing the family name. It was about revenge. Should my daughter have died because of something that happened over twenty years before she was born?
"You've already heard about Hope's natural father. How he was a war hero and how he died, about how Hope was his last gift to his family and hope for the future, so I won't repeat it. Rather, I would like to tell you about Hopes other father. The man who sits beside me. He risked everything to save his brothers child. He was ready to give up his business, his family and his freedom to save his brothers child. He would have gone to Azkaban...he did go to Azkaban. But he shouldn't have had to! No one should have to make the choice between the life of a child and their freedom. He did and I will be forever grateful. Hope is Fred's gift to the world…but her life is George's gift to me. My most precious gift."
Luna couldn't continue, her throat had closed so tight she could hardly breathe. George put his arms around her and Hope and they stood together to exit the courtroom. As they did, Luna noticed that there was a now an empty seat.
Professor Slughorn had gone.
They walked down the long hallways to the bright sunlight outside. Luna's stomach twisted in fear. Had she said too much; had she not said enough? She brought up short when George stopped abruptly.
And then she saw what it was. Her uncle had stepped out from the side of a grouping of trees that stood in their path.
"Let's go the other way." he began to turn them but Luna stopped him.
"Wait George." She handed Hope off to him "I'll be right back."
"I'm not letting you talk to him alone."
"George?" Luna was giving him the stubborn Luna look…the look that told him he was never going to win. "It's broad daylight and we are surrounded by muggles. Do you think he is going to try anything?"
George rolled his eyes and then checked her sleeve to be sure her wand was tucked inside. Luna matched his eye roll before turning away and starting down the sidewalk.
"Hello." She said when she stood in front of her uncle. His face was surprising…it was the first time she had seen him where he didn't look hateful. "You didn't come to the hearing."
"Observant of you." He said rudely, yet his voice held no malice. It was almost…teasing. "I had no business with the Wizengamot today."
"I see." Luna nodded. "And do you have business with me today?"
Xenovius reached into his pocket and pulled out the blue velvet pouch, box and diary. "These are yours." He thrust them at her and began to turn.
"Wait." Luna stepping in front of him again. "This isn't mine." She handed the pouch back. "It was great-grandfather Lovegood's, rightfully it's yours."
"He left it to Xenophilius."
"Daddy would have wanted you to have it." Luna looked at him with pleading eyes, then she handed him the locket and diary. "And I think mum would have wanted you to have these."
"Why are you doing this?" Xenovius looked at her suspiciously. "I didn't go to the hearing, you got what you wanted."
"This has nothing to do with the hearing."
"Then what has it to do with?"
"Because I know how you feel." Luna sighed "I know what it's like to be filled with pain and anger and guilt all at the same time."
"I won't apologize to you." He said with thin set lips "If you're looking for 'I'm sorry', don't hold your breath. I don't do apologies."
"I didn't ask for one." Luna looked at him earnestly "Daddy didn't do apologies either. He used to say 'My father told me to never say I'm sorry, apologies are a sign of weakness. Well young lady, I may be crazy but I am not weak.'
Xenovius rolled his eyes. "That's sounds about like something my idiot brother would say."
"He would have wanted you to have it. No strings, no apologies."
Xenovius nodded, but thrust the diary back at Luna. "You take this. Regrets are a terrible thing young lady…I'd just as soon not have reminders laying around of all the things I should feel guilty for."
Luna nodded, took the diary and tucked it in her bag. Xenovius began to turn away, and then he turned back…
"Louisa had a kind heart…I had no idea how kind until I read that diary." He looked at Luna, his eyes gentle. "You're very much like her."
He turned then and walked away. Luna knew they would never speak again…but this was enough. She didn't need to be sad for Xenovius Lovegood anymore…he had let the past go.
"How long do you think it will take them to decide?" Luna asked as they walked up the small slope that lead to the orchard at the Burrow. There was someone they needed to visit …someone they should have come to two weeks before but had kept finding reasons to put it off.
"Kingsley says they should know by later today." He took her hand as they cleared the last of the trees. "You were amazing Luna. Some of the members were in tears…and with Slughorn not testifying, and your uncle not showing up…Kingsley is really hopeful."
Luna smiled and brushed her hand over Hopes hair. "I hope you're right."
They came to a stop and Luna sighed as she looked at the headstone. Fred smiled up at her from the photo, his eyes sparkled in the way that she remembered and he waved to them in that cheeky way that only Fred Weasley could. Her eyes moved to the date of his birth and the date of his death…now a year old.
The rest of the family had been there earlier in the week and the grave was covered in white lilies, resting among them was a tiny glass orb and inside it was an angel made of string. Luna set the brakes on Hopes pram, then knelt down and picked up the angel. She looked at George questioningly.
"I was here that day, standing behind a tree watching." George knelt next to her and smiled sheepishly. "I remembered you making it as we sat around the table at the cottage that night and I knew you had it in your pocket when you left to go walk on the beach. When you left it here…I reckoned it had some sort of significance for you and Fred…I didn't want it to be ruined, so I put it in glass."
Luna smiled and swiped at a tear. It was just so George. Even in as much pain as he was in that day, he was thinking of someone else.
"I love you." She smiled and touched his cheek "I love you so much."
"I love you too." He leaned forward and kissed her forehead. Luna sighed and put the angel back in its place at the head of Fred's grave. George stood and took her hand; together they pushed Hope back towards the Burrow.
They were quiet on the walk. Now that everything else was out of the way Luna's mind had gone back to being fixated on one thing. She had to tell George. She was so afraid; she knew he wasn't going to take it well.
She slowed as they stood in the high grass that ringed the Burrow. She had to tell him, it wasn't fair to keep it a secret any longer…it would only make things worse the longer she kept it a secret.
"Yeah?" He turned towards her, his eyes questioning. She was so afraid. She could see it, so much love, so much trust…all there in the light brown. She was about to rattle that trust. Her throat closed tightly…she couldn't go on.
"I think the words you're looking for are 'George, we need to talk.'
Luna blinked for a moment, and then she realized…he knew. George already knew.
"I began to suspect the night you threw up." He shrugged. "How many times did you throw up on me with Hope?"
"But there was just the one time…"
"You need to learn how to keep secrets better." George laughed a little. "You're a terribly liar you know. I knew something was up at Shell Cottage when you kept running out without eating breakfast. Then I noticed the tea tin had been moved to the other side of the cupboard. It's almost empty you know, you'll want to see Verity for more soon."
Luna looked at him, aghast, waiting for the explosion, her face streaked with tears.
"I'm sorry!" She wailed "I am so sorry! I know what you must be thinking…but I swear George, I swear on my life that I didn't do this on purpose. I know I threatened to…but I would never really…"
"Shh." George pulled his arms around her and pulled her close. "I know. I know you better than that."
"Of course I do." He smiled and kissed her forehead, ignoring the growing fear in his gut. Once again the image flashed in his mind of Luna's dying face the night Hope was born. He had planned on more time, time to get used to the idea. But he believed things happened for a reason. This baby had a purpose, and they would find out soon enough.
"I didn't take the potion … it only happened the one time."
"The night we found out about Ashley." He finished. "I know." George smiled; the memory was far too beautiful to be bitter about the fact that they had made a mistake that night.
"Yes. You're pretty transparent you know?" He laughed. "You made quite a show of taking your potion in front of me once we reconciled."
"I'm sorry…this is all my fault…I forgot."
"No." He leaned back and cupped her cheeks in his hands. "We forgot."
Luna nodded and gave him a worried look. "Are you afraid?"
"Some." He nodded. "After losing Fred, after almost losing you…I think I will always be a little afraid. But after all we have been through, how can I possibly believe that there is anything we can't do as long as were together?"
Luna felt her heart ready to burst with love. The past months rushed through her mind like a slide show. George rescuing her from her uncle, the night he found her in the ditch in Little Matako, all the nights he comforted her when she had nightmares. For the past nine months he had always been there…he was her hero…he was her life.
"You know what I said today, about how Hope's life was your gift to me?"
George nodded and brushed a strand of hair out of her eyes.
"You're my gift George. My beautiful precious gift and I am going to cherish you for the rest of my life."
"Luna…my life ended when Fred died, who I was then, who I wanted to be….that all went away. Then you came and you gave me a new one. I have you now; I have Hope and our little one to be. I have everything." George smiled and wiped at the tears that rested on Luna's eyelashes. "Because of you."
Luna smiled and stood on her tip toes to kiss him. He held her close for a moment, the air swirled around them combining their scents…notes that were never meant to go together…sugar, lilac, baby …Cedar, cinnamon and gunpowder. A strange and unexpected combination….
It was perfection.
A full moon cast silvery rays on the waves while Luna Lovegood Weasley looked on from where she sat on a blanket on the moon drenched beach near Shell Cottage.
As usual the family had come together at Shell Cottage during the week of the Anniversary of the Battle of Hogwarts. What no one had predicted was that this year Ginny would go into labor with her first. Determined to have a home birth, Ginny was refusing all Harry's begging that she go to St. Mungo's and over the past thirty minutes had started becoming somewhat violent to the man of her dreams.
Luna smiled a little as she watched the full moon above her. It was amazing to her that she could find such peace considering the absolute chaos that was taking place only a short distance away. But the solitude couldn't possibly last…she knew this from experience.
"Hello George Weasley."
"How did you know it was me?" He asked, dropping down onto the sand behind her and sliding his arms around her.
"I heard you say you were going for a walk on the beach." She grinned "Really George, we've been married for seven years; I know your voice by now."
"Good point." He laughed and rubbed his hands in circles over her very pregnant tummy. "Are you doing okay?"
"Of course." She kissed his cheek and laid her head back to rest on his shoulder. "Just needed to get away from the yelling."
"Poor Harry." He shook his head. "My sister can be so evil when she wants to be."
"Its not Ginny...it's the labor pains. This is why I always accept the drugs." Luna laughed, thankful that George laughed with her. It hadn't always been that way. When she had their second he had been terrified, considering what had happened with their first. "Are the kids asleep?"
"Yeah." He laughed. "Grandma sound proofed their room."
"They need to get used to noise." Luna shrugged. "The quiet is going to be disrupted soon. Won't be long before little Daisy is born."
George gave her a pleading look "Will you at least consider a boy's name?"
Luna looked at him stubbornly. "No."
"Ugh you are so stubborn."
"I am having a girl, I know it."
"You've been wrong before...and then we have to scramble at the last minute for names."
"But I'm right this time." She turned and got onto her knees, giving him an irresistible smile. "I know it. Anyone can be wrong a time or two."
"Sweetheart, you are oh for four."
"But I am not wrong this time."
"You said that with Hope, and Fred, and George, and Zoey."
"Well, Ill just have to keep trying til I get it right." She stuck out her tongue and then kissed him long and hard. George laughed and pushed her back.
"Luna, you're already pregnant."
"I know." She grinned wickedly "And your point is?"
George raised an eyebrow
"I want you, whats wrong with that? I want you more than I want anything." She grinned.
"Except a huge platter of bacon."
"I can't help it." Luna shrugged and turned back around. "I love bacon."
"Which would you rather have? Me, or bacon?"
Luna hesitated for a moment too long and George laughed. "I see."
"I never said..."
"You'd toss me over for a plate of bacon in a minute...don't deny it."
Luna grinned, she did love her bacon...but there were other things she loved too. Even after seven years...she and George couldn't keep their hands off one another. It was one of the reasons she kept getting pregnant.
"What if I want you... covered in bacon?"
"Temping…" He pulled her back into his lap and wrapped her tight in his arms.
Life with Luna had been a lot of things…but it had never come remotely close to being boring.
They were married again the July after their first wedding. It was small and informal with only the family. Molly decided it best to forgo the big wedding once Luna and George announced her second pregnancy.
Fred was born that December one week before Christmas eve; George came a little over two years later, followed by Zoey just after their fifth anniversary. Luna, it turned out, was highly fertile and they had managed to work their way through four different potions to prevent pregnancy. George had two options…either piss his wife off by having a procedure to prevent himself from having children, or surrender himself to fate.
He decided he would take fate over a pissed off Luna any day and now awaited their fifth child (another boy :P).
In between babies Luna was working as a counselor, helping survivors of violence, having gotten her certificate in the lull between baby three and four. She and CJ now ran Phoenix Place, a center for survivors of rape and domestic violence. That is between the births of Oliver and CJ's four children. (Three boys and one girl)
She never saw Professor Slughorn again after the day of the hearing before the Wizengamot that removed the Exitus law from the books. He retired from teaching and due to his links to Voldemort, his life as an important social figure was over. But she wondered from time to time what had become of him…until she learned of his death shortly after Zoey was born. She hated to imagine him…old and alone. But there was too much happiness in her own life to dwell on it.
Luna Lovegood Weasley was a woman with a lot to be thankful for. Over time the nightmares had faded, though she doubted they would ever be completely gone, waking and knowing that George was there made all the difference.
"Make a deal with you." George grinned. "I'll let you cover me in bacon…if you agree to choose a boys name."
"Hot sizzling right out of the pan bacon?" Luna giggled "On your…"
"I never said sizzling." George cringed at the mental image.
"Mummy! Daddy!" Hope yelled from behind them.
"What are you doing awake?" George smiled and went to the edge of the beach to scoop Hope up and bring her back to the blanket.
"Auntie Ginny woked me up." Hopes curls sproinged wildly as she curled into Luna's lap from her fathers arms. George scooted in behind them and wrapped his arms tight around both.
"Sorry sweetie, she didn't mean to." Luna brushed the hair from her face and kissed her forehead.
"I know, but it's still a pain in the a…"
"Hope Louisa Weasley…don't you dare finish that." Luna warned.
"Daddy says it."
"Daddy has a toilet mouth." Luna shot George a look over her shoulder.
"Sorry Mummy." She smiled, a smile that looked so much like Fred it made George's heart thud. When she smiled like that, he knew he would always have a piece of Fred with him in little Hope. "Daddy, will you tell me a story?"
"What story do you want to hear?'
"A real one." Hope yawned and snuggled closer, then looked up at George. "About my Daddy in heaven."
George nodded and tightened his arms around them, then began to tell Hope one of his favorite memories. Luna looked up high into the heavens. Fred was up there somewhere…and she knew, he was watching them.
On the ridge overlooking the beach Molly Weasley stepped to the edge and looked down at the family below…
…then she smiled and turned away.
() End Notes
Special thanks to everyone who commented on my note. Your messages meant so much to me ...you can't imagine. I apologize once again if I offended anyone. As I told someone else, it wasn't just about two reviews; it was about many, many rude reviews over almost 60 stories. Also, it was also about an incredibly horrible review that was left for my daughter… a first time writer, posting her first time story, that so crushed her that she has given up writing.
Reviews are meant to give feedback, to give constructive criticism . Not to tear people down and make them feel stupid. So while the review that sent me over the edge wasn't really that bad (though I still feel it was horribly rude) considering how cruel some reviewers can be…it was the straw that broke the camels back.
That being said…after a lot of thought about this (and some being yelled at by a certain former beta) I have rethought my decision. I am going to at the very least stick around to finish my two unfinished stories and maybe pop out a one shot or two (Admittedly, these might be NCIS rather than Harry Potter). I will not make a final decision on if I am going to quit until I finish Beautiful Consequences II and Lunarella. Not sure which I am going to move to yet…likely Lunarella since I could use some comedy right now, but there is only a chapter or two to the end of that one…and they are shorties.
Anyway, thank you to everyone who stuck with this story from start to finish. I know it had to be frustrating waiting for updates at times between my writers block and computer problems. Funny how it works out. This story was almost never written as a friend advised against it…she thought the premise would never fly…and here it is…my most popular Harry Potter ever, and my most followed story every. This got even more alerts than The Search, which is my most reviewed story.
Writing this has been a major labor of love and I am really sad to see it end. Writing scum bags is always so much fun and I got to write two in this one. :P Nathan Wayling and Xenovius Lovegood will always have a place in my heart as the biggest bastards on the face of my fictional earth. LOL
I do incidentally have more George and Luna ideas…so, I guess we'll see. I love them so much…not sure I could ever really let them go since JK Rowling has absolutely no clue how to pair a couple. :P (though I do love Harry/Ginny and Ron/Hermione...hmm, maybe I should do a Ron/Hermione!)
So, thank you, from the bottom of my little writer's heart. And I hope I will see you all in reviews for Beautiful Consequences II and Lunarella.