A big thank-you to my wonderful beta mew-tsubaki for all her help on this.
Harry wandlessly and silently cast a small shield that protected himself and those close to him. At the same time, Bill Disarmed Percy and Charlie tackled him. The thought that Ginny's eldest brothers were more than happy to quickly stick up for him and help him meant a lot to Harry.
Ginny walked over so that she was standing over Percy and pointed her wand at his nose. Charlie quickly got out of his sister's way so that she had no obstacles. "How dare you say things about my husband and me that you have absolutely no idea about." She then cast her infamous Bat Bogey Hex on him. Percy started rolling around on the floor, clutching his nose.
"Ginny, that's enough," Mrs. Weasley said from the doorway.
Ginny looked at her mother for a moment and then stopped the Hex. Percy slowly stopped rolling around and gradually got to his feet to be greeted by his mother's wand point exactly where Ginny's had been not so long ago.
Harry watched Mrs. Weasley and knew by the look on her face that Percy was in serious trouble. He took a couple of steps back and noticed that the others had as well.
"HOW DARE YOU!" Mrs. Weasley said forcefully.
"Do not start with that. You weren't here on Friday. You don't understand the situation at all. There is absolutely no way that Harry bewitched Ginny," said Mrs. Weasley. As she spoke, she jabbed her wand into Percy's chest so that he kept jumping back every so often.
Mr. Weasley came and stood next to his wife and looked at his third son with a face that Harry hoped he would never have directed at himself.
"Percy, you have some apologising to do. We are all extremely disappointed with your behaviour. This is no way to treat your family, and yes, I do mean Harry. He's always been a part of this family."
Ginny had come to stand by Harry as her father had been speaking and had squeezed his hand reassuringly at the last part of her dad's speech. He looked down at her and smiled at her, feeling grateful that her parents were obviously not too upset about the weekend's happenings.
Percy cleared his throat and looked around at his family who were gathered about before speaking. "Mother, Father, I am sorry, but I was honestly looking out for Ginny. From what I've seen from magazines and papers, I thought that Harry would hurt Ginny by going and looking for other women."
Harry growled at that comment and started moving towards Percy before Ginny grabbed hold of his arm and held him back. Once he had stopped moving, she ran her hand up and down his arm, which succeeded in calming him down.
"That's no reason to hurt Harry, Percy," said Mr. Weasley. "And there are other people in here that you need to be apologising to."
"I know," said Percy. He turned to face Harry and Ginny and continued speaking. "I'm sorry, Harry; and I'm sorry, Ginny. I really am. It's just that I really didn't get a chance to look after you and help you as you grew up, Ginny. I know it's my own fault for not paying much attention to you at Hogwarts and then I left the family, which I truly regret, let me tell you. So, having missed Ginny and Ron, especially, growing up, I felt I needed to be here for my family now. I wasn't sure that Ginny marrying Harry was the right thing for her, so I really was trying to help, in my own way."
The gathered Weasley family stood staring at Percy. Not a sound was made by any of them until Ginny moved towards him. She walked over to him and gave him a hug.
"You are a daft prat, Percy. Do you realise that?" she asked. "Honestly, I can stick up for myself and I wouldn't have married Harry if I didn't want to or if I didn't think it was a good idea. And really, as Dad said before, Harry is a part of this family. He would never try to hurt or trick any of us."
After that, Mrs. Weasley hugged Percy. "You silly boy," she said. "Though, I must say that I'm glad that your intentions were from the heart."
Mr. Weasley came and patted his third son on the back. "Percy, I'm glad you're trying to make up for lost time and look after your sister, but please, talk to us or one of your brothers or sister before you do anything drastic next time."
"All right, Dad," replied Percy.
Harry moved over to Percy and shook his hand, but soon retreated, still not able to totally forgive and trust him just yet. It would take a while before he felt comfortable around that particular brother-in-law again.
Mrs. Weasley had turned her attention to her other sons while Harry was with Percy. From her tone of voice, Harry could tell that she was not particularly happy with them either.
"Where are your wives, fiancées, and girlfriends? They were meant to be here, too," she said.
"Ah, yes," said Bill. "They will be here shortly. We told them to come a little later."
"Hmm," said Ginny, walking over to Bill and pointing her finger at his chest. "You wanted some time to get at Harry without them here. You knew that they wouldn't let you scare and torture him, so you didn't want them around."
"Gin, we're just looking out for you," said Charlie, who was trying to smile innocently.
"As I have said many times before, I can look after myself," Ginny replied.
Harry moved so that he was standing beside Ginny and put his arm around her shoulders. At the same time Bill backed away. "Look, Ginny, it's okay, really. I expected this reaction. I've heard them discuss these sorts of things when you were going out with Dean. I knew what they were going to say, and just like you, I can look after myself."
Bill and Charlie were looking at him curiously, as if they could not quite believe that Harry knew what they were up to all of the time. George was grinning at him and Ron came over and slapped him on the back.
"If only I knew then that letting you sit in on those conversations would come back and bite me on the arse…"
"Ronald!" Muriel exclaimed from the doorway.
Everyone turned to face Muriel in shock. They had all totally forgotten that she and Violet were there.
"Sorry," mumbled Ron.
"Right, as soon as the rest of the women folk have arrived, we will discuss the marriage contract," said Mr. Weasley. "For now, boys, leave your sister and Harry alone."
Once Fleur, Hermione, Angelina and Audrey had arrived, everyone gathered in the sitting room of the Burrow and looked expectantly at Mr. and Mrs. Weasley and Muriel.
"To begin with, does everyone know the basic details from yesterday, especially regarding Zacharias," said Mr. Weasley. When everyone nodded he continued. "I got an update from Kingsley this afternoon. Zacharias will be staying in St. Mungo's for an undetermined time. It seems that he's not quite with it, mentally, I mean. They will need to assess him over a long period of time before making any decisions. If he ever leaves St. Mungo's he will be tried and then sentenced. If that's the case, all of us will need to give evidence."
Percy hesitantly raised his hand, almost afraid to be seen butting in. "Excuse me; I'm just wondering why Minister Shacklebolt has to deal with this. Surely it should be the Auror Office looking into this, not Minister Shacklebolt. Why aren't you speaking to Robards?"
"Well, Percy, it doesn't really make a difference as long as someone is on top of it all. Though, if you are that interested, I was told by Kingsley that Robards is on extended leave due to ill health. His replacement wasn't available today," said Mr. Weasley, looking pointedly at Harry.
Percy did not seem to notice his father's look. "Well, that's not good enough. A head of department should always be available for important matters such as this."
Harry glared at Percy. "I'm sorry, Percy, that I was in St. Mungo's, unconscious, and couldn't be reporting to your father."
Everyone in the room turned to Harry and looked at him in disbelief. Their looks varied from open-mouthed, shocked looks, to looks of awe. Harry noticed that Ginny's was one of pride.
"You … you're … you're the new head of the Auror Office?" Percy stuttered.
Harry only nodded in response. Hermione quickly crossed the room to give him a congratulary hug. Everyone else gave exclamations of congratulations except for Percy who was still shocked.
Once everyone had settled down, Mr. Weasley continued with the discussion about the contract.
"Now, with regards to the contract that Muriel and Violet drew up…"
"Were forced to draw up, you mean," said Muriel stiffly. Violet nodded in agreement.
Harry could tell that both ladies were mortified that they had been used and tricked by Zacharias. He doubted that they would be very trusting of anyone ever again.
"Well, yes, you were forced to draw up," Mr. Weasley agreed before continuing, "Seeing that the contract was made up illegally and against Muriel's and Violet's will, it is technically null and void."
Everyone sat up and looked a lot happier at this news. Harry started to feel a small bundle of worry in the bottom of his stomach.
"So no one here needs to worry about it then," said Bill, who was sitting with his arm around Fleur. "Not even if we happen to have girls?"
"No. That wouldn't have been a problem anyway," said Mr. Weasley.
"Why?" asked Fleur.
"The contract was only for five years," stated Hermione.
"It could have been used against us, you realise," said Bill.
"How?" asked Hermione.
"I talked to the goblins at Gringotts on Friday. They said that if Smith had seen the parents of any Weasley girls during those five years and had requested their hand in marriage, even if the wedding was not going to happen soon afterwards, the contract would have been valid."
"So what should we do now?" asked Mrs. Weasley, who was looking concerned.
"The contact is null and void," said George. "We don't have to worry about it."
"Well, technically it's not null and void yet," said Hermione.
'How's that?" asked Charlie.
"The official contract is still here, in paper form," said Percy. "That means it technically could still be used if Muriel and Violet agree."
"What?" yelled various people around the room.
Muriel and Violet looked at each other and then at the room full of Weasleys.
"That's ridiculous," said Ginny. "Surely something can be done?"
"Of course there is," said Hermione. When everyone looked at her expectantly she continued, "Seeing that it was made illegally, Muriel and Violet can jointly dispose of it and then it will be legally invalid. Actually, it would be forgotten about totally."
Mrs. Weasley turned to Muriel and Violet. "You are going to do that, aren't you? You can't let any of my granddaughters be forced into marriage with that … that …"
"Arse?" finished Ron.
To Harry's surprise, Mrs. Weasley did not remonstrate Ron for his language; she nodded in agreement.
"Hang on," said Harry. "Zacharias Smith isn't a relative of Violet's at all, is that right?"
"That's right," Violet agreed.
"Well it wouldn't be Smith that they'd have to marry," he continued.
Everyone turned to Violet, looking intently at her.
"Do you have a great-great nephew?" asked George.
"Well, yes, I suppose I do," replied Violet. "I think his name starts with D. David … no, that's not it. Damien … no, ah, Draco."
"Noooooooooo," screamed Harry, Ron, George, Hermione and Ginny.
"Malfoy?" asked Angelina in horror.
"Yes, that's him," said Violet.
Mrs. Weasley stood up quickly and walked over to Violet so that she was standing over her, looking quite scary. "You will destroy the contact, won't you?" she said loudly and firmly.
Violet looked at Muriel, who glanced around the room. Everyone had pale faces at the thought of anyone having to marry Malfoy. They were all watching Muriel and Violet expectantly, ready to hear what she had to say.
"If that's what you want, then we will destroy it. Won't we, Violet?"
"Oh, yes. We don't want to cause any more trouble," Violet said.
"I should hope so," said Percy.
Hermione looked thoughtful. "This is an unacceptable situation. I think I will have to do some research into marriage contracts and try to stop this kind of thing happening again."
"Good idea," said Mr. Weasley.
Muriel stood up and gestured for Violet to join her. "Arthur, will you bring that contract over and place it on the floor." Once the scroll of parchment was placed on the floor, Muriel and Violet pointed their wands at it and shouted, "Reducto." The parchment burst into flames before disappearing into ash.
"Is that it done properly?" asked Mrs. Weasley.
Bill, Hermione and Mr. Weasley looked at each other and nodded. Everyone started cheering.
"Well, zat is good, then," said Fleur. "Bill and I have news."
Everyone immediately stopped cheering and looked at Bill and Fleur expectantly.
"We're having a baby. She's due in six months," said Bill.
Mrs. Weasley burst into tears and grabbed Bill and Fleur in a hug. "You're having a girl?" When Bill and Fleur both nodded, she started sobbing more.
Everyone else, except for Harry, started jumping and dancing around, cheering for Bill's and Fleur's daughter-to-be and for the fact that she wouldn't have to marry Zacharias Smith or Malfoy. Harry collapsed into a chair in the corner.
Now that the contract was gone, Ginny did not have to be married. Harry was now worried that maybe she would not want to be married to him any more. The more he thought about it, the more he realised that Ginny would not have even considered going out with him let alone marrying him unless the contract, legal or not, had come about. She would never have admitted that she had feelings for him or wanted to be with him except for the contract. He sat there for a long time, in the corner, quietly, totally oblivious to everyone celebrating around him. Eventually he decided that he needed to give her the option of getting out of this marriage, whether he wanted to or not. There was no way that he would be happy if Ginny was unhappy with their relationship.
"Ginny, can we talk?" he asked rather tensely a while later. "It would be better if we were nowhere near anyone else, so we can't be interrupted."
"Is everything okay?" she replied with a worried look upon her face.
"I think we need to talk, especially after everything that has happened."
"Of course we can. Let's get out of here. We'll go back to your … I mean, our flat," she said smiling at him.
Harry nodded and went straight for the door. He was not looking forward to this conversation, but he needed to give her the option. He started to slowly walk towards the boundary of the Burrow. In some ways he wanted to have his say quickly, to get it over and done with, but he also wanted to delay, just in case she did want her freedom and this would be the last chance that he would have to be her husband and a part of her life.
He reached the boundary and there was no sign of Ginny. He stopped and leaned on the gate to wait for her. Just as put his weight on the gatepost, Ginny came out of the door and hurriedly looked around for him. When she finally saw him, she started running towards him with her wonderful hair flowing behind her. He took in the sight of her as she drew closer and closer to him. He really wanted to be a major part of her life. Even after two days, he did not know how he would cope without her being by his side as his partner in life.
When she reached his side, she grabbed hold of his arm and Apparated them back to the flat. He was still gasping for breath at the surprise quickness of her getting them home, when she turned and faced him with a determined look on her face.
"All right, Harry, what's going on? You're acting funny and I want to know what's causing it."
Harry took her hand and led her to one of his armchairs, where she sat down. He kneeled in front of her, so that they were in a similar position as they were the previous day when Kingsley's Patronus had arrived.
"Gin, there's something I need to say to you, a chance I need to give you," he said slowly and carefully. As he spoke he slowly looked up from the ground to look into her beautiful brown eyes.
"Ginny, please just let me say this. I don't know if I'll be able to say this if you interrupt me."
Ginny nodded and he continued talking.
"All right, now that the contract has been destroyed by Muriel and Violet, the reason for us getting and being married has gone. I know that if Muriel and Violet had never drawn up that contract, we would never have thought to even try to go out, let alone get married this weekend. So, what I'm trying to say is that if you want to go back to how things were before this, I'll go along with it. I don't want you to feel that you're trapped here with me. I know we can't get our marriage dissolved, but we can get a divorce, or whatever it's called in the magical world, and I won't bother you. You can go back to living your life and I'll go back to mine."
As he was saying all of this, he carefully watched Ginny. Her face was usually so expressive, but he could not read how she was feeling at all. It was as though she were wearing a mask.
"Is that what you want?" she replied quietly, just avoiding his gaze.
"Gin, this isn't just about what I want."
Ginny sat quietly for a little while and then spoke again. "Okay, Harry, tell me this. If this hadn't happened, you would have eventually found out that Dean and I had broken up, right? What would you have done once you found out?"
"Besides jump for joy," he joked. "Erm, I probably would have thought about asking you out. That is, if I got in before someone else. You are a professional Quidditch player, after all. I'm sure you have wizards lining up to meet you and go out with you."
"All right, then. You admit you'd ask me out?" she said and he nodded. "I would have said yes. As I told you the other day, it's not that I got over you. I never thought that you would ever see me as anything other than Ron's sister or maybe as a friend."
They stayed in their positions and looked at each other. Harry liked where she was taking this. She would have said yes, if he had asked her out. Maybe things would be okay.
"It's probably not the best way to start a marriage. Merlin, it's not the best way to decide to get married, but we're here together, and honestly Harry, I don't think I want to be anywhere else."
Harry gulped and reached up and gently took her hands, lacing his fingers through hers.
"Being with you over the past few days has made me realise that I have really hidden my feelings for you for a long, long time. I don't want to end this now without giving us a chance to try being together."
"Really?" he said in a small voice.
"Yes, so stop being an absolute prat, Mr. Potter."
"Okay, Mrs. Potter."
"Hmmm. I can't believe that you thought of trying to end this, especially after all that you've told me about your feelings and dealing with my brothers."
"I had to give you the option. If you were unhappy here with me, then I wouldn't have been happy either."
"Well, I have an idea: Let's both try and be happy here together. How does that sound?"
"It sounds great," he replied.
Ginny dropped to her knees right in front of him so that their chests, stomachs and thighs were almost touching. Harry cupped her face with both hands and leaned down to kiss her tenderly. Ginny returned the kiss and moved her hands up his thighs to his chest. They stayed there, kissing for a while before he pulled her roughly against him so that he could kiss his way along her jaw and down her neck to her shoulder. Ginny moaned and moved her hands under his shirt so that she could caress his chest and stomach.
Harry was totally wrapped up in kissing Ginny. He had been waiting for over a day to kiss her properly again, so he was not going to waste this chance at all. His hands gradually worked their way down her arms and onto her stomach and eventually under her shirt to wander across her bare flesh. A while later they slowly pulled apart. He looked into Ginny's eyes and found them shining up at him.
"Harry," she said. "I've been waiting all day to kiss you properly, and as much as I am really enjoying this, my knees are getting sore."
He chuckled at her. "Yeah, now that you mention it, it's not that comfortable down here, is it?"
"So what do you say about moving this elsewhere?"
"Where did you have in mind?"
Ginny stood up slowly and started swaggering towards his bedroom door. When Ginny reached the door, she slowly turned and gazed at Harry before winking at him. Harry gulped. She was so gorgeous and sexy, he thought.
"I thought maybe your, no, our bed, would be a great place," she said and at the same time she started to slowly and seductively undo the buttons on her shirt.
Harry moaned at the sight of his beautiful wife, starting to undress just for him. He jumped up and quickly followed her into their room.
Several months later
Ginny Potter was sitting in a crowded room at the end of year Quidditch Awards. Her husband's arm was resting around the back of her chair and she was chatting happily with her fellow teammates, who were seated at their table. Harry seemed to be off in his own world thinking about something pleasant, she imagined, judging from the happy look on his face.
The last few months had been the happiest that she could remember. It had been wonderful waking up next to Harry every morning, and being able to come home to him at night. He had been to all of her Harpies games without having to disguise himself as he was happy to be in the family box. It was fabulous being able to look up and see him there cheering loudly for her at all of the games.
The only thing that nagged Ginny was her inability to actually tell Harry how she truly felt. Sometimes she came really close to telling him that she loved him but at the last minute she stopped herself. She did not know why she was so nervous about it, because she had loved him for ages. If she was totally honest with herself, she had loved him since well before they got married. Ginny usually had no problem expressing what she wanted or how she felt, so she found this annoying. Harry had not said anything to her, but she could tell that he was a little disappointed that she had not opened up to him. Because of this, she tried to show him in other ways how much she cared for him.
Ginny suddenly realised that the official part of the evening was about to start and Harry was still off in dreamland, so she brought him back to reality by an elbow in the ribs. Ginny smirked at him as he tried to catch up with what was happening around him.
"The actual awards are starting just now," she said in his ear. 'They start with best Keeper, Beater, Chaser & Seeker Awards before they move on to Best Team and Player of the Year."
"Do you think you'll win?" he asked her for the umpteenth time since she had told him that she had been nominated for Best Chaser.
"We'll just have to wait and see," she replied and then turned her attention to the stage.
When the nominees for Best Chaser were being announced, Ginny grabbed hold of his hand and squeezed tightly. Moments later, when it was announced that she had won, she hugged him tightly and kissed him, probably a little too passionately for an awards dinner, before heading up onto stage to collect her award.
As she received the award, she glanced out into the crowd, looking for Harry. Now is the time, she thought as she started her thank-you speech which she had prepared a few days previously, just in case. "I'd like to thank the Harpies for being a great team to play for and my teammates for working together so well to help me achieve this. I'd also like to thank the Quidditch League for all their hard work, and my family for supporting me," she recited. Harry probably expected her to stop there and return to the table as she had shown him her speech earlier, but she had something to add that he had not seen. "Most of all, I'd like to thank my husband for all of his support at home and at games this year. I love you, Harry," she said, staring straight at him.
As the crowd applauded her, Harry sat there with a silly smile on his face. She weaved her way back through the guests, tables and chairs before accepting hugs and congratulations from her Harpies teammates. Finally she sat down next to him and looked at him with a cheeky smile on her face. He slid his chair over so that it was right next to hers, leaned over and cupped her face with both hands and kissed her. He obviously did not care who was watching or what they thought, because he kept on kissing her until the hoots and cheers from their table finally broke them apart.
"You witch," he whispered in her ear. "You would say that to me in front of a large audience, when I can't do what I want to do to you."
Ginny giggled, kissed him and whispered in his ear, "Later, I promise."
"You, my angel, had better live up to that promise," he replied huskily before hugging her to him and adding, "I love you, too, Gin."